Download: Mike Keneally – Free EP Vols. 1-2 (2013)

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Mike Keneally has not one but two new live EPs out, and better still — they’re free for download through his web site. These are the former Frank Zappa guitarist’s first offerings since he gave away a download of “I’m Raining Here, Inside” from 2012’s fantastic “Wing Beat Fantastic.”

Recorded over a variety of years, with a variety of bands, in a variety of venues, Free EP Vols. 1-2 aren’t so much a representative sampling of Keneally’s work as they are a jumbled up photo album — with flashing images all of out order and yet strangely intriguing because of that very randomness.

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: We talk about the impact of Zappa and XTC on guitarist Mike Keneally’s music, and how ELP’s ‘Tarkus’ completely blew his mind.]

Free EP Vol. 1, for instance, begins with an up-close-and-personal take on the angular “Choosing to Drown,” from Keneally’s 2004 Dog project with Rick Musallam, Bryan Beller Nick D’Virgilio — recorded in a living room. The trippy “Dolphins” is next, performed a year later in Amsterdam. (Both tracks have been previously released, but only as part of the DVD in the special edition of Dog.)

The subsequent “What Are You Doing,” which goes back to 2001, is the first of three tunes recorded live for radio broadcasts in Europe. A take on the serrated “Ankle Bracelet,” from 2000’s Dancing, arrives via a 2007 show in Geldern. The initial EP then closes with the psychedelic brain cramps of “Nonkerchunk,” a cut done live in 2003 at San Diego.

Keneally’s now-defunct band Beer for Dolphins is featured on four of the five tracks from Free EP Vol. 2, though because of their vintage, the songs have differing lineups. The jittery and then spacious “Looking for Nina” and his lysergic fever dream “Cardboard Dog” were both recorded in 1998 at Philadelphia, while the ruminative “Oh, Angel” and freaky-funky “Lhai Sal” were recorded in 2001 during a New York City performance. The second EP concludes with a live broadcast of the emotional “Pride if a Sin” for Dutch radio in 2007 — which begins, quite perfectly, with a Keneally goof on Van Halen.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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