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Monday, September 22, 2008

I should get back to work, indeed. Enjoy these two videos just pulled out from You-Know-Where.

Have a great day!

Drama (Atlantic, 1980)
1980 found Yes on the verge of collapse and a nervous breakdown. Jon Anderson had not sang an impressive note since 1974's Relayer, Rick Wakeman started to make fans fall asleep, the last sessions of Yes featuring Jon Anderson and produced by Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, Cars) didn't work at all. Dead end for one of the most important progressive bands in England.

Like AC/DC, on the same year, Yes lost its vocalist and faced its future with a big question mark. Anderson quit to work with Vangelis and move further into New Age music (just to come back, three years later, with his tail between his legs). Rick Wakeman, the keyboard virtuoso, also left the band again, for the second time, after noticing that the last two albums were trashed by critics and rejected by the public saleswise. Alan White, the drummer, stayed with the band, so did Steve Howe, the amazing guitar player. But there was more to come for this band in crisis, even though Chris Squire, bass player and founder, was shitting milk with rage.
Enter the Buggles: Trevor Horn, guitar-vocalist-producer and Geoff Downes, keyboardist. The Age Of Plastic, released in 1979, put them in the spotlight of the new wave with that sweet single called "Video Killed The Radio Star." Trevor Horn presented a track to Chris Squire... and he was hired immediately as the new vocalist for the next Yes album and tour. He was needed, come on.
Drama was skeptically received by fans. They actually were expecting a better album than Tormato, but with the same classic line-up of Anderson, Squire, Wakeman, Howe and White. What they got was a warp into the new wave, an update just like Pink Floyd's with The Wall in 1979. Yes, like the Floyd, were no longer dinosaurs, damn it -Now they are, sorry.
The 1980 Yes tour was a total sold out and it's still the top grossing tour the band ever had. Thanks to Trevor Horn (who's a top-of-the-line producer) and Geoff Downes who helped with his synthesizer to update the band and make it more approachable to what people's ears were listening to in those days. Drama was the combination of Squire, Howe and White's experience and the freshness and vision of Horn and Downes. It was a volatile mix that wouldn't last more than six months, but hey, it worked and we love to hear it over and over. In vinyl, it couldn't sound more amazing.

Drama passed the test of time and now it's a classic album. I still remember a friend of mine, back in college, who admired this record as the greatest 80's LP. I can agree with him if, and only if there weren't so many good records released after 1980. It is, however, a landmark in sound production, sending us into the amazing landscape Roger Dean painted for the cover and which is now exhibited at the San Francisco Art Exchange Gallery (458 Gearty Street, San Francisco, CA).

Yes, aftershock:
90125 (Atco, 1983): "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," the biggest Yes hit single, is
included here. According to Iñaki Gorraiz, spanish filmmaker: "Trevor Rabin, the new guitar player, saved the band." The title refers to the catalog number and, if they weren't creative titlewise, they did an excellent job with "Leave It," setting the sound ready for something called... MTV.
Big Generator (Atco, 1987): According to Javier Moreno, peruvian music buff: "Yes, he saved the band. But Big Generator is the first approach to the cheesyness Yes would be experimenting in the nineties. Thanks to Rabin and Anderson's bucolic vision of life. Key track: "Shoot High, Aim Low."
Union (Arista, 1991), Talk (Victory, 1994): Unnecesary Yes, these records are either a no-no or a maybe. The first one was an attempt of cheating on the audience trying to make them believe that the nine most important members of Yes were playing together. Actually, there were more extra session musicians than in any other Yes record. Shame on them. Talk is plainly boring.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Querido Jorge,

Hoy, de estar aquí, hubieras cumplido 64 años. Como tu decias: ¿Hermano voy a cumplir 64? ,Te preocupaba mucho el paso de los años y esas cosas. El Sábado (osea ayer) hubiésemos estado en tu casa los amigos de siempre, allí (par recibir las 12) para escuchar música, tomar uno que otro trago y lo mejor estar contigo y escucharte hablar de lo que nos gusta ELVIS!! Nunca olvidaré las veladas en tu casa.

¡¡FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS JORGITO,en verdad te extrañamos!!

Tus amigos del Official Forever Elvis Presley Fan ClubLima-Perú.
Y nosotros en CacaoRock lo extrañamos mucho también.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pilot: Never believe it's not so...

YouTube is like the ocean. Thousands of terabytes of information go back and forth, uploaded, downloaded, traded, commented and becoming in some cases extremely popular. When it first appeared in 2005 I thought I was in heaven, watching videos I haven't seen in years and discovering new ones. For new ones we have the usual channels. This website is about the old, the forgotten, the good old music you thought you wouldn't hear or you might consider giving a shot. Therefore, here's the first volume of personal selections from the vast ocean of videos that Youtube is.

Volume I: The music videos dusted by CacaoRock.

Special thanks to all the guys and girls who posted these beauties. A raspberry to MTV/Viacom, NBC, Warner and all those big companies who force YouTube to remove these videos because of copyright infrigment. Hey, the video quaility is so poor it shouldn't be considered a "copy"! Anyway, it's a nice way to go back in time.

Let's start with Red Rider, a band led by Tom "Life Is A Highway" Cochrane. "Lunatic Fringe," I know you're out there:

To be a kid and to be in love. To be travelling through the cosmos in a spaceship! Robin Gibb knew about the average teenage guy's emotions in this song called "Boys Do Fall In Love." If you weren't a kid in the 80's, you wouldn't understand.

Rocky Burnette, son of Johnny, precursor of the Kid Rock lookalike, singing an extremy catchy tune, "Tired of Toein' The line."

And of course, Pilot performing "Magic" on Top of The Pops, 1974. There was a time when TV showed really good music, not "reality:"

You've seen the videos. Now get the music.

Monday, September 15, 2008

El tecladista de Pink Floyd, Richard Wright, puede ser el pianista inglés más influyente de la historia del rock. Entre 1967 y 1979, su sonido acomodó los demás elementos de Pink Floyd creando una maravillosa sinfonía cósmica, a veces introspectiva e inocente y muchas veces desoladora.

Fundador de la banda junto al ya fallecido Syd Barrett, Wright participó en los momentos más ilustres de la evolución Floyd. En el disco estudio del doble Ummagumma se desplegó con una atonalidad que rayaba en la locura llamada "Sysyphus." Compuso "Summer of 68" para el Atom Heart Mother y nos impresionó con su voz delgada y fina junto a la del guitarrista David Gilmour en "Echoes," la grandísima canción natural del Meddle.

Pero serán para mí y para muchos más los álbumes Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here y Animals en donde veremos a Wright lucirse como tecladista, controlando dispositivos electrónicos capaces de hacernos volar al espacio, en el interior de un auto, en un vuelo trasatlántico, o echados en nuestra cama. Rick puede crear atmósferas etéreas basadas en simples acordes de piano como en "Us And Them," puede hacer que sus sintetizadores llamen al espíritu vivo -aunque alejado- de Barrett en "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" y crear ladridos artificiales que nos recuerdan nuestro propio salvajismo en el mundo moderno con la depresiva "Dogs." En todas las canciones de Floyd, su sonrisa y actitud relajada hacían que la banda no se salga de un cierto control humano, sensato, y evitar una desviación hacia la locura y el aislamiento total. Quizás fue por eso que Roger Waters, autoproclamado líder del grupo, expulsó a Wright de Pink Floyd en 1979, haciéndolo un músico de sesión. Su ego y arrogancia pudo más que el compañerismo de los cuatro y la presencia de un tecladista que en verdad fue la clave del sonido de la banda después de la partida de Syd Barrett en 1968.

Aquí lo tenemos a Richard Wright con Pink Floyd y su "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" llevándonos a la antigua Pompeya junto a Waters, Gilmour y el baterista Nick Mason. Su solo es indescriptible:

Richard Wright encontró la muerte hoy a los 65 años víctima del cáncer.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

september 5, 2008

oracle arena, oakland, california

La fanaticada de Nine Inch Nails, los adorables chicos y chicas neo góticos, pueden estar orgullosos al oir decir que su banda favorita es la más consistente y profesional en los escenarios de rock and roll de estos días. El concierto del 5 de Septiembre puede dar fé de ello. Nine Inch Nails tocó con una furia y precisión que nunca habíamos visto en un concierto de rock. En este caso, rock industrial.

Esta no es exactamente una banda que graba en estudios y sale a tocar los mismos temas con sus mismos integrantes. Nine Inch Nails es un proyecto de un solo hombre, Trent Reznor, quien compone, ejecuta, graba y produce los temas casi solo y luego escoge músicos de la escena industrial, les enseña a tocar sus temas (es definitivamente un buen maestro) y juntos los ejecutan en el escenario de manera punzante, firme, estridente. Pero la música que presenta Nine Inch Nails en el escenario es solo parte del show. Las imagenes y la escenografía intensifican la performance de la banda de manera brutal. Ruido blanco, nieve de TV, líneas de luz amarilla, símbolos que representan caos son mostrados con orden y precisión, como en el caso de "Vessel," en donde la banda es rodeada por mallas metálicas que sirven de pantallas mostrando imágenes que van de osciloscopios a bosques televisados. Llegaron "Closer," "March Of the Pigs" y "Hurt" del Downward Spiral -hasta ahora su obra maestra-, "Head Like A Hole," "Terrible Lie" de su primer album Pretty Hate Machine y hasta "Wish" de su EP Broken. Reznor tiene todo bajo control y nosotros disfrutamos el show y nos volvemos fans acérrimos de la banda, que aturde con precisión y gusto, con talento y furia interna que nos hace sentir confortables y complacidos, aunque la lírica de Reznor sale del fondo de un lago turbio de dolor.

NIN es un "grupo" triunfador en el rock estridente y a la vez un candidato de fuerza indiscutible para el Rock And Roll Hall of Fame del 2014.

Reznor ha revolucionado la forma de hacer dinero en la música rock. En vez de lloriquear como niños sin teta por las descargas ilegales en internet (como los quejones de Metallica), Reznor pone su disco The Slip en la página web de Nine Inch Nails para ser descargado gratis (http://www.nin.com/) y de paso, promover su gira y vender camisetas y demás mercadería. Su música será difundida con o sin regalías y Reznor lo sabe. Él también sabe que los fans de NIN se cuentan a montones y su estrategia podría ser una precursora para otros actos que están perdiendo dinero con contratos leoninos de enormes casas discográficas. Por lo que hemos visto y oído la noche del 5, esperamos que venga más NIN, mucho más.

Nine Inch Nails en Amazon.com:


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