Showing posts with label best of. Show all posts
Showing posts with label best of. Show all posts

Monday, April 20, 2015

Best of 2014 - the Return of Vinyl in 3D

2014 may be remembered as the year vinyl records made a comeback. For some of us, records never left, but to the greater marketplace, vinyl has become a hot commodity, and is challenging compact disc sales for the first time in decades.

Vinyl is back and more beautiful than ever, therefore, the BEST OF 2014 is honoring four very different records with one thing in common. VINYL. This year, all of the BEST OF category winners won based on a set of criteria. The record itself was aesthetically pleasing in addition to being musically exceptional, and extra credit was given for creative marketing

BEST EP  
Fever the Ghost ~ Crab in Honey

Even though Fever the Ghost materialized only a couple of years ago, in that short time, they've astounded audiences and pleased even the most scrupulous vinylphiles with their sparkling EP, Crab in Honey. 
3D picture of double 7" Crab in Honey EP by Fever the Ghost

In February, Swell Swann released the original US vinyl version of Fever the Ghost's debut EP. Crab in Honey is actually a double single; two 7" 45 rpm records, one blue and the other red. A few months later, Heavenly Recordings released a beautiful cherry-red 12" version in the UK. 
3D picture of 12" European version of Crab in Honey by Fever the Ghost

Of course, the Crab in Honey EP is available as a download, but I prefer listening to it on the very special cassette tape that features deluxe 8-bit versions of the songs on the other side of the tape.

Crab in Honey is NOT available on CD, and one of the ghosts told me that the band has vowed to "never release a compact disc version of their music." Good luck with that. 

2014 was a big send-off year for Fever the Ghost. The band teamed up with Sean Lennon for a short tour then hooked up with Flaming Lips and have been touring with them. Fever the Ghost was even included on Flaming Lips' Beatles tribute album, With a Little Help From My Fwends, and performed the first track, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Fever the Ghost recently completed recording a full-length LP that is due out sometime this year. 



BEST ALBUM  
Sleepy Sun ~ Maui Tears

Sleepy Sun keeps getting better and better and their 2014 release, Maui Tears, may be their best batch of songs yetI don't know how Sleepy Sun finds time to record new music since they seem to be on the road** most of the time. 
3D picture of Maui Tears double 12" by Sleepy Sun

Sleepy Sun music has pretty much always been available on beautifully fancified vinyl as an option. Their latest release, Maui Tears, is one of the most gorgeous records I own. A double EP consisting of two 12" 45 rpm colored vinyl records, one marbled turquoise and the other marbled burgundy. Splendid! 

The vinyl is divine, but what carries most weight on this record is the music itself. My favorite Sleepy Sun record to date. Their captivating spacey music is perfect for driving across the desert. Maui Tears is somewhat a departure from their earlier releases, and captures a broad cross-section of styles including, (but certainly not limited to), the progressive and psychedelic elements that they've always been defined by.

Buoyant but not bogged down.

This record demonstrates Sleepy Sun's ability to weave heavy and light, powerful ~ sensitive, brutal ~ tender memes in true form to their traditional trademark sound. Whether or not Sleepy Sun was trying to prove something with this record, they did. Not only the best album of the year, Maui Tears is among the best albums ever.


BEST CONCEPT ALBUM 
Primus and the Chocolate Factory

Primus came on the scene just as vinyl was being replaced by the compact disc. 

I can't imagine a better ensemble to cover the music from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory than Primus, whose funky deep-tonal dark humor is perfect for this scrumptious concept album.

3D picture of two Primus and the Chocolate Factory LP's. The disc on the left is the standard chocolate pressing, the disc on the right is an apparent misprint that sneaked past quality control.

I was skeptical at first, having never seen either of the Willy Wonka or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movies, but after one listen to Primus' version, I was so intrigued that I was motivated to watch both.

The vinyl is chocolaty delicious and the Wonkaesque art on the record is a nice touch...  
Keeping with the Wonka theme, Primus also sold candy bars and even pressed five special "Golden Ticket" versions of the record on gold vinyl. The Golden Ticket versions were placed randomly among the other records before distribution. Those lucky enough to find a Golden Ticket record will be able to attend Primus shows for LIFE. I heard that Augustus Gloop found one in Germany.

Here's a short tour of the Chocalate record factory.

Sadly, I missed the Chocolate Factory Tour°° :-(




BEST JAZZ RECORD 
Levin Brothers


Tony Levin is a musician that needs no introduction. In 2014, Tony teamed up with his brother, Pete, and released their first jazz album. An instant gold record, because the record itself was gold.

3D picture of the Levin Brothers limited edition gold record

Historically, a gold record meant that one million copies had been sold. On Tony Levin's Blog, he joked that he believes°* "...in the current market for vinyl record sales, even ONE album sold should be certified as gold. Therefore, in a reverse of the normal procedure, we have made the Levin Brothers record gold from the start." 

This vinylphile couldn't resist getting one of 1,000 copies of this special edition gold record released on Lazy Bones Recordings. All subsequent pressings will be on black vinyl, which is still awesome, but not spectacularly beautiful.

Here's a sample 


** I've been fortunate to see Sleepy Sun perform a handful of times, including their very first show at the old Vets Hall in Santa Cruz, CA back in 2007.

°° I've seen Primus SO many times that I can't keep the shows straight. This would have been an exceptionally memorable show. 

Primus front man, Les Claypool teamed up with the Melvins guitarist, , released a country album under the moniker, Duo du Twang. Said record would have been considered as Best Country Record if it had been pressed on special vinyl and if Best Country Record wasn't an oxymoron.

°* From the article, About Gold Records: a Brief History of Gold Records as reported (only somewhat accurately) by Tony Levin 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Best Song of 2013

There were a plethora of great songs last year, but the one that ascended to the BEST OF position, is the Cogito's RemiX of Adrea Castiano's "Falling"

The Falling RemiX was recorded, produced and engineered by Mason Rosenberg who also played on, produced and recorded the original track for Adrea Castiano. The Falling RemiX is masterfully reconstructed and exemplifies an exaltation of the original piece while exhibiting superior technique and ability in the realm of remiX. 

The Cogito, a moniker used by musician extraordinaire,  Mason Rosenberghas demonstrated exhaustive expertise for half a decade with original and remiX compositions that are always amazing and pleasing to the ear.


The Cogito's Mason Rosenberg is maybe best known for playing bass in the Vox Jaguars, A Quantum Visionary and numerous other bands. Mason currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA and in addition to being a popular bassist, he also writes, produces and records music. Mason's bio is so vast that it requires a Wiki installment* to cover his musical activities sufficiently. 

Mason's work is highly respected among his musical peers. The ineffable Denney Joints** of Midnite Snack said "Mason is one of the most accomplished musicians I know... he has refined taste and knows the value of art and integrity..." Apollo Records recording artist, Oliver Nickell*** of Tree said "One thing I've always admired about Mason is his musical diversity and exploration of sound... [he] has covered much musical ground in a short lifespan." 

Congrats to the Cogito, a worthy recipient of Zenberg Bolgue's BEST SONG of 2013.

See Mason's Bio at: 

** "Mason is one of the most accomplished, most serious musicians I know. And his attitude isn't fucked up either, even on par with most frustrated people trying to have a better attitude. He has refined taste and knows the value of art and integrity over curly, golden locks." --Denney Joints

*** "One thing I've always admired about Mason is his musical diversity and exploration of sound. As the years progressed, his music has acquired a quite unique quality from experimenting and blending together many different genres. From his early work producing various music with Sir Paul in high school and their legendary live set at Harbor High's annual battle of the bands, his experimental effort in Pterodactobot, his contribution of raw power-driving baselines in the Vox Jaguars, and eventually his refined down-tempo, glitch-influenced production, the Cogito; Mason has covered much musical ground in a short lifespan."        --Oliver "Tree" Nickell

Saturday, April 20, 2013

BEST Album of 2012 - Brad Stock's Atomic Clock - Timeless and Timely

It isn't uncommon for someone to give me a copy of their personal music CD to review. It is, however, uncommon when the gift engages my interest. And then, there's the one in a million that turns out to be something special. 


Brad Stock's Atomic Clock is Something Special.

Last year, I drove to Salt Lake to watch Pink Floyd's The Wall at Brewvies Cinema Pub where Salt Lake's local, listener-sponsored community radio station, KRCL, hosts a monthly Night at the Movies to help fund broadcast operations costs. I hadn't seen The Wall in a theater since it was first released in 1982, and I was looking forward to watching it on the big screen again. 

As I sat in the dining area awaiting the theater doors to open, I spied an unassuming gentleman sitting at the bar wearing a Pink Godzilla T-shirt, a rare and unusual sighting behind the Zion Curtain.

Pink Godzilla is a sushi restaurant on 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz that the locals all call Pinky G's. "Maybe he's from my little beach town," I mused as I approached him and asked:


"Did you get that Pink Godzilla T-shirt in Santa Cruz?" 

"Yeah, did you get that DJ's Mini-Mart T-shirt in Santa Cruz?" was his reply.

I had forgotten that I was wearing my DJ's T. As you might have guessed, the gentleman wearing the Pinky G's shirt turned out to be Brad Stock. He was there to see The Wall too, and apparently had thematically selected his shirt for the occasion. I'm happy that he did, otherwise, I may have never met Brad Stock or heard his amazing Atomic Clock, Rhetro Zenberg's selection for BEST Album of 2012.

As Brad Stock and I chatted before the movie began, I learned that he was an avid surfer and had picked up the Pinky G's shirt whilst on a surfing trip to Santa Cruz. He also told me about his newly completed CD that he was obviously very excited about, and presented me with a fresh copy of the Atomic Clock CD along with some Blorbs - decal replicas of the disc image that I'm seeing stuck on signs nearly everywhere I go these days.


Brad made me promise that I'd wear headphones the first time I listened to his album. He wanted to ensure that I'd have the opportunity to appreciate the quality and depth of the music. I was tempted to play it in the car on my 40-minute drive home, but I refrained, and waited until I could listen as Brad had prescribed. 

Time to Hear the Atomic Clock

I prefer to listen to new music on headphones for my first listen anyway, so I was comfortable with the notion of taking time late at night, to sit alone in the dark. With no visual distractions and the phones snug against my ears, I pushed play, laid back, closed my eyes and heard "the Sun" rise. Before I knew it, "the Moon" was coming up like a big bald head and I had completed my first experience with the Atomic Clock. The music had drawn me in so deeply that I felt as though I had been meditating. 

The first time hearing the Atomic Clock was moving in a way that was natural and cosmic... kind of like the first time that I heard Pink FloydNot to say that the Atomic Clock is anything like Pink Floyd or progressive rock in general for that matter. The Atomic Clock doesn't overwhelm the listener with the excessive experimentation that occasionally* drags down progressive rock compositions. The Atomic Clock resonates with a vibe of goodness, whereas prog rock tends** to be a bit gloomy. There's no time for doom n gloom on the Atomic Clock - which is more of a soundtrack for living and celebrating life. It's all good.

Clockwerks

The Atomic Clock consists of ten unique and nicely woven compositions that eclectically bridge any genre gap. The songs are all cleverly written, and obviously composed by someone who possesses a wide scope of life experience and musical influence.***  The songs demonstrate a broad variety of flexibility and depth that keep the listener intrigued and engaged. No two are alike, nevertheless, each has its time in the spotlight. To me, one quality that stands out on the Atomic Clock, is its timelessness. It doesn't seem to be restricted to time and space or style.

For the most part, the Atomic Clock is feel-good music that makes a nice soundtrack for anything you might be doing. Brad told me that he wanted to make music "that would move and reach people." It turns out that the Atomic Clock is the result of a late night wish in Hawaii. Brad recalled that night, "while standing outside, looking up at the night sky, I put my wish out there." 

When the choice came down to a significant five minute decision at the bus station, Brad remembered the words of a wise friend who had encouraged him to follow his bliss. Brad's journey had led him to a place where he'd have to decide - which bus to take. Brad remembered his trusted friend's advice and heeded his counsel. On the bus ride of life, Brad Stock's alternative destination would have materialized drastically different had he taken the other bus. 

Brad followed his bliss all the way to the Beehive State where he met music producer Matt Winegar**** who had availability in his schedule at the perfect time to produce the Atomic Clock

Matt Winegar told me in an interview that he really enjoyed working with Brad on the project and is happy with the way it turned out. He told me that the song, "It Blows" is one of his favorite tracks on the album, and one of the most memorable. Brad remembers that when they began working on that song, Winegar asked him:


"How Zappa do you want to go on this one?" 

Brad remembered that Zappa percussionist, Ed Mann, was a Facebook friend, and decided to invite him to play on the track. "I sent him the song and he said he dug it and would be happy to play on it..." Winegar remembers that Mann provided a lot of great sound surprises, including a nifty little marimba riff that adds to the already prevalent Zappa nuance. 

The Atomic Clock is awesome and timely on many levels and Matt Winegar's production skills augmented Brad's talent and personal vision of the songs. The track, "Hoot 'n Holler Annie" features some lovely strings***** and a beautiful arrangement for an intriguing song about a toe found on the side of the road. It makes me ponder what a Nilsson/Martin team might have realized had they worked together. "Hoot 'n Holler Annie" is about as close as you'll get. 

The song, "One of My Better Days," is an upbeat semi-Reggae song about a day that is good because of all of the things that didn't happen, such as: 


"I Didn't lose my music to a glitch in my iTunes...
...Didn't get crushed by a random boulder..."   

I don't have a favorite song on the Atomic Clock, but I regularly find myself singing or whistling the ultra catchy tune "Chasing the Buddha...til we meet again."



In conclusion, like I always say, "If life is fair" the Atomic Clock will become a classic. It already is on the Zenberg Blogue and for a handful of lucky people who have already discovered it. Congratulations to Brad Stock, and everyone who contributed to making the Atomic Clock a reality. Tis a fine contribution to the musical universe. God speed to ya Brad Stock!


3D image of Brad Stock standing on Mars at the Clark Planetarium where the Atomic Clock was featured for two runs as a CSI laser show in the main dome. The light show is rumored to be appearing in other major cities in the near future. Don't miss it. 

NOTES 

* Certainly not always.

** Generally but not as a rule. The positive aspect of the Atomic Clock is what ultimately earned it Best Album status. Other albums under consideration this year, (Anywhere by Anywhere and Spine Hits by Sleepy Sun), were a bit dark. 

*** Adrian Belew, Al Stewart, the Beatles, Nilsson, Zappa to name a few

**** Matt Winegar has engineered, recorded and produced for such notables as Primus, Coheed in Cambria, Faith No More, to name a few. His recording studio is located in Salt Lake City.

***** This lovely string section was performed by Callie Reed who played both violin and cello on the track. 

purchase the Atomic Clock: http://www.bradstockmusic.com/

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Best Album of 2011 - Denney Joints' Bedtime - A Midnite Snack Any Time of Day


"I wanted to go the sausage fest* but instead, I was in Watsonville, where nothing happens." Denney Joints.


Living in Santa Cruz, California has afforded me numerous opportunities to see some of the world's most influential** performers. Nevertheless, the local talent from this quaint beach community is among the best I've experienced, anywhere. Most notably, a sort of mad musical scientist of a young man who calls himself Denney Joints and his band, Midnite Snack. I've been fortunate to see Denney play live a handful of times at various venues around Santa Cruz, and the shows have always been a real treat.

Denney Joints, a 4.0 art student at San Francisco State University, is no stranger to the Bay Area music scene. He became locally infamous with an early band called "Happy Meal" and his latter-band, Midnite Snack, has enjoyed positive press and reviews throughout the Bay Area.

A few months ago, Denney Joints released his long-awaited "Bedtime" CD. I love Bedtime, and have listened to it too many times to number. My own words can't adequately describe the simple beauty and angsty edginess of this thoughtful recording, so I talked to Denney and others to gain a better understanding of Mr. Joints, and his Best Album of 2011, Bedtime.

"All of bedtime is biographical," Denney told me. "I picked up my guitar in the back room at work where I wrote all of these songs and drank quarts of Hi-Life and smoked dope every day," he joked.


One of the major themes throughout Bedtime seems to be escapism, and Denney weaves an emotional tale of partying with friends in Santa Cruz, idealistic abandonment of responsibility, and whimsically wishful fit-in fantasies. The first track, "Cookin" is about the anticipation of a party at Denney's house, to which he had invited a girl from the local grocery store. "She never came to the party," lamented Denney. However, while working out the song in the back room at work, he came up with the two chords, FM7 and G13, which he described to me as, "a lazier-than-punk take on chords that require no effort to play and sound wonderful." Denney Joints' unmistakable signature sound.

Denney seems to possess a natural, encyclopedic knowledge of music, and is comfortable navigating through stylistic changes. He employs numerous subtle musical influences that keep the music entertaining and interesting. But Denney has no desire to become a commercial success, and claims to despise commercial music. "I love simple music," explained Denney, "but commercial music skips the feeling and goes straight for spectacle." Denney Joints' Bedtime is simple, yet thoughtful and deliberate, and according to music critic, Joey McNeill, "exhibits a kind of dreamlike quality, and a kind of farcical poke at pop music." Denney's distance from commercialism has allowed him to maintain a pure vein of creativity with the attitude that, "if people feel it, great, but if they don’t, I will not change anything to make them bite the hook."

The lyrics on Bedtime are witty and are occasionally presented in a code language that Denney calls Scumbag Select, a clever language in which the pronunciation of words are phonetically skewed based on a set of complicated letter-swapping rules that he has obviously mastered and employs with great skill. Half the fun of Bedtime is dissecting the lyrics.

Nick Overhauser,*** lent his expertise to the Bedtime project by playing on and recording the album. Nick told me that, in his opinion, "Bedtime is an ode to an angry young weirdo who sees little value in the ways of the modern world." Gazing out the window from behind the counter at Denney's workplace and, "seeing people in groups getting along and looking quite ordinary." Denney Joints' observations have become something wonderfully creative, entertaining and satisfying. Joey McNeill related that he "hadn't thought about these things for a long time," and went on to say that, "Denney has found common experiences and truths in the boredom and frustrations that we all share in our youth." Denney says that Bedtime is "emotionally autobiographical," meaning that "the lyrics themselves don't address actual events directly." This gives Bedtime a universal, cross-generational quality and appeal. Even my mom would like it.

All of the tracks on the album are noteworthy, and if life was fair, all of them would be known by everyone. I won't attempt to pin any particular style or genre on the music of Bedtime other than to say that it is eclectic, and uniquely Denney Joints. There is one particular track on the album that deserves special attention and can only be described as "timeless". The Creek Song is jovial, happy harmony and blissful balance. A perfect late summer day spent with the best of friends whilst nestled in the arms of a loving Mother Nature. The Creek Song is a masterpiece, and will forever be one of my favorites.

Denney Joints' Bedtime was mastered at Indigital Studios in Santa Cruz, CA by Mason Rothschild, who**** described Denney as, "an amazing jewel of a mad genius," and went on to say that when Denney gave him the original recordings, they were "wrapped in notes and emotional requests about each song." Although I wonder sometimes if Bedtime is comedic, it is obvious that Denney is serious about his music, and, like Beefheart and Zappa, has eccentric demands, from everyone who contributes to his projects. "I knew that I was up against something completely different," recalls Nick Overhauser who described the first stretch of recording Bedtime as "convoluted and wacky", but by the time the album had been completed, Nick considered it to be one of his favorite projects.

I asked Denney about his selection of personnel for Bedtime, and his on-stage band, Midnite Snack. He told me that generally, people bore him with their "lack of focus and musical accomplishment" but praised his own band, saying that they all "exceed the bar" and that their playing is "precise." Midnite Snack is a fluid membership of friends***** who give their all to Denney's live performances that take me back to the newness I experienced at some late-seventies, and early-eighties punk shows. Denney isn't punk, but he possesses some of the same qualities and attitudes. Bedtime is smart, clever and involved, yet maintains a cohesive structure. Nick Overhauser told me, the most impressive thing about Denney's conceptual work to him, is that, "every album follows a theme with repeated lyrical ideas and melodies... without being too obvious or on the nose." Joey McNeill observed that Denney Joints "has taken frustration and made it enlightening" and called Bedtime "a kind of commentary about how carefully and methodically the introvert moves his way out into the public like a reluctant, escaped hamster who, oblivious to his boundaries, nibbles away at the crackers in our cupboard."

Listening to Bedtime is like eating crackers, you just can't quit. BEWARE! Denney Joints' catchy songs get stuck on mental repeat and run through the mind continuously. I usually just give in and play the damn CD to get it out of my head. I've discovered that Bedtime is a Midnite Snack that can be enjoyed any time of day or night, and Rhetro Zenberg is happy to announce Denney Joints' Bedtime as the Best Album of 2011.

Have a Nice Snack!



*
Click here to enjoy Denney Joints' Sausage Fest commercial from KPIG Radio, Santa Cruz


**There are far too many to name them all, but a sampling of my most memorable performances would certainly include: Laurie Anderson, Adrian Belew Power Trio, King Crimson, Ravi Shankar, the Residents...

***In addition to being a recording expert, Nick Overhauser played drums on Bedtime and has played for Sheena, Mountain Animal Hospital, Ship of the Sierras, Midnite Snack, and is currently on tour with Birdhand.

****Audio engineer Mason Rothschild, has played in Midnite Snack and is currently touring with the band, Birdhand.

*****To stay fresh, Midnite Snack changes personnel every Venusian cycle. There have been at least eight members of Midnite Snack so far, including two bassists named Mason, (Rosenberg and Rothschild), and three members of the popular indie band, the Vox Jaguars, (Sam Copperman, Trevor Hope and Mason Rosenberg), but Denney says he has no plans for a Vox Jaguars cover, and now that Denney has moved to Oakland, he may resurrect Midnite Snack there, with fresh faces.

Denney Joints - The Coolest Cat On The Couch

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Best Live Record of the Year - Side Four: Critique

Pre-Order Belews

I waited a long time to hear this CD. Back when the double Mike power trio was touring, there was talk about plans to release live material to complete Adrian's Sides theme. After all, a three-sided record doesn't make much sense.* Then came the Eric and Julie version of the power trio, and more promises of a Side Four in the future. Recently it was announced that Side Four would soon be released, and that pre-orders were being taken at http://www.adrianbelew.net/ I promptly pre-ordered my copy of Side Four in order to be among the first to hear it. That was the plan anyway... 

I looked for it in my mailbox daily, until one day, it donned on me that I couldn't remember informing Pay-pal of my address change when I moved a couple of years ago. I decided to check my on-line receipt, and to my horror, I discovered that my signed copy of Side Four had been shipped to my old address on B-40 Drive. I picked up the telephone and called the people who currently live there, but no one answered, so I left a message explaining what had happened. A few more days passed and I hadn't hear back, so I drove to Happy Valley to find out for myself. When I arrived, no one was around, no mail in the box, and no package anywhere to be found. Next door, the infamous Happy Valley Villa loomed forebodingly... making me wonder if my Side Four was being enjoyed by some villain living within the gates of the spooky complex once owned by the Elizabeth Montgomery family. On Christmas Eve, I successfully contacted the current residents at my former address who told me that they hadn't seen the parcel. OK, so it is lost, I should be able to find a copy of Side Four somewhere in Santa Cruz right? wrong! I found two Side Twos, and one Side One, but no Side Four for X-Mass. 
Unexpected Surprise

I play disc golf every Thursday, and today was no exception. I realized that I had forgotten my special disc golf glasses, so Mighty Mo met me at the course, so I'd be able to see where to throw the disc. In addition to my special spectacles, she handed me a small manila mailer. The official Nashville TN postmark was dated December 24, X-mas Eve. I knew it was Side Four before I looked to see. The good folks at
Adrian Belew Presents had made sure that I received a replacement for my lost parcel. I had a fantastique round of disc golf in anticipation of listening to my new compact disc.

I didn't open the parcel until I got home. Knowing that it would be difficult to give a critical listen with all the hustle and bustle of extra-family activity all around me, I chose to wait until the house was quite quiet and dark. I didn't want any interruptions. With headphones adjusted comfortably on my ears, I pushed play, and heard
the best live album of the year... maybe the best album of the year... I haven't heard all of them yet, so can't say for sure. 
The Listen
 
Writing on the Wall erupts like a volcano on a primordial landscape. The thundering sound makes me feel like some kind of Primusaurous Erectus is coming to scoop me up and devour me. Fast as punk and tight as a fine Swiss watch. Suddenly, another Dinosaur rears its head for an old familiar Krimson cover. The bass is masterfully executed, the drums are precise and deliberate. Adrian's voice is powerful as he delivers every note with convincing passion. Pretty freakin' good for an old guy. Oh, and the guitar... Oh, yea... and did I mention the bass? What really stands out on this track is the bare foot pretty's phenomenal frettery. Wow! Queen Crimson.

I had always hoped of one day seeing and or hearing
Les Claypool play Ampersand live with Belew... this is probably better... Next, Adrian introduces his masterful young musicians who have just made such an impression on the audience (and listeners at home like me). Young Lions sounds as though the trio has played together for a decade. Adrian's guitar solo roars and reminds everyone what they're there for. He manages his custom-made Parker Fly guitar as though it is an extension of himself. No wonder Beat Box Guitar was nominated for a Grammy a couple of years ago. Infused with a touch Krimsonesence, it really grooves, and is a lot of fun to listen to too. It sounds like the band is having a great time... like three kids in a sandbox. One of the most beautiful songs in the sides series is Matchless Man. The lyrics and backwards guitar give this piece a bit of a Lennon flavour.

Next the band plays
A Little Madness. I wonder how mad folks feel about the title. I don't think they'd like it, but I do... really... what, do you think I'm Krazi? In a couple of months, I'm going to Drive all the way to San Fancisco to see this dynamique trio because they're not coming to the vegetarian and barefoot-friendly Santa Cruz. The Siblings Slick sit this one out as Adrian commandeers the wheel and takes everyone on a Belooperistic adventure. Nice!

One of my favorite Belew songs is
Of Bow and Drum, from the Op Zop Too Wah album. I couldn't ask for a better live presentation. Great job. Last November, I was impressed when these three played Big Electric Cat at the Catalyst here in Santa Cruz. Listening to this track reminded me of the excitement in the air that night. From frogs croaking in the jungle to the slick presentation on this disc, there are now lots of versions of Thela Hun Gingeet for the Krimsonnoisseur to enjoy. 
Not Kids Anymore

Now that I've heard
Side Four, I feel like it isn't fair to refer to Eric and Julie Slick as kids any longer. They've proven themselves. Any band would be thrilled to have either one of these exceptional performers in their ensemble... Adrian Belew is fortunate to have both of them. He'll have to work hard to keep up with these two.

I have to wonder what is next for the Twang Bar King now that the
Sides are complete...
and what of the siblings Slick?
* Unless you're the Residents who recorded a three sided concept album called Tourniquet of Roses. The double album was intended to have a blank fourth side, but economics outweighed concepts, and the music was whittled down to accommodate the limitations of a single 12# vinyl disc, (two sides). Fortunately, the full version is now available on one side of a single compact disc.