Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold As Love (1967)

Having recently listened to the newly released Valleys Of Neptune, I thought to myself, I need to review Electric Ladyland. Then, as testament to my prolonged absences here, I realized that I had already written it. Boink. So here's to all the picked-seconds of the world, I'm rubbing you Axis: Bold As Love. Like the opening to Electric, Axis begins with a waste of my time, the insipid avant-garde emptiness of "EXP." From there, it's a smattering of musical styles: the wah wah breeziness in "Up From The Skies" -- replete with tasty brush taps. Actually, let me interrupt myself. Mitch Mitchell gets his cake and he's probably eaten so much of it, he's had massive intestinal stoppage, but everyone still talks about Hendrix first and foremost, and I'd like to say, Mitch, you were awesome. There, I feel better. "Ain't No Telling" is a my favorite non-famous Hendrix track. If you haven't heard it -- seriously? "Castles Made Of Sand" is one of those songs that you play for people when you want them to hear what Hendrix was all about. "Little Wing" is, in my opinion, one of the few perfect songs ever written. Period. If you've ever wanted to hear an album end like it was a mad flower bursting into bloom, then listen to the last minute or so of "Bold As Love." This album is sonically exquisite. I have nothing but excess verbal superfluity in making an ass of myself otherwse. Enjoy. A

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spirit - Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus (1970)

I apologize in advance if my return is short-lived. I'm fairly certain I've been writing to an empty auditorium recently and can only fondly remember the rather robust discussions this site used to have once upon a time. Now the site seems more of a running catalog of unrelated individualistic comments. R.I.P. Bob, Chuck, Cianan, Starr, and whoever I'm missing at the moment.

That said, Dan over at Layla's Classic Rock has unwittingly introduced me to Spirit recently. Three weeks after reading his post, I've now listened to their first four albums dozens of times with stupendous glee. And Sardonicus, friends, is a fucking doozy of an album, mostly attributable, dare I say it, to the drumming. Ed Cassidy is not a drumming god. I wouldn't know his bald head from any other bald head, but damn, he's got this jazzy looseness to him that I think acts as the thread of the album. He's got some nice fills on "Prelude - Nothing To Hide" and "Morning Will Come," to name a few. Randy California is no slouch, either -- if drumming is the thread, the guitar is the needle sewing up all the right spots, from the greasy fuzz slide on "Prelude," the explosive noodling in "Street Worm" or the artful stabbing notes in "Morning." Throw in some brass, piano and some really nice vocal harmonies ("Nature's Way") and you've got, if you're me, the best discovery of 2010, which is shaping up to be a shitter otherwise. Mad Hatter, over and out, pluterperfectly.