February guest post: Yes – Fragile

The Overdue Collection AgencyEvery month a guest blogger will review one of his/her own dollar-bin discoveries. Guest bloggers will be music lovers who have reached a High Fidelity type of expertise, being record store employees or otherwise changing the world of vinyl records. Thoughtfully doing the later, Michael Lopez from the Overdue Collection Agency is providing the guest post for February. Not only am I honored to have him author one of the first posts on Awfully Crate, but also to be the inaugural guest blogger!

As the founder of the Overdue Collection Agency, Lopez is not only committed to producing remastered albums on 180 gram vinyl, but is also lending a hand to those in need. As a non-profit organization, the Overdue Collection Agency donates 100 percent of profits to a charity of the artist’s choice. On top of that, there is a record subscription service, which entitles members to exclusive color-editions of each release.

Lopez is gearing up for the label’s first two releases, which are the reissues of Why We Fight and Ribbons & Sugar by one of my favorite Seattle bands, Gatsbys American Dream (the relation to Awfully Crate‘s first-ever review is pure coincidence). This will be the first time that any music by the band has been available on vinyl and fans from all over the world are helping fund the project via Kickstarter. While the $5,500 goal to cover expenses for pressing the vinyl has already been met, support is still needed to take care of remastering, jackets and licensing. Backers are rewarded with a variety of great items and Lopez is doing a great job of updating everyone on the whole re-issuing process. Please consider becoming a backer today. The project will end on Saturday, February 19. Gatsbys American Dream has selected to donate profits to Water.org, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries.

Read Lopez’ review of Fragile by Yes after the jump.

Yes - FragileYes
Atlantic Records ℗1972
Location of purchase: Record City, San Diego, Calif.
Price: $1.00

Written by Michael Lopez

Whenever I make a dollar-bin purchase, the reason is typically because of the artwork. When I picked this up in 2003, I was skeptical about the music. I was worried that the band would sound like hippie rock based on the fact that the cover looked more like a poster for Earth Day. But the colors and artwork looked really neat, so I took the dollar chance. (Roger Dean, who designed the Tetris log, did the artwork for this album.) Once I played the record, all my skepticism was discarded. This album is amazing.

Yes is a progressive rock band, started in the late ’60s. Despite their unfortunate work in the 1980’s (they penned the cheesy “Owner of A Lonely Heart.” It remains their biggest hit….I guess.), they were some of the first rockers to embrace weird time signatures and concept albums.

Fragile is often considered some of their best work. The songs are heavy and soft at the same time, inspiring thoughts of classical music….only louder. Chris Squire’s bass rumbles and moves quickly, sounding sharp and fresh as the day it came out. Some of his best work is on “Heart of the Sunrise” and “Roundabout.” Rick Wakeman’s keyboards create a great atmospheric feeling to accompany vastness of the songs, making each one feel like a journey. Jon Anderson’s high-pitch vocals bring to mind contemporary vocalists like Anthony Green and Claudio Sanchez. Whether they know it or not, bands like Yes and Rush were a serious inspiration to bands like Circa Survive, Coheed and Cambria and the Mars Volta.

Find the full track listing and a sample track below.

Side One

  1. Roundabout
    (Jon Anderson, Steve Howe)
  2. Cans and Brahms – Extracts from Brahms’ 4th Symphony in E Minor, Third Movement
    (Johannes Brahms, arranged by Rick Wakeman)
  3. We Have Heaven
    (Jon Anderson)
  4. South Side of the Sky
    (Jon Anderson, Chris Squire)

Side Two

  1. Five Per Cent for Nothing
    (Bill Bruford)
  2. Long Distance Runaround
    (Jon Anderson)
  3. The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)
    (Chris Squire)
  4. Mood for a Day
    (Steve Howe)
  5. Heart of the Sunrise
    (Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford)
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