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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Empire State Human

Bottom/ "10:15 Saturday Night" is a single from Three Imaginary Boys (Fiction, 1979), the debut album by English alternative rock band The Cure. Three Imaginary Boys was later re-released in the United States with a slightly different song line-up as Boys Don't Cry. The band has performed as an encore "Three Imaginary Boys", "Fire in Cairo", "Boys Don't Cry", "Jumping Someone Else's Train", "Grinding Halt", "10:15 Saturday Night" and "Killing an Arab" on the recent 2008 '4 Tour'.
Originally an avant-garde all male synthesizer-based group from Sheffield, UK,
The Human League started off with two experimental studio albums, Reproduction (Virgin, 1979) and Travelogue (1980), before skyrocketing to mainstream fame with the release of the influential, multi-million selling single "Don't You Want Me" a year later. Reproduction features the single "Empire State Human". By this time, The Human League's role as UK electronic pioneers was usurped by Gary Numan and his single "Are 'Friends' Electric?".

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Metallic K.O.

Raw Power
(Columbia) is a 1973 album by American protopunk group The Stooges. The third studio album by The Stooges, Raw Power was largely ignored upon its release, and the group broke up in obscurity a few years later. However, it was embraced by a small, rabid fanbase that included many younger musicians who would go on to help create punk rock in the mid-1970s, making Raw Power one of the most important protopunk documents. The Stooges had formed near Detroit, Michigan in the late 1960s. Their first two albums, The Stooges (1969) and Fun House (1970) were similarly unsuccessful, and the group broke up. Singer Iggy Pop had been signed as a solo artist to MainMan Management, who also handled British singer David Bowie. The band was in disarray; they had officially broken up, Dave Alexander was fighting alcoholism, and Pop's heroin addiction was escalating prior to Bowie's intervention. However, Pop was determined for a reformation. Signed to Columbia Records, he was sent to London to write and record their album with his new collaborator, guitarist James Williamson. Pop insisted that his fellow ex-Stooges Ron Asheton and Scott Asheton participate in the recording sessions. Pop produced and mixed the album by himself. When MainMan informed Pop that if Raw Power were not remixed by Bowie, the album would not be released, Pop agreed, but insisted that his own mix for "Search And Destroy" be retained. Despite its weak initial reception, the reputation of Raw Power grew tremendously in subsequent years, and the album's volume and ferocity became benchmarks against which later albums were measured. In 2003, the album was ranked number 125 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain from the grunge band Nirvana wrote in his Journals numerous times that this was his favorite album of all time. Johnny Marr of The Smiths has also stated Raw Power as his favorite album. Henry Rollins has the words "Search and Destroy" tattooed across his shoulder blades. In 1997 Columbia Records invited Iggy Pop to remaster the entire album for re-release on CD. The album's songs have been frequently covered. Prominent versions include the Dictators', Red Hot Chili Peppers', The Dead Boys', Def Leppard's cover of "Search and Destroy"; Guns N' Roses' cover of "Raw Power" (title track) on The Spaghetti Incident? and Ewan McGregor covering "Gimme Danger" for the film Velvet Goldmine, a movie telling the story of a character based around David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust during the 1970s glam rock era. "Gimme Danger" was also covered by Frank Black for the game Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Shadow Magnet

Bottom & Top/ Produced with Rick Rubin, De-Loused in the Comatorium (Universal, 2003) is the first LP and concept album by the American progressive rock band The Mars Volta. Based on a short story by lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and sound manipulation artist Jeremy Michael Ward, it is the hour-long tale of Cerpin Taxt, a man who tries to kill himself by overdosing on rat poison. The attempt lands him in a week-long coma during which he experiences visions of humanity and his own psyche. Upon waking, he is dissatisfied with the real world and jumps to his death. The music contained in De-Loused is distinguished by its enigmatic lyrics, jazz rhythms, odd time signatures, and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's frenetic guitar riffs, which are often harshly dissonant. "Drunkship of Lanterns" was named the 91st best guitar song of all-time by Rolling Stone. Middle/ Duality (4AD) is a collaborative album by Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke released in 1998. It was Lisa Gerrard's first post-Dead Can Dance album. The beginning of the song "Shadow Magnet" will sound familiar to many because it influenced, in part, the music at the beginning of the Gladiator soundtrack (music by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard). The track "Nadir (Synchronicity)"
was initially intended for use at the end of that film.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Titanium Exposé

(DGC, 1990) is an album by alternative rock band Sonic Youth. The cover is a Raymond Pettibon illustration based on a paparazzi photo of Maureen Hindley and her first husband David Smith, witnesses in the case of serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, driving to the trial in 1966. Scorching tracks abound, including "Tunic (Song for Karen)", written and sung by Kim Gordon, about singer Karen Carpenter and her anorexia. The album also features "Mote", "Mildred Pierce" and the single "Kool Thing", on which Chuck D
from the rap group Public Enemy guested.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Novocaine For The Soul

Bottom/ Counting Crows
is a
rock band originating from Berkeley, California. The group gained popularity in 1994 following the release of its debut album August and Everything After, which featured the hit single "Mr. Jones." The band's influences include Van Morrison, R.E.M., Nirvana, Bob Dylan, and The Band. This Desert Life (Geffen, 1999) is their third studio album. The cover art is by noted comic book artist Dave McKean, best known for his work with Neil Gaiman. Top/ Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (Vagrant, 2005) is a double album by the band Eels. It was described by frontman Mark Oliver Everett (more commonly known as E), as an album about "God and all the questions related to the subject of God. It's also about hanging on to my remaining shreds of sanity and the blue sky that comes the day after a terrible storm, and it's a love letter to life itself, in all its beautiful, horrible glory." Blinking Lights include some intensely personal songs, instrumental pastiches, and straightforward pop, which results in a broad, soul searching album. The sleeve and liner notes are composed of typewritten lyrics and family photos, implying the personal nature of the album.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Picture This

New York City-based punk blues band Yeah Yeah Yeahs took their name from modern New York City vernacular. Debut album Fever To Tell (Interscope, 2003) Top/ Blondie's fifth studio album Autoamerican (Chrysalis, 1980) contains "Rapture," the first ever rap song to reach number one on the singles chart in the U.S.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Simple Headphone Mind

Bottom/ Called "one of the most fiercely independent and original groups of the Nineties", Stereolab were one of the first bands to be termed "post-rock". Their primary musical influence is 1970s krautrock, which they combine with lounge, 1960s pop, and experimental music. Cybele's Reverie is a 1996 EP released on Duophonic. Top/ Orbus Terrarum is an album by The Orb released on Island Records in 1995. Unlike previous albums by The Orb, Orbus Terrarum featured more "earthbound" and "organic" sounds instead of the trippy science fiction themed music they had previously written.

Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn

Bottom/ Album Tattoo You (Rolling Stones/Virgin, 1981) by the Rolling Stones features "Start Me Up", widely considered one of their most infectious songs. Top/ Soundtrack to the 1975 award-winning period film Barry Lyndon by director Stanley Kubrick. The film's period setting allowed Kubrick to indulge his penchant for classical music, and the film score uses pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Giovanni Paisiello, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Franz Schubert. The score also includes Irish folk music performed by The Chieftains. The piece most associated with the film is the main title music, George Frideric Handel's stately Sarabande from the Suite in D minor HWV 437, originally for solo harpsichord.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Celestial Terrestrial Commuters

Through A Frosty Plate Glass (V2, 2001) is an EP released by indie rock group Grandaddy. Common themes in the band's music are wildlife, obsolete technology, robots, incompetency and heartbreak. Examples of songtitles by Grandaddy include "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot" and "So You'll Aim Toward the Sky", both from The Sophtware Slump (2000). Seen by some as a concept album about problems concerning modern technology in society, it was sometimes cited as the American OK Computer. The band released their fourth and final full-length album, Just Like the Fambly Cat, in 2006. Top/ Album Raise! (Columbia, 1981) by Earth, Wind & Fire was dedicated to "The Creator" "Our Guiding Light". The front cover created by Roger Carpenter features an Egyptian pharaoh figure made of
stone on the right side and metal on the left.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sentinel Total Overhaul

Greatest hits album U.F.Off - The Best of The Orb (Island, 1998) includes remixes of "Little Fluffy Clouds" and "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From the Centre of the Ultraworld". Middle/ Album Orblivion (Island, 1997) by English ambient house/chill out music group The Orb, includes "Toxygene". Top/ Breakthrough release Gula Gula (Hear The Voices of the Foremothers) (Real World, 1989) by Norwegian Sami musician Mari Boine, adds jazz and rock to the yoiks of her native people.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Heaven, Hell or Houston

One of the longest-lived hip hop acts, the Beastie Boys are well-known for their eclecticism, obscure cultural references and kitschy lyrics. Released in 1998, Hello Nasty (Capitol Records) went straight to #1 in the U.S. and the UK. Ever since their early days as a hardcore punk rock band, through their Def Jam days with record producer Rick Rubin, the Beastie Boys have continued creating instrumental music in addition to the hip hop music for which they are best known. Top/ Busted: album El Loco (Warner Bros, 1981) by American blues-rock band ZZ Top from Houston, Texas. The title means "The Crazy One" in Spanish.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

This Is The One

The Stone Roses were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1984 and was one of the pioneering groups of the Manchester indie music scene that evolved during the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1989, the group released their debut album, which quickly achieved the status of a classic in the UK, and topped NME's list of the Greatest British Albums of All Time. The Stone Roses (Silvertone, 1989) opened with "I Wanna Be Adored" and closed with
I Am the Resurrection". Bottom/ The Remixes (Silvertone) is a 2000 release compilation album featuring 12 tracks by The Stone Roses remixed by various artists such as Utah Saints and Paul Oakenfold. Most Stone Roses releases feature cover artwork by guitarist John Squire, whose artistic style was heavily influenced by the action painting technique of Jackson Pollock

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How Does That Grab You Darlin'?

Lovedrive (Harvest/EMI, 1979) is a studio album by the German heavy metal band Scorpions, released in 1979. The risqué cover, created by the design firm Hipgnosis, caused some controversy upon the album's release and was initially sold wrapped in paper. The Scorpions became Germany's biggest band of all time, having world wide success and going several times Gold and Platinum. Middle/ I Didn't See It Coming (Virgin, 1981) is the only album released by punk rock band The Professionals formed in 1979 by Steve Jones and Paul Cook, both formerly of the Sex Pistols. Top/ Porn star Janine Lindemulder is the nurse depicted on the cover of 6X Platinum Enema Of The State (MCA, 1999) by pop punk trio Blink-182. She is also featured in the music video for "What's My Age Again?".

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Aladdin Sane (RCA, 1973) by David Bowie is the follow-up to his breakthrough The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The album featured a tougher rock sound than its predecessor, particularly on tracks like "Panic in Detroit" (built around a Bo Diddley beat) and Bowie’s breakneck version of the Stones' "Let's Spend The Night Together". Aladdin Sane was also notable for its exploration of unusual styles such as avant-garde jazz in the title track and Brechtian cabaret in "Time", the latter being famous for the line "Time ... falls wanking to the floor". Both numbers were dominated by Mike Garson’s acclaimed piano work, which also featured heavily in the James Bond flavoured ballad "Lady Grinning Soul".