I’ve never been the biggest Yes fan. But strangely, it was at last week’s Rush concert in Calgary, Alberta where early Yes, which has always been a weird sticking point for yours truly, started to click. I was sitting in my aisle seat on stage right, 13 rows up from the floor, watching the crew make the final preparations to the stage and back line behind the big curtain when “Roundabout”, one of only a small handful of early Yes songs I could identify, came on through the PA. I don’t know if it was the excitement of anticipation or the several pints of cheap beer I’d had with friends in a pub before, but the delightfully convoluted 4/4-14/4-7/4 track from 1971’s Fragile album made a whole ton of sense: Jon Anderson’s quixotic musings about taking the train to Montreux, Steve Howe’s snappy little riff, RickWakeman’s wicked organ solos, Bill Bruford’s masterful beats, and especially Chris Squire’s nimble, roaring bassline.
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Justin Townes Earle ended up moving to Vagrant Records and surprised his fans with not one, but two, new albums within a year. The companion pieces, Single Mothers and Absent Fathers, are not concept records, but complimentary, as he describes, “like the two parts of Springsteen’s The River.” Earle reflects on how his songs change over time, and how his touring band pulls from his all-time favorite band, and friends of Country Fried Rock, Centro-Matic.
There were a lot of strong k-pop releases throughout the month of June, but two separate competitions dominated the conversation. A battle of the top boy bands played out through the beginning of the month, only to be followed by three highly-anticipated girl group comebacks in the second half.
Now that the dust has settled, let’s return to the latest U2 album, Songs of Innocence, and get to the bottom of it, shall we? What say we ignore the media hullabaloo, the obligatory mini-biography insert, the wooden appraisal of legacy, you know, the standard machinery of criticism in general, and just focus on the songs on hand?
With a brief and elegant run of notes, bassist Tim Midyett gently announces the opening of “Contempt”, the first track on Silkworm’s Lifestyle, the album which is the subject of this 12-week, one track a week, Between the Grooves series. It’s so slight that a listener still settling down after dropping the needle might miss it. And then suddenly, all at once, the rest of the band including Andy Cohen, the singer on “Contempt”, join in. However, the vibe here is unusual. If Silkworm have a reputation (and that is meant in the most speculative sense of the conditional, i.e., “Does Silkworm’s music have a general reputation?”), then perhaps it is as a dude’s band, a point noted by fan Dan Mohr in Seth Pomeroy’s 2013 Silkworm documentary Couldn’t You Wait?, a treasure of a film and a source we’ll turn to more than once in the coming weeks. Silkworm: Three dudes who make dude music. Big guitars. Big drums. Songs about World War II. Songs about life on the road. Songs about Julius Caesar. Music to go with steaks and beer. For goodness sake, Tim Midyett is even the inventor of a delicious, world class meat rub. Dudes!
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"Two wide and handsome Italian thrillers of the 1970s.READ the article