Tag: Experimental Rock

1981, Music

Mark of the Mole (1981) by The Residents

I read about The Residents as a teenager and thought their origin story was really cool and then later I fell in love with the cover of Third Reich ‘n’ Roll and so I thought I would get around to listening to a bunch of their records. Nearly two decades later this is the second …

1970, Music

Lick My Decals Off, Baby (1970) by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band

There are people out there who are going to tell you that this is superior to Trout Mask Replica. And from an aesthetic perspective, I can see the case they’re making. (I mean, it’s more listenable for one.) But albums exist in time, as everything else does, and there’s just no getting around that this …

1970, Music

Plastic Ono Band (1970) by Yoko Ono

Lennon’s half of this record is my favourite post Beatles album and I think one of the great singer songwriter records of the 1970s. The fact that they recorded this (with one exception) at the same time is a tribute Lennon’s versatility in addition to being a great testament to Yoko Ono’s musical talent. (What, …

1970, Music

Starsailor (1970) by Tim Buckley

I guess this is the logical end of Tim Buckley’s pursuit of jazz – a record that has basically nothing in common with his debut or any of his early music, and which feels really mislabeled if the term “singer songwriter” or “folk” is used.

1980, Music

A-Z (1980) by Colin Newman

One of the things I find fascinating about musicians is when a frontman or primary songwriter or leader of a major band goes out and makes a solo record…which sounds exactly like their band, or close enough. It’s like, what was getting in your way in the band that made you think you couldn’t make …

1970, Music

Free Your Mind…and Your Ass Will Follow (1970) by Funkadelic

Over the last 20 years my tolerance of directionless jamming and freakouts has gone from very high to relatively low. (I say relatively because I still have a much higher tolerance than, say, your average pop listener.) And this is my biggest problem with some Funkadelic as, in the early days in particular, they could …

1970, Music

Yeti (1970) by Amon Düül II

The older I get, the lower my tolerance for directionless jamming. If I listened to Yeti when I first listened to Tanz der Lemminge I imagine I would have loved it as much as I love that album. But I’m not a lot older and these endless jams and snippets wear on me in a …

1990, Music

Frizzle Fry (1990) by Primus

At some point early in his career Les Claypool, the Jimi Hendrix of the Bass Guitar, made a decision. He decided he wanted to be the leader of his own band, the lead singer and primary songwriter. The thing is, though I would argue incessantly that Claypool is the “greatest” bass player in the history …

1995, Music

The Great Annihilator (1995) by Swans

I am still far from a Swans expert – though I have seen them in concert! – but I feel compelled to echo the comments of others about how this record feels either like “more accessible Swans” or some kind of hybrid of their ’80s sound with a more traditional approach to songwriting (at least …

1994, Music

Mars Audiac Quintet (1994) by Stereolab

I don’t love Stereolab’s shtick though I get why lots of people do. So my mileage with them varies in so much as I can convince myself that the album is either important (because they probably pioneered their particular fusion) or how ti compares to the other albums of theirs I’ve managed to get around …

1999, Music

The Beta Band (1999)

Sometimes you encounter something you don’t know at all and it just stuns you with something special about itself. In this case, it’s the irreverence and the extremely healthy disrespect for genres (which I’m a sucker for) of something like the lead-off track, “The Beta Band Rap”, which I just can’t get over. It takes …

1999, Music

Mule Variations (1999) by Tom Waits

At this point, anyone who has followed Waits since his left-turn in the early 1980s knows what to expect from a Waits album. Aside from from production choices, most Waits albums of the last 35 years have sounded rather similar to each other, with everything in his own inimitable style, and the only major difference …

1978, Music

Public Image First Issue (1978) by Public Image Ltd

Simon Reynolds begins his definitive history of post punk, Rip It Up and Start Again with “Public Image” and this album. He argues that Lydon leaving the Sex Pistols, recording and releasing a song about them and releasing this record mark the point at which punk wasn’t just punk, but evolved into something else. It …

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 …

1993, Music

The Black Rider (1993) by Tom Waits

I’m always willing to listen to any Tom Waits record, particularly any record since he changed his sound, but I also agree with the general consensus that work written (or assembled) for stage shows rarely meets the level of an artist’s best work, especially when that artist is a singer-songwriter (who, by their very nature, …

1993, Music

Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements (1993) by Stereolab

I am familiar with what one might call “peak” Stereolab, the sound of the band in the mid 19990s. They are not a band I particularly enjoy but they are a band I respect, given their pretty much utterly unique fusion of styles. (They basically have their own genre, in many ways. And I wouldn’t …

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.)

1973, Music

A Wizard A True Star (1973) by Todd Rundgren

If you’re like me, you wished that Something/Anything?could have been, well, weirder. Or, if not weirder, at least more varied. I personally find that the record doesn’t quite live up to its reputation for weirdness and variety. Well, be careful what you wish for.

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, …

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 …

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 …

1982, Music

Ice Cream for Crow (1982) by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band

If you have come at the Captain through his earliest works, this record might feel like not much or a man settling into his mid life. It’s far less radical than his most radical work of the early ’70s, wherein he basically pioneered the intersection of blues and free jazz and other things.