Musical Themes

So sometimes I like to be giant nerd when I listen to music and will create some sort of theme. I have been trying to be better about listening to more full albums rather than having my ipod or itunes on shuffle all the time, so creating these themes for myself has helped and I listened to a bunch of albums throughout the week. I tried to listen to 4 albums to complete the themes and I wanted to share these themes and also a few thoughts on some of what I enjoyed this week.

For some reason Monday felt like a classic Prog Rock kind of day, this was maybe due to the fact that I had just got the new Nektar album a few days before and this made me what to go back and listen to some older Nektar albums.  So, Nektar started off my Monday morning listening with their 1975 concept album “Recycled”. The album is a 36 minute suite with many recurring melodies throughout.  And that’s one of the things I have always enjoyed about their music, very catchy melodies to go along with great musicianship, which is on display here with mainman Roye Albrighton’s great guitar work.  I’ll talk a little bit more about Nektar a little later, as they appear again in a different theme.

 Recycled - album cover

Nektar was followed by the self-titled debut album from supergroup U.K..  “U.K.”  was released in 1978 and featured an all star cast of musicians, including Bill Bruford on drums, Allan Holdsworth on guitar, John Wetton on bass and vocals and Eddie Jobson on keyboard and violins.  I have to admit the first few times I had listened to this album it really didn’t do too much for me, but I have found after subsequent listens that I enjoy it more and more, it has a nice mixture of prog rock and jazz fusion that I enjoy and some nice vocals by John Wetton.  

U.K. - album cover

Next up was the 1976 album “Wing & Wuthering” by Genesis, for some reason this is an album I never really took too much time with.  It was the second release post Peter Gabriel and the last with Steve Hackett.  I could still do without “Your Own Special Way”, but it’s not terrible, and it could be because of the placement on the album, it just doesn’t seem to flow. But there are some great songs on here like, “One For The Vine” & “Eleventh Earl Of Mar”.

Wind & Wuthering - album cover

 I ended my 4 pack theme with another album from 1976 “World Record” by Van Der Graff Generator, I mainly listened to this because I love the 20 minute epic “Meurglys III, The Songwriter’s Guild”.  To me this album is very, very underrated and does not get the same mention as say “Pawn Hearts” or “Godbluff”, but I think it is just a good.  Plus, there is just something about Peter Hammill’s vocals and songwriting, they may be one of my favorite classic prog bands.  

World Record - album cover

I will continue with the rest of my themes on another post, they include some recent 2013 releases and a day filled my some new sleaze/glam hard rock.

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2012 Favorites

I have kind of let my blog slide a little bit, so I wanted to kick 2013 off with a list of some of my favorite albums from 2012.  I’m a little behind with new releases this year, but I wanted to share some of the albums that have stuck with me throughout the year.  Hope you enjoy!

 

Big Big Train – English Electirc Part 1

This album may very well be my favorite of the year.  It sounds to me like it could be a follow up to Genesis’s “Selling England By The Pound”.  The album has a very English feel to me, full of great melodies.  I enjoyed their previous album ” The Underfall Year” but it really didn’t click with me like this one did.

 

Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man And The Spirit

I believe in one of my few posts over the past year I mentioned this album, it is probably my favorite progressive metal album in a long time.  It’s big, bombastic, full of amazing vocals and musicianship.  It has everything that I love.

 

The Night Flight Orchestra – Internal Affairs

This is just a fun, fun album.  Formed by the singer from Soilwork and bass player from Arch Enemy, one would expect a heavy album, and that couldn’t be further from what this is, a straight up classic 70’s rock album with some of the catchiest melodies I have heard in a while.

 

Thank You Scientist – Maps Of Non-Existent Places

This album literally has everything jazz, funk, prog, metal, alternative, horns & strings.  It’s just everything thrown together, but it works and it works extremely well.  This album got a lot of play by me throughout the summer..

 

Jess And The Ancient Ones – Jess And The Ancient Ones

This is a more recent addition, but it catapulted to one of my favorites of the year very quickly.  Very retro sounding, great female vocals, songs about satan, how can you go wrong.

 

That’s 5 for now, I’ll post a few more in the coming days.  Hope you check some of these out and maybe find something new to enjoy!

 

 

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New Discoveries

I wanted to share two pretty awesome new bands I recently discovered and their really good debut albums:

Beyond The Bridge- The Old Man And The Spirit & Neonfly- Outshine The Sun

Beyond The Bridge are a German progressive rock band that is full of professionally trained musicians and features both male and female vocals, Herbie Langhans from the band Sinbreed and jazz singer Dilenya Mar.  Their debut album, which of course in prog fashion is a concept album, is full of great musicianship, riffs, vocals and melodies.  I can’t stop listening to this album and I look forward to hearing more from this band in the future.

Neonfly- Outshine The Sun

Neonfly are sort of a mixture of power metal, melodic rock with a little progressive metal thrown in.  Every song is filled with power and melody, once I get done listening to this album I just want to hit repeat and hear it all over again the songs just get stuck in your head.  This is a great young band which hopefully will continue to keep growing and just get better and better.

 

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Song of the day: “Look Into The Future”- Journey

I’m sure if Journey were to look into the future back in 1976 they certainly wouldn’t have pictured the massive success they had once Steve Perry joined the band for their 4th album “Infinity” in 1978.  But there was a Journey before Steve Perry, formed out of the ashes of Santana by Gregg Rolie (vocals & keyboards) and Neal Schon (guitar) in 1973, they would release 3 albums before Perry was brought on board.  I wanted to showcase the title track from their sophomore album “Look Into The Future”,  this song has some amazing guitar work by Schon and vocals by Rolie and showed what they were capable of and it’s a shame most people don’t know this album along with the other 2 pre-Perry Journey albums, “Journey” (1975) & “Next” (1977).  Enjoy!

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Is Ozzy really metal??

I know that is quite the crazy comment, but just hear me out.  I am not denying Ozzy as part of Sabbath was metal, but Ozzy solo, to me that is another question.  I vividly remember he first time I heard a solo Ozzy song and thinking to myself this is Ozzy???  This is the crazy, out of control, metal madman that I had heard so much about?!?!  The first song I heard was “I Don’t Know” from the classic, solo debut “Blizzard of Ozz”, and to me it just didn’t sound to me what I would have considered metal at all.  I am not denying the greatness of that album or any of his other albums, but looking back on them and thinking about it I always think, is this really metal?

Clearly Ozzy’s stature as a metal icon came from his days in Sabbath, and like I said before, there is no denying that fact.  I think after Ozzy left Sabbath and struck out on his own it was more the idea of Ozzy as a metal icon then the actual music itself, his behavior probably fueled this as well.  “Blizzard of Ozz”, “Diary of A Madman” & “Bark At The Moon”, Ozzy’s first three solo albums I think are all classic hard rock albums, but not really metal.  It feels like the more darker, heavier Ozzy came after he retired after the “No More Tears” album, and this “Prince of Darkness” persona started to really build up.  His comeback album “Ozzmosis” I feel is one of his darker albums and was a manifestation of the legend of Ozzy and that he was the “Prince of Darkness”.

I know Ozzy as a great artist and singer has been tainted over the past few years, especially with his foray into reality tv, but Ozzy is and was an integral part of the evolution of metal and of music in general, even if I consider his solo output to not be metal.

What are your thoughts??

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Song of the day: “Special”

In honor of the rumors that Richie Kotzen will be joining Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan to form a new power trio I wanted to highlight Richie Kotzen a little bit for those that have no idea who he is.  Kotzen started out in the late 80’s as a shredder on the Shrapnel label, but as the 90’s came he morphed his sound into a more soul, funk & rock sound.  He joined Posion and recorded their most underrated album “Native Tongue” and the went out to join Mr. Big afer Paul Gilbert left.  Along the way he has release a multitude of solo albums, his most recent being 2011’s “24 Hours”.    I’ve recently rediscovered this song “Special” from his 2004 album “Get Up” .  I’m really hoping this collaboration happens and is successful and for Richie Kotzen to get the credit and recognition that he deserves.

 

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Where it all started…

I wanted to start this blog to talk about and share some thoughts about one of the things that has meant the most to me and has always been there for me no matter what, and that is music.  My musical tastes tend to be all over the map and I like many different genres and different types of music, if it makes me feel something than it doesn’t really matter what the genre is.  I tend to like a lot of metal and hard rock and music that tends to be quite over the top, quite the opposite of my personality, which may be why I was drawn to a lot of the music I listen to.

I  can pinpoint 3 songs/bands/albums that were instrumental in the molding of my musical tastes today.

1.  Meat Loaf- Bat Out Of Hell 2-  I know people may see this and laugh, but I am serious when I say I loved this album when it came out and I listened to this album countless times.  It was probably the first real rock album I bought.  It was so over the top and I loved every minute of it.  The combination of Meat Loaf’s voice and Jim Steinman’s songs was just magic to me.  It was also the first time I really was exposed to longer songs, any song over 5 minutes to me at that young of an age was an eternity.

2.  Child In Time- Deep Purple-  When I first heard this song I was amazed, it had everything that I wanted to hear in a song.  All 10 minutes and 18 seconds were perfection.  The slow build up, the amazing vocals of Ian Gillan, the amazing instrumental section, just Ritchie Blackmore in general.   I loved it all and I still do.

3.  Estranged- Guns n’ Roses- This was another song that I felt had everything I wanted to hear.  What really stood out to me was the awesome, powerful guitar solos from Slash all through out.  To me this song was all about emotion.  Slash’s guitar work combined with Axl’s lyrics and vocals.  It was perfect and I would literally listen to this song for hour on end.

Combine the pure grandiose, over the top style of Bat Out Of Hell 2, with the powerhouse vocals and virtuosic  playing in Child In Time, and the power and emotion in Estranged and you have a perfect description of the music I love and enjoy.

Throughout the blog I want to share my thoughts mostly on whatever songs, albums, artists or specific genres I am enjoying at the moment.

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