Friday, March 13, 2015

Musical Maundering

I don't need to say it, but I will: I'm still listening to a lot of Devin Townsend.* One of the benefits of discovering and getting excited by someone so prolific is encountering the early stuff for the first time.

"Say, girls: have you seen the Casualties of Cool CD? Girls?"

I've tried to draw out and savour this joy by restricting myself to a "new" album every six weeks or so. Unfortunately for me, DT's management just yanked the bulk of his earliest material from eMusic. And, frankly, that's also unfortunate for Townsend & Co. The pattern I'd fallen into was downloading an old album of his, getting hooked, then ordering the CD so I could add it to my wall of plastic and grok on the art, etc. That's a double stream of cash that has now been reduced to a single. Perhaps I should thank him.

Speaking of "grokking"...

The last artist to hit me the same way was Steven Wilson, via his original band Porcupine Tree. His new disc Hand. Cannot. Erase. is getting a fair bit of play, also. He's taken a morbid real-life story and used it to launch typically beautiful and haunting reveries exploring his usual concerns: the tension between privacy and isolation, connection/disconnection with would-be intimates, family anxieties -- the usual ball of wax-and-thorns.

It works -- splendidly, of course -- but I tend to return with more frequency to his Porcupine Tree stuff. Signify is still a record I can listen to from beginning to end, and experience the shivers as the final track ("Dark Matter") reaches its apogee. What can I say? My aural development is arrested and remains most pleased with Wilson's early metal-techno-prog hybrid.

Wait: that's not Townsend.

An early contender for the Spring Cleaning Soundtrack is So Delicious! by The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band (homepage).

As big & damned as you can handle.

It's catchy, bluesy and boisterous stuff. Steven Horowitz (PhD) gave it a lot of thought -- possibly too much, but his ruminating certainly gave me a nudge in the right direction, and I've been enjoying the music ever since.

This sort of thing happens in Toronto, apparently.
*DTP's most recent is getting a lot of play, somewhat to my own surprise. It's a double-album, the first disc continuing in the vein of Epicloud, the second reprising the Ziltoid story-line. I listened to both, and initially preferred the first disc over the second. When I saw the band perform I was surprised by just how much material they chose from the Ziltoid disc -- and further delighted by its lavish technical virtuosity. I then bought the three-disc collection, and have been listening to the script-free version of Ziltoid ever since.

Sculpture in the top picture, "The Tree of koo-SANZH" (tree of cussing) by the younger, shared with permission.


DarkoV said...

Nothing better to start off another spring than Whisky Prajer's musical recommendations, IMHO. I'll be having a dollop of that Damn Band and then, possibly, go see them in Philly in April. Thanks, Darrell, for the suggestion! They've got a whiff of JJ Grey and Mofro...which is a most enjoyable whiff, indeed.

Darrell Reimer said...

My pleasure, DV. I was initially chuffed to see they'd already played in TO. The Rev and his big damn band are due back in Canada this summer, I see -- albeit in Windsor. I might just have a bluesfest in my future.