Urban Hymns (1997) by The Verve

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I have made no bones about my dislike of Oasis, a band nearly everyone else seems to love (or at least enjoy). I don’t like their songwriter’s songs, I don’t like their sound and I find their biggest hit to be poorly produced. So what the hell am I supposed to do when I have an instinctive liking for a band that is clearly just second-rate Oasis? Dammit. Read More

Homogenic (1997) by Bjork

Categories: 1997 and Music.

It’s been a while since I sat down and listened to all the Bjork records I own at once time so you should really take what I say with a grain of salt because, maybe if I had done that recently, I wouldn’t be so damn blown away by this record. But, without having listened to the other records in some time (except for the two preceding this one), I am very, very tempted to acclaim this one as her very best. Read More

When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997) by Cornershop

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I really appreciate the genre-bending of this record. Even though mixing Indian music with western popular music was a thing a full thirty years before this record came out, it feels like that part of psychedelia was the least popular (or accessible) to all the bands that were influenced by the genre. For the most part, western and Indian fusion has been rather scarce since then, at least within western popular music. So I really do appreciate these guys, who dive right in, with a new mixture of sounds, and relying on Indian popular music instead of classical. I have Read More

Down Colorful Hill (1992) by Red House Painters

Categories: 1992 and Music.

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 of information. And, perhaps undermining to the degree to which I might rate this highly due to its influence/impact/what have you, I know for a fact that there were slowcore bands in existence 4-5 years earlier. Read More

Secret Chiefs 3 Live at The Great Hall September 14, 2017

Categories: 2017 and Music.

This was my second Secret Chiefs 3 show, in a much better venue than the last time. It was also a very different experience and I’m not sure whether that’s because SC3 are doing something different on this tour (apparently they are here opening for Dead Cross) or whether the venue made them. Read More

Strangeways, Here We Come

Categories: 1987 and Music.

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 you know). Read More

Music for the Masses (1987) by Depeche Mode

Categories: 1987 and Music.

I agree with the general consensus that Martin Gore is perhaps synthpop’s best songwriter. At least at this “mature” stage of the band’s career Depeche Mode sound most like the band willing to leave the confines of their genre to serve his songs. I find his lyrics to be, on average, significantly better than the average synthpop lyrics. And he has strong melodies – though Depche Mode are sort of positioned as the least commercial of synthpop bands, they have always had catchy songs. Read More

Earth Sun Moon (1987) by Love and Rockets

Categories: 1987 and Music.

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 thought was super uncool in 1987.) Read More

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

Categories: 1982 and Music.

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. Read More

Forever Now (1982) by The Psychedelic Furs

Categories: 1982 and Music.

This is my first Furs record so I cannot comment on whether or not it’s some kind of sell out (doesn’t sound like it!) or some kind of compromise of their earlier sound, which I have never heard. I can comment on the music and try to comment on the context, as I am an avid British post punk listener. Read More

Under the Blade (1982) by Twisted Sister

Categories: 1982 and Music.

If you grew up in the 80s as I did, you were inundated by certain music videos and two of them were “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take it.” And through my entire life this is all I’ve known of this band, aside from Dee Snyder testifying before congress, which definitely upped my respect level. Read More

No More Heroes (1977) by The Stranglers

Categories: 1977 and Music.

I used to think there was only one true British New Wave band: The Police. (Well, and Elvis Costello. But Costello is labeled New Wave primarily due to laziness; too punk to be Pub Rock and too classicist to be Punk, people didn’t know what else to call him.) The Police were the only band I was aware of that managed to combine the energy and attitude of punk with music that was definitely not punk. Well, I know this is labeled punk, but it’s hard for me to accept that it is punk. The Stranglers are too damn weird Read More

Vol 4 (1972) by Black Sabbath

Categories: 1972 and Music.

Round about the time the piano opens “Changes,” we start wondering what is going on. Prior to this moment (or, perhaps, prior to “The Straightener”), Black Sabbath was the heaviest band in the entire world. There was no band louder or lower than Sabbath. And then we get a piano ballad backed with a fucking mellotron. Who are they? Zeppelin?!?! Read More

Smiley Smile (1967) by The Beach Boys

Categories: 1967 and Music.

If you read a lot of music criticism about the ’60s, like I used to, you have heard about Smile ad nauseum. If you read a lot of indiependent music criticism at the turn of the century, like I used to, you have also heard about Smile ad nauseum. You’ve heard about Smile to the point that, whatever it was supposed to sound like, your expectations have been permanently set either to view it as an unfinished (later finished!) masterpiece, or the manifestation of a bunch of silly pop critic dreams for something “even greater than Pet Sounds” that couldn’t Read More

Scott (1967) by Scott Walker

Categories: 1967 and Music.

I came to Scott Walker via The Drift over a decade ago. In that time, I’ve not find the time to listen to his earlier work but I’ve read a lot about about it and I saw that documentary (which I didn’t love). From reading about him, I had some idea of what I was getting into, but coming at someone like this backwards means that the listener is in for a rude awakening no matter how much they read. Read More

Darklands (1987) by The Jesus and Mary Chain

Categories: 1987 and Music.

The UK has a long, weird tradition of hilariously opinionated and antagonistic rock front men who bash other musicians and other people and then make wussy music; the Reids, Morrissey, the Gallaghers (I’m sure there are many more). That shouldn’t matter, really, but I find it harder to accept pop music (and poppier rock) on its on terms when the people make it are assholes and have massive chips on their shoulders which they want the world to know about. I mean, if you’re going to be a dick in the press, make punk music or metal or something fitting… Read More