Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bob Dylan on Record-Making and Brian Wilson


By Michael DeMartin

Only hard-core Brian fans know that he recorded a duet with Bob Dylan back in the eighties for Brian's song "The Spirit Of Rock And Roll." On the surface it seems like an odd pairing, but these two guys are arguably the most respected pop musicians of their times: Dylan for his lyrics and Brian for his music. Okay, the results weren't exactly magic, but it's kind of cool that these guys know and respect each other.

Anyway, here's what Dylan has to say in the brand-new Rolling Stone coming out. Truer words have never been spoken...

"The records I used to listen to and still love, you can't make a record that sounds that way," he explains. It is as if having taken his new material down to the crossroads of the recording studio Dylan isn't wholly sure the deal struck with the devil there was worth it. "Brian Wilson, he made all his records with four tracks, but you couldn't make his records if you had a hundred tracks today. We all like records that are played on record players, but let's face it, those days are gon-n-n-e. You do the best you can, you fight that technology in all kinds of ways, but I don't know anybody who's made a record that sounds decent in the past twenty years, really. You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them. There's no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like -- static. Even these songs probably sounded ten times better in the studio when we recorded 'em. CDs are small. There's no stature to it. I remember when that Napster guy came up across, it was like, 'Everybody's gettin' music for free.' I was like, 'Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway.' ". . .

YOU CAN READ THE INTERVIEW BY CLICKING ON THE TITLE OF THIS POST. IT WILL TAKE YOU TO ROLLINGSTONE.COM

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Clicky Clicky Music Blog Pet Sounds Post


By Michael DeMartin

A great blog review of the soon-to-be released Pet Sounds on Clicky Clicky Music Blog (how 'bout that for a name?) Here's the first paragraph, but it's well worth it to read the whole thing.

The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, originally released in 1966, holds an unassailable position in popular culture. That's what happens when your record is a substantial volley in what amounts to a musical arms race between your band and The Beatles. Besides the Beatles-related notoriety, Pet Sounds also benefits from its sheer existence, unlike the resuscitated "lost" album Smile, the recently released, official Brian Wilson version of which is not only revelatory but also hamstrung by not fulfilling the boundless universe of possibilities the actualization of a legendary unreleased record necessarily dispels. That sentence was a long way of saying that once Smile was finally defined as one thing with Nonesuch's 2004 release, it could no longer be everything else.

YOU CAN READ THE COMPLETE TEXT BY CLICKING ON THE TITLE OF THIS POST. IT WILL TAKE YOU TO CLICKY CLICKY

Pet Sounds on Vinyl


By Michael DeMartin

Just received the vinyl copy of Pet Sounds and it's amazing. I've had it on CD since it came out in 1990 but to see it on vinyl (as a two-record set) is a thrill. Big and beautiful with a gatefold with great photos along with album tracks and session information. The LP on the left sides is clear yellow and is the mono version. The LP on the right side is green and is the mono version. And, of course, both LPs have the original Capitol black round label in the middle with the rainbow border. Plus the back has the limited edition number (mine is 00051) and I hope Brian owns #00001! I don't know how readily available this will be in stores - I'm going to find out from Capitol where this can be purchased. I'm gonna have to dust off my old turntable and put it on. Wow - great package!

Pitchfork Media Pet Sounds Songs in Blog Post


By Michael DeMartin

Here's another really cool one: It's from Pitchfork Media and it's about "The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s." This page has the Top 10 list, and I'll be damned if TWO - count'em - TWO songs from Pet Sounds are in there with some nicely written text.

YOU CAN READ THE COMPLETE TEXT BY CLICKING ON THE TITLE OF THIS POST. IT WILL TAKE YOU TO PITCHFORK MEDIA.

Culture Bully Pet Sounds Blog Post

By Michael DeMartin

Another cool Blog post from the folks at CULTURE BULLY. Here's an excerpt from their piece:

I fall into a different type of category in terms of Beach Boys listener, I’m a second generation semi-fan. My mom enjoys the band, casually, but my dad hates The Beach Boys with a passion. In some respect, I did too for the longest period of time while my tastes were maturing, horizons broadening, roots growing, and so on and so forth.

It is an interesting note that Brian Wilson’s commentary, in the supplemental DVD included in the upcoming release of the 40th Anniversary edition of Pet Sounds, likens the album to Sgt. Pepper’s, and more importantly Rubber Soul. When hearing Rubber Soul, he immediately went to his piano and began writing, attempting to recreate The Beatles’ forward thinking musical visualization and in doing so, he created Pet Sounds. For me those comments pertain to the closeness that I felt the band’s relationship for so many years, which ultimately lead me to staying as far away as possible from both The Beach Boys and The Beatles.

YOU CAN READ THE COMPLETE TEXT BY CLICKING ON THE TITLE OF THIS POST. IT WILL TAKE YOU TO CULTURE BULLY.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Introducing The Pet Sounds 40th Anniversary Podcast


By Michael DeMartin

Drum roll, please... We now have links to the very first episode in Capitol's brand-new Pet Sounds podcast series. This is an Alubm Overview introduced by Brian and features Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston talking about the landmark album. These are all-new interviews created specifically for the series and we know you'll dig the sounds. Note that this initial episode will also be available in Apple's iTunes by the time you read this.

Capitol said iTunes will is going to feature this series with a banner etc. in the Podcast section, but if you don't see it yet, just go to the Podcast section and type in "Beach Boys" and you'll get a link to the podcast page. Then, you can download the episode and subscribe to it - which means that you'll automatically get new episodes downloaded to your computer and iPod. How cool is that?

Here's the official line about the Podcast series from Capitol: The Pet Sounds 40th Anniversary Podcast is a 15-episode series documenting the making of the Beach Boys' seminal 1966 album. We invite you listen to its creator, Brian Wilson, and fellow Beach Boys Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston share their thoughts on making this landmark album. This 15-episode series includes an album overview, individual podcasts for each album track, as well as a bonus episode on the making of "Good Vibrations."

Note that the first episode (Album Overview) is available as a video podcast (really just a cool slideshow) and an audio podcast. The slideshow will look cool on your video iPod if you have one.

TO LISTEN TO THE FIRST EPISODE, CLICK ON THE LINK ON THE SIDEBAR AT RIGHT UNDER "PET SOUNDS PODCAST SERIES"

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

Kingblind Pet Sounds Blog Post


By Michael DeMartin

Type "Brian Wilson" into Google and you'll get about a million results - alot of them having to do with Pet Sounds. There are some really cool blogs out there that talk about Brian, and I've included a few here with links so you don't have to go searching. I want to preface this by saying it's pretty amazing that Pet Sounds is held in such high esteem by musicians across the board: from little-known alternative bands to classical musicians like Phillip Glass.

Anyway, here is the first one and it's from Kingblind "Music, Arts & Entertainment."

As a Beach Boys’ fanatic, what could be more serendipitous than sharing your 40th birthday with their greatest achievement? I mean “Pet Sounds” is arguably the best album ever to be released, and Capitol is once again dusting it off and parading it around. And why not? I’m sure you fellow fans already own this album many times over. The gorgeous box set that was released a few years back is probably the cornerstone of your collection. But hear me out. If not for your own good, then for the good of all the kids who don’t yet own this gem.

To bring everyone up to speed, Brian Wilson wrote this album as an answer to The Beatles “Rubber Soul”. It was a massive shift in direction for the Beach Boys, who everyone had written off as the best in a slew of surf bands. With the rest of the Boys on tour, Brian, alongside lyricist Tony Asher, composed a masterpiece that altered the parameters of pop music. It also created an irreparable divide in the Beach Boys camp, as some of them feared the shift from songs about cars and girls to what they deemed was nonsense. The record company felt the very same. Regardless, “Pet Sounds” has not only stood the test of time, but influences musicians to this day. What would our world sound like without this gem? Could we survive in a world without R.E.M., The Teenage Fanclub, The Flaming Lips, The Pixies, heck, even The Posies? Well sure we could. But what a better place this planet has been with them. And all of them have been influenced by this album in some way.

YOU CAN READ THE COMPLETE TEXT BY CLICKING ON THE TITLE OF THIS POST. IT WILL TAKE YOU TO KINGBLIND.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Soundtracking the Pet Sounds Podcast Series

Pet Sounds Podcast Music Overview Notes >

Selecting the music for the Pet Sounds podcast series was a challenge given that most of the music is well known throughout the world. My task was to find new ways to showcase the brilliance of this album while following the Pet Sounds story as told by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston. I didn’t want to play it safe by showcasing familiar excerpts at the beginning and then at the end of each episode but rather, construct customized soundtracks per each podcast that carefully followed the story, used all available material and also highlighted the outstanding music.

Pet Sounds Overview Podcast Episode Notes >

Mike deMartin and I felt that the first podcast of the series should really be strong and a special kind of celebration of Pet Sounds (using both words and music). Our goal was to honor Brian Wilson for his musical genius, the Pet Sounds album 40 years later and the Beach Boys. And as much as the album and characters have been written about, we also wanted to do something different. We sort of looked upon this project as presenting Pet Sounds to an entirely new “digital” audience.

My aim with the soundtrack was to first find a piece of music that would totally capture the Pet Sounds project in “spirit” and knowing we had Brian welcoming everyone at the top of the episode, I just couldn’t hear anything other than the intro to “God Only Knows” and then the backing track. I then added the “God Only...” vocal-only tag to bookend Brian’s intro sort of keeping this part of the episode sacred.

For the Mike Love section, the instrumental “Pet Sounds” worked perfect. The percussive intro, strong horns and harsh guitar notes just got things moving into the text and storyline. Here, Love is paying a fond tribute to Brian as well as telling the story of the album’s title. The background music also provides energy into the piece and series. I then used a small section from the track “Trombone Dixie” to transition into Al Jardine’s narrative (the sleigh bells and tempo are key for mood – I liked the really upbeat feel) and then blended it into the backing track from “You Still Believe In Me” – Al mentions that the music on Pet Sounds was a “vocal symphony” and “You Still…” really does have a classical order to it and that supported what he was talking about musically very well.

“Here Today” works right into the Bruce Johnston section. We then move into “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” (hint – listen to what Bruce says here – the music supports the statements perfectly) and then we go out of the episode with the stereo version of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” – there are a couple of reasons why I selected this number. It is the first song on Pet Sounds and showcases the use of twelve string guitars, accordions and the Boys’ golden voices and it introduces the first song podcast episode (“Wouldn’t It Be Nice’”) that will be live 8/29 in conjunction with the official release of the Capitol Pet Sounds 40th Anniversary Collection.

Enjoy – Jv / 8.21.06