Tag: Folk Rock

1988, Music

Tracy Chapman (1988)

Chapman’s self-titled album is the introduction of a strong new, one might even say necessary, voice. She offers what was likely a very unique perspective in late 1980s, that of a folk-singing African American woman. Excuse my ignorance but I’m not sure there was much precedent for her, even by 1988. (When I say folk, …

1973, Music

Parcel of Rogues (1973) by Steeleye Span

This is the first Steeleye Span record I’ve ever heard, after hearing about them for years and years. As with any band like that, my impressions were fixed without ever having listened to this, so on first listen I didn’t know what to do with it.

1993, Music

Fuzzy (1993) by Grant Lee Buffalo

I decided to talk about this record, rather than any number of other records from 1988 and 1993, in part because Michael Stipe once claimed it was the best album of 1993. Now, I don’t necessarily share musical states with the lead singer of REM, but I do feel like he had an important role, …

1973, Music

Lifemask (1973) by Roy Harper

Lifemask finds Harper pulled in two different directions after Stormcock, which I assume is his best album; on the one hand retreating from its ambitious format on side A but doubling down on side B. The arrangements are also more elaborate, on the whole, than on that previous record.

1973, Music

Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ (1973) by Bruce Springsteen

I have a complicated relationship with Springsteen, mostly caused by watching too much Much More Music (basically Canada’s VH1) when I was an impressionable teenager. So, to evaluate Springsteen’s debut album fairly, If eel like I have to try to pretend I’ve never heard Springsteen before nor have I heard of him. That’s impossible, but …

1968, Music

Did She Mention My Name? (1968) by Gordon Lightfoot

This is my first experience of Lightfoot outside of hearing 5 or so songs of his ad nauseum on Oldies Radio when I was a kid. I guess I associated those songs with my childhood and so I’ve never had an urge to explore his oeuvre. Reading about this record, I was shocked to find …

1987, Music

Calenture (1987) by The Triffids

I can’t speak for the Australian critics, but i feel like the American critics who went gaga over this record are guilty of a fairly common problem, where they over-hype a band from a “smaller” English-speaking country like Australia or Canada when if the same band appeared in the US or the UK they might …

1967, Music

Easter Everywhere (1967) by The 13th Floor Elevators

The 13th Floor Elevators’ debut album is viewed as a trailblazing psychedelic masterpiece by people who have apparently never heard Revolver but I can’t say I’ve ever been that impressed by it; vaguely psychedelic folk rock to my ears, significantly abetted in its psychedelic vibes by that electric jug, an utterly unique instrument, but only …

1972, Music

Greetings From LA (1972) by Tim Buckley

Ever since Tim Buckley embraced jazz and abandoned the more staid, more traditional singer songwriter approach of his earliest records, there is always been a bit of soul to his music, but that soul, such as it was, was always filtered through the lens of jazz.

1967, Music

One Nation Underground (1967) by Pearls Before Swine

There is a school of thought about how music evolved before the internet that believes that music needs urbanization to really develop. This school of thought views music as evolving in scenes in specific major cities. The internet has made this no longer necessary as now anyone can communicate with anyone else and even create …

1992, Music

Down Colorful Hill (1992) by Red House Painters

I do not know the history of slowcore, as I am only familiar with a few bands (5 or so tops) that would be considered slowcore and who existed in 1992. So I find myself unable to assess whether or not this is an important record in the development of the genre, given that lack …

1972, Music

Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972) by Van Morrison

When Morrison is on he is like few other performers and songwriters – he creates this seemingly effortless blend of so many things that we never would have expected would go together and he makes it all sound organic, as if his genre-blending was the most normal (and obvious) thing in the world.

1971, Music

Tupelo Honey (1971) by Van Morrison

Before I heard Astral Weeks, I had an idea of Van Morrison and what he sounded like (without listening to him). And this album is what I was thinking of. I’d never heard it, but it’s pretty much what I expected from Astral Weeks. I guess that’s why this one is disappointing. “Pleasant” gets thrown …

1966, Music

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966) by Simon and Garfunkel

I don’t know if I can put into words the difference in quality between Sounds of Silence and this record. Sounds of Silence was so tossed together. Though this record features some re-used songs as well, it’s clear that the duo had a lot more time to work out what they were doing, and the …

1996, Music

Trouble at the Henhouse (1996) by The Tragically Hip

I’m pretty sure this was the Hip’s biggest album. It has a couple of their bigger hits on it – including “Ahead by a Century” which, if not their biggest hit, never seemed to leave Canadian radio in 1996. But I get a strong sense of deja vu from this record, particularly from “Gift Shop” …

1971, Music

Songs for Beginners (1971) by Graham Nash

Graham Nash is my least favourite member of CSNY. Crosby is a great singer and an interesting guitarist. Stephen Stills is a good singer, a good guitarist and had interesting musical ideas. Neil Young is my favourite songwriter and one of the most unique guitar players in rock. Nash appears to pale in to comparison. …

1971, Music

Every Picture Tells a Story (1971) by Rod Stewart

Though it’s hard for us to imagine now, at one point Rod Stewart was a vital, dare I say ‘cool,’ performer. He was involved in two of the great bands of the late ’60s and early ’70s and I have always heard good things about his early solo records. This one – his first big …

1966, Music

The Fugs [Second Album] (1966)

This insane record is somehow their second – it’s kind of crazy that they had already put one out – and supposedly it’s more competent than the first (which makes you wonder about the first). For the most part, the record is basically what you might imagine the Mothers would sound like had Frank Zappa …

1986, Music

King of America (1986) by The Costello Show featuring the Attractions and Confederates

Costello embraces American roots music and it mostly works. Costello’s songs are strong (though the cover of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is entirely unnecessary) – stronger, in fact, than most of the bands embracing roots at the same time. But the album is hampered a bit by the ’80s production which occasionally intrudes (and …

1971, Music

Crazy Hose (1971)

Depending on how you count, this is either Crazy Horse’s debut, their second album or their third album: there’s The Rockets album from 1968 and there’s their first collaboration with Neil Young from 1969. I haven’t heard The Rockets’ album, but the Neil Young album is one of my absolute favourites. There are two things …

1966, Music

Sounds of Silence (1966) by Simon and Garfunkel

This album absolutely reeks of an attempt by S&G to capitalize on the hit the bastardized title track had become. Whether they themselves did it, or they were coerced, the result is a mixed bag. I am not a Paul Simon fan, but both the title track and “I Am a Rock” are great songs. …

2003, Music

Dragging Wonder Lake (2003) by Janet Bean and the Concertina Wire

The debut solo (and only?) album by the drummer/occasional songwriter of Eleventh Dream Day is better than I ever would have imagined. This is a really solid set of songs (including two good cover choices) draped in a classic Americana/country rock sound (shockingly produced by the leader of Tortoise?!?!). Though the covers maybe reveal Bean …

1991, Music

Everclear (1991) by American Music Club

These guys are the Kings of Slowcore, so I’ve been told. Not being the biggest devotee of the genre, I have no idea if that’s true. And if I get obsessed about influence and such, I’ll ignore the music here and focus on the fact that slowcore already existed when this came out. (Because, of …

1985, Music

Rum Sodomy and the Lash (1985) by The Pogues

I have long loved If I Should Fall From Grace With God and considered it pretty near essential, especially as punk treatments of roots music go. It’s got what is probably their most famous song – “Fairy Tale in New York,” the Pogues song that you probably have heard even if you have never heard …

2011, Music

All is Not Lost (2011) by Cody Allen

On the first track, at least, Allen seems to be going for some kind of slightly more country, slightly more commercial version of Elliott Brood’s take on alt country (horribly named, by them, “death country”), with a little less energy. (Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?) And the album proceeds like that, where you can tick off …