Celebrating Kate Bush!

Stranger things are happening again! This time, the benefit doesn’t go to Weezer (or even Toto), but one of Progarchy’s long-time faves, the utterly unique Kate Bush. From her website:

“Running Up That Hill has just gone to No 2 in the UK charts and No. 1 in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden…. How utterly brilliant! It’s hard to take in the speed at which this has all been happening since the release of the first part of the Stranger Things new series. So many young people who love the show, discovering the song for the first time. The response to Running Up That Hill is something that has had its own energy and volition. A direct relationship between the shows and their audience and one that has stood completely outside of the music business. We’ve all been astounded to watch the track explode! Thanks so much to everyone who has supported the song and a really special thank you to the Duffer Brothers for creating something with such heart . All best wishes, Kate

In addition, “Running Up That Hill” has re-entered the Billboard Magazine Hot 100 at number 8 –Bush’s first Top 10 placement ever in the US. Slate Magazine breaks down how she got there:

It Took More Than Stranger Things to Make Kate Bush’s First Top 10 Hit

All this has provided the perfect excuse for me to break out my Kate Bush box sets and revel in her breathtaking creativity. My fave albums – The Kick Inside, Hounds of Love and the 1986 compilation The Whole Story — remain the same. Though I’ve always been a fan of 2005’s Aerial, 2016’s live Before the Dawn is thoroughly stunning, and the 2018 remasters unveiled the charms of Never For Ever and the wonderfully bonkers The Dreaming for me. As summer listening projects go, this one’s a winner! (I’m also re-reading Graeme Thomson’s fine biography of Ms. Bush , Under the Ivy.)

Or, I might just check out “Running Up That Hill” one more time:

— Rick Krueger

This Is All the Fault of Stranger Things …

So apparently, a Twitter user wanted Weezer to cover Toto’s “Africa,” after hearing the iconic 1980s yacht-rock classic on the season 1 soundtrack of Stranger Things.  After the meme went viral, in very short order:

  • Weezer tried to troll Twitter with a cover of “Rosanna.”  The masses were not appeased.
  • Four days later, the inevitable Weezer version of “Africa” dropped.  And it was a hit, scoring their first Alternative No. 1 song in 10 years.
  • Of course, Weezer now had to play “Africa” in concert; Toto synthesizer whiz Steve Porcaro even joined in the fun for the keyboard solo on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”  And last night, Weezer was joined by a very special guest for a even more very special solo:

 

  • Clearly enjoying the whole thing, Toto (currently on the US leg of their 40 Trips Around the Sun tour), have started covering a Weezer song for their encore:

 

  • And of course, Toto’s single of “Hash Pipe” will be released tomorrow.

All of which, to quote Robert Plant, makes me wonder:

  • Will Rivers Cuomo crash the stage when I see Toto live in a couple of weeks?
  • Are we witnessing the birth of a new supergroup, the likes of which the world has never seen?  Is a mashup of “Buddy Holly” and “Hold the Line” inevitable?
  • Is all this really the Upside Down’s revenge?
  • Can this astonishing turn of events be stopped before it’s too late?  Should we be frightened of this thing that it’s become?

On the other hand, perhaps we should all just relax.  And plan to tune in to season 3 of Stranger Things.  If only to see what music is hot in Sam Goody’s at … the Starcourt Mall …

 

— Rick Krueger

Tom Timely Revealed! Glass Hammer being Mischievous.

The Elf KingSo, after several months of curious postings and even a rather great music video, it seems that Tom Timely, aka “The Elf King,” is the Tom of Glass Hammer’s 2000 masterpiece, CHRONOMETREE.

Here’s Tom, himself, from 1983.

Notice the date!  Just about three months before season 1 of Stranger Things begins.  Tom never admits it, but I’m guessing that he lived in Hawkins, Indiana.

Enjoy the mystery!

Some Neglected Music of 2017, Part I

By neglected, I don’t mean by the world.  I mean, by me.

In a few other posts, I have had the privilege of listing my top albums, in the order I loved them.  My 2017 list goes, from no. 10 to no. 1: Anathema, The Optimist; Bjorn Riis, Forever Comes to an End; My Tricksy Spirit; Ayreon, The Source; The Tangent, The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery; Cosmograf, Hay-Man Dreams; Glass Hammer, Untold Tales; Newspaperflyhunting, Wastelands; Dave Kerzner, Static; and Big Big Train, everything released in 2017!

There are, however, a number of great releases from the year that I simply did not have time to grasp fully or immerse myself in the way I think necessary to review properly.  None of this, however, should suggest–to my mind, at least–even a kind of lesser quality or second-hand citizenship in the world of Prog, or in the republican anarchy that is progarchy.

For what it’s worth, I thought each of the following extraordinary as well, and, I hope, when Kronos allows, time to embrace each in the way it deserves.

***

lifesigns cardingtonLifesigns, Cardington.  I think John Young is a treasure of a musician and composer, and I’m honored to travel this world at the same time as he.  Intelligence radiates from everything the man does, and, even better, it’s an intelligence utterly in the service of good things.  The first Lifesigns was a shock of joy to me.  This one as well, though I’ve just not had the time to dive into it.

When I listen to Lifesigns, I actually think of Young and the band as the anti-Radiohead guys.  Imagine the darkness of Radiohead and then do exactly the opposite, in terms of melody and lyrics.  And, you might arrive at Lifesigns. My favorite track on this new release is nine-plus minute “Different.”

Continue reading “Some Neglected Music of 2017, Part I”

Best Prog of 2016, Part III

Ok, so I’m taking a bit to get through my best of 2016.  It was a GOOD year.  Certainly not when it came to violence or politics, but music.  It soothes my upset soul.  Thank you, fellow proggers.

stranger-things-cdOne quick note before I dive into part III.

I must mention an album (two parter) that brought immense joy to me this year: the soundtrack of STRANGER THINGS.  I’ve had the opportunity to sing the praises of this glorious 8-part nostalgia trip of a Netflix series elsewhere, and I’m terrible at trying to describe and review electronic music.  Regardless, this soundtrack captures the mystery of the series just perfectly.  I’ve seen the series three times, and I’ve listened to the two-CD soundtrack a million more.  Few things will define 2016 as much as this series did.

Ok, back to regular programming. . .

Continue reading “Best Prog of 2016, Part III”