Archive for January, 2012

Mission Immersion 11.0 – 666 by Aphrodite’s Child

January 30, 2012

Vertigo 1972

I’m not quite sure how one ends up really liking progressive rock, but I know that when I first heard it, I wasn’t much of a fan. For instance, when I first tried listening to Rush, every bone in my body and every instinct I had told me to hate it. But, for some reason, I could never get enough of songs like “Freewill”, “The Spirit of Radio”, and “The Camera Eye”, and that list has grown substantially over time. Rush is an odd case, too, because it seems for every person who says they like Rush, about 15 say they hate them – which can’t really be true, since Rush is one of the biggest selling rock bands of all time. SOMEONE bought those records, and at this point in my life, I’m happy to say that I am one of those people.

Rush is a special case, though – they are the everyman’s prog rock band. Sure, they have some weird, geeky shit, but their best stuff also incorporates bits of pop and other more accessible types of music, which is one reason why they have been able to maintain such popularity over the years. The term “progressive rock” generally refers to the inaccessibly weird – stuff like Van Der Graaf Generator, Popol Vuh, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Can, and even the first few Yes records are good examples. Especially in the cases of Van Der Graaf Generator and Yes, this is abrasive and bloated music, usually most appreciated by scholars of music theory or just plain music nerds. There is no formula to these songs, only the state of mind that whoever wrote them was in at the time, and stream-of-consciousness composition takes precedence over any sort of pop rules.

Not to say they created the genre, but with 666, a Greek band called Aphrodite’s Child set a new standard as to how far the prog rock ideal could actually be taken. (more…)


Mission: Immersion 10.0 – Wheels In Motion by Any Trouble

January 6, 2012

Stiff 1981

I truly love Power Pop with all my heart, thanks to early weanings on Big Star, The Posies, The Beatles and things of that nature. There’s a downside to it, though – more than almost any other genre of music, it can seem very contrived when not done right. This is because generally, the people who make Power Pop are extremely gung ho about it, and are dedicated to keeping it alive. This is a good thing, but dedication is not the same as inspiration, and if you’re too dedicated and not inspired enough, the idea pool gets pretty shallow. (more…)

Mission: Immersion 9.0 – Pacer by The Amps

January 3, 2012

Elektra 1995

I picked up this special Record Store Day release becuase I love Kim Deal. To be a real music geek, it’s almost required – Deal played major roles in the Pixies and the Breeders, two of the most important rock bands of the late-twentieth century. For a music aficionado to say they don’t like her would almost be akin to a math genius saying they don’t like the Pythgorean Theorem. Deal is that important to modern rock music – she brings equal parts fun, brilliance and chaos to her tunes, all wrought with an originality of spirit that is the key to her standout approach. (more…)

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