Tag: Art Rock

1978, Music

Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (1978) by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band

For some reason, so much of my experience of Beefheart is tied up with Safe as Milk and Trout Mask Replica, and how the latter is such a huge departure from a former, that when I hear latter Beefheart records that are closer in spirit to his early work than Trout Mask Replica I’m not …

1968, Music

Shine On Brightly (1968) by Procol Harum

Procol Harum remind me of The Moody Blues in a way; not in terms of their sound but in terms of their place in the history progressive rock, and how it evolved. Both bands got in on the ground floor, which makes them pioneers, at the very least. But both also got in before progressive …

1973, Music

Boulders (1973) by Roy Wood

I had a Billboard book growing up, which was just a series of chronologies of bands. It was really quite boring but for some reason I ate it up; I read it front to back more than once. I think one of the things I found fascinating about it was all the recurring names from …

1978, Music

Peter Gabriel [Scratch] (1978)

Because of the nature of the collaboration – my favourite guitarist, Robert Fripp, produced this record – I had sort of viewed this record as the holy grail of early Peter Gabriel records, in spite of the lukewarm reviews. I had just assumed that, whenever I got to it, I would discover this incredible mixture …

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

A Bell Is a Cup Until It Is Struck (1988) by Wire

I am a long-time fan of both Pink Flag and especially Chairs Missing but have somehow never managed to get to any of their other material. Having not heard their first album after they reunited either, this is a surprise.

1998, Music

This Is Hardcore (1998) by Pulp

I think one of the things that distinguishes Pulp from their supposed contemporaries in Britpop is simply their experience – they’ve been making music so much longer than most of the other bands they’re lumped in with, they just know how to do things better. At least, that’s my theory as to why I like …

1983, Music

Porcupine (1983) by Echo and the Bunnymen

I really enjoyed Heaven Up Here and I perhaps had too-high expectations when I first listened to this record. The first time I heard it, I wasn’t feeling it. A lot of that had to do with listening to War for the first time in ages at the same time, as both records were released …

1998, Music

Mark Hollis (1998)

Given how world-changing the final Talk Talk albums were, I guess we could be forgiven that Holli’s solo debut (and only record to this point) would somehow also be world-changing. I think there’s a natural desire for us to believe that artistic innovators will always be innovative, and always to the degree that they were …

1978, Music

The Modern Dance (1978) by Pere Ubu

Imagine New Wave at its absolute quirkiest (i.e. Devo) and then add a dose of avant rock from the late 1960s and you get some vague idea of what Pere Ubu sounds like on their debut. All the herky jerky New Wave stuff is here but so are piercing noises, samples of who knows what, …

1982, Music

Music for a New Society (1982) by John Cale

I have read a lot (perhaps too much) about the way this album was made, and the rather drastic change in Cale’s method that was part of the process. Maybe reading about that created an image in my mind that this album does not live up to. If that’s so, it makes me sad.

1977, Music

I Robot (1977) by The Alan Parsons Project

When I was young and obsessed with prog rock, people used to make fun of me. They would learn I loved prog and they would be bemused or even a little shocked/outraged. And I was confused because I really liked the stuff. Eventually, I realized that those who made fun of my tastes were often …

1974, Music

The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage (1974) by Peter Hammill

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 …

1977, Music

The Idiot (1977) by Iggy Pop

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 …

1977, Music

Peter Gabriel [Car] (1977)

With hindsight, it feels like Gabriel had yet to really figure out who he wanted to be on his debut album. There are songs that sound a little sub-Genesis and then there are songs that sound like he is positioning himself as a sort of sub-David Bowie. Then there are tracks that sound sort of …

1980, Music

The Return of the Durutti Column (1980)

This is a really unique take on Post Punk, if it can even be called that, featuring expressive guitar playing over some pretty minimalist bass and drums (sometimes not even that). In fact, it’s more the era it was made in and the legendary post punk producer who supervised it that mark it out as …

1976

A New World Record (1976) by Electric Light Orchestra

Despite deciding I was going to get into ELO when I was 16 or 17, I never actually did. So I have no idea how this to compares to any of their other records.I believe this is supposed to be their best, or at least their most popular. Anyway…

1996, Music

Music from The Unrealized Film Script Dusk at Cubist Castle (1996) by The Olivia Tremor Control

This is a rather ridiculous record that asks us to indulge this band’s impulses immediately. This is a debut album and yet it’s a double LP length and it’s full of 10 tracks with the same name and numerous experiment that could have been cut. When these guys want to write songs, they’re pretty good …

2016, Music

Skeleton Tree (2016) by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Push the Sky Away felt to me like a radical departure but, if anything, this feels like an even more radical departure from the sound of The Bad Seeds. Though there are a couple of tracks that recall the sound they’ve pursued since the 90s, most of it is unrecognizable as this band. That’s a …

1976, Music

The Royal Scam (1976) by Steely Dan

My first Steely Dan record doesn’t really endear me to them. (Nor does reading that Aja is mellower…) I love jazz, but I can’t say I love R and B with a jazz influence, which is what this sounds like to me. Too much R and B, not enough jazz, for my tastes. I like …

1980, Music

Peter Gabriel [Melt] (1980)

On December 31, 2008, I wrote the following: This may sound stupid, but this sounds little too much like 1980. They had a good thing going, those Genesis guys… and while I know that version of the band could never have topped The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, neither Gabriel nor the rest of the …

1968, Music

The United States of America (1968 Columbia)

This stuff is mind-blowing. Almost as out there as Zappa and the Mothers (at their very weirdest) or the Velvets (at their very artiest) and not quite as crazy – and far more artsy – as Beefheart was about to get. It’s too band the sound isn’t exactly great, as apparently these guys were very, …

2005, Music

Frances the Mute by the Mars Volta (2005 GSL)

The more I listen to the Mars Volta the more I become convinced that they are pretty much the only mainstream band keeping the spirit – if not the sound – of progressive rock alive. They manage to combine relatively adventurous ideas – whereas early prog rock usually borrowed from Romantic music or mainstream jazz, …

1970, Music

Vintage Violence by John Cale (1970 Columbia)

I like Cale. I think he is often a great lyricist (except on Slow Dazzle, where he is lazy) and I think he was certainly the most musically interesting member of the Velvets. But he is not a great songwriter. He lacks a bit of an ear for melody. The only record of his that …