It's been a long time coming but finally I have a cool blog that I can call my own. Most people reading will already know who I am. Discussions of hip hop and life will usually take place here when I have things to talk about.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The List.....this week most underrated Genesis songs

I must at this point clarify for my fellow Christian friends that these are not songs about the book of Genesis in the bible, but rather songs by the progressive rock group that was popular in the 70's and 80's and led by Peter Gabriel and later Phil Collins.

Ok, so I love Genesis. Many folks have heard their 80's MOR material and have balked without realizing just how good this band was in their 70's progressive rock peak with Gabriel at the mic-stand. A brief history.

Genesis was formed in 1968 by Peter Gabriel (vocals), Mike Rutherford (bass guitar), Tony Banks (Keyboards), and various members on drums and guitar. The released an album "From Genesis to Revelation" that to their own admission wasn't any good and is reasonably difficult to find (although i'm sure if you looked on the file sharing networks you could grab it). They entered a more progressive rock phase with their second album "Trespass" in 1970, and with "Nursery Cryme" (1971)finally added the missing pieces of their band with Steve Hackett (perhaps one of the most underrated guitarists ever) and Phil Collins (a great drummer).

This lineup was the classic lineup of progressive Genesis releasing in the coming years "Foxtrot" (1972), "Selling England by the Pound" (1973), and their double album opus "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (1974). After the Lamb, Gabriel departed for a solo career and Phil Collins took over on vocals. Two more progressive rock albums followed before Steve Hackett left in 1977. The first album after Hackett's departure was aptly titled "...and then there were three" (1978) and showed the band moving into a more traditional rock format.

With the release of "Duchess" (1979) and "ABACAB" (1980) the band moved fully into mainstream rock charting some big hits like "Turn it On Again", "Misunderstanding", and "No Reply at All". The 80's saw the release of their two biggest albums and stadium drawing tours. First came "Genesis" in 1983 with Illegal Alien, Home by the Sea, Mama, and That's All. Invisible Touch (1985) followed, with a successful solo career by Collins running parallel to it's release. The last album by the classic hit making trio was "We Can't Dance" in 1991 and contained more hits and sold out shows.

Collins left after the tour and Rutherford and Banks (the last two remaining members) made an ill advised decision to carry on with a younger vocalist and record a new album "Calling All Stations" in 1997. It was a critically and commercial flop and the guys ended up calling an indefinite hiatus from the group.

In 2007 the trio of Collins, Rutherford, and Banks re-united for a tour of Europe and North America culminating in a massive live show at Circus Maximus in Rome. The past month has seen the group be honoured by induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (only the second progressive rock group to be inducted).

So now that you've got the history let's look at the songs. I'm not gonna go on about the hits because, chances are, you've heard them before or don't particularly like them (Genesis' clearly has two sides to it). I'm gonna focus more on the lesser known Gabriel work of the 70's with some notes on the 80's material.

First up we have The Fountain of Salmacis that closes the album Nursery Cryme. The song sees Gabriel going on with Greek mythology, whatever. In progressive rock really it's pretentious as hell. What to listen for is his vocal delivery over the track that builds over smart keyboards, interesting time signatures on the drums, and guitar work that was years ahead of what Van Halen was doing with his "tapping" technique. Really this is a high point of Genesis' progressive work.

Next Up is Watcher of the Skies which is one of the two songs Phish played in tribute of Genesis at the RnR HoF induction this past month. Perhaps my favourite Genesis song, this comes off of "Foxtrot" (1972). The intro might be the best build for a song this side of U2's "Street Have No Name". Pastoral keyboards swirl around before the rest of the band slowly fade in with Earnest intensity. The rest of the song is a roller coaster of a ride that is over far quicker than it's almost 8 minute length (be it known it is prog rock and that means long songs).

Dancing With the Moonlit Knight opens up "Selling England by the Pound" (1973) which is regarded by many their best album. Moonlit Knight is a hecka pretentious title, but the lyrics describe England at a place in the 70's selling their soul for commercial gain (hence the album title Selling England by the Pound). Moonlit Knight is extremely important for the record as a whole because it sets the tone for the whole record, and it's theme echoes across the whole length of it. The last two minutes of this song are absolutely beautiful.

It is the closing song on "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (1974) and it was a song that they would frequently play long after Gabriel had left the group. At this time the songs are becoming a little shorter and more focused, and the energy that is in this track makes sure that the double epic that is Lamb ends on a high note. Gabriel riffs on the Stones "It's Only Rock and Roll" instead of rock and roll saying knock and knowall. The track here contains the previous song on the record as well. It starts about 2:15 in.

Peter Gabriel leaves and Phil Collins is now the vocalist on Entangled. This is a nice quiet acoustic track with lovely 12 string guitar work from Steve Hackett. Again the guy is flat out amazing. This song comes from "A Trick of the Tail" (1976).

It's been a few years and albums later, which means that Genesis didn't change overnight but with Dodo/Lurker from "ABACAB" (1980) you can clearly seen the change. This song is heavily keyboard driven, with an industrial hard rock approach to it (also throwing in hints of reggae in the middle bridge and new wave). Although it is clearly different, it has some nice hooks and drives ahead with power. Probably my favourite song of the more mainstream material. I can't find the original album track to post, so I've posted the live vid from "Three Sides Live". It's a very worthy live rendition of it.

Lastly, and a song I really like, from an absolute mess of an album is Shipwrecked from "Calling All Stations" (1996). I'm not sure if the purists would even consider this Genesis due to the different lead singer and such (then again some purists don't consider Collins led Genesis as Genesis either) but it is a nice song (probably the best on it).

Sunday, March 14, 2010


That is, I'm finished watching the Long Way Round doc that I mentioned before. It's quite good from top to bottom, though I would note there is some brief nudity along with the foul language. Some of the highlights of the trip were, the road of bones in Eastern Russia, and how they got their bikes and vehicles through flooded rivers and enormous potholes. There is a scene in Kazakhstan where they are invited to the home of a local and his buddy break out all these machine guns to show them off. The footage in Alaska is stunning as they were able to see a giant brown bear catch a jumping fish in the river with his mouth, plus the glacier footage is great. Overall highly recommended.

I also broke out the movie The God's Must be Crazy and sat down and watched it. Debate to the merrits of this film have come under scrutiny in recent years, and it is largely dated. Still the film is a quite wonderful little movie, humourous not hilarious, simple and sweet. The story itself is a mish mash of plotlines that eventually coincide with each other. Plot A finds us watching the social decay that plagues a tribe of San (called "Bushmen" in the film) hunters when a coke bottle is tossed from an overpassing airplane. Due to the tribe's inability to handle the bottle (you have to see it to understand), the head of the tribe takes it away from the camp to throw it off the edge of the world. Meanwhile Plot B, guerillas have shot up half the country's cabinet and are on the run. Lastly, Plot C involves the decision of a urban journalist to seek teaching employment in rural africa, and her adventures getting there. If you haven't seen it, give it a try. It's prolly not for everybody, but if you give it a chance it is quite a fun movie.

I also watched Finding Forrester which loosely takes the J.D. Salinger (recently deceased author of Catcher in the Rye) story, and builds around it with a very bright African American teenager who is also an amazing writer. Sean Connery stars as Forrester who wrote his only novel in the 50's and has lived as a recluse since. It's one of those emotional bonding stories for like Field of Dreams, or Hoosiers that won't leave a dry eye in the house.

Lastly we have Be Cool. I'm not gonna comment too much as my time is short, but I will say that the Rock steals the show in this movie as the gay henchman. There is also a lot of star power in this movie from Travolta, to Christina Milian, Uma Thurman, Danny Devito. Heck, even James Woods pops in for a few minutes. It's a pretty fun movie so check it out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

So a new format, and a rant.

I was looking at my blog today and realized it looked kind of lame. So I decide to get myself a new template that looks a little cooler and not so corporate. I hope you like, if not then DWI.

So, being the music lover that I am, I do read Pitchfork from time to time, but I have come across the conclusion that Pitchfork totally sucks. The main criticism that I have, along with many others, are their elitist reviews and narrow sense of knowledge outside of their own little indie rock circle. Now there are good bands that they heap praise on (Radiohead is a good example), but if you fall outside the element of cool then they will savage you. The critics complain often about pretentious music, which is really code for "these guys are too serious of musicians for me to like them, and then dump their reviews with pretentious talk about why said artist is uncool. Mostly these criticisms leveled at said bands are simply because their popular, or not indie, and don't fit the profile. Rarely anything is mentioned about the music which for a music site should be a major detail.

I could give examples here but really you know the bands that they are gonna hate and gonna like. Personally I think the whole album review thing has gone a little far to tell you the truth. In this day and age it is easy to find out for yourself through various devices both legal and illegal about band x. I think reviews need to be a balanced view of an album and more of a discussion about what is being presented than this pushing of an agenda. I guess people are insecure and want to be where the cool kids are, it's just too bad that 90% of music gets short shrift because of it.

This is a brief example for an album that recieve a 1.6 review.

These clusterfuck all-the-cooks experiments, more often than not, add up to way, way less than the sum of their parts. It might look great on paper to get weirdo visionaries like Kool Keith and Tom Waits on the same track, but if you actually do it, you’ll probably end up with Keith blathering non-sequiturs all over the beat while Waits makes sandpapery fart noises. And as for the impression of Donald Duck busting a nut that someone does at the end of “O Pato”, I can’t imagine that even looked good on paper.”

So what was this horrible album? Well it was non other that NASA's "Spirit of Apollo" that was released last year to almost unanimous critical aclaim everywhere else.

So for me and reviews. Look, I understand that i'm not gonna like everything out there, but there is such a thing as tact which pitchfork strangely lacks. I will weigh the positives and the negatives and if the band is not my thing, I will say so. I don't like Nickelback at all, but i'm not gonna insult the intelligence of my readers by dumping on. To each his own is my policy, and too many people get caught up in this clique mentality that they miss some amazing stuff right in front of their noses.

Anyways, if you like groups like the Arcade Fire (Pretty Good), Vampire Weekend (OK), and millions of other indie type groups that appear and dissapear on a daily basis then pitchfork is your site. If you like any band with a degree of mainstream success (other than Radiohead), then your in trouble.......last albums ratings for U2 4.2/10, Kings of Leon 3.8/10, Bloc Party 5.8/10, and Muse 5.9/10. Latest review for some band you've never heard of Broken Bells 7.2, XX (which I have heard and is an intriquing one song idea spread out over 10) 8.7. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 7.9.

So if ptichfork media is a dud and your looking for something a little more open minded then I have two sites that are interesting. The first is that has very well written reviews over there. The other site is where he posts up his music he likes instead of bashing the music he hates. I think it's much better for the love vibe anyways.

The ramblings of a po broke man trying to make it in Vancity.

First off, go there to watch the cool new video for the Gorillaz latest single Stylo.

I enjoy Ewen McGregor, not a huge fan, but do like Trainspotting and watch him in the Star Wars movies where he prolly had the least cringe inducing dialogue of any of the main characters. I heard a few years back about his motorcycle trips that he documented, and then was reaquainted with them when I saw him on Letterman a few weeks ago. Well, I've been watching the first trip he made called Long Way Round and it is fantastic so far. The idea of the journey was to drive from London to New York travelling east on a motorcycle (specially made BMW's) and only flying from Eastern Russia over to Anchorage to continue the North American leg. I'm on episode 2 (of 10) and basically it details all the preparations that need to be made for a trip of this magnitude, and introduces us to the crew, including his friend and travelmate Charlie Boormann. So far they haven't even taken off yet and i'm hooked, so if your interested in following it check out the website at I also think you can watch it on youtube and prolly pick it up at your local library.

Note: Although it is a documentary about motorcycles there is some colourful language that isn't bleeped, so although it doesn't bother me, it might not be the best for children. It's hecka interesting though (and educational).

Here is the first part of episode 1 to get you started.

P.S. The second trip involves travelling from Scotland down to Capetown and looks very interesting as well. I will have to check it out when I finish this one.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Greetings, new video

It's been a while, but I thought I would share this with you. The story is that my friend shared a video with me about high altitude skydiving and the music, UNKLE & Moby was used. Well the music inspired me to do a little collage of scenes that I took in various locations around the world. Some of the places featured are the Cavern Club in Liverpool, Anfield in Liverpool (home of Liverpool F.C.), Abbey Road, The Old City of Jerusalem, Church of the Nativity (traditional site of Christ's birth), Sderot (the scene with the rockets), and Church of the Holy Sepulchre (one of the proposed locations of Christ's death and resurrection). The video was edited over the past few hours by myself on the crappiest video editing software known to man. A lot of the video footage is very grainy (most of the time intentional), and a lot of the clips flow in a out of each other. Either way it looks cool, slightly disoriented, and such. It's not too bad for such a crappy video editor (then again it does get the creative juices flowing). Enjoy, and see if you can pick out some of the places I mentioned.