BOULEBLOG 100! WE CELEBRATE THE MILESTONE BY GIVING UP!

November 22, 2019

The seventh studio album from Peter Gabriel, UP, deals with the delightful topics of birth, life and death.

You are reading the 100th blog post at BouleBlog. Thank you for your support. In celebration of this milestone, I want to present this Friday Flashback-style review of an album that meant a great deal to me when it came out as I am somewhat the death hag. So when an artist like Peter Gabriel comes out with an album aimed at the topic of death, named UP, I am all on board.

But when I played the album (over and over, I might add), I began to have some subversive thoughts enter my mind. Why, I was making music all wrong! The arrangements, the sonics, the patches and voices of the synthesizers, the processing of the drums, my methods were all outmoded.

Leave it to the guy in Genesis who bailed out right as the band hit their artistic peak to show me how it’s done…

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KING QUEEN JOSH HOMME RESSURECTS DESERT SESSIONS FOR VOLUMES 11 AND 12

November 2, 2019

The return of Desert Sessions features a cast of characters rival to the Wacky Racers. Photo courtesy Desert Sessions Facebook page

I took this summer off to do some more repairs/renovations around my house. This was messy stuff, and I like to have music playing when I do work like this as I am often by myself so it keeps me from going nuts. So I tend to pick the long stuff, or stuff I have made into long play lists.

Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions fits that bill. Each volume is equivalent to one album. So volumes One and Two came out together as one release, so on all the way up to the last, volumes Nine and Ten. Each volume featured famous guests and residents at the studio the series is named after, Rancho De La Luna in the Palm Desert, CA area. For the first volumes, the guests were people who were either recording in Rancho, or were friends of project pioneer Homme. But what a rich pool to pick from, bands like Kyuss, Fatso Jetson, and many of these players would also go on to form Queens Of The Stone Age.

Over time the guest list expanded exponentially, drawing in people like Mark Lanegan, Alain Johannes, and P.J. Harvey. The Desert Sessions provides scouting for new members of QOTSA, as the lineup often mutated until the most recent lineup formed and has remained consistent to this day. This lineup may experience shakeup after Homme’s announcement that the two-year long tour for the disappointing album Viliains proved to be too much for the health and well-being addled Homme. Near death experiences, health scares, losses of close friends and near misses of very close friends at the hands of international terrorists can take a toll on a man. He was recently quoted in the online edition of NME that he wouldn’t mind if QOTSA were a touch smaller, in terms of audience size, reach, etc.

I see this as fulfillment of my expectation that working with Mark Ronson would damage QOTSA in some way. They’d either get too commercial, or too popular, and I totally get where Homme is coming from. I have had some really bad experiences in a couple of QOTSA Facebook groups. But I shouldn’t saddle QOTSA fans with that distinction exclusively, animosity exists in pretty much all of the Facebook fan groups regardless of the artist. With the possible exception of the Mark Mulcahy/Miracle Legion group.

In order for Homme to clear his head of all the Ronson-generated nonsense, he retreated to the desert to collect some hefty names for the most recent edition of the sessions, that being Desert Sessions Vol. 11 & 12. But before we get into those names, let’s further examine what the Desert Sessions are:

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WHO’S THAT MAN? ED RANDAZZO IS THAT MAN CELEBRATING 10 YEARS IN THE PA MUSIC BIZ

October 24, 2019

A comprehensive compilation of an artist’s survival in a local market for over ten years. A rare feat for that market. Photo courtesy edrandazzomusic.com

One thing this blog has taught me is, “Stay in your lane”. I’ve dabbled in jazz reviews, world reviews, indie reviews, Americana reviews, and it has brought me to the point where, I need to stay within my personal wheelhouse of expertise. While I may not be the world’s foremost authority on Goth music, I will continue to bait all the Daniel Ash fans with my opinion (yes, Vinnie, that last word, OPINION, stupid Bauhaus loser arguing with my opinion) but I will pick and choose my reviews carefully from this point forward.

So when it was proposed to me that I could do the new Ed Randazzo retrospective, I jumped at the chance. Admittedly, Randazzo’s style of traditional, Americana folk-soul borders suspiciously close to some of the music I have recently sworn-off. For personal reasons I will pay no more attention to Sam Llanas and his crew. Since I will not be committing any further column space about his Americana, why not support a local boy who isn’t a full-of-himself douche who doesn’t appreciate those who were pulling for him, and promoting them to the best of their ability? Randazzo never made any promises, connections or forged any allegiances to go back on.

I have no problem promoting someone who is genuine, earnest, and has bon-a-fide talent. Like Ed…

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END OF AN ERA! PSYCHODOTS PLAY FINAL 666TH ANNUAL THANKSGIVING SHOW WITH EMOTIONAL POWERHOUSE PERFORMANCE!

October 19, 2019

The final 666th Thanksgiving psychodots show. Thankfully they captured it for all to enjoy. Photo courtesy Rob Fetters

Thank you Adrian Belew. No, seriously! It was through my familiarity with his tenure in King Crimson that I got to know Rob Fetters, Bob Nyswonger and Chris Arduser. Those three had long been together as The psychodots. Then Belew’s buddy Rob Fetters paid an LA visit to a woodshedding Belew, who was being taught all of the impossible Zappa guitar parts that made up the Sheik Yerbouti album and tour (as both were often intertwined with Zappa).

At some point Belew and Fetters had decided to start a band. Something with a name that sounds like a little-league baseball team. The Bears! The formulation of the band was easy; Belew + psychodots = The Bears.

psychodots (yes, the preferred spelling of the band name has no capital letters, allegedly, if I mis-speak, Fetters will hang me out to dry on social media) had been making off-beat, catchy music for years with a healthy catalog that I will be covering at future dates on this blog. Another band that Fetters and Nyswonger were in with Ricky Nye and Bam Powell, the Raisins, also had songs revisited as Bears songs. “Fear Is Never Boring” from the Bears first album was, in fact, an early Raisins song as was the Bears song “Superboy” which was a reworked Raisin’s song called “Valentine”.

Through that association, I also learned that there is/was a thriving indie music community in the Cincy area! Not only were Arduser, Fetters and Nyswonger in psychodots, there were other bands that shared personnel. Raisins, Bucket, Graveblankets, then other bands would later evolve from those. Flying Underground, Bluebirds, Copper, and so many more that I know I have forgotten.

As part of that scene, every year around Thanksgiving, the psychodots come together and play their annual gig. But in 2018, that tradition came to an end.

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ALAN PARSONS, FREE OF THE PROJECT, TRIES ANYTHING ONCE ON HIS PREMIER SOLO ALBUM

September 13, 2019

The first solo album by Alan Parsons. Fresh from a feud-riddled Freudiana with Eric Woolfson.

Before I begin the review I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to Alan Parsons for his Grammy win for the 35th Anniversary Box Set release of Eye In The Sky. It’s always affirming when Parsons get some recognition for his work outside of the dreadful Pink Floyd album and the even more banal Beatles works. I would have liked to have seen him get more recognition for his I Robot album than he got for the other projects. This is yet another unpopular opinion I am sure, but if you want popular opinion, there are millions of other reviewers towing the label dictate. Read them!

Now…

Rock operas are no damn good! If we learn nothing else from this review, we should be at least advised that rock operas can destroy (what the modern music industry would consider) a golden goose. Imagine, you are the head of a record label. Some guy and his pal come to you with a crazy idea that they are going to do a concept album (a good thing), about Edgar Allan Poe. Now, seeing as the median reader age is just a touch younger than I am, Poe was considered the grandfather of Goth. So that would mean dark, forbidding tales of murder, mayhem, deceit, set to catchy prog-rock style tunes.

You would kick their asses right out of the building, never mind your office…

Except ‘some guy’ is Alan Parsons, fresh off of working with Pink Floyd on Dark Side Of The Moon, and having just hung out with The Beatles during their infamous ‘Rooftop Concert’ (the bloke in the orange shirt). Not to mention Al Stewart’s Year Of The Cat album, and Pilot’s debut album From The Album Of The Same Name. If that’s not familiar to you, I KNOW you have heard the Pilot song “Magic” if in no other form, it was bastardized in the commercial for the drug Ozembic. The other guy? Eric Woolfson who was a minor music mogul in that he was managing several bands. Most notably and recognizably Carl Douglas whose song “Kung Fu Fighting” became an annoyance in the mid-seventies. But most importantly, Woolfson was a songwriter. Something Parsons was still finding his way around, but gaining ground quickly being around Woolfson. They share credit on many Parsons Project songs.

And the label was 20th Century Fox. Now the faithful readers of this rag (all two of you) know how I feel about movie production companies owning record labels. I know each and every band member of Miracle Legion will say the same thing; no damn good. As I alluded to before, 20th Century was given a concept album about Edgar Allan Poe and after it, they gave Parsons/Woolfson the boot.

It was at this point, The Alan Parsons Project would truly begin…

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OFF THE RECORD: TONES ON TAIL SLOG AND SHRED AT THE GALLERY, MANCHESTER, MAY 28, 1984

January 5, 2019

A deceptively good disc. The performances and Ash’s antics are abundant.

Daniel Ash, David J. and Kevin Haskins salvaged a working relationship once the Bauhaus were finished. There was still a fresh flow of material oozing out of Ash. To this day, Ash is releasing music as a solo artist and with Haskins and Haskin’s daughter Diva Dompe as POPTONE. Long time readers of this blog will remember the Great POPTONE Fiasco of 2017. Despite what Ash’s ‘management’ claims, I felt I wrote one of the best reviews of my life for that show (at the over-hyped Stone Pony) and I continue to stand by that review today. Frankly, I don’t care what the POPTONE camp has to say.  Would I have liked the band to see my review? Sure! I always want the band to see my review. I feel I can relate to them, they can identify with me, we speak the same lingo (you readers don’t really want me to go into hyper-specifics about key, chords, scales, nodes, technology, equipment, processes, so on, you’ve told me so).

But most musicians DO want to talk specifics.

None of that matters. This blog has recommitted itself to enjoying the process of composing reviews that lead to insight, glancing insider knowledge and minimal technical speak. That last one will resurface, I know it.

This is one from our soundboard recording specialist Craig. We’ll get to how you can own this nifty prize yourself later.

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WE RING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH A PRIVATE RESERVE: WITH TOO MANY SONGS AND NOT ENOUGH BAND, BILL SPOONER LAUNCHES FIRST CHUD!

December 29, 2018

The first solo album by Tubes founder Bill Spooner. It is disputed as to whether or not it is truly Spooner’s first as he recorded and released an album under the name of Warren S. Richardson on Cotillion Records in 1969. We’ll be focusing on First Chud.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I see they have added banner ads to the content on this site. I guess the economy is SO great under Trumonomics, the host site has to make my already annoying content even more annoying with pop-down banner ads. I do not begrudge them. This host site has been great to me for many years. I hope to be able to continue my relationship with them for years to come. But please know it is not my personal preference. However, if that’s what it takes to keep this site going and to maintain the archive of atrocities from my feeble, drug-addled, vitriolic brain, so be it. Additionally, as this is the first Private Reserve review, the concept behind it is, I will review vinyl, imports, rare stuff I have or find for my own collection that might be exceptionally unknown, an artist of personal favor or a piece of artistic quality. The hope is I can turn folks on to things they may not know are out there, and to hopefully resurrect interest in these otherwise lost treasures.

Gonna hope we can cut down on these author’s notes in the new year. And happy new year to you! Let’s launch First Chud…

Some times a band hits a brick wall. Try as they may, try as they might, nothing puts them back on the track they were originally on. For Bill Spooner, that band was the Tubes. For the Tubes, that track was success. I’ve gone on and on about the role Todd Rundgren played in the demise of not one but two recording contracts with two separate labels for the Tubes. For the uninitiated, the first time was after Remote Control on A&M in 1979. Then after the tumultuous Love Bomb sessions, not only were the Tubes dropped by Capitol Records during the 1985 tour, while Rundgren’s Utopia was opening for them, Utopia’s label Passport/Jem/Utopia records just up and folded.

It came around to bite Rundgren on the ass.

While Bill Spooner was on Team Rundgren when it came to the production of Love Bomb, lead vocalist Fee Waybill rallied for the return of David Foster. It was Foster who had spoon-fed the Tubes hits by bringing in ‘ringers’ to write and even record parts on songs! While Roger Steen reproduces the solo on one of their hits, “Talk To Ya Later” from Completion Backward Principle with more passion than the recording, it was actually Steve Lukather who played on recording. Foster brought in Tom Snow to co-write some songs, brought in Martha Davis of the Motels to duet on the cover of “Monkey Time” and more that I’m forgetting most likely.

The only guest Rundgren ever brought in was himself.

Spooner loved having Rundgren around. Spooner picked up a lot from Rundgren. Rundgren would co-opt keyboardist (the late, great) Vince Welnick for tours and recording for years until Welnick would get caught up in that whole worthless Grateful Dead-centric universe that, I feel, would ultimately cost him his life.

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FUCK THE SYSTEM! DARON MALAKIAN TURNS DICTATOR!!! THE FIRST IN OUR NEW CATEGORY VINYL IS FINAL!

November 10, 2018

The colored vinyl still sounds good in 7.1 surround… Photo courtesy Coming Age

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This review was delayed due to flooding in the Coming Age Recorders room. I have been doing ALL the remediation by myself. As a result of that, I have ingested copious amounts of mold (all the colors of the mold rainbow, White, Green and Black) and became seriously ill. Thanks to some dubious medical care, I have (finally) gotten better and am returning to reviewing full speed ahead. I do apologize for falling off the radar, but, it’s tough to listen, hear and discern when all you can hear is a constant ring in your head (in the key of G). Not an excuse, a reason. Now on to Scars on Broadway!

Where is all the good music these days? With the music industry in the turmoil that it currently festers within, truly talented artists languish behind less talented artists who have what the industry calls ‘The Look’, meaning, ‘we’ll fix their crappy vocals with autotune, ProTools, harmonizers, vocal processors, etc.’. Now one would think the record companies would want to get less attractive artists (so to speak) who can spend less time in a studio and thus cost less. But in their infinite wisdom, they want attractive people who spend hours of studio time (cost) so they can market them more easily. Screw talent, their face appeals to the common denominator.

Fortunately, right before that mindset (the American Idol/Got Talent mindset) a group of Armenian gentlemen started a speed-thrash metal group out of L.A. called System Of A Down. They have about five albums out, each is worth the purchase price. Speed metal about Armenian Genocide, you can’t beat it.

However…

System Of A Down drummer John Dolmayan more or less recently let it slip that he is not expecting a recording reunion of the band anytime soon. Singer Serj Tankian is busy with his activist work trying to get the United States as well as other countries to recognize the Armenian Genocide that was executed by the Turkish in the early 1900’s.  It was May 1915 when the Ottoman Empire started hauling in those in (Old World) Constantinople and sent them to Ankara. All in all, just shy of 275 Armenian intellects and civic leaders were systematically rounded up, arrested, and deported to Turkey where they were executed. The exact numbers of the genocide are always in flux by a few hundred.

Now for Tankian, this is no ‘charity for the sake of a tax break’ cause for him. Or any other member of System Of A Down (SOAD). You see, for those of you who aren’t knowing of SOAD, all four members, Dolmayan, Tankian, bassist Shavo Odajian and guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian are all of Armenian descent (Dolmayan being born in Beirut to Armenian parents) and have a passion about making the world accept that yes, that genocide was real and it was perpetrated by the Turkish. The United States needs to recognize and deal with that fact since the country is all ‘tariff this and tariff that, sanctions here, sanctions there’, why not sanction a country that deserves/requires it, as opposed to picking fights at summit meetings? Because The Great Orange Leader (TGOL) doesn’t like dealing with women such as Merkel and May, and is jealous of Macron’s popularity in France, as well as other petty grudges throughout the G8-20. ‘Tis better to sanction those who were our allies years ago in order to obtain and propagate crude oil, than to use sanctions and tariffs to uphold what is decent, what is honest, what is true, what is law… Not to mention Turkey’s recent accusation that the US (TGOL) ‘stabbed an ally in the back’. Then there’s the whole Khashoggi issue. Turkey is tough, so that puts the Armenian cause squarely in the underdog position…

This is where Malakian steps in.

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DAVID FITZPATRICK GREETS US WITH A WHIRLWIND THAT IS PARACHUTES IN HURRICANES

August 10, 2018

David Fitzpatrick puts his name on the line for Parachutes And Hurricanes. Photo courtesy the internet

I love Gary Tanin. I really do. He’s been a fan of this blog way back before it was this blog. The history between us goes back to when I was writing for Princeton Record Exchange. I don’t recall what review I wrote that garnered his attention there, but he came along when I decided to blow off the other two stores I was writing for and forge out on my own.

For that I will always be grateful. But I fear this is where all good things must end.

All throughout this blog’s history, I have made every effort to look for the unusual, the out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten path stuff. Having first been born and raised in the NJ/NY area, I was influenced by that fringe that was all around then. Free radios in cars blasted new and unusual stuff with the birth of FM radio. WPLJ, so on etc. So while I was getting the fresh info and news and new music, my family was imploding and my mother had to take me away from all that culture…

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ROXY MUSIC- A LOOK AT THE PREMIER PROG-GLAM BAND WITH THE VIDEO STORY MORE THAN THIS

July 21, 2018

Gaze upon the glam! You can with the DVD More Than This, The Story Of Roxy Music. Photo courtesy of Amazon

My long time mentor back in the 80’s (Storkasaurus Maximus) had introduced me to one Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, RDI, mostly through his Ambient works. If you feel like you are harried, unravelling, uncontrollable, put everything you have aside and just listen to any of his Ambeint series, Music For Airports is a particular pulse calmer. A more commercial route to Avant Eno would be his Music For Films, Vol. 1. There are shorter “songs” with equal amounts of signal-mutation, time-altering melody mangling but in three to five minute increments.

So Imagine my shock when I saw my first Roxy Music video (Virginia Plain) and I was hooked. Then, as the shots hop around the band FOLY FUCK THAT’S ENO! A long blond-ish-colored hair, heavy glam make up, and an outfit to rival future co-conspirator, the late David Bowie. And if that weren’t enough, and by gawd it ought to be, every time the song comes to the measure or so of rest, it’s Eno raping a synthesizer unaccompanied!

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