Ever since Phish unveiled their haunted gallery of albums on Monday, there has been a distinct buzz throughout the community as people continue to discover, rediscover, and imagine Phish donning each costume. Text messages and calls have crossed the country with predictions, picks, and commands to “Check this one out!” Fans from coast to coast have been digging into these 99 albums ferociously, thanks to a mysterious Halloween blog that continues to post them. As I type this, I am listening to The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds from top to bottom for the first time ever, and though I think Phish should steer clear the vocal-centric surf pop, it’s a pleasure to hear these songs in their original context. This week, I have discovered more amazing music than any week-long period in memory, and ironically I have Phish to thank.
Who knew that old-school Genesis is incredibly psychedelic stuff? The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, their concept double-album, somewhat akin to “The Wall” but slightly groovier, is a brand new discovery for me. This could be a spectacular dark-horse choice that would make for e a ninety minute spectacle. I hadn’t listened to The Clash’s London Calling in close to a decade, and I remembered how much I love it. Filled with dub bass lines, infused with a ska-reggae vibe, and boasting a distinctly un-punk melodic framework, Phish could transform this double-album into a desert dance party.
Inspired by Brian Eno’s ambient work and collaborations with David Byrne, I plucked his solo album Before and After Science from the gallery – another unknown to me. After listening through, the electro-ambient pop only further confirmed Eno’s place in a league by himself, as a producer-musician. If Phish were to choose this, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to take a few more drops.
I’ve also sunk my ears into some The Rolling Stones albums that everyone keeps pimping as favorites for Festival 8. Revisiting “Sticky Fingers” for the first time in ages, it held up just as remembered. But I had never listened to “Exile On Main Street” in full, the Stones seminal work that spawned a generation of imitators. The raw blues-based, drug-fueled double-album has a gritty feel and flow that could make an epic Halloween set if Phish were to go the classic rock route.
One of the most engaging aspects of this 99-album melange is the variety of genres and eras covered – all of which are legitimate possibilities – we think. The Halloween set would diverge greatly if they chose the folk-rock of Bob Dylan and The Band’s Basement Tapes or King Crimson’s prog-rock epic Lark’s Tongues in Aspic. The latter would be a mind-numbing 45-minute excursion, though it might lose half the crowd. Phish’s gallery contains everything from Prince to Queen and The Roots to Rush. Compiling a virtual top-100 of all-time list, the band once again has exposed me – and most of their fans – to music never heard before; spreading the good word.
David Bowie is the only artist with three albums in the gallery and Phish had covered his music, making Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust popular predictions. Ziggy Stardust, the saga of Bowie’s apocalyptic alien protagonist who brings his message of peace and love to a world void of rock and roll, would be amazing. In addition, Phish has given a nod to more than a few of their contemporaries such as U2, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Jane’s Addiction, and The Beastie Boys. Radiohead’s Kid A and Jane’s Ritual de lo Habitual are the two most viable of the group, and they would both be stunning. It’s cool to a glimpse into what albums the band, themselves, like and respect.
And then there are the classics like Led Zeppelin, Traffic, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd. Yes, they are all in there somewhere. Regardless of what direction Phish chooses to take, I suspect we will all be happy, and therein lies the beauty to this musical smorgasbord. But what a great way for the community to spend the time leading up to Indio. I never imagined this dynamic when the gallery appeared, but it’s been nothing but fun. I’ll be back with some final picks before we head to Indio, but until then, I’ve got some more albums to check out.
Jams of the Day:
This “Bowie” from Lakewood ’95 represents the harrowing psychedelia that fans encountered nightly during this summer. A journey into the abyss was resolved later in the set by this sublime “Slave.”
“Slave to the Traffic Light 6.15.95 II
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
4.4.91 WOW Hall, Eugene, OR SBD < Torrent
4.4.91 WOW Hall, Eugene, OR SBD < Megaupload
This old-school nugget from Phish’s first run through the Pacific Northwest comes at you via reader request. This show is a relic from the days that Phish toured the country in a van, seeking an ever-expand fanbase fueled by dreams of what could be. Complete with band introductions, this SBD is a portrait of the band’s evolutionary era.
I: The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, You Enjoy Myself, The Squirming Coil, Llama, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Possum, Carolina, Golgi Apparatus
II: The Curtain > Runaway Jim, Guelah Papyrus, David Bowie, Lawn Boy, The Landlady, My Sweet One, The Divided Sky, HYHU > Love You > HYHUBig Black Furry Creature from Mars >
E: Magilla, Highway to Hell
E2: Contact, Uncle Pen
Source: SBDTags: 2009, Culture, Festivals, Halloween