Thursday, April 9
Shadow

Tag: Steve Hackett

Get to Know… Genesis – Pt. 1

Get to Know… Genesis – Pt. 1

Music
With the recent news of Phil Collins' retirement from music, I thought it would be a good time to run this two-part Genesis overview again (originally published on March 10, 2008). I think a proper assessment of Phil's whole career will reveal that he was an important figure in 20th century popular music, and all the cheesy Disney soundtracks in the world can't take away the great work he did. Since one of my favorite things in the whole world is telling people about music I love, I'm starting a series of overview articles dedicated to some of my favorite bands. Similar guides abound on the Internet, and two sites in particular that produce excellent ones are Popdose and the AV Club. The first entry in the series I've dubbed "Get to Know..." is for Genesis. Depending on your age,...
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
Album reviews: Unpacking the Trailer… & Gravity and Air

Album reviews: Unpacking the Trailer… & Gravity and Air

Music
It's certainly too early to predict whether or not 2009 will best last year in terms of quality musical output, but a pair of new releases from the fledgling New Amsterdam label already has it off to an interesting start.  The imprint, which opened its doors in January 2008, has become a showcase of sorts for a diverse group of artists based in the greater New York City area. The first of these acts with a new release is QQQ, a modern chamber quartet made up of two husband-and-wife teams (Dan Trueman on Hardanger fiddle, Monica Mugan on classical guitar, Beth Meyers on viola, and Jason Treuting on percussion). When I gave a spin to the group's debut album, Unpacking the Trailer..., the first comparison I thought of was with Build, another New Amsterdam act.  QQQ's style of music is a
Album cover of the week: Wind & Wuthering

Album cover of the week: Wind & Wuthering

Album Cover of the Week
OK, it's been a few weeks (more like four or five) since the last entry in this series, but what can I say?  I needed a break I guess.  But now that summer is a distant memory and the first frost of the season is almost upon us (in central Jersey anyway), I found some inspiration. This week's featured album art is the 1976 Genesis classic, Wind & Wuthering.  And I think you can see why. Beautiful, isn't it?  Reminds me a lot of Fleetwood Mac's Bare Trees actually, another album I really like.  It fits perfectly with the slightly chilly mood of the album, which turned out to be guitarist Steve Hackett's last with Genesis (leaving the trio of Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford). And surprise - this is another Hipgnosis effort!  Doesn't look like one, does it?  Col
Get to Know… Genesis – Pt. 2

Get to Know… Genesis – Pt. 2

Music
(Part 1 of my look at Genesis is here.) And so begins the second part of our exploration of the music of Genesis, now sans the costumes and theatrics of Peter Gabriel. After auditioning some well-known and unknown singers, the group finally decided to let drummer Phil Collins assume the mantle of frontman. It was a risky move, but one that reaped immediate dividends... A Trick of the Tail, 1976 (buy) Any doubts over Genesis' ability to function as a viable artistic unit post-Peter Gabriel were quelled with the release of A Trick of the Tail. While nothing on this album is quite as adventurous or weird as their previous work, it is no less satisfying. "Dance on a Volcano" gets things started with a bang, and sounds like it could have been recorded during the Lamb sessions. The ...
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...
I am 27.98% mainstream! (whatever that means)

I am 27.98% mainstream! (whatever that means)

Music
As I opined about three weeks ago, joining Last.fm has taken my obsession with music and music statistics to a scary new level. Recently I found yet another way to build on this experience - the Last.fm Mainstream-O-Meter. Using some sort of high-tech algorithms and reverse polarities, this little tool can tell anyone who uploads their information to Last.fm just how mainstream (or not) their listening tastes are. As the site explains, it draws its numbers based off the 30 most-listened to groups, and how mainstream each of those groups is. I guess the higher the number, the more mainstream you are. Looks like I'm just outside the really meaty part of the curve. One thing I find interesting about this tool is it really shows you what the demographics of Last.fm's users are. For in...