Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Jellyfish put together a sophomore disc that was smart, catchy and expertly performed. It is nothing less than a mind-fuck of epic proportions, marrying Brian Wilson's most earnest wet dreams with Queen at the apex of their mid 70s, multi-tracked glory. The work that went into this project could easily generate enough power to light ten major cities for a decade.

Timing is everything...

Aptly titled, the band may have unwittingly foreseen the futility in releasing a record that celebrated the stylistic charms of rock's "psychedelic" past in the era of back to basics grunge. Who's crying over Spilt Milk? Not me! I feel fortunate to have been recently steered toward this remarkable recording. (Thanks Andy!)

Better late to the party than never.

Wait just a moment. You there, casually reading this... Come closer!

C'mon! I don't bite...(hard)...

OK, if you tend to get a little uncomfortable with the Jeff Lynne approach to production that shaped ELO's output in the seventies, then some elements of Spilt Milk may not be to your taste. If you crave an overall sonic experience that equates to a long bomb pass resulting in an incredible 80 yard touchdown, then this was designed for you. Another great bonus: Spilt Milk will forcefully pick you up by the lapels, shaking loose any musical lethargy that you've been experiencing.

Blending mastery in vocal arrangement with lush instrumentation, "Hush" is a seductive opener, boasting enough charm to lure birds from the treetops. Setting the mood perfectly, this beautiful soundscape fades as the ground suddenly drops out from beneath your feet. Four pop-rock gems are lined up, fired off in rapid succession, leaving the listener breathless. Swept away in a tide of fist pumping anthems, you could easily miss the clever wordplay that goes by at lightning speed. Ambitious, yet easy to assimilate, this run of tracks follows a concept and is nothing short of compelling. You hear the influences that shape "Joining a Fan Club" or "The Ghost at Number One" but there is a visceral energy in their execution that brings something entirely fresh to these songs. So much so that it silences the inner voice of the record store snob and simply begs to be heard on its own terms.

Closing out this spectacular set is "Brighter Day" which ties up every loose end in brilliant fashion.

You are left wanting more...

Core band members Andy Sturmer and Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. held the creative cards, deploying many of the weapons that made 60s/70s pop so durable. They also managed to toughen their work with just enough edge to keep things sounding contemporary. Differences of opinion led to the ultimate crime of a group breakup before they could capitalize on the strength of what they had done and start to build a larger following around it.

Spilt Milk ended up consigned to the realm of forgotten music as its very essence was fighting against the tide of what was popular in 1993.

Trends come and go...this one is timeless.

Saturday, March 09, 2013


The always stellar Blade of Grass have a new video to share.

"Landslide" has a trippy, retro feel that is driven home by the iron-clad, two part harmonies of these fine Californian songsmiths. Enjoy the images as they fly through the air...

Join their growing army of fans on Facebook and be sure to check out their band page

Thursday, March 07, 2013


These words have been uttered/written many times, though two separate, sad events of today beg for them to be pressed into service once again.

Nothing enhances demand for an artist's work more than word of their death

For those who stop by here to read that do not reside in Canada, the name Stompin' Tom Connors may draw a blank. To be fair, even for those Canucks who know his music, he had reached the peak of notoriety in the early seventies. Connors' quirky blend of shaggy-dog-story-telling folk blended humor with straightforward, three-chord country twang. Drawing on maritime roots helped to put an east coast spin on the final product. Fiercely patriotic, his songs name-checked Canadian destinations big and small, along with the provinces that held them.

Connors passed away today at age 77, leaving fans, friends and family to mourn him.

Alvin Lee found an international audience in the late sixties as a guitar virtuoso. His work with Ten Years After was innovative, mixing rock, blues and occasional forays into jazz. Sealing the deal as a major act with an appearance at the inaugural Woodstock festival, Lee followed this by scoring a huge hit with "I'd Love to Change the World" in 1971. Always somewhat underrated in terms of the big brand-name guitar legends, he was well respected by his peers.

Lee also left the planet today, age 68.

These two figures were worlds apart in every respect but one: Both had reached career heights decades earlier and, for the most part, had long faded from public view. Inevitably, their work will be reevaluated by those who genuinely appreciated what they had done. Conversely, the uninitiated will discover some of the charms that brought each to prominence in the first place. Sadly, it often takes mortality to bring (or refocus) attention to the artistry of the recently departed.

Both will be missed...