Although it certainly didn’t start there, I have Pete Pardo and the Sea of Tranquility YouTube channel to thank for my latest musical excavation. Looking back over this site’s history it’s no secret I love the music of the 70s in all its facets. But hard rock, metal, and prog have always been my bread and butter, and my listening habits have recently been all but taken over by the sinister siren of Moog synthesizers and Fender Rhodes, of the primitive lock of bass and drums matched against Marshall amps stacked to the heavens, reverberating with the root of a thousand riffs chained within, that pentatonic box which birthed a thousand bands…a million songs. From the obscenely popular to the ominously obscured, I’ve been digging deep into the woodwork of 70s rock, and it’s all that damn Pardo’s fault.
It helps that he’s a kindred spirit in the truest sense: despite being about a decade older (I’m guessing) we grew up in the same area of the Hudson Valley, went to the same record stores as kids (shout out to Rock Fantasy, though I haven’t had a chance to revisit in years), and grew to love the same kinds of music. But where I consider myself a tried and true fan of the genres and bands, Pardo indulges to an almost archeological (some might say obsessive) degree in the music he loves. For seven years he’s been ranking, listing, deep-diving and discussing everything in hard rock, prog, metal and fusion – not just for himself, but for the edification of anyone who wants to learn more about the heavy, and the rock. I’ve found few place where you can indulge in the depth and breadth of music Pardo has consumed and shares with his audience.
And that’s a huge draw to someone like me who is constantly striving to understand what the media he consumes says about him. Why am I drawn to not only watch a massive three part series on progressive rock, but dig into each of the records, see if they speak to me and – if they do – hunt them down? I can’t rightly tell you, except to say that there’s a singular rush to the cerebral cortex where you hear a riff or melody or chord progression for the first time and it just fits into you. I’ve found it again and again in the most unlikely of places: most recently in the outlaw neo country of artists like Sturgill Simpson, Paul Cauthen, and Jason Isbell. And now the call of dirty, grungy 70s rock, prog and metal has my ear, so why not have some fun, chase down some obscure stuff and write about it here?
I’ve already written up reviews for incredible underground rock albums from the likes of Armageddon and more (way more, to be fair) popular fare from giants like Alice Cooper and the Allman Brothers. We’ll be treading both above the earth and deep underground over the next few weeks: some of the images above point to what I want to cover. More than a few discovered from Mr. Pardo and his channel, but some just from doing what may be best: scrounging around the record stores, looking through crates and bins to find something that causes that particular synapse to fire again.
See you soon.