This day marks a rather unique event in music history. The year was 1965 at the Newport Folk Music Festival in the US, famous for its folk artistes such as Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie and one Bob Dylan. Now Bob was quite a permanent fixture on the American Folk music scene, having already released three folk albums until that time, including ‘The freewheeling Bob Dylan’ and ‘The times they are a-changing’.
So, on this one night in 1965, Bob Dylan came on stage solo with his guitar and harmonica and proceeded to belt out his initial set of songs that comprised, ‘All I really wanna do...’, ‘If you gotta go, go now...’ and ‘Love minus zero...’ and then just like that, spontaneously, he called a band onstage, picked up an electric guitar, plugged it in and did the rest of his set ‘electric’.
And that one night changed folk music (and singer-songwriter music) forever.
The orthodox concept of folk music being just words/stories with minimal instrumentation went out of the window. Bob Dylan went from being the great white hope of American folk music to a full blown rock n roll star, much to the dismay and disappointment of the purists. Later, it was learnt that it was a premeditated effort on Dylan’s part to give the snooty ‘folkies’ the middle finger. Just as well.
So here’s to a trailblazing event that literally ‘electrified’ pop culture all those years ago… if I may say so.
Bob the Electric Eccentric
Get Your Heart On - Simple Plan Warner
One-time teen rock sensations return with their fourth studio album three years after 2008’s eponymous outing. And true to the sound of bands of their ilk, (Blink 182, Alien Ant Farm et al) the songs come fast and catchy. The opening- You suck at love is your typical heartbreak love song, but with a whole lot of angst thrown in. The rest of the album progresses in a similar vein with standout tracks being Loser of the year, Gone too soon, Last one standing and K’Naan featuring Summer paradise.
Blood Pressures- The Kills(EMI)
This one’s a gusher! Currently playing on repeat in my car, this twisted band formed by Allison Mosshart (who also partnered Jack White in side-project The Dead Weather) put together a scorcher of a fourth album. And true to the musical spirit of the band, this one delivers on every aspect, right from songwriting to performance to production, leading to a quirky aural experience. Listeners familiar with Dead WeatheR music will glean a minimal hangover in the sound of the songs, but that’s where it ends. When Allison starts singing, her intimidating sexiness blows you away.
Smother- Wild Beasts(EMI)
Three EPs and two albums later, little known British indie band, Wild Beasts bring their dream-pop/art-rock sound to international shores. Drawing on the everlasting influence of Pink Floyd, yet steering miles away from any such comparison, these four young lads are fast growing on to become sonically cerebral storytellers. Musicians dwelling on their sound to create a unique experience would do well to consume this album in huge quantities. A must for those living on the dreamy edge of sonic life.
Bottomline-Suffocate with this
If Not Now, When?- Incubus(Sony Music)
Twenty-year veterans of the (now defunct) alternative/grunge music scene have been considerably consistent with their output, with an album every two or three years. However, this one arrives after a long five-year hiatus (2006’s Light Grenades). And during which time, many band members went through personal changes. Leader Brandon Boyd retains his strong rhythm section in Mika Einziger (guitars) and Jose Pasillas II (drums). The album is a softer version of the Incubus we know, so don’t go looking for those hard-edged scorchers. Fans might like the departure in tone, but it’s debatable.