A Week To Mercy

May 29th, 2015

Full size image Today marks one week until the official public release of the Brian Wilson biopic Love And Mercy. It looks like it will be released in about 500 theaters across the USA next Friday, with possible wider release a week later. I saw something about a German (and assume European) release a week later. As for my own country, South Africa, no sign yet, so may be a while before you see a review on this website.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXXIV: Santa Ana Winds

May 22nd, 2015

The late 70s (after Love You!) is a much-maligned period for the Beach Boys, and a pretty fallow period for Brian Wilson. But there are a few gems, including this song dating from 1978 but only released two years later on Keepin’ The Summer Alive.

The song clearly has a lot of Al Jardine influence, including his great vocals, and a homage to his beloved California, but Brian’s name is on the songwriting credit, and I am sure he influenced the simple pop splendor of this lovely song.

Almost Golden, Always Golden

May 16th, 2015

Pet Sounds may be in comfortable middle age, with today being it’s 49th birthday making it one year to go before the Golden Anniversary. But if the release date may suggest it comes from a very different era, it’s also very clear that the record is also younger than yesterday, and fresher than many of the tired old sounds coming out today. It’s ready to speak to a new generation, captivate it with it’s beautiful sounds, harmonies, exotic instrumentation and lyrics that speak to every person’s desire for love and acceptance. And whatever may happen, whether our hearts get broken or find happiness, the music will always be there.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXXIII: Love And Mercy

May 14th, 2015

Full size image

It’s the title of a major (hopefully) movie, so Brian’s signature song may not be “hidden beauty” for too much longer. But given that the Brian Wilson solo album didn’t exactly set the charts on fire, it seems very fair to induct this song for now in our pantheon of Brian’s Hidden Beauties.

It was the centerpiece of Brian’s solo album, in a possibly overblown but also quite moving version. A more understated version appears on the I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times soundtrack, before it became Brian’s staple concert closer -and we get another version on the Live At The Roxy record.

It’s easy to see why this song has been sent to represent Brian -both in his concerts and now the movie. The idea of love and mercy is universal, maybe simplistic, but surely both things that the world can’t get enough. When accompanied by a simple, winning melody, the song becomes a classic even if it is still a hidden beauty.

Wayward On Track

May 10th, 2015

Wayward Song (Single) cover art The prolific Peter Lacey is back with a vinyl and digital single; the lead track is Wayward Song, backed with Many Moons AgoWayward Song is a complex, multi-layered track with SMiLe-like sections, but with a beautiful and memorable core section. The B-side is a more conventional folk pop song, with a nostalgic and reflective theme. It’s another highly enjoyable release in a somewhat different format, and worth checking out at Bandcamp.

Not Dropping Out Of The Second Album Test

May 8th, 2015

Second Nature cover art I reviewed the first Surf School Dropouts album in 2012, shortly after the release of That’s Why God Made The Radio. Now, at the same time as the new Brian (plus many Beach Boys guests) album has seen the light of the day, we have Second Nature, another harmony and melody-laden record that reminds us of the best of California, even although it is an ocean and a few lines of latitude away.

As with their first record -and indeed No Pier Pressure, there’s no ground-breaking new sound here, but there doesn’t need to be -this is the familiar, beautiful sound that reminds us of what music can do and what life can be. So the Beach Boys/Brian Wilson influence is clear here, but there is also a detectable soulful Carl Wilson-like touch which has been missing from recent Beach Boys and Brian Wilson records.

Highlights include the instant earworm, Summer Rain, and the achingly beautiful Where Have You Gone. It’s a great record, overall though, and worth seeking out -you can download here on Amazon.

Start Of The Awards?

April 30th, 2015

It’s encouraging to see Brian Wilson being awarded with the best original song for Love And Mercy at the Nashville Film Festival. What is especially interesting is the song for which the award was given – One Kind Of Love from No Pier Pressure. Given the lyrical theme of that song, it seems to tie in well with what I understand the movie to be about -but it will be fascinating  to see which other Brian Wilson songs are featured in the movie.

Love The Mercy Poster

April 25th, 2015

Full size image It’s been a few weeks since the release of No Pier Pressure, but it’s also just a few weeks to go for the premiere of Love And Mercy. And here is a groovy movie poster, designed by Kii Arens -you can see a full size version here.

Reflections

April 21st, 2015

I’m back from my overseas trip, and have seen the sad news about Jack Rieley’s passing -he was an important figure in the Beach Boys’ story -especially in the Surf’s Up to Holland era in which much great music was produced.

There seems to have been mixed critical and public reaction to No Pier Pressure -#14 in the USA and #25 in the UK is respectable, but not brilliant -while the Metacritic average of 57 is OK, but not reflecting the achievement of this record. To balance the books a bit, here is a great review from Peter Reum.

The Real Bellagio

April 14th, 2015

I’m on holiday – but couldn’t resist visiting a beautiful place with a Brian Wilson connection- Bellagio in Italy. With No Pier Pressure  as soundtrack, it’s been a great time to celebrate Brian even so far from home or California.