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March 2004
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May 2004


Today is a good day. I arrived in Nashville, TN, only to be whisked off to Grimey’s, one of the coolest record stores I’ve ever been to. You've got to see it to believe it...check out the pics on their site: was a quick stop on the way to a dinner meeting, but long enough to pick up two of the greatest records I’ve heard in awhile. The first is a pre release promo of the new Keane CD, “Hopes and Fears.” This is one beautiful record. Real piano, sans guitar, it sounds like Ben Folds meets Coldplay, except better.
The second is the new Ben Arthur CD, called “Edible Darling.” This one was a real surprise, with quirky alternative power pop songs and beautiful pop melodies with memorable hooks. I highly recommend both of these. The Ben Arthur is available now and the Keane comes out in May.

You can listen to Keane here:

Check out Ben Arthur here:

They Might

They Might Be Giants' new EP, Indestructible Object, looks to be a harbinger of good things to come. That is, if I'm using the word "harbinger" correctly. Word out of the head office is that They have a new full album due out this summer, along with a companion EP. Judging from Indestructible, there's life in TMBG yet. If you haven't heard it, give it a chance. It's a bit of a slow-grow, so give it time and you'll be rewarded. The one weakness: a cover of The Beach Boys' "Caroline, No," sung by Flans. Um, not a good idea in my book.

Also on high rotation these days: beautiful, relaxing, melodic stuff by the likes of Neil Finn and Steve Ward. With the state of my life these days, I need this kind of stuff to calm me down. Speaking of Neil Finn, a new project by him and brother Tim is due out some time this year. I only hope I don't hype the thing so highly that I'll be disappointed.

They Might Be Prolific

The cool thing about being a They Might Be Giants fan is the wealth of great material being released on a consistent basis by the band. In many cases, for many artists, this is NOT a good thing. I'd rather have one good or great record every couple of years, than two or more mediocre projects every year. Somehow, TMBG manage to consistently do multiple projects per year and not sacrifice the quality for the quantity in their output. Case in point is the brand new EP, “Indestructible Object.” While short in length, the 4 new songs are very good. Fans of “Mink Car” will be pleased, as they continue down that quirky path, paved with lots of keyboards, samples and weird instruments and sounds. The one out of place track here is the mellow cover of Brian Wilson’s classic, "Caroline No." While it’s nicely done, it doesn’t fit the overall mood of the other tracks and the vocal performance is less than stellar. The EP is still a great buy though, even if just for the 4 originals. Rumor has it there’s another EP and then a full new studio album with all new songs, coming out yet this year. Let’s hope it’s up to the usual TMBG standard with no filler!

Celtic Rock?!

While I enjoy traditional Celtic music, I like the merger of traditional Celtic styles with progressive rock and fusion even more. That's where Tempest comes in. Their CD's are for the most part good, but their live show is even better.

I saw them for the first time last night in Chippewa Falls, WI. What could have been a small town gig disaster actually turned out to be a phenomenal performance and show. Mostly high school aged kids showed up, and I was wondering what they would think of this Celtic Rock act, complete with fiddle and mandolin. As it turns out, my fears were unfounded, the show was great and they captivated the young audience. There was even a large dancing mob of kids up in front of the stage, bouncing around wildly to the music for the entire show.

The songs were great, but the most impressive part of it was the performance. Each of the 5 band members are masters at their instruments. Besides being great, tight players, they really have a wild time on stage. They seem to be having so much fun it's infectious, and the audience has just as much fun right along with them.

You can tell it's a great show when everyone from the high school kids to the parents in the back swarm the merch' table after the show to buy the bands CD's.

There are two other factors that make Tempest an even more amazing and unique band. One is the simple fact that they are the nicest, friendliest band you'll ever meet. These are real, down to earth people who are enjoyable to talk to. The other thing, which is perhaps the most unbelievable fact of all, is that all 5 members are from different countries. Lief, the lead singer and electric mandolin player is from Norway, drummer Adolfo is from Cuba, the guitarist Ronan is from Ireland, bassist Ariane is from Australia and Michael the fiddle player is from California. Are there any other nationally known bands that have 5 or more members that are all from different countries?

Again, the band is amazing live, but the CD's are good too. You can listen to samples on their website at

CD Wish List

It’s hard to believe, with some of the titles that have been resurrected from the depths of the vaults and digitally rendered and released on Compact Disc, that there are still some gems that have never, yes NEVER, been released on CD. There are still numerous major label releases that have never been made available on disc, ranging from the obscure to the not so obscure artists. Some are even releases that have a current demand and sales history.

The primary release that I’ve been hoping to see make it to disc is Jon Anderson’s “Animation” album. It was originally releases on LP and Cassette in 1982 by Atlantic Records. For those of you not familiar with this one, it's a solo project from the lead singer of the prog group Yes. In my humble opinion, it’s his best work outside the band. Every other major thing he’s done has, at one point or another, seen a professional label release on CD. Why this one hasn’t, is somewhat of a mystery. It supposedly has something to do with a dispute between the European label, the US label, the artist and/or management. A real mess from what I’ve heard. This is nothing new and not unique to this release. There are other albums that are being held up because of dumb disputes, red tape, financial woes, or because the label or artists have lost the masters. Hard to believe that there are major label releases out there that won’t make it to CD because the masters have been lost or destroyed, but it’s true. As with many of these, there’s been an online petition to get Animation released on disc. There’s also bootleg versions of this album on CD being sold on Ebay and the like, but the sound quality is not good, and there’s plenty of pops from the vinyl or hiss from the tape, depending on what the bootlegger used for the source. Just for the record, none of the so-called “import” versions of this title are legit or without glitches. I have a few copies on vinyl, but none of them are super clean, unfortunately.

Then there’s the mystery of the best selling Randy Stonehill album, “Equator.” Why Myrrh Records never released this or “Between the Glory and the Flame” on CD will be a question that haunts me forever I’m afraid. Both were produced by Terry Taylor and are two of Randy's best, alongside the magnificent "Wonderama," which was available on disc for a short period of time.

Here are a few of my other faves that have never made it to an official CD release:
Suburban Lawns – Both the self-titled IRS release and the IRS EP called “Baby”
Human Sexual Response – In A Roman Mood (just for the song Land of the Glass Pinecones)
Baxter Robertson – Panorama View EP (new wave power pop from the 80’s!)

Then there are those albums that do come out on CD but they go out of print right away…Here are a couple of those that I’ve been hoping to find:
Moraz & Bruford – Music for Piano and Drums
The Wallets – 17 Songs
Baxter Robertson – Mere Mortals

And while we’re at it, why isn’t the animated series of “The Tick” available on DVD????


Todd Rundgren’s back with a brand new album called “Liars.” It came out yesterday here in the US. After a few listens, I have to say I like it a lot. It’s easily the best thing he’s done since the 80’s (the song “I Hate My Frickin’ ISP” not withstanding). The songwriting is excellent and his vocals sound fantastic. That said, this is a good record that could have been a great record. One of the most annoying and troubling things is that the entire album was recorded on a computer using a soft-synth program called “Reason.” What this means is, no real drums and almost no real guitar. The arrangements, songs and vocals almost make up for this, they’re very good, but there are still a few songs on here that would have sounded better had they been recorded with live instruments or a band. Sometimes I just wish Todd could break out of his euro-synth mode. Songs that are not to be missed here are “Stood Up,” “Afterlife” and the title track, “Liars.”

Another problem here are the lyrics. They’re classic Todd, and that’s his obsession with God, or his obsession with constantly having to let us know that he doesn’t believe in God. Those of us that do are apparently “Liars.” Work it out Todd, but please don’t call me a liar. That said, the lyrics can be fascinating at times, but they make you wonder about the inner turmoil and dark world of Todd.

Then there’s the packaging. Horrendous. The cover picture is almost funny, by itself, for his website or on the inside of the package maybe, but it makes for one ugly cover. The rest of the packaging is just poorly laid out text. The Japanese version has a better cover which can be viewed HERE.

Summary? It’s a good record that could have been great, but the lyrics, packaging and reliance on programming hold it back. But he is rehearsing with his band right now for a tour, and these songs should sound great with a live band.