I originally put this over on TGWTG blog, but may as well put it here to give an idea what kind of stuff will be here in the future.
Just a quickie list style blog, just to put it out there. This is stuff that I liked over the years, and wanted to share with everyone. And yeah, this is a list of older stuff, I may do a more modern one later. This isn't an ultimate list, I just want to toss it out ther as stuff that you should take an hour out of your life and listen to this stuff. And I'm going a little "hipster obscure" here, because I'm assuming most people have HEARD a song by Rush before so I don't need to get into them. Or I may have to do another of that kinda stuff too, no clue.
#5 : Masayoshi Takanaka : Plumed Bird
One of my favorite "who is this guy?" guitarists ever. Hiis work goes way back to the 1970's, but I believe this is him in 2009 (I think, I can't read Japanese). I stumbled into him at a video rental store when I found "Rainbow Goblins Story", and then proceeded to scour the record stores for the CD. Yeah, it was a long time ago. Amazing player who really deserves more recognition outside of Japan.
This song is the climax of the album, which is a concept piece in itself. If you can find Rainbow Goblins live at the Budokon, listen to it, it's well worth an hour of your life. It's actually introduced me to his later work, which is more jazzy and blusey, and I wish I could show you some of that but most of those vids are down off of youtube.
#4 : The Uninvited : What God Said
One of the throwbacks from my college days, but still worth listening to. I can't find anything other than this live version, butat least you can understand the lyrics which is good. I really don't know a lot about the band, but I just like the simple message and the happy sound of the music. That and it's kinda fun to thumb your nose at religion and do it in a way that won't make too many people angry.
#3 : Steve Goodman - The 20th Century is Almost Over
Its been said that to live in Chicago means you have to have a very skewed and somewhat fatalistic sense of humor. Being a Cubs fan myself, I understand this mentality. The last time that the Bears made it to the Super Bowl I remember driving home to see no less than 3 broken TV's on the curbside. So you either laugh at it, or break televisions I guess. Steve Goodman laughed at it.
This is a live show, I'm guessing from "Soundstage" or a similar show, and very obviously a 70's song. But it's got that Chicago sense of humor, and some excellent wordplay. And how he gets himself into the song is amazing. It's almost refreshing to see someone who genuinely seems happy to be playing a song he's done dozens of times before, having seen bands like U2 doing lifeless renditions of other stuff.
#2 : Queensryche - Suite Sister Mary
Ok, wow. Epicness on an epic scale. Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime" album is another concept album, which is pretty presumptuous when you think about it. And this is the big closer to "act 1" on the first side of the album. The turning point of the story, and it's got everything. Angellic voices, power chords, guest singer, and of course long haired gys prancing around in skin tight clothing.
And when they do it live, yeah the epic-o-meter pegs to the right so hard that it breaks the glass. All things being equal, I still want that "Bastard" jacket. I love the album, it's one of my "crank it up" albums when I'm roadtripping. I like the band, Empire is a fantastic album. Just sometimes, they had a tendancy to go so far over the top they've missed it on re-entry. And the "Livecrime" tour was cool, but just a touch over the top.
#1 : Bobby Gaylor - Suicide
When I first heard this song it caught me off guard. It was on the RADIO. It's one of those things that grabs you violently and shakes you around, but I think that was the intention.
Bobby Gaylor is a comedian who made an album of spoken word music. This is the first song on the CD. As I understand the piece, it was written as he was driving to visit a friend who called him up and said "I'm going to kill myself." Bobby got his friend to promise not to do anything until he got there, but he spent the drive thinking "What do I say to this guy?" And this came out of that.
I think it's the brutal honesty of the piece that still gets me. That and how grounded Bobby Gaylor seems to be on the whole album, and in person. Never met him, but I did e-mail him once to just say "thank you." I got a reply some time later. "You're welcome." Hey, it was more than I thought I'd get.