I haven't posted much of anything about the ongoing soap opera in Queensrÿche land, mostly because it's all too depressing for this long-time fan to contemplate. But for those not in the know, vocalist and band co-founder Geoff Tate was fired from Queensrÿche about a month ago. Queensrÿche then went out and got a new singer. I figured Tate would leave well enough alone and just go for a solo career. I was kind of excited about this prospect, actually. But nope, turns out we now get to deal with two Queensrÿches. That's right, Tate put together his own version of the group -- this one featuring former Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, and Whitesnake bassist Rudy Sarzo, ex-Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer, and former Megadeth guitarist Glen Drover. Maybe this band will be good, maybe not. But the f
I can hardly wrap my mind around the fact that it's 2012 and I'm listening to a new Beach Boys album. And by "Beach Boys" I don't mean Mike Love and whatever people he isn't suing at the moment, but THE BEACH BOYS. With Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Mike, Bruce Johnston, and -- for good measure -- David Marks! Let that sink in for a minute. But the real shocker? That's Why God Made the Radio is no feeble cash-in, my friends. This is a legitimately good album, easily the best the group has released since I was in nursery school. Granted, they haven't really been setting the bar very high over the last 30-plus years, but you get the idea. I think most hardcore fans would've been happy with the long-awaited SMiLE box set, but then they had to go and top that by pulling off the most improbable
What could be more American than watching some Beach Boys on the 4th of July? Nothing, that's what. So here's two clips from YouTube that will probably get taken down soon enough. First let's watch a performance of "Darlin'" from an unspecified date (I'd guess late '70s). The lack of Brian Wilson sucks of course, but thanks to brother Carl this is still quite a good performance. And now for one of the true classics - "Surfin' USA" from March 14, 1964. This is part of the "Lost Concert" now available on DVD. The syncing seems to be a bit off, but otherwise it's a great clip.
Surf's Up? Isn't that a Beach Boys album? Well sure, it's the middle of January and as I look out my window there is snow on the ground. But as far as I'm concerned any time of year is a good time to talk about the lads from Hawthorne, California. By the time of this album's release in August 1971, the salad days of the Beach Boys seemed like a distant memory. Brian Wilson, the main creative force behind the group since its founding 10 years prior, had fallen deeper into into drug use and depression. Younger brother Carl has assumed his place of prominence within the Beach Boys. After releasing a series of commercially disappointing records (including the excellent Sunflower in 1970) the Beach Boys hired DJ Jack Rieley as their new manager. Rieley set about to reverse the band'
A few months into this year I couldn't shake the feeling that 2008 just wasn't going to be the great year for new music that 2007 was. And so here I am, about a week away from 2009, and I still feel the same way. It wasn't a total wash mind you, as there was definitely some quality to be enjoyed. So here's my take on the 2008 music year - good, bad, and ugly. The Best of the Best (Albums) Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop) Yeah, this seems like an obvious choice, but it's also a damn good one. I'm always up for listening to good vocal harmonies, and this band has them in spades. The music is gorgeous to boot, and is a highly engaging blend of folk titans like CSNY, America, and early '70s Fleetwood Mac. The vocal round of "White Winter Hymnal" is worth the price of admission
I'll admit it - I was pretty sure that SMiLE represented the last creative gasp of Brian Wilson, and that with its completion the book was effectively closed on one of pop's most creative and troubled minds. But here comes That Lucky Old Sun, showing me just how wrong I was. Now in his mid 60s, Wilson still seems to be capable of writing and arranging music with the creativity and vitality of a musician half his age. That's not to say That Lucky Old Sun (inspired by Louis Armstrong's rendition of the 1940s chestnut) is perfect, or even that it rivals Wilson's best work with the Beach Boys. But there are more than a few flashes of the genius here that have enabled him to continue to draw on a vast reservoir of critical and fan good will. It's an album that sounds totally out of time (
Memorial Day is just around the corner, and that of course means the unofficial start of summer. And what would a summer be without the music of the Beach Boys? It would be crap, that's what. Everyone knows the biggest hits (and there were a ton of them), but there's a lot of great material that has gone unnoticed by all but the biggest fans. So here's ten overlooked classics by the boys from Hawthorne, CA. (note: the audio player's default level is pretty loud, so headphone wearers beware). "This Whole World" (Sunflower, 1970) - If any song proved that the Beach Boys (and a post-breakdown Brian Wilson) could still deliver the goods after their late-'60s commercial freefall, this was it. In just under two minutes the band packed in more stunning harmonies and top-notch so...
Nothing cures a pesky bout of writer's block like a good old-fashioned Inter-web meme!I stumbled across one today on a blog that is full of crap. So like the lemming I am, here we go: The gag here is that you travel to musicoutfitters.com and enter the year you graduated high school into their search engine. It gives you a list of the top 100 songs for that year, based on some super-secret algorithm. If you didn't graduate high school, just have a friend read the list to you. (more…)
I don't normally plunk down any of my hard-earned (well, just earned) money on any form of entertainment unless I have a reasonable expectation that it will be worth it. But when I found out a few months ago that Brian Wilson was coming to New Jersey and performing his seminal work, SMiLE, I knew I had to take the chance. I'll cut to the chase and say that I was not disappointed. In fact, I had a great time. It's not that I didn't think I wouldn't, but Brian's musical output since the late '60s has been inconsistent at best, wretched at worst. But I think that sometimes gets glossed over by critics, and especially by his fans. And I think the reason is that so many fans and critics want so desperately to be able to view him as the musical savant he really was in the '60s. Brian's mental...