Wednesday, 29 April 2009

All over bar the shouting...

The deadline was met... just! Now I just have to wait until 21 May(ish) to hear if it was worth it.

Flat out exhausted
Originally uploaded by Swamibu
I hope to get back into this music blog soon but at the moment, I'm fair puggled! Maybe tomorrow. :-)

However, I wanted to say thank-you to Jeff from the Totally Free Musc blog. With minimal direction from me on my musical tastes, and with only a few posts on my newish blog to go on, he produced two excellent Free Download Friday entries with music that I enjoyed downloading. Brilliant!

My only problem is, I fear he has raised the bar too high and I'm worried about what I'm going to do this Friday!

So thanks again to Jeff for keeping things ticking over here. If you haven't already subscribed to Jeff's blog - go and do it now!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Free Download Friday #7

[Note: David is still not posting here. Hopefully he'll be back soon. In the meantime, here's a small treat to tide you over.


Remember that scene near the end of This is Spinal Tap where David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls discuss their old plans for a musical based on the life of Jack the Ripper entitled Saucy Jack? They go on to sing a couple of lines from it: "Saucy Jack, you're a naughty one. Saucy Jack, you're a haughty one. Saucy Jack!" Well, 25 years after that film was released, you can finally hear the full version of that song, which will be featured on the upcoming album Back from the Dead. Even better, it can be downloaded for free from Spinal Tap's official site! You do need to provide a name, email address, and a zip code in order to access the download - I'm in Canada and I used my postal code, which was accepted, so hopefully this download is accessible worldwide.

"Saucy Jack" clocks in at less than 2 minutes, but it's a really fun listen for anyone who can't get enough of Spinal Tap. If you've never seen the movie (or even their brilliant appearance on The Simpsons, which was how I was initially exposed to them), then in all honesty this song will probably not do too much for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy Spinal Tap's brand of over-the-top satirical rock music and the way they continue to blur the line between fiction and reality, this one is for you. Happy listening!


Thursday, 9 April 2009

Free Download Friday #6

Greetings! As you are probably aware, David has made a big mess and is unable to post here for a while. I volunteered to do this week's Free Download Friday post for him, since writing about free music is an area in which I have a little experience (I maintain the Totally Free Musc blog, where I try to post at least once a week about my favourite free music sources that I've found). He asked me to keep it in the "noisy guitar, Blues Rock or Prog Rock area", so I took a look at my notes and decided that this would be a great chance to write about an album that nearly slipped through the cracks on my own blog: Nightmares + Lullabies by Six Red Carpets. I hesitate to call it "prog rock" per se, but with its instrumentation, use of dynamics, and overall concept, the album sounds quite progressive nonetheless.

Nightmares + Lullabies opens with a brief instrumental piece called "The Weaver Call"; piano, synthesized strings, and crashing percussion combine to create a very dramatic sound, setting the stage for great things to come. "Twenty Two and the Charm of Gravity" kicks the album into high gear with a frantic drum beat that is soon joined by a thundering bassline and vocals that sound like a cross between Liam Gallagher and Billy Corgan with an Italian accent. I hear a bit of Radiohead in here too (not surprising, as their press kit lists Radiohead as one of their biggest influences), and the song concludes with a bass outro that brings Geddy Lee to mind. "Here's to the Nightmare" features some heavy, dark guitar riffs that give way to a soaring chorus. The album's best bridge can also be found in this song: a half-spoken, half-sung section that builds and builds in intensity until the tension is released in another heavy section, this time bringing Tool to mind.

There are some mellower moments, too. "Deep Down in Water (Part 1)" has a very nice spoken word outro (incidentally, there is no Part 2 anywhere on this album, leading me to wonder whether they have it planned for a future release or if they just added the "Part 1" as a joke, like Dream Theater initially did with their song "Metropolis Pt. 1"). "Vanilla Scent", probably my favourite song on the album, is a gorgeous song with synthesized strings that really fill out the sound; I also hear a bit of R.E.M.'s "Man on the Moon" in the verses of this song. "Bring Me Noise" features another spoken outro with some beautiful piano playing; this part reminds me of some of the spoken stuff that Fish has done on his own and with Marillion.

Nightmares + Lullabies also happens to be a very well put together package. In addition to the MP3s (which, at 320 kbps, are quite high quality and contain embedded artwork and lyrics), there are 2 PDF files included: one is a short story which introduces the concept of the album, and the other is an e-booklet with lyrics and beautiful paintings for each song (which can be downloaded separately if so desired). It is clear that a lot of care has been put into this album. Their press kit states that "the final result is not comparable with a “big production”", but I would have to respectfully disagree - this package is every bit comparable to past high-profile online offerings like Radiohead's In Rainbows and Nine Inch Nails' The Slip. The fact that Six Red Carpets seem to be aiming even higher than what they've already done has me excited to hear what they come up with in the future - these guys will certainly be a band to watch. Happy listening!


Friday, 3 April 2009

I've made a big mess and I'm now in danger of missing a major writing deadline. Everything is going on hold in a desperate attempt to finish on time. There may be an occasional Twitter style update... but don't hold your breath. So no more posts until the 27th of April. Sorry. (Unless anybody wants to guest post a Free Music Friday...)

Free Download Friday #5

Following on from the Nine Inch Nails Remix site last week, I thought I'd point you at the Real World Remix site this week. Real World is Peter Gabriel's label and the remix site currently has two Gabriel tracks for download and a selection of tracks from other Real World artists.

I've been a huge fan of Gabriel since early Genesis days. One of the first singles I bought with my own money was I Know What I Like In Your Wardrobe.

So download, remix, upload, enter competitions, interact... enjoy!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Buddy Rich: 30 September 1917 – 2 April 1987

I heard Alice Cooper on Planet Rock this morning talking about Buddy Rich since today is the anniversary of his death. Buddy was a stunningly good drummer as this clip of him in his 60s shows. Stick with it to the end where he plays a "drum" roll on his sticks!

There are those who don't see the appeal of drum solos but, perhaps because of my introduction to live music through 1970s rock concerts, I love them! However, hopefully even a disinterested viewer can see the skill, power and brilliance of the man from this clip. If you are interested, there are other YouTube videos of Buddy playing, including the classic Buddy Rich versus Animal drum battle.

Finally, I can't resist linking to Neil Peart (of Rush) playing at a Buddy Rich Memorial concert:

I am ashamed to say that, despite being a huge Neil Peart fan, I have yet to buy the Burning For Buddy CD. Maybe that will be a holiday treat to myself. :-)

Who are your favourite drummers? Also, just because I can, I've added a poll about drum solos. Let me know what you think.