30 Sep 2012

Album Reviews: 1st Edition

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The Shins – Wincing the Night Away

Latecomer to this group. Heard their earlier stuff and was impressed. This record seems much more orchestral and cohesive than their earlier work.

U2 – Achtung Baby

This is the first U2 mutation and still the best. They were about eight years ahead of their time. The songs are almost on par as the one on Joshua Tree but it’s the music that really kicks this into the stratosphere. And any band that writes “One” isn’t allowed to made fun of ever again.

Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground

This is their quiet album. Except for a pretentious thirteen minute spoken wordy thing on side 2, it’s a perfect record. “Candy Says” “Jesus” “Pale Blue Eyes” “Trying to See the Light” “After Hours,” all necessities on your iPod.

The Who – Maximum R&B
This came out in the era of box sets. It’s everything a Who fans needs. Their hits, album tracks, commercial jingles, live takes, interviews and even a few songs from when they were The High Numbers. The brilliant lost Who track on here is “Early Morning Cold Taxi,” an astonishingly mature take on a one night stand from a 24 year old or so Pete Townshend.

Warren Zevon – A Quiet Normal Life

Warren Zevon: Romantic, Sardonic, clear eyed and clear headed. He’s the singer songwriter era’s apology for Jackson Browne. A greatest hits collection.

Bob Dylan – Greatest Hits Vol 2

This covers 1969-1974 when he was getting weird and interesting as opposed to the late 70’s through the mid-90’s when he was weird and bored.

Paul Simon – Graceland

Instant classic. Legitimized world music for rock audiences and revitalized his career. A milestone from one of rock’s great songwriters.

Wire Train – Wire Train

These guys were a pretty decent vaguely psychedelic power pop band that changed gears for this record which essentially sounds like Sam Shepard meets Wilco. Intelligent gorgeous pop propped up against desolate desert soundscapes.

Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head

Yeah, I dig ’em. Yeah, they sound like RadioU2head. This is their second record and the one where they figure it out.

Van Morrison – Moondance

Perfect record. ‘Nuff said.

Fleetwood Mac – Tusk

Some record geeks rate this higher than Rumours. Which is, of course, ridiculous. Still an awesome record. This is the one where Lindsey Buckingham is creaming all over the place. Weird, Jittery and a classic.

Guns ‘n’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

I have friends that don’t get this record. They are still my friend because they have a lot of other things going for them.

Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Giant Robots

The only Flaming Lips record you really need is just about perfect. Concept is in the title but Wayne Coyne spins off from there into gorgeous meditations on human nature. And the music is heavenly. Spare yet lush, offbeat instrumentation, swaths of electronica funneled through a five year olds singsongy sense of melody. “Do You Realize” is Gen Y’s “Imagine” and it was written by an Gen Xer.

The Delta 72 – 000

They were garage rock in the 90’s when garage rock was not cool. By the time the new millennium arrived, they mutated into a funky Stones and gospel inspired R&B powerhouse. This is sweaty, greasy stuff. The singer doesn’t sing so much as yelp and occasionally exclaim “Oh, yeah!” Severely underrated band’s best record.

Pearl Jam – Pearl Jam

It generally happens when bands enter their second millennium. They start meandering and experimenting and acting all “grown up” and then the mid life crisis hits and they remember they started this whole thing so they can rawk. This is Pearl Jam’s rawk album. And they tear it up. There are more three chord burners than they’ve ever committed to vinyl (this is Pearl Jam, you can’t say tape, you can’t digitally enhanced modulators or whatever, you say vinyl) Full of spunk and pissed off energy. And their best since Vitalogy

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