Posts Tagged ‘Steven Wilson

18
Mar
11

Dr. Lemmy (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love 2011)

Oh, Lemmy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You grizzled Adonis. You Saint of Beer. You destroyer of ear drums.

The last time I saw Motorhead was nine years ago and it was amazing. The moled man you see before you opened the Concord Pavillion with a question:

“Con-cord, eh? Never been here before.”

Then they proceeded to whoop everyone’s ass for an hour. It was the best opening act I could have seen as a 16-year old, especially seeing as how Dio and Iron Maiden were next.. The power trio finally made sense and witnessing those same three men playing just as fast at a higher volume nearly a decade later was most excellent. In my review, I mention how the band is very cross-generational, something that grabs attention from all shapes and sizes, but I think they are in an echelon only shared with the great AC/DC. Maybe greater!

Enough hyperlinking…let’s get onto the longwinded portion of today’s topic: 2011 album releases!

Continue reading ‘Dr. Lemmy (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love 2011)’

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29
Dec
09

Top Ten of 2009 – 3 is a Magic Number

Porcupine Tree –The Incident

The link at the top will take you to a prior post I wrote about this album, so I’d like to introduce you to somebody.

America, meet Mr. Steven Wilson.

Steven Wilson, meet America.

Enough with that…

Steven Wilson is the renaissance man behind Porcupine Tree, and has been (as well as many other projects) for 20 years. Fans have only recently been popping up in the States, but fame and fortune is not the motivation here.

For people that know me, they now how big Pink Floyd is in my life. Rather, how big Pink Floyd was in my life. It’s tough when bands don’t exist anymore; the classics always hold a place, but the inability to get new material or hear it live cuts the cord from fan to band.

My favorite aspect of Floyd was Roger Waters and Roger Waters survived Pink Floyd, and created a vivacious solo career that helps fuel my fandom of his prior group.

Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree are the Yin to my Pink Floyd Yang.

Waters grabbed me with his ability to sum up the trials and tribulations of being a kid. Family issues, questioning authority, hell, questioning everything.¬† I learned more from The Wall then I did from Sesame Street. But I never felt like Roger gave me the Adult experience. Nothing graphic, just nothing deeper than hate, love, greed, etc. When I got older, I found the musical element was growing on me, but I couldn’t stay mentally stuck in youth anymore and I was growing out of that aspect of their music.

That’s not to say that those themes aren’t present in PT’s music, but it’s the way Wilson conveys his message, and more importantly, how the audio aspect of the band combines with his message. His music creates the landscape and his words fill in the details, line by line, until this descriptive, complex work of art is left.

Another bonus: The man can play guitar. Epic-ness begins at 2:15:

Like Waters, it’s Wilson’ ability to compose that impresses me so much. When someone has the ear for different parts, layers under and upon layers of sound, it’s astonishing to see it all work. And it all works. Not just his guitar work, which is excellent, but the crafting of the soul of a song.

Imagine every song is a pizza. The topping bar is there, and you have every choice of topping you could ever want. Go ahead, grab some cheese and pepperoni. Who doens’t love that? Ok, maybe add some onions. Oh, do you like olives? Me too! Ok, now let’s throw on the anchovies…

In essence, this is the model of staleness in music today. Everyone will stuff down a pepperoni pizza, and that’s what the labels give you, they give you regular, similar, easily-duplicated “pop”peroni pizza.

Wilson is a master chef, and throws everything he can into the mix and comes out with a gourmet meal. It’s a risk because not everyone is gonna like it and most people won’t even give it a shot because it looks too complicated and fancy.

Waters. Wilson. Not that different, eh? One plays psychedelic bass and the other proggy rock. Both scraggily hair British intellectuals with¬† flair for the dramatic. It all makes sense now…

God, I hope they don’t play at Bonnaroo this year. It would break my heart…

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21
Oct
09

When a car crash gets you off you’ve lost your grip

Normally, I do some research before I write these blogs. I search up interesting facts about each album or artist, and try to weave in some new information into my story. With Porcupine Tree, I don’t need to look up a damn thing.

18 years this band has been putting out records and it took someone randomly playing a track of theirs for me to get me hooked. I went to a Kiss/Aerosmith concert with my uncle and some of his friends. On the drive back home, one of the friends popped in In Absentia by PT and I was blown away. Never since Pink Floyd had I heard a band fill up the air with such sound. But this isn’t about that album….

porcupine_tree_the_Incident(1)

Taking the name from a police sign near the scene of an auto accident, The Incident is a single song that spans 50+ minutes. It has 14 movements, including three instrumentals and an eleven minute piece directly in the center of the album. Even with the epic nature of Progressive rock, this is still an achievement, especially seeing them pull it off live, performing a single stream of musical consciousness for an hour.

It’s funny how the internet has altered buying habits in regards to music. For some, the internet means never paying for an album again. For others, it means buying it digitally and never filling up an atom of space in their house with another format of media, doomed to fail just by existing in physical space.

For me, I play both sides. I download music, but I also buy the album if it’s good. If it’s not, I delete it. No harm, no foul. I also keep track of which albums and companies have a lax view of music downloading, and try to honor those bands’ wishes accordingly. With PT, I have purchased every single album they’ve put out, been to multiple shows, bought the live DVD, and even ordered a series of fan-made magazines form the U.K. They have my money.

So, I did download the new album when it hit the web, but the audiophile in me hates getting anything less than optimal sound quality. I was at a crossroads. I’ve been selling my albums online…how could I justify buying one that I knew I wouldn’t get the same amount of cash back for?

Doesn’t matter.

I bought it the day it came out, ripped it to my hard drive, erased the crappy downloaded version, and then sold it on Amazon in a couple days. I feel like I’m spreading the music at a discounted price, helping out those that want the art but can’t afford the retail prices. Plus, being a fan means spreading the gospel of whichever artist you like and if I can do it and pay my bills, sign me up.

The album itself is brilliant, swirling from story to story, all told in first-person and all with some real substance behind it. Then the band creates this atmosphere of sound and ambiance, then singer/guitarist/genius Steven Wilson busts out guitar solos and lyrics to die for. Besides Floyd, Porcupine Tree is my favorite band. I haven’t supported a band longer or with more of my hard-earned time, cash, and emotions than I have this band. I hope they keep crafting bombastic musical tomes for another two decades and I hope I can join the ride until they call it quits.