Hey, Look What I Found In My CD Stash!

by Charissa Lock

Forgive Durden’s – Razia’s Shadow:  A Musical

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to give enough credit in the most epically delicious way that is deserves.  In 2008, Thomas Dutton and his Forgive Durden crew decided to one up their last pseudo-musical Wonderland with a mind-blowing indie rock musical, Razia’s Shadow.  Besides the fact that the storyline is riveting, easy enough to understand, and able to make good vs. evil, light vs. dark connections you then are bombarded with popular indie artists taking on Dutton’s characters.  This is no High School Musical folks, this is a unique and powerful Creation story.  Max Bemis, Chris Conley, Greta Salpeter, Brendon Urie….holy hell.  Let me help you, I know you’re trying to take in all this magnificence and are having a hard time believing.  Max Bemis plays a devious and sneaky arachnid, while Brendon Urie a proud and ignorant antagonist, among others who are all performing in a beautiful masterpiece that leaves you teary-eyed covered in goosebumps (“Brother, no!”….*gulp*).   If everyone buys 10 copies each, then maybe we can convince them to put this musical on with all the original artists? #hopefullyobsessed

by Aurora Cowen

Mad SeasonAbove

This Seattle supergroup, formed in 1994, only produced one record in their time together. Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, John Baker Saunders of The Walkabouts, Mark Lanegan and Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees collaborated to create one of my top 10 favorite albums…ever.  Above was released in 1995 and, despite the fact that they had only rehearsed twice and performed four times as a group, they completed the album in a week and it went gold later that year.  The entire record is a diary of sorts for Staley, articulating the pains of addiction and betrayal, hopelessness and despairThere’s a sense of heartache, a pure darkness looming over the entirety of the 10 songs yet it is so moving and in some ways inspirational.  In “Wake Up”, Staley pleads with himself to choose life and separate from the addiction that has overcome his being and it is here that you are faced head on with the vulnerability and desparation, his voice so full of emotion (“Wake up young man, it’s time to wake up. Your love affair has got to go”). “River of Deceit” is an interesting contrast in that Staley accepts responsibility for choosing the pain and that taking a chance for a better life might ultimately be darker than the addiction itself. There is a sense of positivity and peace in his voice and the acoustic guitar is played so beautifully underneath that one might believe this was a song of hope; however, the poem is a presentation of reality for an individual who has struggled so significantly for as long as he has – “I could either drown, or pull off my skin and swim to shore. Now I can grow a beautiful shell for all to see”. If Staley chose to “cut off his pride and buy some time” he would continue to live in a shell of hopelessness, the sorrow that ultimately led to heroin abuse in the first place.  It’s a delicate balance of Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam with it’s grunge, alternative blues rock influences.  In “Long Gone Day” the incorporation of hand drums, stand up bass and saxophone intensify the emotional outpour and add a touch of jazz to the record.   The album continues to swell up emotions of treachery and pain not only in the lyrics, but also in the composition of each song.  It sounds depressing.  It’s actually enchanting.

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Tags: Disformation, Heart, Columbia Records, The Walkabouts, Long Gone Day, Moore Theater