Feb 06, 2009, 08:56AM

All the good the 70s had to offer

Yes, there are redeemable qualities to be found in 70s rock. Colossal Yes has them in spades.

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The following audio was included in this article:
The following audio was included in this article:

Comets on Fire drummer Utrillo Kushner returns to his side-project Colossal Yes to follow-up the group's 2006 debut Acapulco Roughs with some more soulful keyboard-heavy 70s-ish rock. It was obvious from Acapulco Roughs that Kushner's musical interests went far beyond the noisy psych-rock of Comets on Fire. Here's a man who, un-ironically, loves the lighter not-quite-Yacht-Rock 70s singer-songwriters—think: Chicago, Elton John, Simply Red, Rod Stewart, Peter Frampton, mid-period Randy Newman and even some Eagles and Queen, throw in a little Van Morrison-ish soul and R&B, and you've got Colossal Yes.

Yes, I know: Most of that sounds pretty bad ("really…you're comparing them to Simply Red, Rod Stewart and Queen…and you're telling me to buy this album?"). But somehow Kushner takes this clusterfuck of 70s influences and makes a great classic rock-sounding album that ditches all the bad, unlistenable parts of the above bands (and of 70s rock in general). The new album, Charlemagne's Big Thaw, does have its heavier moments—some rockin' fuzz guitar solos on "The Fraudulent Singer" and "Permafrost Drip," for example—but for the most part it's a fairly mellow, easy-going affair. Check out the title track, and "Permafrost Drip" below and you'll be hooked, I'm sure.

Recommended situations for listening to Charlemagne's Big Thaw: Friday downtime at the office, DJing your parent's post-HS reunion party, smoking a spliff and watching a That 70s Show marathon.

"Charlemagne's Big Thaw"


"Permafrost Drip"

  • Don't be so quick to dismiss Rod Stewart, despite, well everything after the early 70s. "Gasoline Alley" is a great record and his vocals with Jeff Beck were incredible.

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