Tag: Alternative Rock

1999, Music

The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (1999) by Ben Folds Five

For most of my adult life I’ve been only vaguely aware of Ben Folds and his band. I think he had a hit or two I heard of and many years ago I managed to listen to their reunion album but it apparently made no impression on me. Despite sort of bemoaning the death of …

1994, Music

Troublegum (1994) by Therapy?

When I first heard “Knives” I thought “YES!” and figured I had just found a new favourite band. But that track turns out to be the album’s most immediate track – it’s a smart thing to lead off with in some respects but a bad idea in others.

1999, Music

14:59 (1999) by Sugar Ray

I hated Sugar ray. I hate “Fly.” I hate “Every Morning.” I hate Mark McGrath’s flat singing and his fame-whoring. I hated their super poppy “fusion” thing which seemed like some weird kind of experiment of what would happen if a generic “alternative” pop rock band tried to incorporate hip hop like it was nu …

1998, Music

Supposed Form Infatuation Junkie (1998) by Alanis Morissette

My biggest problem with Jagged Little Pill is its faux grunge (what we would now call post grunge) production; there’s this veneer of trying to make Alanis fit in with alternative rock bands, but it’s clearly the work of someone who was never in an alternative rock band and is just trying to create a …

1998, Music

1965 (1998) by The Afghan Whigs

I did not particularly enjoy the critically acclaimed Gentlemen and I think so much of that has to do with when I heard it, in my late 30s. I suspect had I heard it when I was, say, 22, I might have really liked it a lot. It’s still a fine record but, as a …

1993, Music

Gentlemen (1993) by The Afghan Whigs

Expectations are a terrible thing. I had none the first time I listened to this record. But, not really getting how it had made it on to my list of major album anniversaries for October 1993, I looked it up and started reading all the praise out there. So by the second time I listened …

1988, Music

Ultramage OK (1988) by Soundgarden

Chris Cornell apparently didn’t like the production of their debut and I must say that, as someone who is really familiar with their ’90s efforts, this doesn’t sound like Soundgarden to me. Even Cornell himself doesn’t quite sound like himself. I’m not sure how much that can be blamed on the production, how much it …

1998, Music

El Oso (1998) by Soul Coughing

Members of Soul Coughing are quoted in The Secret History of Rock, the pre-internet guide to weird and rarely heard rock music which was my bible for a long time. I made it my mission to listen to all the bands that were featured in that book, but I also made it my mission to …

1998, Music

Is This Desire? (1998) by PJ Harvey

If you spend too much time reading music magazines – do people still do that? – or you spend too much time on the internet, it’s tempting to see Is This Desire? as the flip side of The Boatman’s Call, or a direct response to it or some combination of the two. The easiest thing …

1993, Music

Judgment Night Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1993)

I know this record was a big deal to fans of these bands at the time, but I had literally no idea about it until an anniversary of it maybe 5 years ago. I had low expectations, despite how many of these rock bands I like.

1993, Music

Cure for Pain (1993) by Morphine

The thing that makes Morphine so unique is, in some ways, the thing that keeps them from ever being a band that I will truly love. That’s not their fault, of course, but it does make them one of those bands who I like more or less depending upon the quality of their songs.

1998, Music

Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998) by Liz Phair

Phair is a strong songwriter, she writes catchy songs with lyrics that are above average. (I often liken her to PJ Harvey at times, given both have a penchant for writing lyrics from the perspective of other people. Sure, many lyricists do that but they are explicit about it.)

1998, Music

Scraps at Midnight (1998) by Mark Lanegan

I got really annoyed with Lanegan’s Blues Funeral (which came out a while ago now) because of its title. I got annoyed because the title referenced the blues and the record didn’t much, as if I had some kind of deeper knowledge of the blues than Lanegan does. But I read a quote from him …

1998, Music

Stunt (1998) by Barenaked Ladies

You can count me among the many (millions?) of Canadians who were shocked by the success of this record in the USA when it came out. To me, Barenaked Ladies were a comedy novelty act who had some funny songs and videos, which I had mostly grown out of by the time this record came …

1998, Music

The Good Will Out (1998) by Embrace

I am listening to this record for the third time, and about to talk about it on my music anniversaries podcast, and I’m wondering why the hell I bothered. I don’t like it, nobody requested it and it isn’t really a big deal, is it?

1998, Music

Leitmotif (1998) by dredg

Apparently these guys were Nu Metal once upon a time. You can sometimes hear that in the vocals – without actually knowing anything about Linkin Park, I’d say I hear a similarity in the way this guy sings – but on the whole the idea that this was a Nu Metal band on their EPs …

1998, Music

A Thousand Leaves (1998) by Sonic Youth

The first track makes me think of their early music, even though I haven’t heard anything earlier than their earlier than their fourth album, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. But anyway the opening makes it sound like they’ve gone more experimental. (Actually a few tracks do.)

1988, Music

Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (1988) by Camper Van Beethoven

Perhaps for the first time they acknowledge their debt to Kaleidoscope by covering a song Kaleidoscope covered (“O Death”). If I didn’t think these guys were the ’80s College Rock Kaleidoscope before, I do now.

1993, Music

Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993) by Depeche Mode

At this point I have heard enough synthpop (and enough Depeche Mode) to understand how this record breaks from that tradition (much like the previous record, Violator, also does), and so I feel like I might actually have something decent to say about it, unlike when I first listened to Violator.

1988, Music

Life’s Too Good (1988) by The Sugarcubes

For Bjork fans coming to this after listing to her solo career, this album feels like a bit of glimpse into Bjork in utero: her voice is already fully formed and distinct but much of the other stuff that make Bjork Bjork seems missing or replaced by a rock band which sometimes has a male …