Tuesday, April 7
Shadow

Tag: Muse

Album cover of the week: Origin of Symmetry

Album cover of the week: Origin of Symmetry

Album Cover of the Week, Music
In addition to containing one of the greatest Muse tracks ever ("Space Dementia", in case you had to ask), the 2001 sophomore release Origin of Symmetry sports a cover that is simple and striking. I couldn't find a whole lot on this work, other than the artist (William Eager). Included inside the album is a gallery of images that are each reflective of the "origin of symmetry" theme, at least according to Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy. The phrase itself comes from a book called Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. It's on my summer reading list but I haven't gotten around to finishing it yet, so I'll have to just accept that that little factoid is true. In any case I'm guessing that ...
2009 – The year in recorded musical performances

2009 – The year in recorded musical performances

Music
I swear that each year I have less and less time to spend listening to new music.  It seems like a losing battle anymore to keep up with all the new albums coming out, but I have to keep trying.  So rather than pontificate on the albums of the past year - as I've been known to do - I'm going for brevity in an attempt to get more done.  And I'm adding one new feature to this year's year-end music wrapup (and future releases as well), by introducing a grading system.  Here's the rundown: Dig It - You can safely part with your hard-earned money for this and not feel like a sucker. Download It - Still worth a listen, but you'll probably want to just download it and cherry-pick the best tracks. Ditch It - If you can find something of lasting value, you're a better person than I. Got
New release roundup (Ace Frehley, Muse, and more…)

New release roundup (Ace Frehley, Muse, and more…)

Music
Man, I take a short break from updating the site and, just like that, I'm buried under a pile of new music releases.  Not to mention, of course, the Beatles remasters.  So with no big preamble, let's get right into it... Ace Frehley - Anomaly (Brooklyn Born Records) Peter Criss couldn't do it, Paul Stanley almost did it, and who the hell knows what Gene Simmons was trying to do.  I'm speaking, of course, about original Kiss members putting out a solo album this decade that even approached their best work from previous decades.  So how does the Spaceman fare on his first release since George Bush Sr. was president?  Pretty decently, by and large.  Sure the album art is...well, it sucks.  It's just bad.  But who even notices such things anymore? The music's the thing, and Ace acqu
Listening Booth – Sergei Prokofiev, “Dance of the Knights”

Listening Booth – Sergei Prokofiev, “Dance of the Knights”

Listening Booth, Music
Alright, time for you cretins to get a little culture.  Even if you don't like classical music, you gotta give it up for Sergei Prokofiev.  The man could write some really stirring music.  Although my favorite Prokofiev work is his film score and cantata for Alexander Nevsky, today I'm highlighting a piece from his ballet, Romeo and Juliet (Op. 64). Here's a selection from Act 1, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet - "Dance of the Knights" (also known as "Montagues and Capulets").  Muse fans will recognize this as the piece the band plays over the PA prior to some of their live shows.  If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us.
Gray Flannel Mixtape: The mellow side of prog

Gray Flannel Mixtape: The mellow side of prog

Music
To no one's surprise, last year's round of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees included not one progressive rock act.  This despite the millions of albums sold, the countless musicians inspired, and the long-lasting impact of the genre's best.  Hell, can anyone under 50 even name two Dave Clark Five songs?  Yeah, me neither. But to be fair, I can understand why someone not very familiar with prog rock might be inclined to write it off as so much boring instrumental wankery and bastardized classical music pastiches.  But to paint an endlessly rich style of music with such a broad brush is not only lazy, it's downright inaccurate.  So to show that prog ain't all clinical sweep arpeggios and no heart, I've put together a mixtape to showcase the gentler side of the genre. What we've got
2008 – The Year in Recorded Musical Performances

2008 – The Year in Recorded Musical Performances

Music
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
Meme time: Pick an album for every year you’ve been alive

Meme time: Pick an album for every year you’ve been alive

Music
From Idolator via the AV Club comes a pretty cool music meme - compile a list of your favorite albums, with one for each year you've been alive. Sounds easy enough, but some years are positively stacked with music I love.  Forcing me to choose among my musical children is just so...cruel. For me the most bountiful years were 1975-1978, 1980, 1982-1984, 1990, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2006, and 2007. 1975 - Kiss, Alive! 1976 - Led Zeppelin, Presence 1977 - Rush, A Farewell to Kings 1978 - Ace Frehley/Kiss, Ace Frehley 1979 - Pink Floyd, The Wall 1980 - Genesis, Duke 1981 - Rush, Moving Pictures 1982 - Rush, Signals 1983 - Iron Maiden, Piece of Mind 1984 - Iron Maiden, Powerslave 1985 - Kiss, Asylum 1986 - Queensrÿche, Rage for Order 1987 - Anthrax, Among the Living 1988 - Queensr
Album review mega-roundup: R.E.M., Black Mountain, Joe Jackson, and more…

Album review mega-roundup: R.E.M., Black Mountain, Joe Jackson, and more…

Music
There's no two ways about it: 2008 has been a bit of a letdown as far as new music goes, at least compared to last year. There have been some excellent releases to be certain (School of Language, Goldfrapp, and the Raconteurs among them), just not a lot that have hit the heights of '07. I'm going to play a little catchup with my reviews here, so let's dig in... R.E.M. - Accelerate (Warner Bros.) I've managed to be exposed to R.E.M.'s music for many years and yet never became a fan. In fact I couldn't name five of their songs if I tried. But I heard a lot of positive buzz around Accelerate so I thought I'd take a shot. I'm glad I did, as it's quickly become one of my favorite albums of 2008. The production is meaty, the melodies are catchy, and the album just plain rocks out. ...
The best (at least in terms of my iPod)

The best (at least in terms of my iPod)

Music
Creating and maintaining an iPod playlist with my favorite songs has been an interesting experience for me. I call the playlist "The Best" not because I really think these are the best songs ever, but because they are the ones that resonate the most with me. As the playlist has grown (it's now at 46 songs) some items of note have emerged. The first is that two of my all-time favorite bands, Kiss and Rush, are not represented once on the list. The second is that although I'm a pretty upbeat guy most of the time, I seem to respond the most to songs that are more subdued or melancholy. The third is that if a song has strong vocal harmonies it automatically wins points with me.So with that, here is the current list of The Best, with some commentary. As a side note, at least a few of these c...