1970, 1971, Music

Little Feat (1970)

I love Sailin’ Shoes. And I generally enjoy the albums that came after it (though not as much as Sailin’ Shoes, which is definitely a favourite of the ’70s). So this first record, the one everyone gets to after they become fans, came as a bit of a shock. (As it always does. Yes, I’m …

1964, 1966, Music

Lightfoot! (1966) by Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot was born in 1938. He was relatively old when he released his debut album. And, though this shouldn’t matter, it’s really apparent in 1966, when this was released. Because something happened in the early ’60s after Lightfoot began his career, while he was refining his style, recording his debut but, importantly, well before …

1990, Music

Gonna Make You Sweat (1990) by C+C Music Factory

There’s something about Martha Walsh almost shouting the hook to the title track of this record that just captures a very particular moment in time. I was 9 and I didn’t know what dance music was, let alone house. But I knew this song, like the rest of the planet. It was just inescapable. And …

1980, Music

Humans (1980) by Bruce Cockburn

Cockburn is one of those singer-songwriters I’ve taken my sweet time getting to, especially strange given his nationality. (Or perhaps that’s on purpose on my part.) This is only the second Cockburn album I’ve ever heard despite how prolific he is and despite his citizenship. (He is a bigger deal in my country, I suspect, …

1975, Music

Crack the Sky (1975)

The narrative about American prog in the ’70s that I grew up on is that American musicians heard British prog and got really excited about it but, without the classical education, they really didn’t know how to do it, save to include some jazz. And then some of them figured out that if they just …

1975, Music

Marcus Garvey (1975) by Burning Spear

Though I’m a little familiar with ’70s Reggae most of the stuff I’m familiar with pre ’75 centres around the Wailers – I’ve heard very little that wasn’t by someone associated with them. And so I can’t say I know much about the history of the genre outside of what they were doing. (I have …

1970, Music

Kingdom Come (1970) by Sir Lord Baltimore

I spent some time in a weird corner of the internet where people argued that this record and Warpig’s self-titled debut were just as important as music by Zeppelin, Purple and Black Sabbath. Before I get to the actual music on this record I do want to point out the following:

1970, Music

Lick My Decals Off, Baby (1970) by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band

There are people out there who are going to tell you that this is superior to Trout Mask Replica. And from an aesthetic perspective, I can see the case they’re making. (I mean, it’s more listenable for one.) But albums exist in time, as everything else does, and there’s just no getting around that this …

1970, Music

H to He Who Am the Only One (1970) by Van Der Graaf Generator

This has got to be the best-produced Van Der Graaf Generator record, at least among the albums of their first few eras. It’s clear and there are fewer instruments – or, rather, fewer effects on the instruments, I guess – and things don’t bleed together like they do on basically every other record this version …

1970, Music

Plastic Ono Band (1970) by Yoko Ono

Lennon’s half of this record is my favourite post Beatles album and I think one of the great singer songwriter records of the 1970s. The fact that they recorded this (with one exception) at the same time is a tribute Lennon’s versatility in addition to being a great testament to Yoko Ono’s musical talent. (What, …

1965, Music

The Village Fugs Sing Ballads of Contemporary Protest, Point of Views, and General Dissatisfaction (1965)

It’s kind of hard to understand how nuts this record was when it was recorded. Amateurism in popular music certainly existed before this record but it wasn’t a thing that most people were seeking out when their were professional records on offer. And it’s not like amateurism by itself is necessarily some kind of virtue …

1965, Music

Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965) by The Byrds

If I were asked to make a list of the most underrated rock bands of the 1960s, the Byrds might top that list. The average person in the 21st century has no idea how important they were in the evolution of music between 1965 and 1968. So it’s safe to say I’m a fan. But, …

1955, Music

Rock Around the Clock (1955) by Bill Haley and His Comets

It’s really hard to know what to do with this record. It’s one of the earliest rock and roll records to chart and it contains many of Haley’s early rock and roll songs, so it gives you a pretty good idea of their sound. But it is a compilation. Worse, it’s a compilation which contains Shake, …

1981, Movies

My Bloody Valentine (1981, George Mihalka)

I had suspect tastes when I was younger and cannot, for the life of me, figure out why I rated My Bloody Valentine 3D 5/10. Because, though this movie is bad – and it’s quite bad – I have a hard time believing it is worse than its remake, which I somehow rated 5/10. Does …

2019, Movies

Booksmart (2019, Olivia Wilde)

The “high school graduation party” movie has been done more than a few times. So has the “trying to find the big high school party” movie. And they’ve been combined, as they are in this film. But this movie has a new twist to the format: it’s girls, instead of guys, and they’re smart, and …

2007, Movies

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007, Cristian Mungiu)

This is an extraordinarily bleak film. You probably know it as the “Romanian abortion movie”. It’s a pretty extraordinary film despite its bleakness and is very close to being a masterpiece, in my opinion. If you haven’t seen it yet – it took me nearly 14 years for some reason – I would recommend it …

2019, TV

Country Music (2019)

This is an engrossing, thorough, occasionally moving and, for its first six episodes, authoritative history of country music. It follows the usual rhythms of a Ken Burns’ documentary, which is something I thoroughly enjoy, and has the usual strengths and weaknesses of his approach to storytelling.

2000, Music

Dopethrone (2000) by Electric Lizard

This is, from some accounts, the quintessential British doom metal record. I have no idea whether or not that’s true because I honestly didn’t know there were separate regional doom metal scenes before I read this album’s reviews. But, listening to it, I think I understand why.

2000, Music

Suburban Light (2000) by The Clientele

I often wonder about the historical perspectives (or lack therefore) of ’90s and ’00s music critics, particularly the young people. Because I often encounter highly acclaimed albums from these decades which sound to me as extremely derivative of other times and places. Sometimes it sounds like nostalgia, sometimes almost outright plagiarism but, regardless, I’m always …

2000, Music

The W (2000) by Wu-Tang Clang

One of the things I find strange about musical collectives – especially collectives with multiple vocalists – is what the vocalists get out of it. This is somehow my first ever Wu Tang record – I have heard multiple solo records by members, though – and I had no idea how many rappers are in …