martes, 30 de diciembre de 2008

EMF - The Best Of EMF: Epsom Mad Funkers (2001)

Regrettably, England's EMF had been seared with the curse of premature victory, sometimes belting out "Unbelievable" two or three times per show, and many assumed they'd be forever damned to run from their own success until the day they took off their long shorts and cut their hair. But Epsom Mad Funkers, an emphatic and touching tribute with new songs and a second disc of remixes, proves that what saved them from disaster was an anarchic instinct for just how to nail together the flotsam and jetsam of late-20th century chart music without sounding totally contrived. One moment you could get "Girl of an Age," the great, cherubic baggy anthem that never was, the next you'd be swimming about in megalomaniac, brain-rammed funk ("Perfect Day," "They're Here") or even a sort of facetious revelry, such as the live classic "EMF," which would rather stack up stylistic Lego blocks and smash them to pieces than try to mimic the picture on the box. For better or worse, nobody else sounded like this. They weren't the Happy Mondays, they weren't Take That -- in the end perhaps the only band in history to sound like both. Source: [AMG]

EMF featuring Tom Jones - Unbelievable

Track Listing CD1
1. Unbelievable
2. I Believe
3. Children
4. Lies [Jim's Mix]
5. Girl of an Age
6. Getting Through
7. They're Here
8. It's You
9. Perfect Day [Perfect Mix]
10. Glass Smash Jack
11. Shining
12. I'm a Believer (Emf and Reeves and Mortimer)
13. Incredible
14. Let's Go
15. Search and Destroy
16. Emf (Live at the Bilson)

Track Listing CD2
1. Unbelievable [Bambaattaa House Mix]
2. I Believe [Colt 45 Mix]
3. Children [Battle for the Minds of North Amerikkka Mix]
4. Head the Ball (Put Away in the Back of the Net by Apollo 440)
5. Lies [Dust Bros 12 Club Mix]
6. It's You [13 1/2% Extra Mix]
7. They're Here [D: Ream Mix]
8. Perfect Day (Chris and James' Epic Adventure)
9. The Light That Burns Twice as Bright [Mystic Mix]
10. It's You [Rad Rice Mix]
11. Unbelievable [Ralph Jezzard Remix]


viernes, 26 de diciembre de 2008

The Posies - Frosting On The Beater (1993)

Frosting on the Beater opens with a thick wall of distorted guitars and booming drums kicking up a very melodic fuss behind Ken Stringfellow and Jonathan Auer's creamy-smooth harmonies on the psych-tinged "Dream All Day," and the track's sweet-and-sour blend immediately announces this is going to be a very different affair than the Posies' major label debut, Dear 23. With noisy rock dude Don Fleming in the producer's chair, it came as no great surprise that Frosting on the Beater was a much harder sounding album than the introspective Dear 23, but surprisingly enough, Fleming also knew how to make the most of the band's expert pop songwriting; with the tempos and guitars turned, the tunes gained a needed physical impact that brought the melodies and hooks into the forefront, where they belonged. Just as importantly, the spot-on harmonies that were the highlight of Dear 23 were still very much in evidence, resting atop the piles of fuzzy guitar chords like a dollop of hot fudge poured over a big scoop of ice cream. And prior to this, who knew that Ken Stringfellow and Jonathan Auer could rock out so hard (and so well) on guitars? One could argue that the big guitar attack of Frosting on the Beater was simply the Posies' way of trying to cash in on the grunge sweepstakes that briefly turned their hometown of Seattle into the center of the rock universe. But one listen also reveals that it transformed a smart but overly precious pop outfit into a hard-charging power pop band that gained a wealth of strength without giving up any of their smarts in the process — not a bad bargain. Source: [AMG]

The Posies - Solar Sister

Track Listing
1. Dream All Day
2. Solar Sister
3. Flavor of the Month
4. Love Letter Boxes
5. Definite Door
6. Burn & Shine
7. Earlier Than Expected
8. 20 Questions
9. When Mute Tongues Can Speak
10. Lights Out
11. How She Lied by Living
12. Coming Right Along


sábado, 6 de diciembre de 2008

Sebadoh - Bakesale (1994)

With Bakesale, Sebadoh has trimmed down to Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein, and Bob Fay, with Barlow and Loewenstein taking on the lion's share of the songwriting. Maybe the change in personnel was needed, because Bakesale is their most accessible, concise work to date. Without the noise that usually envelops their records, the solid, unconventional pop songwriting of Barlow and Loewenstein shines through brightly. Source: [AMG]

Sebadoh - Careful

Track Listing
1. License to Confuse
2. Careful
3. Magnet's Coil
4. Not a Friend
5. Not Too Amused
6. Dreams
7. Skull
8. Got It
9. S. Soup
10. Give Up
11. Rebound
12. Mystery Man
13. Temptation Tide
14. Drama Mine
15. Together or Alone


lunes, 1 de diciembre de 2008

Yo La Tengo - Electr-O-Pura (1995)

After the noisy but dream-like drift of Painful, Electr-O-Pura found Yo La Tengo in livelier and more outwardly enthusiastic form; while they had hardly abandoned their more subdued and contemplative side, as evidenced by the lovely "The Hour Grows Late" and "Pablo and Andrea," they seemed eager to once again explore the grittier textures they'd unearthed on President Yo La Tengo and May I Sing With Me with tunes like the gleefully manic "False Ending" and the bizarre horn-blasted "Attack on Love." Yo La Tengo also served up one of the most perfectly realized pop tunes in their repertoire with "Tom Courtenay" (which not only name checks the Beatles, but boasts a tune the Fab Four would have been happy to come up with themselves), and revisited the concept of the noisy groove jam (which they pioneered on "The Evil That Men Do (Pablo's Version)") with the acetone-powered "False Alarm" and the joyous "Blue Line Swinger." Throughout, Ira Kaplan's simple but forceful guitar lines, Georgia Hubley's steady, subtly inventive drumming, and James McNew's solid, supportive bass add up to a group that prizes intelligence and imagination over flash, and makes it work over and over. Few bands have consistently better ideas than Yo La Tengo, and they make 14 of them work like a charm on Electr-O-Pura. (By the way, those incongruous comments about the songs were lifted from an obscure book on the Blues Project, and don't trust those timings on the back cover -- they're deliberately inaccurate.). Source: [AMG]

Yo La Tengo - Tom Courtenay

Track Listing
1. Decora
2. Flying Lesson [Hot Chicken #1]
3. The Hour Grows Late
4. Tom Courtenay
5. False Ending
6. Pablo and Andrea
7. Paul Is Dead
8. False Alarm
9. The Ballad of Red Buckets
10. Don't Say a Word [Hot Chicken #2]
11. (Straight Down to the) Bitter End
12. My Heart's Reflection
13. Attack on Love
14. Blue Line Swinger

miércoles, 26 de noviembre de 2008

The Jesus Lizard - Head/Pure (1992)

The place to start for those new to the Jesus Lizard, this two-fer collects on one CD the first EP release (Pure) and first LP release (Head) of the notorious '90s noise rock band. It does a fine job of completing the picture of the band's early work. Source [AMG]

The Jesus Lizard - Bloody Mary

Track Listing
1. One Evening
2. S.D.B.J.
3. My Own Urine
4. If You Had Lips
5. 7 Vs. 8
6. Pastoral
7. Waxeater
8. Good Thing
9. Tight 'n Shiny
10. Killer McHann
11. Blockbuster
12. Bloody Mary
13. Rabid Pigs
14. Starlet
15. Happy Bunny Goes Fluff-Fluff Along


viernes, 21 de noviembre de 2008

Hammerhead - Duh, The Big City (1996)

Hammerhead's final release opens with the propulsive, Chrome-like "Earth (I Won't Miss)." The song is as loud and fast as anything the Midwestern trio had ever done before, but with a more pronounced psych/prog rock edge -- as befits its sci-fi-sounding title -- and prefigures the rest of Duh, the Big City, which is crisper and yet more experimental than previous recordings. The lineup had also changed since their last full-length, with Craig Klaus taking the place of guitarist Paul Sanders, who left to form his own band. If for some strange reason you should find yourself falling asleep while listening to this rocking little record -- a highly unlikely occurrence -- crazed instrumental "Mr. Bizmuth," which teeters on the edge of Metal Machine Music-style unlistenability, will surely wake you right up (all your friends and neighbors, too). Oddly enough, it isn't the last track (or even a bonus track), but is followed by the considerably more melodic title track, "Duh, the Big City," which closes the book on the brief but compelling story of Hammerhead. Paul Erickson and Jeff Mooridian Jr. would next materialize in the two-man noise unit Vaz. [AMG]

Hammerhead - Tuffskins

Track Listing
1. Earth (I Won't Miss)
2. Meandrethal
3. New York?...Alone?
4. Mission: Illogical
5. I Don't Know...Texas
6. Victoria
7. Monkey Mountain
8. Zenith Factory
9. Mune
10. Mr. Bizmuth
11. Duh, The Big City


domingo, 16 de noviembre de 2008

Flying Saucer Attack - Further (1995)

Thanks to its release on Drag City and an increasingly higher profile (and rabid fan base), Further turned out to be FSA's breakthrough, at least in cult terms. Even Rolling Stone reviewed the album (amusingly pairing it with a modern Pink Floyd live release), but Further was anything but a corporate sellout. Rather, the twosome achieved a new balance of delicacy and power, heightened in noticeable part by Pearce's increasingly assertive singing. His vocal approach of extended sigh as singing hadn't changed, but his words had a new clarity and crisper delivery, with fine results. Otherwise, FSA stayed the same general course musically, but again the arrangements provide the difference, with the unplugged folk side of Pearce's music now firmly taking the fore on songs like the extended, multipart "For Silence," often with gentle reverb or extra studio effects that make the songs all that much more intriguing. It's not quite Bert Jantsch or John Fahey redux, but there's a definite sonic connection there that's well worth the hearing. Other highlights are the clear acoustic notes cutting through the hum and drone of the majestic "In the Light of Time" or the buried waves of electric guitar in counterpoint to the gentle picking on "Come and Close My Eyes" -- the latter accompanied at the end with what sounds like a typewriter, without sounding jarring or out of place. No compromises were aimed at radio-friendly unit shifters -- opening track "Rainstorm Blues," a roaring feedback squall ascending and descending in volume, got further accompaniment from hard-to-place crumbles and squeals, Brook's growling bass work setting the mood even stranger. Brook herself gets a lovely moment of vocal glory on "Still Point," her voice even more soft and restrained than Pearce's, rising through a striking squall of sound and, once again, upfront acoustic guitar. Source: [AMG]

Track Listing
1. Rainstorm Blues
2. In the Light of Time
3. Come and Close My Eyes
4. For Silence
5. Still Point
6. Here Am I
7. To the Shore
8. She Is the Daylight


martes, 11 de noviembre de 2008

The Presidents Of The United States Of America - The Presidents Of The United States Of America (1995)

In the time-honored tradition of the Dickies, the punk-pop of the Presidents of the United States of America is brief, hooky, and dumb -- it's novelty punk. Granted, that approach can occasionally produce a couple of naggingly catchy songs -- particularly their breakthrough hit, "Lump" -- but it basically results in a series of smug, self-satisfied songs that are neither funny nor catchy. Like the Dickies, the Presidents of the United States of America aren't much more than one-hit wonders. Source: [AMG]

The Presidents Of The United States Of America - Lump

Track Listing
1. Kitty
2. Feather Pluckn
3. Lump
4. Stranger
5. Boll Weevil
6. Peaches
7. Dune Buggy
8. We Are Not Going to Make It
9. Kick out the Jams
10. Body
11. Back Porch
12. Candy
13. Naked and Famous


lunes, 3 de noviembre de 2008

Seam - Are You Driving Me Crazy? (1995)

Seam had never had the most stable lineup, but Sooyoung Park and Lexi Mitchell had maintained a partnership, personal and otherwise, from the Bitch Magnet days. That all changed after the excellent The Problem With Me, and the end result was the band's most fraught album yet, with Park working with a wholly new band and conveying more than a few desperate and frustrated sentiments in the music and lyrics. Starting the album with "Berlitz," using the reference to language guides as a metaphor for failures to communicate and their repercussions, was as much as a sign as any. That said, Park's general goal at balancing sudden intensity with restraint and quiet beauty remained intact, and at times, such as "Haole Redux," succeeded spectacularly. The new members -- guitarist Reg Shrader, bassist William Shin, and drummer Chris Manfrin -- all do a pretty fine job at replacing their counterparts from The Problem With Me, something further helped by the reappearance of Brad Wood as producer. Still, there is a change and maybe even a lack -- Shin in particular, though still spot on, misses the gentle melodicism that Mitchell had provided, and as a result the dramatic melancholia of the past feels a bit more abrupt at points. For the first time as well, Park creates notably long songs, four out of ten running over five minutes and resulting in the longest Seam album yet. It's a comparative lack of economy more than anything else -- this isn't Rick Wakeman-era Yes, thank heavens -- but moments like the extended soloing on "Port of Charleston" make the album just not quite as special as the preceding ones, a drawing out when the group could formerly pack beautifully compact punches. Credit should be given to guest performer Julie Liu, though, whose various vocal and musical contributions are fine, understated touches. Source: [AMG]

Seam - Berlitz

Track Listing

1. Berlitz
2. Hey Latasha
3. Port of Charleston
4. Rainy Season
5. Two Is Enough
6. Haole Redux
7. Tuff Luck
8. Broken Bones
9. Sometimes I Forget
10. Petty Thievery


miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2008

Screaming Trees - Dust (1996)

In many ways, the Screaming Trees missed their opportunity. They released Sweet Oblivion just as grunge began to capture national attention and they didn't tour the album extensively, which meant nearly all of their fellow Seattle bands became superstars while they stood to the side. After four years, they returned with Dust, their third major-label album, and by that point, the band's sound was too idiosyncratic for alternative radio. Which is unfortunate, because Dust is the band's strongest album. Sure, the rough edges that fueled albums like Uncle Anesthesia are gone, but in its place is a rustic hard rock, equally informed by heavy metal and folk. The influence of Mark Lanegan's haunting solo albums is apparent in both the sound and emotional tone of the record, but this is hardly a solo project -- the rest of the band has added a gritty weight to Lanegan's spare prose. The Screaming Trees sound tighter than they ever have and their melodies and hooks are stronger, more memorable, making Dust their most consistently impressive record. Source: [AMG]

Screaming Trees feat. Josh Homme - Witness

Track Listing
1. Halo of Ashes
2. All I Know
3. Look at You
4. Dying Days
5. Make My Mind
6. Sworn and Broken
7. Witness
8. Traveler
9. Dime Western
10. Gospel Plow


domingo, 19 de octubre de 2008

Redd Kross - Phaseshifter (1993)

In Phaseshifter, Redd Kross has stripped away many of the '60s and '70s pop-culture trappings that figured prominently on earlier recordings (covers of Brady Bunch and Charles Manson songs, for instance). As a result, the band (basically brothers Jeffrey and Steven McDonald) have brought their strong melodic sense, psychedelic punk/metal mix, and fine harmonies to the fore on standout tracks like "Lady in the Front Row" and "Monolith." The brothers' '70s-TV obsession certainly hasn't disappeared, though, as evidenced by songs like "After School Special" and the Partridge Family-inspired cut "Dumb Angel" (Susan Dey being replaced here by keyboardist Gere Fennelly); but they seem more bent on cutting straightforward and driving, power pop/rock anthems than going in for their '80s-style, HR Pufnstuf form of garage psychedelia, and even the paisley is conspicuously missing, replaced by t-shirts and jeans. Is the shift due in part to the pervasive influence of grunge and Nirvana? Maybe. But one should remember that, as early as 1980, Redd Kross was incorporating the same Black Flag, hardcore stylings that Cobain and company were admittedly inspired by. It doesn't really matter, though, since this album stands on it own just fine, especially considering the inclusion of one of the band's best rockers ("Crazy World") and most rewarding pop tunes ("Pay for Love"). For some great Redd Kross music, get both Phaseshifter and the band's 1997 release, Show World. Source: [AMG]

Redd Kross - Lady In The Front Row

Track Listing
1. Jimmy's Fantasy
2. Lady in the Front Row
3. Monolith
4. Crazy World
5. Dumb Angel
6. Huge Wonder
7. Visionary
8. Pay for Love
9. Ms. Lady Evans
10. Only a Girl
11. Saragon
12. After School Special
13. Any Hour Every Day*


martes, 14 de octubre de 2008

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Orange (1994)

By this juncture, you either love Jon Spencer enough to listen to every record, or you've heard plenty and are decidedly uninterested. Still, Orange mines the same territory as Extra Width, and that may not be enough. At times, even during Orange's best tracks ("Bell Bottoms"), the thin, retro-'70s worshipping sounds phoned in and lacking in real emotional commitment. But, as with a lot of junk rock, sometimes it can be appreciated for simply being junk, and that's fine. But it's likely that Spencer's core fans like the idea of the blues more than the reality. In other words, they don't mind the pose, nor do they mind the facade. In Jon Spencer's world, image is everything. Source: [AMG]

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Dang

Track Listing
1. Bellbottoms
2. Ditch
3. Dang
4. Very Rare
5. Sweat
6. Cowboy
7. Orange
8. Brenda
9. Dissect
10. Blues X Man
11. Full Grown
12. Flavor
13. Greyhound


jueves, 9 de octubre de 2008

You And I - Hourly, Daily (1997)

Darlings of the press and near icons in their Australian homeland, You Am I never broke through in the U.S., and this ambitious Warner Bros./Sire release did little to ingratiate the group to an America fascinated with the packaging of youth culture. Commercial issues aside, any fan of Cheap Trick, the Replacements, and a few older stars of the British Invasion will revel in Hourly, Daily, a conceptual piece that is obsessed with the past but without retro trappings. Singer/guitarist Tim Rogers laces together complex ideas with a narrative that transforms the pain of growing up artistic and male in Australia into a weird rock & roll existentialism. Examinations of socially distorted animal fright (like "Please Don't Ask Me to Smile") are told during lonely bus rides and alcoholic meditations. Impressively, the coded messages are never overbearing, as many songs (the opening title track, for instance) are immediately attractive pop numbers that can survive by their melodies. After repeated listening, the lyrics then blur into a naked prose that's rich and almost distracting. When the narrator lifts his eyes from the cracks in the pavement ("Wally Raffles," "Baby Clothes"), the pop surprise is almost euphoric. The rest of the time, he's just a boy trying to be free of himself, hopeless about his prospects. It's all done with such grand style that listeners will never worry about the antihero's proximity to the edge. That is, as long as he can sing. Source: [AMG]

You And I - Baby Clothes

Track Listing
1. Hourly, Daily
2. Good Mornin'
3. Mr. Milk
4. Soldiers
5. Trike
6. Tuesday
7. Opportunities
8. If We Can't Get It Together
9. Flag Fall $1.80
10. Wally Raffles
11. Heavy Comfort
12. Dead Letter Chorus
13. Baby Clothes
14. Please Don't Ask Me to Smile
15. Who Takes Who Home


sábado, 4 de octubre de 2008

Southern Culture On The Skids - Dirt Track Date (1996)

After spending the first half of the 1990s as one of America's hardest-working independent bands, Southern Culture on the Skids took the bait and signed with a major label in 1995, releasing its fifth album, Dirt Track Date, on Geffen/DGC that year. Dirt Track Date proved to be something of a disappointment for the group's hardcore fans; nearly half the album's songs had appeared on previous SCOTS releases ("Eight Piece Box" hit plastic for the third time on this set), and while producer Mark Williams was sympathetic to the band's approach, the slightly grittier, more homemade sound of For Lovers Only and Ditch Diggin' better suited the band's Dixie-fried guitar textures than Williams' tidier approach. But while Williams cleaned up the band's sound a bit, he didn't rob Rick Miller's hot-rodded guitar of its power to shake the house, and if the set list is familiar to old fans, it makes for an excellent "Greatest Hits" set, with the chicken-scratch R&B of "Soul City," the faux-exotica of "Galley Slave," and the slow-turning dance groove of "Camel Walk" offering rockin' proof that there was a lot more to this band than hillbilly jokes. For Lovers Only is probably Southern Culture on the Skids' best album, but Dirt Track Date may well be the best place for first-time listeners to investigate the band's enchantingly warped take on American roots rock. Source: [AMG]

Southern Culture On The Skids - White Trash/Greenback Fly

Track Listing
1. Voodoo Cadillac
2. Soul City
3. Greenback Fly
4. Skullbucket
5. Camel Walk
6. White Trash
7. Firefly
8. Make Mayan a Hawaiian
9. Fried Chicken and Gasoline
10. Nitty Gritty
11. Eight Piece Box
12. Galley Slave
13. Whole Lotta Things
14. Dirt Track Date


martes, 23 de septiembre de 2008

Girls Against Boys - Venus Luxure No.1 Baby (1994)

Who knows what did the trick -- maybe it was just jumping labels to Touch & Go -- but when Girls Against Boys released Venus Luxure, it was clear that the quartet had really turned into something spectacular. Avoiding the clichés of early-'90s indie rock for its own surly, charismatic edge, Girls Against Boys here kicked out the jams like nobody's business. Ted Niceley helped out Janney with the recording, and together they got an amazing sound out of the band, its now thoroughly bass-heavy approach (Janney was now specifically credited with the instrument along with Temple) brawling like a bastard. A comparison to Flipper could be made, but instead of the generally slow, death-march tempos of that act, Girls Against Boys always keep moving, a dark death dance. McCloud, happily, was now a much more distinct singer, his voice deeper but still attractively ragged and right, whispering or spitting out sometimes cryptic lyrics about emotional confrontation and the vagaries of life. His nods to '60s lounge culture -- a thematic fascination that would grow even stronger over time -- crop up at points here, even if the whole atmosphere is more like Sinatra mean drunk and out for blood, lots of it. The band comes up with music that sometimes echoes it as well; imagine it's midnight at a bar, the lights are low and red, and mean-looking guys in the corner stare menacingly -- that's the spirit informing songs like the slow, threatening "Satin Down" and "Get Down." Janney's abilities on keyboards, meanwhile -- check the abbreviated, looped drones on "Go Be Delighted" -- gave the band an even further edge, unsettled and certainly not like many other bands in its general milieu. Add in some full-on rockers like "Let Me Come Back" and the focused snap of "Bulletproof Cupid," and the result is a stone-cold classic. Source: [AMG]

Girls Against Boys - Rockets Are Red

Track Listing
1. In Like Flynn
2. Go Be Delighted
3. Rockets Are Red
4. Satin Down
5. Let Me Come Back
6. Learned It
7. Get Down
8. Bullet Proof Cupid
9. Seven Seas
10. Billy's One Stop
11. Bug House


jueves, 18 de septiembre de 2008

Supernova - Ages 3 And Up (1995)

Supernova formed in 1989 by drummer Dave Collins, bassist Art Mitchell, and guitarist Hayden Thais. The band gained a following from their energetic and often wacky live performances, but it wasn't until 1992 that the band started releasing 7" singles on various indie labels, some of which went on to be major hits on college radio and with the indie music scene.

Supernova got significant exposure in 1994 when their song "Chewbacca" was featured in the smash hit indie movie Clerks. Later that year, however, Thais left the group, later to join two other sci-fi punk bands, Servotron and Man or Astro-Man?. He was replaced by Jodey Lawrence.

1996 saw the release of Supernova's first album, Ages 3 & Up, released on Amphetamine Reptile Records. A single, "Vitamins", was released, and received radio airplay. Source: [Wikipedia]


Super duper fun! A totally irresistible pop album that is as wacky as the Presidents of the United States of America's debut, but somehow more fulfilling. Maybe it's those three or four extra guitar strings that Supernova have up on the Presidents that give them the musical edge. I'm utterly aghast that this is an Am Rep release, but it's a damn fine one all the same. You'll need an appreciation of dork rock to get into Supernova, but this is entertaining, brainless fun. Source: [Amazon]

Supernova - Math

Track Listing
1. Vitamins
2. Oreo
3. Harry Gato
4. Up & Down
5. Mechanical
6. Gum Fighter
7. Wabbit
8. Invasion
9. Best Coat
10. Drool
11. Hippy
12. Sea Stunt
13. Daredevil
14. Math
15. Mentos
16. Boo!
17. Our Way
18. Electric Man
19. Supersong
20. Close Encounters


domingo, 14 de septiembre de 2008

Nine Inch Nails - Broken (1992)

During the time that Pretty Hate Machine was becoming an underground sensation, Trent Reznor became embroiled in legal difficulties with his label that prevented the release of any new Nine Inch Nails material. But the three-year wait actually helped -- most of NIN's fans were relatively recent converts, and they eagerly snapped up 1992's Broken, which afforded the already angst-ridden Reznor the opportunity to vent his ample frustration over the imbroglio. Where Pretty Hate Machine had a few moments of reflection and sardonic humor, Broken is a concentrated blast of caustic, naked rage. Given how draining it is, a full-length album in its style would unquestionably have been wearisome, even self-parodic. So, Broken is the rare EP that's conceptually focused and complete unto itself. Production-wise, it's also a step up from Pretty Hate Machine, and a showcase for Reznor's flowering studio acumen. While Pretty Hate Machine was primarily electronic, Broken is loaded with heavy, jagged guitars, processed through a veritable meat grinder of effects into a massive wall of distortion. Each song one-ups the viciousness of its predecessor; even the two relatively subdued instrumental interludes are full of abrasive textures. There are two hidden bonus cuts at the end of the CD (early pressings had them on a separate disc); they're neither as produced nor as intense, and thus separated conceptually as well as physically. The cover of Adam Ant's "(You're So) Physical" was something of a revelation -- not just demonstrating Reznor's fondness for new wave, but serving as a touchstone for his self-conscious, glammed-up sense of style. That -- and his skills as a producer and arranger -- would reach their fullest realization on The Downward Spiral, but Broken's tight focus and frothing intensity make it a major work in its own right. Source: [AMG]

Nine Inch Nails - Gave Up

Track Listing
1. Pinion
2. Wish
3. Last
4. Help Me I Am in Hell
5. Happiness in Slavery
6. Gave Up
98. Physical (You're So)
99. Suck


domingo, 7 de septiembre de 2008

Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)

It may be a bit reductive to call Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain the Reckoning to Slanted & Enchanted's Murmur -- not mention easy, considering that Pavement recorded a song-long tribute to R.E.M.'s second album during the Crooked Rain sessions -- but there's a certain truth in that statement all the same. Slanted & Enchanted is an enigmatic masterpiece, retaining its mystique after countless spins, but Crooked Rain strips away the hiss and fog of S&E, removing some of Pavement's mystery yet retaining their fractured sound and spirit. It's filled with loose ends and ragged transitions, but compared to the fuzzy, dense Slanted, Crooked Rain is direct and immediately engaging -- it puts the band's casual melodicism, sprawling squalls of feedback, disheveled country-rock, and Stephen Malkmus' deft wordplay in sharp relief. It's the sound of a band discovering its own voice as a band, which is only appropriate because up until Crooked Rain, Pavement was more of a recording project between Malkmus and Scott Kannberg than a full-fledged rock & roll group. During the supporting tour for Slanted, Malkmus and Kannberg recruited bassist Mark Ibold and percussionist Bob Nastanovich, and original drummer Gary Young was replaced by Steve West early into the recording for this album, and the new blood gives the band a different feel, even if the aesthetic hasn't changed much. The full band gives the music a richer, warmer vibe that's as apparent on the rampaging, noise-ravaged "Unfair" as it is on the breezy, sun-kissed country-rock of "Range Life" or its weary, late-night counterpart, "Heaven Is a Truck." Pavement may still be messy, but it's a meaningful, musical messiness from the performance to the production: listen to how "Silence Kit" begins by falling into place with its layers of fuzz guitars, wah wahs, cowbells, thumping bass, and drum fills, how what initially seems random gives way into a lush Californian pop song. That's Crooked Rain a nutshell -- what initially seems chaotic has purpose, leading listeners into the bittersweet heart and impish humor at the core of the album. Many bands attempted to replicate the sound or the vibe of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, but they never came close to the quicksilver shifts in music and emotion that give this album such lasting appeal. Here, Pavement follow the heartbroken ballad "Stop Breathin'" with the wry, hooky alt-rock hit "Cut Your Hair" without missing a beat. They throw out a jazzy Dave Brubeck tribute in "5-4=Unity" as easily as they mimic the Fall and mock the Happy Mondays on "Hit the Plane Down." By drawing on so many different influences, Pavement discovered its own distinctive voice as a band on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, creating a vibrant, dynamic, emotionally resonant album that stands as a touchstone of underground rock in the '90s and one of the great albums of its decade. Source: [AMG]

Pavement - Range Life

Track Listing
1. Silence Kid
2. Elevate Me Later
3. Stop Breathin
4. Cut Your Hair
5. Newark Wilder
6. Unfair
7. Gold Soundz
8. 5 - 4 = Unity
9. Range Life
10. Heaven's a Truck
11. Hit the Plane Down
12. Fillmore Jive


lunes, 1 de septiembre de 2008

Veruca Salt - American Thighs (1994)

With their thin, singsong vocals and fuzzed-out guitars, Veruca Salt may sound like the Breeders and the Pixies, but lack either band's talent for inverting pop conventions or taste for the bizarre. What Veruca Salt has instead is a raw talent for simple, infectious pop songs; the result is a surprisingly fresh fusion of alternative pop and bubblegum. Nina Gordon and Louise Post try hard to inject meaning into the sweet, distorted rush of "Seether," but all that sticks is the infectious melody and crushing guitars. That also applies to the slower songs, from the enchanting lust of "Spiderman '79" to "Forsythia," which is too close to the Breeders' Pod for comfort. But musically, American Thighs is surprisingly satisfying; it's a pure pop album masquerading as the next big thing. Source: [AMG]

Veruca Salt - Seether

Track Listing
1. Get Back
2. All Hail Me
3. Seether
4. Spiderman '79
5. Forsythia
6. Wolf
7. Celebrate You
8. Fly
9. Number One Blind
10. Victrola
11. Twinstar
12. 25
13. Sleeping Where I Want


viernes, 29 de agosto de 2008

Mudhoney - Mudhoney (1989)

Mudhoney's first self-titled album came as a bit of a disappointment after the group's initial singles, and from the distance of over a decade it's even more of a sore thumb in the band's extensive discography. It's good, to be sure, but not great; the essential spark of the band got a bit lost over 40 minutes, where in three minutes' space the quartet could be the best act on the planet. Then again, arguably Mudhoney was trying to figure out how to make a full album work with their sound, and if it's not a perfect listen as a whole, there are still some great songs to hear. Jack Endino's production lives up to his reputation for rough, thick recording, but he's left just enough for the songs to breathe, whether it's the audible handclaps on "This Gift" or the quirky guitar riff leading into Dan Peters' rollicking drum rolls on "You Got It." "When Tomorrow Hits" is easily the sleeper hit of the record; later memorably covered by Sonic Boom in the dying days of Spacemen 3, its slow, dreamily threatening build shows off the band's ability for subtlety amidst the volume. "Flat out Fucked" about sums up the whole ethos of the album -- careening pace, compressed feedback roar, and Mark Arm's desperate but never self-important singing resulting in neo-garage rock anti-anthems. About as good is the brilliantly titled instrumental "Magnolia Caboose Babyshit," which gives Steve Turner and Arm a chance to show off some crazy acid rock/proto-funk guitar that avoids sucking, always a pleasure. A couple of draggy numbers and others that take a good idea but almost run too much with it ("Come to Mind," well, comes to mind) keep things from fully working, but next time out Mudhoney would have the perfect combination down. Source: [AMG]

Mudhoney - This Gift

Track Listing
1. This Gift
2. Flat out Fucked
3. Get Into Yours
4. You Got It
5. Magnolia Caboose
6. Come to Mind
7. Here Comes Sickness
8. Running Loaded
9. The Farther I Go
10. By Her Own Hand
11. When Tomorrow Hits
12. Dead Love


sábado, 9 de agosto de 2008

Drugstore - Drugstore (1995)

After a slew of singles that won praise for their smoky and sweet feelings of Jesus and Mary Chain/Mazzy Star strung-out psych-and-bliss late-night atmosphere, Drugstore went ahead and created an album that lived up to those expectations. But that's a too simplistic comparison in some ways, thanks largely to the inspired singing from bassist Isabel Monteiro. A just-confrontational-enough character in interviews, that quality carries over to her recorded work as well, able to hit aggressive points more than Hope Sandoval ever could and unafraid of not always being cool like the Reid brothers. No trace of her Brazilian accent surfaces -- if anything she sounds like she could be a cross between Patsy Cline and Marianne Faithfull, with all the ability and control that implies. Consider "Alive" as a particularly fine example, her simple conclusion of "I am burning" suiting the circular feedback loop and hint of violin that concludes the track, or the low-key backing vocals overdubs on the hushed "Saturday Sunset." As a group, Drugstore clearly has its inspirations, but the result is thoroughly attractive while retaining a strong sense of individual drama. Guitarist/keyboardist Daron Robinson knows how to crank it up and keep it calm, and while it becomes something of a formula by the end of the disc, it still works very well. Call it a sense of loud/soft dynamics in a different setting, rather than repeating the obvious Pixies/Nirvana conclusions so many other '90s bands ground into the dust. "Favorite Sinner" is a fantastic example of same, with a soft sense of building threat as Chris Isaak-styled reverb twang turns into a slow burning feedback frazz and retreating again before an abrupt ending. "Solitary Party Groover" and the wonderful "Starcrossed" received the most attention due to their appearance as singles, but this whole album is an excellent, quietly enveloping treat. Source: [AMG]

Drugstore & Thom Yorke - El President

Track Listing
1. Speaker 12
2. Favourite Sinner
3. Alive
4. Solitary Party Groover
5. If
6. Devil
7. Saturday Sunset
8. Fader
9. Super Glider
10. Baby Astrolab
11. Gravity
12. Nectarine
13. Star-Crossed
14. Accelerate


martes, 5 de agosto de 2008

The Amps - Pacer (1995)

Initially, Kim Deal planned the Amps to be a solo project as she waited for her sister and fellow Breeder Kelley Deal to finish recovering from heroin addiction. Soon, the Amps flowered into a full-fledged band, recording material intended for both Kim's solo project and the third Breeders album. Recruiting drummer Jim MacPherson and two local Dayton musicians, Deal recorded Pacer in the summer of 1995, releasing it in the fall. Appropriately, the album is raw, punky, and amateurish -- it's lo-fi garage punk. Not only does Deal sound recharged by recording with a new band in such a rushed atmosphere, she contributes her most immediate and bracing songs since Pod, the first Breeders album. Pacer somewhat recalls the Pixies, but only in the sense that both bands rely on amateurish enthusiasm to rock, and both bands have an off-kilter sense of song structure. In that sense, the Amps also take a great deal from Guided by Voices, who the Breeders covered on their 1994 Head to Toe EP. But the key to Pacer is its primitive energy. From the brutally pounding "Empty Glasses" and the charmingly sleazy "Tipp City" to the singsong pop of "Pacer" and the fractured melodic rock of "Hoverin" and "Breaking the Split Screen Barrier," Pacer is exciting, gut-level rock & roll. Source: [AMG]

The Amps - Tipp City

Track Listing
1. Pacer
2. Tipp City
3. I Am Decided
4. Mom's Drunk
5. Bragging Party
6. Hoverin'
7. First Revival
8. Full on Idle
9. Breaking the Split Screen Barrier
10. Empty Glasses
11. She's a Girl
12. Dedicated


martes, 22 de julio de 2008

Man or Astro-man? - Intravenous Television Continuum (1995)

Intravenous Television Continuum was a full-length album released by the surf rock group Man or Astro-man?. It was a collection of alternate mixes of previously released songs and a handfull of TV show themes (The Jetsons, My Favorite Martian, etc.). The first pressing was available in 1996 on clear vinyl and opaque purple vinyl through One Louder Records. The following year, the CD was re-issued through Australia's Au-Go-Go Records. It was recorded at Zero Return in Elmore, Alabama sometime in 1994 and 1995. Cover art and design by Shag. Thank you section specifies that the band wished to "thank every organization and citizen on the planet Earth except John Esplen and One Louder Broadcasting.". Source: [Wikipedia]

Man or astroman - Theme from Eeviac

Track Listing
1. Immersion Static
2. Put Your Finger in the Socket - (Maximum Voltage Version)
3. Nitrous Burn Out 2012
4. Tetsuwan Atomu
5. Max Q (Nielson Rating Video Version)
6. ------(Reverse Sync Moog Version)
7. Jetson's Theme
8. Invasion of the Dragonmen - (Alternate Universe Mosrite Version)
9. Bionic Futures
10. Tomorrow Plus X - (Time Travel Through Sleep Deprivation Mix)
11. Out of Limits
12. Calling Hong Kong (Supernova)
13. Munster's Theme
14. Principles Unknown
15. Everyone's Favorite Martian
16. Deuce's Wild
17. Cool Your Jets


sábado, 19 de julio de 2008

Sonic Youth - Confusion Is Sex/Kill Yr. Idols (1995)

Abrasive and archaic, theatrical and confrontational, Confusion Is Sex marks the opening strides that Sonic Youth made during their long slog through the American underground scene of the '80s. And yes, this album is underground if anything; it's lo-fi to the point of tonal drabness, as the instruments seem to ring out in only one tone, that of screechy noise. Yet that tone in itself is part of the album's style, which is one of antithesis. The album isn't comprised of songs but rather soundscapes, while the instruments are your traditional guitar-bass-drums-vocals lineup but are performed most untraditionally. Taken as a whole, Confusion Is Sex is a spellbinding listen, especially the first time through. If you're a bona fide Sonic Youth fan, chances are you'll find it especially spellbinding -- the more of the band's albums you've heard, the better. However, if you're unfamiliar with the band, or a casual fan at most, chances are you're going to be thoroughly tested: this is not an easy album to enjoy. As inaccessible as it may be, however, Confusion Is Sex is a cornerstone of Sonic Youth's career, their true opening salvo toward underground heroism, though miles and miles away from such highly regarded albums as Daydream Nation (1988) or Dirty (1992). [DGC's reissue appends the Kill Yr. Idols EP, which is very much a continuation of Confusion Is Sex, and an excellent one at that.]. Source: [AMG]

Sonic Youth - Shaking Hell

Track Listing
1. (She's In A) Bad Mood
2. Protect Me You
3. Freezer Burn/ I Wanna Be Your Dog
4. Shaking Hell
5. Inhuman
6. The World Looks Red
7. Confusion Is Next
8. Making The Nature Scene
9. Lee Is Free
10. Kill Yr. Idols
11. Brother James
12. Early America
13. Shaking Hell (Live)


viernes, 18 de julio de 2008

Lyres - On Fyre (1984)

Of the dozens of bands that emerged in the 1980s garage rock revival, Lyres were one of the few that seemed to realize that the point wasn't about how much paisley clothing you could wear or finding the right vintage effects pedals (i.e. wallowing in nostalgia for an era you were too young to have actually witnessed -- the musical equivalent of living in an episode of Happy Days), but about playing cool stripped-down rock & roll. Jeff "Monoman" Conolly understood that the Sonics and the Ramones were traveling in the same direction, but merely using a different path to get there, and, as a result, Lyres' recordings have an energy and passion that's stood the test of time far better than most of their contemporaries; their debut LP, On Fyre, may well be their best. Lyres divide their time equally between covers and originals here, and Conolly's songs are strong enough to stand proudly beside those of his heroes; truth to tell, the album's two most exciting songs, "Don't Give It Up Now" and "Help You Ann," came from his pen. While Conolly's Vox Continental organ keeps his 1960s obsessions up-front throughout, the rest of the band is capable of generating a hard-driving groove, and the performances capture what was exciting and soulful about 1960s punk without drowning in a sea of "retro." If On Fyre has a flaw, it's pacing; the best songs appear on side one, rendering the second half just a bit anticlimactic. But there's good stuff throughout the album, and anyone who digs rock of all eras will find something to shake to on On Fyre. Source: [AMG]

Lyres - Help You Ann

Track Listing
1. Don't Give It up Now
2. Help You Ann
3. I Confess
4. I'm Telling You Girl
5. Love Me Till the Sun Shines
6. I Really Want You Right Now
7. Tired of Waiting
8. Dolly
9. Soapy
10. The Way I Feel About You
11. Not Like the Other One
12. Never Met a Girl Like You Before
13. How Could Have I Done All of These Things
14. Swing Shift
15. Trying Just to Please You
16. Busy Body
17. Someone Who'll Treat You Right Now
18. She Pays the Rent
19. You've Been Wrong
20. I'll Try Anyway


miércoles, 16 de julio de 2008

Spin Doctors - Up For Grabs... Live (1991)

Although billed as a mere EP, this six-song live set recorded at New York City's Wetlands club in September 1990 runs 45 minutes, which used to be the length of a full-fledged album. Calling it an EP is a way of de-emphasizing its significance, since it is intended more as an introduction to the band than as the major statement implied by a debut album. Fair enough: Up for Grabs gives you the kinetic, groove-heavy approach of Spin Doctors, especially on the leadoff song, "Big Fat Funky Booty," and Christopher Barron proves to be a funny, crowd-pleasing frontman, but it's also obvious that not much money was spent producing this record. Source: [AMG]

Spin Doctors - Little Miss Can't Be Wrong

Track Listing
1. Big Fat Funky Booty
2. At This Hour
3. Freeway of the Plains/Lady Kerosene
4. Yo Mamas a Pajama
5. Little Miss Can't Be Wrong
6. Rosetta Stone


lunes, 14 de julio de 2008

The Swingin' Neckbreakers - Live For Buzz (1993)

With all the subtlety of their 1970s pro-wrestling maneuver namesake, Trenton, NJ's Swingin' Neckbreakers beautifully piledrive their way through 14 songs on their debut album. Live for Buzz put Swingin' Neckbreakers' formula in place: a deft mixture of covers both unknown and familiar with bassist and lead vocalist Thomas Jorgensen's strong original songwriting. The onslaught comes quickly, song after song smashing its way into your subconscious and your hips with John Jorgensen's bashing beat, his brother's soulful howl, and Shaggy's biting guitar. If a particular number doesn't grab you, no matter; the next one, an even better one, is already coming at you. Live for Buzz, sounding like high fidelity compared to other '90s garage rock kingpins, starts to flag near the end of side two when Swingin' Neckbreakers veer a little too close to a bar band boogie. Trenton makes, the world takes. Source: [AMG]

The Swingin' Neckbreakers - Thinkin' Man's Girl

Track Listing
1. You
2. Thinkin' Man's Girl
3. Same All Over the World
4. Take Your Life
5. I Took My Baby Home
6. Shake It Some More
7. Little Pink Medicine
8. Boss Hoss
9. I Live for Buzz
10. She's Ready to Go Now
11. Little Bitty Corrine
12. You're Lying
13. Saturday's Best
14. The Girl Can't Dance/Look Away


martes, 8 de julio de 2008

Buffalo Tom - Birdbrain (1990)

From the first notes of Buffalo Tom's second album, Birdbrain, it was clear the band had done more than their share of growing up since their self-titled debut, which had come out the year before. The title cut leaps out of the gate with a tight snap that leaves anything on the first album in the dust; drummer Tom Maginnis and bassist Chris Colbourn sound far tighter and more unified as a rhythm section, and guitarist and vocalist Bill Janovitz reveals a taut, slashing authority that was quite a change from the sloppy, sometimes meandering sound he'd summoned up his first time at bat. Just as roadwork had firmed up Buffalo Tom's sound, their songwriting was also steadily improving; the ultra-catchy "Birdbrain" sounded like it could have been a hit single in some alternate universe, while "Guy Who Is Me" and "Crawl" indicated they were learning to work better with trickier structures, and "Enemy" and "Skeleton Key" prove they could slow down effectively and communicate something other than a rant. While the band was still working the last vestiges of their clear Dinosaur Jr. influence at this point (J Mascis was in the producer's chair once again for this set), Birdbrain made it clear Buffalo Tom was far more than just Dino Jr.'s little brother band. The CD adds a nice acoustic cover of "Heaven" by the Psychedelic Furs as a bonus -- yet another touch you would never have expected judging from their debut. Source [AMG]

Buffalo Tom - Birdbrain

Track Listing
1. Birdbrain
2. Skeleton Key
3. Caress
4. Guy Who Is Me
5. Enemy
6. Crawl
7. Fortune Teller
8. Baby
9. Directive
10. Bleeding Heart
11. Heaven [Live Acoustic]
12. Reason Why [Live Acoustic]


miércoles, 2 de julio de 2008

Sugar - Copper Blue (1992)

How ironic that after years fronting the hugely influential but desperately overlooked Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould's first project with new band Sugar, 1992's Copper Blue, would become the most commercially successful project of his career. Of course, it was released just as the seeds sown by his former band were bearing bountiful fruits in the post-Nirvana alternative nation, which provided ample explanation for its phenomenal success. But Sugar were well deserving of their success, regardless of time and place. A more aggressive, contemporary guitar attack aside, stunning power punk masterpieces like "The Act We Act," "The Slim," and "Fortune Teller" bear all of the vintage Mould musical traits: tell-tale lyrics, great hooks, and snappy melodies. It's all underpinned by that unexplainable, chilling tension between innocent beauty and dark melancholy that fans came to expect from Mould, and topped by his somewhat nasal, almost timid vocal harmonies. Other highlights include the '60s-style "If I Can't Change Your Mind," the loud, beautiful guitars of "Man on the Moon" and "Helpless," and the tongue-in-cheek Pixies tribute "A Good Idea.". Source: [AMG]

Sugar - Helpless

Track Listing
1. The Act We Act
2. A Good Idea
3. Changes
4. Helpless
5. Hoover Dam

6. The Slim
7. If I Can't Change Your Mind
8. Fortune Teller

9. Slick
10. Man on the Moon


lunes, 30 de junio de 2008

Urusei Yatsura - We Are Urusei Yatsura (1996)

Formerly known as Urusei Yatsura, Yatsura is not a Japanese rock band, although their name does come from a Japanese cartoon series. Yatsura is a Scottish band that blends low-fi indie-pop with wailing guitars and feedback. We Are Yatsura opens with the manic-paced "Siamese," then rolls into the slower and more melodic "First Day on a New Planet." "Pow R. Ball" is insane mayhem, and "Black Hole Love" is a sonic ballad. While there are a couple of fillers, Yatsura manage to pound out a smashing racket of a debut. Source: [AMG]

Urusei Yatsura - Kewpies Likes Watermelon

Track Listing
1. Siamese
2. First Day on a New Planet
3. Pow R. Ball
4. Kewpies Like Watermelon
5. Phasers on Stun/Sola Kola
6. Black Hole Love
7. Velvy Bood
8. Plastic Ashtray
9. Death 2 Everyone
10. Pachinko
11. Untitled
12. Kernel
13. Road Song


sábado, 28 de junio de 2008

Supersuckers - La Mano Cornuda (1994)

La Mano Cornuda, or the horns of the devil, is The Supersuckers' most ambitious record to date as the intense guitar chord explosion first heard on The Smoke of Hell is joined with a more aggressive lead guitar attack that almost verges on The Supersuckers' closet dream of heavy metal machismo. Every song on La Mano Cornuda (with the exception of the limp punk-pop slacker anthem "On the Couch") embraces an overpowering rock jock attitude that will either disgust you or leave you rolling on the floor. Source [AMG]

Supersuckers - Creepy Jackalope Eye

Track Listing
1. Creepy Jackalope Eye
2. Seventeen Poles
3. High Ya!

4. On the Couch
5. Clueless
6. Sugie
7. Mudhead
8. Gold Top
9. How to Maximize Your Kill Count
10. I Was Born Without a Spine
11. Glad, Damn Glad
12. She's My Bitch
13. The Schmooze
14. Untitled