Known Johnson

May 1, 2007

Overlooked Alternatives: Rush, Mike Keneally

Filed under: Music,News,Overlooked Alternatives — Tom @ 10:19 pm

I usually go alphabetically but this week priority takes precedence. A man has to have priorities.

Rush – Snakes & Arrows: It’s here! It’s finally here! Five years on from Vapor Trails, Rush returns with their 18th studio album (19th if you count the Feedback EP, released in the interim.) This is one time when I get to play my “fan card” and just fully admit to my bias. I’m going to listen to and enjoy most anything new that Rush puts out, I can’t deny it. As a practicing music critic, I want to try and listen with completely unaffected ears, but that’s just not possible – Rush simply has a mixture of elements that particularly appeals to me in a way that affects me deeply. That doesn’t mean I won’t have things to say, even somewhat critical things to say, if they’re warranted (go ahead, ask me about Test For Echo), but I’m going to speak from a fan’s perspective. That said, I’m not going to speak here because I’ve got a lot more listening and a lot of thinking and then a bunch of writing to do for a proper review, but I can say this: fans of Vapor Trails will likely find much to enjoy here, as will those who liked the acoustic-driven textures of Test For Echo. It’s not the Rush-of-old that many band- and producer-interviews would have you believe, but there are touches here and there that certainly will have some long-time fans playing the “that sounds like ___.” And there’s not one but three instrumentals, two of which are absolutely stunners (“The Main Monkey Business” and “Malignant Narcissism.”) But I’ll save the rest for later.

Mike Keneally – hat. and Boil That Dust Speck Remasters: These two Keneally classics, his first two solo releases, have been out of print for many years, leaving fans of the guitarist in the lurch for these Zappa-inspired oddities. Keneally’s been working for quite a while to resurrect these, and if you go to you’ll find the real fruits of his efforts, rather than the simple one-disc reissues offered at regular stores: deluxe two-disc editions, the second disc of which is a DVD with all kinds of fun, interesting, and weird stuff that fans want to see. They’re beautifully crafted – the artwork is some of the highest quality reissue material I’ve seen, requiring a keen eye to notice any differences between the originals and the reissues besides label names and such, and the deluxes include an extra booklet with lengthy notes from Keneally himself about the albums. I wrote a more detailed exploration of these deluxes here, but I urge any Keneally fan to head over to his site immediately and get out the credit cards!


1 Comment »

  1. I’ve been told that there are a couple of promo copies of the new Rush album at Borders. I should be able to pick one up since I’m probably the only person who works there who’s interested.

    Love the Keneally reissues!!

    Comment by Chris — May 7, 2007 @ 9:51 am | Reply

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