New Music for December 4, 2012: King Crimson Paid Flaming Lips Service and More
Lips & Friends Cover King Crimson's 1st
You know, with the Internet, you can blink and miss out on important stuff. While I was on vacation - seeing the premiere of The Flaming Lips' musical of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, in fact - NEW news appears from the Lips camp. This came from their Facebook page:
"Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Linear Downfall, New Fumes and Space Face remade King Crimson's entire debut LP. Wayne Coyne was behind every aspect of the project and it features The Flaming Lips along with the other four bands on "Epitaph." Re-titled "Playing Hide and Seek with the Ghosts of Dawn" the multi-color vinyl was released on October 25th at the "secret show" that kicked off the tour supporting it. Stream the full album at the Lips' Satellite Heart radio and read the full story of how it came to be with exclusive interviews from the artists involved at http://thefutureheart.com/2012/10/15/crimsonking/"
We'll no doubt be going out to find this release and will report back on it . Until then, do check out the stream they are sharing. It sounds pretty cool!
Wayne's World on The Air
And, OMG, Flaming Lips leader Wayne Coyne has a RADIO PLAY out streaming and downloadable for free on KCRW! Its called "Wayne Coyne's Human Head-Shaped Tumor." It is a"radio drama in the style of Mercury Theatre's War of the Worlds, featuring the music from the Flaming Lips, Bill Callahan, Okkervil River,Eleanor Friedberger, Nico Muhly, and Oneida." It originally aired around Thanksgiving but you can stream and download it at the KCRW website:
Free Tripped-Out Mixtapes in FLAC and MP3
While you are getting your psych on, we came across this site offering a free psych mix tape download series that sounds pretty interesting. Check it out here:
Farewell To a Rock Legend
R.I.P. the great Chris Stamp, without whom we might well not have ever heard The Who or Hendrix
Real Zappa Roxy Rumblings?
We found an encouraging posting by Gail Zappa that the long awaited film version of the legendary "Roxy and Elsewhere" Frank Zappa shows will be coming out "In theatres, DVD and Blue-ray, sometime before December, 2013." Stay tuned...
Guided By Voices: Fine Indie Dining With "The Bears For Lunch"
I think I have pinpointed why I love the band Guided By Voices (GBV) so much:
while most of my favorite British Invasion bands have either disbanded or become a shadow of their once great selves, GBV is in many ways an amalgam of the best parts of them all at their prime during the 60s and 70s. This is not mere retro nostalgia, mind you - these guys write great songs and have pretty much not lost their focus on what makes great rock and roll. Whether its a solo acoustic guitar-and-vocal demo by band leader Robert Pollard, or the tweaked sweet melancholy of Tobin Sprout's offerings, this band plays in the same ball park as manyof ourfavorite teams in Britain (The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, The Small Faces) and America (Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Patti Smith, circa-1966 Dylan, Spirit, Love, The Jefferson Airplane, 13th Floor Elevators, Big Star,etc).
Which brings us to 'The Bears For Lunch," GBV's third album this year. These guysare clearly on a roll as this album does indeed live up to their pre-releas epromise that it would be indeed as good as the last GBV album.
It may be betterdepending on your perspective... the pacing on this one flows really nicely, ina "Bee Thousand" sort of way: compelling raw lo-fi sketches are punctuated by bigger rock productions, yet all come across as equals.
"Bears for Lunch" is a loose recording, but not too loose. Tracks like "Up Instead of Running"feels like a Small Faces outtake instead of a Pollard throwaway. "White Flag"could have fit on XTC's Wasp Star while "Finger Gang" might have made it onto their Drums and Wires album in the late '70s. "Amorphous Surprise" could have been a demo for a lost track on James Taylor's first album on Apple Records circa 1968. It is followed by the sparkling "Everywhere Is Miles From Everywhere" which feels like R.E.M.'s Reckoning, which itself felt like a hybrid of 1967 Who and 1965 Byrds. Sprout's "Waving At Aeroplanes" channels The Hollies by way of The Left Banke (and maybe a bit of Herman's Hermits, and I mean that in a good way).
In short, it could be said that EVERY GBV album is like The Beatles' White Album. They paint a wide canvas with broad brushstroke layers of color combining to create something new and compelling.
Like most GBV albums, The Bears for Lunch is a sonic mixed bag of well producedstudio tracks, home demos and raw lo fi sketches that rely on the emotion of the takevs. audiophile purity to get across their message. Its a grand trip with many riches. So if youlong for lost music from your favorite bands of yore, pick up some GBV and enteran alternative universe, an alternative wonderland.
The LP version is on nice thick black vinyl and comes with a decent sounding MP3 download for your listening in the car. Can't lose on this one, really, for $16.
Order The Bears For Lunch from the band at their own Rockathon Records store
Or seek it out at at your favorite music store.
Neil Young's Psychedelic Pill on Blu-ray :
Hi-Fi Punch That Won't Bleed Your Ears or Bank Account
About 20 minutes into the opening song of Neil Young's latest album "Psychedelic Pill," he gets to the core of what has driven him to be a pioneer in high fidelity digital music making. At that point in the song, you can't help but smile when you hear him chant:
"Don't want my MP3…
Don't want my MP3…
I'm driftin' back ….
I'm driftin' back ….
When you hear my song now you only get 5%.
You used to get it all.
You used to get it all."
This is Neil angrily and obviously referring to the fact that listeners hearing this album via an MP3 hear only a fraction of what he laid down in the studio. We listened to the album via a pre-release digital stream last month and while the music came through as powerful and important Neil Young music, you just KNEW that there was more to be heard in terms of sonics.
Now here it is in all itsglory: Neil's fine new Psychedelic Pill album out now on Blu-ray Disc! On the Blu-ray version, you hear pretty much everything - probably the only thing that would be better is sitting in the mixing room listening to the playback off the master tape.
Face it folks, Neil Young is a hero when it comes to high-fidelity sound and if you have missed that point in the past, perhaps it is high time you explored some of his wonderful high resolution releases, old and new.
For you audio geeks out there, according to the liner notes, this album features a mix mastered at 24-bit / 192 kHz resolution. Its pretty much a live in the studio recording and Neil paid close attention to the details to make this one sound particularly pristine. The album was made with an AAD signal path. In this case that translates toanalogue multi-track original recording made on a Studer 2-inch eight-track (and simultaneously to Pro Tools, probably as a back up) via a Universal Audio tube console and a Neve "junior console." These tracks were then mixed down to 1/2-inch Ampexanaloguetape and final transfer to digital at Redwood Digital.
How does it sound? Fabulous! From the opening notes of drifting back you can hear the wood of Neil's acoustic guitar and then when the band kicks in its just beautiful pure Crazy Horse rocking the free world for all they are worth. Neil's amp and vintage Les Paul in all its lush, pure distorted tube-driven beauty pierces the right channel while Poncho Sampedro's rhythm support chimes from the left. Neil's vocals are crystal clear in the center. The band's harmonies are warm and fat. When Neil solos, you can feel the sting of his strings pushing the amp's tubes for warming tonality.
When you turn up the volume on this disc, it rumbles the rafters yet it doesn't make my ears bleed (as a CD would). Ralph Molina's drums sound especially pure and realistic - great natural sounding snare and tom tom hits. Like I said earlier, it feels kinda like being in the mixing booth with the band listening to a first playback.
Wow. What else can I say? This is great!
I hope Neil puts out all his albums on Blu-ray like this; the disc also has cool onscreen visuals that you can watch if you'd like, or they can just percolate in the background showcasing wonderfully nostalgic images,from kaleidoscopic trips around studio gear to found footage from old public domain silent films (as he employed so effectively on the priorAmericana release, which also sounds amazing on Blu-ray Disc).
The one thing I don't understand about the Psychedelic Pill release is why, pray tell, the 3 LP vinyl version is so expensive? It is going for, like, $75 in the stores! While I know it costs some $$$ to press LPs, $75 still feels like a lot to pay for one album - even a 3 LP set - especially when you can get the whole thing in this uber high resolution form on Blu-ray Disc for less than $25. Sure, I'd love to hear the LP version, but frankly I can't imagine it sounding a whole lot different than this - my tube pre amp might warm it up a bit further but the recording is already wonderfully warm and enveloping.
Anyhow, thank you for this release Neil, this is awesome! Now please reissue and restore "Rust Never Sleeps" on Blu-rayand I'll be content for a while until "Tonight's The Night" comes out...
You can find Psychedelic Pill on Blu-ray at your favorite music stores or online at Amazon for about $20!