Winter's arrived in Western Washington, somewhere Btween 25 & 30 degrees outside right now -- pretty cold 4 us -- & every nite this week has bn colder than predicted. But we've dodged the snow so far, somehow. R more usual winter weather -- pouring rain -- hit earlier this week & is Xpected 2 return Mon & Tues, with highs in the 40s, heavy rain & potential flooding.
Which doesn't sound so bad compared 2 what it's like outside right now....
It's not bad INside -- the pellet-stove is keeping up with the cold pretty well, tho my feet sometimes get cold. In an attempt 2 warm things up, a little bit of everything follows:
Spinners -- I'll Be Around, I'm Coming Home.
Left Banke -- She May Call You Up Tonight, Desiree.
King Crimson -- Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With.
Gong -- Oily Way.
Rare Bird -- Epic Forest.
Fruup -- The Seventh Secret.
Curved Air -- Back Street Luv, It Happened Today.
David Sancious and Tone -- Ever the Same, Prelude #3, Interlude, Matter of Time.
Can -- Oh Yeah.
It Bites -- The Old Man and the Angel.
Os Mutantes (The Mutants) -- Ando Meio Desligado.
Sugarcubes -- Birthday, Delicious Demon, Mama, Motorcrash.
Cocteau Twins -- Lazy Calm, Throughout the Dark Months of April and May, Feet-Like Fins.
King Crimson -- ProzaKc Blues.
NOTES: This overview is liable 2 B brief & brutal so my hands & feet don't get frozen. This should B fun 2 read, at least. 10-word reviews, NE1?
The Spinners trax R both classics -- even after 40 years I still think "I'll Be Around" is pretty hypnotic, it seems simple but there's so much going on -- even tho I still can't figure out summa the words cos of the way Phillippe Wynne enunciates. But I don't even care. No problems with "I'm Coming Home," which shoulda bn a bigger hit & includes great backing vocals. From THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION.
"She May Call You Up Tonight" is prime mid-'60s pop & shoulda bn a hit -- apparently was never even released as a B-side. Not so much of the classical, ornate sound the Left Banke useta specialize in, just a really nice gloppy love song with sweet vocals. "Desiree" of course is closer 2 a concerto 4 voices, harpsichord, strings & horns -- & they all crowd in2 John Abbott's dense, cluttered production. A knockout, of course, & a little clearer on CD than the old 45.... From ALL THE SMASH HITS.
Crimson's "Happy" is better & funnier live, but the lyrics R still great.... From THE POWER TO BELIEVE.
Gong's "Oily Way" is a brief slice of their Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy that features great-as-usual sax&flute from Didier Mahlerbe, OK singing from Daevid Allen & some decent backing vocals. Jazzy & spacey, even funny -- but not 2 silly like I think summa their stuff was. If all their stuff was this good I'd B a fan 4 life....
"Epic Forest" is a 9-minute multi-part psychedelic suite about The End Of The World ... only there's a pretty, happy ending. Great keyboards, guitar, vocals & mood -- the ending is especially nice, but the whole thing is worth it. Sounds VERY 1972, but these guys shoulda had more success. I've bn a fan of this track since I fished the album, EPIC FOREST, out of a bin at Goodwill 10 years ago 4 $2. There's only 1 other good song on the album, but it's Xcellent: "Birdman." & if 2 great songs Rn't worth $2, what is? Probly available at a Goodwill store near you....
"Seventh Secret" is a brief narrative that sounds like it's delivered by a Hobbit. Kinda silly. Hobbit fans might like it.... (These last 3 R all from WONDROUS STORIES: A COMPLETE INTRODUCTION TO PROGRESSIVE ROCK.)
"Back Street Luv" is the longest 3-1/2 mins I've sat thru in a long time. It's just dull. "It Happened Today" has OK guitar & keyboards, & Sonja Kristina's throaty voice isn't bad, but she doesn't do much with it. Darryl Way's violin -- supposedly 1a the focal points of this band -- can only B heard in "Today"'s coda. Disappointing. Possible candidates 4 Really Bad Prog. Sorry.... From WONDROUS STORIES and SUPERNATURAL FAIRY TALES: THE PROGRESSIVE ROCK ERA.
Ah, David Sancious. Whatta guy. I've written here B4 about how the former E Street Band keyboardist's wild jazz-rock TRANSFORMATION: THE SPEED OF LOVE was 4 years my FAVORITE album in the world 2 clear unwanted guests outta the house -- & there was some REALLY GORGEOUS piano & synth stuff on it, 2.
In 1978 Sancious released his follow-up, TRUE STORIES, & I remember Bing disappointed Bcos it didn't have NE of the outrage of DS's earlier work -- almost like he'd tried 1/2way 2 "go commercial."
The CD reissue of TRUE STORIES includes brief notes from Sancious about how The Dummies at Arista rejected the original album -- which was made-up-of 4 9-to-15-minute instrumental jazz-rock suites -- & instead asked DS 4 songs that "might somehow find their way onto a playlist in some format, somewhere." There was probly some great stuff on that earlier album, but we'll never know.
That said, musically this album ain't bad & ain't that diffrent. Sancious bowed just a LITTLE 2 commercial pressures. Minus Alex Ligertwood's not-that-bad lead vocals, "Ever the Same" sounds VERY much like the Sancious of previous albums -- the same sweet-yet-jagged melodic phrases with sudden stops & turns. "Prelude #3" is an especially good Xample of this, tho it's closer 2 lite instrumental jazz-rock. "Interlude" is VERY lite jazz, with rainfall & flowing-water sounds -- almost New Age. Brief & pointless. "Matter of Time" has some nice instrumental interplay (with bassist Gerald Carboy & manic drummer Ernest Carter) in the midsection, & some brief wild guitar near the end -- but the lyrics R kinda silly. As a big album-closer it's disappointing.
Can's "Oh Yeah" opens with thunderstorm noises, but it's far from New Age. Then it's Jaki Leibezeit's typical propulsive drumming, & Damo Suzuki's backwards(?) vocals -- I don't know what Damo's saying, but it works really well with the rhythm. Also nice tinny gtr from Michael Karoli & good washy keyboards from Irmin Schmidt. Why wasn't this on their best-of? From SUPERNATURAL FAIRY TALES.
"Old Man and the Angel" has Dcent choruses & OK group backing vocals, but that's all. It's not very suprising. From WONDROUS STORIES.
The Mutants R late-'60s Brazilian psychedelia -- they sound like a stranger Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66. There's some nice organ, & it gets louder & freakier toward the end. A little dated, & not that strange. But this was just my 1st taste. They've got a pretty good reputation.... From EVERYTHING'S POSSIBLE!
It must get awful cold & isolated up there in Iceland. Was The Sugarcubes why Bjork was a big deal? "Birthday" features her howling & screeching, but I actually like Einar Orn's Germanic-sounding voice better. This stuff is OK 4 a break 2 clear-out your head, like a walk in the cold Icelandic air. & summa their lyrics R ... intresting, especially on "Mama." From LIFE'S TOO GOOD!
Cocteau Twins ... pleasant, washy, pastel ... gtr&keyboard & female vocals, good going-2-sleep music ... "Feet-Like Fins" breaks in2 a pretty Indian-flavored chant with voice & gtr ... that doesn't go on long enuf.... From VICTORIALAND.
"ProzaKc Blues" features Adrian Belew's ugly low-treated vocals, but the lyrics R funny. I just thot it was better & funnier LIVE, as most of KC's comedies R (see "Happy," above).... From THE CONSTRUCTION OF LIGHT.
Coming soon, I hope: More new stuff....