Tuesday, February 11, 2014

alcoholic drinks viewed under a microscope

ever wonder what your favorite beverages look like, crystallized and illuminated with polarized light and photographed in extreme close up? yeah, me too.

all work is from BevShots MicroArt.  these guys really have their shit together... buy these on canvas as art for your walls or get a flask with the image wrapped around it.


white russian

american amber ale

japanese dry lager

irish pale ale

german pilsner


vodka tonic

belgian lambic

white zinfandel

australian pale lager




dry martini

english oatmeal stout



pina colada

rum and coke


Forgotten Classics - Vol 3: Robin Trower - Bridge of Sighs (1974 Chrysalis)

Robin Trower is a bit of a dark horse in a best-guitarist-of-all-time conversation, but his name deserves to be mentioned more often.  over a long and still running career, his atmospheric, cough medicine-drenched slow-mo Hendrix sound and tone has etched his name in guitar immortality.  he found some mainstream success as a member of Procol Harem as well as with his solo career and various collaborations, but today he is mysteriously absent from classic rock radio.  regardless, his second album with the Robin Trower Band, 1974's Bridge of Sighs, is his undisputed masterpiece and is one of rock music's most criminally under appreciated albums.

i had heard Robin Trower's name mentioned enough times over the course of a decade of online music discussions that when i saw Bridge of Sighs at a flea market for one buck, i grabbed it.  supposedly he was a helluva guitarist, that's all i knew.  when i got home i slapped it on the turntable, got right, and slipped on the headphones.  *gasp* it was one of those albums that makes you feel like a complete ass for never checking it out earlier.  it's sooo fucking good.  of course Trower is the star of the show here, but the contributions from bassist/vocalist James Dewer and dummer Reg Isidore are obvious from the beginning.  Dewer stakes his claim as one of the finest underappreciated rock singers from that era, with a deeply soulful, blue collar voice, and his bass work melded perfectly with Isidore's tasteful drumming.  their rhythm section formed a seamless foundation for Trower's cosmos-travelling solos.

so here's the Robin Trower Band's Bridge of Sighs.   it's too bad that the second song, the title track, isn't tattooed on our collective classic rock consciousness.  it truly is one of the most magical and mystical pieces of guitar music ever made.

Bridge of Sighs  (1974 )

Before recording Bridge of Sighs, Robin Trower was an English guitiarist who got his start in 1967 with Procol Harum, stepping in just after their Summer of Love anthem "Whiter Shade of Pale."  He split in 1971 after five albums, and eventually formed the Robin Trower Band with bassist/vocalist James Dewer and drummer Reg Isidore. 

Originally, Dewer was bassist in the Scottish blues group Stone the Crow with vocalist Maggie Bell, which was managed and championed by Led Zeppelin's Peter Grant.  he eventually moved on and teamed up with the now-single Trower and Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker for a group called Jude.  the band never recorded and quickly disbanded. Trower and Dewer continued on and brought in the West Indian-born, London-based drummer Reg Isidore in December of 1972.  "Reggie was the first drummer we auditioned," said Trower. "Reggie came down for a jam and we played together for about ten minutes, and i said, right... that's it... you're in, like it or not!" 

Twice Removed From Yesterday, the Robin Trower Band's first album in 1973, sets an immediate mood... slower, longer, more dramatic stoned guitar jams... the first three tracks, "I Can't Wait Much Longer," "Daydream," and "Hannah" form a sprawling spaced out epic with some of the very best guitar shit you will ever hear.  the seeds for Bridge of Sighs originate here.

Reg Isidore left the Robin Trower Band after the release of Bridge of Sighs, but Trower and Dewer continued on with drummer Bill Lordan for the rest of the decade.  For Earth Below in 1975 and Long Misty Days the following year continue on with the Sighs signature sound, and even though they fall short of matching that record's ridiculous classicness, they are well worth checking out.

Long Misty Days (1976)

Dewer left in 1983, and Trower continued on with a variety of projects, most notably three albums with Cream bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce.  Dewer passed away in 2002 after a botched surgery.  Trower continues to record and tour. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

MC5 (1964-1972)

the MC5.  scuzzy Detroit renegades that redefined rocknroll in the 60s.  while flower power was the preferred method of protest at that time, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith, singer Rob Tyner, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson  unleashed a sonic molotov cocktail and lobbed it straight into the heart of the American machine, getting the attention of the White House itself.  before they imploded, the MC5 blazed a path for the punks that would appear in the coming years.  music was never the same.

here's an amazing clip from 1970

here is a blistering live performance from 1972.  the band was already starting to splinter, but there was still a lot of fuel left in the tank, which is what makes their self-destruction all the worse.

the MC5 - A True Testimonal documentary is essential viewing. here is a preview. it's worth trying to dig it up the entire film.

and when you are all done with those, here are their albums.

Earthless - From the Ages (2013 Tee Pee Records)

From the Ages
2013 Tee Pee Records

Earthless, a ridiculously talented power trio from San Diego, released a new album From the Ages in 2013 and it's one of the most unrelenting slabs of acid metal in recent memory.  guitarist Isaiah Mitchell pulls out all of the guitar pyrotechnics of Hendrix, the dreamy atmospherics of Trower, the flair of Eddie Van Halen, Iommi's riffage, and the full tilt jams of Jimmy Page all at once, and the the solid iron core of the rhythm section (bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba) provide the gravity that holds everything together.  their mostly-instrumental jams are retardedly over the top...  when every other similar group would have long ago tapped out, Earthless routinely puts it in a higher gear and pushes on, spiraling straight into the sun for ten, fifteen, twenty, THRITY+ minutes longer.

they honed their sound on 2005's Sonic Prayer and Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky in 2007, but From the Ages is arguably their most focused to date.  and if their album Live At Roadburn and the videos of their live performances are any indication, they are a must-see.  i will be eager to soak in their sounds at the Austin Psych Fest this spring.

buy their music HERE

From the Ages (full album)

and a live performance from july '13 that will turn your brain to liquid

Wheedle's Groove: Seattle Funk 1965-75

it is a relatively unknown fact that, back in the 60s and 70s, Seattle was home to a once-vibrant power funk scene, and just when it seemed that the region's success would break nationally, the entire scene abruptly faded into obscurity.  several years ago, the Black on White Affair's single, "Bold Soul Sister, Bold Soul Brother" was rediscovered and the rich Northwest funk scene was dug up once again.  Light in the Attic Records released a compilation titled Wheedle's Groove: Seattle Funk 1965-75 (check it out HERE) and filmmaker Jennifer Maas's Wheedle's Groove documentary shines a light on the scene and its major players, reuniting many of them for the first time since the old days (Wheedle's Groove trailer HERE and a longer sample from the film HERE.) by the way, Wheedle's Groove is a reference to the old Seattle Supersonics mascot.  it's ass ugly, whatever it is.

here's a tasty sample for ya.