Monday, August 09, 2004

Michael Cudahy sighting.

So this is what our hero Michael Cudahy (of Christmas and Combustible Edison) is up to lately. I first noticed this via a link from Slatch. It's not clear whether the Slatch guy knows who Michael Cudahy is or not. I'm leaning towards not. Somewhere online there's supposedly a photo of Michael on the show, but I haven't found it yet. Apparently, though, he's now bald.

I've been spending a lot of time over the past two weeks trying to decide to what extent I like that Fiery Furnaces album Blueberry Boat. The answer seems to be that parts of it are wonderful, but there's just too much of it. I'd like to see them forced to fight it out in the studio with a producer who's trying to get them to produce a hit. It's definitely an interesting approach to making a prog-rock album.

And if the kids these days are into prog, then why not post some Crack The Sky? They're incredibly well known for an unknown band (probably the only unknown band to have its first record named debut album of the year by Rolling Stone) so there's no shortage of online info. Their website is here, and if you google "Crack The Sky" you'll be up to your ears in reminiscing Baltimoreans.

I can't honestly say I'm a huge fan, but some of their stuff is pretty fun. For the casual fan, the best albums to buy are probably the debut (Crack The Sky) and the third (Safety In Numbers). I heard Safety In Numbers first, and was kind of impressed by the first song which begins sounding like Big Star and then mutates into something very Rush-like. You don't see that happening every day.

Since I grew up listening to 70's and early 80's FM commercial radio, a lot of their songs give me slightly unpleasant flashbacks to listening to Foreigner and Elton John and Boston and Styx on my little tiny one-speaker radio. Ok, actually Styx's Greatest Hits CD gets played surprisingly often in my home...

My favorite songs by Crack The Sky are both from the debut, and that's the album I'd get if I was getting just one. Here's Robots For Ronnie, about some concerned parents helping their nerdy boy. Musically it's somewhere between Eleanor Rigby and Styx's Paradise Theater. God I miss the 70's sometimes.

And here's the song that I really like the best, Surf City. Take one part of Queen's Flash Gordon theme music and mix with an off-kilter and slightly punky verse, and you've got a song that gets stuck in my head every time I think to play it.

The band is still around and still releasing albums. Their good CDs are all in print, and a lot of their albums recently became available via eMusic. There are a bunch of live shows on their website, but they're really not kidding when they say the sound quality isn't the best. Some of the shows are's probably best to sample before downloading.

[I have this odd feeling that all the classic rock references in this post may scare people away, so I wanted to especially encourage comments if you like these songs. Of course, if you hate them you're more than welcome to express that too, but I'm more interested in giving potential downloaders the nudge that it may take to get them past the prog label.]

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