domingo, 31 de enero de 2010

Bob Mould - Black Sheets Of Rain (1990)

If you thought Bob Mould's angst-ridden solo debut, Workbook, was a blast of heavy weather, you'll need a steel umbrella to withstand the torrential distortion and gale-force rage of Black Sheets of Rain. This album contains none of Workbook's pensive acoustic eloquence or diligent guitar orchestration. Black Sheets of Rain is nothing more, or less, than a long, loud howl of pain – blinding anger, unremitting loveache, debilitating loneliness – broadcast from power-trio hell.

But like the machine-gun melancholy that distinguished Mould's half of the Hüsker Dü songbook, this is the kind of high-volume torment and emotional open-heart surgery that hurts so good. "Is there an upside/To every downside?" Mould asks despairingly in the opening title track, only to answer his own question with an overdubbed assault of clenched-fist guitars and shivering feedback screams. "Stop Your Crying" is a stunning, funereal stomp that explodes with serrated circular riffing, careening solo breaks and a manic, strangled vocal, escalating into a climactic frenzy that roars like a fiercely compressed version of the haywire coda to John Lennon's "I Want You (She's So Heavy)." And the album's big, bloodletting finish, "Sacrifice/Let There Be Peace," sounds like Richard Thompson in hell, a kind of slam-dance "Shoot Out the Lights" hammered out industrial-waltz style by the returning Workbook rhythm devils, drummer Anton Fier and Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone.

Rock & roll catharsis, postpunk or otherwise, doesn't get much better than this. It's not exactly sweet release, though. Mould discovers little in the way of hope or emotional fulfillment in his misery expeditions here, other than the kinds that come from just walking away or letting go. The most upbeat song on the record is "Out of Your Life," a bright, bouncy rocker with a punky, coltish kick and a snappy Sixties Brit-pop chorus (sort of Buzzcocks meets Badfinger) that belie Mould's bleak lyrical mood: "I ain't got a life all alone/And the one I got with you could kill me."

Yet for all of its volcanic distortion and blatant suicidal desperation, Black Sheets of Rain is really about the hurt that eventually leads to discovery. "So I've been driving far and wide to find my call in life/Been looking for a place where I belong/I guess a little pain never killed anyone," Mould admits, rather matter-of-factly, in the otherwise pulverizing "Hanging Tree." This record is the sound of Mould cranking up and just sweating it out. Source: []

Bob Mould & No Age - I Apologize

Track Listing
1. Black Sheets of Rain
2. Stand Guard
3. It's Too Late
4. One Good Reason
5. Stop Your Crying
6. Hanging Tree
7. The Last Night
8. Hear Me Calling
9. Out of Your Life
10. Disappointed
11. Sacrifice - Let There Be Peace


martes, 12 de enero de 2010

The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (1995)

The Smashing Pumpkins didn't shy away from making the follow-up to the grand, intricate Siamese Dream. With Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the band turns in one of the most ambitious and indulgent albums in rock history. Lasting over two hours and featuring 28 songs, the album is certainly a challenging listen. To Billy Corgan's credit, it's a rewarding and compelling one as well. Although the artistic scope of the album is immense, the Smashing Pumpkins flourish in such an overblown setting. Corgan's songwriting has never been limited by conventional notions of what a rock band can do, even if it is clear that he draws inspiration from scores of '70s heavy metal and art rock bands. Instead of copying the sounds of his favorite records, he expands on their ideas, making the gentle piano of the title track and the sighing "1979" sit comfortably against the volcanic rush of "Jellybelly" and "Zero." In between those two extremes lies an array of musical styles, drawing from rock, pop, folk, and classical. Some of the songs don't work as well as others, but Mellon Collie never seems to drag. Occasionally they fall flat on their face, but over the entire album, the Smashing Pumpkins prove that they are one of the more creative and consistent bands of the '90s. Source: [AMG]

The Smashing Pumpkins - Zero

Track Listing
Dawn To Dusk
1. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
2. Tonight, Tonight
3. Jellybelly
4. Zero
5. Here Is No Why
6. Bullet with Butterfly Wings
7. To Forgive
8. Fuck You (An Ode to No One)
9. Love
10. Cupid de Locke
11. Galapogos
12. Muzzle
13. Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
14. Take Me Down

Twilight To Starlight
1. Where the Boys Fear to Tread
2. Bodies
3. Thirty-Three
4. In the Arms of Sleep
5. 1979
6. Tales of a Scorched Earth Corgan 4:16
7. Thru the Eyes of Ruby Corgan 4:14
8. Stumbleine
9. X.Y.U.
10. We Only Come out at Night
11. Beautiful
12. Lily (My One and Only)
13. By Starlight
14. Farewell and Goodnight

[Download Disc 1]
[Download Disc 2]

jueves, 7 de enero de 2010

VV. AA. - A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

Danny Boyle, Andrew MacDonald and John Hodge's adaptation of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting was one of those rare films that captured the spirit and style of contemporary youth culture. That alone was a remarkable event, but what was even more surprising was how its accompanying soundtrack summarized the sounds of mid-'90s British alternative music. They couldn't hope to replicate that seminal event with the soundtrack to their subsequent romantic comedy, A Life Less Ordinary, and they don't, even though the album has plenty to recommend it on its own. Since the film is set in America, it is only appropriate that there are several American bands on the soundtrack (Trainspotting was almost entirely British), and several of the songs have a distinct country leaning. The first half of the record is stellar, featuring Beck's groovy, swinging "Deadweight," and Luscious Jackson's "Love Is Here," Ash's storming title track, R.E.M.'s re-recorded (and superior) "Leave," and Folk Implosion's "Kingdom of Lies," among others. The second half sags a bit, as a pair of oldies (Elvis Presley's "Always On My Mind," Bobby Darin's "Beyond the Sea") and a couple of nonentities (Dusted's "Deeper River") hurt the momentum, but that doesn't distract from the pleasures of new tracks from the Cardigans, A3, Underworld and the Prodigy. In the end, A Life Less Ordinary isn't as consistently engaging as Trainspotting, but it doesn't really matter, since this soundtrack offers more thrills than average and has a distinctive, compelling mood of its own. Source: [AMG]

Ash - A Life Less Ordinary

Track Listing
1. Beck - Deadweight
2. Luscious Jackson - Love Is Here
3. Ash - A Life Less Ordinary
4. Sneaker Pimps - Velvet Divorce
5. The Folk Implosion - Kingdom of Lies
6. R.E.M. - Leave [New Version]
7. Faithless - Don't Leave
8. Underworld - Oh
9. The Cardigans - It's War
10. Elvis Presley - Always on My Mind
11. Alabama 3 - Peace in the Valley
12. Bobby Darin - Beyond the Sea
13. Squirrel Nut Zippers - Put a Lid on It
14. Dusted - Deeper River
15. Prodigy - Full Throttle


sábado, 2 de enero de 2010

Mudhoney - Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (1991)

Whether it was Conrad Uno's production, the addition of more instruments to the Mudhoney arsenal (notably, Mark Arm adds organ, as can be enjoyably heard on "Who You Drivin' Now," among other numbers), a slew of brilliant songs, or a combination of the above, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge found Mudhoney coming into their own album-wise. "Let It Slide," the album's lead single, fuses everything from surf rock drumming from Dan Peters to a delicious vocal whine on the verses from Arm into a hotwired classic. It's not so much grunge as speed-freak energy, and all the better for it given the caricatures of Sub Pop's sound that would soon take over the airwaves. "Into the Drink" is another fun single, using acoustic and electric guitar to carry a nicely snotty garage stomp along, the full band adding one of their better chorus-gang shouts. More acoustic twang surfaces here and there (check out "Move Out"), helping to show that the variety of songs and styles is much more apparent and welcome here than on the self-titled album. The almost-pretty rushed guitar chime on "Good Enough" could be mid-'80s New Order or the Wedding Present, while Steve Turner's harmonica playing often suggests even deeper roots (and on "Pokin' Around" is both quick on the pace and sweetly mournful). Uno's eight-track production makes more of less plenty of times -- "Something So Clear" may not sound as full to some ears as their other records, but the basic guitar overdubs add just enough force, an effective simplicity (and Turner's soloing is pretty great to boot). The six-minute "Broken Hands" is the one point on the album where the band completely freaks out, but unlike the takes-too-long moments of Mudhoney, it's all worth it here, down to the final chaotic amplifier abuse. Source: [AMG]

Mudhoney - Let It Slide

Track Listing
1. Generation Genocide
2. Let It Slide
3. Good Enough
4. Something So Clear
5. Thorn
6. Into the Drink
7. Broken Hands
8. Who You Drivin' Now
9. Move Out
10. Shoot the Moon
11. Fuzzgun '91
12. Pokin' Around
13. Don't Fade IV
14. Check-Out Time