The Velvet Underground’s 3rd self-titled album came out in 1969 as the sun was fading on the hazy ‘sixties. Unlike the VU’s past albums, this third one embraces more typical melodies, swapping out extended jam sessions with tastefully off-key instrumentation with on-key exercises in sweeping guitar riffs mixed with the most laid-back jam session to ever be captured on vinyl. Their first album changed art rock forever, their second birthed a new experimental rock movement, but their third saw them settling down, and taking their sound a notch down too. In doing that, they spun one of the best jam records out there (more…)
There is nothing I can say about The Beatles “Abbey Road” that hasn’t been said before. As far as albums go, this is well trodden ground. The cover, the Fab 4 crossing a street dressed to the nines (sans Paul), is iconic. That every song on the second half plays into each other is brilliant and feels revolutionary. Even the most loathed song, Octopus’s Garden, has a few redeeming factors. There isn’t a real mark on the entire album. The Beatles were at the top of their game for the latter half of the 60s, even if they didn’t believe that and Abbey Road is proof. (more…)
Foxygen’s white-hot bluster may have burned out prematurely when frontman Sam France tripped over the bleachers on stage, broke his leg, and subsequently cancelled the entire Foxygen tour but their glorious “hip” period is forever captured on their sophomore album, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic.” With this album, Jonathan Rado and Sam France caught their influences in a bottle. Listeners can detect Bowie, T. Rex, The Replacements, and Pavement in their rhythms and sounds.
Of the long-haired rock revivalist that emerged in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s passing, Beck might be the most endearing and certainly one of the more inventive. Starting as an anti-folk musician who hit it big with the bilingual radio hit, “Loser”, Beck would progress more towards experimentation starting with his 1996 album, “Odelay”. Now, he has over ten albums spanning rock-n-roll, country, hip-hop, industrial, folk, anti-folk, and a cornucopia of other genres. But it was Odelay that took Beck from one-hit wonder to weirdo golden-boy.
With the release of the album’s biggest single, Teen Age Riot, Sonic Youth became something they never intended to be, revered. This was a loud, brash noise rock outfit from Atlanta. Their past albums were dark, apocalyptic, and indulgent, and while their flirtations with melody on “Sister” were excellent, nothing was to suggest that Sonic Youth would pursue anything resembling accessible. (more…)