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