Happy Birthday Kate Bush! Pure Art Endures

Now that the fever is settling, it is time to write about Kate Bush. I was dumbfounded when Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) hit the charts last month. It was due to its appearance in Stranger Things. I’ve been watching the TV series since season 1. I thought the current season was relatively slow in the first few episodes but soon built up. And what do you know? The finale was an absolute banger. So, anyway, talking about Kate Bush, I was having a blast. Running Up That Hill happens to be a favorite song. I heard it back in the 90s when it was part of a compilation. I was already familiar with Bush back in the 80s when I was a kid. I watched the music video of her Wuthering Heights repeatedly. But, she never really became mainstream in this country. We’re more into Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet-you know, the slick boys that rock. Female singers that hit mainstream sing love songs. There’s no place for the quirky and pioneers like Kate Bush to hit the mainstream charts. But I now know that there were already local people who were fans. However, they belong to those with access to these things.
Now you have to understand that I am writing this retrospectively and in a child’s eyes. Because back in the 80s, I was still a child. I grew up in the 90s and discovered alternative rock. But I felt her echo in artists like Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, and many more. I read her name in magazines cited as an influence. So that makes her a pioneer.
After getting a digital copy of Hounds of Love(the only way then), I was entranced with the music. Then I started getting into other albums like Never Forever, Lionheart, The Kick Inside, and many more.
With the internet, everyone on this side of the world can now access her music. Be it via YouTube and later on streaming services. So yes, she continued to be influential and on the radar. But it wasn’t until the introduction of her song on Stranger Things that she got into the global mainstream psyche. Suddenly people started to get into her music. They started listening to her discography. Suddenly, listening to Kate Bush is what the cool crowd does. It makes me realize this thing too. That an artist, you need to create at least one fantastic song to stand the test of time. Call it your magnum opus. Like what she did with Running Up That Hill, the song introduced the new generation to her discography. So yes, kingdoms come and go, and nations rise and fall. Names shine for decades, but some do hit obscurity sooner or later. Kate Bidh has taught us that when the ego takes a backseat, and the creation comes from that particular place inside you, it will bear fruit one day. Kate Bush never tried to be a rock star or a pop diva. She was a consummate artist. Pure art can stand the test of time.

What Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard Says About 1980s Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Bands Might Be Correct!

Taken from Stone Gossard’s Wikipedia

Just today, Pear jam’s Stone Gossard made a controversial statement published by LoudWire magazine. It’s about whether Grunge killed the careers of many hard rock bands of the 80s. I know this statement will raise eyebrows. Bong Tan of The Sunday Sound Tour Group even dubbed this statement “shots fired.” This means it will get strong opinions from both sides of the spectrum depending on where you belong. I was about to say I could not care less because I don’t consider myself a rocker or part of the community. However, I have reviewed alternative rock albums in the past in this blog. So, I thought of posting something in the blogosphere instead of on Twitter and Instagram. This way, I can expound on my thoughts about the matter. As a kid who grew up in the 90s, I arrived late in the rock scene. I was more into this slick British sophistipop; my genre was smooth Jazz, 70s pop, and New Age. Yes, they are on the softer side and also what many people would refer to as “uncool,” depending on which side of the spectrum you belong. Then Radiohead happened. Nirvana, Pear Jam followed this, and other bands like Toad The Wet Sprocket, Pearl Jam, Cranberries, Soundgarden, Garbage, and a whole bunch more, if you get the picture…
Now at this point, I also had to listen to post-punk and its other subgenres because these bands get played on the radio stations that play those bands I mentioned. In that sense, my musical know-how grew and soon embraced other bands left off the field and not associated with top 40 radio.
Something about the sound of these new bands appealed to me. Yes, they are loud, and getting around them was met with caution on my part. However, something about the style of how they played the instruments and how they performed vocally caught my attention. As an introvert, I gravitated towards their kind of thing. These guys weren’t glam and flash, unlike the previous hair metal bands and other hair rock bands that dominated the scene. They were singing about something else. Their image of casual thrift shop attire looked hip to me. I was not too fond of that spandex and big hair. I also love the fact that the way they sing is relatable.
So my record collection grew. Although I also listened to other bands like The Chieftains, Clannad, October Project, INXS, Swing Out Sister, Sade, etc., they also became part of my collection. They are like these goofy friends that you want to bring home with you on the weekend on top of your other preppy friends. So that’s how I saw the whole movement. And thanks to them, I came to appreciate the sound of the electric guitar, the pulsing bass, the pounding drums, and the rough singing. They became a bridge for me to appreciate other musical forms. Genres like Heavy Metal, Black metal, and classic rock like Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Velvet Underground, etc.
Believe it or not, these emerging bands might have been responsible for my open-mindedness towards 1980s hard rock and heavy metal. So yeah, please don’t pick on Stone Gossard for saying those words, but he might be right.

Can’t Get It Out Of My Head By Mary Fahl Is An Audiophile’s Guilty Pleasure

10 tracks released by Rimar Records

Yes, I admit I listen to streaming music because it is convenient and mobile. I am one of those guys who play music on a Bluetooth speaker (at decent levels) while riding a bicycle. But when I get home, it is another affair. I like my music through headphones because I love the detail that a singer and her production crew have put into the album. And, like the best thing we can consume, again and again, a good album can stand the test of time.

However, some albums are meant to be listened to on a good sound system. I also mean that these are albums where you need to forgo any appointment because the music demands total immersion. For me, listening to an album is like stepping into a dimension of sound. It is a door that you open that takes you to another place. It demands your heart, soul, and brain. It is also a rewarding experience because, like a good book, you end up feeling better and transformed. Such an affair is found in every Mary Fahl album.

So, when Mary Fahl announced that she’s releasing a new album this year, I got excited. Her track record has always been consistent, winning awards and positive reviews. She is not one of those artists who release albums every year. This is a good thing for me because it keeps fans wanting more. She does tours, and I think she is an amazing live performer.

Can’t Get It Out of My Head is a covers album featuring songs from artists who influenced her and was released on July 22, 2022. According to an editorial review, the album has 2 disc deluxe edition featuring bonus tracks contains a hi-res 24bit/96k BluRay in 5.1 and Stereo and an Audio CD. In an effort to find some light and comfort during these challenging times, singer/songwriter Mary Fahl looks back to some of the essential music that has brought her sustenance and clarity by reinterpreting songs from her greatest inspirations … Pink Floyd, George Harrison, Moody Blues, ELO, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young and others. For Mary, this is a tribute to the music that defined her as an artist.

My BluRay edition hasn’t arrived yet, so I am listening via Spotify. I will write another observation once I get my hands on the physical media. For now, I am enjoying this album through high-quality streaming. Even in this version, you can hear little details in the recording. I love how you can almost hear the surface of the sound when an instrument is played. I love the warm production. And wow, she also covered Nick Drake’s River Man, which is a cool track!

It is hard for me to choose a favorite track because each one is like a sonic journey. In a way, each song complements the bigger picture. Fahl’s voice has also evolved, and she has freed herself from the shadows of her former band October Project in terms of her musical direction and chosen materials. I should note that she also sings, writes, and performs her own songs.
Further info about the album:

“Producer Mark Doyle and I first met around 2005 when he was the co-producer of ‘From the Dark Side of the Moon’, and he’s been my Music Director since 2013. Aside from the strings and drums, he played every instrument on this album. We recorded most of it at his home studio and a majority of the vocals are taken from the first time I auditioned these songs with Mark for the album… something I never would have done in my youth… but there’s something fresh, unstudied and unselfconscious about working that way. Mark has been essential to the process of helping me make these great songs my own without sacrificing the essence first captured by their original creators.”

Track List:

1) Can’t Get It Out of My Head (Electric Light Orchestra)
2) Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones)
3) Tuesday Afternoon (Moody Blues)
4) River Man (Nick Drake)
5) Got A Feelin’ (The Mama and the Papas)
6) Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young)
7) Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
8) Since You’ve Asked (Judy Collins)
9) Beware of Darkness (George Harrison)
10) The Great Valerio (Richard & Linda Thompson)

Old by Layne Greene is Now Out!

Nostalgia teaches us a lesson, But there is no need to dwell.
Some things are better left where they are. Nostalgia is painful when you know when you can never repair it. I think this sums up the new single of Layne Greene called “Old”. “People change and get replaced”, He sings in a confident voice that has grown more expressive with time.
“How could you stay here? We don’t belong here.” Why do we want to get away as soon as possible? I sometimes guess what we call “family” can be a source of toxicity.
This is an essential thought for people who have made the decision at the crossroads, whether right or wrong. The future can surprise us. 2022 is the future of 2012. I remember back in 2012…But there is no need to dwell. Did you do cringy things that still make you blush? Am I speaking for anyone else?
I was never one to pay attention to lyrics because I am more of a “sounds” guy, but this one has mass and density in terms of meaning. He writes with certainty free of overdramatization. His words are on point and also wise. Layne has undoubtedly moved on and made a career out of the thing he loves to do, which is music. He also offers musical tutorials when not performing or recording. It looks like his foundational knowledge in music theory is finally paying off.
Old is an upbeat song with interesting chord choices. There is that atmospheric signature sound that I love.
Old is now out via Bandcamp and soon through other outlets.

Sunkulture Radio: May-June 2022

Subkulture Radio 2022

I have a playlist for those of you who are always on the go but want to have a taste of Darkwave, Goth, Industrial, and other forms of dark music. It’s from my friends in Subkulture. I am currently involved with the magazine so I will be supervising band reviews, interviews, and other things that can help our favorite up-and-coming bands locally and internationally.

Subkulture has been around for years and has constantly delivered good articles in the genre, backed by talented writers. The music that comes out of the magazine either from review or streaming is always tailored to the taste of the subscribers and fans of the genre.

We are releasing another volume soon so please check out the official Subkulture Facebook page.