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Fleeting Phases: Falling for Once and Future Band

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 28, 2014 07:25pm | Post a Comment
once and future band brain ep mouth magazine record vinyl debut san francisco prog psych rock Joel Robinow (keyboards/guitar/vocals), Raj Ojha (drums/recording engineer) and Eli Eckert (bass/guitar/vocals)

Sheesh, it's been a minute since I've thrown my two cents into this here pot and I've got a lot of pennies to spend. So far, 2014 has been a damn good year for new music and I would like, if I may, to take you back to May when a local band dropped one hell of a debut EP for the ages.
joel robinow once and future band howlin' rain keyboard synth wizard player musician local oakland san francisco pysch prog progressive rock rocker band shirt tee t-shirt design
Seemingly fixed somewhere between derivative approximations recalling the Crimson courtiers of Progressive Rock and master multi-part harmonizers of yore like, for example, maybe Wishbone Ash or Bubble Puppy, it could be said that Oakland's Once and Future Band has calculated dead reckoning in waters more well known than uncharted. However, this assessment is flawed. Roughly two minutes into the sprawling eponymous opening track of their debut EP, Brain, when lead vocalist, guitarist, high synth-sayer, and man behind the dream Joel Robinow (of Howlin' Rain, also wearing an exceptionally well designed OAFB tee, right over there) sings, "everyone knows ‘cept yourself that these phases are fleeting, time to take stock and face up to the path life is leading", it's time to give up and give in. The nearly nine minute saga advances not unlike said fleeting phases, progressing along most unpredictably in stone grooves, lucid pulses, transitory textures, and ascending arpeggios, executed with a passion for sound and vision so palpable that any trifling comparison made to apparent forebears would seem a dull and heartless pursuit. Considering the first track alone, it is clear that this band possesses something of a sonic timelessness, a quality that perhaps gives some credence to wanton Steely Dan-ish, CSNY et cetera Classic Rock banalogies, but is rather more a result of a fortuitous confluence of unabashed creativity and masterful musicianship. Fact: these guys make music magical, fanciful, adventurous, and valuable -- every second worth the effort. Once and Future Band simply rules. And they would still rule even if Rick Wakeman had said "no" to Yes.

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Psych Folk legend Eiichi Ohtaki dies at 65

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 10, 2014 04:01pm | Post a Comment
japanese singer songwriter folk rock acid musician producer psych happy end eiichi ohtaki eulogy dies dead 65 influential legend

Japanese singer-songwriter and producer Eiichi Ohtaki passed away at a hospital on Monday, December 30, 2013 after having collapsed at his Tokyo home while eating an apple, a piece which had apparently stuck in his throat causing him to choke. He was 65.

happy end eiichi ohtaki takashi matsumoto shigeru suzuki haruomi hosono apryl fool yellow magic orchestra japanese folk rock psych acid

Ohtaki's influential contributions to Japanese pop and folk rock music worldwide could not be more legendary. Born on July 28, 1948, he was perhaps most famous for being the singer/guitarist and founding member of Happy End (pictured left above),  a band he formed with fellow Japanese rock heavy hitters Takashi Matsumoto (Apryl Fool), Shigeru Suzuki and Haruomi Hosono (Apryl Fool/Yellow Magic Orchestra). From 1969 to 1972 the ensemble produced three studio albums that pioneered a highly revered heavy acid folk sound that made them Japan's most beloved and critically acclaimed classic rock bands of all time. More recently the ensemble won notoriety stateside when their song "Kaze wo Atusmete" was featured in the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola's 2003 film Lost In Translation.

Happy End - "Kaze wo Atsumete" from Kazemachi Roman (1971)

Numero Group's forthcoming Lost '70s Rock comp feat. amateur D&D art is giving me life...

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 21, 2013 02:40pm | Post a Comment
black sabbath sabbath bloody sabbath album art cover LP vinyl devil stoner hadr heavy smokey rock NWOBHM+ advanced dungeons and dragons vintage player manual master read first paperback guide role game
                   ÷
smokey bong water heavy stoner rock hard dungeons & dragons fantasy undergound basement band lost seventies vintage music classic bad 70s =

every reason why I'm so excited about this upcoming release:
numero group warfaring strangers dungeoun & dragons 70s smokey riffs classic rock heavy stoner wizard magic DARKSCORCH CANTICLES SET TO ARRIVE FEBRUARY 2014 VIA NUMERO GROUP

This past Halloween marked a break in the fog obscuring yet another exciting prospect from the deep diggers and detail sticklers at Numero Group. The past few years has seen the label expanding the scope of their offerings and this one is set to be quite the departure from their formative fare, so much so that one might even be tempted to inquire after what they've been smoking. If the above cover art and the sample, below, of the amateur Dungeons & Dragons campaign sketches promised to be incorporated into the overall packaging are any indication, I'd wager that they got a hold of some good ol' stuff! Slated for a February release, Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles compilation of lost 70s smokers I can really do with -- this is a direction I'd love to see the label explore further. I'm chuffed to bits for their Purple Snow Minneapolis Sound comp dropping in early December, but this sixteen-sided die seems just as destined for niche-interest veneration as their WTNG 89.9: Solid Bronze collection.

The Muscle Shoals Documentary: A Tale of Two Studios, One Sound

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 17, 2013 03:50pm | Post a Comment
fame studios muscle shoals alabama sheffield documentary music hit songs single sound soul country funk rock southern rick hall muscle shoals sound studio fame rick hall swampers 3614 jackson highway music soul documentary film southern rock funk country sheffield alabama recording hit singles songs

From Dave Grohl's Sound City to 20 Feet From Stardom there have been some really great music-related documentary films released recently, perhaps none so overwhelmingly transcendental as the story of a reliable hit-maker and an iconic sound rooted in a sleepy corner of Alabama called Muscle Shoals
muscle shoals welcome sign alabama soul music fame rick hall studios documentary

Between providing the most literal rendering of "I'll Take You There" and dabbling in discovering the metaphysical origins of what has come to be lauded as the "Muscle Shoals sound," Muscle Shoals blends reflective interviews of those who lived and tracked the music, bolstered by snippets and loops of the iconic sound itself, with layers of pastoral vistas and rustic rural vignettes of the surrounding countryside, playing like a gorgeous cinematographic back-mask. Combined with the fleeting highs and the tragic lows experienced by musician, songwriter and Fame Studios producer Rick Hall, his session players, The Swampers (who would later found a similarly nondescript recording studio across town in a former casket factory), among others still living in the glory of the Muscle Shoals nexus, the film also depicts the triumph of a phenomenon bigger than anyone can fully understand nowadays: the earthly crossroads of soul, country, funk and rock and roll at a time when "separate but equal" was the order of the day. 

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Brazilian Electro-Rock Band CSS

Posted by Amoebite, August 6, 2013 09:13pm | Post a Comment

CSS

Sao Paulo, Brazil has always had a rich history in music. Some of Brazil's most engaging musicians were spawned in Sao Paulo during the 20th century, including Os Mutantes, who helped create the Tropicalia movement of the '60s, and Samba composers Paulo Vanzolini and Adoniran Barbosa, who wrote one of Brazil's most famous Sambas (see "Trem das Onze"). A late punk and garage scene grew in the '80s while the '90s gave way to a strong drum and bass movement. Fast forward to the 21st century and CSS carries the torch as Sao Paulo's leading purveyors of  electronic-dance-rock. CSS exploded onto Brazil's burgeoning "new rave" scene in the early 2000s. Originally a six piece (5 ladies, 1 dude), CSS was one of the early bands to turn Internet fame into a full-fledged career.

Nearly a decade after they famously took their name (Cansei de Ser Sexy) from R&B diva Beyonce, after she declared she was "tired of being sexy," the women of CSS are back with their fourth album, Planta.css TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek takes on producer duties and this time around CSS deliver a more polished production. Still full of electro-pop rock angst, CSS remain fun and loud despite losing main songwriter Adriano Cintra. The album's lead single, "Hangover," is a querky synth-pop jam that carries an upbeat feel. Lovefoxxx sings, "Living in Jupiter that spot is free / Martians??/ vampires and bees /
Everyone is floating together / Everyone is partying forever." Party on CSS!

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