Friday, February 13, 2015

Kasim talks

Since I was talking about Kasim the other day,  thought I'd also share this interview with him from Goldmine - lot of interesting stuff including read between the lines answers such as:

GM: Richie Sambora.
KS: You don’t get any nicer than Richie. You just don’t.
GM: Then what the hell happened with him and Bon Jovi?
KS: I don’t know if I should say this …
GM: Oh, c’mon …
KS: You work with someone enough and you contribute to them enough over the years, through the course of your career, and you’re still second fiddle, when, in reality, they would not be who they are were it not for you. That’s when you go, “Y’know what? I got my millions. I’m OK. I don’t necessarily need to be in this position anymore. It’s painful. So I’m just going to take my toys, and you go have a good time without me.”

Swim Mountain

Over at the Guardian, Paul Lester (who can see Todd anywhere - bit like me) comments on new band Swim Mountain and says their sound "draws on “60s studio ethics and modern production techniques … the harmony-heavy songwriters of the 60s and 70s (Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone, Rundgren, Nilsson and the Wilson brothers) "

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Couldn't I Just tell You about ... Powerpop perfection

The Guardian yesterday published a powerpop - ten of the best list and quite rightly Todd was on it.

Todd Rundgren - Couldn’t I Just Tell You

Powerpop, some say, began with Emitt Rhodes’s 1970 debut album or Badfinger’s Magic Christian Music (also 1970), but really those were more like late Beatles works. Powerpop may have drawn on the 60s – in fact, there is a school of thought that has the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Who and the Small Faces as original powerpoppers – but powerpop is really a 70s invention. It’s about young musicians missing the 60s but taking its sound in new directions. In its insistence on brevity, energy and melody, powerpop was not just an alternative to prog and the hippy troubadours, but a cousin to glam. And like glam, it has a claim to being one of the first postmodern genres.
This is largely a 70s list because powerpop is era-specific. You can re-create it outside the time from which it came, but it becomes something different. So you’ll read arguments in favour of 90s musicians such as the Rooks, Brad Jones and more, but they lack powerpop’s edge, which arises from the tension between the music and the audience’s expectations. They just weren’t meant to make music like this in the early 70s. That created problems for powerpop’s main players, as their commercial, catchy material failed to catch on, resulting in a preponderance of tortured artists and casualties.
Talking of glam, Todd Rundgren could easily feature in a 10 of the best list on glitter rock, just as he could be on a list of piano ballads, blue-eyed soul, proto-electronica, even prog. But he staked his claim to powerpop immortality with this track, which set the whole ball rolling (look out for 1972-73 and 1977-78, because they’re key periods within the overall powerpop time frame). If Something/Anything?, its parent double album, featured multiple styles, then Couldn’t I Just Tell You was a masterclass in compression, from the deceptively sweet acoustic intro and opening salvo – “Keep your head and everything will be cool/ You didn’t have to make me feel like a fool” – to the incandescent 15-second guitar solo, the breathtaking “drop” at 2min 36sec and the climactic eruption of guitars, bass and drums, of which Rundgren played and produced every last note. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gotta love Dylan

Q: Do you think of this album as risky? These songs have fans who will say you can’t touch Sinatra’s version.
A: Risky? Like walking across a field laced with land mines? Or working in a poison gas factory? There’s nothing risky about making records.
Brilliant. As is the rest of this marvelous interview with AARP. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Three is the magic number

I haven't really mentioned Kasim on here for a while, so I'm going to rectify that now. Kasim's third solo album '3' came out recently. It is 12 years since his second, Quid Pro Quo. This is also his first to really draw on his musical friendships. So, we get Blue Oyster Cult guitarist Buck Dharma Roeser, Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes and Billy Joel/Ringo Starr sax player and musical director Mark Rivera, and of course Roger Powell, Willie Wilcox and Todd (as well as a few others).

I have always liked Kasim's voice, so it is nice to have another album with him taking lead vocals. This is pretty good too. The first few tracks especially are a delight. The album kicks off with Fell in Love for the last Time, which evokes Bruce Hornsby, before giving Cold Play a run for their money. . Next up, it's Utopia time.

 A number of people have pointed out that Clocks all Stopped (which features Todd and Roger) would not be out of place on most Utopia albums. It is classic Utopia. “I sat down to write a real Utopia song,” Kaz has said. “And I think that ‘Clocks All Stopped’ is a pretty good indication of what a Utopia record might be like if we were still making records.”


 The overall feel of the album for me is actually Bourgeois Tagg (with a drop of XTC) - and of course there are therefore nods to the Beatles. Not that this is a bad thing. It suits songs like Watching the World go By ,Summer's Gone, and Too Much on Her Mind well. In fact, when you add in the big production of Shine on, a nice cover of Someone to Watch over Me, and a couple of nice acoustic based tunes, Traveller and Fade Away (not a Todd cover) and what you get is a very enjoyable record.

I like it.

Believe in Me, Ralegh Long

The Guardian's New Band of the Week feature, last week profiled Ralegh Long and noted some hints of Todd: -

 "But Long has more in common with the ill-fated, esoteric wing of the balladeer brigade - you'll be reminded variously of Nilsson, early Todd Rundgren, even Alex Chilton at his most overwrought and wracked. Love Kills All Fear's chord progression is uncannily similar to Rundgren's Believe in Me ; uncanny unless it was deliberate, in which case we probably mean unashamed. The Ride and Beginning the World, meanwhile, have some of the twilit ambience and demented beauty of Big Star's late-period tortured anti/avant-ballads."