Dinosaur Jr.: “Pierce the Morning Rain” (Stream)

Yesterday, Spin premiered “Pierce the Morning Rain,” a track from the new Dinosaur Jr. album, I Bet on Sky. The LP is out today via Jagjaguwar and, as this lead off track demonstrates (embedded below), it is both shredding and catchy as all get out.

Squackett: “Can’t Stop the Rain” (Video)

Guitarist Steve Hackett (who, in addition to an active solo career, is known for his work in Genesis and GTR), bassist Chris Squire (Yes), and keyboardist/producer Roger King recently released their first recorded collaboration, Squackett, via Cherry Red. This all-star prog summit is a dream come true for longtime fans of the aforementioned bands. It features sharp songwriting, supple harmonized vocals, and deft guitar work.

Check out a video for album track “Can’t Stop the Rain” below.

Everest: “Raking Me Over the Coals” (CD preview: Tumblr audio)

Rockers Everest are sharing “Raking Me Over The Coals” from their upcoming album Ownerless (out June 26th on ATO Records). Check out the stream (from File Under ?’s Tumblr blog) below.

We’ve also included the band’s summer tour dates.

Raking Me Over the Coals

Everest Tour Dates

# = Alberta Cross

* = Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Los Lobos

^ = Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Patti Smith

06/17: Bowie, MD @ Prince George’s Country Stadium

06/25: New York, NY @ Private Album Release Show

06/26: Washington, DC @ Living Social

06/29: Annapolis, MD @ The ‘RNR Rockin’ River Cruise

07/05: Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

07/06: Columbus, OH @ The Basement #

07/07: Pontiac, MI @ The Crofoot, Pike Room #

07/09: Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall #

07/11: Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brendas #

07/12: Washington, DC @ Rock N Roll Hotel #

07/14: Cincinatti, OH @ Sawyer Point Park, Banbury Music Festival #

07/16: Nashville, TN – The High Watt #

07/17: St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway #

07/19: Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge #

07/22: San Diego, CA @ Casbah #

07/24: Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour #

07/25: San Francisco, CA @ The Independent #

07/27: Portland, OR @ Peter’s Room #

07/28: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile #

07/29: Vancouver, CAN @ TBD #

11/10: Seattle, WA @ Key Arena *

11/11: Vancouver, CAN @ Rogers Arena *

11/13: Calgary, CAN @ Scotiabank Saddledome *

11/14: Saskatoon, CAN @ Credit Union Centre *

11/16: Winnipeg, CAN @ MTS Centre *

11/19: Toronto, CAN @ Air Canada Centre *

11/20: Toronto, CAN @ Air Canada Centre

11/23: Montreal, CAN @ Bell Centre ^

11/24: Ottawa, CAN @ Scotiabank Place ^

11/26: Boston, MA @ TD Garden ^

11/27: New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden ^

11/29: Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center ^

11/30: Fairfax, VA @ Patriot Center ^

12/2: Bridgeport, CT @ Webster Bank Arena

12/3: Brooklyn, NY @ Barclay Center/Prudential Center

Steve Hackett: Beyond the Shrouded Horizon (CD Review)

Steve Hackett
Beyond the Shrouded Horizon
Inside Out Music

Guitarist Steve Hackett may be best known for his work with early Genesis in the 1970s and participation in the 80s rock super group GTR, in which he played alongside Yes guitarist Steve Howe. But for over thirty years, he has had a distinguished solo career, releasing a number of exquisitely wrought recordings with a variety of collaborators. Those who are “in” on the existence of this impressive catalog might wish that it had less of a cult status, as that’s what would befit much of Hackett’s output from a qualitative standpoint. However, remaining slightly below the mainstream’s radar has had had a fortunate byproduct. Hackett has been able to avoid the pressures of mainstreaming and homogenizing his records’s content, a fate that has befallen far too many prog legends once the A&R people got their way. Instead, Hackett has happily explored eclectic music-making; work that encompasses prog rock epics, synth-haloed alt pop songwriting, blues-inflected electric guitar shredding, pastoral neo-folk ballads, and crossover classical compositions played on nylon string guitar. Sometimes all of these approaches appear on the same album.

Beyond the Shrouded Horizon, Hackett’s most recent studio release, epitomizes this eclecticism. Yet, amid all this variety, it is a musically cohesive and engaging recording. The principle reason: Hackett’s singular creative vision remains crystal clear and his chops and voice are both in sterling shape. Fans of the guitarist’s progressive rock catalog will warm to “Loch Lomond” and the twelve minute epic “Turn This Island Earth;” the latter features guest bassist Chris Squire (of Yes). Squire also provides a contrapuntal bass part on symphonic prog song “Looking for Fantasy,” and lays down a sepulchral groove on “Catwalk,” a roiling blues-rock number that showcases Hackett’s soloing at its most hot-blooded. Amanda Lehman lends nimble vocals to three songs, while John Hackett duets with Steve on the pastoral psych pop piece “Between the Sunset and the Coconut Palms.” Longtime collaborator Roger King provides beautiful synth textures and keyboard playing throughout.

Hackett’s two brief acoustic guitar solo compositions, “Wanderlust” and “Summer’s Breath,” are tantalizing palette cleansers: one would love to hear them in expanded incarnations. For those wanting a concise “single-worthy” pop song, complete with Beatles-esque harmonic shifts and supple string arrangements, Hackett supplies “Til These Eyes.” Yes, Beyond the Shrouded Horizon is a stylistically omnivorous collection; but one that maintains high musical standards throughout.

Sharon Van Etten: “Serpents” on Fallon (Video)

Last night, Sharon Van Etten played the song “Serpents” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (video below), debuting a new band featuring a guest appearance by Aaron Dessner (the National). The song is from Van Etten’s forthcoming 3rd LP, Tramp, which is slated for release on 2/7/12 via Jagjaguwar. It’s also been released as a single b/w non-album track “Mike McDermott.”

The performance featured a more amplified sound palette than her previous work, adding tinges of indie rock to Van Etten’s alt-folk style, with the songwriter inhabiting a bolder demeanor fronting the proceedings. Add the key ingredient of stardom’s formula – a memorable lead-off single like “Serpents” – andTramp appears poised to be Van Etten’s breakout release. Congratulations on a very successful network TV debut!

Guided by Voices on Letterman; new recording

As you probably know by now, Robert Pollard has reformed Guided by Voices with much of the lineup from its nineties lo-fi heyday. They appeared last night on on David Letterman, performing “The Unsinkable Fats Domino,” the lead-off single from their new album Let’s Go Eat the Factory. And other than a little tumble by bassist Greg Demos partway through the song, they sounded just great. (Don’t worry, he’s okay!)

You can mail order the new LP now (as well as its digital equivalent) or wait ’til 1/16 to visit your local record-seller. But by all means, take the time to hear it: although some of them might be past the stage-diving portion of their careers, Pollard and Co. sound refreshed and inspired.