Monday, October 31, 2016

Phish Halloween Vegas Setlist: 10/31/16 Las Vegas, NV

The moment has arrived. Halloween! Phish completed their four-show run with a three-set throwdown in Vegas. This marked Phish's third Halloween show (1998 and 2014) in Sin City.

Phish covered David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust as their musical costume.

Tonight's Halloween show in Vegas will be webcast over at For you wooks and poors, check at Terrapin Radio for a pirate audio stream.

Follow @CoventryMusic for schwilly Twitter updates. If you don't follow us on Instagram, check out our feed at @CoventryMusic for setlist art, memes, and other stuff.

Here's the Halloween show that everyone has been waiting for. Is this what you wanted?

Phish, 10.30.16 MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Set 1: Carini, Your Pet Cat, AC DC Bag, Free, Possum, What's the Use? > Wombat, Tube, Petrichor, Antelope

Set 2: Five Years, Soul Love, Moonage Daydream, Starman, It Ain't Easy, Lady Stardust, Star, Hang On Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, Rock & Roll Suicide

Set 3: 46 Days > Sand > Twist > Drum Jam, Meatstick > 2001 > Backwards > Slave

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Phish Las Vegs Setlist: 10/30/16 Sunday, MGM Grand Arena

Sunday. You know the saying...never miss a yadda yadda yadda. Phish played the MGM Grand for the third night in a row and the last show before Halloween.

The entire Vegas run shows will be webcast over at For you wooks and poors, the guys at Terrapin Radio will probably have the audio stream.

Follow @CoventryMusic for schwilly Twitter updates and our Instagram feed at @CoventryMusic for setlist art and other stuff.

Here's what you missed on Saturday night in Vegas...

Phish, 10.30.16 MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Set 1: The Dogs, Ghost, Funky Bitch, Chalk Dust, Army of One, Heavy Things, How Many People Are You, Stash, Theme > Suzy

Set 2: DWD> Birds, Fuego, Miss You, Hood > Have Mercy > Hood > A Day in the Life

E: Zero


Fall Setlists: Chucktown 10.14 - Chucktown 10.15 - Jax 10.16 - Nashville 10.18 - Nashville 10.19 ATL 10.21 - ATL 10.22 - Dallas 10.24 - Dallas 10.25

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Phish Vegas Setlist: Saturday 10/29/16 Las Vegas, NV

Saturday night in Vegas. Nothing quite like it on the planet. Phish played another gig in Adult Disneyworld. The second show of a four-night run.

The Vegas shows are webcast over at  Check the guys at Terrapin Radio for an audio stream.

Follow @CoventryMusic for Twitter updates* (*always weather permitting) and follow our Instagram feed at @CoventryMusic for setlist art and other silly stuff.

Here's what you missed on Saturday night in Vegas...

Phish, 10.29.16 MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Set 1: The Birds, Kill Devil Falls, 555, Roggae, Gumbo, Lawn Boy, Wilson, Maze, Wingsuit, More

Set 2: Mercury > Piper > Scents and Subtle Sounds > TWEEZER > Page EDM, Horse > Silent, Golgi

E: Shine A Light, Tweeprise


Fall Setlists: Chucktown 10.14 - Chucktown 10.15 - Jax 10.16 - Nashville 10.18 - Nashville 10.19 - ATL 10.21 - ATL 10.22 - Dallas 10.24 - Dallas 10.25 - Vegas 10.28 - Vegas 10.29 - Vegas 10.30 - Vegas Halloween 10.31

Friday, October 28, 2016

Phish Vegas Setlist: 10/28/16 Friday, Las Vegas, NV

Phish arrived in Las Vegas for a four night run at the MGM Grand Arena. Last time Phish played Vegas in 2014, they kicked off the run with Halloween and ended their tour with the fourth night. This year, the Phish will cap off the tour and the Vegas run with the Halloween show.

The Vegas run will be webcast over at I'm sure the guys at Terrapin Radio will have bootleg'd audio streams.

Follow @CoventryMusic on Twitter for updates (weather permitting) and check our our Instagram feed at @CoventryMusic for setlist art, memes, and other silly schwilly stuff.

Here's what you missed...

Phish, 10.28.16 MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Set 1: Martian Monster, No Man's Land, Dogs Stole Things, Beauty of My Dreams, Destiny Unbound, Limb By Limb, Home, Circus Comes to Town, Steam, Wedge, Cavern, Walls of the Cave

Set 2: Crimes of the Mind > Golden Age > Simple >  Light > 20 Years Later >  Blaze On, Coil

Encore: Bouncin**, Bold As Love

** Pauly takes a piss song 


Fall Setlists: Chucktown 10.14 - Chucktown 10.15 - Jax 10.16 - Nashville 10.18 - Nashville 10.19 - ATL 10.21 - ATL 10.22 - Dallas 10.24 - Dallas 10.25

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Phish Texas Setlist: 10/25/16 Grand Prairie, TX (Dallas)

Phish completed the back-end of their 2-night run in the Dallas suburbs. This is the last show before the circus moves onto to Las Vegas for the Halloween run.

Here's what you missed...
Los Phish, 10.25.16 Grand Prairie, TX

Set 1: Daniel, MOMA, Chalkdust, Cities, Foam, Waking Up Dead, Divided Sky, I Didn't Know, Walk Away > What's the Use, More

Set 2: Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, Backwards > Life Boy, Meatstick, The Line, Tide Turns, Taste, Friday, Waves, Julius, Good Times Bad Times

E: Show of Life

Fall Setlists: Chucktown 10.14 - Chucktown 10.15 - Jax 10.16 - Nashville 10.18 - Nashville 10.19 - ATL 10.21 - ATL 10.22 - Dallas 10.24 - Dallas 10.25

Monday, October 24, 2016

Phish Dallas Setlist: 10/24/16 Grand Prairie, TX

Phish returned for a two-night run in Texas by playing the swank bougie theatre in Grand Prairie a.k.a. the Dallas suburbs. This is the last stop before Phish heads to Vegas for the Halloween run. After a tepid opening to the tour, Phish has been heating up after the last couple of shows. The sentiment in the lot is dread for the new songs and orgasmic anticipation for the Halloween cover album.

Check out @tourphish on Persicope for any streams.

Here's what you missed...

Los Phish, 10.24.16 Grand Prairie, Texas

Set 1: No Man's Land, Breath and Burning, Poor Heart, Wolfman's Bruh, Water in the Sky, My Soul, NICU, ICE, Ocelot, Fuck Your Face, Ass Handed, I Saw It Again, Running Out of Time, Bowie

Set 2: Dog Faced Boy, Seven Below, Petrichor, Maze, Dirt, I Always Wanted It This Way > Piper, BUG

E: Buffalo Bill, Rock & Roll

Fall Setlists: Chucktown 10.14 - Chucktown 10.15 - Jax 10.16 - Nashville 10.18 - Nashville 10.19 - ATL 10.21 - ATL 10.22 - Dallas 10.24 - Dallas 10.25

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Krautrock: Amon Düül II, Wolf City (1972)

Amon Düül II’s fifth LP -- and the last to be included among Julian Cope’s “50 Kosmische Classics” -- Wolf City moves even further into the more accessible or “commercial” sound of Carnival in Babylon, although only in a relative sense. While featuring a slicker sound and more immediately accessible (and shorter) “song-like” tracks than are found on the group’s previous efforts, Wolf City nonetheless continues in the same, rewarding experimental vein of the group’s earlier output.

The album-starting “Surrounded by the Stars” probably features my favorite Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz vocal of any Amon Düül II track, particularly when it is double-tracked during the ominous, descending chord sequence of the chorus. Cope mentions Yoko Ono as an analogue -- not inaccurate, although there’s a sweetness here not suggested by the comparison. It is an intense sound, though, signaling some sort of crisis despite the mostly surreal non sequitur-filled English lyrics (“You play your violin on Napoleon’s nose, a cop comes and says you’re one of those”).

“Green-Bubble-Raincoated-Man” is similarly dreamlike, narrative-wise, with Renate this time being backed by a softer, serpentine groove that segues in and out of more freaky jams. “Jailhouse Frog” immediately follows, kicked off by an inspired, repeated lick and that suddenly crashes into some spacey cabaret before concluding with a manic though melodic sax.

The second side begins with the short title track, featuring another head-rocking guitar-based jam with more strange lyrics sung in English (again, as on the previous track, delivered by one of the male vocalists). “Wie der Wind am Ende einer Strasse” (or “Like the Wind at the End of a Road”) is a lower-bpm, nearly six-minute psychedelic instrumental march underpinned by synth, timpani, and tablas with Chris Karrer’s violin and Falk-Ulrich Rogner’s organ sailing overhead -- majestic. “Deutsch Nepal” comes next, a driving, anthem-like track featuring unsettling though comic-sounding narration (in German this time) by the mad, “funny Führer.”

“Sleepwalker’s Timeless Bridge” closes the proceedings just shy of the 35-minute mark, starting with a sequence of immensely pleasing passages by the band -- truly soaring stuff, sounding like a soundtrack to some sort of fondly remembered road trip (and great driving music, not concidentally). Then a couple of minutes in a change occurs, and the song becomes a strange, delightful pop song, with the synth again providing a warm, cozy space in which to consider the robin, dragonflies, hobo, and treasure seeker of the indigo sea weirdly floating past.

(That track sequence, by the way, is the most common although differs from some versions. I prefer it, though, because of the satisfying conclusion of “Sleepwalker’s.”)

Cope calls this one “the first Amon Düül II album of all real songs,” but again that’s a bit misleading. All seven of these “songs” have multiple parts that have been cleverly sewn together, each of which could have been extrapolated into their own, separate pieces. In other words, it’s still experimental by most measures, although if you were looking for a less immediately challenging entry point into the Amon Düül II world, Wolf City might well be the best place to start.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Phish Atlanta Setlist: 10/22/16 Alpharetta, GA

Phish completed the back end of a double header in the Atlanta suburbs. It's the last show in the south before Phish heads west to Texas and then onto Vegas next weekend for the Halloween run.

The show is webcast over at You can piggyback an audio rip via Terrapin Radio on Mixlr.

Here's what you missed....

Phish, 10.22.16 Alpharetta, GA

Set 1: Mike's Song > Ass Handed > Weekapaug Groove, Waiting All Night, Sample, GIN, Rift, STASH, Funky Bitch, Your Pet Cat, Zero

Set 2: Antelope, Fuego > JIM, No Quarter > Simple > 46 Days > Sneaking Sally > 46 Days

E: Makisupa Policeman, First Tube


Fall Setlists: Chucktown 10.14 - Chucktown 10.15 - Jax 10.16 - Nashville 10.18 - Nashville 10.19 - ATL 10.21 - ATL 10.22 -

Friday, October 21, 2016

Phish Atlanta Setlist: Alpharetta, GA 10/21/16

Another weekend with Phish in the South. First of two nights in the Atlanta Suburbs.

Listen to an audio stream via Terrapin Radio or custy up and buy the webcast at LivePhish.
Phish, 10.21.16 Alpharetta, GA
Set 1: Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, AC DC Bag, Back on the Train, Blaze On, Sugar Shack, Things People Do, Birds, Mercury, Let's Go, Alaska, More

Set 2: DWD > Carini > Winterqueen > GHOST, Possum, SLAVE

E: Loving Cup

Fall Setlists: Chucktown 10.14 - Chucktown 10.15 - Jax 10.16 - Nashville 10.18 - Nashville 10.19 - ATL 10.21 - ATL 10.22

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Phish Mix: Storage Jamming Summer 2016

Cool batch of Phish jams. Welcome to JUST THE JAMS live mix! Thanks to Worcester2003 for this compilation of Storage Jamming from Summer 2016. You can listen/stream or download JUST THE JAMS.



Part 1 - Tracklisting:
00:00 - 02:15 Ghost 6/22/16
02:15 - 04:27 Simple 6/22/16
04:27 - 04:42 Martian Monster 6/24/16
04:42 - 12:16 Down with Disease 6/24/16
12:16 - 20:40 Twist 6/24/16
20:40 - 24:49 Carini 6/25/16
24:49 - 28:49 Tweezer 6/25/16
28:49 - 32:16 Piper 6/25/16
32:16 - 33:35 Steam 6/25/16
33:35 - 41:42 Light 6/26/16
41:42 - 43:47 Golden Age 6/26/16
43:47 - 45:39 Boogie on Reggae Woman 6/26/16
45:39 - 51:30 Fuego 6/28/16
51:30 - 56:00 Breath and Burning 6/28/16
56:00- 1:01:57 Crosseyed and Painless 6/29/16
1:01:57 - 1:06:00 Down with Disease 6/29/16
1:06:00 - 1:11:15 Carini 7/1/16
1:11:15 - 1:27:51 Chalkdust Torture 7/1/16
1:27:51 - 1:34:55 Light 7/2/16



Part 2 - Tracklisting:
00:00 - 08:17 Moma Dance 7/3/16
08:17 - 11:32 Tweezer 7/6/16
11:32 - 18:25 Cities 7/8/16
18:25 - 25:50 Light 7/8/16
25:50 - 33:09 Down with Disease 7/9/16
33:09 - 36:28 Carini 7/9/16
36:28 - 42:04 Drowned 7/10/16
42:04 - 43:41 Piper 7/10/16
43:41 - 51:05 No Men in No Man’s Land 7/15/16
51:05 - 53:53 Ghost 7/15/16
53:53 - 56:54 Meatstick 7/15/16
56:54 - 1:00:52 Carini 7/16/16
1:00:52 - 1:06:54 Golden Age 7/18/16
1:06:54 - 1:09:53 Simple 7/18/16
1:09:54 - 1:17:05 Sneaking Sally Through the Alley 7/18/16
1:17:05 - 1:17:53 Limb by Limb 7/18/16
1:17:53 - 1:23:25 Down with Disease 7/19/16
1:23:25 - 1:25:08 Fuego 7/19/16
1:25:08 - 1:31:36 Ghost 7/19/16
1:31:36 - 1:34:05 No Men in No Man’s Land 7/20/16
1:34:05 - 1:37:40 Mike’s Song 7/20/16



Part 3 - Tracklisting:
00:00 - 05:58 Piper 7/23/16
05:58 - 08:48 Twist 7/23/16
08:48 - 11:23 Carini 7/23/16
11:23 - 17:31 Blaze On 8/26/16
17:31 - 19:04 Tweezer 8/8/16
19:04 - 25:27 No Men in No Man’s Land 9/2/16
25:27 - 27:48 Undermind 9/2/16
27:48 - 29:24 Mercury 9/2/16
29:24 - 31:06 Seven Below 9/2/16
31:06 - 32:32 Wombat 9/2/16
32:32 - 38:39 Tweezer 9/2/16
38:39 - 40:58 Down with Disease 9/3/16
40:58 - 43:07 Wolfman’s Brother 9/3/16
43:07 - 51:46 Simple 9/3/16
51:46 1:04:03 Crosseyed and Painless 9/4/16
1:04:03 - 1:06:12 Piper 9/4/16
1:06:12 - 1:16:03 Light 9/4/16
1:16:03 - 1:19:43 Squirming Coil 9/3/16

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Phish Nashiville Setlist: 10/19/16 Nashville, TN

Phish completed the back-end of a double dip in Nashville.

Head over to Terrapin Radio for any streams.

Phish, 10.19.16 Nashville, TN

Set 1: Theme from the Bottom, Camelwalk, My Soul, Petrichor, Stealing Time, My Sweet One, Waking Up Dead, Halfway to the Moon, Running Out of Time, Tube, Shine A Light

Set 2: Golden Age > TWEEZER > No Man's Land, Plasma, HOOD, Suzy

E: Walls of the Cave, TWEEPRISE

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Phish Nashville Setlist with Bob Weir: 10/18/16 Nashville, TN

Phish returned to Nashville for two nights at their swank outdoor venue. Bob Weir showed up at the soundcheck and rumors swirled in the lot...would Bobby sit in? He joined the band for most of the second set with a few Dead tunes tossed in.

Check Terrapin Radio for a stream.
Phish, 10.18.16 Nashville, TN

Set 1: Chalkdust, Blaze On, Ghost, Lawn Boy, Halley's Comet, SAND, Tide Turns, 46 Days > Breath and Burning, Limb By Limb > Cavern, 2001

Set 2: Julius, Fuego, My Friend, Samson and Deliah **, Twist**, Miss You**, West L.A. Fadeaway**, Playin in the Band**

E: Mighty Quinn

** with Bob Weir

Monday, October 17, 2016

Krautrock: Amon Düül II, Carnival in Babylon (1972)

Listening back to Amon Düül II’s fourth LP, Carnival in Babylon, I’m realizing it’s the title by the Munich collective I dial up least often, usually being more apt to pick Tanz der Lemminge or Wolf City (the latter of which we’ll discuss next week).

It’s perhaps the most “conventional” of the four LPs by the group included in Julian Cope’s list of “50 Kosmische Classics” in his Krautrocksampler. That said, anything following the twin peaks of Yeti and Tanz der Lemminge -- both massive double-LPs jam-packed with a seemingly endless supply of ideas -- would seem less ambitious by comparison. And I’m realizing I’ve probably underappreciated Carnival as a result.

After dropping the needle, the first few seconds of the album’s opener “C.I.D. in Uruk” resemble a Zappa segue, leading into an inventive multi-part jam with a group-led vocal giving the track an urgent feel. “All the Years ’Round” follows, featuring a plaintive sounding Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz leading the group through a surreal political treatise before heavy guitars take over, building into a couple of the louder, more rocking couple of minutes in the group’s oeuvre. Side 1 finishes with “Shimmering Sand,” which features more guitar-heavy calisthenics with some added organ (and more trippy lyrics).

Side 2 opens with “Kronwinkl 12,” by which point the group-chanted vocals reciting blurry complaints and/or worries about the world (“Though I know society is dead brain, I start thinking in circles following their games”) might evoke a Haight-Ashbury gathering. The sweet, bongo-driven “Tables are Turned” adds to that impression, with a heavily-chorused guitar transporting the listener back to the early ’70s. Cope calls “Tables are Turned” the “most loving song” on the album, “a magical, lilting percussive groove” that reminds him of Traffic’s “Vagabond Virgin,” and it’s hard to disagree.

Cope also points out how it isn’t until the last track, the 10-minute “Hawknose Harlequin,” that the band “stretch[es] out into their usual electric trip out,” which is also accurate. In fact, that delightful turn to the experimental doesn’t even really happen until halfway through. The track has a slow, non-threatening build before carrying the listener onto a rocket trip to psychedelia-tinged inner space that fades away much sooner than expected. (Cope suggests the track was originally meant to cover an entire side.)

I’m guessing other Amon Düül II aficionados might overlook Carnival as I have, perhaps because that finish leaves us feeling like something’s missing. It’s a worthy entry to the catalogue, though. Check out the vids below which feature some inspired fan-compiled imagery accompanying most of the tracks.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Phish Setlist: Jacksonville, FL 10/16/16

Phish returned to Florida to play a rare non-NYE gig. The boys from Vermont invaded Jacksonville on a Sunday night. Never miss a Sunday show yadda yadda yadda.
Phish, 10.16.16 Jacksonville, FL

Set 1: KDF, MOMA, Back on the Train, Undermind, Nellie Cane, Stash, Petrichor, Mike's > Bouncin' > Weekapaug

Set 2: Crosseyed and Painless > Steam > Piper > Wingsuit, Sparkle > Wedge, Velvet Sea > Antelope

E: Curtis Loew, Zero

Quick Links - Setlists: Charleston 10.14 - Charleston 10.15

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Phish Setlist: Charleston, SC 10/15/16

Phish finished off their two-night run with a Saturday night show in Charleston.
Phish 10.15.16 Charleston, SC

Set 1: Blaze On, What's the Use?, Martian Monster, Devotion, Waking Up Dead, Timber Ho, Things People Do, Let Me Lie, Maze > Lengthwise > Maze, Ass Handed, Carini, Wolfman's Bruh

Set 2: Mercury > TWIST > I Always Wanted It This Way > Miss You, Fuego > Sand, Joy, Possum

Encore: Good Times Bad Times

Friday, October 14, 2016

Phish Setlist: 10/14/16 Charleston, SC

Phish began their 2016 fall tour with a doubleheader in Charleston, South Carolina.

Here's what you missed on the first night of tour!
Phish, 10/14/2016, Charleston, SC

Set 1: Petrichor*, Ghost, Heavy Things, Home*, Poor Heart, GIN, 555, Horn, More

Set 2: No Men In No Man's Land > DWD > Cities, Roggae, 20 Years Later > Light, Boogie On, HOOD

Encore: Winterqueen, TUBE, Rocky Top
* FTP, Debuts

Monday, October 10, 2016

Krautrock: Amon Düül II, Yeti (1970)

Amon Düül II titled its second release Yeti, evoking the legendary “abominable snowman” that has been part of Western popular culture since the 19th century -- an enormous ape-like figure heavily plodding the line between reality and imagination. As a double-LP with ambitions far exceeding the group’s 1969 debut, Phallus Dei, the group’s second release is similarly larger and more formidable, rightly regarded as early, important monument of Krautrock.

Setting the needle down on Side 1 sets things going with the four-part opening suite titled “Soap Shop Rock,” with the initial part (“Burning Sister”) a stop-and-go rocker that sonically resembles garage psyche of the era. A reduced-tempo variation on the theme follows, the title of which -- “Halluzination Guillotine” -- perhaps alluding to the grim reaper figure gracing Yeti’s cover.

About that -- the picture is of the Wolfgang Krischke, an early member of Amon Düül I and friend of Amon Düül II, swinging a scythe. Krischke died the year before Yeti’s release after freezing to death in a forest during an ill-fated LSD trip. The image subsequently became the band’s logo, and was also modified and used as the cover of Julian Cope’s Krautrocksampler.

“Soap Shop Rock” continues with a short, weird third section (“Gulp a Sonata”) featuring Chris Karrer and Renate Knaup singing a miniature avant-garde opera. Then the fourth and final part (“Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm”) develops into an urgent, loud alarm (with Karrer’s violin prominent) -- probably the most “bad trip”-sounding sequence on either disc -- before resolving into a reprise of the opening theme. The first side then concludes soothingly with “She Came Through the Chimney” whose acoustic guitars picking out arpeggios sound all the more achingly sweet thanks to the contrast with what came before.

Side 2 starts with a short vocal showcase for Knaup, “Archangels Thunderbird,” whose intensity I find irresistible, although some may be less enamored. She’s not exactly a German Grace Slick, not having the range or dynamism of her Californian contemporary, but she’s every bit as earnest and (to me) more endearing. “Cerebus” comes next, an acoustic workout with some added fuzzy, flangy space rock guitar, followed by “The Return of Rübezahl,” a short, very heavy electric instrumental.

The side finishes off with the nighmarish “Eye-Shaking King” replete with distorted vocals and loud, clangorous instrumentation, then the short “Pale Gallery” featuring an overly-amped organ, thudding percussion, and various odd effects, a track that sounds as though it could have spawned all of Bauhaus-like gothic post-punk.

The second LP features three long tracks all designated as “improvisations,” the organization perhaps recalling Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma (released the same year). Side 3 is taken up with the 18-minute title track the slow beginning of which is very “Saucerful of Secrets”-like. Densely-textured guitars, organ, occasional shouts and other noises round out the moody side.

Side 4 is then split between “Yeti Talks to Yogi,” a continuation of “Yeti” that gets a little more manic, and a relatively quiet acoustic finale, “Sandoz in the Rain.” The latter track features guest appearances by a couple of members of Amon Düül I plus Thomas Keyserling (later a side man for Tangerine Dream) adding a welcome flute.

Sandoz, incidentally, was the name of the lab in Switzerland that first synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide way back in the late 1930s, with clinical trials famously being conducted there through the mid-1960s. There’s a story (probably untrue) that gets passed around of the company trying to sue Amon Düül II for using the name in the song title, but according to guitarist John Weinzierl “we told them the use of the word ‘Sandoz’ was only a ‘sound painting thing’” and the case was dropped.

“Of course I cannot confirm the rumor,” adds Weinzierl. “We were all on acid when recording the song.”

Yeti stands up especially well to repeated listens, and is well deserving of its reputation as an important early Krautrock entry.

To be honest, I might prefer the band’s next (third) album, Tanz Der Lemminge, just a touch more than Yeti, another spawling double-LP with a greater variety of sonic textures and moods. An incredible 70 minutes of music actually, with each of the four sides presenting multi-part mini-epics veering back and forth to produce some of the more pleasurable prog you’ll ever encounter -- a big omission from “50 Kosmische Classics,” although I can see why Cope went with the more frequently cited and certainly more influential Yeti.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Krautrock: Amon Düül II, Phallus Dei (1969)

Here’s where it all really starts for Krautrock. That’s right... with God’s Penis.

Soon after the Munich-based commune of artists and musicians known as Amon Düül split into two separate factions in the late 1960s, the one retaining the group’s name began firing off albums starting in 1969 that were largely hastily made captures of free-form live jams. Meanwhile Amon Düül II would be the group producing more polished, better sounding, and ultimately more influential efforts, starting with their 1969 debut Phallus Dei, an LP many point to as the genre-launching “first Krautrock record” with Can’s same-year debut Monster Movie also sometimes challenging for that title.

The original LP release featured five tracks, with the nearly 21-minute title track taking up Side 2. (Various bonus tracks were added to CD reissues in the 2000s.) The band consisted of 10 different performers playing a variety of guitars, basses, organ, vibraphone, violin, saxophone, drums, bongos, tambourines, and electric cymbals.

“Kanaan” comes crashing in to begin the record with a driving beat and exotic feel, a mostly instrumental track save an uncertain reading of the Lord’s Prayer in Greek. The sound recalls early Piper Floyd with a vaguely Eastern vibe added by a sitar-imitating guitar lick.

“Dem Guten, Schönen, Wahren” follows, a rocking song of several distinct parts stitched together that again might at times recall “Interstellar Overdrive” with one chanted section perhaps evoking Freak Out-era Mothers of Invention. The title, meaning “To the good, the beautiful, the true,” belies the less tranquil ritualistic-seeming violence the lyrics describe. Very upbeat in mood, though.

The eight-plus minute “Luzifers Ghilom” coming next starts with some straight-ahead rock interrupted by some cheeky gibberish then surges through another disjointed, highly energetic sequence that includes some very melodic passages punctuated by the shouting of arcane lyrics by lead male vocalist Chris Karrer (including one verse in English). The track includes some wordless wailing by Renate Knaup, the female lead who gets the spotlight for the brief, side-concluding “Henriette Krötenschwanz” in which she sings operatic style over a militaristic snare.

Flipping the disc over, “Phallus Dei” begins quietly with a mix of electronic and acoustic hums and murmurs eventually resolving into another cheerful, well-managed jam with inspired percussion and fuzz guitar, bass, and violin carrying us past the midway point.

Things stop suddenly there, with the group moving in unison through a slower passage before everything gives way to noisy, bongo fury followed by more merry rocking. The crazed vocal -- only coming in during the song’s last third -- intersperses English lines telling of Seraphim choirs howling, a Minotaurus running, and how “they broke my magic stick.” (Nothing specifically about God’s penis, though, as far as I can tell, which is perhaps for the best.)

A dreamy, melodious penultimate sequence follows, with yet another, different chord sequence finally marching us into the fadeout groove, suggesting the song doesn’t really end there, but given the limits of vinyl we’re forced to turn away.

More satisfying than their communal counterpart’s Paradieswärts Düül, Amon Düül II’s Phallus Dei is pretty much a delight from start to finish, with better musicianship and many more ideas. When reviewing this one among his “50 Kosmische Classics,” Julian Cope overstates the album’s avant-garde leanings (“At first the music is unfathomable”) in my opinion, as this is plenty accessible even on a first listen, and rewarding thereafter as well. That said, there’s even better Amon Düül II to come.