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Shinola Audio introduces the new high fidelity Canfield Headphone Collection
11.16.2017
08:12 pm
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Shinola—yes, the Detroit-based design brand—is introducing the new Canfield Headphone Collection part of their distinctive range of Shinola Audio products, which also includes the eye-popping Runwell Turntable and matching bookshelf speakers.

There are four items in the Canfield line, including two different types of traditional headphones (over-the-ear and on-the-ear) that are manufactured with the sort of attention to detail and design that Shinola is known for, utilizing the finest component parts, high quality finishes and quality leathers. The Canfields feel good to the touch, comfortable on your head and the craftsmanship is top notch. Before you even listen, they simply feel quite luxurious. I don’t think this is an accident. The Canfield Over-Ear and On-Ear headphones are joined by the Canfield In-Ear Monitor and the Canfield Pro In-Ear Monitor.

So they look good? Shinola is essentially a fashion company. All of their stuff looks good. How do they sound?

Really, really good. The Canfields were “tuned” by Alexander Rosson, the world-renowned audio designer behind the Audeze LCD-3 reference-level headphones and you really have to credit Shinola for having the savvy to tap someone like him—Rosson’s involvement screams quality to knowledgeable audiophiles—to launch their audio products. It was a smart move and immediately conveyed a sense of seriousness about the endeavor. (Full disclosure: I think Alex Rosson is a genius, the “new” Rupert Neve if you will, so maybe I’m biased.)

Some headphones initially impress you with their brightness (“Wow, you can really hear the cymbals”) but the Canfields are all about clarity, neutrality and glorious glorious nuance. There’s no noticeable processing or colorization of the audio signal—I’m lookin’ at you Beats and Bose—and you can listen to the Canfields for hours on end without any sense of fatigue.

I was sent both the Over-Ear and On-Ear models for review and here’s the main difference between them: The On-Ear cans are more for mobile use, walking around a city, on the subway, airplanes, etc., while the larger Over-Ear variant is more for a kicked back listening experience at home boasting a 50-mm dynamic driver with a neutral frequency response.

The On-Ear Canfields are a little less power hungry than the Over-Ear phones which are perhaps best heard with the use of an outboard headphones amplifier, whereas the On-Ear version doesn’t require that and sound absolutely fantastic plugged directly into your iPhone. While both designs are quite impressive to be sure, I think that I personally would go for the On-Ear for the reasons listed above. Lucky me I don’t have to chose.

The Canfield line is available now in Shinola stores and online at Shinola.com.
 

 

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11.16.2017
08:12 pm
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Get it on: The Replacements cover glam rock king Marc Bolan on legendary 80s bootleg
10.05.2017
08:38 pm
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The Replacements + Marc Bolan
 
Cover tunes have always been an element of live performances by the Minneapolis band, the Replacements. For decades, their only official live album has been the cassette-only release, The Shit Hits the Fans. Confiscated from a fan bootlegging a 1984 gig, it’s a covers-heavy set—everything from the Carter Family and the Jackson 5 to Robyn Hitchcock and Tom Petty. Many are requests from the audience, with the ‘Mats acting as a kind of human jukebox.

Though they didn’t cover them that night, the band had a particular affection for the English group, T.Rex. The Replacements covered a number of T.Rex tunes, including one they recorded in the studio and put out as a B-side. On the surface, it seems the two groups are very different. The Replacements were outsiders, never all that comfortable in the limelight, while Marc Bolan, the leader of T.Rex, was the first glam rock superstar and fully embraced his fame.

I reached out to the Replacements’ first manager, Peter Jesperson, to see if he could shed light on the group’s affection for Bolan and the songs of T.Rex.

How did the Replacements come to record/release their version of “20th Century Boy”?:

Peter Jesperson: Like most bands as they’re first getting together, the Replacements started out primarily doing covers of other people’s songs. Even after they began doing original material, a cover could be the most impassioned and exciting performance in the live set. If memory serves, the first time we recorded one for real was “Rock Around the Clock” during the Stink sessions in 1982. In 1983, as we were recording tracks for what became the Let It Be album, several cover ideas were considered and recorded. The two that turned out the best were “Black Diamond” by KISS and “20th Century Boy” by T.Rex. We figured one should go on the album and one on the flip of the single, “I Will Dare.” I clearly remember having a discussion about which one should go where and we all agreed that putting the KISS song on the album would be less expected, less “cool,” so that’s what we did.
 
I Will Dare
 
Why do you think they were so drawn to the T.Rex material?:

Peter Jesperson: All the guys in the Replacements were big fans of simple, catchy songs and T.Rex certainly fit that bill, but I seem to remember it was Paul [Westerberg] who especially liked them, especially the singles. I had the Bolan Boogie compilation, which had the semi-obscure B-side “Raw Ramp” on it, and I remember him asking me to play it quite often. The band toyed around a bit with that one, “Bang A Gong” and maybe “Jeepster,” but the only two they did seriously were “Baby Strange” and “20th Century Boy.”

Was the period in which Westerberg wore eye make-up on stage inspired at all by Bolan?:

Peter Jesperson: I never heard Paul credit anyone specifically with inspiring the make-up so I’m only guessing but I’d say it was bands like Alice Cooper, the New York Dolls, T.Rex, and later the Only Ones, that inspired the make-up.

                                                              *****
 
Paul makeup
 
In 1973, “20th Century Boy” came out as a standalone T.Rex single and went to #3 on the UK chart. It didn’t come out in America until 1985, when it was included on the stellar comp, T.Rextasy: The Best of T. Rex, 1970-1973.
 
20th Century Boy
 
The “I Will Dare” single, with “20th Century Boy” and a live rendition of Hank Williams’ “Hey Good Lookin’” on the flip, came out in 1984, ahead of Let It Be. “20th Century Boy” can currently be found amongst the bonus tracks on the 2008 reissue of Let it Be.
 
Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Bart Bealmear
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10.05.2017
08:38 pm
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Iconic occult ‘Angel Heart’ Ring on sale today only for 30% off
04.25.2017
08:49 pm
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One fateful afternoon thirty years ago, NYC-based jewelry designer Alex Streeter was working in the backroom at his eponymous store in Soho. Two gentlemen entered the shop and approached the artist, identifying themselves as the art directors for Alan Parker’s then-in-production supernatural thriller Angel Heart. They then proceeded to tell Streeter that they felt he was, in fact, the strangest jeweler in town, and hired him on the spot to create a distinctive collection in silver to be worn by the film’s stars, Robert De Niro and Charlotte Rampling. Thus, the famous, or perhaps infamous, Angel Heart Ring, a pentagram in an amber orb held aloft by two rams—and soon to become Streeter’s signature work—was born.
 

 
One memorable scene in Angel Heart sees De Niro’s sinister character slowly rolling a boiled egg on a plate as Mickey Rourke’s character stares at his amazing ring. Since the film’s release in 1987, Alex Streeter‘s impeccably carved and beautifully-crafted jewelry has been worn by the likes of Jimmy Page, Steven Tyler, Axl Rose, Madonna, Kirk Douglas of The Roots and Marilyn Manson and seen in the pages of fashion bibles the world over. But it’s not just rock stars who covet his fine craftsmanship, it’s people wanting to feel like a rock star—or a sorcerer perhaps—who are attracted to his singular, occult-inspired handiworks.

Alex Streeter‘s work obviously isn’t for everyone, but for those who are attracted to it, it can be an obsession. But did they chose to wear his work, or did his work chose them to wear it?

It’s probably a little of both.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the ring’s creation, Alex Streeter has designed a new stamped, limited collector’s edition of the Angel Heart Ring. It’s a thicker version of the classic setting, complete with limited edition details, including the trademark Alex Streeter logo and “XXX” stamping on the inner ring.This limited edition setting will only be available through March 6th, 2018 before being discontinued.

Today April 26th—to celebrate Alex’s birthday—is the annual sale at AlexStreeter.com and AngelHeartRing.com. For one day only you take 30% off with the code “ALEXBDAY” at checkout.
 

Amber Angel Heart Ring
 

Side view
 

Ewaka Red Angel Heart Ring: Hand-created stone in a solid sterling silver setting.
 
More of Alex Streeter’s exquisite jewelry after the jump…

READ ON
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04.25.2017
08:49 pm
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Picking a lock to the divine: Earliest known recordings of The Doors surface in ‘London Fog 1966’
12.22.2016
08:54 am
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When UCLA film student student Nettie Peña borrowed a reel-to-reel recorder from the high school where her father worked to record her friends’ new group, The Doors—then the “house band” at a small Sunset Strip nightclub—really more of a scuzzy, beer-stained redneck bar than the name might imply called London Fog—she probably had very little idea that she’d one day contribute their earliest known live recordings to rock ‘n’ roll history, but that’s what happened one night in May of 1966.

Released to coincide with the group’s 50th anniversary, the new London Fog 1966 box set from Rhino is—clearly—something that’s targeted to the most serious Doors fanboys. And there are a lot of ‘em, obviously. The deluxe (and it should be noted quite clever) packaging is designed to look like a run-of-the-mill cardboard storage box, the type that you might store under your bed, or in a closet, and then forget about for fifty years. A time capsule, in other words, and this set lives up to that conceit complete with well done facsimile reproductions of that night’s set list written by Robby Krieger’s hand, Peña’s excellent photographs of the baby-faced Doors printed as ever-so-slightly yellowing 8” by 10” B&W glossies, and even a flyer for a UCLA film school midnight screening of Peña’s student film “Call It Collage ‘66” which had a soundtrack by the Doors. (Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek were Nettie Peña’s fellow students at UCLA.) The music is pressed on a 10” record that looks a bit like an acetate test pressing in a brown sleeve and on a CD.
 

 
Now I don’t tend to be someone taken in by tsotchkes that come in box sets—but this one, I must say, is kinda neat. I’m not even that big of a Doors fan, but a big Doors fan would definitely eat this shit up. And again, that’s the person this limited edition (just 18,000 copies) is targeted at, a big Doors fan who wants to hear the earliest known recording of the legendary Doors.

They do seven songs, blues covers such as B.B. King’s “Rock Me” and Muddy Waters’ “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man.” They do Little Richard’s “Lucille” (an odd choice). There’s an embryonic “You Make Me Real” (later recorded for their second album Strange Days) and a pretty fully-formed version of “Strange Days” which is probably the short set’s highlight. This set is for the hardcore fan who will frankly forgive the generic garage band blues numbers for a chance to hear The Doors picking the lock on the door to something much more divine, working their way from cover band to magicians.

Buy London Fog 1966
 

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12.22.2016
08:54 am
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Future Forward event brings 21st Century Futurism to Los Angeles: RSVP for free tickets here
06.24.2016
04:17 pm
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The Creators Project, a global network dedicated to the celebration of creativity, arts and technology has partnered with the all-new Toyota Prius to present the Future Forward event series. To that end, they commissioned a set of original works—elaborate technological installations by internationally renowned studios—to premiere as part of a nationwide event series that launched in Spring 2016. Two events, one held in New York and another in Chicago have already taken place. Next comes the Los Angeles event which will be on display at NeueHouse Hollywood showcasing the work of forward thinkers, artists, architects, designers, engineers and inventors who take ideas of speed, change, and technology into their practice.

A futuristic chandelier that moves in response to heat.

A star-shaped space that envelopes you in metal, mirrors and light.

An organic, living wall that reacts to your motions.

If you’d like to experience these innovations that redefine futurism for yourself, the June 25 event in Los Angeles is open to the public. RSVP here.

NeueHouse Hollywood 6121 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90028

@ToyotaUSA
@TheCreatorsProject
 

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06.24.2016
04:17 pm
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‘We’re addicted to making fools of ourselves’: The Replacements’ ‘shaved eyebrows’ interview, 1987
03.28.2016
09:30 pm
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The Replacements had a reputation for unpredictable live shows—gleefully raucous one night, drunk and disorderly the next. With the 1986 sacking of founding lead guitarist Bob Stinson—a move the band made, in part, due to his increasingly erratic behavior—many assumed the ‘Mats would clean up their act.

With new guitarist Slim Dunlap in tow, the unit hit the road in the spring of 1987 in support of their latest LP, Pleased To Meet Me. Though they were indeed more reliable, the band didn’t exactly get sober, and they could still flop like murder on stage, especially if there was something at stake. For a June gig in L.A., in which numerous staff from their record label were in attendance, they rose to the occasion by performing a set of songs that consistently didn’t reach the finish line (reportedly only one was seen to completion), and handing off their instruments to audience members. They would return to the west coast for a final run of dates in December, with pals the Young Fresh Fellows as their openers, culminating with a now legendary disaster of a show in Portland (the night ended with the Replacements playing in their underpants). ‘Mats ringleader Paul Westerberg felt so bad about the performance that he wrote the song “Portland” as an apology.
 
Portland
Members of both bands on stage during the infamous Portland gig.

Prior to the concluding shows of the Pleased To Meet Me outing, the Replacements were having drinks with Scott McCaughey, the singer/guitarist of the Young Fresh Fellows. Perhaps the rigors of touring (along with the alcohol) had gotten to them, as the boys decided to do something most wouldn’t do if you paid them: They shaved their eyebrows. The episode was recounted in Bob Mehr’s fantastic biography, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements.

On December 1st, the band was hanging out at Seattle’s Mayflower Hotel bar with Scott McCaughey when Westerberg suggested they all shave their eyebrows. “By the time we actually got done with it,” said bassist Tommy Stinson, “the feisty stage was over, and it was like, ‘Oh . . . shit. I’m going to bed. I hope this goes away by the time I wake up.’ It didn’t.”

McCaughey later recalled that his eyebrows took months to grow back and that he looked like a “cretin” without them.
 
Horsing around
The Replacements and the Young Fresh Fellows horsing around in 1987. Note: Eyebrows still intact.

The below interview with the Replacements was recorded for MTV’s The Cutting Edge Happy Hour, hosted by Peter Zaremba of the Fleshtones. The show taped in Hollywood, so the segment was likely videoed when the band rolled through Southern California a few days after the Seattle incident. Looking as they did—ragged from the road and just plain weird without their eyebrows—most groups would’ve cancelled a scheduled television appearance, but not the Replacements. After all, this is the rock-n-roll combo that took the concept of shooting yourself in the foot and made it into an art form.

A variety of topics are covered in the clip—as well as excerpts from their contrary videos—including the elephant in the room: Why’d they shave their eyebrows? According to Westerberg, they did it in order to prank McCaughey’s band-mates.

But who was the joke really on?!
 
Paul Westerberg
 
The picture quality ain’t the greatest, but it’s classic ‘Mats, so just watch it already.
 

 

 

Posted by Bart Bealmear
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03.28.2016
09:30 pm
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The Secret Confessions of a Dominatrix
02.29.2016
03:05 pm
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Have you ever wanted to be able to ask a professional dominatrix anything? Anything at all about the private kinks of the rich and powerful financial elites?

That’s what happens in the latest episode of VICE’s outrageous Confessions of A... series: Wearing a mask, hoodie, and with a robotically disguised voice, a professional dominatrix in NYC shares the details of the torturous techniques she uses to help “de-stress” her high-powered Wall Street clientele.

And if you don’t know what “CBT” is… you’re about to find out. Ouch!

This video was brought to you by Rebtel.
 

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02.29.2016
03:05 pm
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What the hell is this ad even trying to communicate?
02.05.2016
12:17 pm
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Advertising is supposed to be a creative endeavor for creative people. People who are so creative that they’re actually called “Creatives” professionally. What they actually do isn’t merely described as creative (an adjective), creative is also used as a noun (as in the creative.) They’re creative folks, these Creatives who are creating this (supposedly) creative creative. Got it?

Or are these Creatives really creating such creative creative, after all? As anyone who has ever toiled away in the trenches of the creative field (raises hand, ashamed) can tell you, there is precious little actual creativity that goes on in the advertising industry. Why? Because of the Creatives. Their creative is seldom very creative. The dirty secret of today’s Madison Avenue—listen up, all you would-be Don Drapers—is that creating actually creative creative (on the part of the Creatives, I mean) is frowned upon by the people upstairs. Decisions need to be justified up a chain of command—and clever ideas get hammered into fuckstick shitty ones as the creative moves along the assembly line of the corporate “creative process” (and yes, those are ironic quotation marks).

At the top of the Creatives salary range is usually someone so exasperatingly stupid and ridiculously out of touch that you just want to scream. This absurd corporate clown who wants the soundtrack to be “one of those great old Motown songs!” and thinks that this is an original idea or who wants to scrap something that’s already been shot and edited because “the Moon here looks too much like a 1970s-style moon.” It might be the actual Moon in the sky that this salary-justifying executive plonker is talking about, but this is the level of upper level Creative one tends to encounter in a career spent eating shit, smiling and saying how good that yummy shit sandwich tastes. You play it safe if you want to stay employed and keep sucking at the teat of the Capitalist system. It’s much easier that way, bucko. Wise up! It’s not your “art” and who the fuck cares anyway if every bit of everything that was good gets squeezed out of the Motown catalog to successfully advertise Kellogg’s Raisin Bran?

This is why most advertising SUCKS. This is why most people simply tune ads out. Ad blockers? I don’t need no stinking ad blocker! I got me an ad blocker right here in my head, baby!

But where was I? Oh fuck it…. Well, here’s another ad. But a very creative one. I think you’ll like it.

At the very end they tell you what the actual service or product is or does, but I don’t want to spoil the fun for you.

Idiots.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.05.2016
12:17 pm
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‘What’s your favorite post-Peter Gabriel song by Genesis?’
04.28.2015
10:45 pm
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Genesis are one of those love-em-or-hate-em kinda bands. Kinda like Rush, except that with Genesis, you have rabid fans who are loyalists to the Peter Gabriel-era and simply HATE the Phil Collins-led band. And vice-versa. And then there are some hair splitters who can only go along with that group until Steve Hackett buggers off and then, you know, forget it.

Me, I always thought they sucked, with Peter Gabriel or without him. There were two weird kids in my junior high school who absolutely loved them, and would insult anyone “not smart enough” to “get” Genesis with withering and dismissive putdowns. These two also spoke to each other in a made-up language only they knew. You know how some people hate the Grateful Dead solely due to their distaste for tie-dye and hacky sacks? Maybe I was unfairly blaming Genesis for their geeky fanboys?

About five years ago I decided to go through the Genesis back catalog to see what I was missing. The one I really LOVE is their self-titled debut album that was recorded while they were still teenagers—apparently they themselves hate it—and I came to quite like the rest of the Peter Gabriel-era stuff. If you tell people who are normally Genesis-haters that Brian Eno is sprinkled liberally throughout The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, they’re usually more inclined to give it a chance. (I know because that ruse worked on me.)

As for the post-Gabriel group, I will admit to having a soft spot for Duke‘s “Turn It On Again.” It’s my jam! I’m playing it now as I type this. My wife must be groaning in the next room, but I can’t see her expression. I even have Duke in a 5.1 surround mix.
 

 
I threw the question out to the Dangerous Minds editors: “What’s your favorite Genesis track, but one that’s post-Peter Gabriel?”

Christopher Bickel: I think Abacab is a legit jam. Is there something wrong with me?

Richard Metzger: Why does everyone always use the term “jam” when describing the Phil Collins-led era of Genesis? I do it, too. What’s that all about?

Martin Schneider: I’m very fond of Abacab. I really like a bunch of Phil Collins-era Genesis stuff. I find the Gabriel-era of Genesis a little meander-y. If you listen to Seconds Out you get the best of both worlds, live Phil Collins hammering out a bunch of Gabriel’s best songs.

Ron Kretsch: In before someone posts the Patrick Bateman monologue.

Martin Schneider: The Sum of the Parts documentary on Genesis is very good—one of the things they mentioned that I didn’t really know is that the whole “I’m embarrassed to be a Genesis fan” stank has clung to them from the very first. “Genesis sucks man, and I love ‘em!” Or something.

Tara McGinley: Please take me off this conversation. Thank you.
 

 
Christopher Bickel: We’re totally being “those dudes at the party.” In some ways I’d rather listen to Wind and Wuthering than the Gabriel-era stuff because, even though Gabriel was better in every way, the music from that period is darker and less Renn Faire-y. Even some of the tracks from the time of edging into their MTV pop hit days were pretty good. “Mama” is a really creepy and weird song about being obsessed with a prostitute. It’s almost a pop version of Throbbing Gristle!
 

 
Ron went with “Man of Our Times” from Duke:

Duke sits very nicely in the sweet spot of post-Gabriel Genesis, avoiding both the overwrought airy-fairyness of Trick of the Tail and the abominable slickness (and that fucking gated-reverb drum sound) that was to come after Phil Collins’ solo success. “Man of Our Times’ hits all the right notes—it’s played as epically bombastic prog, but it’s possessed of pop restraint, competing with “Cul de Sac” as Duke‘s deep cut to beat.

Paul Gallagher chose “Trick of the Tail”:

Genesis were worried how their fans would respond to the band after Peter Gabriel had left. Their response was to knuckle down and start writing songs just to see what would happen.

Of course, there was another problem—a bigger problem: who would replace Gabriel as lead singer. The seemingly ever optimistic Phil Collins thought Genesis should just carry on as a four piece instrumental group—at least this would show they were not just “Pete’s band.” Of course, Genesis were never “Pete’s band”—they were always bigger and better than that. They tried out one singer, but he didn’t work, and so by good fortune as much by necessity Collins found himself singing the songs.

Genesis’ first single post-Pete was “Trick of the Tail.” It was also their first ever music video. Mike Rutherford later told Rolling Stone that he thought the promo was “really crappy.”

“I watch this video and I cringe. It’s just embarrassing. This was pre-MTV and we shot videos for this and ‘Robbery, Assault and Battery’ just to show them on TV. It’s really crappy.”

Written by Tony Banks “Trick of the Tail” is one of the very few pop songs inspired by a book by a Nobel prize-winning novelist—William Golding’s The Inheritors.
 

 
Chris Bickel ultimately went with “Abacab” from Abacab:

The title track from the last of the great, dark, “all new-wavey and weird,” post-Gabriel Genesis albums before they went full-blown radio-pop, “Abacab” is driven by an eighth-note pulse-beat groundwork over which an angular guitar barks at a variety of horror-synth sounds. Phil Collins’ vocals are especially aggro, proving the guy did actually have some range—no matter what the Gabrielphiles may have to say about it. Yeah, this is Genesis, but “Abacab” ain’t prog—this is straight-up post-punk. The LP version is superior, as it contains a haunting extended Eno-esque instrumental break not found on the single.
 

 
Martin sided with “Dodo/Lurker,” also from Abacab:

When assessing the glories (such as they are) of early-1980s Genesis, a word to keep firmly tucked in your brainpan is drama. How do these three blokes end up sounding so goddamn big? Mainly by twiddling a bunch of poncy knobs? It’s a mystery that cuts deep to the root of Genesis’ ever-widening appeal. Not for nothing was the working title for this ditty “German I & II,” which for a band from England surely evoked the biggest brand of drama you could demand.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.28.2015
10:45 pm
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A (Very Short) History of Tobacco
07.31.2014
09:15 am
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Sponsored by General Snus, the #1 selling snus in the world now available in the U.S.

Click on the image above to open the gallery

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07.31.2014
09:15 am
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