Category: Music

1974, Music

Introducing The Eleventh House With Larry Coryell (1974)

This is fusion very much in the Mahavishnu Orchestra mode. In fact, listening to the opening of “Birdfingers,” you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking this was the Mahavishnu Orchestra itself, or perhaps Jeff Beck and the Jan Hammer Group, or something like that. As jazz fusion goes, a lot of it is very much on …

2010, Music

The Element Choir at Rosedale United (2010)

It must be hard to be in the art music field these days. Sure, you’ve got a world of genres to play with – most of them unknown or nonexistent in the recent past – but sometimes having too much choice is worse than having little choice. (Actually, that’s true a lot of the time.) …

1993, Music

Motherscratcher (1993) by Ed Hall

This is the kind of music I really like: sloppy, noisy music played by a band that could be more professional if they wanted to, but they don’t want to. There is one song in particular that hints at their chops in a really exciting way and I wish there was more of that particular …

1995, Music

As the World (1995) by Echolyn

When I was in my very late teens and early 20s, I absolutely loved prog rock. And I think that, had I heard Echolyn then, I probably would have loved them; I probably wouldn’t have cared about the things that now cause me to be concerned about this kind of music. Because this record satisfies …

1997, Music

The Divine Wings of Tragedy (1997) by Symphony X

Dream Theater remains the only prog metal band I’ve listened to on the progressive side of the spectrum. And I can’t help but hearing their (massive) influence here, for good or ill. (This includes at least one reference in the lyrics to the only Dream Theater album I know well, and I’m sure there are …

1987, Music

Shaka Zulu (1987) by Ladysmith Black Mombazo

By my rough count, this is Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s 23rd album but, according to much of the world, it’s their first, as it’s the first one produced by a famous (white) singer-songwriter and it’s the first one they released after appearing on his record (as part of Simon’s violation of the apartheid boycott, which is …

1987, Music

At My Window (1987) by Townes Van Zandt

Though I know of the legend of Townes, I’ve seen the documentary and I’ve heard a fair number of songs through covers, this is only the second album of his I’ve ever managed to get to. And so I cannot evaluate it against his other records,except for the one I’ve heard. That one, his debut, …

1982, Music

Milo Goes to College (1982) by Descendents

This is the point where hardcore starts to lose me: where the virtues of the genre are starting to give way to things more common to earlier punk or the later skate punk. It is very clearly the bridge between early hardcore and skate punk/pop punk but I don’t know that this is a thing …

1982, Music

Back from Samoa (1982) by Angray Samoans

I feel like I’ve listened to a fair amount of offensive music in my time but this record is right up there. If you’ve ever wondered where the “piss off at all costs” aesthetic of some bands comes from, it might be from Angry Samoans. Though Gwar and Anal Cunt sound nothing like this band, …

1977, Music

Two Sevens Clash (1977) by Culture

Though I find myself with some vestige of my childhood superstitions – I still knock on wood, unfortunately – I have fought my whole adult life to rid myself and my life of superstitions as much as possible. So I found the Mayan apocalypse stuff to be utterly ridiculous and I find every single fringe …

1977, Music

Police and Thieves (1977) by Junior Murvin

The thing I like more about Junior Murvin’s debut album, Police and Thieves, compared to some other Lee Perry-produced reggae albums from this period (1977 in particular) is that Murvin is more of a songwriter than some of his contemporaries. The songs are more memorable to me, not just because of the hooks – as …

1977, Music

Herat of the Congos (1977)

On account of my podcast, I am finding myself immersed in 1977 reggae right now more than I could ever have imagined. And so I’m learning more about reggae than I have wanted to for some time. (I imagined myself becoming a reggae/dub fan in my early ’20s – what white male young adult doesn’t? …

1977, Music

Equal Rights (1977) by Peter Tosh

Here’s my hot take: Peter Tosh is a way better lyricist than his former band-mate, and much more famous person, Bob Marley. I’ll make a possibly more preposterous claim, based on my ignorance of reggae in general: Tosh is one of the best lyricists in the history of reggae and, to my ears, the only …

1977, Music

Cluster and Eno (1977)

This record definitely finds Eno and Cluster at a sort of middle ground, the kind of middle ground you might imagine if you had heard Cluster’s records and heard Discreet Music, or Eno’s other more electronic stuff. Coming back to this after you’ve heard any of the Ambient series, the music is notable for being …

1972, Music

Neu! (1972)

Neu!’s debut album finds them stuck somewhere between the early electronic explorations of Tangerine Dream – and, I presume, early Kraftwerk, the band Neu! split off from, which I have never heard – and the motorik of CAN and Faust and bands like that. It’s an odd juxtaposition that I might struggle with were it …

1967, Music

Nina Simone Sings the Blues (1967)

Simone’s second of three albums in 1967 was her first for a new label and one wonders if that had a lot to do with the rather drastic left-turn on this record. As you can tell from the title, this is a blues record, where influence on her sound was rather muted on the previous …

2016, Music

Undestroyed (2016) by Free Salamander Exhibit

Even before listening to this record, the evocation of the former band is perhaps a little too overt. Not only does the artwork of the album recall Sleepytime Gorilla Museum but look at these band names: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum Free Salamander Exhibit People as creative as these guys are need to change up the format …

1977, Music

The Belle Album (1977) by Al Green

Though not an Al Green fan, I have been spending a little bit of time with him over the past few years on account of my podcast. At this point, it’s enough to almost think of myself of an Al Green aficionado, if not an actual fan. (Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great singer, …

1967, Music

Pandemonium Shadow Show (1967) by Nilsson

I have been avoiding (Harry) Nilsson since I became aware of him through the Beatles (Lennon and McCartney were big fans). I guess I avoided him because of previous experiences of music the Beatles were fans of. And, well, I knew he was poppy, and for most of my life I have not been into …

1967, Music

Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)

I was not alive when Leonard Cohen was a minor Canadian poet and not a singer-songwriter so I don’t know what kind of shock it would have been for us Canadians to hear this record. But I can speculate; I suspect it was greeted in some quarters with sneers though it might be hard to …

1967, Music

Wild Honey (1967) by The Beach Boys

I am not sure anything could have prepared me for this record, a bizarre left turn from Pet Sounds and Smiley Smile (and Smile presumably) in terms of ambition and overall sound, but also in some ways a logical follow up to Smiley Smile‘s bizarre lo-fi aesthetic. The first record the rest of the band …

1967, Music

Mr. Fantasy (1967) by Traffic

Traffic is one of those bands I’ve come at bass-ackwards, being way too familiar with their jazz rock reunion iteration and not very familiar with the original psychedelic rock band. It’s a stupid way of approaching any band, but particularly one that changed its identity as much as as Traffic did.