Post Death Soundtrack Explores The Inner Workings of Life, Emotion,and Connection

25 Jul

With the sounds of Post Death Soundtrack only to be described as pure and dark, this Canadian band does not disappoint in their latest album. Possessing the musical characteristics of modern industrial rock, Post Death Soundtrack also offers listeners a chance at exploring the deep complexities of life and emotion. With members of Kenneth Buck, Steve Moore, and Jon Ireson, Post Death Soundtrack unites together on the album, The Unlearning Curve. The song, Beauty Eyes I Adore (Dark Highway Mix) stands out on the album with themes of over adoration, love, and the blurred lines of perception within the track itself. The track opens with a mysterious, yet serene sound at first, keeping listeners ears open wide. With lyrics heavy on soul, bleeding hearts, and the effects of a gaze, the theme of connections presents itself as well. Overall the album, The Unlearning Curve does not disappoint with its deep narratives about healing, soul transformation, and the workings of a dreaming mind as well.

For more listening:

The 27 Club – Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson

18 Jul

tumblr_mig2vihtwq1rx4o78o2_500

When actor Anton Yelchin died in June in a freak accident many immediately linked the death to the portentous 27 club striking again, as the actor was also a musician – a guitarist for a band called The Hammerheads. This is the typical inquiry when a musician dies young; was he/she 27 years old, and, if he/she was, it is the 27 club’s reaper coming with scythe in hand to steal another young musician from this world.

Today, I enter the Stygian realm of 27. Thankfully, I am neither a musician nor talented, and thus I should be spared by the 27 club; so, my 27th birthday can be met with more joy, despite the fact that I am getting closer to 30, which I would always consider so “adult” and “old” when I was younger. Yes, older readers are probably scoffing at my naive, doltish complaints. In all seriousness, though, it’s good to be 27 – I get to espouse on deep thoughts of the world, and, if I say anything dumb or trite, I can always use the, “well, I’m still learning” excuse.

27, though, is synonymous with the 27 club if you are a fan of music, and, thus, I felt the need to do a post on this star-crossed club. However, instead of completed a wide scope of the entire 27 club, I want to focus in on a particular musician whose death pre-dated the Mt. Rushmore of the 27 club (Jimi, Janis, Jim, and Kurt). In fact, Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson died only two weeks before Jimi Hendrix in September of 1970, a year that fell in the middle of a stretch of time where the 27 club took so many wonderful musicians (1968-1972).

Before we get into the fascinating story of Alan Wilson, let me qualify this entire post by writing that there is no special link with 27 and death for musicians. Yes, coincidentally, many talented musicians died within a short time of each other at the age of 27, but, when you do a wide scientific study, it is pretty obvious that more musicians die closer to the national average for humans than do when 27. Many musicians unfortunately die young, though, because of the lifestyle they lead – drugs, alcohol, lack of sleep, constant touring, violence, accidents, and, in some cases (like that of Mr. Wilson), debilitating depression. For example, Tupac died at 25, Otis Redding at 26, Hank Williams at 29, Sam Cooke at 33, and Buddy Holly at 22.

Sept3

Canned Heat may be the most underrated band of the 1960s. The band, which was put together by Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite, appeared at both seminal 60’s music festivals – The Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock – and played a style of psychedelic blues music that was adroit and foundational. It is not a lie that Canned Heat provided tremendous inspiration for several blues acts during one of the most formative eras of rock n’ roll. The band housed a slew of blues-related acts in the late 60s (Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead included), and became a key starting point for tremendously talented blues musicians like Harvey Mandel and Walter Trout. Founding guitarist Henry Vestine is ranked 77th in the top 100 guitarists of all time list from Rolling Stone Magazine.

Unfortunately, Canned Heat suffered two huge losses with the death of Alan Wilson in 1970 and then Bob Hite in 1981 (at the age of 38). The band still performs today with originals Larry Taylor and Adolfo de la Parra. Harvey Mandel performs with them as well, and he is pretty much an original, joining the band in 1969 and playing with them (his third performance oddly enough) at Woodstock.

Let’s talk about Alan Wilson. Wilson, who got the nickname “Blind Owl” because he had terrible sight and was erudite, majored in music at Boston University and focused his attention on blues music. He particularly enjoyed the music of pioneer Skip James, and he emulated his high vocals in his own singing. With Hite, Canned Head was founded, and the band released a string of excellent album starting in 1966 – Vintage Heat (1966), Canned Heat (1967), Boogie with Canned Heat (1968), Hallelujah (1969), and Future Blues (1970). The albums featured such special guests like John Mayall, Dr. John, and Sunnyland Slim.

The band’s hit “Going Up The Country,” which sampled the quills of Henry Thomas’ “Bull-Doze Blues,” became the anthem of Woodstock; it is featured in the Woodstock movie.

In September of 1970, Wilson was found dead on a hill behind Bob Hite’s home. His autopsy revealed that he died of an accidental drug overdose. Wilson was hospitalized and treated for significant depression earlier that year after a suicide attempt, and some think the drug overdose was indeed a suicide.

It is worthless playing the game of what could have been, but if Bob Hite and Alan Wilson both stayed alive for longer, I believe Canned Heat would have released several more albums with the two leads at the helm, and perhaps would have gone done as one of the best blues bands ever.

Enjoy “Going Up The Country!”

It’s a Sin to Live So Well – “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger

16 Jul

The plethora of one-hit wonders that exist in the wide world of 20th and 21st century music is indicative of just how hard it is to hit success twice as a band or musician. It is somewhat analogous to striking gold twice. This makes the multi-level houses of gold that could have been constructed by the Beatles or Michael Jackson all the more impressive. That said, this section is about one-hit wonders, and we are going back to the 1990s, an era that spawned long lists of the one-off greats for this song.

1200x1200bb

Before we get into “Flagpole Sitta,” let me clarify that a one-hit wonder does not mean that the band broke up directly after the release of the song. On the contrary, as is the case of Harvey Danger, the band played together for 15 years, released three albums, and performed a large amount of shows. A one-hit wonder indicates that a band/singer found wide-ranging chart success with only one track, and that was “Flagpole Sitta,” the alt/punk classic that exposed the mainstream alt/punk/grunge scene, as impacted by Seattle grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden.

“Flagpole Sitta,” and, in larger part, the album it is housed on Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone is a true indie success story. Initially released on an independent label based in Oregon called Arena Rock Recording Company. “Flagpole Sitta” was recognized as the awesome song it is, and it started seeing airplay all over. The band had sent demos of all the songs on the album to music industry professionals, including Slash records, in 1996, and Slash ended up re-releasing the album, cementing the album and its lead track as a 1990s staple and, now, best hits collection item.

What makes the song so good? It’s angry. The song doesn’t let up. It starts with a rising guitar riff that blends into Sean Nelson’s pleading vocals. The chorus is a amalgamation of yelling harmonies and a crashing instrumental. The lyric reflects the potency of the rhythm effectively; it is a catharsis of frustration and candor (“been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding”). The song also has a timeless quality (even with the reference to ‘zines and Rage Against the Machine). It is a excellent portrayal of societal angst that uses a head-banging, toe-tapping instrumental that pumps the tune on repeat in your head for hours.

Before I end this post, it would be averse if I did not mention the passing of the founding bassist Aaron Huffman who died in March of this year of respiratory failure. Rest in peace.

Sweet & Vicious – The Story of Arc & Stones

11 Jul

13652028_168513320228549_858434100_n

In the transformative world of modern music it is always refreshing to hear a band that knows who it is and plays music that represents this group-actualization. Arc & Stones, a 4-piece classic Hard Rock/Blues outfit based out of Nashville, Tennessee, has been honing its craft since 2012, and while I am a little late to the game, I have been meaning to right about this powerful quartet for a while now.

Considering how long it usually takes bands to start seeing success, it took Arc & Stones time equivalent to an undergraduates college career to start the band, release several EPs, tour the U.S., open for Kansas on a year-long tour … you catch the drift; the band doesn’t believe in the terms “off day” or “rest.” Described on the band’s website as “an almost insane drive to expand their sonic reach,” Arc & Stones, like the music the band pumps out, is heavy-hitting, passionate, and eager to rock the ears off eager listeners. I can now hopefully count you as one of those listeners. Check out “Control” off the band’s 2014 EP As You Were. 

“Control” immediately glistens with a deep guitar distortion, almost like a nice blend of Black Keys and Kaleo, and a unique hi-hat heavy percussion rhythm that provides a nice pair to the guitar. The chorus features instruments crashing, heavy vocals from Dan Pellarin, a true wall of sound. The song is a call-back to heavy rock influences from the early 70s and more modern hard blues. There is a lot to like.

“Sweet and Vicious” is led by another bluesy Face the Promise Seger-like guitar riff that neatly follows into another crushing drum riff by Joey Doino that follows the riff effortlessly. A lingering lead by Dan Berry falls behind Pellarin’s southern rock croon, while the percussion holds strong with Doino and bassist Seth Webster at the helm. The strongest part of the song is the end, and I don’t mean that in a cheeky way; the predominant riff combines with Pellarin’s vocal and combines this head-bopping finale that crescendos like every tremendous hard rock song should.

Arc & Stones is a band you should be listening to. Check out the band’s website, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

Calling America on the 4th of July

4 Jul

Liberty-Calling-You-united-states-of-america-25487727-448-641

It figures that on this day of American independence I would choose a song from Birmingham natives Electric Light Orchestra. No, not Birmingham, Alabama; Birmingham, England. “Calling America,” though, features the name of our great nation, although it is used in the construct of an unfaithful lover going to America to perpetuate an affair. Yeah, America! Conquering the British through lust.

The song, though, which currently resides in my brain, is a true model of the ever-reaching hand of modernity. Jeff Lynne mentions the “modern world” that is represented by the satellite allowing his phone call to go through to America. The “modern world” has changed a bit in 30 years; now a brief text would suffice, albeit that could be ignored by an unfaithful lover just as easily as a transcontinental phone call. That said, the song itself was recorded in the Bahamas and in Germany, released by Epic in the UK and CBS Associated in the US, and the music video was shot in Paris, France. An Independence Day in the modern world.

The song itself has the unique mark of a Jeff Lynne ELO track. It is upbeat, semi-classical, vocally dulcet, and lyrically dark. Lynne is uber-talented and this track is an excellent example of his ability. There are so many components to the song that he weaves together with his band to make a tight, well-structured piece. Enjoy this as you chow down on a burger! Be safe and happy 4th

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 83 other followers

%d bloggers like this: