Tag Archives: R.E.M.

You Must Bear Your Neighbor’s Burden Within Reason

Last year was a fine year for music, but only a few things really wowed me. That’s not to say it was completely bereft of anything good, but the prevailing theme, at least in my estimation, was that while 2009 was a banner year for new talent & a resurgence of older talent, 2010 had very little to offer. 2011 is shaping up to be, already, one of the better years. The Decemberists came out with a new album on Tuesday & it’s their best album yet. It hits chords in my soul that bring out such joy, that I can’t help but sway.

I suppose I should address the elephant in the blog & explain my prolonged absence. Boredom. That’s it. I was completely & utterly bored with anything that was coming out. I was searching for new & exciting things to come my way. Lissie made an album that I adore, but I couldn’t write anything that hadn’t been said. I had a whole soliloquy ready for the brilliance of Ray Lamontagne’s overnight transformation from Indie darling to bluegrass star & yet nothing came out. There was a block of sorts & much of it came from the draining effects of writing a book about my travels through Europe. A book that is finished in its infant form, but must now be raised into something I can market.

There were a few other albums that I quite enjoyed: Justin Townes Earle, Head & the Heart, Broken Bells, The Black Keys & obviously Arcade Fire which was the best album of the year, but perhaps through my own depression of  the musical offerings being put out there or indifference the ability to cognitively discuss these in terms that were worth reading was nonexistent. So here sat the blog. Relatively unchanged throughout the year as I struggled to put my thoughts into words. I feel I’ve made some sort of a turning point, even though I intended to begin writing last week. To be cliche I suppose it’s better late than never.

So I purchased two albums from Amazon the other day (yes I buy my music), where the $3.99 deals keep me coming back & spending on things I would otherwise think twice about buying. I bought Social Distortion’s new album Hard Time & Nursery Rhymes & the aforementioned Decemberists album The King is Dead. Let’s discuss Social D’s new album first. It’s been  7 years since they released an album & a few years since Mike Ness has come out with an album, himself. I’ve always been a fringe fan of Social D’s, as I do not have the dancing skeleton tattooed anywhere on my body. It has that patented loud Gibson sound & gruff Mike Ness nosy drawl, but with lyrics that seem to have more emotional impact than ever before. Take for instance “Still Alive”  where Ness pleads,

“I’m still alive, I will survive, I can handle what life brings, just give me time…I’m still alive, talking the same ol’ jive, I can handle anything that comes my way, just give me another day”

It ends with a short, but beautiful piano solo that made me really feel that this album rivals anything they’ve ever done. It is so reminiscent of early Springsteen that I haven’t stopped listening to it for 3 days. That is, except to listen to The Decemberists’ new album The King is Dead, an album which seems to have awoken them from their prog rock malaise from the past few years. It sounds so similar to early R.E.M. that it came as no surprise to see that Peter Buck contributed to three of the tracks. The opening track almost sounds Tom Pettyesque with heavy drums taking the forefront much like “You Don’t Know How it Feels”.

Colin Meloy really lets loose with his voice on The King is Dead & goes places that I haven’t heard him dare go vocally before. It shows that the risks were worth taking. Changing the sound & straying away from that boring sound have worked wonders & even though it came out in January there’s a distinct feeling that come coincidentally December we will still be talking about this album as one of the best of the year.

I can’t say I will write everyday as I do have a job that requires a good chunk of time, but I will continue to talk about things I love & look forward to talking about new releases from groups like Foxxhound, Two Guns, Cold War Kids, Amos Lee, Drive-by Truckers & Okkervill River. It will be a banner year for Indie music & soon Indie Music will become alternative & all the kids will have to jump on the bandwagon. I’m fine by that. Music should be loved by all & not thrown into some meta category to be hated once it becomes popular to the masses. If it’s good, love it. If it sucks, hate it, but don’t despise popular music for being popular. Despise it, much like I despise She Wants Revenge & Jason Mraz for being bad at music.

Machine Gun Blues – Social Distortion

Sweet & Lowdown – Social Distortion

Still Alive – Social Distortion

Don’t Carry It All – The Decemberists

This is Why We Fight – The Decemberists

I Could Find Another Dream One That Keeps Me Warm & Clean

For this edition of Bootleg Thursday brought to you by the letters DBT as in Drive-By Truckers. If you’re not sure who the Drive-By Truckers are then you are in for quite the treat once you download the ditty (yeah I used ditty, wanna fight about it?) of a concert I have here for you today. One of the things that I really like about DBT is that they have what they call a “three axe attack”, meaning unlike the conventional two guitars bass & drums; they have three guitars, bass & drums. it makes for a fuller more rounded sound & with Patterson Hood’s vocals & lyrics it is unique in it’s affect.

Southern Rock & I have always had a weird relationship & this is no different. While three of the members are from Shoals, Alabama, the band is centered in Athens, Ga. Also, the location of a band that I once had a strong affection towards (R.E.M.). They’re less Allman Bros. & more the Band with a little twang. The concert is fantastic quality & maybe with the sounds of beer bottles clanking together in the background should be considered a show. There is a resonance with this band that gives me the chills & allows me to listen to a song numerous times & discover new things with every listen.

A story from Europe comes to mind about when I was in Galway, Ireland. I was staying in the Salmon Weir Hostel & an Aussie that worked there, Sam wanted some music from me that personified what I thought the South sounded like. He was planning on taking a trip through there since it was the one region he had yet to explore in America. The first band I thought of was DBT. I crack on the South a lot & mostly because the sheer number of idiots per capita is greater there than in any other region (though California & Arizona are quickly working their way up the ladder). I shared the music with him & DBT now have a new fan from a continent that is nearly void of their existence. Sometimes it starts with only one.

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter (on the side) for updates & nonsense.

Drive-By Truckers – Live at The Yard On The Strip, Tuscaloosa, AL on 2004-01-09

Lookout Mountain

Where the Devil Don’t Stay

Decoration Day

Sinkhole

(Something’s Gotta) Give Pretty Soon

Sounds Better in the Song

Richard Manuel is Dead

Margot & Herald

One of These Days

The Company You Keep

Outfit

Buford’s Stick

The Boys From Alabama

Marry Me

Zip City

Let There Be Rock

18 Wheels of Love

God Damn Lonely Love

Too Much Sex Too Little Jesus

Women Without Whiskey

Play It All Night Long

Music News – Woody Show, Jay-Z, Simpsons, iTunes, Weezer

Some great things going on this week. The new releases have been a huge disappointment for the third third week in a row, so I’ll come up with something for Wednesday & post the Music News today.

  • P.S. Hoping to do that long rumored Woody Fife interview this week. Getting in touch with him has been a bit of a hassle lately, but here’s hoping we can get it done soon. I’d even be open to doing a segment on the New Woody & Rizzuto show at the point in St. Louis. Here’s some other Live 105 news:
  • Greg Gory has been fired 3 months after the rest of The Woody Show was unscrupulously show the door. Dave Numb is showing tremendous idiocy in getting rid of people like Gory.
  • New rumor coming out of Live 105 is that No Name will move to 3-7p, Jared to 10a-3p, Madden to 7-midnight. KEVIN AND BEAN syndicate mornings from L.A. station KROQ. I’m chasing down some leads trying to get confirmation on this & will keep you posted. Check out this video of the moron White Menace continuously being himself & failing miserably at getting anything right. What a treat! Stay behind the camera, genius. I wouldn’t let this jackass introduce me in front of a firing squad let alone a treasure like Happy Days. NOT THE HAPPY DAYS, JUST HAPPY DAYS.
  • Jay-Z’s new album The Blueprint III is coming out on September 11, but the second single released came out this morning at, fittingly 9:11 am on some radio station no one cares about & is reintroduces Rhianna to the Jay-Z stable of collaborators. Her first collaboration since Chris Brown pummeled her down the street from my house.  Jay-Z also replaced the Beastie Boys (due to MCA’s previously reported cancer) at the All Points West Festival marking his first U.S. Festival appearance.

Run This Town – Jay-Z, Rhianna, Kanye West

D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) – Jay-Z

  • Weezer is starting to tread in dangerous Jason Mraz waters with their new teen-pop direction. It’s been this way for a few albums now. They went from Hipster idols to Teen idols on par with the Jonas Brothers or High School musical or worse Jason Mraz. Way to sell out, Weezer. Here are two songs they debuted in South Korea, of all places. You tell me do these songs scream Jason Mraz is my mentor or what. I haven’t seen things suck this much since Jason Mraz & Dave Matthews collaborated. Here’s what former Sleater-Kinney singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein said:

I don’t know if Weezer hates its fans or just the (apparently) stifling concept of sincerity, but you should listen to these two new songs if you weren’t already convinced of Weezer’s contempt for music.

  • Chris Martin of Coldplay will be a guest on the Simpsons this coming season, the 21st. There is no sense in complaining about this. Coldplay is not a great band, but they certainly aren’t the worst. The Simpsons is still a funny show & I wouldn’t mind seeing it on for another 10 years if it stays funny regardless of who’s on. Here’s a list of previous rock stars to guest on the show: U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Who, R.E.M., Phish, Sting, the Ramones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Blink-182, David Byrne, the White Stripes, Aerosmith as endorsers of “Flaming Moe’s” and Johnny Cash as a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper-induced coyote that talks to a hallucinating Homer. But perhaps the most memorable music-related episode of The Simpsons was “Homerpalooza,” which featured appearance by Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Cypress Hill and Peter Frampton.
  • The Financial Times Website is reporting about a new incentive to try & get consumers to purchase more digital albums versus strictly selective songs.

Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its on-line iTunes store.

The talks come as Apple is separately racing to offer a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution. The device could be launched alongside the new content deals, including those aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music, according to people briefed on the project.

  • Finally, if you haven’t heard, Daft Punk are doing the score to the new Tron movie (Tron Legacy) & Thom Yorke & Bon Iver have both written songs for the next movie in the Twilight series, New Moon. Not sure if anyone, though, can match the perfection of Johnny Greenwood’s score of There Will Be Blood which was miles ahead of No Country For Old Men as far as score & the movie in general.

Top 250 Albums of All-Time 189-180

#189 –  Automatic For The People – R.E.M.

“The world that we had been involved in had disappeared, the world of Husker Du & The Replacements, all that had gone. We were just in a different place & that worked it’s way out musically & lyrically.” Thus describes the process of Automatic for the People by Peter Buck. Intended to be a rocking, up tempo type of album in contrast to their previous venture Out of Time. However, after numerous demos & rehearsals an even slower mid-tempo album was created with the agonizing “Everybody Hurts” as the most telling example of their acoustic driven, strings oriented rock. Strings which were arranged by Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. One of the few exceptions was the Andy Kaufman inspired, “Man on the Moon” which later became the title of the Jim Carrey film that yours truly had one line in, “Do Latka!”. Watch the Arizona State scene where he reads The Great Gatsby. that is vintage Matty D.

Man on the MoonR.E.M.

Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.

#188 – Harvest Moon – Neil Young

Sounding more like the soundtrack to a western movie than a brilliant album, Harvest Moon is a seminal album in the career of Neil Young. Released in 1992, Harvest Moon is a pseudo-sequel to 1972’s album Harvest. It was a return to the acoustic driven music that dominated his older albums Harvest, Comes a Time & Old Ways. With ballads such as the title track with it’s sweet affection of a long lasting love that has not died through the years. Recorded in Nashville this album proved that Young was not washed as hge went on to record with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam among other distinguished up & coming artists.

Harvest Moon – Neil Young

From Hank to Hendrix – Neil Young

#187 – American Beauty – Grateful Dead

Like Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty is rich in harmonies & long drawn out jams. Not a huge ringing endorsement, I know, but here’s my feeling on jam bands (Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Grateful, et al). While all musically talented it’s just sorta boring instrumentals, no progressions, no transitions, just repetitive cyclical jams & to me that is so unappealing. I will admit, I have to, that there are a few albums by the Dead that are fantastic & this is one of them, but I can only take it in small doses.

Friend of The Devil – The Grateful Dead

Sugar Magnolia – The Grateful Dead

#186 – Tattoo You – The Rolling Stones

Released on my 5th birthday, August 24, 1981 Tattoo You was supposed to be released simply as Tattoo, but for reasons unknown to even the Rolling Stones members the name was changed. This led to friction between Keith Richards & Mick Jagger with Richards thinking Jagger had the name changed without seeking his input. While released in ’81 it is primarily an album consisting of outtakes, some dating back a decade with new vocals & overdubs. The lyrics of “Little T&A” were described by Richards at the time as being about, “…every good time I’ve had with somebody I’d met for a night or two and never seen again. And also about the shit that sometimes goes down when you just sort of bump into people unknowingly, and not knowing the scene you’re walking in on, you know? You pick up a chick and end up spending the night in the tank, you know?”

Little T & A – The Rolling Stones

Hang Fire – The Rolling Stones

#185 – Led Zeppelin III – Led Zeppelin

Almost a precursor to the dramatic change in Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin III was a shift away from the bluesy rock sound that Led Zeppelin had in I & II & focused more on folk acoustic with a twinge of electric folk. “That’s the Way” was considered by Page a breakthrough for Robert Plant lyrically as he was still developing his style. The album was recorded in a cottage in Bron-Yr-Aur without running water, electricity. Jimmy Page put it this way:

After the intense touring that had been taking place through the first two albums, working almost 24 hours a day, basically, we managed to stop and have a proper break, a couple of months as opposed to a couple of weeks. We decided to go off and rent a cottage to provide a contrast to motel rooms. Obviously, it had quite an effect on the material that was written … It was the tranquility of the place that set the tone of the album. Obviously, we weren’t crashing away at 100 watt Marshall stacks. Having played acoustic and being interested in classical guitar, anyway, being in a cottage without electricity, it was acoustic guitar time … After all the heavy, intense vibe of touring which is reflected in the raw energy of the second album, it was just a totally different feeling.

And Robert Plant concurred saying this:

Bron-Yr-Aur was a fantastic place in the middle of nowhere with no facilities at all-and it was a fantastic test of what we could do in that environment. Because by that time we’d become obsessed with change, and the great thing was that we were also able to create a pastoral side of Led Zep. Jimmy was listening to Davy Graham and Bert Jansch and was experimenting with different tunings, and I loved John Fahey. So it was a very natural place for us to go to.

Tangerine – Led Zeppelin

That’s the Way – Led Zeppelin

#184 – Important Recordings 1934-49 – Leadbelly

One of the most important Blues/Folk artists of the early to mid twentieth century, Huddie Ledbetter or Leadbelly, as he was best known, has been the inspiration for many artists throughout the annals of rock history. His music has withstood the test of time. Songs that dealt with alcoholism, racism, women, cowboys, work & prison, a subject he knew very well. Leadbelly was known to be a volatile man & was in and out of jail much of his life. Much of his crime having to do with said temper. For having killed a relative in a fight over a woman, attempted homicide after he knifed a white man in a fight & for stabbing a man in a fight in a bar in Manhattan. Leadbelly learned much of his musical skill in jail. It was there, three years later, that he was “discovered” by musicologists John Lomax and his eighteen-year-old son Alan Lomax during a visit to the Angola Prison Farm where Leadbelly was serving time for attempted homicide. They recorded hundreds of his songs that later became the Library of Congress recordings.

Goodnight Irene – Leadbelly

Where Did You Sleep Last Night (In the Pines) – Leadbelly

#183 – Brothers & Sisters – The Allman Brothers Band

The first album recorded completely after the death of leader Duane Allman’s tragic death due to a motorcycle accident & mostly after the death of bassist Berry Oakley who would die less than 13 months later that Duane Allman in a similar motorcycle crash with a city bus, three blocks from the site of Allman’s fatal accident. Brothers & Sisters was the peak for the Allman Brothers commercially as the album reached #1 in the U.S. & contained what came ot be their best known song & only hit single & “Ramblin’ Man” which got as high as #2 on the U.S. singles charts. Allmusic Guide writes that “the chorus is perhaps the catchiest and prettiest hook in all of Southern rock”. There is an unknown reason why the speed/pitch of the now Digital/CD version differs greatly from the analogue version found on the original record album & 45RPM single. Either original vinyl pressings were mistakenly sped-down…or the future digital masters were sped-up. Playing the two versions side-by-side, one can notice an extreme difference in pitch.

Ramblin’ Man – The Allman Brothers Band

Southbound – The Allman Brothers Band

#182 – Idlewild South – The Allman Brothers Band

Idlewild South is The Allman Brothers Band’s second album. The most prevalent song on the album being “Midnight Rider”  which uses traditional folk and blues themes of desperation, determination, and a man on the run:

I’ve got one more silver dollar,
But I’m not gonna let ’em catch me, no …
Not gonna let ’em catch
The midnight rider.

The verses arrangement features Duane Allman’s acoustic guitar carrying the song’s changes, underpinned by a congas-led rhythm section and soft, swirling organ. Dickey Betts’ lead guitar phrases ornament the choruses and the instrumental break, while Gregg Allman’s powerful, soulful singing, featuring harmony-producing reverb, has led to the song becoming known by some as Allman’s signature piece . Music writer Jean-Charles Costa stated in 1973 that, “‘Midnight Rider’ has been recorded by other bands and it’s easy to see why. The verse construction, the desperate lyrics, and the taut arrangement make it standout material.”

Midnight Rider – The Allman Brothers Band

#181 – Hunky Dory – David Bowie

Hunky Dory was the first production featuring all the members of the band that would become known as Ziggy Stardust’s “Spiders From Mars”. The album featured such brilliant classics as, “Changes”, “Life on Mars” & “Queen Bitch”. The opening track, “Changes”, focused on the compulsive nature of artistic reinvention (“Strange fascination, fascinating me / Changes are taking the pace I’m going through”) and distancing oneself from the rock mainstream (“Look out, you rock ‘n’ rollers”). However, the composer also took time to pay tribute to his influences with the tracks “Song for Bob Dylan”, “Andy Warhol” and the Velvet Underground inspired “Queen Bitch”. Following the hard rock of Bowie‘s previous album The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory saw the partial return of the fey pop singer of Space Oddity, with light fare such as “Kooks” (dedicated to his young son, known to the world as Zowie Bowie but legally named Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones) and the cover “Fill Your Heart” sitting alongside heavier material like the occult-tinged “Quicksand” and the semi-autobiographical “The Bewlay Brothers”. Between the two extremes was “Oh! You Pretty Things”, whose pop tune hid lyrics, inspired by Nietzsche, predicting the imminent replacement of modern man by “the Homo Superior”, and which has been cited as a direct precursor to “Starman” from Bowie’s next album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders From Mars.

Life on Mars – David Bowie

Queen Bitch – David Bowie

#180 – Deja Vu – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Deja Vu is the first album by rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, although Crosby, Stills, and Nash had recorded one earlier album. It was released on March 11, 1970 and was greatly anticipated after the popularity of the first CSN album, as well as due to the addition of Neil Young. It hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and generated three Top 40 singles: “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” and “Woodstock.” Neil Young does not appear on all of the tracks, and drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves are also credited on the cover (their names in slightly smaller typeface). Jerry Garcia plays pedal steel on “Teach Your Children” and John Sebastian plays mouth-harp on the title track.

Our House – CSNY

Helpless – CSNY


250 Best Albums of All-Time 229-220

#229 – Morrison Hotel – The Doors

Morrison Hotel was a return to The Doors roots. Back to what propelled them towards the mainstream earlier in their careers. Even without a clear cut hit on the album it still got to #4 on the Billboard Charts. With a very bluesy feel to the whole album it had some surprise guest musicians including John Sebastian from The Lovin’ Spoonful & blues great Lonnie Mack. “Roadhouse Blues” is probably the most recognizable tune with Morrison’s familiar howls, Sebastian’s harmonica playing & not one but two brilliant guitar solos by Robbie Krieger.

The Doors – Roadhouse Blues

The Doors – Maggie M’Gill

#228 – Funeral – Arcade Fire

Never has a Canadian Rock band taken music by storm the way Arcade Fire did with Funeral. And not since Sonny & Cher have a husband and wife played in such tonal harmony as Win Butler & Regine Chassange. Hailed by Pitchfork as the #1 album of 2004 this ambitious album, breaks all the molds of what Indie Music is supposed to be with strings, xylophone, accordion & horns. A debut album that would set the bar extremely high for the rest of the 00’s for any other band. Counted among some of their many fans are: Bruce Springsteen, Spike Jonze & Jay-Z.

Arcade FireNeighborhood #1 (Tunnels)

Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)

#227 – Grievous Angel – Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons called it “Cosmic American Music”. Today we call it alt-country. Released 6 months after Parsons died at the age of 26 due to a lethal combination of Morphine & alcohol Grievous Angel came to be the second and final solo album for Gram Parsons. With Emmylou Harris on backing vocals & dueting on many of the tracks & James Burton (Elvis Presley & Ricky Nelson’s guitarist) on guitar Parsons created such classics as “$1000 Wedding” & “Return of the Grievous Angel“. This album is widely known as one of the fore-bearers of the Country Rock/Alt. Country movement & “Return of the Grievous Angel” has been covered countless times from artists such as Ryan Adams who shares a birthday with Parsons & was born a year after he died.

Gram Parsons$1000 Wedding

Gram Parsons – Return of the Grievous Angel

#226 – Pneumonia – Whiskeytown

Taking it a step further than his idol, Gram Parsons, Ryan Adams helped make Pneumonia, Whiskeytown’s crowning achievement. Though the same lineup was together as previous albums it’s Adams’ vocals that seem to carry this album, unlike in the past when he shared vocals with Caitlin Cary. Adams sings of the desolation of the town he once knew in “Jacksonville Skyline“. An army town that he can’t wait to get out of & start a new life somewhere else. Though, his desire to leave propels him to move out “soon as I turned 16” he longs for the home he once knew. The album sat on a shelf for 2 years & was bootlegged extensively before finally being released in 2001. This came to be the final album released by Whiskeytown as their label Outpost Records was shut down due to the merger of Polygram & Universal effectively breaking up the band.

WhiskeytownJacksonville Skyline

Whiskeytown – Sit & Listen to the Rain

#225 – Out of Time – R.E.M.

Before Out of Time everyone knew knew R.E.M. simply as a good college radio band with a nice following. After Out of Time they were a juggernaut that could not be stopped. the centerpiece of the album is “Losing My Religion“, a song of unrequited love. The feeling of being embarrassed because you have such unabashed affection for someone who doesn’t feel the same way. However, the song that may be the best in all of R.E.M.’s library of classics is “Country Feedback“. An amazing song that, minus a few words scribbled on a piece of paper, was basically improvised. Recorded in one take it is literally what Michael Stipe was feeling that day.

R.E.M. – Losing My Religion

R.E.M. – Country Feedback

#224 – True Blue – Madonna

My hatred of pop music can not be emphasized enough. It is trite, pointless, untalented gobbledygook. That being said, every once in a while a pop album comes along & it just blows me away. The 80s were perhaps the best era for pure unadulterated lasting pop goodness (oxymoron). As much of a train wreck & oddity that Madonna is today, back in the 80s she was attractive, talented & cutting edge. On True Blue some of the that she deals with were so controversial that the Vatican made it a sin for Catholics to see her in concert. This is years before Sinead O’Connor on SNL.

Papa Don’t Preach” is a classic plea from a pregnant teenage girl to her father (Danny Aiello in the video) as she asks him to help her through her tough time. Women’s groups hated her, the Vatican condemned her but what they all failed to realize was that on the song she, while not condemning abortion, decides to keep her baby, because it’s the right thing for her. This is the album that made Madonna famous & kept her there.

Madonna – La Isla Bonita

Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach

#223 – Snowflakes Are Dancing – Isao Tomita

Claude Debussey was an impressionist composer in the late 19th & early 20 centuries who composed music based on color & tone. What Isao Tomita did was take that music & transform electronically using a Moog Synthesizer. He paved the way for much of the Electronic music we hear today when he recorded Snowflakes are Dancing in 1974. He created such a unique sound that when I first heard it on my father’s record player as a boy I had no idea that what I was listening to was so revolutionary. “Arabesque no. 1” made me think of the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz with it’s “Be-bop be-bop”. This recording is an achievement of the highest order that is so far ahead if it’s time that there are scarcely few artists today who could recreate such beauty.

Isao TomitaArabesque No. 1

Isao Tomita – Claire De Lune

#222 – Band of Gypsys – Jimi Hendrix

Banf of Gypsys was the album Jimi Hendrix was forced to make after losing a court case with a record company he signed with in 1965, before he was famous. It turned out to be one of his best selling albums & seemed to convey his views on the fighting that was going on not only in Vietnam but also the rioting that was going on all over the United States as blacks struggled for equal rights. When you listen to “Machine Gun” the sound of the guitar feedback & the percussive effects mimic war sounds (machine guns, bombs, grenades). “Changes” is drummer Buddy Miles’ song that features Jimi playing guitar only as Buddy sings. Played New Years Eve at the Fillmore East 1969.

Jimi Hendrix – Changes

Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun

#221 – Doolittle – The Pixies

Doolittle by The Pixies was an eclectic mix of surrealism, 3 chord punk anthems & even Spanish music. The second album released by the Pixies and their last with label 4AD it was their most successful at almost platinum (800,000-1 million). What’s most telling about this album is the scene that generated out of it’s wake…grunge. After writing “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” both Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana thought: “this really sounds like the Pixies. People are really going to nail us for this” according to Michael Azerrad who wrote the book Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha described Doolittle as less raw than Surfer Rosa but “more listenable” and “Here Comes Your Man” as a “classic pop record.” Fellow alternative musician PJ Harvey was “in awe” of “I Bleed” and “Tame,” and described Francis’ writing as “amazing”.

The PixiesHere Comes Your Man

The Pixies – Hey

#220 – Sweetheart of the Rodeo – The Byrds

David Crosby had just left to form Crosby, Stills & Nash & Michael Clark over creative differences Roger McGuinn & Chris Tillman decided not to break up the band, but instead to hire 21 year old Gram Parsons to play piano & rhythm guitar. This provided fortuitous as the band packed up for Nashville to record their most country/bluegrass album yet, Sweethearts of the Rodeo. They expanded upon the roots movement that Bob Dylan had started with his album John Wesley Harding. It featured 2 Dylan songs, covers of classic country songs & 3 original Parson songs including the classic, “Hickory Wind“. While being their least successful album, at that point, it is considered to be a seminal point in the Alt-Country movement.

The ByrdsHickory Wind

The Byrds – You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere