Kicking Against the Pricks (1986) by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Categories: 1986 and Music.

This is a diverse album of covers, from blues songs to folk and country songs to more mainstream pop songs to a Velvet Underground cover. And the performances are equally diverse, including some really out there versions of some of these songs (see “Hey Joe.” for instance) The problem for me is that sometimes they really alter the song and sometimes they do a fairly faithful version. It feels schizophrenic to my ears and I wish they had committed to radical versions of all of the songs, not just some of them. This is the least essential Bad Seeds album Read More

White Light From the Mouth of Infinity (1991) by Swans

Categories: 1991 and Music.

I have only ever heard one Swans album previously, and I have seen them live once. The cumulative result of that was that I think I can say that they are a band that is an acquired taste and that is more impressive (if not likable) live. This record completely changed my mind. I respect Children of God but I don’t know that I like it…yet. I also respect a band that can be so loud that I wanted earplugs over 100m from the stage while I was outdoors (!). But I don’t know that I like that either. (They Read More

Juju (1981) by Siouxsie and the Banshees

Categories: 1981 and Music.

I quite liked Kaleidoscope but this record takes that sound to its logical conclusion, creating something that is simultaneously dark and post-punky and also bright and shimmering. They really found a unique spin on British post punk that no other band (that I’m aware of) really had. Of the records I’ve heard of theirs, this is the best, I think it’s pretty clear – consistent songs and an impressive display of a signature sound. As an aside: it’s kind of a crime that The Edge is utterly adored the world over for his okay guitar playing and obsession with effects Read More

Tinderbox (1986) by Siouxsie and the Banshees

Categories: 1986 and Music.

The Banshees strike this weird balance where they pair a (relatively) bright sound with lyrics that wouldn’t necessarily fit with that sound. It’s not that the sound is particularly bright, it’s just bright for the genre, and I always find it a little disorienting when I first hear one of their records. The songs are pretty good and the sound is appealing dense (even though, if you listen closely, there aren’t that many overdubs, it just feels like there are). I guess the only thing that’s keeping me from liking this more is a sense of deja vu, that it’s Read More

Faith (1981) by The Cure

Categories: 1981 and Music.

Like many, I came to The Cure through their singles. I got their excellent compilations of their first decades and…I stopped. For some reason, I haven’t dug deeper, as I have with nearly every other band I discovered when I was younger. I don’t know why. I guess I sort of assumed they were a singles band, whether or not that’s true. Listening to this album, it sure sounds like they are a singles band. The only memorable songs are the singles. There are a couple indistinguishable instrumentals. Smith sure hasn’t provided a lot of memorable music. But just as Read More

Suspiria (1993) by Miranda Sex Garden

Categories: 1993 and Music.

This band seem to have stumbled upon something pretty unique, in their mix of “angelic” vocals borrowed from the western classical tradition and alternative rock. It’s pretty hard to pin down. It also feels like it came out of nowhere. But, on the other hand, the production isn’t particularly great and the “mantra” style of singing (for lack of a better word) means the lyrics are a little lacking. But, for the most part, a unique and great record. 8/10 Read More

The Golden Age of the Grotesque (Nothing 2003) by Marilyn Manson

Categories: 2003 and Music.

When an artist resorts to cheerleaders its hard to know what to think. Occasionally it can work and be funny. Most of the time it is ridiculous. The same might be said for nonsense lyrics. If you are going to scat, you should be able to sing. Singing was never Manson’s strength but he used to be able to overcome that with a least somewhat interesting music. I have seen “Freaks” too, but I don’t feel the need to sing about it. 5/10 Read More

Eat Me, Drink Me by Marilyn Manson (2007 Interscope)

Categories: 2007 and Music.

So I guess this is sort of a solo album since apparently there is no band any more. The guitarist is actually pretty good. It’s too bad he writes music that sounds like HIM gone new new wave. This is one of the more crass attempts I have seen to change up a sound to stay commercially relevant. It is pretty terrible except for that guitarist. He fucking sings about vampires. Jesus. 3/10 Read More

Holy Wood by Marilyn Manson (2000 Nothing)

Categories: 2000 and Music.

This is definitely rawer than Mechanical Animals and so it’s easier to take. But there are more ballads, a disturbing trend. And his lyrics are getting worse and worse (or maybe the music is becoming less interesting and I am paying too much attention to the lyrics). But I still prefer it to Mechanical Animals and everything else post-Antichrist Superstar. 6/10 Read More

Smells Like Children by Marilyn Manson (Nothing 1995)

Categories: 1995 and Music.

First of all, this is not an “EP” though it is regarded by many (fortunately not Rateyourmusic) as such. EPs were specific things back in the days of vinyl and they had less time than a LP. I wish this was an EP. It might actually be good if it was an actual EP. But it’s not. Instead it is a mix of three or four separate things: some remixes (which are inferior to – and seemingly longer than – the original songs in most of the cases), a bunch of covers (most of which are good and one of Read More

Portrait of an American Family by Marilyn Manson (Interscope 1994)

Categories: 1994 and Music.

Manson is often compared to Cooper but listening to this album I think that’s not particularly fair. Manson is significantly scarier than Cooper (even if he isn’t scary) but, more importantly, the band is more musically interesting than Cooper’s. Cooper was just doing arena rock with a spooky stage show. Here, at least, the music (and the vocals) sound vaguely spooky too. In fact, at some points the guitarist sounds like he’s channeling a poor man’s Adrian Belew, which is at least interesting, if nothing else. So yeah I was pleasantly surprised by the overall musicality of this and the Read More