Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Lilys - Eccsame the Photon Band

When I started writing about music my intention was to turn people onto records and bands that I thought deserved more attention than they initially received. Every time I listen to "Eccsame the Photon Band" I think of how many records since it have sounded similar and gotten way more attention. For whatever reason it seems like band leader and only constant member Kurt Heaseley will keep his unbelievably good songs in obscurity forever. Like I said the music on Eccsame sounds vaguely familiar but still unlike anything up to the time. It was released in 1994 and I think it is a perfect milestone from the nineties showing what had happened up until then and what was about to come. You can hear traces of the shoegaze style band they were on their debut album "In the Presence of Nothing" but everything feels much more crisp and realized this time around. The guitar is especially spaced out on this album but in a way resembling Spacemen 3 more than My Bloody Valentine. You can even hear traces of sixties california pop like the Byrds on a few songs. I know this doesn't sound groundbreaking considering whats going on these days but I don't know of any other record that put all these elements together so flawlessly and ends with such an amazing outcome. Hopefully sometime soon I will post the Lily's first record which is pretty drastically different but still super good.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fuel - Monuments to Excess

In the late 80's and early 90's, the best bands playing the type of music Fuel played came out of Washington D.C. Revolution Summer bands like Embrace, Rites of Spring, Ignition, Fugazi, etc. were playing great post-hardcore that usually consisted of two guitars, more melodic jams, and catchy songs. Surely Fuel heard these bands and decided to play the type of music that makes this record so awesome. Coming out of the Bay Area, Fuel first released the EP Take Effect on Lookout Records. Then later that year they released "Monuments to Excess", which made the Revolution Summer sound popular on the West Coast. Songs like the Fugazi sounding "Disengaged" to the emo-instrumental "2:52" show that sound more than ever. Then songs like "Remains To Be Seen" and "Incomplete" have a more west coast punk sound. This record is definitely a classic.

Fuel - Monuments to Excess

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Itals - Rasta Philosophy

In terms of Roots Reggae, especially in the 80's, there was nothing better than The Itals' "Rasta Philosophy". In 1976, Alvin "Keith" Porter, Ronnie Davis, and Lloyd Ricketts formed The Itals. They were all successful prior to the band (Davis and Ricketts were in The Tennors and the three worked together in The Westmorelites). In an era when most Reggae was focused on Dancehall, The Itals kept Roots Reggae alive in a huge way. Prior to this release, The Itals had written songs focused on social issues. With this release, they just focused on great, mellow, Roots that makes its listener want to sit on a Jamaican beach and let loose of all of life's problems. The title track is awesome and there isn't a bad track. Not long after this record was released, Ricketts would go to prison and therefore wasn't allowed to travel to the U.S. The Itals had David Isaacs join, who's awesome in his own right, and they still tour. This album also won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 1987.

The Itals - Rasta Philosophy

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Grateful Dead - Fillmore East 2/11/70

Since I promised I would periodically post Dead shows, I figured today is as good a day as any to do just that. For this post, I'm picking another one of my favorite Dead shows for a few reasons. First, this show has Pigpen on keyboards. There was a long line of Dead keyboardists, but Pigpen was the original and definitely one of my favorites. He could jam on the keys, had an awesome bluesy voice and could tear up the harmonica as well. He was a heavy alcoholic (Southern Comfort his choice drink) and he would end up drinking himself to death just 3 years after this show at the age of 27. I also love Pigpen because of this story: The Dead were playing a string of shows with The Doors. Pigpen and The Doors' Ray Manzarek happened to use the same keyboard at the time. Manzarek noticed this and asked Pigpen if he could use his keyboard so they wouldn't have to move too much equipment around. Pigpen told Manzarek that no one but him touches his keyboard and a fight nearly broke out. Pigpen was an intimidating dude. Manzarek ended up using his own keyboard. My second reason for picking this show is the fact that Duane Allman (who would end up dying only a year after this at the age of 24 from a motorcycle accident), one of my all time favorite guitarists from The Allman Brothers, plays guitar for the whole second set. Because of that, this is one of the best concerts I've ever heard period. Two of the best guitarists of all time playing spacey jams for 2 hours? Yes. Dark Star>Spanish Jam>Turn On Your Lovelight is one of the best Dead jams I've ever heard and Allman plays a huge part in that. Enjoy.

Grateful Dead - Fillmore East 2/11/70 Disc 1
Grateful Dead - Fillmore East 2/11/70 Disc 2