Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Phish MSG NYE Annoucement


Phish will be returning to Madison Square Garden for a four night run to end 2016 capping it off with a NYE show. This year will be an old-school or tradition run on the 28-29-30-31 (versus the non-traditional runs in recent years in which Phish played a show on 1-1).

Last year included the infamous tent jam at the back of the floor. What kind of hijinks will be involved this year?
Phish, New Year's Run 
12.28.16 MSG, NYC
12.29.16 MSG, NYC
12.30.16 MSG, NYC
12.31.16 MSG, NYC
More details here.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Krautrock: Amon Düül, Paradieswarts Düül (1970)

Amon Düül began as a politically-minded hippie commune in Munich in the late 1960s with a number of artists and about a dozen musicians among its members.

In 1968 the musicians split into two distinct acts, adopting the names Amon Düül and Amon Düül II. The first group would produce a few albums in the late ’60s and early ’70s, then another double-LP would appear in the early ’80s. Yet another splinter group called “Amon Düül (UK)” came out with a few more titles after that to complicate the discography even further.

Of the two initial groups, I prefer Amon Düül II whose records are much more musically accomplished and innovative. Julian Cope includes one Amon Düül album among his “50 Kosmische Classics,” their third LP from 1970 titled Paradieswarts Düül.

Like all of their records, this one is comprised of captures of live jams (again, contrasting with often more detailed production of their similarly-named counterparts). There are no less than 12 musicians credited, although what you hear often sounds as though it could have been created by three or four. While recognizing its limitations, Cope calls Paradieswarts Düül “fabulous” and evokes the Velvet Underground by way of comparison, though I’m decidedly less high on it than he is.

Side 1 is taken up by the 17-minute long “Love is Peace,” a genuinely pleasant, slow-paced and repetitive jam featuring folksy guitars, discreet bass, humble percussion (including bongos and African drums), and cameos by a boisterous flute and an uncertain piano. (A harp is listed, too, though I’m not sure where to find it.)

The title gives you an idea of the hippie-fied theme of the lyrics (sung in English) -- the kind of thing you might imagine being sung around a campfire fairly late in the proceedings. Around the halfway point comes a transition introduced by a mildly trippy application of echo, perhaps calling to mind some early Beefheart jams. It’s a nice, mostly charming session, but by the time the chanting comes in near the end, you might be ready to move onto something else.

Side 2 is split into two lengthy tracks, the first being a slow, nine-minute instrumental titled “Snow Your Thirst and Sun Your Open Mouth” during which you’ll bob your head during the first half, then probably lose focus during the more contemplative latter portion.

The third and final track, “Paramechanische Welt,” features seven-and-a-half minutes of unremarkable strumming with some wordless (or at least indistinct) vocalizing. Kind of a “quick-turn-the-recorder-on” situation that didn’t really develop into anything noteworthy. (A CD reissue includes a couple of short, plodding extras that don’t add much to what’s gone before.)

As a whole, Paradieswarts Düül’s has more historical than entertainment value, with the musicianship not nearly as impressive as what you’ll find elsewhere in the kingdom of krautrock, making the songs only of fleeting interest. First alphabetically, but probably a misleading introduction to the genuine wonders contained elsewhere in the “50 Kosmische Classics.”

Even so, you might still get a groove on to “Love is Peace.”

Monday, September 19, 2016

Krautrock: Reviewing the “50 Kosmische Classics”

Just over 20 years ago, English rocker Julian Cope published a slim volume titled Krautrocksampler: One Head's Guide to the Great Kosmische Musik -- 1968 Onwards. The book presents a mostly thorough overview of the “krautrock” genre that originated in Germany in the late 1960s, an eclectic category of music including examples of experimental rock, psychedelic rock, the avant-garde, funk, electronic music, minimalism, ambient music, funk, jazz, fusion, blues, and more.

Of course, while krautrock certainly borrowed elements from these other genres, it was also distinct in its own right -- and highly influential upon many later groups and subgenres. When you hear someone like Thom Yorke championing the ’70s band Neu! and describing their music as sounding “like joy... like a brand-new motorway, and you are the first to drive on it,” he’s just one of a chorus of contemporary artists voicing appreciation for the genre.

There’s a tendency to refer to any album-oriented rock or electronic music emanating from Germany from, say, 1968 through the early 1980s, as “krautrock,” although doing so doesn’t necessarily help us pinpoint what exactly is meant by the term. To me “krautrock” most often overlaps with “progressive rock” of that era because of the use of similar instruments (including new-at-the-time synths and electronics) and an inclination toward experimentation and eschewing traditional song structures. But even that is a less than satisfactory way of describing the category, since so many groups similarly included under the heading sound so different from one another.

At the time he published his book, Cope was best known for his stint as the frontman for The Teardrop Explodes and for a solo career marked by memorable, idiosyncratic LPs like Fried and World Shut Your Mouth often considered part of the “neopsychedelic” wave marking the early-to-mid ‘80s. The appearance of Krautrocksampler and other music criticism (a lot of which can be found on his website) would later position Cope as a kind of music “curator” whose critical sensibilities have proven somewhat influential insofar as he’s helped introduce a lot of folks to a ton of great music. He’s certainly knowledgeable about Krautrock’s history and highlights, and while Krautrocksampler often reads as an extended homage of fulsome praise, it’s also a valuable introduction to many of the genre’s best titles.

Part of the book’s original charm was the relative obscurity of the titles Cope discussed, as he wrote during a pre-internet age when many of the albums could only be obtained via mail order (and usually for a hefty price). In fact the book itself became a much sought-after collectible, with Cope choosing not to publish subsequent editions after deciding others were more qualified than he to assess krautrock. Now, though, you can grab a .pdf of the book online without too much trouble.

The albums have also become much easier to procure, with a lot of them now trivially easy to find on the web (including on YouTube). That means Krautrocksampler readers can now sample the music for themselves and decide whether or not they agree with Cope’s many recommendations. Having spent many years enjoying bands like Neu!, Can, Faust, Kraftwerk, and Popol Vuh, the book introduced me to many more artists who now occupy semi-regular-to-permanent places in my personal rotation.

A big highlight of the book is Cope’s annotated list of “50 Kosmische Classics” that includes LPs from 20 different krautrock acts. Not long ago I realized I’d actually (finally) heard all 50 of them, and so had an idea to share my own reviews of each which like Cope’s are mostly very positive. I’ll gradually go through the list in alphabetical order (as Cope does) -- from Amon Düül to Witthüser & Westrupp -- then once I’m done I’ll try to rank the 50 from best-to-worst. (I already have in mind which titles are my favorites and which are the ones I listen to the least, but I’ll be better positioned to make such a list after reviewing them all and sharing them here.)

The first review will come next week. Meanwhile, as an appetizer here’s a 12-minute track from one of the genre’s best -- Faust -- which they in fact titled “Krautrock” as a bit of an in-joke. Like some other groups now held up as representative of the genre, Faust wasn’t altogether crazy about the obviously reductionist label. As Cope explains in his book, the idea of a “movement” or consciously-driven “tradition” under the krautrock heading was something more imposed by others (especially the British musical press) than embraced and/or consciously nurtured by the German groups themselves.

Even so, Faust’s transporting track -- an awesomely dynamic drone highlighting its 1973 LP Faust IV (and one of my favorites, period) -- is a great introduction to the spirit and vibe embodied by many of the artists whose albums comprise Cope’s list.

Friday, September 16, 2016

New Phish Album: BIG BOAT


BIG BOAT. It's here. Well, almost. But it's been leaked to the press. Big Boat is due in stores on October 7. The results are as expected. And yes, Blaze On is exactly 4:20. The longest track is lucky 13th with Petrichor clocking in at 13:33.
Big Boat - Tracklist:
1. Friends (Fishman)
2. Breath and Burning (Anastasio)
3. Home (McConnell)
4. Blaze On (Anastasio/Marshall)
5. Tide Turns (Anastasio)
6. Things People Do (McConnell)
7. Waking Up Dead (Gordon/Murawski)
8. Running Out Of Time (Anastasio/Marshall)
9. No Men In No Man’s Land (Anastasio/Marshall)
10. Miss You (Anastasio)
11. I Always Wanted It This Way (McConnell)
12. More (Anastasio)
13. Petrichor (Anastasio)
You can grab different formats of Big Boat over at Dry Goods.

Listen to a sample via NPR.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Phish Setlist: Sunday Dick's 9/4/16 Commerce City, Colorado


Phish Dicks hath come to an end. Phish finished off the last night of a three-night run with another epic night at Dicks. You can watch the finale over at LivePhish.com.

Follow @CoventryMusic on Twitter and Instagram for updates and other schwilly things.

Here's what you missed on Sunday...
Le Phish, 9.4.16 DICKS, Commerce City, Colorado

Set 1: Moma Dance > Chalk Dust, Mike's > Wingsuit > Weekapaug, Party Time, Bathtub Gin, Melt, Tube > Zero

Set 2: Crosseyed > Steam > Piper > Drums > Light > Lizards, First Tube

Encore: Walls of the Cave

Quick Links: Dicks Setlist 9.2.16 - Dicks Setlist 9.3.16

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Phish Setlist: Dick's 9/3/16 Colorado Saturday


Phish threw down for the second show of a three-night run at Dick's in super-heady Colorado. All three shows will be webcast over at LivePhish.com.

Follow @CoventryMusic on Twitter for updates from the lot.

Here's what you missed on Saturday night...
Le Phish, 9.3.16 DICKS, Commerce City, CO

Set 1: Slave, Down with Disease, What's the Use? > Maze, Farmhouse, 555, Wookman's Brother, Divided Sky, Rock and Roll

Set 2: Fuego > Sand > Blaze On > Simple > Twist > Theme > 2001 > Harry Hood

Encore: COIL

Friday, September 02, 2016

Phish Dicks Setlist: 9.2.16 Commerce City, Colorado - Friday


Phish returned to Colorado for a three-night throwdown at Dicks's just outside Denver. What kind of hijinks would the band do this year?

The run will be webcast over at LivePhish.com.

Follow @CoventryMusic on Twitter and Instagram for memes and updates throughout the weekend.

Here's what you missed on Friday...

Phish, 9.2.16 Dick's, Commerce City, CO

Set 1: Ghost, No Man's Land, Breath and Burning, Undermind, Heavy Things, Stash, Ass Handed, Wedge, Alaska > 46 Days

Set 2: Antelope, Mercury > Seven Below > Birds, Wombat, Tweezer > Jim > Suzy Greenberg

Encore: Bug > Tweezer Reprise