Never Mind the Bollocks… Here’s Alek

I deliberated for only a fraction of a second before bringing home a Sex Pistols tee-shirt for Alek.  He already has  a couple Kraftwerk and Supergrass shirts, so I really thought it would be cool to get him a Pistols tee, figuring he would probably be the only six-year-old in 1st grade with an “Anarchy in the UK” shirt.

He certainly has the seeds of the punk rock mentality already as he is very independent.  With his devilock and Chuck Taylors, he’ll stand out in the crowd before even lighting up the room with his interesting (if sometimes unfathomable) dialogs.

I can’t wait until he fits in the Doc Martens from Uncle Chris, but at the same time I wish he could stay this age for a few more years…

In front of the Triumph

Roger Joseph Manning Jr. – Solid State Warrior or Land of Pure Imagination

In a musical landscape that is currently as bleak as the surface of the moon, it is a great pleasure to find something as thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining as Roger Joseph Manning Jr.’s “Solid State Warrior” or “Land of Pure Imagination”.  To say that it is the best artist release of 2006 is an understatement, though the field lacked any real competitors.  Still, I purchased the original “Solid State…” Weed files when they were first released and then recently bought “Land of Pure…” off the Not Lame site and have enjoyed every masterfully crafted song in the catalog.

Not too long ago I worked a bit with the folks in Eric Dover’s Sextus camp after I had heard a few MP3s of his on mp3.com.  I loved the songs “Need a Push” and “Crazy For You” and contacted the webmaster/webmistress to see if I could help contribute to their efforts.  Long story short, I created a logo which was used for some t-shirts and other merchandise and enjoyed creating some image treatments and the like.  Sextus, like RJM Jr. released initially via Weed and it was at this point that I first felt the tingle of unease.  This is where some of the luster left the relationship with Sextus.  Firstly, “Need a Push” was cut from the release which bothered me to a great extent.  Then I heard the new version of “Crazy…” which was softened considerably from the much better demo version.  These issues were followed by mishaps in CD production as well as a seriously botched website that to this day still has an “under construction” GIF gracing it’s real estate.

With Eric Dover’s efforts languishing and Andy Sturmer still off in La La Land with Puffi Ami Yumi, it fell to arguably the most talented of the bunch to craft a collection of songs to eclipse anything since Imperial Drag (with the exception of anything from Supergrass) in 1996.

“Solid State Warrior” has elements to satisfy any Jellyfish/Imperial Drag fan.  From the epic Land of Pure Imagination, with it’s sweeping chorus to the closing Till We Meet Again, everything in between is superbly arranged and implemented.  My personal favorites are Creeple People (great Drag-like groove), The Loser (upbeat and clever), Sandman (the harmonies are freaking AMAZING!!!) and Too Late For Us Now (magnificent both musically and lyrically).  The new release (retitled “Land of Pure Imagination”) replaces three SSW songs with three newer efforts that, while not as appealing to me as the removed songs, are lovely in their own right.

Suffice it to say, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. has released a spectacular collection of original songs that I cannot recommend to a higher degree.  In 2005 the CD of the year was Road to Rouen from Supergrass, and with RJM Jr.’s releases we are averaging one (maybe two) worthwhile CDs a year.  Considering the hundreds/thousands of artist CDs released per year, the record/music industry is in worse shape now than it was during the few years preceding the Beatles. 

Thank you Roger, for making 2006 a musically noteworthy year.