Monday, December 19, 2011

Rock Albums Post X: 15 Favorite Albums of 2011

The following are the 16 album I enjoyed the most throughout 2011, these are the one's that kept me listening.

Yep, this post is titled the Top 15, but I added an extra album after originally posting this.

- Randall Webb



16. Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’ 

Genre: R&B
Favorite Tracks: Heart Attack, Stone Rollin’, Day Dreams
Trivia: Saadiq spent approximately one year recording this album, including writing the music and lyrics. On the majority of the songs Saadiq played most of the instruments, including bass, keyboard, guitar, Mellotron, percussion, and drums. He also produced the album.




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15. Joe Henry  - Reverie 

Genre: Alt-Folk, Acoustic
Favorite Tracks: Heaven’s Escape, Sticks and Stones, Deathbed Versions
Trivia: The bulk of this album was recorded in 3 days in Joe’s basement studio. In the mix the listener can hear bird chirping to the music through the open windows in the basement. Joe describes this album as a “raw and raucous and messy affair”.



 
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14. The Cars  - Move Like This

Genre: Alt-Rock
Favorite Tracks: Blue Tip, Sad Song, Free
Trivia: “Move Like This” is the Cars 7th studio album and their first release since 1987’s “Door To Door”.




 
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13. Deerhoof – Deerhoof vs. Evil

Genre: Art Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Rock
Favorite Tracks: Behold A marvel In The Darkness, The Merry Barracks, Super Duper Rescue Heads, Must Fight Current
Trivia: This album was part of a project called “Global Album Leak” in which 12 blogs from the internet premiered a song from the album one week at a time. The first song to be premiered was “The Merry Barracks” on October 8, 2010 on the U.S. website Pitchfork.



 
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12. Battles – Gloss Drop

Genre: Experimental, math rock, post-rock, new prog
Favorite Tracks: Africastle, Inchworm, Wall Street, My Machines (featuring Gary Numan)
Trivia: Midway through the recording of the album band member Tyondi Braxton left the band to pursue a solo career. The remaining band continued as a trio and rewrote and rerecorded the entire album with in 4 months. Considering the band’s relative obscurity the album was a moderate success reaching #48 in the UK, #73 in Belgium and #98 in the U.S.



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11. Paul Simon – So Beautiful or So What

Genre: Classic Pop, World Music, Folk
Favorite Tracks: Dazzling Blue, Rewrite, So Beautiful or So What
Trivia: This is Simon’s first album in 5 years and his most successful since 1991’s “The Rhythm Of The Saints”. Simon released a Christmas song from the album called "Getting Ready for Christmas Day", which premiered on National Public Radio on November 16, 2010. The song samples a 1941 sermon by the Rev. J.M. Gates, also entitled "Getting Ready for Christmas Day". Simon performed the song live on The Colbert Report on December 16, 2010.




10. Neil Young – Le Noise

Genre: Folk rock, experimental, garage rock
Favorite Tracks: Walk With Me, Love and War, Peaceful Valley Boulevard
Trivia: Okay so this one was released at the end of September 2010, but I didn’t buy it until the beginning of 2011. Neil Young received his second Grammy Award for the song “Angry World” which won for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance. Producer Daniel Lanois (who has also worked with U2, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris, Brain Eno and many others) brought a fantastically layered sonic soundscape to Neil Young. Thus moving Young’s sound into a new and uncharted territory. Young has always been one to experiment with new and unique sounds.





9. She Wants Revenge – Valleyheart

Genre: Alt-Rock, Modern Rock, Post-Punk Revival
Favorite Tracks: Up In Flames, Reasons, Little Star
Trivia: A product of Los Angeles, California “Valleyheart” is a concept album of sorts following the trials and tribulations of life in the San Fernando Valley.




8. Stefon Harris, David Sanchez and 
Christian Scott – Ninety Miles

Genre: Jazz
Favorite Tracks: City Sunrise, The Forgotten One, Black Action Figure
Trivia: “Ninety Miles” was recording entirely in Havana, Cuba. The result is a breaking of cultural barriers by bringing together musicians from varying cultures. The album’s producer, John Burk says, "This record is about the power of music to communicate, and break down some of the barriers that result from language and politics and culture."





7. Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials

Genre: Indie Rock, Art rock, Baroque Pop
Favorite Tracks: What The Water Gave Me, Breaking Down, Lover To Lover
Trivia: Florence has stated that much of “Ceremonials” is based on scientific ideas, as several of her family members are doctors or are in school to become doctors so she is usually around a lot of medical and scientific conversations.




6. My Morning Jacket – Circuital

Genre: Indie, Space Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Favorite Tracks: Victory Dance, Circuital, Outta My System, First Light, You Wanna Freak Out
Trivia: The song “Wonderful” was original written by My Morning Jacket founder Jim James (aka Yim Yames) for the Muppets rock band Doctor Teeth and Electric Mayhem. The song was to be performed live on stage by My Morning Jacket and the Muppets. “Outta My System” and the former song were both to be performed in the Muppets tour, which was being planned and produced by Disney.  Jim James commented that twice Muppet glory was with in his grasp but eluded him both times. Shortly after the release of “Circuital” MMJ recorded the Muppets song “Our World” for the Muppets tribute album called “The Green Album”. “Circuital” has been nominated for the Best Alternative Rock Album Grammy Award of 2011.




5. Keb’ Mo' – The Reflection

Genre: R&B, Jazz, Adult Pop, Urban Soul
Favorite Tracks: The Whole Enchilada, Inside Out, Crush On You (w/ India.Aire), Just Lookin’
Trivia: “The Reflection” is the first album released by Keb’ Mo” (a former A&M staff songwriter) on his own Yolabelle International label. He also self produced the album.




4. Bjork – Biophilia

Genre: Electronic, Experimental, avante-gard
Favorite Tracks: Moon, Crystalline, Dark Matter, Mutual Core
Trivia: “Biophilia” is an experiment of sound. How the sounds blend together, how they bounce off the walls and between objects. It’s an experiment in physics similar to how planets and microscopic organisms work together. It’s an experiment of sound without humans. The album has made it into the Top 20 in more than 20 different countries around the world including Taiwan, Russia, Greece, Spain, Japan and Croatia.




3. Booker T. Jones – The Road From Memphis

Genre: Blues, R&B
Favorite Tracks: Progress (with Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket), Down In Memphis, Everything Is Everything, Representing Memphis (with Sharon Jones), Harlem House, The Bronx (with Lou Reed)
Trivia: “The Road From Memphis” works as a who’s who of music for Booker T. Jones. Musicians include Dennis Coffey on wah wah guitar. Coffey is best known for the 1971 instrumental hit “Scorpio) which reached #6 in the U.S. and was certified Gold for sales of more than one million. Also on the album are current day  soul/funk singer Sharon Jones, My Morning Jacket’s frontman Yim Yames (Jim James), the jazz-rap outfit The Roots and even Lou Reed (Velvet Underground) guests on vocals for the song “The Bronx”.




2. Adele - 21

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Genre: Pop, Soul, Indie, Roots
Favorite Tracks: Rolling In The Deep, Rumor Has It, Set Fire To The Rain, He Won’t Go
Trivia: “21” has spent 13 weeks at #1 on the U.S. Billboard chart and has also reached #1 in 24 other countries around the world. As of December 2011 “21” has sold over 16 million copies worldwide. Adele’s bus driver who was playing contemporary Nashville music while she was touring the American South inspired the sound of this album.




1. Gang Of Four – Content

Genre: Post-Punk, Rock, Punk-Funk
Favorite Tracks: She Said You Made A Thing Of Me, I Party All The Time, A Fruitfly In The Beehive, Do As I Say
Trivia: With “Content”, Gang Of Four recaptures their youthful rebellious values and energy. Several of the albums songs touch on the economic hardships our world faces. 
--> GO4 takes a jab at capitalism, in the song “I Party All The Time”, citing its lack of compassion. Many of the album’s tunes touch on the band’s notions of value and freedom.




2011 was a good year! 
Looking forward to an even better 2012!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The 70's: Guilty Pleasures Part I

The 70's was (in it's way) quite a diverse decade in music. hard rock came into fashion with groups such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and AC/DC. Classic rock hit huge with Boston, Styx and Fleetwood Mac. Punk, glam rock, country, disco, pop, adult contemporary and singer-songwriters all soared to the top of the charts in the 70's.

This series focuses on the (somewhat) guilty pleasures of the 1970's. I say "somewhat" because each person's idea of a "guilty pleasure" is different.

These are a few of my guilty pleasures...


Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting (1974)

Release Date: August 1974
Record Label: Pye Records
Chart Positions: U.S. #1, UK #1, Canada #1, Holland #1, France #1, Germany #1, Austria #1, Australia #1, Switzerland #2, South Africa #2
Certifications: U.S. - Gold
Sales: Worldwide 11 million
Trivia: "Kung Fu Fighting" was originally recorded to be a b-side to "I Want to Give You My Everything". They spent two hours recording the a-side and only ten minutes on the b-side. When both songs were played for the executives at Pye Records, it was suggested that Kung Fu Fighting should be released as the a-side.




Carol Douglas - Doctor's Orders (1974)

Release Date: October 1974
Record Label: Midland International (distributed by RCA)
Chart Positions: U.S. #11, Canada #1, France #4, Italy #8, New Zealand #6, Spain #2
Sales: Worldwide 2 million
Trivia: "Doctor's Orders" was produced by Meco, the American producer/musician who is best known for his 1977 space disco version of the Star Wars Theme. Although due to contractual complication Midland International VicePresident, Ed O'Loughlin is credited as the song's producer. 





David Dundas - Jeans On (1976)

David Dundas - Jeans On (1976)
Release Date: August 1976
Record Label: Chrysalis
Chart Positions: Germany #1, UK 33, South Africa #3, U.S. #17
Sales: Worldwide 1 million
Trivia: "Jeans On" originally appeared as a television advertising jingle for Brutus Jeans (the words used in the jingle - "I pull my Brutus jeans on" - were replaced with "I pull my old blue jeans on" for the single release).





Michael Franks - Popsicle Toes (1976)

Michael Franks - Popsicle Toes (1976)
Release Date: July 1976
Record Label: Reprise
Chart Positions: U.S. #43
Trivia: "Popsicle Toes" is one of the greatest innuendo songs ever recorded. The song was recorded with some of the finest jazz musicians of the 70's (and of all-time). Including Wilton Felder on bass, Larry Carlton on guitar and Joe Sample on keyboards.





 Steve Martin - King Tut (1978)

Steve Martin - King Tut (1978)
Release Date: April 28, 1978
Record Label: Warner Brothers
Chart Positions: U.S. #17
Certifications: U.S. - Gold
Sales: U.S. 1.3 million
Trivia: The "backup group" Martin used for "King Tut" was credited as The Toot Uncommons (Tutankhamen), but was really The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The NGDB is best remembered for their hits "Mr. Bojangles" (1970), "An American Dream" (1979) and "Make A Little Magic (1980).





Meco - Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band (1977)

Meco - Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band (1977)
Release Date: July 1977
Record Label: Millenium (distributed by RCA)
Chart Positions: U.S. #1, UK #7
Certifications: U.S. - Platinum
Sales: Worldwide 5 million
Trivia: To date Meco's "Star Wars/Cantina Band" is the biggest selling instrumental single in the history of recorded music. It is the only single to be certified Platinum by the RIAA for sales of more than two million copies.





The Poppy Family - Which Way You Goin' Billy? (1970)

The Poppy Family - Which Way You Goin' Billy? (1970)
Release Date: December 1969
Record Label: London
Chart Positions: U.S. #2, Canada #9
Certifications: U.S.  Gold
Sales: Worldwide 11 million
Trivia: The Poppy Family was a duo comprised of Terry and Susan Jacks (a husband and wife duo).Terry and Susan divorced in 1973 and a few months later Terry released his first solo single "Seasons In The Sun" which reached #1 in the U.S., UK and Canada and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.








Meri Wilson - Telephone Man

Meri Wilson - Telephone Man (1977)
Release Date: April 1977
Record Label: GRT Records, PYE Records
Chart Positions: U.S. #18, UK #6
Certifications: U.S.  Gold
Sales: Worldwide 3 million
Trivia: Meri Wilson earned a masters degree in music theory from Georgia State University. for a short while she worked as a model before becoming a singer specializing in double entendre novelty songs. In the 1990's she worked as the director of elementary education in Georgia. She also recorded other novelty songs including "Dick the DJ", "Peter The Meter Reader" and her last release in 2001"The Internet Man" (an update of "Telephone Man". Sadly, Meri Wilson died on December 28, 2002 in a car accident on Georgia State Route 377.




Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rock Albums Post IX : Ramblings...

Some of the albums in this post have already been featured in other posts on this blog. This is from a document I recently found on my previous computer (Sony Vaio). I transferred the doc to my current computer and decided to use it on this blog. I wrote this about 2 years ago for an old facebook page but never put it up. This is a recollection of my memories of these albums. This is more personal instead of fact filled. 





Adrian Belew - Lone Rhino (1982) - (Yep, I know I just did a comprehensive review of Belew's music on this blog... but what can I say).I first recognized Adrian Belew in 1981 on Tom Tom Club’s classic debut album. I was mesmerized with Belew trippy guitar work on song such as “L’Elephant”, “On, On, On, On” and of course “Genius Of Love”. Shorty after that discovery I paid more attention to his work on Talking Heads’ albums “Remain In Light” and “Fear Of Music” which I bought a few years prior. It was only natural that when Belew released his debut solo album that I buy it. Fortunately his debut was outstanding.  “Big Electric Cat” is one of those songs I still play to this day. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002HM6AQW/ref=nosim/populasongsmu-20







Bjork - Homogenic (1997) - With this album Bjork became one of my favorites. I love the songs “Hunter” , “All Is Full Of Love” and “All Neon Like”. “Homogenic is one of modern rock’s leading edge album’s of the 90’s which has helped to shape todays sound in music. This album can require a bit of getting used to, especially if you are not familiar with Bjork. But once you get the meaning and feel the feel of “Homogenic” you will be gripped.



The following is part of a review I found on amazon.com:

For starters, "Homogenic" is the complete opposite of the Euro-friendly, house-filled "Debut," which found Bjork bringing fire on the dancefloor at four in the morning. Instead, we find her as the hunter, looking for the next kill, or as the screaming numbed soul excusing herself for being about to explode. Complete with wavy beats and minimalist industrial crunch fading in and out throughout the whole album, this is a difficult heart-renching listen that's filled with everything that is Bjork: beauty, love, despair, loneliness, and finally defeat with hope.






Blondie - Eat To The Beat (1979) - In early 1979 I bought Blondie’s “Parallel Lines” and just loved that album. Debbie Harry became a quick favorite. When “Eat To The Beat” came out I was first in line to buy it. I played both albums countless times, but it was “Eat To The Beat” which became my favorite Blondie album. I equate this album with my youth… so many great memories. “Die Young Stay Pretty” and “Accidents Never Happen” were my favorites back and still are today.






David Bowie - Scary Monsters (1980) - There are other Bowie albums which are considered classics, but this is the Bowie album which really caught my attention. I first bought it because for the song “Ashes To Ashes”, which was a fantastic sequel to “Space Oddity”.  But than the album includes classic Bowie such as “Fashion”, “Up The Hill Backwards” and my favorite “Scary Monsters”. This was Bowie successfully moving into a new wave sort of techno punkish sound.







Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets (1974) - I had heard about Brian Eno for since the mid 1970’s but never really ventured into his music until around 1983. At that point I had several Talking Heads, David Bowie, Roxy Music and other albums he worked on. Finally in ‘83 I bought some of his classic albums from the 70’s and wondered why I didn’t latch on to him sooner. I began with “Here come The Warm Jets” and soon after purchased all of Eno’s pop and rock releases (at the time). Eno completely appeals to the oddball yet dark side of me.








Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love (1967) - This one has a fantastic sense of color and artistry along with some totally awesome guitar, bass and drum work. This is one of those albums that not only grows on you but pretty much becomes an extension of yourself for a while. There are so many levels of emotions expressed in different ways (primarily through Hendrix’s inspiring guitar work. Each song has a depth that only escalates with each song until we reach the penultimate “Bold As Love”, with this song the colors of the spectrum come alive with every emotion experienced throughout the album. Emotions of confusion, sadness and even jealousy. “If you love rock and you don’t own this album, you gotta go ahead and get it. It is worth owning.







The Kinks - Low Budget (1979) Originally, I bought this one for the song “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman”. After a few listens it ends up the entire album was great from beginning to end. My favorite song from the album is “Moving Pictures” with a cool upbeat new wave feel the song fit well with others like The Cars and Gary Numan.






Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother (1970) - This one caught the dark side of my emotions. It has an acoustic nature with an understated atmosphere of electronic emotion. Roger Waters’ “If” and David Gilmour’s “Fat Old Sun” are amongst the most beautiful and deep reaching songs Pink Floyd ever recorded. This album is specifically important in my life. I bought it back in 1982 and it became part of my life. It was like another limb, part of my own body. When I listened to this album not only did I hear fantastic music, but I also able to see the colors of the emotions from this album in my mind. I could feel this music in my bones.







Renaissance - Camera Camera (1981) – “Camera Camera”, appeals to a level of superficiality we all have hidden in ourselves. Throughout the 1970’s Renaissance gained acclaim for their symphonic prog rock stylings. “Camera Camera” found them exploring a harder edged new wave style, which at some points had similarities to Lene Lovich, while still maintaining a hint of their earlier prog rock days. Surrounded with excellent musicianship Annie Haslam’s lead vocal is as always out of this world fantastic. I practically played the grooves off of this album and especially hooked on “Tyrant-Tula”, “Ukraine Ways” and the title track “Camera, Camera”.







Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure (1973) - This wasn’t the first album I owned by Roxy Music and it’s not the album that got me hooked on them. I discovered Roxy Music in 1979 with the album “Manifesto”, I loved the album cover and the new wave-dance sound was excellent. It is with “Manifesto”, that Roxy Music became a staple in my music listening life. But it’s “For Your Pleasure” that made the biggest impression on me. I first bought “For Your Pleasure” in 1982. The first thing to strike me was the dark album cover. It somewhat fit with my persona at the time. The music blew me away. The album was 9 years old when I bought it, but was still relevant to a certain culture of music listeners of the time. On the technical side of music (in 1973) FYP was light years ahead of their contemporaries. With it’s strangely charming yet dark and eerie songs, the album appeals to my ghoulish side. I must have played “In Every Dream Home A Heartache” at least 10,000 between 1983 through 88. It is through Roxy Music that I discovered Brian Eno.






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Monday, October 17, 2011

Rock Albums Post VIII: Adrian Belew

Adrian Belew has gone on to become a legend of sorts in the world of rock music including; alt-rock, modern rock, new wave, classic rock and prog rock. He is highly influential within the rock music inner circle, yet to the general public his name is virtually unknown. Despite this he has had his share of major/minor successes which have afforded him the ability to continue recording and releasing music for over 30 years now.

Wikipedia describes Belew as follows: Adrian Belew is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He is perhaps best known for his work as a member of the progressive rock group King Crimson (which he has fronted since 1981) and for his unusual impressionistic approach to guitar playing (involving arresting yet frequently melodic sounds more akin to animals and machines than to standard instrumental tones).

His career began in 1977 (he was 27 years old) when Frank Zappa discovered him while he was playing a gig with his cover band named Sweetheart. Shortly Belew began touring with Zappa and appeared on his 1979 album "Shiek Yerbouti". He also appeared in Zappa's 1979 concert film "Baby Snakes". From there Belew's career blossomed until he became a leading man in the world of rock guitar genius.

Let's follow Belew's career. The following albums are highlights in Adrian Belew's career. These are not all the albums he's worked on. The solo albums listed here are not the only ones he's released but a few that have really made an impression. To date Belew has released 16 studio albums and 6 albums with King Crimson.

1979


This is where it all began for Adrian Belew.
Frank Zappa first noticed Belew in 1977 and by 1979 appeared on a Frank Zappa album. But it wasn't just any Frank Zappa album, it was "Sheik Yerbouti", Zappa's best selling album in his entire career. This album represented a new )sort of) beginning for Zappa in that it was the first release on his own Zappa Records.The album even brought Zappa his first Grammy nominations for the songs "Dancin' Fool (Rock Male Artist) and Rat Tomango (Rock Instrumental). Adrian Belew features prominently in this album as his named was listed 2nd in the credits. Belew played rhythm guitar to Zappa's lead guitar. He also sang lead vocals on three tracks including "City Of Tiny Lites", "Jones Crusher" and most notably his Bob Dylan impression on "flakes". It's easy to say Adrian Belew was on his way to bigger and better things. But how could it get any better than Frank Zappa?

Album Chart Stats: U.S. #21, UK #32, Norway #5, Sweden #4, Austria #6
Singles Chart Stats: "Dancin" Fool" U.S. #45, "Bobby Brown Goes Down" Germany #4, Switzerland #5, Austria #2, Norway #1, Sweden #1


City Of Tiny Lights (Frank Zappa band w/ Adrian Belew on lead vocals)



1979

David Bowie - Lodger (1979)
Bowie was so impressed with Belew after seeing him on tour with Zappa that he poached him for his album "Lodger". this is the first and only very few instance of both Adrian Belew and Brian Eno on the same work. It is here where Belew was introduced to Robert Fripp who later invited Belew to join King Crimson.

Adrian Belew plays some incredible guitar all over "Lodger".  Belew's lead guitar work especially shines in "Boys Keep Swinging" in which his animalistic emotions take charge in the tones and groans of his guitar. In "Look Back In Anger" Belew comes in with fierce energy and sets the song afire. "Red Sails" brings us Belew's glory, his guitar work screams with a chaotic beauty that travels mysteriously into the avante-gard while maintaining a sense of melody.
Album Chart Stats: U.S. #20, UK #4, Norway #11, Australia #11, Austria #13, New Zealand #3, Sweden #9
Singles Chart Stats: "Boys Keep Swinging" UK #7, Ireland #19. "DJ" UK #29.


David Bowie and Adrian Belew



1980

Talking Heads - Remain In Light (1980) CLICK HERE

Belew's next stop was with Talking Heads. "Remain In Light" represents Talking Heads at their highest artist peak along with Adrian Belew's synthesized guitar solos and all produced by musical genius. It was a triple attack on the senses. Belew took the guitar to places even Jimi Hendrix had not discovered.

It was upon the request of David Byrne, Jerry Harrison and Brian Eno that Adrian Belew joined the band in recording this album. Recording of the album was sagging until Belew was brought in. His eclecticism and energy brought a renewed verve and interest in the recording sessions for the album.

belew's influnece is found on every song in the album and most prominently in "The Great Curve" which includes Belew's extended guitar solos.

Album Chart Stats: U.S. #19, UK #21, Australia #25, New Zealand #8, Norway #26, Sweden #28
Certified Gold in U.S. and Canada, Certified Silver in UK
Singles Chart Stats: "Once In A Lifetime" U.S. #103, UK #14Australia #23, Canada #28, Ireland #16, Netherlands #24. "Houses In Motion" #50 UK, #26 Ireland

The Talking Heads - The Great Curve

Tina Weymouth and Adrian Belew


1981

Tom Tom Club (1981) CLICK HERE
Belew's next turn was with Talking Heads off shoot band Tom Tom Club. The group includes Talking Heads husband and wife team Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth along with Adrian Belew and Tina Weymouth's sisters (Lani, Laura and Loric).

This time around Belew's guitar work was featured heavily throughout the entire album. He took his guitar in several directions, most of which emulated animal sounds or (if possible) animal emotions. In "As Above So Below" Belew give a mystery filled performance giving the emotion of a lonely rhinoceros. In "Booming and Zooming" his guitar portrays an understated sense of bounce, it's a booming and zooming in the confines of electric synthesis. Best of all is bold and brave elephant speak on "L' Elephant.

This album became a highlight in music of 1981. The single "Genius Of Love" became one of the most played club hits of 1981 and 1982 as well as going on to become a dance club classic.

Album Chart Stats: U.S. #23, UK #78, New Zealand #18
Singles Chart Stats: "Wordy Rappinghood" UK #7, New Zealand #35. "Genius Of Love" U.S. #31, UK #65, New Zealand #28.




1981

King Crimson - Discipline (1981) CLICK HERE

Just when you think it couldn't get any better Belew outdoes himself with King Crimson. This time getting top bill as lead vocalist and guitarist, as well as co-writing all the songs."Discipline" was a gateway album for King Crimson having blended the current day New Wave sounds with the dark heavier sounds of 1970's prog rock. The result was one of King Crimson's most adventurous and complex albums at the time.

The song "Indiscipline" was based on a letter written by Belew to his then wife Margaret concerning a sculpture she had made. With "Elephant Talk", Belew again displays his interest in the animal and gives a totally awesome futuristic guitar performance. Belew seemed to have a liking to Elephants.
Album Chart Stats: U.S. #45, UK #41, Canada #18, Sweden #37




1982

Adrian Belew - Lone Rhino (1982) CLICK HERE

Finally after three years of working with the best of the best in alternative rock and having contributed to five iconic albums, Belew decided to go solo. He released his first of 16 studio album (with his most recent being 2009's "e") in 1982.For those anticipating this release it was everything they waited for and more.

In researching this album I came about Ted Mills' review on the album at AllMusic. His review was so spot on that I decided to share it in it's entirety.
Here's the review:
The first solo album from monster alternative guitarist Belew comes in the middle of Robert Fripp's early-'80s reformulation of King Crimson, so it's no surprise that many a Crimson-esque herky-jerky guitar run and melody line pops up among Belew's other trademark sound, that of the animal-turned-guitar wail. Songs similarly explore Belew's fascination with raw animal nature: "Big Electric Cat" (the album's obvious single) is exactly that, howling five-stringed felines over a propulsive Afro-funk beat, and "Animal Grace" is its less frazzled companion. But Belew can also be gentle, exploring guitar synth ambience on "Naive Guitar" and even performing a duet with his four-year-old daughter Audie Belew, who plays acoustic piano on "The Final Rhino." 

Album chart Stats: Sadly none of his albums have made it on to any charts.




Over the next few years Adrian Belew remained extremely busy touring with King Crimson as well as touring for his solo material. When he wasn't on the road he was busy recording. In the next few years he recorded 2 more solo albums and 2 King Crimson albums. As well as contributing to half a dozen other albums (some of which will be listed at the end of this article).

King Crinson - Beat (1982)

Adrian Belew - Twang Bar King (1983)

King Crimson - Three Of A Perfect Pair (1984)

Adrian Belew - Desire Caught By The Tail (1986)


Now we take a stop at Belew's next super project. In 1985 Belew formed a power pop group named The Bears. The Bears consist of Adrian Belew, Chris Arduser, Rob Fetters and Bob Nyswonger.In 1987 they released the first of 4 studio albums.

1987

The Bears (1987) CLICK HERE

The sound of the Bears was more devoted to pop chords and melodies than any of Adrian Belew's bands. They gave a modern spin to the Beatles' melodic moments. The album is filled with well-defined guitar driven pop gems. Belew and Fetters share the lead vocal duties, and their vocal harmonizing is up to the standards set by Lennon and McCartney, yet maintaining their own unique flare.

Within the music you can hear the joy and excitement of these band members as they performed together. It's evident that shared comrade was present during the recording of the album, which makes this all the more an enjoyable listen.




Between The Bears debut album and the next album in this feature Belew released another ten albums between his solo work, King Crimson and The Bears.

As well as working on and contributing to an additional half dozen or so other albums (some of which will be listed at the end of this article). Belew just never stopped, he has continuously worked on recording music for 35 years.

In 1998 came one of Belew's most innovative collaborative works...


1998

ProjeKct Two - Space Grooves (1998) CLICK HERE

"innovative", "out of this world", "spacey", "eclectic", "atmospheric"...
With Robert Fripp and Trey Gunn on guitars and Adrian Belew on V-Drums, this league of gentlemen creates an indisputable classic with "Space Groove". Purely instrumental there are thrill-filled challenges for the listener around every corner. Belew's electronic v-drums capture the bass and beat of the music which borderlines experimental prog and improvisational jazz. Needless the say this album isn't for everyone - but for those who enjoy this sort of atmospheric sound it is an extremely enjoyable listen.



The following are links to a few other highlights in Adrian Belew's repertoire

King Crimson - Three Of A Perfect Pair (1984)
The Bears - Rise and Shine (1988)
Adrian Belew - Op Zop Too Wah (1996)
King Crimson - The ConstruKction of Light (2000)
Adrian Belew - Side One (2005)
"Side One" is the first of a series of 3 studio albums recorded by Adrian Belew which include Les Claypool (Primus) and Dan Carey (Tool)


The following are some of the other albums Belew has contributed to over the years

Laurie Anderson - Mister Heartbreak (1983) - guitar on "Sharkey's Day", "Gravity's Angel", "Blue Lagoon" and "Sharkey's Night"
Jean Michel Jarre - Zoolook (1984) - guitars, synthesizer effects
Paul Simon - Graceland (1986) - synthesized guitar on "Boy In The Bubble", "You Can call Me Al" and "Crazy Love", Guitar on "Under African Skies"
Mike Oldfield - Earth Moving (1989) - lead vocals on "Holy", guitar throughout
Caifanes - El Silencio (1992) - Producer, guitar on "Piedra"
Nine Inch Nails - Downward Spiral (1994) - texture generating guitar (on "Mr. Self Destruct"), ring mod guitar (on "The Becoming")
Jars Of Clay (1995) produced the songs "Liquid" and "Flood" as well as playing bass and mandolin on both songs. "Flood" reached #37 in the U.S.
Back Against The Wall (Pink Floyd Tribute")(2005) - guitars and vocals on "In The Flesh", "Mother", "Is There Anybody Out There" and "The Show Must Go On"
Jaguares - Cronicos de un Laberinto (2005) - guitar, koto and keyboards as well as chorus vocals
Man On Fire - Habitat (2005) - heavy guitars throughout
Return To The Dark Side Of The Moon (Pink Floyd Tribute)(2006) vocals on "Speak To Me"
Nine Inch Nails - Ghost I - IV (2007) - co-writer on "25 Ghosts III" and "27 Ghosts III", played guitar on 13 tracks from the album, Electronics on "25 Ghosts III" and Marimba on "30 Ghosts IV"

"The Block" by Man On Fire (2005)



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