Mike Mettler

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Mike Mettler  |  Sep 15, 2017  |  1 comments
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Much as 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause and 1969’s Easy Rider defined the youth-culture zeitgeist of their respective decades, 1977’s Saturday Night Fever deftly captured the me-decade essence of the 1970s, instantly catapulting John Travolta to the A-list in the process.
Mike Mettler  |  Sep 12, 2017  |  Published: Sep 13, 2017  |  0 comments
When Can began releasing their structurally challenging, progressive/electronic music out of Cologne, West Germany in 1968, they essentially ushering in the movement that came to be known as Krautrock, and their far-reaching influence has been cited by such convention-defying artists as David Bowie, the Talking Heads, and Radiohead. Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt called me to discuss the band’s new The Singles collection and their singular improv-compositional style, when surround sound mixes are (and aren’t) options for their catalog, and what Can song avant-garde German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen gave his rarely handed out seal of approval.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 23, 2017  |  0 comments
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It was one of the most galvanizing live experiences of my life. The instant WNEW-FM announced Midnight Oil would be performing live on a flatbed truck on Sixth Avenue in the heart of New York City in front of the Exxon Building around noontime on May 30, 1990 to protest the mishandling of the March 1989 Exxon Valdez oil-spill disaster in Prince William Sound, Alaska, three colleagues and I sprinted the entire length of the two long city blocks from the Stereo Review and Audio offices at 50th and Broadway to get as close as we could. Success! Each of us wound up standing no more than 10 people deep from the flatbed’s perch upon our out-of-breath Sixth Avenue arrival.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 16, 2017  |  0 comments
Call singer/songwriter Steve Earle a curator/progenitor of the music movement known as outlaw country, and the man also known as the “hardcore troubadour” bristles at the thought. “You know, I’ve always been kind of uncomfortable with that term,” Earle admits. “I’ve been called that for a long time, and it’s a lot to do with where I came from [San Antonio, Texas]. What I actually think outlaw music is all about is artistic freedom. That’s what it’s really about.”
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 09, 2017  |  0 comments
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Let there be Kraut! So goes the Kampfschrei, or battle cry associated with the Krautrock movement of the 1970s. If you’re unfamiliar with this relatively experimental musical form, it probably won’t surprise you to learn Krautrock’s origins are rooted in, of course, Germany. Rather than follow the more blues-based framework that served as the springboard for much of the rock that came out of the U.K. and U.S. during that era, the progenitors of Krautrock sought to build their music more on the avant-garde and progressive fringes, laying down a free-form template for the post-punk, improv jazz, electronic, ambient, and even New Age tuneage that would follow. Incidentally, the scene also has been referred to as kosmische Musik, or cosmic music—and rightly so, since its practitioners often seemed to shoot for the stars.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 02, 2017  |  1 comments
The very idea of an Isley Brothers–Santana mashup appears to be quite the sonic dream team on paper, and I’m more than pleased to report the proof is abundantly clear in the grooves of Power of Peace’s baker’s dozen of tasty tunes. I sat down exclusively at the fabled Electric Lady Studios in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City with both families — i.e., the Santanas (Carlos and Cindy) and the Isleys (Ernie and Ronald) — to discuss the best way to listen to Power of Peace, the DNA behind the album’s sonic template, and what each family plans on doing next.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 19, 2017  |  0 comments
Believe it or not, even Little Steven—Bruce Springsteen’s longtime guitar foil and songwriting soundboard in The E Street Band, and the decorated Godfather of the Underground Garage and Outlaw Country radio formats—feels the need to recharge the creative batteries every now and then. “This record turned out to be a really wonderful reset, reintroduction, and rebirth of myself,” Little Steven admits about his first solo album in 18 years, Soulfire (Wicked Cool/UMe). “It was a wonderful opportunity to start again, and really show my roots in a way I had never done before. I mean, I never put a blues song on a record before, I never did a doo-wop song before, and I never did a cover of anybody before I did this thing!”
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 12, 2017  |  0 comments
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“Outside, it’s America.” That’s U2 vocalist Bono, setting the stage for the explosive climax of “Bullet the Blue Sky,” one of the pivotal tracks on the band’s 1987 masterpiece, The Joshua Tree. As Bono purposefully charges his way through the denouement of the narrative, ace guitarist The Edge literally dive-bombs the aural equivalent of the lyrical floodlights—let’s call them “flood-licks”—through a series of unrelenting scorched-earth riffs while the track careens to its final U.S. caress.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 05, 2017  |  0 comments
Sonny Landreth is the consummate slide player’s slide player. His smoky, swampy, down-home, Nawlins-certified slide playing carries such a unique blend of influences and originality that the phrase “slydeco” was coined just to describe it. I got on the horn with Landreth to discuss his SQ aspirations for the double LP Recorded Live in Lafayette, respecting and building on music history, and how learning to play wind instruments influenced his guitar style.
Mike Mettler  |  Jun 14, 2017  |  0 comments
John Mellencamp has never been known to pull his punches. “I saw through the music business very early, with the ‘Johnny Cougar’ thing,” he says, referring to the cringeworthy stage name given to him by a former manager in the 1970s. “I had the reputation of being very difficult—but I’m not, really. I’m just doing what most guys don’t do, which is stand up for yourself.”

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