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.

FIELD RECORDINGS by The Fierce and the Dead

Short but mighty.  Out April 28 from BEM.

So, I fell in love with The Fierce and the Dead from the moment I saw online the image of their first proper recording, PART 1.  That was seven years ago.  The image of the lone tree standing in a field took me back not only to the actuality of my childhood in central Kansas, but it also took me back to the fantasy of my childhood in Tolkien’s The Shire.

As such, The Fierce and the Dead has always occupied that tenuous place in the prog world–something undeniably tangible and real mixed with something almost too good to be true.  Certainly, the wordless music of The Fierce and the Dead is analogous to my own inability to articulate fully how much joy this band brings me.

Continue reading “FIELD RECORDINGS by The Fierce and the Dead”

THE QUEEN IS DEAD: 30 Years Later

Wait, that doesn’t look like the queen.  Yes, the subtlety was lost on me when I was 18.

Amazingly, THE QUEEN IS DEAD came out thirty years ago today.  For me, it was that magical time between graduating from high school and heading off to the University of Notre Dame.  I spent that summer of 1986 dreaming of college, working as an overnight DJ at a local radio station, and rather madly chasing around a young woman (who is now, thankfully, happily married and living in central Kansas).


Strangely, though, THE QUEEN IS DEAD did not inspire or trouble me once that summer.  For whatever reason, I completely missed its release.

It wasn’t until I arrived at Notre Dame that a great friend (and now an extremely famous philosopher) introduced me to THE QUEEN IS DEAD.  From the first listen, I was bowled over.  Being rather partial to prog rock, I didn’t cotton easily to non-progressive music.  Yet, there was something in THE QUEEN IS DEAD that captured my imagination.  There was a wit, a whiny intelligence, a reference to some of my favorite writers, and a strange cynical romanticism that pervades the whole album that tugged at my soul.

With Morrissey, I wanted to walk the cemetery gates, and I knew that there was a “light that never goes out” when it came to that Kansas girl I chased for almost two years.

I felt sorry for the Queen and for Prince Charles, of course, but I chuckled about the vicar, and I thought I knew a Bigmouth, here or there.

Thirty years ago.  Amazing.  It could’ve been yesterday.