Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bent Knee: MPLS Show w/Air Lands @ The Entry 7/24/17 + General Thoughts

So, I delayed this review unintentionally, just caught up in things with work, home, and then trying to finish the 1977 Albums Calendar.

And as I posted in that entry, I ended up skipping Roger Waters, in-effect for this show in some ways (the wife doesn't like me attending too many shows in 1 week, which I can see her reasoning to a point).

But Bent Knee I finally got to see on Monday evening at the Entry along with 2 local openers, Oklahoma and Air Lands.

Both the openers I found were good, Air Lands especially. And maybe partly per having Sarah Perbix from Cloud Cult play with them.

I should be checking out their studio recordings soon, but from the live performance, I would describe Air Lands as sort of Psych/Singer Songwriter. Kind of like Elton John or Warren Zevon (or Randy Newman I suppose) meets like The Besnard Lakes or The Beach Boys (I saw The Flaming Lips and Bon Iver among their influences, which I can follow and have no issue with despite not caring for those artists music much).

And Air Lands has 2 albums out I guess. They are from MN, went to NY at 1 point, and now have come back?

Anyway, certainly a band to watch further as they have a show at The Icehouse next week even.

But Bent Knee, here's what I guess is the set list (taken from the 25th in Kansas?)

Time Deer
Holy Ghost
Being Human
Insides In
These Hands
Land Animal
Leak Water
Belly Side Up
The Well
Terror Bird
Battle Creek

But their performance was awesome. Incredible energy, pulling off the dynamics and nuances live. They do have 1 member who is at a laptop but using some kind of sampler or sequencer or something, which I'm suspecting is for a lot of the string parts, etc.

But their violinist rocks out really well. Guitars, vocal sections from Courtney Swain and the rest of the band. Ferocious drumming, rhythmic bass lines from Jessica.

If I had only 1 issue, I guess was the mix. At times they were so loud, the vocals sounded drowned out, although I actually stood in front so maybe where I was hearing them had something to do with that.

So, to go on about Bent Knee. Great people as I met bassist Jessica, Ben Levin whose their guitarist, their drummer Gavin after the show. And I briefly got to speak with Courtney Swain their lead singer as well. Even mentioned the J.P. Bouvet track she sang on, etc Told her about the Art and All That Jazz festival from a few years ago, Super Pilots/Mike Linden, etc. She mentioned when they were at Berklee, his band and hers were kind of rivals, which is an interesting anecdote.

But I have not posted extensively about Bent Knee in here. I included Say So, on my 2015-2016 end of year list of course, but beyond that and the new album Land Animal, not a ton.

I kind of want to LOVE them, and am starting to get closer to that point. Their music has a ton going on. It's very schizophrenic. Circus Rock of a kind. I told Jessica, they remind me of 2 bands among others. 1 being Kiss Kiss, the other uneXpect. They have a lot of crazy time changes, textures, moods, etc. But I think maybe what works best for me is kind of like some Tech/Death or Fjokra or something where most of their songs have sections I absolutely love and look forward to. Maybe the best example is on the title track to Land Animal, the absolutely gorgeous/melancholy vocal melody that Courtney has "Sending out a message when I worry too much"..and then later it is echoed on Violin and other strings.

The title track to Land Animal, as I told Jessica, is definitely 1 of the best songs I've heard this year. It's haunting.

So, I purchased Shiny Eyed Babies and Say So on CD and Land Animal on vinyl at the show. I don't think I had ever heard SEB until yesterday. And my of my, it totally got my jaw dropping! There's 3 or 4 songs, just 1 time through that floored me. "In God We Trust" maybe being the most. "Battle Creek" "I'm Still Here" "Sunshine" among the rest of the album.

So, my take on Bent Knee and all the hype among the prog scene, I kind of follow, maybe more than before.

Now, if they could only go on tour with someone I would love to see them with. The Dear Hunter is an obvious one, and I guess Chris Baum? played on TDH's Migrant, so Casey knows him and likely the band.

But if not them, The Mercury Tree? (or Brice Plays Drums, or Bubblemath locally. Kai from Bubblemath actually was at the show and ended up hosting the band at his house I guess, which was very cool of him to do so).

The Reign of Kindo, The Family Crest, Bend Sinister would be some other obvious names who are active. Of course Josh Benash or a Kiss Kiss/Vuvuzela reunion (or uneXpect).

or SikTh too. the crazy, circus prog stuff would probably do well with their crowd.

Between the Buried and Me or Native Construct even.

Bent Knee are heavy enough, the (avant-garde/prog) Metal crowd likely would dig them. And they did open for The Dillinger Escape Plan a few years ago. I even met a guy at the show who was talking up In Flames and I brought up my favorite Melodic Death Metal bands to him (Dark Tranquility and Soilwork namely).

But to end this chapter in my Bent Knee-week excursion, I now am starting to see them as 1 of those bands who I hope continues to succeed and make awesome music and play great shows. I guess we'll see. I still haven't even checked out their debut album nor an acoustic record they did a little while back.

Oh and I thought Monday was their 1st MN concert, but it wasn't.

they mentioned playing in Minnesota once before. June 16th, 2014 at the Hexagon bar. If only I had known about them then, lol. 2 days before the 1 and only time I saw Agalloch (RIP) in Minnesota.

Also 1 more note about Sarah, I ended up seeing her at The Depot before the show. Had no clue she knew about this show nor Bent Knee, which as it turns out, she hadn't. She's not really a progrock person, but yet she is a great musician and plays with Cloud Cult which I told her, I consider prog of a kind. And I can see why she would would work playing with Air Lands now. I wonder, if it made sense and were possible, if she may would contribute to some of their new music. A multi-instrumentalist and singer like her really could add a lot potentially to an already cool band.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Year 1977 Albums Calendar and Rankings

1977, a year kind of transition in some ways for the majority of my taste. Many of the bands/artists who released some of their best albums earlier in the decade, put out either one of their last good albums (at least 3, maybe 3.5 to bordering on 4-stars). Or in some cases, like The Grateful Dead or Pink Floyd, released my favorite and what I consider their best.

Animals, has almost the entire time I've been a Pink Floyd fan (since around 1991 or 1992), I have always seen as my favorite. And it was released January 23rd, so if the older version of me had heard it in 1977, it likely would been on top all year and not been topped. Although I love A Farewell to Kings and up to that point, I probably would consider that Rush's best album (of course not for long!, lol), but I doubt then and of course can rate it at the level of Animals.

Ironic as I'm finally finishing this extensive list, Roger Waters is playing in town tonight. And I've never actually seen him live (I heard him outside once or twice, lol), and he actually is playing half of Animals. (Pigs and Dogs) But I'm not going unfortunately per I saw Bent Knee on Monday and plan to see Bubblemath on Saturday. Plus I should get to sleep early tonight or my lack of sleep this week may catchup with me.

But hopefully another time (hopefully Roger isn't done, but at his age, who knows. If he needs money? I suppose it may not be). and if he were to play the whole Animals, I would not miss it. He's done Dark Side and The Wall to death, and the casual fans of course look to those 2 and then Wish You Were Here well before Animals for some reason. Likely Classic Rock radio and the length of the songs having to do with that.

Dave Kilminster does a lot of David Gilmour's parts, which is fine, but I have seen Animals live twice before (local MN band Soap did it), and Kilminster with Steven Wilson, so the loss doesn't feel so much. There's also plenty of videos on YouTube from the tour.

Anyway, beyond Animals though, 1977 was the year Punk was becoming big, but despite that., there was plenty of prog and jazz-rock. Even just Classic Rock, Power Pop and Psych stuff, many of which I of course listed below in the calendar, but know only from reputation or just ratings that I want to check out.

Styx, Ai Di Meols, Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac, Bowie, Queen, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Journey's early music, etc. Deep Year with a couple of gems at the top.

1. Pink Floyd - Animals
2. Rush - A Farewell to Kings
3. Al Di Meola - Elegant Gypsy
4. The Grateful Dead - Terrapin Station
5. Renaissance - Novella
6. Annie Haslam - Annie in Wonderland
7. Steely Dan - Aja
8. Styx - The Grand Illusion
9. Yes - Going for the One
10. Jethro Tull - Songs from the Wood
11. Genesis - Seconds Out
12. Kansas - Point of No Return
13. Weather Report - Heavy Weather
14. Anthony Phillips - The Geese and the Ghost
15. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
16. David Bowie - Low
17. Happy the Man - Happy the Man
18. Queen - News of the World
19. Billy Joel - The Stranger
20. David Bowie - Heroes
21. Journey - Next
22. Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (Car)
23. Heart - Little Queen
24. Rick Wakeman - White Rock
25. Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group - Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live
26. The Muppets - The Muppet Show
27. Alan Parsons Project - I Robot
28. Bob Marley and the Wailers - Exodus
29. Elvis Costello - My Aim is True
30. The Beach Boys - Love You
31. Emerson Lake and Palmer - Works Volume 2
32. Genesis - Spot the Pigeon [EP]
33. Starcastle - Citadel

Low (album).jpg
David Bowie - Low
rel January 14, 1977

Gentle Giant - Playing the Fool
rel January 18, 1977

An image of the Battersea Power Station in England, where a giant pig can be seen flying between its left chimneys.
Pink Floyd - Animals
rel January 23, 1977

Renaissance - Novella alternate cover.jpg
Renaissance - Novella
rel January 1977

Return to Forever - Musicmagic
rel January 1977

Starcastle Fountains.jpg
Starcastle - Fountains of Light
rel January 1977

 Rick Wakeman album - White Rock - cover.jpg
Rick Wakeman - White Rock
rel January 1977

Mostly cream album cover with black-and-white image of tall, bearded gentleman holding a snow globe in front of a blonde, cape-wearing woman. In the top right-hand corner, it is captioned "FLEETWOOD MAC" and "RUMOURS" below it.
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
rel February 4, 1977

Ra Utopia.jpg
Utopia - Ra
rel February 4, 1977

A photograph, framed in black, of four men in a tensed pose; the man center-left is situated a step in front of the others
Television - Marquee Moon
Rel February 8, 1977

Jethro Tull Songs from the Wood.jpg
Jethro Tull - Songs from the Wood
rel February 11, 1977

 Peter Gabriel (self-titled album, 1977 - cover art).jpg
Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel
rel February 25, 1977

Journey Next.jpg
Journey - Next
rel February 1977

High Class in Borrowed Shoes (Max Webster album - cover art).jpg
Max Webster - High Class in Borrowed Shoes
rel March 1, 1977

ELP Works Volume 1.jpg
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Works Volume 1
rel March 17, 1977

Jeff Beck With the Jan Hammer Group Live.jpg
Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group - Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live
rel March 1977

Anthony Phillips - The Geese and the Ghost
rel March 1977

Album A Handful of Beauty cover.jpg
Shakti with John McLaughlin - A Handful of Beauty
rel March 1977

Weather Report-Heavy Weather.jpg
Weather Report - Heavy Weather
rel March 1977

The Clash UK.jpg
The Clash - The Clash
rel April 8, 1977

Supertramp - Even in the Quietest Moments.jpg
Supertramp - Even in the Quietest Moments
rel April 10, 1977

The Beach Boys - Love You
rel April 11, 1977

10cc deceptive.jpg
10cc - Deceptive Bends
rel April 1977

Brand X Morrocan Roll.jpg
Brand X - Moroccan Roll
rel April 1977

Elegant gypsy.jpg
Al Di Meola - Elegant Gypsy
rel April 1977

Peter Hammill Over.jpg
Peter Hammill - Over
rel April 1977

Little Queen Heart.jpg
Heart - Little Queen
rel May 14, 1977

Genesis - Spot the Pigeon [EP]
rel May 20, 1977

FreeFall-Dixie Dregs.jpg
Dixie Dregs - Free Fall
rel May 27, 1977

The Alan Parsons Project - I Robot.jpg
Alan Parsons Project - I Robot
rel June 1, 1977

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Exodus.png
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Exodus
rel June 3, 1977

Crosby, Stills & Nash - CSN.jpg
Crosby Stills and Nash - CSN
rel June 17, 1977

Hawkwind - Quark, Strangeness and Charm
rel June 17, 1977

The Muppet Show (album).png
The Muppets - The Muppet Show
rel June 25, 1977

Rainbow - On Stage
rel July 7, 1977

Styx - The Grand Illusion.jpg
Styx - The Grand Illusion
rel July 7, 1977

Yes Going for the One.jpg
Yes - Going for the One
rel July 15, 1977

MyAim isTrue.jpg
Elvis Costello - My Aim is True
rel July 22, 1977

A painting of two terrapins dancing and play tambourines outside of a train station
The Grateful Dead - Terrapin Station
rel July 27, 1977

Happy the Man - Happy the Man
rel August 1977

Rush A Farewell to Kings.jpg
Rush - A Farewell to Kings
rel September 1, 1977

Talking Heads 77.jpg
Talking Heads - Talking Heads:77
rel September 16, 1977

Aja album cover.jpg
Steely Dan - Aja
rel September 23, 1977

Billy Joel - The Stranger
rel September 29, 1977

Klaatu - Hope
rel September 1977

ELO-Out of the Blue Lp.jpg
Electric Light Orchestra - Out of the Blue
rel October 3, 1977

Kansas - Point of Know Return.jpg
Kansas - Point of No Return
rel October 10, 1977

The album cover features a black and white photograph of Bowie's face with his hands held up
David Bowie - Heroes
rel October 14, 1977

Genesis - Seconds Out.jpg
Genesis - Seconds Out
rel October 21, 1977

Futuristic motorcycle rider; the motorcycle has jet exhaust. A bat-like figure on the tower of a building.
Meatloaf - Bat Out of Hell
rel October 21, 1977

Queen News Of The World.png
Queen - News of the World
rel October 28, 1977

Blue Oyster Cult - Spectres
rel October 1977

Santana - Moonflower
rel October 1977

Citadel (Starcastle album).jpg
Starcastle - Citadel
rel October 1977

ELP Works Volume 2.jpg
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Works Volume 2
rel November 1, 1977

Brand X Livestock.jpg
Brand X - Livestock
rel November 18, 1977

Chic - Chic
rel November 22, 1977

Eric Clapton - Slowhand
rel November 25, 1977

Joni DJRD.jpg
Joni Mitchell - Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
rel December 13, 1977

Large artwork
Café Jacques - Round the Back
rel 1977

Billy Cobham - Magic
rel 1977

Black noise 1.jpg
FM - Black Noise
rel 1977

Goblin Suspiria single.jpg
Goblin - Suspiria
rel 1977

Gryphon Treason Cover Art.jpg
Gryphon - Treason
rel 1977

Jan Hammer Group - Melodies
rel 1977

Annie Haslam - Annie in Wonderland
rel 1977

Pat Metheny - Watercolours.jpg
Pat Metheny - Watercolors
rel 1977

Album Slaves Mass cover.jpg
Hermeto Pascoal - Slave Mass
rel 1977

The Rubinoos - The Rubinoos
rel 1977

Image result for Lenny White - Big City
Lenny White - Big City
rel 1977