Tag: Art Rock

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 …

2007, Music

Traineater (2007) by Book of Knots

I think most people who come to this record because of the musicians involved will invariably have really high expectations, which is a problem. But a concept album about the decline of US industry made by some of the best experimental rock musicians with so many notable guests – Tom Waits!!! Trey Spruance!!! Mike Watt!!! …

1975, Music

Horses (1975) by Patti Smith

Smith tries to do the same thing Jim Morrison did: combine rock music with serious poetry. I’d Smith’s far more successful as her approach is more musical than theatrical. However, The Doors were a much more versatile band than The Patti Smith Group. Anyway, musically this is basically just the kind of rock and roll …

1975, Music

Siren (1975) by Roxy Music

I only know one Roxy Music album, For Your Pleasure. I like it, I don’t love it. But one of the things I like about – perhaps the thing I like about it most – is the artiness of it, provided primarily by Eno and Manzanera (to my ears). I assumed that when Eno left …

2007, Music

The Alchemy Index: Volume II – Water (2007) by Thrice

Unfortunately I have not been able to hear Volume I so this review is only of Volume II. It’s a tough call though, because ostensibly, a lot of the appeal of this, and the reason the discs are separate even though they don’t have to be, is for stylistic reasons. So without hearing Volume I, …

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 band …

1969, Music

Aoxomoxoa (1969) by the Grateful Dead

This is the first Dead studio album to come after the ridiculous mindfuck that was Anthem of the Sun. This is much more representative of the Dead as a band (and, with hindsight, we can say especially as a band in the studio) but it’s far less interesting as a record. That’s not to say …

2011, Music

New Blood (2011) by Peter Gabriel

I have always struggled with getting into post-Genesis Gabriel because his music has often struck me as over-produced. I finally feel like his songwriting has received the the proper, appropriate arranging and production here. This is a great way at looking back at one’s career. Some of the new versions are really radical – some …

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 …

1973, 1979, 2005, Music

Friday night

I’ve given up on my essay for today and I’m drinking “Austria’s Finest Beer” I’ve been listening to Pink Floyd a lot today and I can’t help thinking how great a guitarist David Gilmour is. Yes, there are far better guitarists in terms of say speed or innovation, but I think few rock guitarists rival …

1934, Movies

The Black Cat (1934, Edgar G. Ulmer)

In the CD player: nothing…but I’m listening to Faith No More’s cover of Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s in Love.” I just bought Peel Slowly and See, the Velvet Underground’s boxed set for only $50, tax included. I’m super happy. Even though I really shouldn’t have spent the money. Watched The Black Cat. It’s pretty crazy …