Apr 122012
 

This one goes to zero!

Rock Town Hall has a long and honored tradition of rock video analysis, with Townspeople often incorporating the distinctive technique of commenting on videos with the sound off. In honor of alexmagic‘s recent analysis of a video of Tom Jones performing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, we are instituting a new feature, Sound Off!

The way a Sound Off! thread works is simple:

  • A video is posted for us to view with the sound off.
  • We comment on what we’re seeing with the sound off.
  • We most likely share in the sense of wonder that there’s much to learn about music with the sound off.

You will be entrusted to view the following video with the sound off. If we could disable the video’s sound we would, but something tells me the copyright holder of the video might object to that. Trust us, for the purposes of this thread the sound will get in the way. Beside, you may be viewing this at work, in which case coworkers will only be distbured by your giggles; you won’t have to worry about the artist’s music leaking into their cube.

After the jump, why don’t you turn the sound off and watch the following video!

Continue reading »

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Apr 022012
 

This one goes to zero!

Rock Town Hall has a long and honored tradition of rock video analysis, with Townspeople often incorporating the distinctive technique of commenting on videos with the sound off. In honor of alexmagic‘s recent analysis of a video of Tom Jones performing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, we are instituting a new feature, Sound Off!

The way a Sound Off! thread works is simple:

  • A video is posted for us to view with the sound off.
  • We comment on what we’re seeing with the sound off.
  • We most likely share in the sense of wonder that there’s much to learn about music with the sound off.

You will be entrusted to view the following video with the sound off. If we could disable the video’s sound we would, but something tells me the copyright holder of the video might object to that. Trust us, for the purposes of this thread the sound will get in the way. Beside, you may be viewing this at work, in which case coworkers will only be distbured by your giggles; you won’t have to worry about the artist’s music leaking into their cube.

After the jump, why don’t you turn the sound off and watch the following video!

Continue reading »

Share
Mar 162012
 

This one goes to zero!

Rock Town Hall has a long and honored tradition of rock video analysis, with Townspeople often incorporating the distinctive technique of commenting on videos with the sound off. In honor of alexmagic‘s recent analysis of a video of Tom Jones performing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, we are instituting a new feature, Sound Off!

The way a Sound Off! thread works is simple:

  • A video is posted for us to view with the sound off.
  • We comment on what we’re seeing with the sound off.
  • We most likely share in the sense of wonder that there’s much to learn about music with the sound off.

You will be entrusted to view the following video with the sound off. If we could disable the video’s sound we would, but something tells me the copyright holder of the video might object to that. Trust us, for the purposes of this thread the sound will get in the way. Beside, you may be viewing this at work, in which case coworkers will only be distbured by your giggles; you won’t have to worry about the artist’s music leaking into their cube.

After the jump, why don’t you turn the sound off and watch the following video!

Continue reading »

Share
Apr 022009
 

In honor of my having watched The Last Waltz for what may have been the 100th time after happening upon it during a flip of channels this evening, I felt like revisiting this breakthrough analysis, if I do say so myself. Among the thousands of things I love about The Last Waltz is Scorcese’s keen eye for rock porn interplay. Does any other rock film allow for as many voyeuristic views of hot musician-on-musician action?

This post initially appeared 6/18/07.

Surely you know the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. You probably know it better than I do. Scissors cut paper, paper covers rock, rock smashes scissors. Using the following clip from The Last Waltz, I’ll ask you to play a similar game I like to call Licks, Faces, Feel. In this game, feel exposes faces, faces amplify licks, and licks always feel good.*

I’m going to ask you to watch the following performance of “Further On Up the Road”, featuring a guitar dual between Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson of The Band, and I’m going to ask you to analyze this video clip, at first, at least three ways:

  • With the sound OFF and your eyes fixed on the screen
  • With the sound ON and your eyes fixed on the screen
  • With the sound ON and your eyes closed

To keep a fresh perspective, I suggest getting up and walking around for a few minutes between each initial round of analysis.

While analyzing the video with the sound OFF and your eyes fixed on the screen, note the points at which one guitarist outshines the other in terms of his use of rock soloing faces.

While analyzing the video with the sound ON and your eyes fixed on the screen, note the points when one guitarist’s licks clearly outshine those of his opponent.

While analyzing the video with the sound ON and your eyes closed, make note of the points at which one guitarist’s feel is hitting on all cylinders.

Finally, watch the video again with the sound on. Spread your notes in front of you and assess the points at which one guitarist’s move is countered, either simultaneously or in the following solo, by another move. For instance, see if there are points at which one guitarist’s licks are countered by the other man’s faces (advantage faces). Or, perhaps, you will see a segment in which one man’s faces are exposed as cheap ploys by the other man’s feel. Or, of course, one man’s fine sense of feel will be negated by the other man’s impeccable licks. There may be times in the performance when the artists reach a draw.

Keep score and report your scores to the Hall!

*Please note that Clapton and Robertson are controlled for both Look and Gear.

NEW! Mr. Moderator weighs in with his official scoring of the dual. Continue reading »

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Mar 292007
 


The great thing about Devo was that you didn’t have to listen to their music to love them. Their appearance on Saturday Night Live, where they performed “Satisfaction” and “Jocko Homo”, complete with the coordinated robot moves, the Booji Boy routine, the yellow HazMat jumpsuits, and a fuzz box mounted directly on one of the guitar players’ guitar, was the atom bomb of the rock ‘n roll age as we knew it. With that appearance, the release of their album, and their spectacular, absurd videos, they launched the eventual MTV/hip-hop-era attack on the value of Brill Building-based song structure, the blues tradition in rock, and perhaps music itself.

Did anyone really listen to a Devo song for the song itself? Sure they had some catchy songs and put a minimalist, repetitive spin on the classics, but without the arch theories and choreographed stage and video presentations what are they but Neil Young’s Trans? Lord knows a generation of rock nerds has wasted time trying to defend the merits of that album the way that generation’s rock nerd big brothers wasted time defending the merits of The Beach Boys’ Love You album, but that’s neither here nor there.

Try turning down the volume on a Devo video someday – turn it all the way down – and tell me if the images onscreen aren’t just as powerful and the song isn’t just as good. Try listening to a Devo record with the volume turned all the way down. Just look at the album cover and read an old interview with Mark Mothersbaugh about the philosophy of de-evolution. The album is just as good as if you had it cranked up.

Turn down the sound to the following video before watching, and see if you can calculate how little enjoyment you lose.

In the decades that would follow the appearance of Devo, the music itself would become secondary, then tertiary to the marketing campaign, the video, the overall buzz. Justin Timberlake puts out a new album, pop culture feature stories and cover shots are booked, the little girls understand, old white guys at laptops hammer out praise using ’00s hipster lingo, and JT videotapes himself live at the GRAMMYS! This is the onanistic world Devo imagined and helped usher in. They accepted our necessary de-evolution and aided nature in having her way.

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