Friday, November 12, 2010

Michael Fremer Album Review

(new release)

Neil Young

Reprise 525956 180g LP/CD

Produced by: Daniel Lanois
Engineered by: Mark Howard
Mixed by: Daniel Lanois
Mastered by: Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering



Neil Brings LeNoise, Leaves the Funk

by Michael Fremer
October 01, 2010

Neil plays, Daniel "La-noise" manipulates. The result is a solo album—a man and his guitar— that takes on gargantuan proportions as it throbs, undulates, oozes, howls, flows, rattles and hums through a series of reminiscences, philosophical discussions, entreaties and proclamations of faith that only an older man could possibly produce and deliver with such rich and fervent authority.

Young’s riffs and melodic lines will bring to mind previous grunge epics from his Crazy Horse collaborations like “Cinnamon Girl” and “Cortez the Killer,” but not anchored to a rhythm section and expanded by Lanois’ multiple echoes, loops and other sonic business, they attain a surprising ethereal lightness combined with the obvious crushing weight.

He sometimes plays his favorite black Les Paul, still recognizable through the processing, but on the minor key mournful treasure “Love and War” and on most of the others he plays a Lanois-modded Gretsch hollow body acoustic guitar with an impossibly deep low E string (electronically manipulated), picking in the bridge gorgeous Spanish style riffs on a song about a career writing songs of love and war.

It’s what people write songs about and pray about, Young sings, but he admits in the opening lines that when he sings about love and war, “I don’t really know what I am saying.”

For those who have journeyed through time with Neil Young, nothing here will come as a big surprise but all of it will resonate emotionally and especially physically if you still have the guts to turn it up. Way up!

“The Hitchhiker” covers Young’s emotional ups and downs coupled to his drug history non-judgmentally, going from early years smoking hash (through a pen), amphetamines (felt like his head was in a glass, but he knew it wouldn’t last), Valium prescribed by a doctor to counter agitation as fame hit him in ways he hadn’t expected, then paranoia when he wouldn’t sign an autograph, appear on TV or “see or be seen,” then weed after he’d moved to his ranch, and finally after a break-up cocaine, where his “…head did explode.” Young admits that though he’s tried to leave his past behind, “’s catching up with me. I don’t know how I’m standing here, living in my life. I’m thankful for my children and my faithful wife.” All delivered without a grain of self-pity.

On “Peaceful Valley Boulevard,” Young delivers a powerful ecological plea delivering a history of the West from pre-Transcontinental railroad days through the near extinction of the Buffalo, the California gold rush, the age of the automobile and finally climate change, and on the closer “Rumblin’” Young contemplates mortality as he feels a rumbling “in her ground.” “When will I learn how to give back?” he asks. “When will I learn how to feel?”

Despite, or perhaps because of Lanois’ mega-treatments consisting of loops, chorusing, echoes and other forms of sonic manipulation, the songs grow in both physical and emotional stature. The bottom end foundation is huge and deep. If your system can do deep bass, this recording will shake your room from the opening chord of “Walk With Me.”

Though the processing and time-shifting is major, Lanois’s deft hand never takes control or diminishes Young’s performances or intentions; quite the opposite in fact. The stage is massive: wide and deep, with Young appearing as a giant, diffuse apparition between the speakers. Young's singing is as direct and powerful as its ever been.

The album was recorded in Daniel Lanois’s home studio, located in a grandiose, old Silver Lake mansion in a section of Los Angeles once rundown and now among the hippest sections of the city. It’s pictured on the album’s inner gatefold and on the back cover. The place has an obvious deep “vibe,” probably similar to the one in New Orleans out of which Lanois used to operate. The album was recorded in real time using the producer’s arsenal of vintage recording and processing gear and manipulated later.

You can watch Neil perform the album live on YouTube:  but to really feel the power, you need this 180g LP.

Thanks to Michael over at for the exclusive rights to reprint this material. Stop by for more reviews and features.

Copyright © 2008 & Michael Fremer - All rights reserved Reprinted by Permission

Music News & Notes

Matthew Friedberger “Solos” 8xLP Subscription

Thrill Jockey has just launched one of their most incredible projects yet, an 8xLP subscription from Matthew Friedberger, one-half of The Fiery Furnaces.

Matthew Friedbergerhas is aptly calling the series 'Solos.' Friedberger phoned the Music Mix recently from Marseille, France, to explain.

“Playing rock — except for driving around and carrying equipment in and out of a van and getting bedbugs from the motel and that kind of thing — you don’t have to work very hard, so it seems,” says the sardonic musician. “So I thought it would be fun to have way too many things to do.”

'Solos' will take the form of six vinyl-only albums released between January and November 2011. Each of these six albums will feature Friedberger’s voice paired with a single instrument: piano, guitar, organ, double bass, drums, or harp. Individual Solos LPs will be available in limited quantities through independent shops,

Subscribe to 'Solos' and you will receive one limited edition vinyl LP album of original and exclusive music from Matthew Friedberger every two months of 2011. The first album 'Napoleonette,' will feature the piano as well as Matt singing. This album ships to you in January 2011. The second album will feature the guitar. The last album will ship to you with 2 exclusive full-length bonus albums featuring Matt and special guests on each.

A very limited number of albums will be available for sale as individual albums online and in stores. The box and the two bonus albums will NOT be available in stores, but ONLY to subscribers.


Radiohead New Album "Not Finished" and No Tour Plans

Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood has recently been trying to clarify reports that work on the band’s new album is almost done. In an interview with Italian Rolling Stone, the guitarist was quoted as saying that the follow-up to 2007’s ‘In Rainbows’ was “almost finished”.

He was also said to have revealed that the band were planning a “big tour” in support of the effort. However, in a message on the band's website, Greenwood states:

“I think this Italian writer (referred to here) has, either thorough over-enthusiasm, or frustration at all my non-committal answers, mistranslated me a little. “In fact we haven't quite finished the album - in the studio at the moment - nor have we yet considered any touring.

“The plan is to have no plan until the record is finished...hope that's a little clearer!”


Slayer Releasing 'World Painted Blood' Seven-Inch for the Holidays

Black Friday is certainly shaping up to be an awesome day for heavy metal music lovers. In fact, heavy metal gods Slayer, will be putting out a limited seven-inch vinyl with the unreleased B-side "Atrocity Vendor" and the title track from the band's most recent studio pummeling, 'World Painted Blood.'

'Atrocity Vendor' was recorded during the 'World Painted Blood' sessions and was written by guitarist Kerry King.
Slayer's single will be joining a slew of Nov. 26 metal releases on vinyl, including the recently reported Metallica with 'Live at Grimey's,' Anthrax's 'Live at the Sonisphere' picture disc and the recently-announced Job for a Cowboy CD/LP box set.


Panda Bear Scheduled To Release New Seven Inch Single

Taken from his new album, Panda Bear's 7 inch single "Last Night At The Jetty" is scheduled to be released on December 6th. However, the it is strictly limited to only 3000 copies and is almost certain to be a highly sought after collector's item.


'Darkly Darkly, Venus Aversa' Boxset

Cradle Of Filth continue to shock, excite, and inspire and their new release, 'Darkly Darkly, Venus Aversa,' will be through Peaceville Records on the band's own AbraCadaver imprint.

In the words of Cradle's frontman Dani Filth, the band's ninth studio album is:

"Without doubt the fastest and most brutal album we've created to date. A Gothic Horror themed slay-ride of fervour and perversion; yet amidst the orchestral melodrama and lush, cinematic production, there sits stalwart a ravening beast of furious riffing, flesh ripping vocals and monstrous, unstoppable percussion."

The fan's edition comes packaged in a deluxe box containing:

- 2 CDs : the album plus disc of bonus tracks (including 'Adest Rosa Secreta Eros', an exclusive track that will not be available on any other edition of the album).

-1 DVD : the promo video for 'Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned)', plus a documentary on the making of the video.

- An 64 page hard-back book containing band photos, musings and artwork.

- An exclusive t-shirt.

- A lenticular 3D version of the album cover art ready for framing.

- Photographic prints.

- A certificate from the band.

The band are still putting the final touches to the designs for all of the box's contents. These will be revealed as soon as we have them in regular email updates. Once sold out, they will never be re-pressed.


CAULDRON: Artwork From 'Burning Fortune'

Toronto head-bashers CAULDRON recently finished recording their new album,'Burning Fortune,' in their hometown. The album is due to be released by Earache Records on February 14th, 2011. The album cover for 'Burning Fortune' features British model Lora Leigh.

Cool album cover art!

Peacebeliever Organization Launches New Version of John Lennon's 'Give Peace A Chance' to Benefit Children's Music Foundation

Buena Vista Social Club, Louis Armstrong's Grandson, Supertramp's Roger Hodgson and 10cc Members Among Those Featured On 'Give Peace A Chance'

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 11, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- To mark John Lennon's 70th birthday as well as the 30th anniversary of his assassination, the organization Peacebeliever will release a new version of his classic "Give Peace A Chance" to raise money for their foundation. The single will be available for purchase on both  and iTunes.

The project involves more than 20 musicians and more than 100 children around the world on this updated version of the song, which adds a new verse performed in Spanish, the first time in history that the John Lennon estate has given someone the rights to do so.

Famed Cuban band Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club are joined on the recordings by U.K. sensation Newton Faulkner; Supertramp's Roger Hodgson; 10cc members Graham Gouldman and Eugene Hideaway; Australian singer Nik Phillips, the first westerner to crack the Top Five on the mainland domestic Chinese music charts; Omara Portuondo, who starred in Wim Wenders' award-winning documentary Buena Vista Social Club and Herb Armstrong, grandson of jazz legend Louis Armstrong. Other artists involved include Natalie Pa'A Pa, lead singer with Australian urban roots band Blue King Brown, ARIA Award winner Katie Noonan, Australian children's TV host and Australian Children's Music Foundation founder Don Spencer, Australian country music singer-songwriter Ange Whiteley along with her four children, and 80 students from Byron Bay Steiner School and Matraville Soldier's Settlement Public School.

All proceeds from the single will go to Peacebeliever, an organization designed to support music education in schools, a cause near and dear to the heart of Peacebeliever founder Yolanda Vega, who moved to Australia from her native Spain in 1971 with her parents at the age of six, learning how to speak by singing the songs she heard while watching TV Shows like Sesame Street.

"I believe that music is very important in the development of any child and I learned a great deal thanks to music," she says. "Knowing that many children are not able to have access to music during their education both saddens and alarms me."

A journalist for several publications, Vega became Youth Editor for the top-selling newspaper in Australia, contributing a weekly color cartoon and becoming an advocate for children's rights. A Children's Music Judge for ARIA, the Australian version of the Grammys, Yolanda has been involved in a number of not-for-profit organizations, including Save the Children Foundation, the AIDS Council of Australia and the Abused Child Trust.

"My Christmas wish is to sell one million singles online this season, and for Peacebeliever to raise money globally for children around the world," concludes Vega.

"Give Peace A Chance" will be available on iTunes and  on December 8, 2010.

SOURCE Peacebeliever