Can we talk about why Presence by Led Zeppelin is the best album ever made when you're actually listening to it, but it's easy to forget about when you aren't listening to it?

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Once a week I listen to Presence and I get all wobbly-kneed, especially with "For Your Life", "Royal Orleans" and "Hots On For Nowhere." I think about making those objects on the record cover and selling em on eBay, I want to learn all the guitar parts, I actually like Robert Plant's voice for a change, JPJ bass tones are the best recorded sounds in history, and I want to exhume Bonham and hug him.

Let's discuss.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Saturday, 4 February 2006 02:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Ease off the bong there, fella.

East from the city and down to the cave (noodle vague), Saturday, 4 February 2006 02:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Nothing bad goes in this temple.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Saturday, 4 February 2006 02:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, and "in through the out door" is the 2nd best,right?
and "led zeppelin IV" is the worst.
i got it.

ggggg, Saturday, 4 February 2006 02:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Okay Brooker, maybe you're on to something.

East from the city and down to the cave (noodle vague), Saturday, 4 February 2006 02:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I pretty much agree with this, except the forgetting about it part.

truck-patch pixel farmer (my crop froze in the field) (Rock Hardy), Saturday, 4 February 2006 02:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The guitar parts on this record are INSANE.

def zep (calstars), Saturday, 4 February 2006 02:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

You listen to Presence once every week?

Pleasant Plains /// (Pleasant Plains ///), Saturday, 4 February 2006 05:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Led Zeppelin has an album called Presence?

Tyler Wilcox (tylerw), Saturday, 4 February 2006 05:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Achilles Last Stand" is the only song I really like on this album. It's probably a bit more consistent on the whole than the half-awful ITtOD but at least that has three or four really memorable songs.

The Good Dr. Bill (The Good Dr. Bill), Saturday, 4 February 2006 06:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Wow, the premise of this thread is so OTM, it's scary. Why IS that the one album of theirs that nearly completely escapes my memory except when it's on, at which time of course it is beyond fabulous? It's a curious thing, that album.

Bimble brings a lawn chair to antartica so he can sit and drink silver coff (Bim, Saturday, 4 February 2006 10:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I, too, totally agree with this. Maybe because, being their least purple (not just lyrically), least fanciful record — the one that most dispenses with the tropes for which they're recognized — it just doesn't leap to mind when you think "Led Zeppelin." And the records that beat it there — III or Houses of the Holy or whichever — once lodged, are pretty hard to look past...?

Dr. Gene Scott (shinybeast), Saturday, 4 February 2006 13:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

cuz there's no hits?

Beta (abeta), Saturday, 4 February 2006 17:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Oh yeah man, "Hots On for Nowhere" slays "Stairway to Heaven" and "Whole Lotta Love" put together. Seriously, I'm totally baffled by all the love for this album on this board and from people I'd normally trust. Sometimes there's a reason why things aren't overplayed, dudes! I honestly don't see what tracks 2-7 do that wasn't done better by "The Wanton Song", "Since I've Been Loving You", or Guns n Roses. It just sounds like a bunch of burnt-out riff-rock songs that don't really rock (like they're too drug-damaged to play fast enough) or offer much in the way of songwriting. I also think Plant's voice sounds pretty wasted. I don't know if it was because he was so badly injured at the time or if it's something in the recording. I will agree that the instruments are well-recorded. It's not worthless or anything - it's Zep after all - but I've never felt that it's the greatest anything once I get past "Achilles' Last Stand".

Mind you, ALS alone makes me feel like I'm listening to the greatest music ever recorded when it's playing.

Sundar (sundar), Saturday, 4 February 2006 18:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Led Zeppelin has an album called Presence?

i thought the same thing.

cutty (mcutt), Saturday, 4 February 2006 19:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Candy Store Rock" is one of the worst Zeppelin songs ever.

And there is no need for "Nobody's Fault But Mine" to have TWO guitar solos.

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Saturday, 4 February 2006 21:01 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

After more considered listening, there is no doubt in my mind that Presence has dated the least of the entire Zeppelin catalog. It contains the entire genetic code for 90s TnG Chicago rock, quite possibly the best showcase for Page's lead playing (the quirk steps forward here, the tones are impeccable, the slop is kept to a bare minimum).

So I tried to listen to Houses Of The Holy and Physical Graffiti again, and both left me cold. Yeah, there's some great songs on them, but they aren't aging so well. IV is a different story. Pretty perfect, that one.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Saturday, 4 February 2006 22:34 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Presence is an awesome album - or atleast much of it is. Yes, the guitars the guitars.

Susan Douglas (Susan Douglas), Saturday, 4 February 2006 22:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I mean, I can't even think of an album that I regularly listen to more than once a month, much less once a week.

Pleasant Plains /// (Pleasant Plains ///), Saturday, 4 February 2006 23:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Apparently it's Jimmy Page's favourite LZ album. I thought of it as their math-rock album, so the TnG comment makes good sense to me. I don't think the album is start-to-finish great, but I often find myself wanting to hear "For Your Life", and "Achilles Last Stand" is superhuman even by Bonham standards.

Deluxe (Damian), Saturday, 4 February 2006 23:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Oh god people it's all about Jimmy Page. You have got to have Jimmy Page for your life. It is a must. Everyone needs it. You've got to have it.

Bimble brings a lawn chair to antartica so he can sit and drink silver coff (Bim, Sunday, 5 February 2006 23:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Went down to Louisiana"

Bimble brings a lawn chair to antartica so he can sit and drink silver coff (Bim, Sunday, 5 February 2006 23:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I'd say that's quite a bit funkier than the Who ever were.

Bimble brings a lawn chair to antartica so he can sit and drink silver coff (Bim, Sunday, 5 February 2006 23:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Nobody's Fault But Mine has a special place in my heart forever, to boot.

Bimble brings a lawn chair to antartica so he can sit and drink silver coff (Bim, Sunday, 5 February 2006 23:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

When I was in jail very briefly many years ago, that song was all I heard in my head. Because I knew it wasn't my fault. Hearing that in my head kept me sane.

Bimble brings a lawn chair to antartica so he can sit and drink silver coff (Bim, Sunday, 5 February 2006 23:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Do you think there are people on this earth who think Led Zeppelin is better than the Beatles? I would like to hear from such folks.

Bimble brings a lawn chair to antartica so he can sit and drink silver coff (Bim, Sunday, 5 February 2006 23:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't think it's that uncommon a view in North America. Most people might not frame it that way since the two bands are very different.

OK, you guys convinced me to listen to this and hear it a little differently. I could sort of see the math rock thing and this helped me to notice the interesting ways that all the repeated riffs interlock. Like some kind of weird math rock/James Brown hybrid or something. And, yeah, there's a lot happening in all the layered guitar sounds if you listen for it. Are those wild crashing-out-of-tune drops (e.g. in "For Your Life") just done purely with whammy bar? Particularly "Tea for One" has a staggering amount of detail in all the different guitar tones that are layered and drop in and out - it's the "guitar orchestration" thing that really blows me away about Page. And the soloing on that track is pretty great too. I still don't think it's their best album but there is a lot there.

Sundar (sundar), Monday, 6 February 2006 03:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Led Zeppelin > Beatles > Jesus

Dr. Gene Scott (shinybeast), Monday, 6 February 2006 03:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Royal Orleans" and "Hots on for Nowhere" (which is very good) invented the Red Hot Chili Peppers…

the whole rekkid is great…

veronica moser (veronica moser), Monday, 6 February 2006 04:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

there have been a number of periods in my life when I thought this was the best Zeppelin record .. and maybe only one or two of those did I think I was being cheeky or "provocative" by saying so ... right now, though, yeah I'm inclined to go w/ IV. It is just such an astounding record on so many levels. But I still deeply deeply love Presence. It's got Bonham's best overall start-to-finish performance of any of there records. It's got that crazy gnarly crack-headed Page solo on "Hots On For Nowhere"; "Hots On For Nowhere" being totally one of my favorite Zep cuts -- Love the false ending. It only makes me wish that REAL ending was also a FALSE ending because I want the song to keep going on... "Royal Orleans" with that Meters influence ... dudes always listened to tons of funk, but on PRESENCE they were *all about* the funk... "Candy Store Rock" rocks and love the album-closing "Tea For One" -- that's the kind of atmosphere that the copiests and lesser metal group just could not capture.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Monday, 6 February 2006 05:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, zep iv is the best, or zep ii. i know some people who've gotten into zeppelin after childhood, but so many more who've always been into them, not a single one who ever says zep ii, zep iv, or physival grafitti isn't their favorite. presence and on seem to be the ones that people loosening up from just listening to punk like the most. no one who's serious about zeppelinm, meaning into them since birth, prefers this

slavoj zizek, Monday, 6 February 2006 05:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I am playing Presence right now in worship of this thread.

sleeve (sleeve), Monday, 6 February 2006 05:34 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

also it was the first Zep record to not have an acoustic guitar anywhere on it

Stormy Davis (diamond), Monday, 6 February 2006 05:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

That's probably one reason I'll never consider it their best, actually.

TBH I picked on "Hots On for Nowhere" upthread just because it was the one track I couldn't remember by looking at the track list. It's actually a good track, I realized when listening.

Sundar (sundar), Monday, 6 February 2006 16:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Just put the album on for a straight-through listen to try and answer the question. It definitely doesn't register as the best album ever made while I'm listening to it, but I get the idea. I think what it boils down to is that the performances are great and they are recorded beautifully, but that the songs themselves are by Zep standards fairly unfocused and uninteresting. I mean, there are great moments throughout, but I can't even tell you how a single song goes right after it's over, let alone when I'm done listening to the album. This is a record where it's really really all about sound and texture, with the funk excursions I guess filling in for where they usually have a taught uptempo rocker to stick in your mind.

I'm not sure I understood anything in that discussion of liking Zeppelin "from birth," but the part that struck me as especially interesting, counterintuitive, and inexplicable, was the notion that Presence is appealing to those coming at Zeppelin from a punk background. Really? To me this is Zep at their most proggy and dinosaurian - I mean, there are, what, two ten-minute songs on this thing? Oof.

Anyone else really wish they'd built a song out of that really great tense intro to "Tea For One?" I always get all excited before I realize that it's just going to lead into yet another plodding blooze thing where Page fiddles around and Plant moans some pointless crap...

The highlight for me has to be "Royal Orleans," a song I never even knew by name until this more attentive, ILM-geared listen...

Doctor Casino (Doctor Casino), Monday, 6 February 2006 17:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

also it was the first Zep record to not have an acoustic guitar anywhere on it
-- Stormy Davis (electrifyingmoj...), February 6th, 2006.


There's an acoustic guitar in Candy Store Rock, but it barely registers without headphones.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Monday, 6 February 2006 17:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I think what it boils down to is that the performances are great and they are recorded beautifully, but that the songs themselves are by Zep standards fairly unfocused and uninteresting.

I think this might nail it (with the exception of ALS of course). But maybe I'll change my mind if I listen more.

Yeah, people I know who come to LZ from punk or indie usually take to II or stuff like "Immigrant Song" in my experience. The only people I've known (and most are from this board) who really love Presence have been obsessive longtime fans.

Sundar (sundar), Monday, 6 February 2006 19:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm not particularly obsessive about Zeppelin, but have never understood why this record is short-shrifted, myself. "Tea For One" never did anything for me and "Achilles..." always seemed like a much much feebler (and much much longer) rewrite of "The Immigrant Song," but the three songs referenced in the first post kick so much ass.

No, it's not the "best" Zeppelin record but I'll stack "Royal Orleans" and "Hots On For Nowhere" against anything, pretty much.

Dark Horse, Monday, 6 February 2006 19:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Hots on for Nowhere" is easily one of Zep's best 10 songs.

darin (darin), Monday, 6 February 2006 21:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

When I did my Zep POX, I started from the premise of Presence + 3, then looked at the rest of the catalogue for songs strong enough to knock any of Presence's songs out. (My POX was 3 out of 10 Presence... before I managed to whittle it down, it was 5 out of 15 Presence.)

truck-patch pixel farmer (my crop froze in the field) (Rock Hardy), Monday, 6 February 2006 22:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

six months pass...
In the current Zep cover story in Rolling Stone, Mikal Gilmore wrote --

"Presence conveyed the sense of a band up against bad odds, fighting back. The opening two tracks, "Achilles Last Stand" (about the car accident) and "For Your Life" (about hell and drugs and terror, and about how life inside the band may have been developing), featured the best solos Page would ever play -- abstract, desperate, raging. "Presence was pure anxiety and emotion," Page said later. "We didn't know if we'd ever be able to play in the same way again. It might have been a very dramatic change, if the worst had happened to Robert. Presence is our best in terms of uninterrupted emotion."

Over the years, Presence hasn't sold as well as most of the band's catalog. It's more or less the forgotten album, its feelings are too hard, too intense and probably too insular to stay close to or very long. In effect, Led Zeppelin accomplished something akin to Eric Clapton's achievement on Derek and the Dominos' Layla: They forged the spirit and purpose of blues into a new form, without relying on blues scales and structures. Presence is clearly singular in Led Zeppelin's body of work, and it's likely the best album the band ever made.

"It was really like a cry of survival," Plant said. "There won't be another album like it, put it like that. It was a cry from the depths, the only thing that we could do."

---------

When I read that, I figured Gilmore was on crack and was just playing up the melodrama. Guess you had to be there to feel the intensity, because I don't remember any of the songs. I don't remember them being horrible, but just didn't leave an impression. But there are at least a couple people here who might agree with Gilmore to an extent.

I think with the exception of II, all the Zeppelin albums are inconsistent. I never understood what anyone saw in Physical Graffiti aside from "Kashmir" and "Houses of the Holy." So I'm open to hearing Presence again and entertaining the possibility that it's, like, their, um, fifth best. I'll pick up a used copy tomorrow.

Fastnbulbous (Fastnbulbous), Thursday, 10 August 2006 03:36 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Great thread. Why "Presence" figures so largely in my Zeppelin love is because I found out about it after I was sure that I had purchased their entire catalogue, including Coda. I was a kid who obsessed over Zeppelin, so when I stumbled across it in a music store, i thought it was some type of obscene joke.

"Achilles Last Stand" is absolutely incredible...my friends and i used to listen to that song for hours. "Tea For One," in my opinion, seems like a b-side to "Since I've Been Loving You," but a b-side that is just as enjoyable as the a-side.

Presence in its entirety would not be a good introductory album, but it is one of my top 5 Zep albums.

Think i'll give it a listen. It's been long enough.

J. Grizzle (trainsmoke), Thursday, 10 August 2006 03:53 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm giving it a relisten now, and it's just fantastic. Many OTM upthread about the awesomeness of the guitar work.

Andrew (enneff), Thursday, 10 August 2006 05:06 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I pulled this out last night and remain fascinated. It's like a dirty secret. One of those things that I understand often happens with television - where you're not supposed to be fascinated but you are anyway. Can't you just imagine someone in jail singing "Nobody's Fault But Mine"? Anyway I didn't quite get through the whole album without changing it to something else so I'm determined to get to Tea For One today and make up for that properly, because I remember Tea For One being especially good.

Kiss My Grits! (Bimble...), Saturday, 12 August 2006 14:24 (twelve years ago) Permalink

It was 1976 the year for punk, folks. Yep. And they hadn't even done In Through The Out Door yet. Wow.

Kiss My Grits! (Bimble...), Saturday, 12 August 2006 14:27 (twelve years ago) Permalink

And were they trying to do disco towards the end of For Your Life? I guess 1976 was the year for disco too. What was the year for disco? Fuck if I know for sure. I don't mind the song at all, though. I like disco when it's good, which isn't always.

If anyone here is old enough to actually remember this record when it came out in 1976 and can comment on the overall musical milieu it was born into, I'd love to hear about it.

Kiss My Grits! (Bimble...), Saturday, 12 August 2006 14:38 (twelve years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

i like their later period albums. prefer the vocals to plant in his supposed peak. he sounds like hes not trying so hard on presence. just relaxed. more like himself. and the riffs are still great. theres just an easier going charm about this era of led zep, you know theyre not trying so hard, have less to prove etc, but rather than = lazy, theres something appealing about them just doing what they do.

titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Saturday, 27 August 2011 12:05 (seven years ago) Permalink

Surprised Bonham doesn't get more mention here. To me his drumming is on fire on this rek. That said, it's pretty much the case on everything. I love the guy to death.

senomar, Sunday, 28 August 2011 18:59 (seven years ago) Permalink

When I did my Zep POX, I started from the premise of Presence + 3, then looked at the rest of the catalogue for songs strong enough to knock any of Presence's songs out. (My POX was 3 out of 10 Presence... before I managed to whittle it down, it was 5 out of 15 Presence.)

― truck-patch pixel farmer (my crop froze in the field) (Rock Hardy),

Took me a minute to decipher my own post there. But yeah, this is the absolute biznis, always will be to me.

Halal Spaceboy (WmC), Sunday, 28 August 2011 19:05 (seven years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

My thoughts on Presence.

Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Saturday, 5 May 2012 23:16 (seven years ago) Permalink

Booming revive by Euler

flappy bird, Friday, 10 May 2019 17:48 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I love "Rising" by Rainbow. I also love "Presence" by Led Zep. I've never really considered these two records all that similar. Other than Page & Dio both had penchant for wizard-y appliques on their jeans

chr1sb3singer, Friday, 10 May 2019 18:51 (two weeks ago) Permalink

They're both hard rock records that were released in 1976.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Friday, 10 May 2019 19:06 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Single word titles

chr1sb3singer, Friday, 10 May 2019 19:09 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Not to mention that the Rising era line-up of Rainbow were as musically potent as the members of Zeppelin, both individually and collectively.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Friday, 10 May 2019 19:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Great headphone album. Insane.

Carly Jae Vespen (Capitaine Jay Vee), Friday, 10 May 2019 19:17 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I love "Tea for One" and "Hots On for Nowhere," especially the drums on the latter.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 10 May 2019 19:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Booming revive by Euler

― flappy bird, Friday, May 10, 2019 12:48 PM (two hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

budo jeru, Friday, 10 May 2019 19:50 (two weeks ago) Permalink

listening to "presence" this morning i decided to listen differently than i normally do, which is to say i listened closely and carefully. like so many records that are important to me, this was a car record all the way, i.e. it was a cassette. and every few years, for weeks at a time, the album would begin when the car turned on and end when the trip was over. on longer drives it would repeat itself multiple times, but even then i never got a strong feeling that the record had a firm beginning or end. i stepped into the river, bathed in the river, knew the river by heart, but didn't have much of an idea where it came from or where it went. i definitely couldn't talk about the song titles, i could barely understand what robert plant was saying (still can't), and i knew that the cover art was white with some people on it but that's about it. so in that sense the thread title definitely made sense to me.

anyway, i put on my headphones this morning and was struck by a number of things that i'd like to share here.

achilles last stand is a song that for some reason i want to speak about in spatial terms: it is, among other things, immense. furthermore, it has a coldness, an austere quality, and a kind of classicist symmetry; despite its many flourishes the song doesn't meander, really. in fact, its focus over such a great length is part of its intensity, its power. in a sense the song, like the record, is a bit like, say, the parthenon: something to marvel at but not a place i want to live inside. lz ii is a record i can live inside, a world i can wonder around in. presence is a marble temple that inspires awe but does not exude warmth. intricate, alien, and inhuman indeed, Euler otm.

And there is no need for "Nobody's Fault But Mine" to have TWO guitar solos.

― Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Saturday, February 4, 2006 3:01 PM (thirteen years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

sorry person from thirteen years ago, but it's actually a harmonica solo and then later a guitar solo, and they both fucking rule. the harmonica is played with a kind of mannered primitivity, and yet the way in which it incessantly churns the same simple blues figures again and again, barely more than a few notes, but so incessant and propulsive, it becomes almost manic: circular breathing turned hyperventilation. the guitar solo serves as exposition and recapitulation, through stilted, jittery echoes of a blues that has been deconstructed, flipped upside down, and reverse engineered through a thousand coke come-downs, resulting in what sounds like sputtering, buffering: a robot's failed attempt at b.b. king, and yet still so crisp.

the only thing i can understand robert plant say are "nobody's fault but mine" and "ding dong ding dong" so i dunno what's going on thematically here, but did read the thread and the blog link and found the stories interesting.

the congas that suddenly start in royal orleans in the verse begninning "down on bourbon street" are just so sick; the fact that they come in for barely 15 seconds and then disappear makes me crave them even more every time the song comes on.

candy store rock is a genre exercise, sure, but it's much more than that. here robert plant must be admired for his remarkable sense of harmony: listen to the chord implied by his melismatic "oo" on the word "before" (and i think "jaw" ? and "head") !! just this small moment that implies a completely different harmonic direction for the piece, or that's how i hear it anyway. and then that creepy coda really seals the deal.

hots on for nowhere: what the fuck is going on here ? is this the best song ever or is it just filler bullshit ? so it's enigmatic at the very least, a bit like a face that can alternately appear, according to lighting or circumstance, ugly or beautiful, although in the end my revulsion is sublimated into a kind of polyrhythmic desire; it's the focus and intensity of the drums, fills especially, that ultimately make me want to stick with this track.

speaking of desire: there is music that, in my experience, will and will not love you back. i don't know if i love presence (although i admire and, sometimes, desire it) but i do know that presence does not love me. presence is too involved in its own hang ups, its own brilliant and intricate inner-workings, it is too desperately focused on holding its fragile and deeply beautiful appendages together, to really allow space for the listener to be present in any way except as spectator.

when it ends i feel stunned and a bit lonely tbh.

budo jeru, Friday, 10 May 2019 21:07 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Hell yes to this post, agreed on many points

chr1sb3singer, Friday, 10 May 2019 21:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

"Hots On For Nowhere" is a weird fucking song

chr1sb3singer, Friday, 10 May 2019 21:13 (two weeks ago) Permalink

This, Station to Station and Animals form some kind triptych of 70s anomie/awesomeness.

29 facepalms, Friday, 10 May 2019 21:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

"Hots On For Nowhere" is a weird fucking song

― chr1sb3singer, Friday, May 10, 2019

Glorious.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 10 May 2019 21:19 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I remember an interview w/Plat from around the time of the reunion where he brought up playing the album for his current girlfriend, after which she told him "[she] didn't want to be left alone with...this music."

a large tuna called “Justice” (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 10 May 2019 21:20 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Plat=Plant, obvs.

a large tuna called “Justice” (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 10 May 2019 21:21 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I love "Tea for One" and "Hots On for Nowhere," especially the drums on the latter.

― recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, May 10, 2019 12:18 PM (two hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

“tea for one” sometimes my favorite zep song

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 10 May 2019 21:30 (two weeks ago) Permalink

thank you budo jeru for your post, rich with insight.

when I called the album inhuman & alien & algebraic earlier, I meant that the music is rushing with expression, saying many things, and yet it’s inscrutable until “Tea For One”, whose perfect polycarbonate blues reveals profound human longing. Is that what the rest is expressing? Longing has plasticity, filtered through the drugs, the exhaustion, eight years gone. Or instead simply reaching through that, to try to express something new.

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 10 May 2019 21:55 (two weeks ago) Permalink

budo jeru and euler can see into the center of this record, great posts

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 10 May 2019 21:59 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Wow at Budo jeru's post. Couldn't be more OTM

Carly Jae Vespen (Capitaine Jay Vee), Friday, 10 May 2019 23:03 (two weeks ago) Permalink

yeah that is a peak ILM post, thanks b.j. gonna be queueing this one up.

Good morning, how are you, I'm (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 11 May 2019 01:00 (one week ago) Permalink

https://e.snmc.io/i/600/w/9be20ee140b63144a9643fc5581398a4/6869895

Bloomington shout out.

earlnash, Saturday, 11 May 2019 01:05 (one week ago) Permalink

This, Station to Station and Animals form some kind triptych of 70s anomie/awesomeness.

presence > station to station > just reached the climax of 'dogs'

i feel comprehensively nothing

mookieproof, Saturday, 11 May 2019 01:23 (one week ago) Permalink

in a sense the song, like the record, is a bit like, say, the parthenon: something to marvel at but not a place i want to live inside. lz ii is a record i can live inside, a world i can wonder around in. presence is a marble temple that inspires awe but does not exude warmth. intricate, alien, and inhuman indeed

Yeah, this really gets at something about the album.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Saturday, 11 May 2019 01:31 (one week ago) Permalink

I've got to be honest, I wonder if it's partly because "Presence" is sort of a "lesser" LZ album, at least in terms of popularity; it maybe the LZ album with the fewest tracks played (if ever) on classic rock radio, at least in my experience. "Station to Station" and the Berlin albums hold a similar place in the Prime Bowie pantheon. They're weird because ... well, because they're weird. But because most of the songs don't get played on the radio much, they've remained weird and mysterious for decades.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 11 May 2019 02:39 (one week ago) Permalink

> Bloomington shout out.

― earlnash, Saturday, May 11, 2019

Whoa, throwback. I worked for their record label at the time and remember when they came up with the idea. The cover ended up getting more publicity than the music. Bummer b/c it's got so many great songs on it!

john. a resident of evanston. (john. a resident of chicago.), Saturday, 11 May 2019 20:22 (one week ago) Permalink

John and Josh, have you guys hung out?

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Saturday, 11 May 2019 20:23 (one week ago) Permalink

Ha...we haven't but I think we realized we lived pretty close to one another at some point.

john. a resident of evanston. (john. a resident of chicago.), Saturday, 11 May 2019 20:40 (one week ago) Permalink

Always thought Harvey Milk’s “Lay My Head Down” was trying to mine the same vein as “Tea for One”

https://youtu.be/FjucU_X-zTU

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Saturday, 11 May 2019 23:16 (one week ago) Permalink

I've got to be honest, I wonder if it's partly because "Presence" is sort of a "lesser" LZ album, at least in terms of popularity; it maybe the LZ album with the fewest tracks played (if ever) on classic rock radio, at least in my experience. "Station to Station" and the Berlin albums hold a similar place in the Prime Bowie pantheon. They're weird because ... well, because they're weird. But because most of the songs don't get played on the radio much, they've remained weird and mysterious for decades.

― Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 11 May 2019 02:39 (two days ago) Permalink

For real, in Mpls back in the late 80s/early 90s when the playlist was "slightly" more adventurous the local classic rock monolith KQ92 would sometimes play "Nobody's Fault But Mine" but even that infrequently.

W/r/t Rainbow "Rising", the mention in this thread did lead me to track down "Live Munich 1977" which is fucking awesome

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 13 May 2019 15:42 (one week ago) Permalink

I've listened to little besides Presence since last week, and am now listening backwards through their oeuvre from there. I used to think that "Four Sticks" was the worst song on IV, now I think it's the best. Am I a latent prog fan?

L'assie (Euler), Monday, 13 May 2019 16:13 (one week ago) Permalink

How come 24 hour

calstars, Monday, 13 May 2019 16:32 (one week ago) Permalink

listening to Zep III right now, it seems to be a mirror image of Presence: it's a sentimental album, from the simultaneous joy & horror of the conquering horde, to the mellow jams of side 2. Whereas Presence detaches from all this, leaving only unit structures

L'assie (Euler), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 16:57 (one week ago) Permalink

what lovely sentences!

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 16:59 (one week ago) Permalink

Wilhelm Worringer, "Abstraction and Empathy", 1908. Abstraction is "to wrest the object of the external world out of its natural context, out of the unending flux of being, to purify it of all its dependence upon life, i.e. of everything about it that was arbitrary, to render it necessary and irrefragable, to approximate it to its absolute value.’’

L'assie (Euler), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 17:00 (one week ago) Permalink

this is how I hear Presence

L'assie (Euler), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 17:00 (one week ago) Permalink

otm

Lil' Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 18:59 (one week ago) Permalink

when I called the album inhuman & alien & algebraic earlier, I meant that the music is rushing with expression, saying many things, and yet it’s inscrutable until “Tea For One”, whose perfect polycarbonate blues reveals profound human longing. Is that what the rest is expressing? Longing has plasticity, filtered through the drugs, the exhaustion, eight years gone. Or instead simply reaching through that, to try to express something new.

still processing this / trying to respond

but do want to thank you for the initial revive which inspired my re-listening to "presence" and then "station to station" which was a big breakthrough for me because i worship bowie but never really "got" that record until just a few days ago

listening to HOTH now, both "the song remains the same" and "no quarter" seem to anticipate "presence"

budo jeru, Tuesday, 14 May 2019 22:19 (one week ago) Permalink

you guys this is such a great revive

Regarding this quality of remoteness or abstraction, I think it gets after something essential about Zeppelin which is anticipated not just on HOTH but from the very beginning. There's a prevailing misapprehension among their detractors (but a lot of fans too) that because they trafficked in traditions that are predominantly "expressive" (blues) or more broadly "communicative" (folk) that these qualities are what they, too, wanted to forward. But the mission from the outset was sonic. This is what sets them so far apart from everybody else. On record, anyway, their heaviest, most experimental, most inventive contemporaries—Hendrix or Cream or whatever—are still prioritizing some compact with the listener that has to do with the given trope, whereas with Zeppelin even the most brazen dilletante blues or cod-folk is *not* Freedom Rock. It is rather sculptural, framed, finished. It's sound-qua-sound, art rock.

And while it's true that there were smart business reasons not to release singles, or edit for radio, or put the band's name on the sleeves, or tour with opening acts, I believe this was Page's real motivator in all those choices: it wasn't a statement that they were better than anyone else (although they knew they were) but a category factor. You couldn't just *have* them—any more than you can "have" something screwed onto on pedestal or mounted on a gallery wall.

d'ILM for Murder (Hadrian VIII), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 23:34 (one week ago) Permalink

that's a good point; that Zep's accomplishments stem from their being blues posers.

L'assie (Euler), Wednesday, 15 May 2019 16:57 (one week ago) Permalink

Accomplishments stem from high quality music from the very first album on...

nicky lo-fi, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 17:23 (one week ago) Permalink

It is rather sculptural, framed, finished. It's sound-qua-sound, art rock.

this is really getting to something that i've felt for a long time about lz; they really have much less in common with mayall, clapton, et al. than they do with george martin and the beatles. page's studio wizardy has been remarked upon at length, but rarely is it acknowledged as more or less the core of the project -- instead it's more along the lines of, hey, how fortunate they had this dude to bulk up / amplify their sick chops and killer riffs. i don't really buy that.

i think, at its core, what this musical project does is necessitate that performance and sonics are inextricably linked. the arc of the riff and the tone of the guitar that plays it are the same sonic unit, as it were. in that way the organizing principle of a led zeppelin song is not its lyric, or its melody, and rarely is the quality of the songwriting (in the traditional sense) a major concern for me as a listener. rather, what i hear is the effect, the sound, created by the constitute units of riff-tone, drum pattern-sound, etc. -- all of which in turn are essentially the products of a studio process that selects and then isolates specific idioms or gestures them from the earlier, deeply rich socio-cultural contexts of various folk and black popular musics (page, whatever he might say to the contrary, is basically anti-historicist), and it's precisely this process of separation, fetishization, and distillation that is the core of the musical endeavor. since worringer has been quoted, allow me to make the analogy that picasso's cubist paintings are not exactly "in dialogue" with west african folk art objects. i think that in much the same way, led zeppelin deliberately failed to work "in the tradition" -- in fact, if my observations are correct, they were inherently incapable of doing so since their project relied on a specific kind of presentation -- which is what i think hadrian is otm about.

i want to relate this back to "presence" but i don't have time right now !

budo jeru, Thursday, 16 May 2019 19:43 (one week ago) Permalink

I have nothing quite as sophisticated as any of the last several posts to say, although they are quite good posts, but whenever I revisit Achilles and really a lot of Zeppelin's work I'm struck by the fact that they are thought of as pure "cock rock" and yet the lyrics (to one of the heaviest songs ever recorded) are actually fairly sweet and not very macho:

Oh, the fun to have
To live the dreams we always had
Oh, the songs to sing
When we at last return again

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 16 May 2019 20:41 (one week ago) Permalink

^ i do like the tenderness of those lyrics

budo jeru, Tuesday, 21 May 2019 05:56 (three days ago) Permalink

"Hots on for Nowhere" is easily one of Zep's best 10 songs.

― darin (darin), Monday, February 6, 2006 3:55 PM (thirteen years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Totally agree.

I'm trying to imagine the people whose first introduction to Zeppelin was this album, and how they'd view the remainder of their catalogue. Would they have preferred the most "Presence"-esque tracks like "The Wanton Song", "Wearing and Tearing", and "Out on the Tiles" as if they were on the record ("Wow - more songs dominated by tight bass-kick-guitar interplay!"), or found them to be far too ornamented, preferring the "real thing" instead? What about the more straight-ahead rockers like "Communication Breakdown", "Hot Dog", or "Rock and Roll" (which are surprisingly scarce in their catalogue - it's wild how many of their "traditional" blues-rock tunes have at least one major time change, key change, or instrumental-based bridge that can almost be its own song - see "Black Dog", "Heartbreaker", "Whole Lotta Love")? I'm guessing they'd be all about the epics like "Kashmir" and "In My Time of Dying", yet find the slower bluesy stuff found on the early records to be a bit boring (except for "Since I've Been Loving You", which stands out from that group with its musical complexity), but who knows?

I'd especially love to hear their perceptions of the more bucolic Fairport Convention-style tracks ("Going to California", "Battle of Evermore", "Bron-yr-Aur") that are about as far from "Presence" tracks as possible, or their more eccentric regular-length songs like "The Ocean", "The Song Remains the Same", or "Down By The Seaside"?

The big question, of course, is how would they have responded to "In Through the Out Door", especially if they didn't hear it until after consuming the rest of their oeuvre?

(Or better yet, what if "ITtOD" was their first Zep!?)

Prefecture, Wednesday, 22 May 2019 20:27 (two days ago) Permalink

LZ's riff that they use as the intro for "Tea for One" had been around for a while. They used it to open a few different songs live.

earlnash, Wednesday, 22 May 2019 23:30 (two days ago) Permalink

I’ve been thinking about that intro riff a lot lately! It’s such a damn shame they couldn’t get an entire song out of it.

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Wednesday, 22 May 2019 23:39 (two days ago) Permalink

I think every garage band has one riff that they think is pretty cool that they never figure out where else to go.

earlnash, Wednesday, 22 May 2019 23:54 (two days ago) Permalink

“Soft Enfolding Spreads,” by the Howling Hex, is sort of a song-length mutant offshoot of the “Tea for One” riff.

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Thursday, 23 May 2019 01:37 (yesterday) Permalink


(Or better yet, what if "ITtOD" was their first Zep!?)


The first Zep song I loved was Carouselambra. Taped it off of some classic rock station when I was a kid and was obsessed with it. For a while, Physical Graffiti and ITtOD were my favorites. Weirdly, I’d never gotten around to Presence until reading this thread. There are songs I’d never heard. Almost like finding a lost recording.

beard papa, Thursday, 23 May 2019 03:11 (yesterday) Permalink

I'd heard the first two albums, but the first Zep thing I bought was Coda because it was in the cassette rack at the local drug store ca. 1984. So I was well-acquainted with the ITTOD outtakes on side two long before I heard Presence which might explain why it never seemed that bizarre to me. It is a less-immediate record than most of their catalogue, certainly - less obvious hooks - but I don't think it's that surprising from the band who previous released stuff like "Four Sticks" and some of the tracks on Physical Graffiti (Sick Again, The Rover, even Trampled Under Foot and Kashmir).

lingereffect (Kent Burt), Friday, 24 May 2019 04:32 (three hours ago) Permalink


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