Recent comments

  • Greatest Rock Albums   2 weeks 5 days ago

    What's your favorite track on Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle? I re-listened to it recently and was struck by how amazing Widow's Walk is. That flamenco-esque guitar break after he says "widow's... walk" kills me every time. The lyrics make no sense to me but I always picture an Erich Von Stroheim movie in my mind.

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Nah, it's not always ridiculous. Depends on who's arguing what. The most recent comments about the Beatles in my Music Ratings & Notes page have been a blast for me to read. So many intriguing opinions and facts that I have no choice but to take some time and analyze all of it before contributing to the discussion.

    Interesting that for you their peak is Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper. I can see where you're coming from, they're bigger attempts at bigger things. Their concept and suite ideas are a bit of a distraction rather than attraction to me, probably because I've heard better concept albums and better suites, but nothing touches Revolver's all-encompassing freshness and euphoric combination of minimalism and maximalism.

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    And I'm arguing that the diversity is emotionally relevant. A Hard Day's Night as good as Revolver? It's pretty good (6/10 or 6.5/10 for me) but Revolver annihilates it in every way.

    Anyway, I'm done with this argument then. I'm still interested in whether a re-listen will change your mind, but obviously it's your opinion.

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 5 days ago

    I dont go out of my way to decipher the lyrical content, though I do listen to it. Its certainly useful and there's no reason you shouldn't use them when you hear them. The only point above where knowing the lyrics would've been necessary would've been knowing she was addressing her enemies such as rapists, perverts etc. Other than that, I did so by *not* mentally tuning out the nuances of its sound. By listening to the inflections and changes and elongated strains and screaming agony of her vocal performance. By paying attention to the swirling and relentless assault of the guitars ferocity and distortion. By paying attention to the pounding, at times tribal/ritualistic pounding of the drums. By paying attention to the theatrical mode of the whole album (The Doors-ian theatrical drama of its last track, how in other songs she seems to be erupting from conversations with herself/her demons/her pursuers into extreme acts of violence/shamanic rage).

    Ive never read the lyrics to the album but if it helps you to and it doesn't detract from listening to the whole experience I don't see why you couldn't. However, I dont think its necessary.

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    I don't have any criticisms for it outside emotional/conceptual depth. Its only a comparison to my opinion/criteria. I dont think I've ever claimed it was "objectively" mediocre (whatever that would mean anyway). The Beatles were just getting started at that point in trying to make music with greater degrees of depth, and in my opinion, got progressively more successful through their peak with Sgt Pepper and Abbey Rd. But Im not going to discuss this silly point any further. Arguing about The Beatles always seems to end up as a ridiculously overblown experience.

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    I agree with that. Black Dice and Jenny Hval also. That new Kendrick Lamar album is quite something too. I'm listening to it right now.

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    None of that applies to you of course. You're a unique individual whose name isn't Piero Scaruffi who finds Revolver emotionally shallow according to his fully explained criteria, while I'm a person who doesn't find it shallow. Agree to disagree. That's good.

    Feel free to criticize it based on something other than emotional depth according to your criteria. Anything. I like a good dialogue.

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Dude Revolver is a unique, unforgetable emotional experience though. Slip Love You To and I'm Only Sleeping into your playlist and you might get surprised by the results, or maybe remember why it's a masterpiece. I don't know.

    EQ covers not only immersion, but the other side of the spectrum too. Deception. Emotional control.

    Btw one of the most amateurish pieces of music criticism in the history of universe is Scaruffi's page on Charlie Parker followed closely by his page on Louis Armstrong. I'm sure he can write long dismissive articles about every musician ever and went his post-nuclear Freudian psychoanalytical frustration and anger. It's not like he ever got laid as frequently as the Beatles at the height of their popularity. I can understand how that can make someone angry.

    And I'm not angry about that. Rate Revolver 5/10 for all I care. It's hilarious.

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 5 days ago

    One more thing before I tackle this: (how) were you able to detect all of these emotions without knowing the lyrics? Should I read the lyrics while listening or do you think I'll be able to understand the emotions from sound alone?

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    In general I think I was just referring to The Replacements brand of power-pop/punk esprit of albums such as Let it Be (such as We're Coming Out, Favorite Thing, Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out, etc) being comparable to the general aesthetic and function of Green Day's Dookie. To go into more detail I'd have to re-listen to each and examine them more closely. Certainly Replacements are the superior artists by a significant margin (much better vocalist and rhythm section).

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    I'm not trying to deny you your feelings towards the album at all (in case this comes across that way) but I feel the diversity is much less relevant if said diversity is not particularly emotionally or conceptually relevant. Sorry, I only find a couple or a few songs from Revolver above mediocre. There are several better songs than She Said She Said or And Your Bird Can Sing in The Beatles own discography (imo) not to mention others discographies, and those two, while good, don't stand out at all for me in the context of historically great music. My last listen to it was pretty recent -- around 6 months ago, and my rating didn't change from before, which is either a "high" 5/10 or "low" 5.5/10. I think Magical Mystery Tour and the White Album are quite a bit better, and Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road are much better. I think Hard Days Night is its equal and might be better (although only a 5 or 5.5/10 on my scale it is undoubtedly the pinnacle of their "enthusiastic phase" from their early albums, and is a perfect encapsulation of their charisma and what caused "Beatlemania", musically, less the marketing side of the equation).

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Oh, I like Good Day Sunshine, but the melody is not as great as the others.
    Re: AfterHours...I acknowledge your points about Dookie. My aim was not to deny its quality after all (though, like Cyclops, its second half is flawed and doesn't accumulate enough in power). I feel the likes of And Your Bird Can Sing and She Said She Said are just as exhilarating as the best of Dookie. Doubtlessly you have similar points for Delete Yourself (an amazingly invigorating album, though again overlong; the album runs out of new ideas halfway through). My point was, these albums have energy and emotional conviction, but they don't have the enormous range of ideas that Revolver has. They are, essentially, one-trick ponies, though highly convincing ones (I would rate Delete Yourself 7.5, and Dookie a 7). As far as "immersion" goes, I've already pointed out most of the best songs on Revolver in my previous comment, and what makes them immersive. I'm curious about what you think of those songs after a re-listen, and what your overall rating of Revolver is (I'd be surprised if it's lower than 6.5).

  • Music Ratings & Notes   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Just that the melody seems trivial to me with the arrangement not being surreal enough to compensate. A few MMT and Yellow Submarine tracks improved the idea, assuming they're comparable.

    The SF bands before Pink Floyd got to actually hear them: (latter day) Charlatans, Great Society, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Grateful Dead, (occasional) Jefferson Airplane, (early) Moby Grape, Quicksilver Messenger Service, (occasional) Country Joe and the Fish, Mad River. What they all had in common (besides the whimsical names!) is that they were taking the hybrid of jug band music and rock invented by the Lovin Spoonful and combining it with Indian/modal and free jazz influences of Shankar and Coltrane, usually as learned through Mike Bloomfield's pioneering jam. The jug band thing added a kind of intentional casual sloppy charm, but British bands thought it was an artistically limiting folky factor and that they relied to heavily on covers. Of the above, except for a few songs by the Great Society and Big Brother, only Country Joe seems to have beaten Pink Floyd to consistently compelling atmosphere, but within a year the Grateful Dead evolved considerably.

    Ever check out the Mystic Tide (from Long Island, NY)? They slightly predated yet sound like a garagier Pink Floyd. A cross between the 13th Floor Elevators psych-update-on-surf element, the Red Krayola's mad clangor, the Velvet's "ostrich guitar", and the Who midway through their transition from mod to psych.

    And speaking of research stuff, I skimmed through a lot of Richie Unterberger's White Light/White Heat book. It's amazing how much contact the VU and their music had with the "outside world". The Band's Robbie Robertson saw them play pre-Warhol. Jim Morrison is thought to have copied his look from their whip dancer. They were a very popular live act in the last year of the Doug Yule era and a local fan poll decided they should play at the Fillmore East. In 1967, some army band called the Electric Banana covered their songs IN VIETNAM!

  • Greatest Post-Punk Songs   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Thief of Fire is my second favorite song on that album, it was between those two. So funky. I love the guy screaming THIEF OF FIIRRE, FIIIREE!
    We Are Time has a great riff and an empty ambience I just love, as if time was suspended, that contrasts beautifully with the manic shouts of the vocalist. It's one of my favorite songs of all time. The whole album is amazing.
    Thank you for your feedback, btw.

  • Music Ratings & Notes   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Thanks, very informative. These were no doubt exciting times for popular music, partly because of that fruitful cross-referencing within the rock scene and between popular music and erudite music, jazz, and the avant-garde scene.
    By now I must seem like a Beatles fanatic, but I was only stating my impression upon listening to Sgt Pepper's and Pink Floyd's Piper recently. Even without the research I heard the connections. I'm not the Beatles fan who'll tell you they invented the wheel and that every piece of music that came after them is indebted to their innovations. I don't even think they were very original. Being the most listened-to band in the world they popularized a bunch of influences that were around them and got hundreds of bands doing the same. It's hard not to be influential when you're the biggest thing in the world. The fact that most people (those who were not music buffs or critics) got in touch with avant-garde music because of the Beatles is a good thing worth mentioning.

    What I complain about is the anti-Beatles nonsense spread by Scaruffi and some of his disciples. I'm fine with people finding them too light-weight or just not interesting, but to sponge their legacy off music history is just ludicrous. It's one thing not to like them, it's another one to pretend they didn't exist.

    About Piper: I still hear more Sgt Pepper and Sun Ra than I hear Freak Out or VU. The San Francisco acid rock influence is a good call though. Also, got to check that AMM group.
    And what's so despicable about Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds? Never got the hate. Is it the catchiness? Pink Floyd seemed to like it.

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Make sure -- if you're not already -- to listen to the whole sound. Fontanelle is a wild and noisy series of shocking acts, of enraged, hysterical screams, of witches and demons emitting from vocal exasperation that has gone well past the point of trauma for the protagonist; the trauma is so extraordinary that a series of furious exorcisms and schizophrenic arrests ensue from its impact. The screaming is so dark, searing, pained and hysterical that it reaches pitches of intensity that could be likened to out-of-body experiences where the demonic side of the persons personality has suddenly been forced out of her body in shocks of shrieking terror/anger. Along with the vocals are massive, pummeling, violent distortions of noise and voodoo rhythms (carrying out exorcisms and rituals against her enemies -- perverts, rapists and so forth). The album enacts all of this in an extreme theatrical art that mirrors her horrifying personal hell.

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Word! Shallow bastards..

    My Christgau theory: I think the "mass bohemian" concept is what explains why he is sometimes very supportive of purely "poptimist" stuff, especially from formerly more creative artists (think his Born In The USA review). It's like he thinks there is a teenage "rock and roll spirit" that everyone relates to (driven by innate conformist and anti-confirmist desires that coexist in everyone which explain mass bohemia). So when artists sell out to pop they're just switching to the "safer" choice among of styles they already relate to, a less dramatic selling out than. we might think.

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Would you mind elaborating on something you said once about Dookie having a precedent in the Replacements' peak period?

  • Music Ratings & Notes   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Some interesting stuff happening around 1966...In London there was this bookstore called Indica which was a countercultural gathering spot with connections to Allen Ginsberg and all sorts of American avant garde artists. It was co-run by McCartney's friend Barry Miles (biographer of McCartney and Zappa) and the brother of the the guy who founded ESP records, the legendary New York avant jazz/freak label that the Fugs and Sun Ra were on. McCartney heard the Fug's first album there in early 1966 and it was where Lennon got the Timothy Leary/Book Of The Dead stuff for Tomorrow Never Knows. Through these connections, McCartney started listening to Cecil Taylor and Terry Riley and made some private tape loops at home in early 1966 of the same kind he added to the Tomorrow Never Knows mix.

    This scene accounts for how "educated" Pink Floyd's music was, almost in a hipsterish way:) . As Scaruffi describes, they blended many (mostly American) underground influences into an official psychedelic language that became the reference point for neo-psych bands for years. It was certainly Beatles influenced to an extent, but I'd say far surpassing it (partially because I despise Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds!)

    It explains
    - how Syd Barrett came to be heavily influenced by the Fug's second album as well as by Zappa at such an early stage (per a 1967 interview). And I think some of the people at the psychedelic club Pink Floyd played at, Ufo, were involved with Indica.
    - Pink Floyd's manager being one of several in England to hear the Velvets' acetate in 1966 and heeven tried to manage them, but John Cale turned him down (note: the Deviants actually even got a hold of the Velvet's 1965 demos). Also Brian Epstein tried to manage the Velvets too and was listening to VU&Nico the whole time he went on vacation with Lennon in 1967. Nico even attended Sgt. Pepper's release party.
    - PF doing a full blown west coast style light show in Fall 1966 with help from tech people who had run Timothy Leary's shows (note: some other Leary people gave Warhol their equipment for the Velvet's EPI shows). They had already done an ad-hoc one in March 1966 before anyone else was doing it other than SF bands and the Velvets.
    - The breathing sounds in Pow R Toch H were definitely influenced by the Lovely Rita session which you mentioned they attended, but the Beatles got THAT idea from Frank Zappa, which Pink Floyd would have been aware of
    - There's even a good chance that Lucifer Sam was derived from the 13th Floor Elevators' Roller Coaster. Compare those riffs. Stethoscope seems like it has some European Son-like qualities if you pay close attention.
    - One of their biggest influences was the free improv gorup AMM, whose leader had played with John Cale and was influenced a bit by La Monte Young

    Part of what they were trying to be was based on rumors about the San Francisco acid rock bands (without hearing them - and they were disappointed when the finally did), but they were also influenced by Paul Butterfield/Mike Bloomfield's modal improvisation which influenced those SF bands (Interstellar Overdrive quotes from them). Then there's the Sun Ra space jazz element. And contemporary Kinks and Who. And first few 1967 singles that were Beatles baroque-psych era-influenced. All the great stuff at the time rolled into one! Plus those intergalactic beep sounds! At their best they were essentially an LSD version (instead of heroin and speed) of the Velvet Underground's total art package (same is said of the Mario Shifano band, Hapshash, Parson Sound, etc), which is something the San Fran bands only were in theory when you get down to it.

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 6 days ago

    I'm unlikely to spend much more time on this subject, but a hallmark of depth could be said to be degree of immersion (emotionally, conceptually or "environmental"). Aside from the brief 2 minutes of Tomorrow Never Knows and Im Only Sleeping, and some small portions of songs here and there, I find very little on Revolver to be more immersive than a passing fancy or mild novelty. Dookie, while not the most immersive album ever either, is unrelentingly exciting and every song is a perfect little pop-punk miniature. All tolled it accumulates into a much greater sum than Revolver which only has a few tracks that are any of its equals. Green Day plays their drums and guitars with much more exhilaration than The Beatles and their lead singer typifies the pathetic, stoned, teenage loser to the point of spoof/parody as he obliterates his way through the supersonic songs and/or reaches sneering high comedy (Basket Case). Its not as dynamic or personally inspired as, say, Elvis Costello, and its not nearly as amazing as Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, but its still exciting and the album is very consistent -- for what it is its pretty much a perfect collection of songs. I might say more about Delete Yourself or Back in Black another time.

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 6 days ago

    I'm going to aim to listen to it on Sunday or Monday. I've listened to some of it in the past and, one the surface level, it sounds kinda typical. What makes this album so unique?

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 6 days ago

    I'm not really sure what they're up to or if they've managed ant significant works post Live, but Id already consider them the 1st or 2nd most significant artists since 2000 (that Ive heard). Joanna Newsom being the other.

  • Greatest Post-Punk Songs   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Great call on We Are Time, among many other outstanding choices. What do you think of Pop Group's Thief of Fire?

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Sounds good, lets try Fontanelle

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Good Day Sunshine and Dr. Robert grew on me over time. The former is pure optimism and Dr. Robert is an interesting character study with an intriguing vibe of deception. And Your Bird Can Sing is such a great songs I'm short for words. I think Revolver is not their "coolest" album (Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road) or the their most unhinged (The White Album, Magical Mystery Tour). All of their classic albums are great.

    That French horn bit is as deep as all of Cyclops.