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Showing posts from July, 2014

Zee "Identity" (1984) w/Richard Wright

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Following up on my recent post about the two solo albums by Richard Wright, the late keyboardist of Pink Floyd, I also wanted to point out an obscure side project which Wright recorded while he was temporarily ousted from Pink Floyd. Zee was a duo consisting of Wright and Dave (De) Harris, the singer/guitarist who had fronted the new wave band Fashion on their 1982 album Fabrique (aka Height Of Fashion). Zee's only album was Identity, released in Europe in 1984.

On Identity, Wright and Harris co-produced (with Tim Palmer) and co-wrote all of the songs; both of them are credited with keyboards, percussion, and Fairlight synthesizer (which is used quite prominently). But Identity comes across as being mainly the project of Dave Harris, who wrote the lyrics, sang the lead vocals, and played guitar. Still, the music tends to have a bit more in common with Floyd’s art-rock than with the intense dance-pop of Fashion. Despite the mostly electronic instrumentation, most of the songs hav…

Richard Wright solo albums

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By now, you've probably heard the news that a new Pink Floyd album, titled The Endless River, is set for release this fall. The official press release describes the album, which will be the Floyd's first in 20 years, as "an album of mainly ambient and instrumental music based on the 1993/4 Division Bell sessions which feature David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright". The way that the news originally was leaked was by a way that could not have been used the last time the Floyd released an album: via Twitter. On July 5th, Gilmour's wife Polly Samson casually tweeted: "Btw Pink Floyd album out in October is called "The Endless River". Based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright's swansong and very beautiful." (Update: the album is now scheduled to be released on November 10th).

There is at least one word of Samson's tweet that would not quite fit its proper definition. A "swan song" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "the las…

Secret Seven “Hold On To Love” (1983)

After the unfortunate 1981 demise of the sadly unnoticed Distractions, lead singer Mike Finney worked with a short-lived band called the Secret Seven, who released only one single in the U.K. in 1983. Finney shared vocal duties with Julie Middles, the ex-wife of Manchester music journalist Mick Middles; the Seven also included producer/guitarist Martin Hayles, sometime Distractions drummer Bernard Van Den Berg, a bass player named A.J., percussionist Danny Cummings, and keyboardist Don Garbutt. Their sound bore no resemblance to that of Finney’s former band. Where the Distractions’ educated new wave approach made their 1980 album timeless, the Secret Seven’s 1983 single was clearly a product of its exact time period.

Based on the single’s two tracks, The Secret Seven (or Secret 7, as it was spelled on the disc’s center label) played new-wave-era dance pop, certainly slicker and less wistful than the music of the Distractions. At its core, the A-side “Hold On To Love” was born from t…

Tame Impala: "Live Versions" differences

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Tame Impala, the neo-psychedelic Australian band led by Kevin Parker, released a full-length live LP titled Live Versions on Record Store Day in 2014. The LP was limited to 5,000 copies, 500 of which were pressed in translucent green vinyl. Its nine tracks were selected from a 2013 Chicago concert. Most of the songs are drawn from the band's first two full-length studio albums Innerspeaker (2010) and Lonerism (2012). The music of Tame Impala loses none of its dreaminess in the live setting. Listening to Live Versions gives one a feeling of floating in outer space.

Tame Impala's sound is at once cosmic and melodic, almost hiding a melancholy pop sense behind an otherworldly wall of psychedelic sound. Tame Impala's studio recordings are usually made by Kevin Parker alone; when the full band plays live, they often add new dimensions to the original songs, augmenting them with extended jams and other effects. The tracks on Live Versions were selected because they feature noti…