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Thursday, November 11, 2004

KROKUS - Stayed Awake All Night

The Americans have spoken! The world will not be made smaller by computers but by grinding gears and great oil-burning engines. It’s not about security or secularisation, it’s about keeping the motorik running. The reason electronic pop music never became culturally dominant in the demonised heartland is that synth duos didn’t have large trucks loaded with equipment backing up to venues. The future was not designed by Kraftwerk but by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, although this 1983 BTO cover by a Swiss band incorporates “Metal on Metal”, except with volume-swell mirages evolving into a circular guitar pattern like the lights of the city coming into view after driving through the methamphetamine night. The DEA claims that “methamphetamine is attractive to people in rural communities because labs can be set up in abandoned barns”, when the real reason is that you have to drive about three hours to get anywhere! Those eerie green night-vision Iraq broadcasts are a good approximation of how rural people actually see things, especially during the nocturnal segments of their 96-hour days. The album this appears on is called ‘Headhunter’, and was apparently recorded at ‘Bee Jay Studios’!

Friday, November 05, 2004

VAN HALEN
Best of Both Worlds
(Rhino)
Van Halen are known for their legendary trademark and a long train runnin’ of numbers for titles instead of words, for instance calling their thirteenth release 3. This compilation doesn’t include anything from that 1998 collaboration with Robbie "Jesus is Just Alright" Robertson (from Extreme, whose ode to mute bitches was the "Isn’t it Time" to "Under the Bridge"’s "Roxanne") which consolidated Robertson’s 1987 and 1991 Compact Discs except with a less consistent vocal approach ("The Greatest American Hero theme" even featured Eddie singing) and more instrumental solo expression. In the meantime somebody at Rolling Stone heard a copy of Diver Down, glanced at the cover, and consequently thinking it was the White Stripes placed Jack White at #17 in their Greatest Guitarists Ever poll. After contemplating their futures and considering Don Ho and Magnum McGarret as lead singers, the band reunited with Jason Scheff, who sang such hits as "I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love" and "Look Away" during the band’s 80s resurgence. He wrote some new songs here but unfortunately "VOA ("raise the flag/let it wave/ shoot them down/ to their graves") 2"isn’t one of them. That would’ve been interesting in this exciting times but instead "Up for Breakfast" sounds a little too obviously pre-designed for the forthcoming Crank Waffles halftime-show spot, however resigned yet unnerving coming from the one-time Dean Martin of the guitar. Imagine waking up sober and realizing that’s how good you’re going to sound for the rest of your career. (One day at a time!) And then collaborating with a professional tequila drinker.
This 2-for-1 of Abacab and Happy Mondays’ Raunch’n’Roll Live is misleadingly led off by "Eruption". Now than anyone alive can play the second half, it’s best heard as a field recording and would’ve better a fit a compilation including "Spanish Fly", "Tora Tora", "Cathedral", "Strung Out", "Marin Muezzin" from Sammy Hagar Having Fun on Stage, "Sunday Afternoon in the Park", "Saturday in the Park", "Free Form Guitar", "Watermelon in Easter Hay" and the Deer Hunter theme. However dedicated to the people of the revolution a direct challenge to Derek Bailey might be, it bears remembering that many who prefer the Scheff shift to the Cetera era can at least prove they live their lives like they know there’s a tomorrow and without love where would they be right now.






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