November 01, 2007

Umphrey's McGee: The Bottom Half / Live At The Murat

Umphrey's McGee released their Safety In Numbers album in 2006 and lots of stuff was left on the shelf when the original plan - releasing a double album - got axed. The Bottom Half is a double set with finished tracks on Disc 1, and outtakes and demos on Disc 2.

Umphrey's McGee: The Bottom Half

The B-sides of the b-sides are for hardcore fans only, the first Disc is a legitimate new album. Stand-out track: Higgins, named after the British stiff upper lip guy from Magnum PI. This is a song that The Police should have come with when they played Bonnaroo: from vaudeville to reggae to screaming guitar. An instrumental version, taped in November 2004 graces the bonus disc you can follow the band in their creation of the chord changes and breaks. One of the highlights of Safety In Numbers was Intentions Clear and the inclusion of two different versions on The Bottom Half show that the original concept was even stronger than the finished track. Kill your darlings, but you might end up killing the wrong one.

Umphrey's McGee: Live At Murat

Umphrey's McGee makes a steady income through extensive touring, pioneering the selling of shows through their website as live downloads. So, is releasing a live album a good idea? The jam band scene thrives on full show, whereas a live album consists of highlights from different shows.

Live At The Murat was recorded over the Easter Weekend (April 6 and 7) at the Murat Egyptian Room in Indianapolis, Indiana. This venue has good acoustics for heavy guitar, loud drums and such and - - pretty rare - also for acoustic tracks.

They kick off with a great segue of In the Kitchen (Acoustic Structure) > Acoustic Improvisation > Electronic Improvisation > In the Kitchen (Electric Structure) and they never loose their balance. In years to come Live At The Murat could well be on the shortlist of great live albums like Deep Purple's Made In Japan and Phish's A Live One.

If you want to hear for your self if they picked the right tracks, both shows are available as audience recording ons archive.org:
um2007-04-06.flac16 and um2007-04-07.flac

Giveaway
You can have both albums for free. HCTF has a question for you.
Name the date of the first ever Umphrey's McGee show in Amsterdam. Lucky winner picked at random.

» Here's the winner!

Umphrey's McGee:
Brendan Bayliss: guitar, vocals
Jake Cinninger: guitar, Moog, synthesizers, vocals
Joel Cummins: keyboards, vocals
Andy Farag: percussion
Kris Myers: drums, vocals
Ryan Stasik: bass, no vocals

Buy The Bottom Half
Buy Live At The Murat

» umphreys.com
» myspace.com/umphreysmcgee

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