Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gas Huffer - One Inch Masters, 1994

Gas Huffer - One Inch Masters album cover, 1994
01 - Crooked Bird
02 - Mr. Sudbuster
03 - More of Everything
04 - Stay in Your House
05 - 14th & Jefferson
06 - Walla Walla Bang Bang
07 - Appendix Gone
08 - Chicken Foot
09 - What's in the Bag?
10 - Hand of the Nomad
11 - Quasimodo '94
12 - No Smoking
13 - Action/Adventure
14 - Goat No Have
Now when Lemonade for Vampires has arrived and I became a happy owner of Gas Huffer's complete studio discography (not too easy thing when you live in Europe), I can confirm that One Inch Masters is the best of their albums to me. Melodic diversity and overall quality of the material are the points which make this record stand out most significantly in the band’s body of work.

Gas Huffer is another artist I've got introduced to through my Prague's favorite Maximum Underground. A garage/punk quartet from Seattle – the mother-town of grunge music. They possess both the great energy and tons of irony blending into the sparkling songwriting - “goofing around” as they put it themselves.

Formed in 1989 and disbanded in 2006, GH is one of those groups which never went through a lineup change. There is something very right in it.

The frontman Matt Wright wouldn't probably get a prize for his vocal talents alone, but that charismatic energy he's putting into the performance generously compensates for all possible lacks. I mean, Mark Knopfler also doesn’t have that much of a voice and still he sounds.

Sincerely brilliant record. What’s In The Bag?, 14th &Jefferson, Stay in Your House, Crooked Bird... - the whole tracklist is outstanding indeed. How many songs do you know about the contents of a bag or discarding an appendix in general? And then how many good ones? These are the ones.

Guess it’s too late to order, but for every album release prior to the 6th album they were creating a comic book which included the lyrics as well. (The bassist Joe Newton is also known as a deputy art director for Rolling Stone magazine by the way). Without those at hand, I managed to scratch together only few tracks’ lyrics from the record - thus would appreciate anyone willing to share some texts.

And just in case someone would care to check on my humble opinion, here goes the rest of them sorted by the level of personal appeal:

One Inch Masters, 1994 - see above.

The Inhuman Ordeal of Special Agent Gas Huffer, 1996 - Tiny Life is a gem.

Lemonade for Vampires, 2005 - more serious, still wild.

Just Beautiful Music, 1998 - a touch softer, as the cover suggests.

The Rest of Us, 2002 - no, it’s not a compilation.

Integrity, Technology & Service, 1992; Janitors of Tomorrow, 1991 - the two first albums from Empty Records are punkier and noisier than later work - not exactly my style, but I imagine might be the opposite for someone else.


Wikipedia: Album|Artist 

Next time - something more classical from The List.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How Music Works

How Music Works with Howard Goodall is an exciting journey through the fundamentals required for understanding music with a brilliant guide. Four episodes of the show cover the key aspects: Melody, Rhythm, Harmony and Bass.

The only similar show I know is Understanding The Fundamentals of Music by Professor Robert Greenberg.

Next time: Gas Huffer.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Roger Glover and Guests - The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast, 1974

Roger Glover and Guests - The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast album cover, 1974
01 - Dawn
02 - Get Ready
03 - Saffron Dormouse And Lizzy Bee
04 - Harlequin Hare
05 - Old Blind Mole
06 - Magician Moth
07 - No Solution
08 - Behind The Smile
09 - Fly Away
10 - Aranea
11 - Sitting In A Dream
12 - Waiting
13 - Sir Maximus Mouse
14 - Dreams Of Sir Bedivere
15 - Together Again
16 - Watch Out For The Bat
17 - Little Chalk Blue
18 - The Feast
19 - Love Is All
20 - Homeward
Roger Glover - one of those legend-makers and bass-playing songwriters (McCartney, Sting). This album – overlooked, underrated and pretty much forgotten – stands out of his work for me so much, that I rather associate his name with The Butterfly Ball first than even with Deep Purple. It is a musical created by some of the biggest rock names after a children's book based on a poem from nineteenth century. If that doesn't sound intriguing enough, here are some of those names:

David Coverdale of Deep Purple and Whitesnake

Ronnie James Dio of Dio, Black Sabbath and Rainbow

Michael Giles of King Crimson

Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Phenomena

Eddie Jobson of Curved Air, Roxy Music and Jethro Tull

John Lawton of Uriah Heep and Lucifer’s Friend

Micky Lee Soule of Elf and Rainbow

Can you imagine Ronnie James Dio singing a little froggy's part? Those, familiar with his Elf years probably should, but those coming from his metal side might not. It's charming.

Love Is All seems to be the only track widely recognized. Although a very good song to me, I perceive it as a version of All You Need Is Love by you know who. Personal favorites are rather Old Blind Mole and Sitting In A Dream. Then go Behind The Smile, Sir Maximus Mouse, Watch Out For The Bat and Little Chalk Blue.

There was a wonderful CD reprint in 90's (could be the one from 1995) in a cardboard sleeve and with quite interesting liner notes – not the copy I own though (mine is a veteran CD from 1989 with some history attached, including quite an effort from my father to obtain it around 14 years ago and that little IT-slavery he got me into in return for a record :)

Anyway, recalling some of those notes and things read/heard elsewhere, I can't stop thinking of this Deep Purple turmoil background Glover must've been going through those years: leaving the band due to that Blackmore thing – arranging a new band with Dio during the Butterfly Ball sessions – Blackmore leaving DP and getting Dio to his newly formed Rainbow instead – Glover producing Rainbow... Still in the middle of it, beaten by the oil crisis of '73 but powered by a lot of talent The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast was born. A record emitting light and celebrating life in its various styles and genres. Filled with enthusiasm and devotion, where songs were conceived right in the studio and just before recording.

Transparent and gentle. As if artwork by Alan Aldridge alone wouldn't make it worth owning.

An animated feature film has been planned as well, however didn't happen due to aforementioned crisis. Here is what has left:

Butterfly Ball's lyrics at Roger Glover's official website

Wikipedia: Album|Artist 

Next time: How Music Works