Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Magical Mystery Listening Tour: Day 14

A little bit out of order since I just added one of these to my iPod...

Pixies - At the BBC
Steppenwolf - At Your Birthday Party
Spacehog - As It Is On Earth
Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother
Mansun - Attack of the Grey Lantern
R.E.M. - Automatic For the People
The Who - Autumn '69 Acetates

The Pixies BBC sessions are great; they're quick, short blasts of many of their best songs, and include a truly bizarre and wonderful cover of the Beatles' "Wild Honey Pie." Steppenwolf's album is solid, though par for the course for bands not in the top tier of late 60s rock (ie not the Beatles. Who, Kinks, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, etc). Some phenomenal cuts on there, though, especially Jupiter's Child, Rock Me, and Don't Cry. Spacehog's newest album, which is the one slightly out of alphabetical order in this whole thing since I just added it to my iPod, is fantastic. I've been a fan since I first heard them in 1995, saw them in concert a few times in 1999 and 2001, and was afraid their 2001 album "The Hogyssey" was their final one. This one picks up where that one left off, yet fits in perfectly in these modern times. The Pink Floyd album was the first where they really started to flex their prog rock muscles and develop into what they'd eventually become. Beyond the epic title track, it's a slightly patchy album, although enjoyable overall. Mansun's debut album is a masterpiece. They're one of my all-time favorite bands, and this first album is a stunning achievement, with each song segueing into the next and presenting the entire story of the album as a sonic film for the senses. It's a sweeping, epic album and firmly establishes Paul Draper as a musical genius in my mind. R.E.M.'s 1992 masterpiece "Automatic For the People" is next; the album that was their commercial and critical peak, and which, as a whole, they never bettered. I loved this album back in 1992 when I heard it the moment it came out, and I still love it now. Finally, a bootleg simply titled "Autumn '69 Acetates" by The Who is one of my favorite live bootlegs of theirs. It comprises tracks recorded for an intended live album of their 1969 US tour, which Pete Townshend scrapped in favor of recording a standalone show in early 1970 for the album (which because the classic "Live at Leeds" in 1970, as well as the release "Live in Hull 1970" in 2011). Sourced from vinyl, with crackles and all, these are live versions that have never appeared on any other 1969 live bootleg of theirs, so it's not known which shows they're from, but the versions are incredibly powerful and unique, making it a fantastically enjoyable listen.

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