Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Temper into Tempest



Portland is full of 'em too.  

So when I read about Lucius, I thought "oh damn, another soggy washed out folk group" producing songs that sound like every other song from that environment.

And then I listened.

If I am drooling please forgive me.  Their sound, running the gamut from 60's girl group to 80's Abba is just perfect.  Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig - the two vocalists - are in fact Agnetha and Frida when they want to be.  And they certainly hit it out of the park with "Tempest".

We are two ships passing
How long will this last
We haven't had the time to work it out

But don't stop here, go listen to their killer R&B number "Turn It Around".  And anything else you can find by them because they are the real deal.

I am totally hooked.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I keep wasting my chance with you

Roy Wood is a real enigma to me.  He wrote some of the finest Beatle-ish pop singles ever for this band The Move, founded the Electric Light Orchestra with Jeff Lynne, released two amazing and critically respected solo albums, and hit the top of the UK charts multiple times with his 50's sax and rock band Wizzard.   From about 1966 until 1973 he was consistently on the British charts, and more importantly, writing challenging pop music in a variety of styles.   And then.... nothing.   Well not exactly nothing, he had a few released under his own names as well as the Wizzard successor "Wizzo", but clearly the times had changed and he was running out of steam.

For a time in the early 70s after Jeff Lynne joined The Move, Roy and Jeff were being touted as the logical extension of the defunct Beatles.   Why these two had a falling out we may never know.   Roy moved in a radically different direction with Wizzard from The Move and his solo work.  His new band was truly a two headed monster.  On one hand they released killer Spector-ish 50s/early 60s pastiches, but then put out one of the hardest, heaviest, most speaker-killing albums ever recorded with "Wizzard's Brew".   For me, I love it all and appreciate the wide range of his musical compositions.   If you get bored with one style, just wait a few minutes for the track.   I am eternally grateful that Mr. Wood was around during a time when such daring musical styles were accepted by the record buying public - at least in the UK.   I do not fault him for stopping when he did.   It was a great run and my vinyl and CD collection is better off for it.

The following tune was one of the singles released from his second solo album "Mustard".  Do not be fooled by the somewhat dated arrangement, for under the covers is one of the loveliest melodies he ever wrote, and the harmony work throughout is a combination of the Beach Boys and the Ronettes!  Here is what Geoge Starostin has to say about Any Old Time Will Do over at his old website - "will hardly be appreciated on first listen, but on subsequent ones the way Wood constructs his harmonies - from caring and tender falsettoto bitter and desperate tenor - will definitely win your heart over (if you have a heart, that is)"

Now and then I look out my window
But my only world is songs that I still can hear
Though I wait for you
My hours are few
I keep wasting my chance with you
So any old time will do