Friday, December 5, 2008

Roy Harper - The Monster

Politics are a mess.

I was going to say something of the sort last month but I got all excited about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Carmina Burana, and I had to talk about that.

But since democracy is being made a shamble of once again, I’m sure the whole voting process is once again on everyone’s minds.

Voting is a joke isn’t it? There is no one really worth voting for and even when all is said and done there is another game to play by these politicians. Because no one gives a crap about running the country, its just the iron law of oligarchy, everyone wants to be on top, and feel special. No one really cares about getting things done.

Are our politicians really to blame? Yes, they are, they are the clowns that keep taking our tax money and making a mockery of both our nation and democracy. But there are many more people to blame then just those ass-hats, and that is everyone else.

If we have great leaders out there, then where the hell are they? I know they’re out there somewhere but they couldn’t possible go anywhere is politics can they? No of course not, because not enough people will support good politicians, more often then not we don’t even know who they are. So we shrug our shoulders and support a random politician, or just pick a party that tells us what we want to hear more often then the others. Sometimes we get lucky and wind up with a good person in power sometimes we don’t. Random the way modern grown up children like it.

So we’re apathetic, no big deal right, but now your opinion on political matters is irrelevant and so is your mindless zombie vote. Of course it still counts, that’s democracy, no matter how stupid you are you can influence the whole nation..

Things have spiraled out of control because we let things get that way. While we are a far way away from any real danger in our country and government even with this coalition nonsense, I think it is safe to say we have reached a point of stupidity.

I’ve heard the politic body being referred to as a machine many times before, but I have to completely disagree, it’s a mess. It is a complicated combination of fears, ideals, and hopes thrown into a mixing pot and then compared randomly among extremely similar, untrustworthy, parties. We derive a popularity contest with party restrictions, and ultimately mislead ourselves into believe we have done something progressive sometimes, somehow. We have a long list of rules and regulations that sometimes serve some purpose other then being abused. Most importantly no one ever dares say, “wait a minute this whole thing is bananas!”

Roy Harper is an old hippie out of England. He has been writing folk rock music for god knows how long now. Way back in 1970 on Led Zeppelin III the final track is titled “Hats Off to Roy Harper.” Obviously Page and the boys had quite a respect for the man.

More impressive is Roy Harper’s appearance on the Pink Floyd track “Have a Cigar.” Did you ever wonder why Gilmour sounded so different on that song? Well now you know why, it is not him, it’s Roy Harper guest singing.

“By the way, which one’s Pink?” Funny stuff.

Also one of my favorite Canadian groups of all time “The Tea Party” teamed up with Roy Harper for the song “Correspondence” where Roy sang a very deep poem at the end titled “As You Draw Near,” and also on the song “Time” where Roy guess sang the entire song.

Roy Harper is a hippie, as I already said, so you can expect the typical left minded stuff from people like that is his songs. War is bad, Republicans are nazis, pollution is going to kill everyone over night, you know that kind of melodrama. However But Roy Harper is a little different I think. Sure he does have his run-of-the-muck hippie songs, but he is fair. I like people who are fair.

If you are going to bitch about how much you hate war, is it really very fair to hate only George Bush, the Republicans, and America? What about those genocidal lunatics over in the Middle East, are they not just as guilty for causing death and war? Maybe more guilty? Definitely more guilty?

Roy Harper has a song called “Playing God,” where he mocks both British and American war efforts in the Middle East. Which is fair.


Roy Harper also has a song titled “The Black Cloud of Islam,” where he directly attacks the entire Muslim faith for being a religion of conquest, hell bent on forcing a brutal and violent view of god upon the world, with their twisted religion. Sadly, we all know this also fair.

Maybe it is not kosher to bad mouth a religion, but fanatical Islam is pure evil. I’m not saying the entire Muslim faith is evil, though I wonder sometimes, but “fanatical Islam,” oh yeah, evil. They literally believe god wants them to kill everyone who isn’t Muslim. If that doesn’t convince you of their evil, I don’t know what will.

Back to the whole voting mess that is democracy, Roy Harper best song in my opinion happens to be “The Monster.” The way things have changed in our view and use of democracy is quite depressing. It doesn’t have to be this way, but we let it get this way, maybe we can get our dignity back with a little effort. In the end the politicians have no power but the power we give them, and if we really want a change you’d better believe it we can get one. Roy captures that kind of feeling towards democracy pretty well in this song I think.

“Now that there’s is no one left to vote for, only fools to vote against.”

This whole political body you just might say, is a monster. I love humanity, its people I can’t stand, and when you start looking at the petty differences and attitudes towards serious issues like economics, and social tolerance, its appalling how stupid the average person is.

Interesting note, Jeff Martin lead man of the “Tea Party,” is the guest guitarist on this song.

Until next month/year, keep on rocking in the free world,

- Colin Kelly

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Carl Orf - Carmina Burana O Fortuna

The only things I have ever cheated on is death.

I’ll be twenty-five years of age tomorrow, so take that world, better luck next time.

It’s funny some of things you don’t think about when they are not important to you.

One thing I am lucky to have is a quite a collection of good friends. My oldest friend Craig Kemery, whom I have now known for eighteen years now, most of my life even, did me the gracious favor of taking me to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on the fifth. It occurs to me this is the first actual birthday gift I have received probably since high school or earlier, but like I said its funny the things you don’t think about when they aren’t important to you, and I don’t see the big deal about birthdays. The Trans Siberian Orchestra lived up to all my expectation and was an amazing show, so thank you Craig, thank you very much for that.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra as you may remember back in December 2007 music in review are awesome, almost unbelievably so. The general gist of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was that Savatage lead man, Jon Oliva was struggling with the loss of his younger brother and Savatage band mate Criss’s death, wanted to find a way to embellish himself with work that was truly uplifting. Which is a far better solution to one’s problems then dwelling in misery. If you want to focus on something happy, what’s happier then rock and roll Christmas? So Jon teamed up with long time friends Paul O’Neill and Robert Kinkel and proceeded to rock the house.

To say the show was awesome would be a gross understatement, I’ve seen many musicians, bands, and groups, and I can honestly say if this was not the very best live performance I’ve ever seen then it was at least the most professional and worth while. Most groups will perform for maybe two hours, and you’re lucky to get two hours. Most groups make you sit through at least one opening group, which is almost never any, good. Most groups do very little other then simply play their songs and get out of there. Well the Trans-Siberian Orchestra didn’t do anything like that, they rocked out for nearly three hours, no breaks, no opening act, and a light show so brilliant the stage crew deserved an award.

The first act, a running story about Christmas, specifically, “An Angel Came Down,” which naturally was the opening song. Some gentlemen with a cool deep voice would narrate between songs giving us some explanation how this angel, watching mankind on Christmas Eve, was related to the various awesome Christmas rock songs we were privileged to hear. It was completely awesome, and I might dare say perfect.

Then act two decided to kick ass!

Not completely revolving around a Christmas theme anymore we are treated to dueling guitars which play Rush and Zeppelin! Dueling pianos which includes Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” At one point one of the four female vocalist just appears no more then ten feet behind Craig and me singing in naria. And one of the guitars and the spunky female violin player are running through the crowd giving people high fives. They played also Beethoven’s fifth and ninth, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and also Savatage classic “Hall of the Mountain King,” as an opening into what is best described as “Satanic Jingle Bells,” then back to “Hall of the Mountain King.” Just when I thought it was safe to stop being in awe, they did it, they played “O Fortuna.”

For those of you don’t know “O Fortuna” proceeded to stab yourself in the face with a pencil.

Carl Orf is my favorite composer, I really enjoy Mozart, and all the other classic geniuses, but I really like Orf, and primarily because of “O Fortuna.” As near as I know Orf only composed one solid piece of work the “Carmina Burana.” Carmina Burana is a collection of old Germanic, gothic, and other old folk music from Germany and surrounding area, and most of this music would probably have been lost to the ages if not for Carl Orf.

Carl Orf not unlike German philosopher and writer Neitzschen, in it that long after they were dead the Nazi’s used their work to show off how awesome Germans are. Using those works, there is a solid argument for the German ego, unfortunately that is a far away tangent as to why everyone else deserves to be conquered and/or slaughtered.

Anyway enough round about stories about how awesome my week has been, this month Carl Orf – “O Fortuna.” One of the greatest pieces of classical music every, and arguably these greatest.

I can assure you the Trans-Siberian Orchestra did Mr. Orf justice in their performance, in fact here are two videos I found on youtube of performance four days and three days prior to Craig and me seeing them.

The first one has better video of the group, and the second is a better quality recording of the sound, so do yourself a favor and watch both.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Grape Diggers - Chasing Butterflies

The Internet is a scary place sometimes. There are things I never knew existed and certainty never wanted to see that I am now completely desensitized too thanks to the Internet. Like any mixed blessing you have to live with some regret….

On the brighter side of things the Internet is a wonderful place to find music. Oh sure the record labels that try to convince you to buy third rate shit on the radio, they would go so far as to call it “pirating.” I’ll have you know all of the bands/music I’ve downloaded off the Internet I already possessed a physical copy, or do now, or am working on it. So basically they are saying, “screw a free market you are suppose to buy crap.” Screw you right back fat cats, long live technology.

One particular evening I was viewing some flash animation by artist David Firth. You might, and probably should know him for his “Salad Fingers” series, Salad Fingers is really freaking weird. I mean it when I say really freaking weird, that Firth guy knows horror.

As I browsed through David Firth’s site I came across his music section, since he creates his own music for his own flash animations. I quite enjoyed the heavy intense atmospheric music that so well fit some of his freakier shorts, I thought I’d have a look. Unbeknownst to me, he actually has something of a rock group with a couple of friends, and to stay of the course of being weird they named themselves; “Grape Digging Sharon Fruits,” or just “Grape Diggers” for short. They are actually quite good, and more importantly they are very different from anything you or I have ever heard before.

We would never know about these talented weirdoes if not for the Internet, so once again screw you fat cats.

The one song that I particularly liked is harder to find now that I look again, so lucky all you that I’m sending it to you know. The title of the song says a lot but doesn’t necessarily say it all; “Chasing Butterflies (Bionic Commando version).” It is hard to describe so I’ll just let you listen and absorb it as best you can. One thing I think we will be able to agree on is that this is quite a unique and enjoyable song.

If you are as intrigued as I was then here are the links you need to know to download more Grape Digging Sharon Fruits:

In fact there appears to a lot of new material since last I checked over a year ago, so I got some downloading to do too.

Since Halloween is coming up you might want to check out Firth’s site there is some scary shit on there, the kind of stuff that makes you go “woah, that’s intense….” There is also some really funny stuff too, so enjoy, enjoy.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin

Friday, September 5, 2008

Rush - Workling Man

A lot of people tell me they love my rants.

Which is great, because I do it a lot, and this way I know I’m not driving everyone around me crazy. They enjoy my ranting and raving about how fucked up everything is, and that’s good to know. Really good to know because I am unhealthily paranoid about such things.

I like making light of negative situation, my attitude has always been if I can laugh about it, then it is not as bad as it seems. If I can get others to laugh at it, then it is probably no big deal. I got a lot of problems, really who doesn’t, and I don’t mean to bitch and complain but rather point out how silly things are.

The world around me and all its problems, are just silly little flaws of complex human socialization. Maybe if I can point out how stupid and crazy we are sometimes, maybe we will laugh at ourselves and maybe even change ourselves for the better, because it is probably true that things are never really as bad as they seem. Myself as well, I’m quick to criticize myself when I know I’m wrong, trying to convince myself any and all of my emotional and psychological problems are not as bad as they seem, they are just silly little flaws, that can be fixed in time.

I’m a comedic bearer of bad news, trying to soften the blow of brutal reality. I try to make everyone look themselves in the mirror with the same sort of honesty that I do. I try to make everyone else look at the world around them with the same acceptance of waking human reality that I do.

That’s who I try to be. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t like the truth, so in turn, they don’t like me. They try to run away from reality and turn me into some kind of villain. Truth is I am a good guy I just behavior badly, it is what you do and not what you say, me speaking your evil is far less evil then you doing it in the first place.

I don’t like bitching and complaining and I hope that’s not how I am received. I have a brain that doesn’t rest and I observe things at a level of depth that few every do, because most would never bother. I see the bad in the world, but I can also see the good, the problem is, it is always easier to criticize.

A reoccurring rant of mine is that 'I don’t do happiness,' or 'happiness is for wimps.' If you possess any insight into people at all you might have guessed that I am trying to laugh off how generally unhappy I am with my life.

Don’t get me wrong I know its not that bad, I’m in school and doing okay. I have the financial wherewithal to never be bound paycheck to paycheck allowing me the freedom to quit any job I dislike at any time. I have an apartment downtown Calgary that rents out to me relatively cheap because I’ve lived there so long, plus I have a roommate that I have no problems whatsoever living with. I’m not diseased, I’m not crippled, I’m not stupid, I’m not starving, I’m not broke, I’m not dying, no major crisis whatsoever.

But still I am never satisfied with myself.

The self-labeling theorem (or self-fulfilling prophecy) is a concept in psychology that states if you continue to label someone as something; they will undoubtedly in time become the labels you gave them. I see this everywhere, and it is frightening to think of the consequence it entails. Stereotypes of all kinds are reinforced by this sort of dilemma, also people with darker disposition can almost never break free of their downward spiral once the rest of humanity begins to treat them differently. Know this, no one unhappy wants sympathy, they want empathy, they don’t want you to share in their pain, they just want you to understand theirs’.

For so long most of the respect and interest from others I received in my life has come from when I work at a job. After a while I started feeling more like a worker drone then anything else. I am damn good for something and that something is work. No one, and I am going to allow myself this statement of arrogant confidence, no one out works me. I am the hardest worker any of you know, because that’s all I got. It has gotten so bad that even when I’m relaxing I systematically change what I’m doing into some form of work.

There are times to this day that I do not feel like a man whatsoever. Now I am a man biologically, but not always emotionally, I feel like I identify more with a working robot, or perhaps some strange force of nature that just runs over everything that gets in its way. I get unnerved when people ask me how I am, because I have this nagging feeling that such a state of good or bad is completely irrelevant, because I don’t feel. I am not suppose to feel, and though generally unhappy, I am perfectly content with my gloomy little world, and as strange as that sounds, it is how I feel about myself. I am perfectly comfortable being unhappy because it is familiar territory and in the end I feel absolutely neutral. If I woke up tomorrow suddenly feeling happy it would scare the shit out of me, I honestly wouldn’t know what to do. They labeled me as a working maniac, and that’s what I become!

This is ridiculous! I am ridiculous! But even I have to admit to myself that this is pretty fucking funny. Hence how happiness is for wimps. And as long as I can laugh about being a miserable bastard one-day I just might turn it around on myself and that would be great, because unlike moron goths and emos who try to glorify their unhappiness, I want mine to end. I shouldn’t be so down on myself anyway, I really don’t deserve it.

Some of you told me you wanted a rant this month and I felt this was a good one, makes me laugh anyway, and the subject matter can only be offensive to me… I think.

The song in question that I think best captures this psychological problem of mine is actually kind of a happy song; Rush – 'Working Man.'

Surely you can see the relation to my madness in the chorus:

'It seems to me
I could live my life
A lot better than I think I am.
I guess that's why they call me,
They call me the working man.

They call me the working man.
I guess that's what I am.'

I do not know if it is charming of me to be so open and honest with everyone who dares listen to me, or perhaps I am an annoying pessimist. I assure you at least I try to be funny and charming, I like to believe there is a very enduring quality to such honesty. Then again I also know that sometimes the brutal truth is far more brutal then it is true, even when it’s perfectly true.

But there is something to feel good about and that is Rush!

These guys have always rocked, and they always will, Canada’s greatest rock group of all time. Sorry Guess Who, guess again. Rush have a whole library of awesome music but I think I’ve made my attachment to 'Working Man' very clear. It is one of my favorite songs of all time.

I have a lot of respect for the working men of real life, many of my closest friends are the ones I can identify with in discipline and work ethic. The only thing you can respect in this world is ability, and hard work is the greatest ability of them all. The greatest force there is, is indomitable spirit of man, and as long as we stay true to ourselves and work towards our goals and dreams with constant vigilance, impossible is nothing. Laziness and cowardice are the bane of humanity; hear my mantra; 'Victory always goes to those with courage!'

See that last paragraph was rather uplifting wasn’t it? I’m not all bad.

I hope everyone enjoys my music in reviews, at times I really feel like I’m putting myself out there, maybe embarrassing myself even. I only aim to please, tell you about some awesome music, maybe make you laugh. Hell I’m a good sport about it, go ahead and laugh at me. I am ridiculous, and now you know why.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Uriah Heep - Rainbow Demon

This month it is time to do something obscure and classic.

If you lived in Switzerland or Denmark there is a decent chance, though not necessarily a very good chance you know the group I’m going to talk about. If you listen to a lot, and I mean a lot of classic rock you might know them as well. They are Uriah Heep, and unknown to most of the world they are living legends.

Uriah Heep started out in England as another rock group of many during the seventies, the critics never gave them any credit, and frankly their record sales left a lot to be admired. Then again it was the early seventies, you try competing with Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Eagles, Rush, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, KISS, and others and tell me how many people notice you even exist.

Uriah Heep was a progressive rock group, which in laymen’s terms means they experimented a lot with new sounds. What perhaps set them apart form other progressive rock groups, was their highly fantasy influenced lyrics and sounds. They had a lot of songs about wizards, time travel, and other fun stuff like that.

You may, maybe, just maybe, may have heard “Easy Living” on the radio, I have once. That’s Uriah Heep.

I got into them via the Internet and discovered they had several songs that were actually very good. Not to banter on and on about how several different songs struck me with powerful symbolic meaning and great rock and rock sound, but yes, many songs were A grade.

I bought a couple of their albums, and so on, they’re great, they really are.

While I feel the need to choose one song I want to make it perfectly clear they have several very awesome songs, nonetheless I believe I will tell you about “Rainbow Demon.”

“Rainbow Demon” is not one of their bigger hits, it’s a cult hit among fans. A cult classic song from a cult classic rock group makes a lot of sense to me. Obvious fantasy based lyrics with the whole demon angel but there is a unique sound that makes this song different form any other. Once familiar with the general sound of Uriah Heep this is clearly a Uriah Heep song, but a strange and different Uriah Heep song, one of their best in my opinion.  I particular like the retro sound combine with what I feel sounds like a western twang.  I always invision the Rainbow Demon as some king of multicolored sword wielding cowboy from hell.  King of like the gunslinger, only on acid.

Perhaps it is just me and my dark ways but I feel a great dread in this song, a song about some horribly heart broken demonic warrior;

"Rainbow Demon" by Miryah:
"There rides the rainbow demon
On his horse of crimson fire.
Black shadows are following closely
On the heels of his desire.

Riding on in the mist of morning
No one dared to stand in his way.
Possessed by some distant calling.
Riding on through night and day.

Rainbow demon - Pick up your heart and run.
Rainbow demon - Looks for his sword and is gone."

And now all you know about Uriah Heep, and my work is done for another month. So until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Drive By Truckers - Dead Drunk and Naked

July… that could only mean one thing; the Calgary Stampede.

When most of you think of the Calgary Stampede you may think about time off work, seeing some rodeo events, riding some amusement park rides, getting drunk, and other fun stuff, but me and everyone who works downtown in the commercial sector knows better. Calgary Stampede teaches a man to hate.

The Stampede is a very country event; obviously, so a country song should be appropriate.

Of course being a pub cook for six years now, I know the Calgary Stampede is a drunken debauchery of business nuts, and tourist, throwing money at girls, who are barely dressed at all, severing way over priced alcohol.

So a song about drunkenness should be in order here. Fortunately I have just the song.

A long while ago I was hanging out with my good friend Craig, and we were at InKahoots, in Okotoks, Craig introduced me to former DJ and all round good guy named Ed… I think he’s name was Ed, I’m not so sure anymore. Anyway he was a cool guy, gave Craig and myself a couple free drinks and we talked about music. One group he mentioned to Craig was the Drive by Truckers, a hybrid group of rock and roll and country, and according to Ed, they are amazing.

As I always try to heed the advice of others, I went home and downloaded a bunch of songs by the Drive by Truckers. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say they are amazing, but they are very good.

My favorite song by them, is “Dead, Drunk, and Naked.” By now you can see the full circle of this month’s review.

“Dead, Drunk, and Naked,” is a charming song about overcoming addiction and growing up. There are some very comedic lines that make me laugh, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too.

Even though the mood of the song is a very lighthearted and joyful, there is one moment that strikes a note with me. A sad somber tone emerges in one of the later verses,

"Daddy used to tell me,
Everything comes down,
To what they say about you,
When you’re not around.
And I wish that he was here now,
I’m sure he would be proud,
No one talks about me now…."

That verse really gets me. As those who knew me when I was younger I was quite the party animal, but when I went to University I toned it down a lot. I may party stupidly on rare occasion now and then, but I barely party hard at all anymore, not unlike the narrative in the song. Granted, unlike the narrative in the song, I never sniffed glue. Who does that really?

It’s funny, I got a lot of attention when I was crazy and destructive, but then I grew up, and now I have very few immediate friends. I work hard, study hard, and save money, and it seems like no one really cares about a responsible good guy. Sometimes I feel altogether forgotten, like no one talks about me now…

This is just me being sentimental of course, though there is probably some truth to this, I’m likely making things out to much more dramatic then they really are. Nonetheless you can see how this song really has some depth to it.

Enjoy the Drive by Truckers, and try to enjoy the Stampede, those of us who have to work it, it may not be so easy.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Iron Maiden - Hallowed be thy Name

Iron Maiden, in my mind, is one of the pinnacle cult rock groups of all time. When Iron Maiden began they experienced only the most insignificant of success, until lead man and vocalist Bruce Dickinson gave them the extra edge they needed to become an international success. But even with a core group that would rock the world they remained far from a household name, but quickly became gods in the eyes of many hardcore rockers. Though through the years the group, like so many others, has experienced ups and downs, with many member changes even involving Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith both leaving and later returning.

Today Iron Maiden is undoubtedly one of the most influential and successful hard rock/heavy metal groups of all time. They’re success is a great accomplishment of amazing talent and creative ability, but also a testament of human spirit, Iron Maiden never received any form of commercial support, they never had radio support. The only support Iron Maiden ever had was their fans, relatively few at first, but loyal, loving, awesome fans.

I had the good luck of seeing Iron Maiden this month at the Saddledom. My friend Mitch, who I know through my big brother Sean, had an extra ticket and I was lucky enough to be the first to reply back to him. It was a double win in my mind, because Iron Maiden is awesome and I was going to get to see them, but also Mitch is a hilarious awesome guy so getting to hang out with him was also awesome.

Before the concert I asked Mitch what his favorite Iron Maiden song was, it is hard to choose one, but under the pressure of the question he chose “Hallowed be thy Name.” Which interestingly enough is my favorite Iron Maiden song. “Hallowed be thy Name” is the last track on the “Number of the Beast” Album (1982), which sadly is the only Iron Maiden CD I currently own. I need to get on that, and I will when I’m not so broke poor from being a student with no student loans. I got other priorities first, like shoes that don’t cut into my ankles when I walk in them, sadly that needs to take first priority.

During the concert, there were several songs I was hoping to hear, “Aces High,” “Fear of the Dark,” “Run to the Hills,” and of course “Hallowed be thy Name.” They played everything, and it was so awesome, last track of the concert “Hallowed be thy Name.” I always believe on ending on a good note, and apparently so does Iron Maiden.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Monday, May 5, 2008

Electric Six - Synthesizer

If you are Internet inclined, there is a good chance you heard that “Gay Bar” song. I think I’ve stumbled across three or four different videos using the song to mock some celebrity or politician or just to emphasis the sheer ridiculousness of the song. In truth it was a rather funny and a fairly good song at that, though undoubtedly beaten to death by people who don’t know when to leave a fad alone.

Anyway the band that wrote that song was called “The Electric Six.”

As I am sure I have mentioned before I am constantly prowling the airwaves, television, and the Internet to find good music. Gay bar was amusing so when I went to download it I decided I would give the band a few other downloads to see what humorous songs they had written that weren’t about homosexuality.

“Nuclear War (On the Dance Floor)” was an assuming one, short and sweet.

Also what was apparently their real life big hit “Danger High Voltage” was a very good song, and nearly as silly as the other two songs.

In life sometimes you have to take a chance, and when the gamble involved consists only of spending $10 - $15 dollars for a CD, it is a risk I feel comfortable taking.

One day as I was prowling through HMV, which I love since their prices are constantly plummeting, I came across The Electric Six and their CD “Fire.” I kind of laughed to myself amused at the memory of songs like “Gay Bar.” I picked it up and looked at the tracks, all three that I knew were present, and naturally being in an HMV the CD was on sale. So I shrugged my shoulders and said “sure why not?”

I’m glad I did.

Most of the songs of the CD were obvious attempts at being just plain funny, and I can’t say every last song I really appreciate the humor there in. But for the most part it stood up pretty well, definitely a B+ album.

One song more then any other stood out to me was “Synthesizer” the last track on the album, which befittingly is some of the finest use of the synthesizer, I’ve ever heard. There are times I forget the song is heavily synthesized, it often seems to me that there is only a large amount of keyboard and electric guitar, shows the quality of music it is.

This is one of those simple themed, nothing too deep songs, which are created to induce a nice relaxing feel-good feeling in all of us. I know I appreciate songs like that, who the hell don’t?

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Nightwish - Deep Silent Complete

I’ve been struggling to pick the right song for this month.

As always there is about a million thoughts rampaging in my brain, and focusing on a single thought can be difficult when you are a paranoid perfectionist. But I believe I have pinpointed the song I need to talk about.

I wanted to do a song a little harder then pervious months. Figured my heavy metal friends might be getting bored with the relatively light atmosphere I have developed in recent months. So heavy was a necessity for this month.

I dislike the idea of being yesterday’s news and though I hardly doubt anyone who actually takes the time to read my monthly music rants cares, that doesn’t mean they should settle for my second best. I want to share music that is not only great on any standard, but also somewhat unknown. So obscurity is important this month.

I keep thinking about a conversation about fantasy literature (which I write for a hobby) where I was unable to describe the exact kind of music that runs through my head while I write. So something mystical, and fantastic was an important element to me in this month’s review.

In the end I knew what band I wanted to talk about, but picking the right song was the challenge.

I want to talk about Nightwish before they become too well known and I end up talking about yesterday’s news. Nightwish is out of Finland, which apparently is the greatest nation in the world for hard, over the top, super emotional, heavy metal. Formerly led by trained opera singer Tarja Turunen (that name is about as Finish as it gets) this heavy metal group has something I personally rather enjoy… an actual singer! Not some ninny yelling stupidly.

For some time I contemplated various tracks by Nightwish I would review. Some songs like “Wishmaster” and “I wish I had an Angel” fit very well with the whole ‘fantasy’ theme I was hoping for. Songs like “Planet Hell” captured the brutality I was describing to Tom Theroux in a conversation about some of the harsher elements to my own story telling.

“Save yourself a penny for the ferryman, Save yourself and let them suffer.”

Cool stuff, anyway you can understand my dilemma. Though unimportant insofar that this is sort of monthly spamming I do; I make a conscious effort to be entertaining and interesting.

In the end I believe I have to side with my little brother Devin who initially introduced Nightwish to me. I believe his favorite track, is “Deep Silent Complete” and while I am on the fence about which Nightwish song is my favorite or which song best captures the mood I was trying to capture this month Deep Silent Complete does capture the overall the style of Nightwish best.

There is a lot of Tarje singing very opera-esc in this song, and though still undoubtedly a metal song there is a clear melody and coherent style through out. It is the best combination of opera metal the band has to offer even better then their cover of “Phantom of the Opera.”

Deep Silent Complete really is an impressive song that does mix two genres rather well. I suppose it speaks well of Nightwish that their songs sound different enough that various tracks racked my brain as to which captured a variety of themes best. Also they appear to be growing in popularity, as I saw a commercial on TV not too long ago for their greatest hits album release in North America. Also I believe one of their songs was featured on “Lord of The Rings,” which I think is a pretty big deal.

Anyway, until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Dresden Dolls - Sing

“There is thing keeping everyone's lungs and lips locked,
It is called fear and it's seeing a great renaissance.”

I want to take a quick moment to tip my hat in respect to, whatever his name is, that works “Legends’ Lunch,” every weekday at noon on Q107.

They had a Bowie marathon to celebrate David Bowie’s sixtieth birthday, and naturally it was great. The next day, this individual, whom I can’t recall the name of, made the comment, “we didn’t play the best song off of ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, and the Spiders from Mars,’ yesterday so I’m going to play it now.” He played “Five Years,” which if you remember back far enough was my forth ever music in review. I could only nod in agreement as the song played.

Two weeks ago, or so, he played the elusive original extended version of Led Zeppelin’s, “All My Love.” Which if you posses any short-term memory can recall that was last month’s music in review. Only two weeks after I declare that version of “All My Love,” as unknown to all but myself and the company to whom I have shared it, this guy comes out and proves me wrong. Well down, whatever your name is, and keep up the good work at Q107.

Roughly two years ago I was hanging out with this one girl at my place she walked in on me singing along to, Jeff Martin – The Kingdom, I believe that was the song. Being a rather easily assumed individual she thought it was very amussing that I was completely unembarrassed at the fact she had walked in on me singing along.

My explanation was simple; roughly three years prior to her and mine specific encounter, I had made up my mind at work I wasn’t going to be embarrassed by anyone when singing along with the radio. My mentality was, and still is, that everyone does it. We sing in the shower, we sing in the car, we sing at home, we sing while we study, and yes many people sing at work, why should I personally feel foolish for being apart of a phenomena that the majority of the populace of man is involved.

Deeper into the topic it takes very little reasoning to see why so many people do sing along to music, and are completely in the right to do so. Music moves us, and having worked a rotten job, with many rotten people (not everyone of course), for painfully long lengths of my life, I can attest that nothing can brighten your mood more then music you enjoy. There is something so profoundly human about wanting to be a part of the music. Since most of us lack the musically talent of my friend and yours, Tom Throux, and realistically we can’t play guitar or bass while occupied with the tasks already mentioned, it is the easiest solution to simply sing along to feel a part of the music.

So when someone walks into the prep hall and I’m along singing along to Tom Petty I only stop singing when they look at me and I wait for them to address me, and only then because it would be rude to cut them off with singing.

Apparently my lady friend was quite taken by this. Though I have not talked to her in a long time now one of the last things I remember her telling me was that she no longer let herself feel embarrassed in the least when others looked at her weird while she sang along to music.

Sometimes I wonder just how powerful my subtle influence is.

Regardless, a full year ago my big brother Sean, sent me an email with the video for the Dresden Dolls – Sing. Simplicity was the key to the glory of this song; I knew this right away. There are only two members of the band Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione. She handles lead vocals and the piano, he at first plays guitar in the song then mid way through the piece he exchanges the guitar for drums. Simple, just a girl singing her heart out while playing piano, accompanied by her partner playing one instrument then another. There are no more then three sounds to take in at any time. But little did I realize initially just how true simplicity was the unique quality to this song.

On their first album The Dresden Dolls were all over the place. They had created a collection of tracks that were complicated and very difficult to perform. Basically they were showing off how raw talented they were, and while that album is decent no track on the album comes close to “Sing.”

For “Sing,” and presumably most of their second album the priority to create music had shifted from showcasing talented instrument playing ability to simply making a wonderful sounding song.

Sometimes I wonder just how powerful my quiet insight is.

Related thing back to my first point on this month’s review, let yourself sing, listen to the lyrics of Dresden Dolls – “Sing,” they are quite powerful words for this specific message.

“There is thing keeping everyone's lungs and lips locked
It is called fear and it's seeing a great renaissance.”

I think that sums it up rather nicely.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Led Zeppelin - All My Love

I’m not sure whether I should be impressed or disappointed in myself for managing to get through thirteen months, and subsequently thirteen songs, without mentioning Led Zeppelin.

I think I’ve waited long enough.

For anyone who actually loves music, opposed to just liking music, we all have a first love, not unlike adolescent drama actual love. The advantage of our first love of music is there is never awkward or embarrassing moments or heartbreak, only fond wonderful memories. For me Led Zeppelin was my first love, the first CD I ever owned was “Led Zeppelin 4”, the second album I owned was “Led Zeppelin 2”, the third “Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy,” the forth was “Pink Floyd - The Wall,” but now I’m clearly getting off topic.

If I remember correctly I fell asleep every night listening to Led Zeppelin between the ages of thirteen to sixteen, and listened to an average of seven hours of Led Zeppelin every day in that time. I would have listened to them more but I had to sleep sometimes and school often got in the way too.

Back when the Internet was a new place for me one of my first endeavors was to get my hands on any song on the radio I liked but did not posses. In that effort there was Napster, which was near dead by the time of my arrival on the web, so the first program I ever really used to download mp3s was Alakazam, if anyone remembers that?

Soon after accumulating a few hundred songs and thinking I had an impressive number of songs, the songs I knew by title and wanted to download was becoming a slimming list. So to avoid the evil that is boredom I begun to download hordes of Led Zeppelin songs, live, rare, demos, whatever I could find. Among my greatest find was the original uncut version of “All my Love,” off of the album “In Through the Out Door.” “All my Love,” was then, and probably still is one of my twenty or so favorite songs. As you can imagine having a version that was one minute and fifty-one seconds longer was simply all the better.

You have heard this song on the radio, or you have been doing something very impressive to keep yourself ignorant. There is an additional moment at the beginning with the band fooling around with the opening notes before they stop laughing and actually start playing the song as we know it. But, we get at least a full minute after the song usually fades out.

I always say, you know, you know a song really well, when you can sing along with gibberish at the end. Now every time I hear “All my Love” on the radio not only do I sing along with the entire song, but also always after the song has faded out I keep singing the rest of the virtually unknown remainder of the original version. The extended ending mostly consists of various forms of the chorus and gibberish with Robert Plant showing off how he can sing the same lyrics under a variety different tempos and still keeps within the melody of the baseline. He does that a lot, and I mean a lot, in the song “Tea for One,” off the album “Presence,” if you ever heard it.

Ever since that fateful day I found the original extended version of “All my Love,” I never heard of any mention of such a version anywhere, and its not as if I haven’t been looking. I’m always on the lookout for anything remotely new (to me) by Led Zeppelin. Sometimes I think I’ve grown more fond of something other then Zeppelin but every time I put a CD in, I have too listen to the entire album, beginning to end, knowing every last word. It’s like visiting an old friend and all the little details I nearly forgot come back to me like memories relived.

I doubt it will be long before I review Led Zeppelin again. I have yet to review my all time favorite song, and no it’s not “Stairway to Heaven,” but something as beautiful.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Arcade Fire - No Cars Go

Happy New Year, I hope everyone enjoyed they’re excuse to get drunk yesterday.

A murder took place ten feet in front of me yesterday, well ten feet in front of, and thirty-two stories down from myself. At 10:00am or so I was sitting at my computer working on schoolwork when I heard a gunshot. I’m used to hearing gun shots, what with living down town and all, but in broad daylight? Sure enough five more consecutive shots rang out, and what do you know a drug deal gone wrong happened right out side of my building. Given where my apartment is, it would have happened right behind my bedroom wall facing me, and down roughly three hundred feet. Makes you think.

I guess I’m an unusual person, did not phase me in the least. I know I’m safe.

Anyway enough of that, lets talk about music. I guess I should try to keep up with the times a little better. It is difficult for myself since I wholly distrust the musical opinions of modern radio and music television, and frankly who can blame me? Cult, or Indie, or underground, or whatever losers who desperately want to believe they are unique call themselves, I often find some selectively good music still in this day and age. However word takes time to reach me since I do not spend an obsessive amount of time researching every last note of music that hits the stands. Nonetheless I do what I can and try to keep up with the times the best I can. Whatever month it was I talked about Interpol would have been an attempt at such.

The point is, since I’ve had a whole year to look back upon, I feel confident I can find something through the entire year of 2007 that I can preach as being great. In all fairness it was far from the worst year I’ve seen for new music radio programming, though in truth nothing truly spectacular steeped out and slapped me in the face boldly screaming “THIS IS AWESOME!” Nothing except for one album; Arcade Fire – “Neon Bible.”

Now since I don’t feel the need or in possession of the right to mail out an entire album, I will be forced to choose one song, which is unfortunate since the album, as a whole, is truly awesome.

For those of you who couldn’t fight your way through the masses of crap that came out this year to discover Arcade Fire, allow me to give you a crash course of what I know.

Arcade Fire is a Canadian group out of Montreal. They have several members, more then five at least, but I do not know the exact number. They are very unique in sound and style, which says a lot now of days primarily because there appears to be a stagnation of creativity for the last two decades. Also it should be noted the more music that is created the harder and harder it becomes to find something “else” that still qualifies as “new.” Regardless Arcade Fire can rightfully carry the moniker of original with them; they’ve earned it.

A year, or perhaps two years ago, Ed the sock gave Arcade Fire a hard time for their video of the song “Rebellion (Lies)” off of the album “Funeral.” I suppose the video is nothing special, in Ed’s defense, however the usually hilarious Ed the sock went on how Arcade Fire was the biggest bunch of assholes in the entire Canadian music industry. Apparently when they went to the Junos they badmouthed every other group as being shit and being recognized only because they were Canadian charity cases.

I guess that is kind of a dick move, but when you’re right, you’re right.

As far as I’m concerned you can be the worst human being imaginable as long as you do your job well I will respect you. Often times at work I will tell people, “The new guy can be a coke-addicted, neo nazi, ex-convict murderer, Satanist, as long as he shows up for work and works hard I will respect him. I won’t fucking like him, but I will respect him.” Put a little more poetically, there is a saying in a book that I once read, “The only thing you can truly respect is ability,” and I whole heartily agree.

So, boo hoo, Canadian charity case musicians, Arcade Fire is a bunch of jerks, well I think the real problem is everyone else sucks. I’ve been saying this a lot lately, “Why should I change, they’re the ones who suck,” which is actually a line from the movie “Office Space,” Craig being a huge movie buff caught it right away. Arcade Fire doesn’t need to change, whatever they are doing is; AWESOME!

Anyway since I had to choose one song from the new album I’m going to go with “No Cars Go.” It seems to me the catchiest, easiest to quickly fall in love with song off the album, a good introduction to the album “Neon Bible,” and Arcade Fire. But seriously heed my words, go download or buy more Arcade Fire and support something fresh and new and worth it. In my humble opinion “Rebellion (Lies)” is their best song, so check that one out at least.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin