Pink Floyd, Goodbye Blue Sky, Another Brick in the Wall

Posted in Pink Floyd, Youtube Favs on November 26th, 2011 by Willie

Money, fame, power, and prestige; Pink Floyd had it all, but by their bloated 1977 stadium romp known as the “Flesh Tour,” Roger Waters and company became disgusted with what they had become.  Boorish fans in large intoxicated and stoned numbers were ruining the concerts, and Roger loathed them so much that he literally spit on them, then imagined what it would be like to place a wall between the stage and the audience.  This growing apathy for churning out area rock combined with bad business deals draining the band’s fortunes, Pink Floyd got to work on a new double album and film.  The product was The Wall, and ambitious rock opera about a character named “Pink,” based on a combination of Roger and Syd Barrett.  I think its kind of amazing that for how marginalized and separated Syd became from the actual band, the remaining guys still couldn’t stop thinking about him, and openly used his persona for inspiration.  The album, one of Pink Floyd’s best selling, touched on themes of class oppression, nihilism, fascism, and most dominantly isolation, symbolized by the wall itself.  One thing you can say about Pink Floyd was that they certainly knew how to keep upping the bleakness levels to 11.  I have two clips from the film.  The first is a gorgeous animated presentation of “Goodbye Blue Sky,” one of the briefest, but best songs on the record.  It’s a mix of dirge like militarism and beautiful Beatle-esque harmonies, and the video itself is an incredible anti-war/violence statement if there ever was one.  The next video is for “Another Brick in the Wall,” the album’s anthem that melds Pink Floyd’s dark psychedelia with a funky disco beat.  If you’ve never seen the clip, its slightly disturbing with the children wearing those ghoulish melted masks of oppressive conformity.  The Wall appropriately brings Pink Floyd week to its conclusion, but that won’t be the end of the band on this site.  There are many hidden gems and massive hits I’ve left out obviously, and expect this particular psychedelic bunch to roll up again.  Cheers.

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The Apples in Stereo, I Told You Once

Posted in The Apples in Stereo, Youtube Favs on September 19th, 2011 by Willie

When I was 17 years old, I first heard Her Wallpaper Reverie, a sort of mini Apples in Stereo LP, and I was blown away.  It was the first time I’d ever heard anyone from the Elephant 6 Collective, and they were making the exact sort of music I was missing in the world.  In my mind, I pictured front man Robert Schneider as a young, handsome, and skinny punk rocker, a new symbol for the pop world to rally around.  Little did I know he was a portly balding redheaded nerd with glasses.  The resurrection of neo psychedelic pop would have to wait for a more photogenic rock star to emerge, but goddamn did Robert and the Apples know how to make songs.  Obsessed with the Beatles and the Beach Boys, Robert and his band of merry rockers cut some of the catchiest and well recorded rock and roll of his generation, all in relative cult like obscurity.  His one problem were his lyrics, which ran the gamut between childlike and stupid, and often ruined the gorgeous creative gems he would cut with silly irrelevance.  This in no way stops the band from being great, or fun, but in my mind, holds them back from being anything really daring or meaningful.  It’s kind of a harsh criticism, because the music Robert was making was so beautiful, that the lyrical content should be considered an afterthought to his overall concept of bringing true psychedelic pop back to life.  His accomplishments in this field influenced a ton of great bands including Of Montreal, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Olivia Tremor Control, all groups found on the E6 roster.  The song below, “I Told You Once,” from 2010’s Travellers in Space and Time, is another example of Robert’s insane ability to write perfect pop music with flawless mathematical precision.  This song, and all the songs from the album, are heavily influenced by ELO’s Time, the only ELO record I’ve ever listened to coincidentally.  Time was a pompous, overblown, snyth rock explosion, and not for anyone but serious pop music nerds.  The fact that Robert of the Apples sites this as a major influence endears me to no end, and is proof positive that even the most inane cultural artifacts all have their worshipers.  All this talk about the Apples and E6 is taking me hard and fast down memory lane, so expect more of this stuff all week.

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