Video of the Week: 7-Year-Old Drummer Avery Molek–“Tom Sawyer”

On Prog Rock

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by Jose Luis Carballo

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As a Prog-rock kid in the early and mid-70’s, I got used to this kind of abuse. Rolling Stone, Cream and all the other big rock journalists at the time hated Prog rock that includes Yes, Genesis, ELP, King Crimson and all other practitioners. The complaints were the same: It ain’t rock&roll. Well, duh. Of course not. For starters, Prog has no sexual energy. It doesn’t build a “groove.” It doesn’t funk, it doesn’t make you wanna dance. It’s not the music of rebellion, the music of throwing out the old masters and starting from zero.

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Prog had no “zeitgeist.” It wasn’t imbued with the spirit of it’s day. Prog was not the music of abandon. It’s rather cerebral. Prog is intricate, sculpted, fussy and frilly and a bit in love with itself. The composers of Selling England By The Pound, Close To the Edge, and Brain Salad Surgery knew that decades later, we’d still be discovering new melodies hidden in each Opus (they were right, we are). They knew they were writing music closer in spirit to Vivaldi than Bob Dylan, and they were OK with that.

Prog is the music created by the best musicians of their day (the early to late 1970’s), and the fact that you could name all worthwhile Prog bands on two hands – tells you how singular those players and composers were. Prog music lived in a kind of Alternate Universe, a bit disconnected with The Vietnam War and The Civil Rights Movement.

Prog is still a refuge for those of us who “get it”; we can carve out our own moment and still enjoy our brainy, pretentious music long after the 70’s had come and gone.

Songs You May Have Missed #542


Mark Erelli: “Same For Someone” (2010)

Mark Erelli’s “Same For Someone” would make a great father-daughter wedding song for someone who prefers a more eyes-wide-open sentiment and would rather save the syrup for their waffles.

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Love’s Mixtapes Lost: The High School Cassettes We Can’t Throw Away


(via KQED Arts)

by Jennifer Maerz

I recently got the type of message that only arrives through social media: a guy named Matt in Seattle tracked me down on Facebook to let me know that he was getting rid of a car I’d sold him 10 years ago. He’d been cleaning out the silver Subaru for the last time before donating it to a women’s shelter, and he’d found nine of my old cassettes. He’d gotten in touch to send me a photo of my tapes, lined up in three rows against the blue fabric of the trunk.

Among those spooled cockroaches were mixtapes from two of my high school boyfriends, both named Greg. Just looking at their handwritten titles was like opening an old photo album I’d forgotten I’d owned. Was there ever a high school mash note as intimate as a mixtape? The Gregs and I, we’d spent hours selecting and recording music, writing out our liner notes, and drawing artwork for these pocket-sized containers of angst and lust. Now that digital playlists are easily swapped and text messages artlessly record our longings, mixtapes are the last 3-D time capsules of the love letters we awkward kids used to craft.

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Hilariously Bad Wedding Dresses

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(via somelife)

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Songs You May Have Missed #541


Con Funk Shun: “Love Shine” (1978)

Another slice of smooth funk from criminally overlooked funk/soul outfit Con Funk Shun. Not all R&B acts of the era were self-contained musically or contributed to the songwriting credits as these guys did. And they could–and can–deliver the goods live, considering all the elements that make this song sound like a classic tune–the scratch guitar, tasty horns and Philip Bailey-style falsetto vocals–are performed not by hired guns but by the band members themselves.

Con Funk Shun have reunited with lead vocalist Michael Cooper (who had gone on to a solo career) to release a brand new album in 2015.

This 1978 album title track was never released as a single.

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Flashback: Jimmy Page Forms Short-Lived Supergroup With Members of Yes

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(via Rolling Stone)

by Andy Greene

The very early 1980s was a scary and confusing times for many rock gods of the previous decade. This new thing called MTV was turning oddball British acts like Kajagoogoo, Adam Ant, Culture Club and Haircut 100 into overnight stars, and 1970s stadium rock giants like the Who, the Eagles, Wings, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Led Zeppelin and Yes were breaking up with stunning regularity. What do you do when you’re in your early thirties and all of a sudden your band is gone and nobody wants a 10-minute drum solo?

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