Thursday, July 31, 2008

646. John Zorn - Spy vs. Spy: The Music of Ornette Coleman (1989)
















Track Listing

1. WRU
2. Chronology
3. Word For Bird
4. Good Old Days
5. Disguise
6. Enfant
7. Rejoicing
8. Blues Connotation
9. C And D
10. Chippie
11. Peace Warriors
12. Ecars
13. Feet Music
14. Broad Way Blues
15. Space Church
16. Zig Zag
17. Mob Job

Review

Do you like Ornette Coleman? Do you like Ornette Coleman as he would sound by a band falling down a high cliff while still trying to keep focused on the music? If you answered yes to question number two, this is the album for you.

I will not pretend to enjoy listening to this, that is a job for music snobs. I will say, however, that I can understand where this is coming from and why it is successful at achieving its objectives. Applying hardcore punk to Jazz is not easy, but Zorn approached it successfully.

There is a simple sense of unrestrained aggressiveness and freedom here that is very primal and very, very noisy. I admire it for sheer exuberance, but I don't really want to listen to it again. I got it John, good one, I like the concept, now shut the fuck up.

Track Highlights

1. Feet Music
2. Mob Job
3. Peace Warriors
4. Rejoicing

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Beginning in 1986 Zorn participated in several projects focused on modern jazz composers which highlighted his saxophone style. These included Voodoo (1986) by The Sonny Clark Memorial Quartet, with Wayne Horvitz, Ray Drummond and Bobby Previte and Spy vs Spy (1989) featuring hardcore punk-informed interpretations of Ornette Coleman's music performed by Zorn and Tim Berne on saxophones, Mark Dresser on bass and Joey Baron and Michael Vatcher on drums.

There are no videos of this on youtube.. I wonder why... so you get the actual Ornette Coleman doing Lonely Woman:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

645. The Young Gods - L'Eau Rouge (1989)
















Track Listing


1. La Fille De La Mort
2. Rue Des Tempetes
3. L'Eau Rouge
4. Charlotte
5. Longue Route
6. Crier Les Chiens
7. Ville Notre
8. Les Enfants
9. L'Amourir
10. Pas Mal

Review

Swiss Industrial music has been breaking sales records for decades, you turn on MTV and you seem to get nothing but. Kids walk about with gold cuckoo clocks on chains, there's a cheese fondue shop in every corner of every city. Well... there isn't but if there was what a weird and wonderful world it would be.

Mainly weird, and that is a good descriptive as any for this album, Orchestral loops married to drums and accordions coupled with a gruff voice mixing Tom Waits with Einstruzende Neubaten and hard rock and French lyrics. So, are you getting an idea of the album? Well you probably have to listen to it.

It isn't, like with most heavily experimental albums, the most pleasant thing to listen through, but it never stops being intriguing. And it is this intriguing factor that is its main strength but also a bit of a problem, making it sound a bit novelty at times... still a perfectly good album.

Track Highlights

1. La Fille De La Mort
2. L'Amourir
3. Charlotte
4. Rue Des Tempetes

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The band's lineup has generally consisted of a vocalist, a sampler operator and a drummer. Their instrumentation often includes sampled electric guitars, drums, keyboards, and other samples. The lyrics are a mix of English, French and a bit of German.

Their name is taken from an early EP by the no wave/industrial rock band Swans.

Artists influenced by The Young Gods include Mike Patton, Sepultura, The Edge (as stated in U2 by U2), Devin Townsend, Econoline Crush and David Bowie; asked in 1995 if his album Outside was influenced by Nine Inch Nails, he answered: "No. I was influenced by a Swiss band called The Young Gods."

L'Amourir:

Monday, July 28, 2008

644. Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique (1989)

















Track Listing

1. To All The Girls
2. Shake Your Rump
3. Johnny Ryall
4. Egg Man
5. High Plains Drifter
6. Sounds Of Science
7. Three Minute Rule
8. Hey Ladies
9. Five Piece Chicken Dinner
10. Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun
11. Car Thief
12. What Comes Around
13. Shadrach
14. Ask For Janice
15. B Boy Bouillabaisse

Review


This is an album that leaves me split right down the middle, I love the sampling and the music in general, the lyrics are quite funny but the voices just annoy the shit out of me.

There is a lot of fun to be had here, and not only on the lyrics, playing "spot the sample" is the best thing to do with this. The samples are not only pretty great but used in a not obvious way for most part, and some credit has to go to the Dust Brothers for this.

When the voices are quiet there is a lot to love here, but the whiny voices get on my tits. So I cannot completely love this album, but I wish I wasn't as annoyed by it as I am because there is really a lot to love here, if you can deal with Mike D's voice you'll have great fun with this.

Track Highlights


1. Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun
2. B-Boy Bouillabaisse
3. Car Thief
4. The Sounds Of Science

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Paul's Boutique was initially considered a commercial failure by the executives at Capitol Records, as its sales did not match that of their previous record, and Capitol eventually pulled the plug on promotion of the album. Despite this, it gained a cult following in the years after its release and became known as their artistic breakthrough.

Highly varied lyrically and sonically, the album secured the Beastie Boys' place as critical favorites in the nascent field of popular hip hop.

Looking Down The Barrel of A Gun:

643. fIREHOSE - fROMOHIO (1989)

















Track Listing

1. Riddle of the Eighties
2. In My Mind
3. Whisperin' While Hollerin'
4. Vastopol
5. Mas Cojones
6. What Gets Heard
7. Let the Drummer Have Some
8. Liberty for Our Friend
9. Time with You
10. If'n
11. Some Things
12. Understanding
13. 'Nuf That Shit, George
14. Softest Hammer

Review


No, I didn't have caps lock on when I wrote the title above, the book doesn't reflect it, but that's how you are supposed to write it. fIREHOSE have its most famous member in Mike Watt from Minutemen, but if you are expecting Minutemen part II here, you might be disappointed.

Fortunately, it is still a good album, but in a very different style, firstly it is much more of a country folk affair than the Minutemen, but there are elements remaining, like the fact that the songs are quite short and sweet and the lyrics are pretty good.

I like this, it isn't as earth shattering or sprawling as Minutemen, but it is still pretty interesting, and Mike Watt does not the whole band make. Hurley from the Minutemen is here as well as is a new guitarist, Ed Crawford who is one of the highlights of the album, some of the guitar work is lovely, sparse, this isn't Iron Maiden, but beautiful stuff. Recommended.

Track Highlights


1. What Gets Heard
2. Riddle Of The Eighties
3. Mas Cojones
4. Liberty For Our Friend

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Mike Watt has since been involved in many musical projects, including Dos, solo work and the Unknown Instructors with George Hurley as well as his radio show (Watt From Pedro Show). Ed Crawford has also ventured on his own musical projects, as well as played with Grand National (not the UK band) and Whiskeytown. Mike Watt, raised in San Pedro, California since 1967, still resides there. George Hurley, originally from San Pedro as well, resides in North Carolina, along with Ed Crawford.

In My Mind followed by Whisperin' while Hollerin' and Mas Cojones:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

642. Spacemen 3 - Playing With Fire (1989)

















Track Listing


1. Honey
2. Comedown Softly To My Soul
3. How Does It Feel
4. I Believe It
5. Revolution
6. Let Me Down Gently
7. So Hot
8. Suicide
9. Lord Can You Hear Me

Review

This is how you buck the 80s trend and do something retro and referential while still making it your own Mr. Kravitz. Spacemen 3 give us psychedelia, electronica, Can-like tracks (How Does It Feel?), Stooges tributes (Revolution), even Suicide tributes (Suicide) but even if it wears its influences on its sleeve all the tracks sound like Spacemen 3.

These references are part of what makes the album so great, in fact the mix of those influences is pretty great, and because it is a mix of very disparate things like the Stooges and Can it becomes interesting, they are never derivative in the sense of copying one artist, they create a very interesting mix.

There is a minimalism running throughout the album that gives the tracks a layered feeling as the simple melodic lines interweave through it, something that they seem to have learned from the Germans like Can, Neu, Faust and even Kraftwerk but that they can integrate into an individual style of music, they sounds like Spacemen 3 and definitely British.

Track Highlights


1. Revolution
2. How Does it Feel?
3. Suicide
4. Honey

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Song titles, lyrics and interviews were peppered with references to bands and artists they believed shared their “minimal is maximal” aesthetic. The Velvet Underground, the Rolling Stones, the Stooges, the MC5, early Captain Beefheart, out-there jazz legend Sun Ra, the Silver Apples, garage punk of the 1960s such as the 13th Floor Elevators, Red Krayola, and the Electric Prunes; the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and other surf bands; ’80s rockabilly groups the Cramps, the Gun Club, Tav Falco; blues and gospel acts like Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, the Staple Singers and John Lee Hooker; and the production techniques of Joe Meek, Brian Wilson and Delia Derbyshire were just some of the names mentioned by the band.

Revolution:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

641. Queen Latifah - All Hail the Queen (1989)

















Track Listing

1. Dance for Me
2. Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children
3. Come into My House
4. Latifah's Law
5. Wrath of My Madness
6. Pros
7. Ladies First
8. King and Queen Creation
9. Queen of Royal Badness
10. Evil That Men Do
11. Princess of the Posse
12. Inside Out
13. Dance for Me [Ultimatum Remix]
14. Wrath of My Madness [Soulshock Remix]
15. Princess of the Posse [DJ Mark the 45 King Remix]

Review


Queen Latifah brings us one of the first successful female hip-hop albums... unfortunately it isn't that great. It's good but not great. The music is actually quite good, very jazzy stuff, but the lyrics really let it down.

With the exception of a couple of tracks it consists of little more than boasting tracks, and while that is OK in short supply, when an album consists mostly of it it just starts annoying the listener.

There are some interesting collaborations here, particularly one with De La Soul, but it is sadly disappointing with it's use of chipmunk voices, no song work with chipmunk voices (with the exception of Tom Tom Club's Wordy Rappinghood). So yeah... good to see that sisters are doing it for themselves... but I will wait for something better.

Track Highlights

1. Wrath Of My Madness
2. Dance For Me
3. Latifah's Law
4. Evil That Men Do

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was unusually successful for a hip hop record at the time, buoyed by the single "Wrath of My Madness". The feminist anthem "Ladies First" (with Monie Love) remains one of Latifah's signature songs.

All Hail the Queen peaked at #6 and #124 on Billboard's (North America) Top Hip Hop/R&B Albums and the Billboard 200 charts, respectively. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source Magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums.

Wrath Of My Madness:

Friday, July 25, 2008

640. Madonna - Like A Prayer (1989)
















Track Listing

1. Like a Prayer
2. Express Yourself
3. Love Song
4. Till Death Do Us Part
5. Promise to Try
6. Cherish
7. Dear Jessie
8. Oh Father
9. Keep It Together
10. Spanish Eyes
11. Act of Contrition

Review

Unless you just came out from under the rock you were born you will have heard a couple of the songs in this album, hell, three or four at least. And honestly it isn't all that bad, actually it's better than the last two Michael Jackson albums we've had the displeasure to get here.

It's pop, but Madonna is trying to do something different, there's a message... about spousal abuse, child abuse... well abuse really. In the end it doesn't rise much above pop, but it is a good pop album for the late 80s (dubious praise indeed).

Some of the tracks are very hummable, I am sad to say. It has, of course, dated terribly, but there are songs which do have their amount of charm here. It seems like I'm trying to excuse myself for having liked it and that is partially true... I won't ever listen to it of my own free will again but it's inoffensive, much less offensive than I expected.

Track Highlights

1. Dear Jesse
2. Oh Father
3. Like A Prayer
4. Love Song

Final Grade


7/10


Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Like a Prayer was considered to be Madonna's most accomplished artistic statement at the time, incorporating rock, dance, pop, soul, and funk elements into the album. Rolling Stone magazine hailed it "as close to art as pop music gets". It was recorded in 1988 with collaborators Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, and also includes a duet with R&B pop singer Prince. It featured the first of several songs throughout her career in which she talked openly about her mother's death, "Promise to Try"; Madonna even dedicated the album to "my mother who taught me to pray." She also addresses the end of her marriage to actor Sean Penn in the song "Till Death Do Us Part."

Before the commercial release of the first single and title track, Pepsi decided to use the song as part of their soft drink commercial featuring Madonna. In addition to this, the company had also struck a deal to sponsor her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour. The commercial was aired twice before the release of the music video on MTV. Pepsi had no idea about the controversial content depicted in the video; Madonna witnesses a murder, kisses a black saint, displays stigmata after cutting her palms on a knife, and dances in a field of burning crosses. Religious groups were furious and threatened to boycott Pepsi. They decided the risk was too great, and they canceled their ad campaign and sponsorship deal, although Madonna got to keep the $5 million in her contract.

Dear Jesse, what is interesting about this on the album is the fact that it segues seamlessly into Oh Father about parental abuse, making it a statement about lost innocence:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

639. New Order - Technique (1989)






















Track Listing


1. Fine Time
2. All the Way
3. Love Less
4. Round & Round
5. Guilty Partner
6. Run
7. Mr. Disco
8. Vanishing Point
9. Dream Attack

Review

Another Manchester album, and another good one. Unfortunately, this one is just good, it isn't really amazing, and I much preferred Low-Life, not to mention Joy Division. But comparing Joy Division to New Order is completely pointless, the bands try to do completely different music, they just shared some members.

New Order are clearly taking the music they were listening to in Ibiza at the time and making something of it. Fortunately they are making something better of it, with complex textures and harmonies not to be found in your run of the mill rave party.

It is a testimony to the sheer talent of New Order that they can take such uninteresting music and make it quite appealing and sounding like quality stuff, still it sounds like something which is very much of its time, it has some problems breaking the 20 year barrier to the present, and that is its downfall. It sounds like late 80's dance music, and even when you can get over that it still has a little tang of tackiness.

Track Highlights

1. Fine Time
2. Love Less
3. Run
4. Round And Round

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Technique was the first New Order album to reach number one in the UK charts. "Fine Time", the first single lifted from it, reached number 11. Remixed versions of "Round & Round" and "Run" were also released as singles. John Denver filed a lawsuit, alleging that (the guitar break in) "Run" too closely resembled Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane". The case was settled out-of-court.

Fine Time, best listened to after popping a couple of pills:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

638. John Lee Hooker - The Healer (1989)
















Track Listing


1. Healer
2. I'm in the Mood
3. Baby Lee
4. Cuttin' Out
5. Think Twice Before You Go
6. Sally Mae
7. That's Alright
8. Rockin' Choir
9. My Dream
10. No Substitute

Review

There is nothing better than pan-pipes, except synthesised pan-pipes. And that is exactly what this album starts us off with. We cannot blame Hooker for that but it sounds definitely like something Santana would do. Santana is a man that made a good album in Abraxas a long time back, then seems to have dedicated his later life to make incredibly crap collaborations.

What is particularly unfortunate is that these collaborations are also extremely commercially successful. People have shit taste. That first track, and the most successful one in this album is also the worse thing about it. The rest of the album isn't that good, but if all tracks were like the last three we'd have something here.

John Lee Hooker is one of the great giants of the blues, and his music is great, but anyone would be incredibly better served with a much earlier album or a collection of earlier music, this isn't for the most part, the Boogie Chillin' Man we know and love, it is adulterated crap. If only they would have let him do his thing.

Track Highlights

1. No Substitute
2. Rocking Chair
3. My Dream
4. Baby Lee

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

The album features collaborations with Bonnie Raitt and Carlos Santana, among others. The Healer peaked at number 62 on the Billboard 200 and won a Grammy award.

I will not post anything from the album, you can find it Healer easily on youtube, you get something better, seeing as Hooker has no other entry on this list you get Boom, Boom:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

637. Lenny Kravitz - Let Love Rule (1989)
















Track Listing


1. Sittin' On Top Of The World
2. Let Love Rule
3. Freedom Train
4. My Precious Love
5. I Build This Garden For Us
6. Fear
7. Does Anybody Out There Even Care
8. Mr Cab Driver
9. Rosemary
10. Be
11. Blues For Sister Someone
12. Empty Hands
13. Flower Child

Review

It is not that the album sound bad, it is not that the tracks aren't sing-alongable, it is not that that it particularly annoys me, but it is the fact that the album is coming about 20 years too late that doesn't make it that great an album.

The word derivative seems like the least that can be said about the album. Very little here is original, the twists on the tracks don't bring anything new, they are exercises in run of the mill music from the late 60s early 70s.

The lyrics aren't that impressive but it would still get a 9 if it had been done 20 years earlier. There is nothing wrong with bucking the music trend of the late 80s into something more retro, but at least bring something new into it. Lenny doesn't and that's a pity as there was potential here.

Track Highlights

1. I Build This Garden For Us
2. Let Love Rule
3. Mr. Cab Driver
4. Sitting On Top Of The World

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Then-wife Lisa Bonet wrote the lyrics to "Fear" and co-wrote the lyrics on the song, "Rosemary".

Let Love Rule reached #61 on the Billboard 200, eventually going gold in the U.S., while it peaked at #56 on the UK Album Chart. As of November, 2002 the album has sold 860,000 units in the US.(based on mtv.com sales numbers from Nielsen soundscan)

I Build This Garden For Us:

Monday, July 21, 2008

636. Faith No More - The Real Thing (1989)
















Track Listing

1. From Out Of Nowhere
2. Epic
3. Falling To Pieces
4. Surprise You're Dead
5. Zombie Eaters
6. Real Thing
7. Underwater Love
8. Morning After
9. Woodpecker From Mars
10. War Pigs
11. Edge Of The World

Review


This is a perfectly good album with a couple of very good tracks. The best of them is undoubtedly Epic, mixing rock and rap with an ever changing melody that keeps you gripped the whole time and makes justice to its name.

That being said another highlight of the whole thing is Mike Patton's voice, which shift effortlessly from quite nice to aggressive or grotesque, unfortunately I don't think the band around him does justice to the potential of his voice, Epic is probably the track where you notice his vocal fireworks better.

Then there is a cover of War Pigs that is uncanny in its similarity to the original, and even if Faith No More do not make it their own, the do not ruin it. Another good track is the instrumental Woodpecker From Mars, with oriental undertones to it. Still, I liked it but wasn't really blown away, unfortunately it is the only Faith No More album on the list, oh and there's no Mr. Bungle as well, so no more Patton.

Track Highlights


1. Epic
2. War Pigs
3. Woodpecker From Mars
4. Falling To Pieces

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Most known for its tracks "Falling to Pieces," and "Epic," whose video featured a fish flopping about on the ground, the album's "Falling to Pieces" also became popular (its video was a favorite of MTV's Beavis and Butthead). The video for "Epic" was subject to controversy because of the perceived treatment of the fish, which appears to be dying—it was in fact slow motion footage; the fish was returned to its tank alive. Reportedly, keyboardist Roddy Bottum stole the goldfish from Icelandic singer Björk at a party she was throwing. He returned it to her after the shoot, which lasted mere seconds. Mike Patton claimed during the band's "Live at the Wireless" performance for Australian radio station Triple J, in 1990, that the title track was "Written after my girlfriend left me for Sebastian Bach."

Faith No More:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

635. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
















Track Listing

1. Countdown To Armageddon
2. Bring The Noise
3. Don't Believe The Hype
4. Cold Lampin' With Flavor
5. Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic
6. Mind Terrorist
7. Louder Than A Bomb
8. Caught, Can We Get A Witness?
9. Show 'Em Whatcha Got
10. She Watch Channel Zero?!
11. Night Of The Living Baseheads
12. Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos
13. Security Of The First World
14. Rebel Without A Pause
15. Prophets Of Rage
16. Party For Your Right To Fight

Review

What to say about what is generally regarded as the best hip-hop album of all time? Well, I can say that I haven't listened to all hip-hop, but I would not be surprised if it is indeed the best of them all.

Run-DMC was fun and aggressive in their beats, but they are little lambs next to Public Enemy. Enemy does not consist just of aggressive beats and use of samples, more importantly the lyrics are super-charged with anger, well with the possible exception of Flavor Flav's.

The use of samples to create something different is so innovative and varied that you get samples from a documentary on Johnny Cash to the Beastie Boys and what sounds like Ethiopian Jazz in Show 'Em Whatcha Got, and you have to be really aware of the music to notice them most times, they are just incredibly well meshed. Another big nod has to go to Terminator X, who scratches better than anyone before and just makes the whole thing that much better. This is the hip-hop album which makes the best use of its wide-ranging influences and ends up giving us a jazz-funk-rock inflected piece of art.


Track Highlights

1. Don't Believe the Hype
2. Show 'Em Whatcha Got
3. Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos
4. She Watch Channel Zero?!

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Widely regarded as the group's magnum opus, the album regularly ranks as one of the greatest and most influential recordings of all time in various publications. In 2003, the album was ranked number 48 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is the highest ranking hip hop album on the list. Acclaimedmusic.net ranks the album as the 17th best album of all time and also the greatest hip-hop album. Time Magazine hailed it as one of the 100 greatest albums of all time in 2006.

Don't Believe The Hype:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

634. Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking (1988)

















Track Listing

1. Up the Beach
2. Ocean Size
3. Had a Dad
4. Ted, Just Admit It...
5. Standing in the Shower...Thinking
6. Summertime Rolls
7. Mountain Song
8. Idiots Rule
9. Jane Says
10. Thank You Boys
11. Pigs in Zen

Review

I've never paid much attention to Jane's Addiction, but I must say that I really like this album. Well at least a lot more than I was expecting. There was not in the late 80's a lot of good metal, and this is one that bucks the trend.

This is not to say that all the tracks are amazing, because they aren't, but there is plenty here to keep the more cerebral metal fan interested. The lyrics are quite good and the music is very varied indeed.

Jane's Addiction sounds like a love child of Sonic Youth and Def Leppard, making something completely different (and better than Leppard) in the process. Alternative Metal in the late 80s barren landscape can only be good. And so this is definitely recommended.

Track Highlights


1. Jane Says
2. Ted, Just Admit It...
3. Ocean Size
4. Summertime Rolls

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This album was nominated for the 1989 Grammy Awards; the same year Jane's Addiction took a break.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 309 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is also number 19 on their list of 100 greatest album covers.

The song "Ted, Just Admit It..." is about serial killer Ted Bundy and contains spoken words by Bundy, from a statement he made.

The song "Jane Says" is about a real person, Jane Bainter. Bainter was addicted to heroin and was always "going to kick tomorrow". She did have a boyfriend named Sergio. She was a "white collar" junkie—she did not steal and was not a prostitute. She did, in fact, eventually kick the habit.

Jane Says, Live, NSFW:

Friday, July 18, 2008

633. Dwight Yoakam - Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room (1988)

















Track Listing


1. I Got You
2. One More Name
3. What I Don't Know
4. Home Of The Blues
5. Buenos Noches From A Lonely Room (She Wore Red Dresses)
6. I Hear You Knocking
7. I Sang Dixie
8. Streets Of Bakersfield
9. Floyd County
10. Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On
11. Hold Onto God

Review


There is a fundamental problem in the laudable attempt to be quite retro and modern at the same time, that problem is that sometimes your albums will sound like something quite good with novelty touches which ruin it. This is what happens in this album.

Yoakam can write a country song, he can sing a country song, but he is not making music at the same time as Buck Owens, who he covers and collaborates with in Streets of Bakersfield. This makes him feel at the same time dated for the late 80's and using guitars and drums the way he does completely of his time.

In the end you get the album that Buck Owens would have made if he lived in the 80s. Well unfortunately I am not a big Buck Owens fan, more of a Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson man myself, I like Bluegrass a lot as well... Bakersfield Honky Tonk just doesn't seem to do it for me. Oh well, I just find it a bit tacky.

Track Highlights

1. Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room (She Wore Red Dresses)
2. I Sang Dixie
3. Home Of The blues
4. Streets Of Bakersfield


Final Grade

7/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room is the third consecutive #1 Billboard Country Album by Dwight Yoakam. It features Yoakam's first two #1 Hot Country Singles hits. The first was "Streets of Bakersfield," a duet with country music veteran Buck Owens, and the second was Yoakam's own composition, "I Sang Dixie." The album's third big hit was the #5 "I Got You," also composed by Yoakam. A lesser hit was the title song, "Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room (She Wore Red Dresses)," which only rose to the #46 position.

I Sang Dixie:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

632. Sugarcubes - Life's Too Good (1988)
















Track Listing


1. Traitor
2. Motorcrash
3. Birthday
4. Delicious Demon
5. Mama
6. Coldsweat
7. Blue Eyed Pop
8. Deus
9. Sick for Toys
10. Fucking in Rhythm & Sorrow
11. Take Some Petrol Darling

Review

This is the birth of the popularity of Icelandic music, we would get Bjork straight out of this band and later on Sigur Ros, the big band in the late 80's to come out of Iceland were really the Sugarcubes, a little mix of Cure and B52's they are firmly in a post-punk tradition, but are original enough to be different from that tradition.

This was also one of the first vinyls I ever bought. The album has some great elements, the lyrics are strange, quirky and quite funny, and the Icelandic accent is also pretty amusing while working pretty well with the music.

It's a pretty varied album with some of the best tracks that ever came out of the brilliance that is Bjork, Birthday is one of the stand-outs and is up there with the best Bjork solo tracks. The rest of the album is equally as good and it is one to be listened to again and again. Love it.

Track Highlights

1. Birthday
2. Deus
3. Traitor
4. Fucking In Rhythm and Sorrow

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

They first came to notice in the UK when radio DJ John Peel played "Birthday," later voted by his listeners as a single of the year. The band's music was characterized by psychedelic sound, whimsical yet heartfelt lyrics, and the imploring, girlish voice of vocalist Björk Guðmundsdóttir, who later went on to great success as a solo artist. While not as successful as Björk's solo career would be, the band is still very highly regarded and was the most influential Icelandic group until the rise of Sigur Rós.

Birthday:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

631. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (1988)


















Track Listing


1. Teen Age Riot
2. Silver Rocket
3. The Sprawl
4. 'Cross The Breeze
5. Eric's Trip
6. Total Trash
7. Hey Joni
8. Providence
9. Candle
10. Rain King
11. Kissability
12. Trilogy: a) The Wonder
13. Trilogy: b) Hyperstation
14. Trilogy: z) Eliminator Jr.

Review


If ever there was an album which was quite hard to digest this is it. I really like it but after listening to it some 9 times in the last 3 days, and having heard it before, I still feel that each time I listen to it there is something else to get here.

Firstly it is really long, secondly it is cohesive to the point of sounding like one long modulated track, almost like a symphonic suite, thirdly it is full of soundscape moments mixing noise and beauty to a level which is even more successful than their previous attempts.

It is a great album, but one in which it is actually hard to select stand out tracks, it works as a whole, better than many so called "concept" albums, never being boring or samey, the band and their sound is the concept here. Something to be experienced slowly and to let sink in for days.

Track Highlights


1. Candle
2. Teen Age Riot
3. Kissability
4. The Sprawl

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In the years following its release, Daydream Nation has risen in stature to become one of the most highly-regarded albums of the 1980s, receiving much critical acclaim and appearing on many "Best-of" lists. It was ranked #1 in Pitchfork's top 100 albums of the 1980s, 14 in Spin's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005". In 1989, it was ranked #45 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 329 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. In 2006, the album ranked as the highest rated alternative album of 1988 on Sputnikmusic.

Teen Age Riot:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

630. Morrissey - "Viva Hate" (1988)






















Track Listing


1. Alsatian Cousin
2. Little Man, What Now?
3. Everyday Is Like Sunday
4. Bengali In Platforms
5. Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together
6. Late Night, Maudlin Street
7. Suedehead
8. Break Up The Family
9. Hairdresser on Fire
10. Ordinary Boys
11. I Don't Mind If You Forget Me
12. Dial-A-Cliché
13. Margaret on the Guillotine

Review

Not the worse album by Morrissey/Smiths but also not the best. Losing Johnny Marr and going solo is a pretty bad thing, Marr was really what gave The Smiths most of its quality. Getting Vini Reilly of Durutti Column fame is a good replacement but still...

There are a couple of good tracks here, but then Morrissey annoys me so much with his whole "self-pity" shtick that some of the tracks I can't take. There is also really no need to stretch Late Night, Maudlin Street to almost 8 minutes.

So a big blah to Morrissey and his pretentious emo crap, with a little disclaimer that there are some good songs here, Everyday is Like Sunday and Suedehead being those... with maybe Hairdresser on Fire being another one. Other than that I don't really rate it.

Track Highlights

1. Everyday is Like Sunday
2. Suedehead
3. Hairdresser on Fire
4. Alsatian Cousin

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was released a mere six months after The Smiths' final album, Strangeways Here We Come. The title predicts the content as Morrissey's lyrics are sardonic and filled with invective, while some of the tracks deal with the harshness of the breakup of The Smiths.

The album was produced by Stephen Street and most of the arrangements were by Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column. Reilly's distinctive style is evident throughout the entire album, especially in tracks such as Late Night, Maudlin Street and Bengali In Platforms. The record remains one of his best known recordings as a musician.

Everyday is like Sunday, where Morrissey pontificates a little bit more on themes on the lines of "Meat is Murder" although it has fuck all to do with the song:

Monday, July 14, 2008

629. American Music Club - California (1988)















Track Listing

1. Firefly
2. Somewhere
3. Laughing Stock
4. Lonely
5. Pale Skinny Girl
6. Blue And Grey Shirt
7. Bad Liquor
8. Now You're Defeated
9. Jenny
10. Western Sky
11. Highway 5
12. Last Harbour

Review

A good Americana album, before anyone was talking about Americana really. It feels extremely fresh and new because it also sounds like it has been very influential indeed. Stuff here sounds like some Damien Rice songs and that kind of indie acoustic stuff.

Then there are songs here which don't particularly belong in the album, Bad Liquor just feels out of place, and some of the other tracks are pretty unmemorable. It lives by a couple of very good tracks indeed, some beautiful heartbreaking stuff here.

Due to this it isn't a great album, but it is a good album with some great tracks. I have a kind of dilemma when I get albums like this, when I definitely want to listen to some of the songs again but not particularly the whole album... Pretty good.

Track Highlights

1. Last Harbor
2. Highway 5
3. Jenny
4. Somewhere

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Although born in California, Eitzel spent his formative years in Great Britain and Ohio before returning to the Bay Area in 1981. After a brief stint with the band The Naked Skinnies he founded American Music Club in San Francisco in 1982 with guitarist Scott Alexander, drummer Greg Bonnell, bass player Brad Johnson. The band went through many personnel changes before arriving at a stable line up of guitarist Vudi, bassist Dan Pearson, keyboardist Brad Johnson, and drummer Matt Norelli. This lineup would change over the next several years but Eitzel always remained the core of the band in terms of its vocals, lyrics and thematic focus with Vudi and Dan Pearson accompanying him on guitar and bass.

Jenny by Eitzel, the band's vocalist:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

628. k. d. Lang - Shadowland (1988)
















Track Listing

1. Western Stars
2. Lock Stock And Teardrops
3. Sugar Moon
4. I Wish I Didn't Love You So
5. Once Again Around The Dance Floor
6. Black Coffee
7. Shadowland
8. Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes
9. Tears Don't Care Who Cry Them
10. I'm Down To My Last Cigarette
11. Too Busy Being Blue
12. In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down)/You Nearly Lose Your Mind/Blues Stay Away From Me

Review

k.d lang has a really great voice, and here she uses it before her talents were used mainly for torch songs. She is at her country music best here, and it isn't pure country, there is plenty of jazz influence as well.

So imagine swingy country and you will get a kind of perspective on what is happening here. Lang is better know for being a lesbian than anything else, but here you can really tell how unfair that is, she is a great singer indeed, and sometimes you can get sidetracked by things that have nothing to do with the art.

So, if you like Country, this is an approapriately retro but with a great twist album, with a truly great voice to it. I repeat, great voice.

Track Highlights


1. Once Again Around The Dance Floor
2. Sugar Moon
3. Black Coffee
4. I'm Down To My Last Cigarette

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album included her collaboration with Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn and Brenda Lee on "Honky Tonk Angels' Medley" and was produced by Owen Bradley, who produced Patsy Cline's best-known work.

Sugar Moon:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

627. Dagmar Krause - Tank Battles: The Songs of Hanns Eisler (1988)

















Track Listing

1. Song Of The Whitewash
2. You Have To Pay
3. Ballad Of The Sack Slingers
4. Perhaps Song
5. Mankind
6. Song Of A German Mother
7. Bankenlied
8. Und Endlich Stirbt
9. Mother's Hands
10. Genvieve/Ostern Ist Ball Sur Seine
11. I Read About Tank Battles
12. Chanson Allemande
13. Mother Beimlein
14. Bettellied
15. Change The World It Needs It
16. Failure In Loving
17. Ballad Of (Bourgeois) Welfare
18. Berlin 1919
19. Rat Men The Nightmare
20. Homecoming
21. To A Little Radio
22. Lied Von Der Belebeden Wirkung Des Geldes
23. Legende Von Der Entstehung Des Buches Taoteking
24. And I Shall Never See Again
25. Wise Woman And The Soldier

Review


This is an interesting album, although it is hard to find out what is actually the definitive version of it. There is one quite short in German which is the one listed on Wikipedia. My version is the same that can be found in Allmusic, a totally different album with German songs as bonus tracks. Then the list above is the same as the one I have minus the bonus tracks in a different order, and is the only version I can find on Amazon.co.uk. Oh and it costs at least 25 pounds (around 50 dollars) for the cheapest version of the CD I could find.

All this said this is a pretty good album, there is a lot in common here with songs from Tom Waits albums and Scott Walker albums and even Jacques Brel. It would probably be more correct to say that all of those were actually influence by Hanns Eisler and Brechtian music in general.

Dagmar Krause has a great voice for these songs, her German accent is always here which gives the tracks in English the flavour and harder edge they need. It is not an album to be recommended to the more conservative among you, unless you can take words like Proletariat and Bourgeoisie in your songs with a lovely dash of communism you shouldn't listen to this... or maybe you are exactly the person who should!

The tracks are amazing, and the production work is just dazzling... and you get over an hour of music here as well. So go for it, even if it is hardly something to be listening constantly (as it can get a bit tiring and samey) it is still an amazing piece of work.

Track Highlights

1. Ballad of (Bourgeois) Welfare
2. Wise Woman and the Soldier
3. Rat Men Nightmare
4. To A Little Radio

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Dagmar Krause’s fascination of the cabaret of Germany's Weimar Republic and her love for the work of playwright Bertolt Brecht and his musical collaborators Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler produced some of her most satisfying work. In 1978 she starred in a London art-theatre production of the Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill play The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and in 1985 she sang Brecht/Weill's "Surabaya Johnny" on the Hal Willner-produced Lost in the Stars.

In 1986 Krause made two solo albums: Supply and Demand: Songs by Brecht/Weill and Eisler and Tank Battles: The Songs of Hanns Eisler. These albums were also sung in German and released as Angebot und Nachfrage and Panzerschlacht: Die Lieder von Hanns Eisler. Krause's grandiose alto voice was perfectly suited to the emotionally and politically charged music of these German songs. Lyrically they continued the trend of earlier songs of social conscience Krause had performed, for example on Henry Cow's Living In The Heart Of The Beast.

Supply and Demand and Tank Battles are seen by many as Krause's best work, while Tank Battles is considered to be one of the finest interpretations of Eisler's work. She performed selections from these albums live at various venues, most notably the Edinburgh Festival, which was documented on Voiceprint Radio Sessions (1993).

You Have To Pay:

Friday, July 11, 2008

626. Dinosaur Jr. - Bug (1988)

















Track Listing

1. Freak Scene
2. No Bones
3. They Always Come
4. Yeah We Know
5. Let It Ride
6. Pond Song
7. Budge
8. Post
9. Don't

Review

This is another one of those albums that grows on you, but not enough to make it great. It just isn't as good as You're Living All Over Me and that is a shame, because I really liked that album. Nonetheless there are some great tracks here, although none is greater than the opening track.

Some other tracks are a bit pointless, such as the noise fest that closes the album, Don't just feels pretty out of place in an album that has a quite homogeneous sound. Still, it is quite good, not going over quite unfortunately.

At times it also seems to be repeating the same formula of their previous album too much, and you never want lack of innovation in a new album by a band you like, you want to see them grow as a band, and Dinosaur Jr. clearly had done all their growing by this time... a pity.

Track Highlights

1. Freak Scene
2. Pond Song
3. No Bones
4. The Post

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It was the last Dinosaur Jr album before bassist Lou Barlow was fired from the band.

Freak Scene:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

625. Metallica - ...And Justice For All (1988)
















Track Listing


1. Blackened
2. ...And Justice For All
3. Eye Of The Beholder
4. One
5. The Shortest Straw
6. Harvester Of Sorrow
7. The Frayed Ends Of Sanity
8. To Live Is To Die
9. Dyers Eve

Review

There is one thing I want from my metal, I want it to be dirty, heavy, powerful and punchy... I suppose those are 4 things. And some bands do it, Motorhead, Black Sabbath even Iron Maiden and Slayer to some extent. Metallica do not do it, and I think it is a testament to the poor taste of teenagers that they have sold so much.

...And Justice For All marks a move to a more mainstream and less thrashy sound for Metallica, but it also mark a bit of a compromise. It is easier to listen to, and to ignore, but it is also adding the opposite of what makes Metal good, a certain prog-rock influence.

If nothing else, if you are able to take all of that you should at least take issue with what is a very bad production work indeed. The bass guitar is completely gone due to the mixing, the bass pedal on the drums sounds like a click more than a thump, and the guitars buzz their way through the album.

Track Highlights


1. One
2. To Live Is To Die (Gotta love the inane title and the 'beautiful' acoustic guitar)
3. ...And Justice For All
4. Harvester Of Sorrow

Final Grade

5/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

[...]in one of the more famous of Hetfield and Ulrich's controversies with bassist Jason Newsted, the album's production almost completely lacks identifiable bass in most songs. This has been attributed to various reasons, such as Newsted's doubling of Hetfield's guitar parts, his absence from the mixing sessions (where he might have asserted his opinion) and the lingering issue of his "newness" within the band following the tragic death of Cliff Burton in September 1986. As said by the band in their magazine SO WHAT!, they wish that they could re-mix the entire album because the drums and guitar overpower the bass completely. The album was released on two LPs at the usual single-LP price, since the band thought that putting the album on a single record would have diminished its fidelity.

One, Live:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

624. Pixies - Surfer Rosa (1988)
















Track Listing

1. Bone Machine
2. Break My Body
3. Something Against You
4. Broken Face Listen Listen
5. Gigantic Listen Listen
6. River Euphrates
7. Where Is My Mind?
8. Cactus
9. Tony's Theme
10. Oh My Golly!
11. Vamos
12. I'm Amazed
13. Brick Is Red

Review


Ah, the first Pixies album (Come on Pilgrim is really an EP), and probably the best, Steve Albini's production just gives it that extra little menace that puts this album a little notch above Doolittle. There isn't a bad song in the bunch, all of them are great and then for different little reasons. Sometimes they are powerful, sometimes charming, but always great.

Few albums have been as successful in creating an original sound and also being extremely influential. There is very much an identity to the Pixies which is fully formed here, be it the Latin influences, the surf music influence or the way it is all peppered with the right amount of noise to make it accessible enough with just the right amount of challenging.

The fact that Kim Deal probably has her most marked presence of any Pixies album also explains the attraction of this. She just has a great voice, and as you can see from Gigantic, and the Breeders later, she can also write songs pretty well. Really an amazing album.

Track Highlights


1. Where is My Mind?
2. Gigantic
3. Vamos
4. Cactus

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Surfer Rosa's lyrical content includes examinations of mutilation in "Break My Body" and "Broken Face", while references to superheroes appear on "Tony's Theme". Voyeurism appears in "Gigantic", and surrealistic lyrics are featured on "Bone Machine" and "Where Is My Mind?". Puerto Rico references and Spanish lyrics are found on the tracks "Oh My Golly!" and "Vamos." The latter track was previously featured on Come on Pilgrim, and appears on Surfer Rosa as a rerecorded version of the original song. Many of the themes explored on previous recordings are revisited on Surfer Rosa; however, unlike on the band's later albums, the songs in Surfer Rosa are not preoccupied with one overarching topic.

Where Is My Mind?: