Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pet Genius @ The Middle East

I've been hounding folks lately in search of live sets and tracks for the blog. I've been getting some pretty good response, so keep your eyes open for good stuff to come over the next few weeks. One of the first people I contacted was Steve Brodsky (Cave In, Converge, The Octave Museum, Pet Genius, etc.), and he was pretty psyched with the idea. Plus, we share a sordid past, and he felt interminably obligated.

At any rate, Steve sent me two tracks from a show Pet Genius played last October at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA. One is a non-album track "Howdy Hi Hey Hello," and the other is "Man of the Mountain." Click below for download and take a listen.

Click here!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pink Floyd w/ Snowy White

I have no idea how this got past me in my years of music research and collecting, especially considering the amount of time that I spend on the Interweb! What am I talking about? Read on...

Back when albums were released on eight-track tape format, many adjustments needed to be made to ensure each of the tape's programs averaged approximately the same length. This often required artists to artificially fade tracks and sometimes led to songs being completely cut from the release. Well, I recently discovered that Pink Floyd, when preparing Animals for eight-track formatting, actually added a segment of music in order to properly balance the time of each program. This segment was not available on the LP or cassette versions of Animals. And although the additional music hardly adds up to a minute of extra time, it occurs at a point that dramatically changes the album's aesthetic.

Animals, as most of us know it, begins with "Pigs on the Wing (Part One)" and concludes with "Pigs on the Wing (Part Two)." What the eight-track version offers is an opening track that combines both parts into one continuous song joined by a guitar solo. What is interesting is the fact that the solo is not played by David Gilmour or any other official member of Pink Floyd but by Snowy White, a guitarist that had been hired by Floyd to accompany the band on tour.

White, who later would end up playing guitar with Thin Lizzy, reportedly was even provided the opportunity to play the solo during live performances, with Gilmour supposedly stepping aside and playing bass. To my knowledge, Floyd has never offered this version on any of their CD collections or reissues of Animals. However, it does appear on Snowy White's Goldtop: Groups & Sessions. I uploaded the song and put it into the radio player that appears on the right side of this blog. Just follow the directions above the player, and you should be able to find it with ease. It's definitely worth a listen if you're a Floyd fan.

By the way, Snowy White's relationship with Floyd did not end with Animals. He played on The Wall tour before joining Thin Lizzy for two albums and has toured regularly with Roger Waters. I like White best on Michael Moorcock's The New World's Fair. Check that out if you get the chance.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Witchcraft @ Roadburn 2004

The first time I went to see Witchcraft they had to cancel because of visa problems that delayed their entry into the country. When they eventually rescheduled their California dates, I was back in New England for one of my whirlwind visits to family and friends. I wasn't there long enough to see the tour hit the East Coast, which only compounded my frustration.

I was very excited this past autumn, for Witchcraft had scheduled Arcata as one of their tour stops. I didn't have to figure out how to get my school work done and make my way down to the Bay Area to catch a show. I could simply take a ten minute walk down to the cozy confines of the Alibi and see them there. That is until they decided to cancel their Arcata date. From the best that I gathered, it was the result of some idiots down in Oakland that convinced the band that a stop in Humboldt was not worth their time or effort. By my count I have missed them five times. I am hoping destiny turns to my favor later this spring, as the band is rumored to be returning for another round of the states.

After endless hours of watching You Tube videos did not prove to be an effective panacea, I tracked down a couple of live audio sets to ease my emotional pain. Lucky for you, eh? For now I get to present to you Witchcraft live from the Roadburn Festival in June of 2004. It's a soundboard recording. Excellent quality. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Black Mountain Review

You can read my review of Black Mountain's In the Future in this week's edition of The North Coast Journal. I just reread the review because I had written it a few weeks ago and forgot what I had to say. There's a part where I kind of rag on the record label's press release for comparing one of the tracks to Pink Floyd's "Echoes." It's a bit of a tangent, but I'm frustrated with comparisons that argue or suggest the accomplishments of contemporary retro-rockers are on the same plane of significance as the older bands to which they are clearly paying homage. A comparison in the interest of situating a band's sound is something I can understand. Claiming that a band like Black Mountain has achieved a monumental feat that challenges the legend of Floyd's body of work from the late 60s and early 70s is simply presumptuous and naive. Read the review. Give me your thoughts.

One thing I did not get to discuss in the review is the record's art work. I am intrigued by the cover's cube effect and found myself perusing my record collection in search of similar art. I found Klaus Schulze's Blackdance and the Fixx's Phantoms:

I don't know what else I want to say here, but I am trying to connect the three records. There must be some strand or theme that can logically connect Schulze's kraut offering from 1974 to the Fixx's synth-driven new wave sound of 1984 to today's Black Mountain. The Fixx seems to be the odd duck of the three, but perhaps I don't give them enough credit. Is it possible that I'm missing out on some perspective on The Fixx that presents them as more than a cheesy top 40 new wave band from the 80s?

Also, check out this NPR link that will lead you to a full one hour and fifteen minute set of Black Mountain recorded last week in Washington DC.

My buddy Alex alerted me to an oversight in my discussion of cubes.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mammatus @ The Ottobar

The first time I saw Mammatus I knew had stumbled into something special. I walked into an Om/ Pearls and Brass show and saw a bunch of guys on stage wearing robes and cloaks that were patterned like 1970s living room drapery. One of them was holding a massive wooden staff and peered out at the members of the audience with a cock-eyed and somewhat menacing grin. He traced random designs in the air with his sceptre as the band played their set. I was familiar with the band's music but had never seen them live. I assumed that the stick-wielding lunatic was the group's singer. But no. He was simply part of their show. Brilliant.

Mammatus are from some random unincorporated corner of California's Santa Cruz County. A better origin for such lysergia I could never imagine. If you haven't had a chance to check these guys out live, you really need to do yourself the favor. If you have indeed seen them before please comment and tell your tale.

Today's download is a show from April 23, 2007 at The Ottobar in Baltimore, MD. Mammatus was on tour opening for Acid Mothers Temple. There's a couple of technical difficulties during the set, a faulty drum pedal is one of the culprits, but it's not enough to derail the Mammatus experience.

Click here!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nudity Review

A review of Nudity's "The Nightfeeders" is up in The North Coast Journal. Check it out. Don't forget that they're at the Alibi here in Arcata on the 16th and The Hemlock in San Francisco on the 17th.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Isis @ Groningen

Unfortunately for me, I was immersed in a semester full of Russian writing theory when Isis performed in San Francisco on their 10 year anniversary tour. I've been lucky enough to see the band in a variety of venues, from a dormitory basement at Umass, Amherst to the MOCA in downtown Los Angeles to their opening spot for Tool at the Oakland Arena. And they have always been able to properly distribute their sound and energy in a way that is matched by few. Missing them play last November was quite a disappointment.

Anyways, I tracked down a 2004 (2005?) live set from Amsterdam and received gracious permission from Aaron Turner to post up a couple of songs from that evening's set. The sound is great, a soundboard recording no doubt. The tracks I selected are "Celestial (The Tower)" and "Divine Mother (The Tower Crumbles)"- These live performances being a bit different in pace and length than the studio versions make them well worth checking out.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


This Saturday, February 16th Nudity will be bringing their version of space rock madness to the Alibi in Arcata. The band is from Olympia, WA and features a couple members of Tight Bros From Way Back When and Growing. I put one of their songs in the radio player over on the side. It's a track called "The Nightfeeders (Concentrick Mix)." It was produced by Tim Green (producer of all things psychedelic lately) and clocks in at about twenty-one and a half minutes. Don't give up on the track. You really need to hear it the whole way through. The guitar solo freak-outs toward the end are well worth the wait, as well as the flute solo over the backlooped drums. If you're in the Bay, they will be playing the Hemlock on the 17th. I'll have a full review of their forthcoming 12" posted up later this week.

Also, I'm looking for a different blog music player. I'm not thrilled about MediaMaster. I want something more user friendly, maybe even something that automatically plays when the page is visited. If you have a suggestion, hit me up.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Om @ the Knitting Factory

I'm sure you didn't hear it here first. Here's the scoop from Pitchfork:

Bad news from the Om camp. The San Francisco drone group remains a duo, but bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros is now working with a replacement drummer for Chris Hakius, who has left the band. According to a message from Cisneros in a press release, "Om is continuing forward with a new drummer and working on a new recording... A live vinyl-only LP, Om: Live at Jerusalem, will be forthcoming. This is Chris Hakius' final release with the group."

I have to admit to not only being heartbroken over the split but a bit torn about the decision to forge on without Hakius. I am, however, glad that I took the time to drive down to San Francisco and Brookdale in January to see them.

I'm having trouble envisioning a new drummer bringing Hakius' passion and intensity to Om. One of the reasons that Om works so well as a bass/drum duo is a result of the several years Cisneros and Hakius spent together in Asbestos Death and Sleep. That's undeniable. How on earth will Cisneros be able to capture those same elements again?

I know. I should trust Al's decision to keep the project going. He will inevitably find a formidable replacement. But I can't help feeling that this may be a better time to move on and leave the legacy of Om as is. Don't get me wrong. I'll surely embrace Om's further efforts but right now I am a bit skeptical. What Om created seems too special to simply plug another body in behind the drum kit. Am I the only one feeling this way?

Nonetheless, here's Om live @ the Knitting Factory on March 19th, 2005. It's an older set consisting of "On the Mountain of Dawn," "Kapila's Theme," and "Flight of the Eagle."

Click here!