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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind

NeveroddoreveN (Dharma Records, 2003) is an album by the British Electronic music group I Monster, comprising Sheffield based producers Dean Honer and Jarrod Gosling. Capitalization of the final letter in the album's name is suggested by the typography of the original cover art. The title is a palindrome, a sequence of units that can be read the same way in either direction. The album was re-released in 2004 by Instant Karma as NeveroddoreveN: Remodeled with different album artwork and a revised track list appealing to the label's perception of popular demand. While the word Remodeled does not officially appear on the album, it is often used to help distinguish it from the original. "Hey Mrs." was replaced with a remix that gained popularity through use in advertisements, including commercials for Absolut Vodka and the television series Eureka. "The Blue Wrath" was expanded, and "The Backseat of My Car" was also remixed. I Monster and their label, Twins of Evil, are both named after horror films. They are currently producing the follow up to Neveroddoreven to be titled "Beware The Eyes That Paralyze!" and are finishing the album's first single, "Sucker For Your Sound".

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dig Out Your Soul

Fight for Your Mind (Virgin) is a 1995 album by Ben Harper, following his well-received debut, Welcome to the Cruel World. It was his last solo album before adding The Innocent Criminals to his line-up. Reviews were generally very positive, praising Harper's fusion of multiple genres, from folk and folk rock to Black Sabbath-style riffing heavy metal ("Ground on Down") and politically-charged reggae ("Excuse Me Mister"). On this, his second album, Harper added a more refined sense of his own intense spirituality, such as on the gospel-influenced album closers, "Power of the Gospel", "God Fearing Man" and "One Road to Freedom". Top/ Music from the original soundtrack to Kundun (Nonesuch, 1997) by American classical music composer Philip Glass. Kundun is a 1997 film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the life and writings of the Dalai Lama, the exiled political and spiritual leader of Tibet. While Dalai Lama means "ocean of wisdom", the name "Kundun" is a title by which the Dalai Lama is addressed, literally meaning "presence". Philip Glass (born January 31, 1937) is considered one of the most influential composers of the late-20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the American public (along with precursors such as Richard Strauss, Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein). His music is described as minimalist, however he wishes to distance himself from this label, describing himself instead as a composer of "music with repetitive structures". He describes himself as "a Jewish-Taoist-Hindu-Toltec-Buddhist", and a supporter of the Tibetan cause. In 1987 he co-founded the Tibet House with Columbia University professor Robert Thurman and the actor Richard Gere.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hitting A Nerve

Paul Simonon of
English rock band The Clash smashes his Fender Precision bass against the stage at The Palladium in NYC on the cover of their third album London Calling (CBS, 1979). The album's subject matter included unemployment, racial conflict, drug use, and the responsibilities of adulthood. With its pink and green typography, the cover artwork was designed by Ray Lowry and was a parody of the design of Elvis Presley's debut album. Middle/ Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (Warner Bros., 1978) is the first album by New Wave musicians Devo. The album title references Erle C. Kenton's 1933 horror film Island of Lost Souls, which was based on H. G. Wells' novel The Island of Dr Moreau. In the 1933 film, a mad scientist performs operations on wild beasts in order to make them more human and able to undertake menial tasks. When the beasts acted in an inappropriate manner the scientist Dr. Moreau would crack his whip and challenge the beasts. Lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh felt as though these half-man, devolved beasts were not unlike his fellow Akron, Ohio residents, and decided to write about it. Top/ A still from The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle about seminal punk group the Sex Pistols adorns the sleeve of Sid Vicious' sped up, ballistic cover of "My Way" (1980). The original song lyrics of "My Way", written by Paul Anka and popularized by Frank Sinatra, tell the story of a man who is nearing death. An edited version of the Sid Vicious cover is played during the closing credits of the Martin Scorsese movie Goodfellas

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly

Bottom/ Breakfast In America is the sixth album by Supertramp, released in 1979 on A&M. It was recorded the previous year at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles. The album featured four hit singles: "The Logical Song", "Goodbye Stranger", "Take the Long Way Home", and the title track. The album's front cover is an overlook of New York City through an airplane window. It was designed by Mike Doud and depicted Kate Murtagh as a Statue of Liberty figure holding a glass of orange juice instead of a torch and the background featured a city made from cornflake box, ashtray, cutlery (for the wharfs), eggboxes, vinegar, ketchup and mustard bottles, all spraypainted white. The twin World Trade Center towers appear as two stacks of boxes and the plate of breakfast represents Battery Park, the departure point for the Staten Island Ferry. Tensions between band members Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies started to come to the fore on this album. Despite the turmoil, Breakfast in America became Supertramp's biggest selling album with over 4 million copies sold in the US alone to date (11 million copies worldwide). Top/ English multi-platinum selling psychedelic rock band Kula Shaker first came to prominence during the Britpop era with such singles as "Grateful When You're Dead", "Hey Dude" and "Tattva". Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts (Columbia, 1999) was produced by Bob Ezrin, known for his work with Lou Reed and Pink Floyd.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Shadows Of Paradise

Bottom/ Night Song is an album by qawwal Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and guitarist and producer Michael Brook, released in 1996. It was the last album on Real World Records that Khan lived to see finished. This album, along with Mustt Mustt, contributed tracks to the remix album Star Rise. This is perhaps the most experimental of Khan's albums, including Senegalese and classically trained musicians. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948 — 1997), was a Pakistani musician, primarily a singer of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis (a mystical tradition within Islam). Nusrat's family has an unbroken tradition of performing qawwali for the last 600 years. Among other honorary titles bestowed upon him, Nusrat was called Shahenshah-e-Qawwali, meaning The Emperor of Qawwali. Middle/ Songs From The Victorious City (China Records, 1990) is an album in the world music genre written by Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman, recorded in Cairo and London. It takes its name from Cairo itself, in Arabic القاهرة‎ (translit: al-Qahirah), literally "The Triumphant" or "The Victorious". Top/ Something Dangerous (Mantra Records, 2003) is the fifth album by Natacha Atlas. Natacha Atlas (born March 20, 1964) is a Belgian singer known for her fusion of Arabic and North African music with Western electronic music. She once termed her music "cha'abi moderne" (an updated form of Egyptian pop music). Her music has been influenced by many styles including Arabesque music, drum 'n' bass and reggae. Most of Atlas' albums have been produced by Transglobal Underground. Transglobal Underground (or TGU) is a London-based music collective who specialise in a fusion of western, oriental and African music styles (sometimes labelled as "world fusion" or "ethno-techno"), as in their 1991 single "Temple Head". Their first four albums featured Natacha Atlas as lead singer. Atlas was also the belly dancer for the group. She continues to focus on her Middle Eastern Eastern roots, as the titles of her albums imply: Diaspora (1995), Halim (1997) (in honour of Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez), Gedida (1998), Ayeshteni (2001) and Mish Maoul (an Egyptian expression meaning "unbelievable") (2006). Atlas was born to a father of Moroccan, Egyptian, Jewish, and Palestinian ancestry who was born in Jerusalem and a British mother who had converted to Islam. In 2001, she was appointed by Mary Robinson as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Conference Against Racism. Robinson chose Atlas because "she embodies the message that there is a strength in diversity. That our differences – be they ethnic, racial or religious – are a source of riches to be embraced rather than feared". On May 23, 2008 Atlas released a new album, Ana Hina.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dipping Low (In The Lap Of Luxury)

Bottom/ The Smashing Pumpkins return with reunion album Zeitgeist (Reprise, 2007). The Smashing Pumpkins are an American alternative rock band that formed in Chicago in 1988. With approximately 18.25 million albums sold in the US alone, they were one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands of the 1990s. Disavowing the punk rock roots shared by many of their alt-rock contemporaries, the Pumpkins have a diverse, densely layered, and guitar-heavy sound, containing elements of gothic rock, heavy metal, dream pop, psychedelic rock, arena rock, shoegazer-style production and, in later recordings, electronica. Frontman Billy Corgan is the group's primary songwriter—his grand musical ambitions and cathartic lyrics have shaped the band's albums and songs, which have been described as "anguished, bruised reports from Billy Corgan's nightmare-land". Corgan indicated that, with Zeitgeist, he wanted to make a mainstream rock record and comment on the political climate of the United States. Top/ American blues-rock band ZZ Top from Houston, Texas, unleashed Afterburner (Warner) in 1985. Starring guitar ace Billy Gibbons, the band originally gained wide acclaim with the classic, hard rockin' song "La Grange", referencing the bordello that is also the subject of the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The band later went for a distinctive synthesizer-laced sound —a rarity in the blues rock genre —, which added a modern, electronic edge to the music. ZZ Top reached new heights of popularity with the 1983 album Eliminator, boosted to prominence by the tracks "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Legs" and "Sharp Dressed Man".

Monday, October 13, 2008

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

Hank Williams (1923 – 1953) was an American singer-songwriter and musician who has become an icon of country music and one of the most influential musicians and songwriters of the 20th century. A leading pioneer of the honky tonk style, he had numerous hit records, and his charismatic performances and succinct compositions increased his fame. His songbook is one of the backbones of country music, and several of his songs are pop standards as well. He has been covered in a range of pop, gospel, blues and rock styles. His death at the age of twenty-nine helped fuel his legend. His son (Randall) Hank Williams, Jr., nicknamed 'Bocephus', his daughter Jett Williams, and his grandchildren (Shelton) Hank Williams III, Holly Williams, and Hilary Williams are also professional singers. Come September: An Introduction To Hank Williams (Mercury, 2003) is an anthology of 18 songs from the late country legend and contains "I Saw the Light" and "Ramblin' Man."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Brain Salad Surgery

Aqualung (Island) is the fourth studio album by the rock band Jethro Tull, released in 1971. On this album, band leader Ian Anderson's writing voiced strong opinions about religion and society. The title track and "Locomotive Breath" remain staples of U.S. classic rock stations and, to this day, are rarely left out of Jethro Tull's live act. Jethro Tull are a British rock group that formed in 1967-1968. Its music is marked by the distinctive vocal style and lead flute work of front man Ian Anderson. Initially playing blues rock with an experimental flavour, it has incorporated elements of classical, folk and 'ethnic' musics, jazz and art rock into its music. The band has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. The album's original cover art by Burton Silverman features a portrait of the title character, Aqualung, which many have considered to be inspired by Ian Anderson, though Anderson denies it. Top/ Brain Salad Surgery (Manticore Records, 1973) is the fourth studio album by progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Designed by controversial surreal artist H.R. Giger, best known for his design work on the film Alien, the album cover is considered one of the most memorable (and often disturbing) of its time. It features distinctive Giger monochromatic biomechanical artwork, integrating an industrial mechanism with a human skull and the new ELP logo (created by Giger). In the original LP release, the front cover was split in half down the center. Opening the halves revealed a painting of the complete face: a human female (modelled after Giger's wife), with "alien" hair and multiple scars, including the infinity symbol and a scar from a frontal lobotomy. Brain Salad Surgery is an epic, futuristic fusion of rock and classical themes. Lyrics were co-written by Greg Lake with ex-King Crimson fellow member Peter Sinfield. "Jerusalem" was the only single, but it was not released in the UK due to objections from the BBC.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Once Upon A Town

Top/ Foreign Affairs is an album by Tom Waits, released in 1977 on Elektra Entertainment. It was produced by Bones Howe, and features Bette Midler singing a duet with Waits on "I Never Talk to Strangers". Tom Waits (born 7 December 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car." With this trademark growl, his incorporation of pre-rock styles such as blues, jazz, and vaudeville, and experimental tendencies verging on industrial music, Waits has built up a distinctive musical persona. He has worked as a composer for movies and musical plays and as a supporting actor in films, including The Fisher King, Coffee & Cigarettes and Down by Law (both directed by Jim Jarmusch), Bram Stoker's Dracula, Wristcutters: A Love Story, and the 1993 Robert Altman film Short Cuts. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on One from the Heart, a 1982 musical film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Lyrically, Waits' songs contain atmospheric portrayals of bizarre, seedy characters and places, although he has also shown a penchant for more conventional ballads. Bottom/ Asylum Years (1986) is the second "best of" compilation covering Tom Waits' Asylum Records years. The album curiously features no tracks from 1975 fan favourite Nighthawks at the Diner but has poignant and touching songs such as his magnificent version of Somewhere (from West Side Story), "Kentucky Avenue" and the classic "Ruby’s Arms".

Friday, September 19, 2008

Higher Ground

Bottom/ It's a Beautiful Day (CBS, 1969) is the self-titled debut album by San Francisco psychedelic band It's a Beautiful Day. It's a Beautiful Day was a band formed in San Francisco, California in 1967, the brainchild of violinist and vocalist David LaFlamme. Although they were one of the earliest and most important San Francisco bands to emerge from the Summer of Love, It’s a Beautiful Day never quite achieved the success of their contemporaries such as The Grateful Dead and Santana, with whom they had connections. It’s A Beautiful Day created a unique blend of rock, jazz, folk, classical and world beat styles during the seven years the band was officially together. Top/ 13th Floor Elevators was a garage rock band formed in Austin, Texas, from late 1965 until 1969. As one of the first psychedelic bands, they have been cited as an influential proto-punk group. Their biggest hit "You're Gonna Miss Me", a Billboard #55 hit in 1966, was featured on the 1972 compilation Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968, which was later to be considered a landmark in the history of garage rock and the development of punk rock. Singer Janis Joplin was a close associate of the band. She sang with the band at a few shows, and considered joining the group in Austin, before she headed to San Francisco and joined Big Brother and the Holding Company. Her style of singing was much influenced by singer/guitarist Roky Erickson's trademark screaming and yelping, as in "You're Gonna Miss Me". Today, the 13th Floor Elevators continues to influence new generations of musicians. In 1990, 21 contemporary bands — including R.E.M., ZZ Top, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Primal Scream — recorded covers of Elevators songs on Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson, one of the first tribute albums, in what would become a fad. The band have also been an influence on the "stoner rock" scene the likes of Queens of the Stone Age.

Walking In Space

Bottom/ Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The musical's profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of the "rock musical", utilizing a racially-integrated cast and inviting the audience onstage for a "Be-in" finale. Several of the songs from its score became Top 40 hits, and a successful movie adaptation by Milos Forman was released in 1979. That same year, RCA released the 2-record set Hair - Original Soundtrack Recording. For three nights in September 2007, Joe's Pub and the Public Theater presented a 40th anniversary production of Hair at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in New York. Demand for the show was overwhelming, as long lines and overnight waits for tickets "dwarfed" other Delacorte productions. Nine months after its concert version, The Public Theater opened Hair in a fully staged production at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, on July 22, 2008. The Public Theatre has announced that the production will transfer to Broadway in 2009. Said co-author James Rado in 2008: "It was a show about now when we did it. Now it's a show about then—but it's still about now." Top/ Sweetheart of the Rodeo is the sixth album by American rock band The Byrds, released on July 29, 1968 on Columbia. Along with Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding and a handful of other albums, Sweetheart of the Rodeo is one of the seminal recordings of country-rock and remains influential to this day despite being the most commercially unsuccessful album recorded by the group at the time of its release.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Great Gig In The Sky

Richard William Wright
(28 July 1943 - 15 September 2008) was a self-taught pianist and keyboardist best known for his long career with Pink Floyd. Wright’s richly textured keyboard layers were a vital ingredient and a distinctive characteristic of Pink Floyd's sound. In addition, Wright frequently sang background and occasionally lead vocals onstage and in the studio with Pink Floyd (most notably on the songs "Time", "Echoes", and on the Syd Barrett composition "Astronomy Domine"). Though not as prolific a songwriter as his bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour, he wrote significant parts of the music for classic albums such as Meddle (Harvest/EMI, 1971) (top), The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here (Harvest/EMI, 1975), as well as for Pink Floyd's final studio album The Division Bell. In the early days of Pink Floyd, Wright was a prominent musical force in the group (although not as much as Syd Barrett, the band’s chief songwriter and front man at the time) and he wrote and sang several songs of his own during 1967–1968. While not credited as a singer on Pink Floyd's debut The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, he sang lead on Barrett-penned songs like "Astronomy Domine" and "Matilda Mother", as well as notable harmonies on "Scarecrow" and "Chapter 24". Examples of his early compositions include "Remember a Day", "Paintbox" and "It Would Be So Nice". As the sound and the goals of the band evolved, Wright became less interested in songwriting and focused primarily on contributing his distinctive style to extended instrumental compositions such as "Interstellar Overdrive", "A Saucerful of Secrets" (EMI Columbia, 1968) (bottom), "Careful with That Axe, Eugene", "One Of These Days" and to musical themes for film scores (More, Zabriskie Point and Obscured by Clouds). He also made essential contributions to Pink Floyd's long, epic compositions such as "Atom Heart Mother", "Echoes" (on which he sang lead vocals) and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". His most commercially popular compositions are "The Great Gig in the Sky" and "Us and Them" from 1973's The Dark Side of the Moon. He also contributed significantly to other mid-period Floyd classics like "Breathe" and "Time", singing lead vocals on alternate verses of the latter with David Gilmour. Wright was known for his ghostly atmospheric textures such as the Leslie piano arpeggios at the beginning of "Echoes", the echoed Farfisa organ in the live versions of "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" and "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", the distinctive Minimoog solos in "Any Colour You Like" and, more famously, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and the jazzy electric piano passages in "Money", "Time" and "Sheep". Bandmate David Gilmour said: "In my view, all the greatest Pink Floyd moments are the ones where he is in full flow. No-one can replace Richard Wright - he was my musical partner and my friend." He added: "In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick's enormous input was frequently forgotten." RIP Rick — "Remember a day before today / A day when you were young / Free to play alone with time / Evening never came / Sing a song that can’t be sung / Without the morning’s kiss."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We Are Glitter

Bottom/ In Your Mind (E.G. Records) is a 1977 album by Bryan Ferry. It was his fourth long-playing solo release and the first consisting entirely of original songs: the first two had been cover albums, the second concluding with an original song, the third a collection of B-side and EP material, all of it covers. As Ferry's first solo all-original LP effort, released after the break-up of Roxy Music, it was supported by an extensive tour. Top/ "Butterfly Caught" is a single taken from 100th Window (Virgin Records, 2003), the fourth studio album from the Bristol-based trip-hop group Massive Attack. Of Massive Attack's original core trio, the album only featured Robert Del Naja – Andrew Vowles departed shortly after the release of Mezzanine, and Grant Marshall was on a sabbatical to raise his young daughter. Released in 2003, it was written and produced by Del Naja and Neil Davidge, and features the vocals from Horace Andy and Sinéad O'Connor, as well as an appearance by Damon Albarn. It is the first album by the band that made no use of samples, and contains none of the jazz or fusion stylings of the band's earlier recordings. 100th Window received a generally positive, though somewhat muted critical reception, many arguing that whilst Massive Attack's previous three albums had all broken significant new ground for the group, 100th Window's dark, brooding sound was merely a continuation, although in some areas, less dark, of Mezzanine. The title of the album comes from the book "The Hundredth Window: Protecting Your Privacy and Security in the Age of the Internet"; this title is an allusion to the idea that one's security is compromised if even one window is left open.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fade Into You

An all-time fave of Music Curator Max Chavanne at, So Tonight That I Might See (Capitol, 1993) is the second studio album by the American dream pop band Mazzy Star. A year after its release, the album yielded an unexpected hit single, the wispy opening track "Fade into You". "Fade into You" became a staple of mid-1990s teen dramas, movies, and represented the kind of gentle ennui that was missing from the more aggressive angst of grunge. Mazzy Star's roots in the California Paisley Underground movement of the 1980s are deep. The group's 1990 debut on Rough Trade, She Hangs Brightly, was a post-punk take on the kind of dark psychedelia practiced by The Doors on "The End", as well as the massive guitar drone woven by The Velvet Underground on "What Goes On". Most of the rest of their material is devoted to acoustic-flavoured ballads with heavy blues and folk elements, often featuring David Roback on slide guitar. Roback and singer Hope Sandoval were the creative center of the band, with Sandoval writing most of the lyrics and Roback composing most of the music. Mazzy Star's third release, Among My Swan (Capitol, 1996) confirmed them as champions of the mournful – their brooding, enigmatic public personas seem less a cultivated pose than a complement to the shadowy, brooding mystery of their simultaneously frustrating and entrancing soundscapes. Hope Sandoval was born in 1966 and grew up in East L.A. in a Mexican-American family. In 2000, Sandoval joined with Colm Ó Cíosóig (formerly of My Bloody Valentine) to form Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions. The project retained the laid-back, slowcore sound of Mazzy Star. She has also contributed on several songs by other
artists, such as
The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Chemical Brothers,
Bert Jansch, and
Death In Vegas.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bullet With Butterfly Wings

Bottom/ A Passion Play (Chrysalis, 1973) is a concept album released by Jethro Tull. Apparently concerning the spiritual journey of one man in the afterlife, it is similar to Thick as a Brick in that it is one long track split across both sides of the LP vinyl record (actually a medley of segued shorter songs,) save for the interruption of the oddly-whimsical spoken word piece "The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles". The dense lyrics, filled with wordplay and allegory, along with music that some found lacking in creativity compared to earlier work, have made A Passion Play one of the most disputed albums in Tull's catalog. Even today, Jethro Tull fans are still divided over the merits of the album. Jethro Tull's best-known work, Aqualung, was released in 1971. Top/ Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (RCA) is the sixth studio album by the Foo Fighters, released on September 25, 2007. Foo Fighters is an American alternative rock band formed by singer/guitarist Dave Grohl in 1995. Grohl formed the group as a one-man project after the dissolution of his previous band Nirvana in 1994. Dave Grohl joined the Aberdeen, Washington grunge band Nirvana as the group's drummer in 1990. Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home on April 8, 1994, and Nirvana subsequently disbanded. Over the course of the Foo Fighter's career, three of its albums have won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album, and all six have been nominated for Grammys.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Feel Good Inc

's debut album Leisure (Food, 1991) incorporated the influence of Madchester and shoegazing. Following a stylistic change in 1992 —influenced by English guitar groups such as The Kinks, The Beatles and XTC— they released Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995). As a result, the band helped to popularise the Britpop genre and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a famous chart battle with rival band Oasis dubbed "The Battle of Britpop". Though Blur has not disbanded, of late singer- songwriter Damon Albarn has been more active as the main man behind the music of Gorillaz and The Good, the Bad and the Queen project. Over his 19 year career he released 35 Top 40 Hit Singles,
all in the

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Open The Kingdom

Top/ Entering the glam kingdom of Scissor Sisters' self-titled debut album (Polydor, 2004). It includes the singles "Filthy/Gorgeous" and "Comfortably Numb", a disco cover of the Pink Floyd classic. Artwork by Spookytim of Studio Spooky. Bottom/ Continuing a Roxy Music tradition, Bryan Ferry's girlfriend Lucy Helmore appeared on the cover of the band's eighth studio album Avalon (Virgin, 1982) wearing a medieval helmet and carrying a falcon. The image evoked King Arthur's last journey to the mysterious land of Avalon.

Sky Fits Heaven

Confessions on a Dance Floor (Warner Bros., 2005) has become one of Madonna's best selling albums, with international hits such as "Hung Up" and "Sorry". The album led to the most successful concert tour of her career, the Confessions Tour. It was co-produced by Stuart Price and contains collaborations with Mirwais Ahmadzaï, formerly of French synthpop group Taxi Girl. According to Rolling Stone, "This is an album designed for maximum volume. It's all motion, action, speed. (...) Unlike the crystalline precision of latter-day Madonna discs like Ray of Light and Music, the sonic signature here is a powerhouse density." Madonna has been regarded as "one of the greatest pop acts of all time" by various sources. In 1999, she identified musical influences that impacted her such as Karen Carpenter, The Supremes and Led Zeppelin, and dancers like Martha Graham and Rudolf Nureyev. Guinness World Records list Madonna as the world's most successful female recording artist of all time and the top-earning female singer in the world with an estimated net worth of over US$400 million, having sold over 200 million records worldwide. In 2008, her eleventh studio album, Hard Candy, was released. On March 10, 2008, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Since the late 1990s, Madonna has been a devotee of the Kabbalah Centre and a disciple of its head, Rabbi Philip Berg, and his wife Karen. Madonna has defended her Kabbalah studies by stating it "would be less controversial if I joined the Nazi Party" and that the Kabbalah is "not hurting anybody." In 2007, Madonna also directed her first film, Filth and Wisdom.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Flicking Your Switch

Sign 'O The Times (Paisley Park, 1987) quickly became widely regarded as Prince's magnum opus.
Middle/ Kick-ass Bossanova (4AD, 1990) by the Pixies unleashes gorgeous melodies heavily influenced by punk and surf rock. Top/ English rock band with strong R&B roots Mott The Hoople are best known for the song "All the Young Dudes", which was written for them by their fan David Bowie

Friday, August 8, 2008

Universal Syncopations

Bottom/ Eumir Deodato is a Grammy Award-winning Brazilian musician, producer and arranger primarily based in the jazz realm but who historically has been known for eclectic melding of big band and combo jazz with varied elements of rock/pop, R&B/funk, Brazilian/ Latin, and symphonic or orchestral music. Mainly, his records can be categorized as pop jazz or crossover jazz. His successes as an original artist (keyboards) occurred mainly in the 1970s. Since then, he has produced more than 500 albums for acts ranging from Kool and the Gang to Björk and k.d. lang. His funky version of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and went No. 2 in the pop charts in the US. Love Island (Wounded Bird Records) was originally released in 1978. It features guest appearances by jazz greats George Benson, Larry Carlton & Harvey Mason. Middle/ Allowing the third eye to open with Stevie Wonder's Innervisions (Tamla, 1973) Top/ Oxygène (Dreyfuss, 1976) is the first major multi-million selling album from synthpop pioneer Jean Michel Jarre. Oxygène is considered by some to be the most important and influential electronic music album ever. Contrasted with his contemporaries, such as the rather clinical, hard, futuristic sound of Kraftwerk, or the more 'cosmic' and murky Tangerine Dream, Oxygène had a lush, spacey and strongly melodic sound reminiscent of the sound of Wendy Carlos on the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange released a few years earlier. The track "Oxygène Part IV" was released as a single and became one of the best-known pieces of electronic music ever. In 1978, his second album, Equinoxe, was released. Jarre has sold an estimated 80 million albums and singles.