Rush’s GRACE UNDER PRESSURE at 34

rush gup
Arrival: April 12, 1984

My favorite Rush album has been, at least going back to April 1984, Grace Under Pressure.  I realize that among Rush fans and among prog fans, this might serve as a contentious choice.  My praise of GUP is not in any way meant to denigrate any other Rush albums.  Frankly, I love them all.  Rush has offered us an outrageous wealth of blessings, and I won’t even pretend objectivity.

I love Rush.  I love Grace Under Pressure.

I still remember opening Grace Under Pressure for the first time.  Gently knifing the cellophane so as not to crease the cardboard, slowly pulling out the vinyl wrapped in a paper sleeve, the hues of gray, pink, blue, and granite and that egg caught in a vicegrip, the distinctive smell of a brand new album. . . . the crackle as the needle hit . . . .

I was sixteen.

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Interview with BARRY WEINBERG

BW

Florida-based prog rock lover Barry Weinberg launched his most recent album “Samsarana” back in January, a record, which in the musician’s own words, should inspire its listeners. In an interview for Progarchy, Weinberg discusses what it took to come up with this ambitious project.

What made you go to release “Samsarana” under your own name? Does it feel more personal that way?

I was original going to release Samsarana under the name of my production company:   DRP: Dream Reality Productions, but under advisement from my co-producer/sound engineer, we decided to call it “Barry Weinberg’s Samsarana.”   Other than the drums (performed by Glenn Welman out of South Africa), I performed everything on the album…and, as the album is semi-autobiographical, it is definitely very personal to me.

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Second Spring #4: “April 5” by Talk Talk

tt colour of spring
One of the all-time great album covers.  This one, of course, by James Marsh.

I suppose one could accuse me of being just a bit too obvious regarding this fourth installment of Second Spring.  After all, it is April 5.  I even contemplated using another Talk Talk track for this fourth part.  Then, I put “April 5” on, and I realized immediately how right it is for today.  After all, it’s following yesterday’s Big Big Train track, “The Permanent Way.”

Big Big Train is as close to perfect as the world will allow.  Still, Mark Hollis joining BBT would make the band just a bit more perfect. . . .

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Second Spring #2: “Part I” by The Fierce and the Dead

It’s hard to believe that I first encountered The Fierce and the Dead almost a full decade ago. They’ve been such a part of my musical life over the past eight years, that it’s actually hard to remember a time when I didn’t listen to them.

As I’ve had the privilege of arguing before, The Fierce and the Dead is, essentially, what might happen if Johnny Marr played with King Crimson.

But, labels.

Who needs them?  Just know that Matt Stevens and co. give theirs hearts, minds, and souls for the world of music.  And, we are all the better for it.

 

 

Past Second Springs:

  1. Kevin McCormick’s “Storm Front.”

 

Inspired by Craig Breaden’s brilliant 104-part Soundstream, I’ve decided to post music that reveals that rock and jazz (and some other forms of music) are not the end of western civilization, but the culmination of western civilization up to this point in time.  A second spring, if you will.

Trevor Horn’s Glorious Re-Emergence in Yes: FLY FROM HERE: RETURN TRIP

Yes fly from here return trip
Trevor Horn brings, as always, love and excellence to this rerelease.

Review of Yes, FLY FROM HERE: RETURN TRIP (Pledgemusic, 2018). Tracks: Fly From Here, Parts 0-V; The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be; Life on a Film Set; Hour of Need; Solitaire; Don’t Take No For an Answer; and Into the Storm.

Standout tracks: Madman at the Screen; Into the Storm.

Sailor, sailor beware.  There are storm clouds.  You must take care.

When I first saw the notice that Yes would be re-releasing its 2011 album, FLY FROM HERE, with a remaster and remix by Trevor Horn and with all main vocals provided by  the very same Trevor Horn, I was surprised and a bit skeptical.  Fake news?  Well, there seems to be a lot of that going around these days in the western world.

And, it turned out. . . it was real news.  After I realized this thing was real, I immediately jumped onto Pledgemusic and, well, pledged.

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SIGNALS (1982): A Song Cycle by Rush

signals
Rush, SIGNALS, 1982.  A New Wave-Prog Song Cycle.

The last album produced by the then fourth-member of Rush, Terry Brown, Signals (September 9, 1982) marked yet again a major progression in the music of Rush as well as in the lyrics of Neil Peart.  The pressure to produce something similar to the previous year’s Moving Pictures naturally proved immense, as they had never encountered such success.  On the Moving Pictures tour alone, fan attendance doubled at concerts, and almost anyone in the American Midwest could hear one of three tracks from the album almost anytime on FM rock radio.  But the three main members of Rush decided that a second Moving Pictures would be too easy.  They had done that album, accomplished what they had sought to accomplish, and they wanted to take their music in new ways.  In particular, Lee had become more and more interested in keyboards and composing on them.  He never planned to become a “Keith Emerson,” but he loved the challenge the keyboards brought him. [1]  Not surprisingly, especially given Lee’s interest and the learning curve he needed to understand and overcome regarding synthesizers, the keys employed on the album had either 1) a deep, booming bass sound or 2) an airy, soaring feel.  Lee remembers:

I was getting bored writing. I felt like we were falling into a pattern of how we were writing on bass, guitar and drums. Adding the keyboards was fascinating for me and I was learning more about writing music from a different angle.[2]

Further, he claimed, the keyboards allowed Rush to expand beyond the trio without actually adding a new member of the band.[3]  With Signals and the following concerts to support it, Lifeson claimed he felt “almost re-born” with the new sound. [4]

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Review: Choral Hearse – Mire Exhumed

ChoralHearse bandphoto72

Here comes an album that really surprised me. Choral Hearse is a Berlin-based all-female four-piece who are having their debut full-length album “Mire Exhumed” released on April 16th. The group creates what they call Progressive Doom Metal, which is then impeccably mashed with Experimental Rock and Folk elements.

The album flows seamlessly from track to track, carrying the listener through dark and disturbing soundscapes. The opener, “Chronic Departure,” acts as the perfect overture to the album, opening with a very simple, ominous melody, then carrying that melody through a consistent, driving beat with singer Liaam Iman’s haunting vocals adding the third layer. In many ways, this track takes the primal beats, presents them to the listener, and then shows the ways in which they have been altered and developed to produce this record.

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