“Cry Me A River” – Justin Timberlake
The video Justin Timberlake made for his solo hit, featuring a familiar-looking blonde and a glimpse of a photo in an errant frame, did nothing to dispel theories that this track was about Britney Spears’ cheating ways. Goddam you, Britney, how could you?!
If you’re like 99.9% of the population, the words “Deep Purple” instantly evoke the quintessential classic-rock power-chord riff that drives “Smoke On The Water.” Secondarily, the stratospheric wail of Ian Gillan screeching out the chorus of “Highway Star” might leap to mind. Both are to ‘70s rock what the lion’s roar is to MGM, and they make it immediately clear why Deep Purple has always been revered as one of the bedrock bands whose hard-rock tonnage paved the way for heavy metal (In it’s day, it was considered heavy metal). Given this knowledge, you might feel confident in knowing all one needs to know about the band. You’d be wrong.
Long ago and far away, back in the days of paisley and patchouli, there was another Deep Purple. Today it’s commonly referred to as the “Mk. I” version of the band. And while it included three-fifths of the “classic” ‘70s lineup, it was a different beast entirely. Keyboardist Jon Lord, guitar hero Ritchie Blackmore and drummer Ian Paice were all on board for the original incarnation of Purple, but instead of Gillan’s piercing wail, Deep Purple Mk. I boasted the low, soulful tones of Rod Evans, while Nick Simper occupied the bass chair rather than Roger Glover, and instead of chugging, chomping, hard-stomping proto-metal, they played a progressive-pointing brand of psychedelia.
In fact, the psychedelically inclined version of the band made no less than three albums between 1968 and ’69—Shades of Deep Purple, The Book of Taliesyn and a self-titled third outing. In the US, these releases have largely been swept under the rug, which is ironic, considering that ‘60s Purple’s greatest success by far was in America, where they scored three chart hits, most notably a churning cover of roots-rocker Joe South’s “Hush.” In fact, more people probably know that song from the Deep Purple version than the original. Nevertheless, all three albums have been languishing in obscurity for years, remaining out of print and all but forgotten by the world at large. Thankfully, the balance of rock & roll history can be restored to its proper position at last, with the Eagle Records reissue of Deep Purple Mk. I’s entire output, expertly remastered and featuring a brace of bonus tracks.
Whatever it is about the late ‘60s era of rock and roll, we just can’t seem to shake it out of our collective psyche. Bands like Cream and Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath have endured beyond their years, inspiring endless bands in their wake. The Feens, from Hamburg, Pennsylvania, are one of such bands. Their bluesy, psychedelic rock is bottom heavy with reverb-drenched harmonies to give it lift. Potent stuff. “Space Van” lures the listener into a heady brew of guttural guitars and psychedelic vocals. “Strange” kicks off with ropy guitars, settling into a bluesy groove, while “Find Another Love” adds a funk element into the mix. The Feen’s most ambitious track is probably the dark and stormy “Nebula,” where guitars gallop helter skelter over scales. It’s RUSH meets Cream—groove-centric prog that takes you someplace you’ve never known. That is, unless you lived through the ‘60s.
If a person is to consider themselves a metalhead, they had best know the roots—the basics. Be aware of all subgenres, who dominates them and know the albums that helped shape that subgenre. For the next few weeks, I’ll be schooling you on some essential metal albums from metal’s biggest subgenres —making sure you know the biggest and the best in the metal world and giving you some essential albums to add to your metal collection.
Up this week is the father of all metal, the original: Heavy Metal
Artists listing laptops as members of their group; bands inducing genre-tags such as “nintendocore” – what could have possibly led to this? You may not believe it, but today’s electronica started back in the day. Here’s an extremely brief history of these events leading up to the current state of the genre:
This leads up to the turn of the new millenium, when HORSE the Band released their first full length album, Secret Rhythm of the Universe. HORSE the band is straight up Hardcore + Synths (8-Bit sounds; think old school Mario Bros. games) for the most part. Previously, this combination of music was largely unexplored but as HORSE the band’s following grew, and bands like Sky Eats Airplane and Enter Shikari formed, the musical boundaries stretched even further. Sky Eats Airplane recorded their first album with not much more than a Mac, Reason 3, Adobe Audition and a guitar (which undeniably influenced the band’s sound), and Enter Shikari are heavy on trance synthesizers (their song “Mothership” being a prime example).
Where does that leave us? Who knows. It all depends on what the kids latch onto next. It sure seems like things similar to scrunk and modern synth-rock could continue to gather steam and make it in the mainstream (check Bethany Leavey’s post to learn more about “scrunk”). Heck, OurStage band 3OH!3 is making waves in the mainstream with their new breed of pop-rock-electronica-hip-hop (assuming being in the Top 5 on the Billboard charts means you made it in the mainstream).
Check out some OurStage artist that have been pushing the genre boundaries in their own ways: