The songwriting has improved here – the arrangements feel tighter and the hooks are arguably stronger. This is only the second record of theirs I’ve heard, so I’m not sure I can argue that it is their best (I believe it has that reputation) but if you are looking for 90s punk that still feels like punk (as opposed to some bleached, broish imitation of punk), this is where you should go looking for it. Good stuff. 8/10 Read More
I am generally opposed to albums dominated by “modern” (read: contemporary) instrumentation. I hate bad 80s (and 90s!) synthesizers and generally do not like music that is made primarily by these instruments. Things that sound modern once do not normally sound modern later and that is a huge issue with so much of the pop music that was made between the late 70s and early 90s. Read More
Konkova takes aim at a number of jazz standards and reinvents them and makes them her own. She makes them sound of a piece with her own compositions. And this is what I like about jazz: fresh interpretations of old music so that it sounds more modern, with plenty of improvisation to go around. (As one critic noted, Konkova doesn’t introduce the melody and then improvise – she starts improvising on these standards from the get go.) Read More
1977, Big Band, Bop, Cool, Cool Jazz, Jazz, Music, Post Bop, Post Free, and Progressive Big Band.
Perhaps it’s because I was just listening to Duets but this almost feels like a spiritual sequel to that album – Konitz’s band tackles a variety of jazz styles and performs them all very well. It’s compelling music and it’s easy for me to see why this is considered one of his better albums. Read More
I was actually looking for a different Konkova album when I found this. Being a pretty big fan of Joni Mitchell and not remembering why I was looking for Konkova (but generally liking piano jazz), I thought: this should be right up my alley. Read More
This is a weird combination of what sounds like super eccentric singer-songwriter solo stuff and music that is basically Van Der Graaf Generator. It’s an odd mix that I would find less appealing if I didn’t like Hammill or VDGG so much. It’s great that Hammill wrote so much so that even when the band was on hiatus he just had so much material. But one of the things I struggle with while listening to solo albums from the frontmen or songwriters of bands is when their solo music sounds too much like their band. That’s a weird problem to Read More
Though is definitely a pop soul version of the soul Ray Charles helped create, and though the backing vocals and syrupy strings date the record horribly, this album transformed two genres so drastically it’s probably hard to imagine either without it. Read More
When I was young, band reunions were thought of as really awful: just a bunch of washed up musicians trying to make money. But times have changed: reunions are now viewed as normal and often something to be cherished. I think I’ve changed too, I’ve grown up a bit. When I was young, I had no interest in seeing my favourite 70s bands reunited. I thought it was an awful idea. But now I recognize that this is a completely natural thing for people to want to do: to recapture the glory of lost youth. Sometimes it probably doesn’t work Read More
Because it was released half a decade after it was recorded, this album’s revolutionary status gets overlooked or ignored. Instead it’s Birth of the Cool this and Miles Davis’ Nonet that. And that praise is deserved. Those sides went a long way to establishing cool jazz, but this band was doing remarkably similar things at the same time. The one major difference is speed – Konitz and the other soloists play fast on a number of tracks, and that makes it sound more like bop (though if you listen to the rhythm section they sound significantly “cooler”) and so you Read More
1992, Alternative, Alternative Rock, Baggy, Madchester, Music, Noise Pop, and Shoegaze.
I should never read anything before I listen to a record, especially a record by a band I don’t love. I heard why they called it Honey’s Dead and suddenly my head was filled of dreams of reinvention. But no, it’s still very obviously The Jesus and Mary Chain. Only this time they’ve gone Madchester (I think). Read More
1992, Alternartive, Alternative Rock, Dream Pop, Music, Neo Psychedelia, and Shoegaze.
I thought I was getting shoegaze, and I do.. But there’s a lot of other stuff going on here that isn’t strict shoegaze. One of the things that I don’t love about some shoegaze is the relentless commitment to one particular style. But there’s enough variety here that I’m kept interested. Also, the songs are pretty good so it’s not just the wall of sound that is appealing. 7/10 Read More
1992, Comedy Rock, Crossover Thrash, Hard Rock, Hardcore Punk, Heavy Metal, Metal, Music, and Thrash Metal.
I must admit that my idea of GWAR and what they actually sound like were very far apart. In some ways they remind me of KISS, in the sense that they look significantly harder than they sound. Read More
Someone described this record as Prince’s White Album. This is only the second Prince album I’ve ever heard (I know, I know) but I still think that’s pretty apt. There’s a range of music here that is kind of incredible, especially given how much of the record he made himself. Read More
With guitar-based rock music decidedly out of fashion it is possible – probable? – that many people don’t understand how important Chuck Berry was to the music of the second half of the 20th century. But just because the electric guitar isn’t currently popular doesn’t mean it wasn’t the central vehicle for musical expression of the last 60 years, as it was: from the 1950s till very recently, if you wanted to form a band, someone in your band had to learn how to play guitar. That is because of Chuck Berry. Read More
Knussen: Horn Concerto, Whitman Settings, The Way to Castle Yonder, Flourish with Fireworks (1996) by Various Artists
1973, 1983, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, Modern Classical, Modern creative, Music, and Orchestral Music.
This is a collection of Knussen’s orchestral music. Read More
1967, Chamber Folk, Folk Pop, Music, Psychedelia, Psychedelic Folk, Psychedelic Pop, Singer Songwriter, and Sunshine Pop.
This feels like a transitional effort for Donovan. On the one hand there’s still some songs that feel like they could have been on Sunshine Superman (though they feel like outtakes to me) on the other and there are some more subdued singer-songwriter things that feel nearly completely at odds with his sort of “Swinging London onlooker” persona he seemed to cultivate. Read More
Little Richard’s debut makes Elvis’ records of the previous year look tame in comparison. Some of this is me listening to the remaster (I must have not listened to remasters of Elvis) but most of it just comes down to Little Richard himself. Though Elvis was far more adventurous in the music he covered (including multiple styles on his records well before that was a normal thing to do), even the rock and roll songs on those records feel reigned in compared to this stuff. Richard is just wild. Some of that is his singing but a lot of it Read More
Everything I read tells me this is the best album Richard Thompson made with his wife Linda. Perhaps that’s why it’s taking a while for this one to sink in. Read More
The most Iron Maiden of Iron Maiden albums, this is practically a greatest hits collection. Unlike their first two albums, this feels a little more mature or developed, though it’s also less novel sounding. Read More
There is so much post punk that sounds like other post punk (specifically, like Joy Division) that it can get exhausting. The Fall are one of the few British post punk bands to have charted a truly unique course. This is the earliest record of theirs I’ve heard and so, as far as I’m concerned, it’s probably their essential statement. Read More
I kind of dreaded listening to this record; I don’t love “She Blinded Me with Science” and always thought it was a gimmicky novelty number. So maybe it’s because my expectations were so damn low as to why I really like this. Read More
The opening of “Shellshock” made me think I was in for a crazy, crazy record. The chanting seemed so far outside of what I was expecting from metal from 1982, that suddenly I had all these expectations. Read More
Recorded before Low but released afterwards, The Idiot feels in many ways like the missing link between “The Berlin Trilogy” and Station to Station. Though it’s Iggy’s solo debut, it is the least Iggy Pop album he recorded, as far as I know. I do think the criticism that Bowie hijacked Iggy for his own ends is fair. Read More
1995, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2014, Concerti, Modern creative, Music, Orchestral Music, and Song Cycle.
This is a compilation of performances of some of Thomas’ writing for orchestra. I got this from the library by accident but decided to listen to it anyway. Read More
Higglety Pigglety Pop!; Where the Wild Things Are (2001) by the London Sinfonietta conducted by Oliver Knussen, starring Cynthia Buchan, Lisa Saffer et al
This disc features both of Knussen’s “children’s operas,” based on books by Maurice Sendak. Read More
1975, 1979, 1988, Chamber Music, Modern creative, Music, Orchestral, Orchestral Music, Post Serialist, and Symphony.
This is a compilation of a few of Knussen’s pieces, which, far as I can figure, are performed by three different ensembles, including an ensemble conducted by Knussen himself. Read More
The problem with hype is that it makes you have expectations that can never be met. And, for some reason, the the death of someone just makes this so much worse, but in retrospect. Once a beloved musician dies, everything they ever made becomes a masterpiece and must be held up as proof as the dead musician’s genius that was cut short by their death. Etc. I have been hearing about how amazing Elliott Smith is for probably 15 years. Fortunately for my expectations, I have been hearing less of that in the last 5-10 than in the first 5. Read More
A kinder, gentler Pavement. With hindsight I think we can say this is the first record where it really sounds like Malkmus is writing songs for himself, rather than the band. I’m not sure that’s fair, but I sure feel like this has more in common with his solo career than with Slanted and Enchanted. It’s still recognizably Pavement, but a far mellower one. Read More
I have not heard Cowboys from Hell but I have a hard time imagining that it’s significantly better than this onslaught of a record. I have no idea if this was is one of the first proper groove metal records (I doubt it) but, listening to it, it’s hard to imagine one that’s more definitive: with the exception of two semi-ballads that briefly suggest we’re in for a break (and then pummel us), this is wall to wall thrash metal with a groove (at times it actually sounds like Metallica with a groove). Also, I hear so many echoes of Read More
1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, Ambient, Ambient Techno, Compilation, Electronica, IDM, and Music.
I am familiar with electronic music up until a point – that point is somewhere in the very early 80s. I have no idea what happened between then and the music we have today (save for the odd track that gets played too much or turned into stadium music). Read More