Tag: Alternative Rock

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 …

1993, Music

Where You Been (1993) by Dinosaur Jr

There’s a part of me that listens to this and thinks “it’s another Dinosaur Jr. record, you shouldn’t rate it this high!” I have this obsession with artists who evolve. When artists don’t evolve (enough) I used to dock them points (as if they cared). The older I get, the less I care about this, …

1987, Music

The Lion and the Cobra (1987) by Sinead O’Connor

I get why this record was such a big deal when it came out: in 1987 it seemed rare that someone with such a distinctive voice comes along, who writes her own songs, and who seems like her artistic personality is already fully formed.But I think that, in retrospect, that view says more about 1987 …

1997, Music

So Much for the Afterglow (1997) by Everclear

I don’t know this band save for “Wonderful” so I cannot tell you whether the Beach Boys-esque opening to the title track is a giant left turn or not. If it is, that’s brave of them. But, for those of us who do not know this band, it’s the wrong note to start the album. …

1987, Music

Strangeways, Here We Come

To say I dislike The Smiths would be an understatement. I don’t hate them so much as I hate the aura around them and this idea that they somehow saved British music from itself (and synthesizers! don’t forget the synthesizers), almost like a younger, hipper Bruce Springsteen (because Springsteen saved rock music from disco, don’t …

1987, Music

Earth Sun Moon (1987) by Love and Rockets

I love Bauhaus and, initially, I think I found it hard to get into these guys simply because they are not Bauhaus, which is unfair. It’s unfair because these guys are very much their own band, particularly with the wind instruments. (By the way, that flute solo is hilariously Ian Anderson, who I would have …