Jimi gets creative as Vines freakout


Published: Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 4:02 p.m.

This week, Aurora listens to ..."Band of Gypsys," the first live album from Jimi Hendrix (1970)

AURORA: If there has ever been one legendary guitarist, it's definitely Jimi Hendrix. And this live album, which was the last one he authorized before his death, is an amazing collection of songs from the beginning tune, "Who Knows." How I wish I could've caught such a legend live!

BILL: You can say that again, Aurora — espcially with this set being recorded at the famous Fillmore East in New York, and on New Year's Eve 1969, no less.

AURORA: "Machine Gun" has to be one of the greatest guitar performances ever, Bill. Clocking in at 12-plus minutes, the tune mixes sounds of war with helicopters, dropping bombs, explosions and the mentioned machine guns heard on the song. It's one of the most creative songs I've ever experienced, with mechanical sounds creating sweet and groovy rock music.

BILL: The story goes that Fillmore owner Bill Graham wanted Hendrix to concentrate on playing (without his usual flamboyant style) and so he did — with this album being the result.

AURORA: And let's not forget Hendrix tunes like "Power To Love" or "Message of Love." Such hypnotic songs become entrancing live, proving the legend of Jimi lives on.

This week, Bill listens to..."Highly Evolved," the debut album from The Vines (2002)

BILL: The Vines, which became Australia's entry in the white-hot garage-rock sweepstakes of the early 2000s, were first often touted as a down-under take on Nirvana. But the trio (and sometimes four-piece) had their own sound going on — as this splashes you in the face with, Aurora.

AURORA: And in a time when bands like The Hives and The Strokes were heating up the airwaves, it was easy to just think The Vines were "just another indie band." Yet, their snarky attitude proved otherwise.

BILL: The 93-second title track, "Highly Evolved," is anything but — but that's the point. Who needs over-produced complexity when you've got sinewy guitars and sneering vocals? And though "Outtathaway" does sound vaguely Nirvana-like, “Sunshinin' " and especially "Get Free" are great rock freakouts.

AURORA: "Freakout" is the perfect way to describe it, Bill. Heavy, hard and fast-paced, without leaving the listener any time to breathe.

BILL: On some of the tracks like "Highly Evolved," singer/guitarist Craig Nicholls reminds me of a cross between T-Rex's Marc Bolan and Alice In Chains' Layne Staley. But on "Ain't No Room" and others, the group manages to cram in some Beatles-like harmonies as well. Throw another guitar on the barbie, Aurora!

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