The crowning achievement of Western music to date, Don Caballero on the American Don tour. Here’s the whole show. Fireside Bowl, Chicago, 1999. Please, if anyone has footage of the Fucking Champs show that accompanies this, let me know!!!
Rock & Folk >> What was rock like back then?
Fripp >> I was a young man without work signed to Decca. I arrived in London in 67 with Sergeant Pepper’s bubbling inside of me. Hendrix, Bartok string quartets, an experience of passionate music…
Fripp >> …In 67, I wondered more what would have happened if Hendrix had interpreted Bartok’s string quartets, or Stravinsky’s “Rites of Spring”. Hendrix with his power, his distinct style, his cutting edge in a totally different framework. The merging of the Afro-American culture, the blues and jazz, and the tonal harmonic European system. For me, “Larks Tongue’s in Aspic” tried to answer this question…
This is the coolest thing I have heard in years–someone has made an 8-bit version of King Crimson’s Red!!! It sounds like King Crimson meets Castlevania and Super Mario…please, please, please make more! How about Led Zeppelin’s Achilles Last Stand? Please make a video of how you made this!
I had always wondered what the big fuss was about J Dilla. I checked out Donuts at one point, and thought that while some of it was good (songs like Workinonit and Airworks), quite a lot of it was sketchy and uneven, including the handfuls of songs that basically just play some old soul tracks all the way through, not even really chopping them up or anything. However…
However, lucky for me, the powers that be just released two amazing J Dilla compilations, Dillanthology Vol 1 and Jay Stay Paid. Basically, the songs on these albums are like 1000 times better than on Donuts, and I can now see why people list J Dilla as like a top three producer. I think so too, he is now one of my favorite musicians ever.
The songs on Dillanthology Vol 1 and Jay Stay Paid will appeal to fans not just of hip hop but indie rock, electronic music, prog rock, psychadelic rock, etc (he loved the prog rock, psych rock, and moogy analog synth samples). The way he arranges his drums, samples, bass parts, synths, etc is totally creative and musically awesome–you can see what a far-reaching musician J Dilla really is/was, how many great ideas he had, his wide array of influences, how much he cared/how much work he put into his music. Really good stuff.
So, thanks record labels for giving J Dilla these great posthumous releases that give us a wide overview of the best of J Dilla’s vast creative output. They should put a footnote on albums like Donuts saying that they are just leftovers/filler/sketches (should have named it Ruff Draft 2?), and to look first to the real meat of his work on compilations like Dillanthology Vol 1
and Jay Stay Paid. Highly recommended.
J Dilla–Nothing Like This (off of the Ruff Draft album)
Cymbals Eat Guitars, a new postpunk band of blog note…I wonder if they got their name from watching the video “Bruford and the Beat” where Robert Fripp explains why he made Bill Bruford stop playing cymbals in 80′s era King Crimson…he says something ridiculous like “Those loud symbols keep taking away the accents from my guitar playing!” Oh here it is: “It’s so limiting for me to play with cymbals playing 16s…they’re taking all my accents!”
Which is a load of crock because Bruford’s playing with Yes and earlier King Crimson like the album Red was so much better with cymbals! See his statement here in this video at the 6:07 mark:
Ah, the wonderful world of psychadelia and krautrock! These people did in the 1960s and 1970s what so many postpunk and new wave bands tried to do in the 1980s and indie bands tried to do in the 1990s and 2000s. Those musicians could all have gotten PhDs and cured cancer and brought world peace if they only knew the music they were trying to make had already been made 20, 30, 40 years earlier for them!
Can–One More Night
Awesome drums, harmonics, etc. Can’t beat trippy jazz dance drums with experimental guitar and bass and electronics and English-speaking native Japanese lead singer living in Germany. Can ends up sounding like trippy German Japanese experimental hippies channeling James Brown via Pink Floyd a lot of the time, the drums sometimes end up sounding like some Manchester songs from the 1990s but much better. There’s some Can song that’s quite like the Stone Roses’ Fools Gold.
I’ll bet Grateful Dead and Phish fans would really like Can. American Beauty is one of the best albums ever made BTW.
Sounds like 1995 and 1981. Pretty sure Joy Division listened to a lot of Can–what’s that one Joy Division song that sounds like this?
God, this song is so beautiful!!! WTF??? Indie rockers gave up the term “post rock” after they discovered that Can and Brian Eno basically did all that stuff in the 60s/70s.
Yup, here it is: Pink Floyd meets James Brown. Hey you, you’re losing your vitamin C!!!!
Red Crayola-Hurricane Fighter Plane
What??? It’s new wave postpunk in 1967. That’s BEFORE Captain Beefheart’s Troutmask Replica!!! The same year as Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
Ah, there aren’t really many YouTube videos of the Red Krayola/Red Crayola songs I’m looking for. You can preview them/download them on Amazon:
Red Crayola-Jewels of the Madonna
This really sounds like fucking PAVEMENT! Steve Malkmus!!! Jeez!!! It’s crazy that this was from the 1960s. What?????
Red Crayola-Green of My Pants
Red Crayola-Dairymaid’s Lament
Red Crayola-Sherlock Holmes
Red Crayola-Listen to This
Former Reflections Enduring Doubt
This is just a noisy freakout.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: 60s, 70s, analog synths, bass, drums, experimental, guitar, krautrock, music, new wave, post rock, postpunk, prog, prog rock, psychadelic, soul, video | Leave a Comment »
I’ve always been a huge fan of the Mahavishnu Orcehstra’s first two albums, Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire, and just recently realized how amazing their third album is, Visions of the Emerald Beyond. For more context, I think the track Devotion on John McLaughlin’s 1970s solo album Devotion is amazing, as are his When Fortune Smiles and Extrapolation albums, and the Tony Williams Lifetime albums on which he plays guitar. I will now have to pull out the Apocalypse album to see if I like it as much as I like Visions of the Emerald Beyond (which I like better than the Lost Trident Sessions–they messed up on the mixing of the Trident Sessions big time, it sounds like too contemporary of a mix/too digital/fake, what’s with the weird drum placement in the mix, maybe the guitars stand out too much if I remember correctly, they should remix that album to sound more like the mix of all the other 70s Mahavishnu albums).
I could do without the sixth or seventh Mahavishnu Orchestra album Inner Worlds, which features lots of bland weird 70s hippie R&B cult ballads–he really should have dropped the name Mahavishnu Orchestra for that album. John McLaughlin’s Electric Dreams album in the late 1970s is very bland to my ears (oh, actually I like some of it as I’m listening to it more!), and his early 80s album Mahavishnu really blows too.
The Mahavishnu 80s album is like Herbie Hancock’s Rockit mixed with the Main Street Electrical Parade mixed with muzak, which might sound good in concept, but here it’s totally devoid of any funk, hard edged rock touches, or even any electric guitar solos (on an album with John McLaughlin???)–and filled with tons of terrible, awful bad 1980s synth sounds (as opposed to good 1980s synth sounds, which do exist elsewhere in the universe, just not on the 1980s Mahavishnu album). There’s like 10 seconds of actual electric guitar on Radioactivity…the rest sounds like some bad Sega video game synth-guitar farting noises…in an elevator…in a Nordstroms…opening out into the section with the perfume counters and the lingerie section…in Moraga…bland, bland, bland, yuck, yuck, yuck.
But here’s the thing…the 1984 Mahavishnu band playing the Mahavishnu songs on the 1984 disc of the Live at Montreux DVD set rocks! I mean, John does play the synth guitar, but he also pulls out his real electric guitar too (he will literally take one off and puts the other on all during the same song) in equal measure, and plays some of the best electric guitar solos he is capable of playing, all caught on great looking and sounding footage. There’s awesome feedback on the first song, and he does this awesome hammer on hammer off stuff or something, it’s kind of like John McLaughlin meets Van Halen or something.
The band actually rocks, it’s weird, the Mahavishnu 80′s album is so bland, and there are some cheesy moments on the 1984 DVD too, but all of the musicians really shine. The keyboardist breaks out his Rhodes sometimes, and plays this really amazing Rhodes solo. The bassist plays this Jimi Hendrix song on his bass, the drummer and saxophonist do their thing. Too bad they didn’t play like this for the album!!! It kind of reminds me of a really good night at Yoshis or something…kind of cheesy, just edging into adult contemporary, but really good too. ; ) Is this show the beginning of that kind of “Yoshis” rock? Oh, and what’s that amazing low pitched sound John McLaughlin gets in that one part on his synth guitar, he should have used that more…
The 1974 show is awesome as well. It’s MO II, with the lady, the other drummer, the other bassist (I should probably know all this, Narada Walden Smith or something, Ralph something maybe, Gayle Moran maybe, too lazy to look it up) and the awesome Jean Luc Ponty. The playing is really fantastic. Only maybe half of the show has video–but that’s still a good 74 minutes or so of great video!
I’m going to be seeing the John McLaughlin/Chick Corea Five Peace Band soon, and I really, really like John McLaughlin’s Floating Point album–it’s awesome, he plays synth guitar and killer electric guitar in equal measures here too, with awesome songs and solos, and the drums are crazy. The drums are like real prog rock/jazz fusion drums in the style of Billy Cobham and Bill Bruford in their heydays, but there are two drummers, from India, and it’s cacophonous in a good way, almost like good drum and bass in parts–John McLaughlin and a keyboardist will be playing these relaxing synth parts but the drummers wil be making this incredible racket in the background, it makes for a great contrast and is kind of unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, drum-wise. With all of this great material and touring coming out it’s a great time to be a John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra fan, thanks John McLaughlin!
Screen cap from All About Jazz
Camper Van Beethoven, November 22, 2008, The Abbey, Chicago. Almost like what I would imagine seeing the Beatles would be like. Absolutely phenomenal. Incredibly high-quality mp3s of the amazing performance are available at the Internet Archive for free (Camper Van Beethoven allows non-commercial taping of their shows–in fact they use the exact language of the Grateful Dead’s taping policy on their website!!!). The old songs before Key Lime Pie sound to me even better in this live recording. Just as good or up to three times better than when I saw Daft Punk at Lollapalooza, which of course was leaps and bounds above every other one of the many other live shows I have ever seen. Camper Van Beethoven are all truly amazing musicians, and the lyrics and songwriting are often amazing and heartbreaking. Musically they are experts in playing blues, rock, country, classic rock, prog, indie, metal, ska, psychadelic, styles sounding like Klezmer, some sort of folk Gypsy, Mexican, and Arabic musics (see their song title “ZZ Top Goes to Egypt” ).
Camper Van Beethoven–Sweethears (live 2007)
They have songs literally as good as Dire Strait’s Sultans of Swing–”some of their best songs trace out the route between Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon and Dire Strait’s Sultans of Swing”–and more (see their album Key Lime Pie, which is their best album, with amazing songs like “Borderline,” “Sweethearts,” “When I Win the Lottery,” etc. Somehow everything really came together with Key Lime Pie). Overall being at the show was like seeing the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, the Pixies, Blur, Oasis, Radiohead, the Cure, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Dire Straits, the Grateful Dead, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, and Pink Floyd etc etc etc all in one.
And incredibly you could tell the absolute influence they have had on any sort of indie/alternative music. Bands like Oasis and Teenage Fan Club and Radiohead must have listened to Camper Van Beethoven albums in awe, and Teenage Fan Club indeed covered their song “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” and Sublime covered “Eye of Fatima.” The best thing is Camper Van Beethoven are so good you could never categorize them as “rock” or “ska” or “alternative” or “country” or whatever. They are so skilled at songwriting and playing that they can do literally anything and it sounds good and real and authentic, some sort of new “Camper Van Beethoven” genre that doesn’t sound like a mishmash of influences but is just good.
The singer’s voice is incredible; the lead guitarist is incredible; the singer’s guitar has this perfect tone; the bass is awesome; the drummer is awesome; and you would not believe how good the violinist is and how much the violin adds to the music, taking it over the top. It’s incredible.
I kind of hope they can keep touring every year and become sort of like a Grateful Dead, where people come to all their shows because they’re just that good. And John Mayer, you should invite them on the next Mayercraft. Camper Van Beethoven rule at that sort of singer-songwriter blues thing too even though that’s just one aspect of their rich sound.
See the CVB webpage “Sound Off!” section for more details on the show including setlist, with plenty of fan favorites including at least three off of Key Lime Pie.
They’re playing in San Francisco in December!
Here’s another live set of theirs from 1989 with one of my favorite songs of theirs, Borderline.
There are several other shows on the Internet Archive with other great songs like Humid Press of Days and I was Born in a Laundromat.