Man, 1967 was a busy year for The Beatles. Only a few short months after Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came the ill-advised television special Magical Mystery Tour. If you’ve ever seen the film, it’s a poorly contrived mess; a huge departure from the fun of A Hard Day’s Night and Help!. Fortunately, the new songs that accompanied the film were still pretty damn great, and so we can still hold our head high with Magical Mystery Tour the album, even if the second side is filled with previously released singles. Continue reading “The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour (1967)”
Retired from touring in 1966 and given the freedom to explore other avenues of creativity, The Beatles regrouped and went into full-on experimental mode, crafting a vaguely conceptual album about a fictitious band with which they could embrace new technologies and make music unfettered (to a point) and untethered (to a point) from the musical zeitgeist their previous work created. Thus was born Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the only album to ever inspire a film starring Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees. If that’s not a legacy, I don’t know what is. Continue reading “The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)”
Coming through the other side of Rubber Soul things got progressively more, well…progressive for The Beatles. Moving further into different instrumentation and more complex arrangements, Revolver stands as one of the definitive statements in rock and roll history. Continue reading “The Beatles: Revolver (1966)”
This is where it starts. When I think about The Beatles, I think about Rubber Soul. I think about the sudden jump in production experiments, the way albums stopped being collections of songs and started becoming albums. The jump from your frolicking boys on Help! to the grown, curious men on Rubber Soul is perhaps the biggest creative leap in the band’s discography. The main thing on everyone’s mind is still women, but I don’t know if a better batch of songs have ever been crafted about the subject, at least as it pertains to the pursuit of said subject from a young, curious man’s perspective. Continue reading “The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)”
Is it cool to dump on The Beatles? Is it an age thing, or just a Metal Twitter™ thing? If you were to leave out the context of their music, their place in the evolution of pop and rock both as a sound as well as a cultural zeitgeist…if you were to just sit back and listen to the music how can you not fall into the melodies, the harmonies, the seeming simplicity of the hooks? I have a firm policy of “love what you love” when it comes to music: who am I to judge you when I listen to a number of bands in corpsepaint and fishnets? But if you stand and tell me the exquisite combination of John, Paul, George and Ringo (yes, Ringo) are overrated, quaint, or just plain suck, then sadly a part of me judges you.
You, my friend, need some Help! Continue reading “The Beatles: Help! (1965)”
It took album #3 for The Beasts of Bourbon to fall prey to what we’ll call for lack of a better word “safe” music. Which is not to say that Black Milk is a bad album; on the contrary, it’s a terrific amalgam of everything that was present on the previous two records (their debut The Axeman’s Jazz is a terrific gnarled album, but I don’t own a physical copy, so no review). But that amalgam is tempered, somewhat. There’s a tunefulness and restraint that doesn’t have the vital spark of Sour Mash, but is sweet just the same. Continue reading “Beasts of Bourbon: Black Milk (1990)”
We all have those people in our lives who act as our musical sherpas, guiding us on paths we would not have otherwise taken to discover aural delights that reverberate in our souls and ears. Over the last six or so years the largest of those people has been Henry Rollins, via his weekly KCRW radio show (seriously, listen here) as well as his collection of Fanatic books where he provides liner notes for every radio show. Through him I discovered the hotbed of great music that’s been coming out of Australia for years, specifically the swerving, booze-drenched blues insanity of The Beasts of Bourbon, here represented by their second album, Sour Mash. Continue reading “Beasts of Bourbon: Sour Mash (1988)”