LP Release Tuesday: November 8th, 2011

By Joseph Giannone 3 years ago
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Editors Note: After a two week hiatus, Pop Blend's highly opinionated weekly editorial, LP Release Tuesday, has finally returned.

This week in LP releases holds a special place in my heart, because Pink Floyd is returning to stores with a reissue of Wish You Were Here. Originally released in September of 1975, the forty-six year old masterpiece is still resonating with younger generations and is fresher than ever. Filmmaker David Lynch is also catering to a younger crowd, with another installment from his odd brand of creativity. This time we're not being offered Blue Velvet or Elephant Man, but we're graced with an electronica album that’s as bizarre as the ending of Twin Peaks. On the other side of the musical spectrum, Florence and The Machine is proving to her fans that she won’t go into a sophomore slump with Ceremonials. Also, Blink-182’s Tom Delong is showcasing his artistic side with the progressive rock epic Love: Part Two, from his side project Angels and Airwaves. For all that and more, here’s this week’s installment of LP Release Tuesday:

LP Release Tuesday
5) Pusha T Fear of God Two: Let Us Pray
Born Terrence Thornton, Pusha T has been working his way to critical acclaim since the early 90’s. Terrance and his brother Gene made up the rap duo Clipse, and after a string of successful albums in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Virginia rapper continued to work separately from his brother by appearing on multiple singles with artists like Kelis and Nivea. Pusha T also showed up on Kanye West’s 2008 smash hit “Runaway,” which blew his career up and prompted Kanye to sign the rapper to his label GOOD Music. It’s no surprise that most of his solo appearances went on to receive some kind of award, but do those achievements allow us to call him a “good rapper?” Probably not, but his latest album is a strong argument he should get that credit.

In early 2011, Pusha T released the definitive effort of his career, the mixtape Fear of God. Not only did the effort show off his progression as a rapper, but the recognition finally gave him the confidence to jump start his solo career by releasing a proper solo record. In an odd continuation of his mixtape, Pusha T’s new album is called Fear of God Two: Let Us Pray. Don’t be turned off by the record's title, because even though songs like “Amen” and “My God” might lead you to believe this album pushes religious ideologies, Pusha T instead pushes the envelope of decency and bravado instead. With every intricate twist of his lyrics and all the catchy bump in his beat, Fear of God Two: Let Us Pray is a solid debut.

LP Release Tuesday
4) Angels and Airwaves Love: Part 2
Tom Delonge has spent almost his entire career as “that” guitarist from Blink-182, because most audiences still view his pop punk band as only a mockery of itself. While I’m no fan of the trio who gave us Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, I’ll give them this; when other groups like The Offspring, Sum 41 and New Found Glory were hacking pop punk for everything it was worth, Blink admirably changed their sound to distance themselves from the dying genre they helped build. Even though pop punk is still featured in their latest music, Blink-182’s 2011 album Neighborhoods is a testament to the progression they've undergone. By throwing away the immature songs that encapsulated their previous work and changing their lyrical content from first dates and boners to self discovery and midlife crises’, the group obviously set their past aside where it belongs. Delonge understands that progression is the key to success, and that’s why I’m not at all surprised that he’s now taken this change to a whole new level with his solo project.

Delonge’s Angels and Airwaves explores a handful of genres you’d never expect them to. First off, the band is highly influenced by 1970’s progressive rock, and is also characterized by alternative and space rock sounds. To say that this is a radical shift in Delonge’s repertoire is an understatement; check out Box Car Racer if you don't believe me. So far the band has released a slew of concept albums in tune with Pink Floyd, but their latest effort challenges the very idea of “concept record.” Angels and Airwaves' latest endeavor is the science fiction album series Love, that is also accompanied by a feature film directed by filmmaker William Eubank. The film perfectly captures the themes of desolation, anxiety and fear of space travel that the album version effortlessly explores. The record Love also acts as a score to the highly acclaimed film. Today, Delonge’s band is releasing its second portion of songs called Love: Part Two, which is a continuation of the sci-fi series. Though the songs featured on this release are not from the film, Love: Part Two still captures the same raw power that Delonge has been creating with his outstanding solo project all along.

LP Release Tuesday
3) Florence and The Machine Ceremonials
Florence and The Machine is an odd band. Not only is their music bizarre, and at times hard to listen to, but for reasons that can be explained, the group still makes music that is highly accessible for audiences. One of the reasons their songs are so catchy is that lead singer Florence Welch’s voice is outstanding. During the course of a song, Florence changes her vocal styling multiple times without missing a beat, and because her voice carries so much emotion, the songs flow effortlessly forward. Florence and The Machine could be compared to other famous female led groups like Jefferson Airplane or Grace Potter and The Nocturnals. Like those bands, Florence has assembled her own talented group of musicians who translate her vision into great songs. This was shown on their first album Lungs, which is an addicting mix between indie rock, baroque pop, and folk. After exploring these genres and effortlessly blending them together, it seems as though the British singer was just beginning to get weird.

On her second outing Ceremonials, the London based group explores sounds and influences that were not previously honed on Lungs. Florence crafts another unique album with tinges of soul and chamber pop this time around. Songs like “What the Water Gave Me” and “Shake it Out” show off the group's knack for soul, as the songs play like a grand orchestra of tribal sounds and vocals that are so distinctly Florence’s. Even though Ceremonials sounds like a more refined version of their previous work, it still holds that bigger than life feeling. What more would you expect from the person who created the ”Drumming Song”?

LP Release Tuesday
2) David Lynch Crazy Clown Time
David Lynch is a great filmmaker. Even though he might be remembered by mainstream audiences as the weird guy who made Eraserhead, those of us who understand his style of filmmaking and have actually seen most of his work know that Lynch is not just a guy who makes “weird” movies. Sure, his concepts are bizarre, but the stories he tells are also dramatically unique, by hitting every point spot on while discussing his favorite issues from the dark side of humanity, which most auteur directors are not willing to observe. From disfigured elephant men, drug use and psychopathic sexual deviants to murderers, the wealthy elite and disturbed teenagers, David Lynch has covered a wide spectrum of the macabre; and even though he’s delved into these issues, all of his work has a sense of originality and expertise that can’t go unrecognized. That’s why it’s no surprise that his debut` musical effort is as creatively dark as his films.

Today David Lynch releases his long awaited electronica album Crazy Clown Time. The title alone suggests the nature of this work better than anything I could write. With songs like “Pinky's Dream,” “Strange and Unproductive Thinking,” and “She Rise Up,” Lynch proves to his audiences that he can still be weird in musical form. As I stated above though, even when Lynch is at his weirdest, he still creates something that is accessible and revolutionary. Not only is Crazy Clown Time bizarre, it’s also a proper examination of electronic music, which is already odd in my book, and is a worthy effort that can be compared to Aphex Twins or Daft Punk on acid. Lynch hasn’t made a film since 2006’s Inland Empire and since then he’s been nothing but a recluse in the entertainment world; so let’s just say that this is a welcome return.

LP Release Tuesday
1) Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here REISSUE
Normally in the LP Release Tuesday series, we don’t cover reissues of albums. There are many reasons why we try to avoid covering bands re-releasing “special” or “re-mastered” versions of their past albums, but the most obvious is that new releases are more important to write about than old. This week is different though, because Pink Floyd is a band who re-mastered the rock genre, and took it to new heights. This week is the reissue of their seminal work Wish You Were Here, and I want to take a moment to describe to you the grandiose event we are witnessing. Today I'm going to celebrate the release by adding a small history lesson to this week's installment of LP Release Tuesday. Hope you all enjoy!

In the 1960’s before Pink Floyd found their sound as a progressive rock group, they were one among the many other late 60's bands competing for the same psychedelic rock sound, but it was The Beatles who were making rock music history at that time. The British foursome did this by altering the way in which audiences viewed rock musicians. Sure, teenagers loved Elvis and the hip beatniks followed Miles Davis' every move, but it was the Beatles who changed the image of musicians from being popular acts to meta "gods." It all started with Beatles mania in the mid 60's, then swiftly moved along to the era of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road. By 1968 when every hippie had to own the definitive Beatles album and most teenagers recalled their fist listen to "Hey Jude" as a religious experience, the Beatles were no longer those four goofy guys from England, but the rock stars known as The Beatles.

The fab four paved the road for those phenomenons which captured the young 1970's audiences, like Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and the numerous others who quickly became overwhelmed by a barrage of groupies, massive popularity and stardom. Sadly after the innocent psychedelic era of rock and roll, this insane monster known as being a “rock star” would inadvertently spark the decline of Pink Floyd’s lead singer Syd Barrett, and would also unknowingly start the band's most productive, groundbreaking years to come.

After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, Pink Floyd was left to pick up the torch as rock and roll's pioneers. Crowds of fans showed up to concerts to hear them play songs from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, their debut album which was released a year earlier, but the quick rise to fame and the incessant glory was too much for Barrett. In fact, Barrett was so disgusted with being famous, he consumed himself in drugs and alcohol and ruined a plethora of live performances. After their second album A Saucerful of Secrets was released, the band was urged by managers to kick their failing front man out of the group. The most ironic thing about these events though is that the darkest days of Barrett’s, after being fired from the band he helped start actually turned out to be the most creative time for Pink Floyd. As their career ushered forward, the ex lead singer feel ill to schizophrenia and continued to abuse psychedelics like Acid. As time went on, the pain only grew for the four men left in Pink Floyd, but their rise to fame was only gaining faster momentum.

Through their experimentation, unbridled creativity, hard work and passion in the studio, Pink Floyd created the progressive rock genre that so many bands have emulated since them. What the Beatles couldn’t achieve before their untimely break up in 1970, the men of Pink Floyd shinned in. Beginning in 1973 they released Dark Side of the Moon which rocked the very fabric of rock and roll as we know it. Characterized by spacey jams, synthesizers, rocking guitars and smart lyrics, the 1973 classic began the series of records known as "the dark albums." Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall were all next in line and continued to break new ground. The once unknown, underground space rock group from London not only proved that rock and roll didn't have to be verse/chorus/verse in order to be accessible, but that the Beatles weren't the only ones who could change rock.

Their innovative sounds were further built on each record, perfecting the previous output on every subsequent LP. One aspect to their music that has been consistent throughout all the records has been lyricist Roger Waters' unique perspective. From his view of corporate greed to observing the human race's place on Earth, his poetic lyrics showcased a different form of contemplative subject matter. Keen on imagery and poetic structure, Waters' lyrics like in Dark Side of the Moon which explored individuality, or Animals which was a rally anthem against corporate greed and fascism, were all written in a professional manner that was unlike any band at that time.

Obviously Pink Floyd experienced its fair share of hardships and successes throughout their career. They’ve proven this through their groundbreaking music, but no other album defines their unified sound and shows their deep sorrow over Syd Barrett’s escalating mental problems quite like Wish You Were Here. This 1975 release was a smash hit among the younger baby-boomer generation who were feeling the heat from the older, but disenfranchised aging hippies from the psychedelic era. The album was not only a eulogy to their long lost friend Syd Barrett, but it was also a statement about conformity and how easy it is to conform when you’re trying to find the truth in other people’s answers. It was a statement boldly aimed at the hippies who used psychedelic drugs during the 1960’s and found no answers and were shaking things up for the next generation.

There are many reasons why Wish You Were Here and the other albums listed in this diatribe are worthy of re-releases, re-masters and re-listens. The main reason though is that no matter how old their music is, or even how dated the crap released ten years later sounds, Pink Floyd’s work will always stay fresh and their messages will always carry on. Wish You Were Here is being reissued today and I highly suggest you listen to it, because there is still no band that sounds like them. For Wish You Were Here and other reissues from them, go to Whypinkfloyd.com.

More Albums Released This Week:

Marble Valley Breakthrough
A Band of Bees Every Step’s A Yes
Brian Eno Panic Of Looking EP
RUSH Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
Pink Floyd A Foot In The Door -The Best of Pink Floyd
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