jueves, 26 de febrero de 2009

R.E.M. - Monster (1994)

Monster is indeed R.E.M.'s long-promised "rock" album; it just doesn't rock in the way one might expect. Instead of R.E.M.'s trademark anthemic bashers, Monster offers a set of murky sludge, powered by the heavily distorted and delayed guitar of Peter Buck. Michael Stipe's vocals have been pushed to the back of the mix, along with Bill Berry's drums, which accentuates the muscular pulse of Buck's chords. From the androgynous sleaze of "Crush With Eyeliner" to the subtle, Eastern-tinged menace of "You," most of the album sounds dense, dirty, and grimy, which makes the punchy guitars of "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" and the warped soul of "Tongue" all the more distinctive. Monster doesn't have the conceptual unity or consistently brilliant songwriting of Automatic for the People, but it does offer a wide range of sonic textures that have never been heard on an R.E.M. album before. Source: [AMG]

R.E.M. - What's The Frequency, Kenneth?

Track Listing
1. What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
2. Crush with Eyeliner
3. King of Comedy
4. I Don't Sleep, I Dream
5. Star 69
6. Strange Currencies
7. Tongue
8. Bang and Blame
9. I Took Your Name
10. Let Me In
11. Circus Envy
12. You


sábado, 21 de febrero de 2009

Jeff Buckley - Grace (1994)

Jeff Buckley was many things, but humble wasn't one of them. Grace is an audacious debut album, filled with sweeping choruses, bombastic arrangements, searching lyrics, and above all, the richly textured voice of Buckley himself, which resembled a cross between Robert Plant, Van Morrison, and his father Tim. And that's a fair starting point for his music: Grace sounds like a Led Zeppelin album written by an ambitious folkie with a fondness for lounge jazz. At his best — the soaring title track, "Last Goodbye," and the mournful "Lover, You Should've Come Over" — Buckley's grasp met his reach with startling results; at its worst, Grace is merely promising. Source: [AMG]

Jeff Buckley - Eternal Life

Track Listing
1. Mojo Pin
2. Grace
3. Last Goodbye
4. Lilac Wine
5. So Real
6. Hallelujah
7. Lover, You Should've Come Over
8. Corpus Christi Carol
9. Eternal Life
10. Dream Brother


lunes, 16 de febrero de 2009

Alice In Chains - Sap (1992)

Upon its release, Sap was a revelation, a seemingly tossed-off EP of four mostly acoustic ballads (augmented with a goofy bonus track) that threw Alice in Chains' melodic gifts into stunning relief while exposing a gentler, more melancholy side of their sound, something that Facelift never even hinted at. The mood is still bleak, but not affectedly so, as was sometimes the case on Facelift. There's a newfound maturity in the subtlety and confessional introspection of the first four songs, whose somber beauty is unfortunately dispelled by the bonus track (in a different context, it might be idiotic fun, but it really doesn't fit here). Still, Sap served notice that there was a great deal more depth to Alice in Chains than their debut had let on, hinting at the potential that would be realized with Dirt. [AMG]

Alice In Chains - Got Me Wrong

Track Listing
1. Brother
2. Got Me Wrong
3. Right Turn
4. Am I Inside
5. Love Song


miércoles, 11 de febrero de 2009

The Smashing Pumpkins - Gish (1991)

Arriving several months before Nirvana's Nevermind, the Smashing Pumpkins' debut album, Gish, which was also produced by Butch Vig, was the first shot of the alternative revolution that transformed the rock & roll landscape of the '90s. While Nirvana was a punk band, the Smashing Pumpkins and guitarist/vocalist Billy Corgan are arena rockers, co-opting their metallic riffs and epic art rock song structures with self-absorbed lyrical confessions. Though Corgan's lyrics fall apart upon close analysis, there's no denying his gift for arrangements. Like Brian May and Jimmy Page, he knows how to layer guitars for maximum effect, whether it's on the pounding, sub-Sabbath rush of "I Am One" or the shimmering, psychedelic dream pop surfaces of "Rhinoceros." Such musical moments like these, as well as the rushing "Siva" and the folky "Daydream," which features D'Arcy on lead vocals, demonstrate the Smashing Pumpkins' potential, but the rest of Gish falls prey to undistinguished songwriting and showy instrumentation. Source: [AMG]

The Smashing Pumpkins - I Am One

Track Listing
1. I Am One
2. Siva
3. Rhinoceros
4. Bury Me
5. Crush
6. Suffer
7. Snail
8. Tristessa
9. Window Paine
10. Daydream


miércoles, 4 de febrero de 2009

The Gories - I Know You Fine, But How You Doin' (1990)

I Know You Fine But How You Doin' is a magnum opus of dirty brilliance. Dirty in the grunge-covered sense. Dirty in the back alley and sleepin' it off sense. As with their first LP House Rockin', the Gories employ a primitive backbeat of tom-toms, fuzzy guitars, and insomniac blues screams (distributed more democratically here by singer/guitarists Dan Kroha -- see also the Demolition Dollrods -- and Mick Collins -- see also Blacktop -- than on the Gories' debut, House Rockin'). Recorded in Memphis at Easley Recording in 1990 with legendary recluse/genius Alex Chilton at the boards, I Know You Fine is ever-so-slightly more "produced" than the debut. But the songwriting, thankfully, never leaves the gutter far behind. Better still, the Gories make you believe that it's all happened to them recently enough to be a painful enough memory to necessitate writing a blues-riff song. Muted howling, cavernous guitars, and throbbing drums are always half a step from simultaneously disappearing and blowing up in your face. The main benefit of a non-D.I.Y. production on this outing is atmospheric, after-hours gems such as "Six Cold Feet," "Early in the Morning," and "Smashed." The desperation quotient is taken up by such tunes as "Stranded," "Goin' to the River," and "Nitroglycerine." I Know You Fine is perhaps the Gories' most focused vision of urban punk blues. As an added bonus, the Crypt reissue version features more than nine extra songs culled from both singles and the original track listing of House Rockin' (perhaps Crypt didn't anticipate reissuing both records). With the added tracks, this reissued version of I Know You Fine But How You Doin' is the one Gories recording to buy if you must only buy one. Source: [AMG]

The Gories - Makin' Love

Track Listing
1. Hey Hey, We're the Gories
2. You Make It Move
3. Detroit Breakdown
4. Stranded
5. Goin' to the River
6. Early in the Morning
7. Thunderbird ESQ
8. Nitroglyeerine
9. Let Your Daddy Ride
10. Six Cold Feet
11. Queenie
12. Smashed
13. Ghost Rider
14. Chick-Inn
15. View from Here
16. Makin' Love