School of Prog Rock

School of genre: Prog Rock: Jim and Greg explore the fantastical world of Progressive Rock with Charles Snider, author of The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock.

School of Prog Rock
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Dr. Dre announced a partnership with Best Buy. The rapper/producer will promote the new Club Beats area of the store featuring the latest audio and technology products, in addition to in-store appearances by Lady Gaga, Will.i.am and Dre himself. The big box retailer sees a growing market for DJ-oriented marketing, especially with the release of DJ Hero. So has this underground urban art form officially jumped the shark?

One of Dre’s biggest hip hop productions was his 1993 track for Snoop Dogg, Who Am I (What’s My Name). It featured a memorable sample of George Clinton’s song Atomic Dog. Most recently that song was at the center of a lawsuit between Clinton and his fellow songwriters and the R&B group Public Announcement. A federal jury agreed that Public Announcement infringed on the song’s copyright by wrongfully using the lyric bow wow wow, yippie yo, yippie yea. But, most notably, the jury ruled that even the word dog, if used in an original or unusual way, can be protected by copyright.

School of Prog Rock

One of the terms that keeps coming up again and again on Sound Opinions is Progressive Rock. The Decemberists channel it, Mastodon references it, and countless of fans are obsessed with it. So, this week Jim and Greg decide to dive right in to this larger-than-life, fantastical genre that, let’s face it, sometimes makes us laugh. They talk to Charles Snider, author of The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, about Prog’s heydey in the 1970s. Charles, Jim and Greg define the genre as having the following traits: it is visionary and experimental, it has virtuosity in both execution and composition, it’s romantic, and it has a sense of Britishness.

So which bands do it best? Charles and our hosts recommend the following for great, Progressive headphone listening.

  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • Genesis
  • Jethro Tull
  • Gentle Giant
  • The Pretty Things
  • Kraftwerk
  • Yes
  • King Crimson

Raditude Weezer

Raditude (Deluxe Version)

15 years after its debut album, Weezer is back with a new record, Raditude. The band has always been defined by Rivers Cuomo’s personal songwritng, mirrored with heavy guitar riffs. But, last year’s self-titled release was a controversial one for Jim and Greg. Jim loved the naïve, heart-on-sleeve recording, but Greg felt the lyrics were adolescent and patronizing. Now they can agree. Both Jim and Greg find Weezer to be making smart, heart-felt pop music. And the highlight is an amped up version of Can’t Stop Partying, co-written by Jermaine Dupri and featuring a cameo by Lil Wayne. Greg even compares this loss of innocence record to Pet Sounds. Raditude gets a double Buy It.

Jim

While reviewing Weezer, Jim was reminded of another alternative era band, Tuscadero. Like Weezer, they debuted in 1994 with a similarly named record called The Pink Album. And like Weezer they wrote songs about adolescence, nostalgia and pop culture. But unlike Weezer, their move to a major label didn’t bring them great success and longevity. Jim considers Tuscadero one of the many lost heros and heroines from alternative90s, and he wants to add their track Leather Idol to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Dear Listeners,

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