Historical Records

History does not seem an obvious subject for a song. Songs are short, mostly personal and aim for the emotions. History by comparison is expansive, more often broad in view and for the most part is based on analysis. However, in the hands of a skilled song-writer, history can be more than, “this and that happened”…. Read more »

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Off Note: A Matter of Technique

As long as I can remember, I have gravitated towards music which was, technically speaking, on the rudimentary side. Bum-notes, simplistic leads, squawks among the sax or trumpet solo and chords which were not quite held in place – all was and remains music to my ears. In part it represented musical egalitarianism . Look! (Or rather listen!) Anyone… Read more »

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Listening Experience: Tyrannosaurus Dead – Flying Ant Day

I must confess that I knew nothing about Tyrannosaurus Dead when I came across the bandcamp page for their latest album  Flying Ant Day. As is the case with any unknown musical quantity, the habit is to reach for the comparisons, to size the new band up against old heroes.But my first reaction was “These guys must be amazing… Read more »

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Crate Digging Prague: Poli5

I’m a little worried that this review will suffer by comparison. You see Polí5 along with Day After Records  forms the Rekomando store – which you would have seen in the second link. The new release section of this store is easily the most comprehensive for indie, post-rock and other non, or not-so, mainstream releases in Prague…. Read more »

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Have Yourself an Indie Little Christmas

In the last decade or so,  there has been an increasing number of alternative music Christmas songs and albums providing, well, an alternative to the traditional carols and hit Christmas tunes. Leaving aside what alternative (and by association indie) even mean for a moment, I’d like to stray into another controversy. Far from being outside the… Read more »

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Listening Experience: Tvrdý/Havelka – U nás v garáži

Cover albums can have a couple of motives. Most obviously, they are straightforward acknowledgements of artistic debt. Alternatively, they can offer fresh interpretations of familiar songs. Think Nouvelle Vague before the shtick became tiresome, or Herbie Hancock’s New Standards which united seemingly disparate songs through the jazz idiom. Tvrdý and Havelka’s album partly fits into this latter category of musical… Read more »

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Off Note: The (Tentative) Case for Physical Music

Vinyl’s return continues to surprise people. Living in the Czech Republic for over a decade I’ve seen the resurgence quite starkly. When I first arrived, the vinyl section in Prague’s ostensibly largest music store has grown from a single rack filled mostly with Iron Maiden and Rolling Stones releases to now encompassing an entire floor, which… Read more »

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Sins of Omission: Review – I Drive a Valence: the Collected Lyrics of Bill Callahan

The title couldn’t be more perfect in tone – matter-of-fact, suggestive, dead-pan. It might be a fragment of any number of Callahan’s songs. But the title – however apt – can’t avoid the question why publish these lyrics when many are available in liner notes. More importantly, do they stand up on their own? Are they, in themselves, literature? For fans, having… Read more »

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The Wall Goes On

Earlier this week, a group of artists calling themselves Prague Services, painted over the Lennon Wall – one of Prague’s popular tourist attractions. They covered the usual gaudy slogans and murals with white, except for one stencilled statement: The Wall is Over. Three days later and the Wall is more or less back on. The various… Read more »

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Whither the Concept Album?

Standard rock history has a straightforward answer to this question. The bloated pretentious self-important form was bludgeoned to death by the primitivism of punks, who later pogoed on its grave. Except the concept album never really went away. Perhaps the more excessive examples from the seventies disappeared, but after the punks went home, thematically linked high-minded… Read more »

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