Friday, May 22, 2009

Todd Rundgren revisits his psychedelic masterpiece: A Wizard, A True Star

It was inevitable. Brian Wilson started the trend a few years ago when he performed the album "Smile" for the very first time. Recently, Van Morrison performed the entirety of "Astral Weeks" to rave reviews, as did Lou Reed with the "Berlin" album last year and the year before that.

So it was only a matter of time until the enigmatic pop raconteur, Todd Rundgren, re-visited his 1973 psychedelic masterpiece "A Wizard, A True Star", and decided to perform its British Premiere at the London HMV Hammersmith Apollo on 6th February 2010.

This is the album that literally defied the law of gravity when it was initially released on an unsuspecting public. The album clocked in almost an hour's worth of running time, and back in those days, vinyl albums, on average, lasted 35 minutes.

But forget about the running time shenanigans, think about the music.

It was insane but melodic, pretty but subversive, poptastic but bombastic, sexy but banal, exciting and futuristic, progressive and intuitive.

At the time, Rundgren encapsulated everything glam rock and prog rock, pop and soul couldn't fathom - a reason to live, and a reason to believe.

From the Technicolor "Zen Archer" to "You Need Your Head", "You Don't Have to Camp Around", "Just One Victory", "Just Another Onionhead", "Never, Never Land" to the essential "International Feel" ("I only want to see if you'll give up on me"), this was the album that made David Bowie do a re-think, and also made every half decent rock star throw the rulebook out the window.

So with great applause, I congratulate the Philly Soul boy for having the sheer guts to dust off the sonic extravaganza and let the new generation of fans get a taste of what they missed out the first time around.

If Empire of the Sun and MGMT really want to trip the light fantastic, this will be the concert that will help them trip the day-glo light fantastique.

Interstellar appeal just got more appealing.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

New York Dolls Should Get A Grammy For 'Cause I Sez So

The new album from the New York Dolls - 'Cause I Sez So - continues to fascinate and entertain. The band have release what potentially could be their finest album of their career.

After 36 years since their 1973 debut album, the band have roped in their original producer, Todd Rundgren, to helm the new album. The results are incredible; with some of the best blues and R&B embellished rock and roll songs of their rollercoaster career.

Stand out tracks include 'Cause I Sez So, Ridiculous, My World, Exorcism of Despair, Muddy Bones and a slow bluesy rendition of Trash. So far, this year, there is no other album that comes close to the new Dolls album.

if you love albums like Raw Power by Iggy and the Stooges, Television, the Heartbreakers and Suicide, this album is right up your rock and roll street.

If the Dolls don't get a Grammy nomination for this album, there is no justice.

Oh, and bring back Creem magazine - all is forgiven!!!

With raw photographs of rock's greatest stars and insightful prose by the legendary rock journalists who were stars in their own right, CREEM magazine stood at the forefront of youth counterculture from 1969 to 1988 as "America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine."

A product of Detroit's revolutionary counterculture, CREEM cultivated an incredibly gifted staff of iconoclastic scribes, editors, photographers, and graphic artists whose work continues to resonate today, including: Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, Richard Meltzer, Nick Tosches, and a not-so-famous Cameron Crowe.

They invented a raucous new form of journalism, where the writing and photographs were as much an expression of rock 'n' roll as the music itself. CREEM embraced and abused the best and the worst of the era: MC5, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Faces, Lou Reed, the Stooges, T.Rex, Kiss, Mott the Hoople, the Who, the New York Dolls, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, the Ramones, Cheap Trick, the Clash, and Van Halen, among many others.

Now the Mouth of the Motor City presents a retrospective of the beautiful haze that was rock's golden age—from the end of the hippie days through glam and punk and into '80s metal.