Saturday, 21 June 2014

Forever Changes - Love (1967)

This album is the greatest album ever.

First a little background on Love and why you probably haven't heard of them.
They were led by the singer/songwriter Arthur Lee, who was one of the most prominent musicians in Los Angeles in the late 60s (He also played in bands with Jimi Hendrix and Billy Preston pre-fame.)
Love are famous retrospectively for being one of the first major racially integrated bands, but despite this during the 1960s they were unknown outside of LA, and partially due to this their pre-Forever Changes albums Love (1966) and Da Capo (1966) both failed to sell internationally and domestically, forever condemning them to a cult band status.
Lee eventually died in 2006, but by that point Love were critically acclaimed internationally, but he would never create a masterpiece that equaled Forever Changes.

Forever Changes is largely seen by modern critics as the album which revealed the dark side of the summer of love and the album that predicted the violent end to the era of peace & free love (see the Rolling Stones at Altamont.)
The album starts with the most beautiful and evocative song ever, Alone Again Or,  which was written by the second guitarist Bryan Maclean. The song paints a glorious image of the summer of love and suggests the weaknesses of the scene with lyrics like "Alone again tonight my dear".
The beautiful arpeggio help give the song a hispanic feel and the brass section of the song give Alone Again Or a sense of grandiose and pretence which was what the Summer of love was full of.
The second song of the album is A house Is Not A Motel which is fuller of electric guitar than Alone Again Or and gives the song a harder, more rocky edge. "The news of today will be the movies of tomorrow" highlights the summer of love more, and also is revealing of Arthur Lee's love of LA "streets are paved with gold".

"And More Again, the third song in the album is a softer ballad, which included the recurring theme of depression "And I'm lost in confusions". Although it may be a depressing song, at times it is also as loving as the album gets "You don't know how much I love you".

The fourth song, The Daily Planet, is a softer (very American) song, with harmonies which coax the listener to sing along, regardless of how non-sensical the lyrics actually are, which shows the importance of Maclean on this song and how his Broadway-Space-Folk inspired Arthur Lee.
Old Man, the fifth song, is another soft beautiful emotional song written by Bryan Maclean. The song, with it's religious undertones, is based upon Maclean's broadway-folk style of music, and its classic inspired melodies and spacey folk tones helps make the songs one of the most elegantly touching moments on the record.

The sixth song, The Red Telephone, is steeped in Love mythology, with fans claiming it was a physical phone which the band used to throw about while it is also hypothesised that the phone is representative of the White House's hot line to Moscow in the height of the Cold War. Throughout the song Arthur Lee deals with themes such as Paranoia, Estrangement, Depression, Death, and Societal change, with perfect musical accompanyment.
Perhaps the most hopeful song on the album is Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale. This energetic song is supported by a brass section which energises the song and gives it indescribable amounts of power, and regality. The song also fits in perfectly with the crazy, mad LA Scene which it is describing, although it also portrays a sense of unease which could also be seen in the LA scene.
Arguably Love's biggest political song is Live and Let Live, which can be seen as a microcosm for the album as a whole. The song comments on war, violence, social injustice and includes the best guitar freak-out in the whole album which breaks away from Love's usually classical-influenced sound and links Love to the 60s psychedelic guitar experimentation headed by Lee's former collaborator Mr. Hendrix.

The Good Humour Man He Sees Everything Like This is mainly structured is a mix of Lee's signature Classical-inspired-Space Folk and Maclean's Broadway Space Folk. This is arguably the simplest song on the album as well as it challenges the societal concepts of Love and nature.
Bummer In The Summer is perhaps the most jolly and Rocking sounding song on the album, but rather it is full of spiteful lyrics "I did everything i possibly could for you", "Putting you down for being around with me. This song has some of Arthur Lee's most Dylanesque lyrics.
The final song of the album You Set The Scene is perhaps the greatest song on the album. This song is perhaps one of the most technically complex songs on the album, using Lee's usual classical-gradeuse space folk as its main basis. The song is basically two songs together in much the same way as The Beatles' A Day In The Life (Released in the same year as Forever Changes.) Alike all the songs in the album this song focuses on the concept of purpose in life.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Top 25 songs of 2014 so far!

I'd argue that 2014 has been a worse year for rock music than 2013 was. There have been fewer stand out bands, fewer amazing debut singles and less amazing albums. However don't allow my pessimistic thoughts make you think that modern rock is still not in fine form. There have been plenty of amazing songs released this year and in no particular order here are my top 25 songs released in 2014 (Not exclusively rock but probably)

Rango - Catfish & The Bottlemen 

Genre: Indie Rock

Next Time - Curtis Harding

Genre: Soul, Funk, Rock

I Almost Fell - Axxa/Abraxas 

Genre: 60s-style Psychedelic Rock

Lazaretto - Jack White

Genre: Blues Rock/Rock

My Silver Lining - First Aid Kit

Genre: Folk Pop 

Adult Diversion - Alvvays 

Genre: Folk Pop 

Heavenly Creatures - Wolf Alice

Genre: Alternative Rock

Love Is To Die - Warpaint 

Genre: Psychedelic Rock

Sun Structures - Temples 

Genre: Psychedelic Rock

Monaco - Public Access T.V

No Youtube Video !!!! Its on sounddcloud though! So go to it. 

Genre: Indie Rock

Blood Runs Wild - Ruen Brothers 

Genre: (Almost like) 50s Rock & Roll, with a 60s feel

The Heat - Jungle

Genre: Hip-hop (The first Hip Hop song i've ever liked!) 

Stuck In My Teeth - Circa Waves

Genre: Indie Rock

Violent Shiver - Benjamin Booker

Genre: Punk Blues 

Fear Not Victorious - Hero Fisher 

Not on Youtube! But it is on sound cloud. 

Genre: Singer Songwriter/Alternative Rock - Like PJ Harvey

Mirage - Courtly Love

Genre: Psychedelic Rock (with some 70s Heartland) 

Birth In Reverse - St Vincent  

Genre: Funk/Alternative Rock or Art Pop

Feed My Brain - Radkey

Not on youtube. Is on Soundcloud & iTunes. 

Genre: Punk (Almost like soft hardcore punk)

High Hopes - Bruce Springsteen 

Genre: Heartland Rock

Leaving It All Behind - Harts

Gerne: Funk

Love Letters  - Metronomy

Genre: 60s Pop (Think Paul McCartney) 

Avant Gardener - Courtney Barnet

Genre: Alterative Slacker Rock

Hard To Say No - The Strypes

Genre: Hard Blues Rock

Micheline - Sun Kil Moon 

Genre: Folk 

Red Eyes - The War On Drugs

Genre: Heartland Rock

Monday, 16 June 2014

Rock N' Horsepower - Hurtwood Park - 14th June - THE WHO

If you're a Who fanatic (Wholigan as i've been told) you may have been aware of the poorly publicised Who and Kenney Jones reunion that occurred of the 14th of June.

The Who for the first time since the 80s reunited with their post-Keith Moon drummer, and during this concert they rocked. Although their setlist was very very short, it was easily worth it from my perspective as for just £20 I stood right in front of Roger & Pete just 3 metres or so away. The whole Event was compere by Angelos and Vic Reeves (From Reeves & Mortimer)

The most fantastic Who! played:

I Can't Explain (Incredible for the record) 
Substitute (Again incredible, with stereotypical microphone swinging and guitar windmilling from the Who)
The Kid's Are Alright (Probably the weaker number played, but regardless it was amazing) 
Pinball Wizard (The second time i've seen them play this, as i saw them last year
5:15 (Again incredible live, although last time it was better too)

It's Only Rock N Roll But I Like It (Rolling Stones) - It was worse than when i saw the Stones play it last year - This was sung with a lot of the other musicians who had performed during the day excluding Jeff Beck, Roger Daltrey & Procal Harum. While Pete danced around with Vic Reeves rather than singing at times. 

Despite the fact that the Who may have been the best performers they were not the only performers who amazed me

Here are the set lists of the other musicians and my comments on them

Fabbagirls (A ABBA tribute band) - Why? Why? Why? Why? Why were you there, you were the most cringeworty act there and when people applauded and you said "this isn't the first time we've had the clap" I almost peed myself in laughter. (Don't get the joke? Ask the nearest doctor)

Jeff Beck - Arguably the greatest living guitarist (Only Page, Clapton and Green can honestly possibly beat him and two of those don't play live regularly), he was phenomenal. He played covers.

Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix) - Incredible. He played a solo in there which amazed me. Mick Hucknall Sang Vocals
A Day In the Life (Beatles) - Again incredible, so versatile.
Wild Thing (Troggs) - Jesus, is this you in reincarnation! Although even the most amateur guitarists can play this (Like moi), he takes it into a realm of his own. Again Mick Hucknall sang vocals.

Nik Kershaw - The 80s teen idol was surprisingly good. I could call myself a fan of his.

The Riddle - Amazing
Wouldn't It Be Good - Again Awesome.

John Lodge - The Singer/Songwriter of The Moody Blues

I'm Just A Singer In A Rock And Roll Band - One of my favourite acoustic fast rock songs, pure unadulterated rock and roll. Truly incredible.
Nights In White Satin - One of the biggest classic of the 60s played right before me, by its writer. Needless to say i loved it.

Mike Rutherford - Of Genesis (& The Mechanics)

I Honestly can't tell you what he played they were all Mike & The Mechanics songs, all very stadium rocking. I'll look them up

Judy Tzuke - English Chanteuse

Stay With Me Till Dawn - A truly beautiful song, if not a little too peaceful for the event

She also played another song. Something about a beach, it was a really funky amazing song, its a shame can't remember…

Alvin Stardust - 70s Rock & Roll

Pretend - Forgettable, but alright
Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry) - Amazing song, terrible performance of it. Alvin was probably the second worst performer of the night.

Mick Hucknall, Damon Hill & Kenney Jones -  A Simply Red Singer, A F1 Driver and a legendary drummer walk into a bar.

Stay With Me (Faces) - The classic faces song, and as close to a Faces reunion as your going to get, although rumours suggest I'm wrong.
Debris (Faces) - Slow, unfitting for the setting but a lovely song.

John Parr - 80s Rocker of awesome proportions

Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac) - Arguably my favourite guitar song by my favourite guitarist (Peter Green), performed by a rock legend
St Elmo's Fire - A.W.E.S.O.M.E

Rick Wills & Kenney Jones - (Vic Reeves for LAzy Sunday)

Afterglow (Small Faces)  - The worst song out of the three performed. The Small faces always were my favourite Faces incarnate
All Or Nothing (Small Faces) - The best sing-along song. A True legend of a song.
Lazy Sunday (Small Faces) - Vic Reeves practically turned this into a comedy routine, Ronnie Lane would be proud.

Procal Harum - John Lennon's favourite band for a while

Salty Dog - A rocking song, by a rocking band
Wall Street Blues - As rock and Roll as the night could possibly be.
Pandora's Box - Beautiful, Procal Harum really were a underrated band in my opinion.
Conquistidor - My second favourite song of theres, performed amazingly
A White Shade Of Pale - Pure awesome, arguably the best song of the 60s, behind While My Guitar Gently Weeps and All Along The Watchtower.

Thanks for the great evening Kenney Jones, and to anyone reading (if you're real) please consider donating to Prostate Cancer UK who the concert was performed for.