Endless Wire (The Who) – Album Review

The circumstances surrounding the final Who album of 1982 (It’s Hard) were so bitter that it took the band 24 years to finally summon the resolve to issue a new album of original compositions. Unfortunately, John Entwistle was to pass away in Las Vegas on the eve of a Who tour before their new record (“Endless Wire”) could materialize, casting a question mark on the true validity of this new work as a Who piece, which (quite aptly) finds Roger singing “will there be music/or there will be war” at its conceptual climax.

Personally, I’m not going to entangle myself into the “this is not The Who any longer” debate, simply because there is no such debate to be had.

The Who did not have four members; The Who had four leaders. All three instrumentalists were revolutionary. Now the rhythm section is gone, and we have Pino Palladino on bass – a superb musician, but not someone who aims to replicate Entwistle’s thunder (nor should he, in the same way no-one really expected Kenny Jones to ape Keith Moon’s sound). Yet, the current incarnation of the band does feature Zak Starkey, who is incontestably the most skillful drummer The Who has ever had on Moon’s stead.

Which brings me to my one principal problem regarding “Endless Wire” – Zak does not make an appearance, as he was occupied touring and recording with Oasis. He does drum on namely one track, and it’s easily one of the standouts: “Black Widow’s Eyes” – a song about Stockholm Syndrome which evinces suspense and impending fatality, conjuring back the kind of tension that always defined The Who’s most characteristic numbers.

The album was released in October 2006, and it is divided in two parts. The first is an unconnected collection of vignettes and songs. The second is a mini-opera entitled “Wire & Glass” (which was also the name of an EP the band released ahead of the album).

Old friends abound – Pete’s brother Simon, keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick (the unofficial “fifth” member of The Who for as much as 30 years now) and also Billy Nichols, a Baba lover whose name will be instantly familiar to fans of Pete Townshend’s solo oeuvre (IE, Who enthusiasts everywhere).

The first nine tracks find Roger and Pete trading vocals throughout, and the songs themselves have a marked acoustic air, which is even reminiscent of The Who By Numbers in places.

Roger is in fine form throughout – give the man his due, he was on his seventies when he recorded this. His delivery is nuanced, and has a theatrical sheen of its own that somehow compensates for the missing roar of yore.

Nostalgia sets the tone from the very commencement with “Fragments” nodding to “Baba O’ Riley”, and (depending on your stance on The Who’s actual framework) you’ll either find it really endearing or the most conformist thing they ever set to tape (to be fair, Pete didn’t even write it all by himself – British multimedia composer Lawrence Ball receives a co-credit). 

Elsewhere, we have a song inspired by “The Passion of The Christ” (“Man In A Purple Dress”), and Pete might as well have the most touching moment of the whole album when he sings “God Speaks Of Marty Robbins” (a song which was actually made available on demo form during his “Scoop” series in 2001).

Conversely, it’s Pete who sings the one and only nadir of the album – “In The Ether”. I find it ludicrous to believe that he did actually record and listen to that and opted to include it on the finished album.

“You Stand By Me” closes the first side of the record. The song is certainly not without charm, but it is too brief, and the motif would be taken up again on the closing number of the album, and addressed more satisfactorily at that (although I do concede the two songs work well in tandem, offering Pete and Roger’s individual reflections on their fifty-year strong relationship).

The “Wire & Glass” mini opera is the most Who-like part of the album. It obviously helps that the subject matter hits home – it tells the story of some childhood friends that form a band, effectively replicating the story of The Who in more aspects than one (“we found a dream to dream/we were the carriers”, Roger sings on “We Got a Hit”, before retorting “we talked a lot of crap/they wanted more!”). Townshend’s aunt Trilby (the person who encouraged him as a musician when he was a boy) gets a name check, and the concept of a transcendental concert (IE, the one that fueled the “Lifehouse” project) shines through again on “Mirror Door” – a song which was actually released as the album’s first single, and that did acquit itself well on the charts. And “Tea & Theatre” ends the album on the most suitable of notes, featuring just Pete and Roger, who provides a vocal which manages to be both powerful and fragile. And the live versions just punctuates everything all the better.

I do also have the “expanded” version of the album, which includes an elongated version of “We Got a Hit” which outright vexes me – while the original is dizzying, this alternate take just plods along. What’s the added value in something like that?

This expanded version also comes with a DVD which is quite fun to watch but all too succinct (only one song from the new album?), and the person who thought that mimicking the “Leeds” cover was a good idea needs his head examined.

On the whole, “Endless Wire” is a solid album. Pete is very focused. Even his chord progressions (one of the main points of contention for people who tend to dismiss the band) are subjected to some very peculiar twists of their own.

And as of the time of writing this, the band is recording a new album. It will feature Zak on the majority of its track, and (in quite a bit of a stunner) Roger will also pen original material alongside Pete (who, by the way, is going to release his first novel, which will most likely set the scene for a new solo album). Actually, Roger did write some songs for “Endless Wire” – a much-cited composition titled “Certified Rose” did not make the cut. And neither did a song by John named “Sabotage”, for which it was heavily-rumored that a usable soundcheck bassline was available. 

Like everybody else, I had strong reservations when I learned The Who were issuing an album after John Entwistle’s passing. I actually took a long time to buy it. But as you can tell by this review, I was gratefully surprised.

However, I did not attend the band’s one show in Argentina in 2016; it was their first time playing South America. I do regret it now, specially after having listened to their “Live At Hyde Park” album. I hope I’ll be able to make up for that one big mistake if they tour their upcoming album. Now I know what I will find on stage.

Most of everything, I know Who I will find.

Music makes me, makes me strong
Strong vibrations, make me long
Long for a place where I belong
You will find me in this song

– Mirror Door

Reseña: “Sexo Con Modelos” de Marilina Bertoldi

"Sexo Con Modelos" (2106)

No permitir que nuestra historia decida nuestro destino.

Ese es el dictamen de “Sexo Con Modelos”, el nuevo álbum de Marilina Bertoldi, y el tercero que edita bajo su nombre.

Bertoldi define el disco como la síntesis de sus búsquedas personales actuales, y las diez canciones mantienen esa suerte de minimalismo inverso que presentaba su obra anterior – un minimalismo que abarca desde los títulos al uso mismo del lenguaje, pero con la particularidad de que cuanto más minimalista aparentan ser las composiciones, más radicales son los sentimientos que contienen.

Los primeros adelantos del disco fueron “Y Deshacer” y “Cosas Dulces”, dos canciones que son precisamente eso: atisbos de lo que propone el álbum entero en temas como “Rastro” y “Enterrarte”, donde se analiza la temporalidad conflictiva del ayer, y los modos en que las personas se convierten en satélites de nuestras existencias, ejerciendo cada una su particular influjo sobre nuestros días.

Una por una, las canciones en “Sexo Con Modelos” sostienen que el pasado no se olvida ni se congela, sino que se reprocesa. Y se reprocesa dentro del espacio de trauma mismo, en un deshacer tanto desde el centro del dolor como desde sus márgenes, cubriendo así toda la posible órbita del adiós. Continue reading

Year In Review 2012: Uruguayan Artists & Videos

Below you’ll find all the independent and unsigned artists that were profiled on MusicKO in 2012.

Vincent Vega

The Bear Season

La Medio Siglo

The Blueberries

Miguel Campal


Laura Chinelli

Erika Chuwoki

Matías Cantante

Los Pazientes

El Umbral


The following videos were also featured on the blog:

“Llevame” by Laura Chinelli

“Normal” by La Medio Siglo

“This Is Not A Test” by The Bear Season

“El Piso Se Va A Manchar” by Vincent Vega

“POU” by Closet

“Please Don’t Be Like Me” by Casablancas

“Decidir” by Andrea Deleón Santos

“Gigantes” by Orgánica

I also interviewed Pablo Faragó, and covered the release of his first solo album here.

Well, this is the last post of 2012. I want to wish you all a happy New Year, and thank you for your support. Keeping this blog alive takes me a huge amount of time, but it’s always something I do with a lot of conviction, a lot of determination and (most of all) a lot of illusion.

Always will.


Tonall – A Social Network For Those Who Can Play An Instrument

Name: Tonall
URL: http://www.tonall.com

Tonall is a social network for musicians, but the instruments are the real stars of the show here. Why? Simply because connections on Tonall are made based on which instrument one plays.

If you become a user of Tonall you will be able to review the instrument you play, and wax romantic on its sound, its appearance and all these things that makes your eyes go misty when you think about it. The idea is that others will both get to know you better thanks to such reviews, and (which is every bit as important) get to realize if such an instrument would be a good fit for them.

And as it is only suitable, users of Tonall can buy and sell gear – a marketplace is provided to these purposes. It is browseable (and usable) by any single person who signs up for a Tonall account. That costs nothing, by the way. As long as you can speak English then you can jump aboard.

FTR Fanzine: Another Way To Learn About Uruguayan Bands

I have been writing about unsigned and independent Uruguayan artists for over a year now, and the feedback I get makes it clear you enjoy the coverage. So, it’s only fair to assume you would like to know even more.

ftr for the retarded

Well, those of you who understand Spanish can check this new fanzine. It is named FTR (“For The Retarded” – talk about self-deprecating humor!), and it’s devoted to Uruguayan artists that are yet to achieve mass recognition. And the site is worth a try even if your understanding of Spanish is not spotless – you will still get to listen to all the MP3s that are featured.

I know, I know, that feels like going to the librarian and asking him for books that have big pictures only. Hey, but in the same way a picture paints a thousand words, the MP3s which are included on FTR convey all that is said on the actual posts. Just follow Bob Dylan’s immortal advice: “Don’t think twice, it’s alright”. Continue reading

MusicKO: Uruguayan Unsigned & Independent Artists Of 2010

I think the day I decided to begin covering Uruguayan unsigned and independent artists on MusicKO was the happiest of the whole year. It gave me a lot of direction, and a true sense of purposefulness. I have managed to become acquainted with some extraordinary musicians – individuals who are truly devoted to what they do, and who believe in the power of music to bond people for life.

These are all the unsigned and independent Uruguayan performers I featured on MusicKO in 2010.

I hope to review twice as many in 2011. If you are one (or if you know one), just drop me a line. The address is emiliomusicko@gmail.com.

Laiojan Sebastian
Mal Yo
Lucía Ferreira
El Cardenal Sebastián
Lucas Meyer

MusicKO: The Best Album Reviews Of 2010

There you go, the best album that I reviewed in 2010!

Is there something that I omitted? Did you read a review on MusicKO that I left out of this list? Well, leave a comment below and let everybody know about it!

Black Gold: The Best Of Soul Asylum
Wasp Star (Apple Venus Part 2) (XTC)
Monster (REM)
Empty Glass (Pete Townshend)
Rough Mix (Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane)
(What’s The Story) Morning Glory? (Oasis)
The Masterplan (Oasis)
All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes (Pete Townshend)
The Iron Man (Pete Townshend)
Chips From The Chocolate Fireball (The Dukes Of Stratosphear)
Green (REM)
Grace (Jeff Buckley)
(Sketches For) My Sweetheart The Drunk (Jeff Buckley)
Southern Accents (Tom Petty)
Odds & Sods (The Who)
Once (Original Soundtrack Album)
Elizabethtown Vol. 1  (Original Soundtrack Album)
All This Useless Beauty (Elvis Costello)
The Band (Album Review)
Caribou (Elton John)
One For The Road (The Kinks)
Horses (Patti Smith)
Echo (Tom Petty)
Blue (Joni Mitchell)
Combat Rock (The Clash)
Pablo Honey (Radiohead)

MusicKO: The Best Music Startups Of 2010 (Part 2)

Read the list below if you want to know which were the best music startups of 2010.

What? Want even more startups? OK, check the other half of the list.

And come back tomorrow for the best album reviews of 2010 (hooray!).

Radar Music Videos – Find The Right Director For Your Music Video
Earwurm – For These Songs You Just Can’t Get Out Of Your Head
Eyeball.fm – Another Way To Share & Discover Music Online
iMusicTweet – Sharing Your Songs Through Twitter & Facebook Simultaneously
Music Matters – Combating Piracy In A Fair Way
MusicVault – Rating Albums Old & New Using Twitter
Tubeoke – Where YouTube Becomes A Karaoke
DemoHero – A Community Site Devoted To Demo Recordings
Songbright – Choose Your Best Songs, Upload Them And Make Some Money If You Chose Right
Jamendo – Where Music Is Shared For Free
Digiclef – Guitar & Bass Tabs On Your iPhone

MusicKO: The Best Music Startups Of 2010 (Part 1)

This is a list of these music startups that I have commented in 2010 that I still remember as if it were the day I wrote about them.

This is the first part of a list I will complete tomorrow [update: done!]. After that, I am compiling a list with the best album reviews of 2010, and another with all the unsigned/independent Uruguayan Artists I featured on MusicKO all through the year.

TuneCrank – Letting Independent & Unsigned Artists Spread Their Music
Guitaryst – Play Your Guitar With The Help Of Automatic Tabs
Bud To Bud – The Online Sharing Of Music Is About To Reach A New Height
Bender Converter – Convert All The Videos You Want For Free
Flashbck – Reliving Gigs & Festivals
Shuffler.fm – The Pandora.fm Of Music Blogs
Music180 – Connecting Indie Artists With Renowned Music Pros
Venossi – Making The Discovery Of New Music Something Natural & Logical
Mixtap.in – Making Mixtapes Fashionable Once Again
Tastebuds – Find A Perfect Match Based On Your Favorite Music
BuyWidget – The Perfect Way To Monetize A Music Blog

Double Lyrics – A Directory Of Lyrics That Are Reviewed And Rated

Double Lyrics

Name: Double Lyrics
URL: http://www.doublelyrics.com

I am sure very few among us can claim to have a favorite lyrics site. I mean, there are a zillion of them out there. Personally, I have always been keen on the AZ Lyrics website because it is lightweight, the lyrics are arranged album by album, and (yes, I know I am fastidious) the punctuation and the use of capitals is fully accounted for. As a non-native speaker of English, I always print the lyrics to all the albums that I buy that don’t include them. A site like AZ Lyrics lets me get them quickly, and create a Word document with them painlessly.

Still, I am always looking for alternatives. And I must say that the Double Lyrics website has got a lot going for it. For starters, whenever you carry out a search you get results that are sorted by relevancy. You don’t get a jumble of links that might be what you needed or something completely unrelated. The most relevant lyrics are ranked by the site’s engine and featured on top, while the ones that will probably have nothing to do with your query are relegated to the bottom of the list.

Also, users can both review and rate lyrics. That is nothing new (many sites let users “comment” on lyrics, and fans take advantage of that opportunity to review them), but its usefulness is not questioned by anybody – you will have a bigger chance of finding what you are after in that way. And once you have found it, a well-written review can always let you figure out what a cryptic song is all about. For example, how many are really aware of all the possible interpretation of Cat Steven’s “Moonshadow “? How many are aware of the cancer interpretation, the Vietnam chopper interpretation…? Only fans are. And if given the chance to review a song and illuminate everybody else, they are likely to do it. Continue reading