arti+mestieri - tilt

Arti + Mestieri: Tilt (1974)

It was a rare opportunity: I managed to take two weeks off from work and spend time with family, doing one week in Mexico with my in-laws and another week in Daytona with my brother. Normally that means nothing but classic rock and sunny beach tunes to keep my mind relaxed, but thanks to another Sea of Tranquility video I started getting caught up in 70s Italian Prog. There was one band that I couldn’t readily find streaming (turns out you can find here on Spotify), and so here we are with another impulse buy, Tilt, the debut by Arti + Mestieri, which loosely translates to “Arts and Crafts”. We’re going in blind (or deaf) here, so let’s do this…

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Dwyer, Sawyer, Coates, Zoby, & Renteria: Gong Splat (2021)

Back from vacation and happy to see some more vinyl coming in from Castle Face Records. This time it’s the latest from John Dwyer and his constantly rotating assortment of musician friends creating more fuzzed out space jams that emphasize rhythms and soundscapes that harken back to krautrock while simultaneously pointing to distant, futuristic horizons. Call it Gong Splat, call it whatever you like, but know that like all of Dwyer’s collaborative projects there’s an undeniable pulse that will take you to points unknown in the universe.

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finch - beyond expression

Finch: Beyond Expression (1976)

Are you supposed to grow out of your prog phase? I’m not sure, and I’m sorry to say that my need for keyboard wankery and ever-shifting tempos, time signatures, and 20-minute long songs continues unabated. Finch was another band I discovered listening to episodes of Sea of Tranquility, but resorted to YouTubes clips to hear then since they’re not available on streaming platforms. A Dutch instrumental prog band that briefly existed from about 1974-1978, their second album Beyond Expression cater to everything that was popular in prog at the time: long, symphonic structured songs, a heavy emphasis on keyboards and changing tonal shifts within the songs. Your mileage may vary, there’s a lot here I found that really works, both as great background music and when you dig in deeper for that classic prog headphone experience.

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genesis - selling england by the pound

Genesis: Selling England By The Pound (1973)

Day 22 of the #mayvinylchallenge has me back on track, and demands albums from the year of my birth. I don’t want to be one of those ancient dudes who constantly harp about how much better it was in the “good ol’ days” but DAMN 1973 was a killer year. Lots of options to choose from, but in the end I decided to talk about a band and album I only got seriously into once I started collecting vinyl. I may have come to Genesis via hits like “That’s All” and “No Reply At All” from the cassettes in the back of my father’s car, but diving deeper I was overjoyed to find so much more weirdness and rocking tunes in their back catalog. Few albums mix the two so well as Peter Gabriel’s penultimate album with the group, the brilliant Selling England By The Pound.

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alice cooper - killer

Alice Cooper: Killer (1971)

(Yeah, we’re out of sequence but I recently picked this up at the record shop and needed a Beatles break, so even though the As are done here’s a welcome diversion) 

I grew up knowing about Alice Cooper rather than listening to Alice Cooper.  You couldn’t get away from that visage, the Welcome to My Nightmare look that’s been a staple of the man/the band for so many decades now.  But behind the paint and the Grand Guignol theatrics has always lay a band that could rock with the best of them and Killer demonstrates how versatile the entity that was/is Alice Cooper could be. Continue reading “Alice Cooper: Killer (1971)”

adrian belew - side two

Adrian Belew: Side Two (2005)

Released about six months after Side One, Side Two finds Adrian Belew in a darker, more contemplative mood. ┬áHandling all the instruments himself, the album shows just how formidable Belew is on all fronts: as a composer, instrumentalist, and vocalist. ┬áDespite the lack of rockin’ hooks found on Side One find myself much more drawn to the compositions on this release. Continue reading “Adrian Belew: Side Two (2005)”