Recommendation: If you haven’t watched the music critic and author Anthony DeCurtis’s more than an hour-long interview with Reed, there’s a link here.
For much of the last fortnight, I have been listening to Lou Reed’s music, re-exploring especially his and the Velvet Underground’s discography of the 1960s and early ’70s. But there’s been quite a bit of new music on my playlist too. Here’s a listing in no particular order. Read more
It’s rock that does it best for me. It can come in whatever stripe – indie, heavy metal, with an orchestra or without, with a synth or without, folk-infused, progressive… you name it. Rock is my first preference when I want to listen to music. I like the blues too and R&B, some hip-hop, some post-rock, electronic dance music even, and sometimes experimental avant garde but not as much as I like rock. But there are those occasions when nothing but a classic jazz album will work for me. At such times, my well-thumbed sleeve of Miles Davis’ 1970 double album, Bitches Brew is brought out, and spun and, in spite of the nasty scratch on Spanish Key (first track on Side 3), I marvel for the umpteenth time at the fabulousness of that towering jazz-rock fusion album, its tracks, of course, but also the deadly line-up that trumpet guru Davis got together for it. Read more
The last time Download Central turned up in Brunch, I wrote about Walter Trout, the top-notch blues guitarist, who besides having a stellar solo career, has played with blues greats such as John Mayall, Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker. I’d mentioned that Trout has many fans in India, including the (now-incarcerated) Sanjay Dutt, and has even played at gigs here. Then, quite abruptly, Download Central went on a break. At six months, it was a rather long break. But, as you can see, it is back with another bluesman, no less. Read more
There’s been so much hype about Celebration Day, the name of the 2007 concert by the surviving members of Led Zeppelin, who reunited to play just one gig at London’s O2 arena as a tribute to the legendary producer and music industry executive, the late Ahmet Ertegun, that even after the recordings – both video and audio – of the concert were released late last year, I hesitated to check them out. Big mistake. I should’ve. Read more
Like most of my friends, I heard my first Jimi Hendrix album after the legendary guitarist had died. Not surprising, because Hendrix died in 1970 and when he lived, he’d just four albums to his credit. I think the first Hendrix album that I got to listen to was Are You Experienced, which released in 1967, and had memorable songs such as Foxy Lady, Fire, Manic Depression and so on. Hendrix’s guitar, when you first heard it (and it was already the mid-1970s when I experienced Hendrix, at least five years after he died at 27) left an indelible mark. His unconventional use of the wah-wah pedal and amplifier feedback distortions were unlike anything that I’d heard before. Read more
When I first heard of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, a band that, despite having two albums to its credit, is still quite below the radar, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d read that they were a Portland, Oregon band that had roots in New Zealand (which didn’t exactly make things any clearer); and that they were a trio fronted by Ruban Nielson who’d earlier been with a NZ band called The Mint Chicks (again, that was no clue to their music since I was as unaware of The Mint Chicks as I was of Unknown Mortal Orch.). I’d also read that The Mint Chicks were a “post-hardcore” band and that to my mind could mean anything that you wanted it to. Read more
Bands seldom have names that describe what it is that they do. In fact, more often their names have nothing much to do with the kind of music they play. Canada’s The New Pornographers obviously don’t do what their rather risqué name suggests. Neither does Portland’s electronica band STRFKR do whatever you may think they do once you put all the missing letters back into their name. So when I came across a New York band called Endless Boogie, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d got a lead on them from a blog and when I checked them out I realised that they might be one band that lives up to its name. Read more