Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekend Music Roundup (Homecoming Edition)

I'm back home in front of the fire, watching the Birds, fresh from a visit to the town I grew up in. One thing I love about Thanksgiving is how it has become a memory weekend as each one goes by. Part of that for me is listening to music that has been familiar to me for ages. Over the past few weeks, I found myself listening to a handful of albums that my interest in them dates back to Middle School and High School. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, it seemed like a nice idea to share those today.

Guns N' Roses - Stoned in L.A.: This is a bootleg that I'd been searching for on and off for the last decade or so. This is one of the more famous GNR concerts and ranks up there with the riots, Rock in Rio, and the unfortunate Monsters of Rock festival in GNR Live lore. One of only two shows the band played in 1989, they opened for The Rolling Stones at the Coliseum. It was supposed to be their ultimate homecoming, returning to their hometown, the biggest rock band in the world. Instead the press focused on the lyrics of "One in a Million" from the just released GNR Lies. Axl gives a three minute rant on the subject that is right-on, then the band goes into blistering "Outta Get Me". An amazing show that I doubt the Stones were able to top.

Pink Floyd - My Uncle is Sick Because the Highway is Green: This bootleg collects a series of BBC studio recordings from a newly post-Syd Barrett Floyd. It features a couple of songs from Saucerful of Secrets and one of my favorite, and rarely performed songs, "Julia Dream". The early version of "Careful With that Axe Eugine" when it was still called "Murderistic Woman" is also pretty great. This has always been my favorite era Pink Floyd, along with perfect sound quality, makes this a must-have Floyd bootleg.

Sex Pistols - Kill the Hippies: This bootleg captures the band's Atlanta show during the ill-fated and ill-advised US Tour that destroyed the band. It's interesting to hear Johnny Rotten taunting the audience who have showed up simply to gawk at the band. The band sounds surprisingly sharp. Unfortunately the recording quality isn't great. Still a fun concert though and recommended for fans.

A Walk In Alice's Garden - Compilation: This collection of late '60s British psychedelic rarities fits this weekend's theme twofold. Not only was I super into these kinds of "See Emily Play" type of song, but my Alice fascination was also born then. Of course, Alice has nothing to do with this except that a lot of this genre of music was inspired Alice and other Victorian children's stories. There's some great gems on here (many of which I reviews on the Singles Edition of the roundup two weeks ago). I'm not usually a fan of compilations because they are uneven by nature, but this is consistent throughout and worth a listen.

Lungfish - The Unanimous Hour: Since buying their first album when I was 14 years old, I bought the next five Lungfish albums as they came out. Each one, while good, seemed to stagnate and by the time this came out in 1999, there was too much competing for my music cash. Recently, I found myself wanting to explore the four albums that I missed. I started with this, the first. Naturally, it's the band's best effort in three albums and this should have been the one I bought. There's a reborn intensity to their post-hardcore spiritual sound. Driving beats and howling Ginsburg vocals make this one of their best. I can't wait to hear the next three.

Whitesnake - Ready an' Willing: This is one of those bands that I've never had any respect for, but in the past few years, I've learned that a lot of those bands that I'd never had any respect for turned out to be pretty good. After reading some good things about this band's early work, I put aside my formative years' prejudice toward what I thought was a cartoon band and gave this 1980 album a listen. Still closer to the members' former bands' 70's roots, this is a solid bluesy hard rock album. Nothing spectacular, but certainly worthy of hearing.

Bruce Springsteen - Darkness On the Edge of Town & The Promise: Growing up as child in New Jersey during the '90s, the Boss was unavoidable no matter how hard I may have tried. I've never taken to his music, though I do find Born to Run bearable. Over the past two weeks, building up to this re-release deluxe edition of his 1978 classic, I've been reading a lot about this album. I decided to give it a try. The original album is probably the best I've heard from Bruce. He was being influenced by the NYC punk scene as well as Buddy Holly. The mixture works nicely and there's some beautiful songs. There are still some songs though that irk me. The Promise album collects two albums worth of tracks left off of the album. It's way too many tracks, many of which were left off for good reason, but still there are a few amazing gems like his version of "Because the Night." There's more heartache and despair than I've heard in his music before. I'm glad I gave it a chance.


  1. FYI - Monday I'm reading The First Snow as my read aloud intro to winter.


  2. Darkness - possibly his best album.