If I want some snark, some verbosity, some damn fine songwriting, I turn to Elvis Costello. There is something about how his songs play out. He’s fearless about genre (and occasionally language itself). And sometimes he shows up in the most random of places. Austin Powers cameo? Sure, why not! Host my own talk show* … More Soundtrack of my Life: Ten Best Elvis Costello Songs
I started writing this before all the hell of November began, so I decided to finish it. I’ll write the 2016 year-end stuff next month and then that’s it until I find some sort of joy or purpose. When I discussed Skip Spence’s exquisite and underappreciated OAR, I mentioned a fondness for the broken and lost geniuses … More Soundtrack of my Life: “War In Peace” by Skip Spence
Sly Stone was a genius. Is a genius. A one time drug addled platinum mohawked genius. But a genius none the less. A funkified, soulful genius with the ability to make me dance in a spontaneous way. I wanna take you higher, and all that jazz. Sly came to me late in life after Arrested Development … More The Album List: # 191 Sly and the Family Stone “Stand!”
Ah, Saint Jimi. The master of the guitar, the king of the riff, hero to many. He is much beloved by the masses, and the art of the rock and roll guitar was propelled forward by him into an unknown stratosphere. As previously stated in my other Hendrix album recap, God is taken on blind … More The Album List: # 190 Jimi Hendrix Experience “Axis: Bold As Love”
There are things that those who love me know about me: 1. The Kinks are my favourite band. 2. This is my favourite album of all time, and I often proclaim it the greatest album ever created. 3. My kids prefer Katy Perry to Ray Davies and I feel like a failure as a parent because … More Soundtrack of my Life: “The Village Green Preservation Society” by the Kinks
Lou Reed was a notorious asshole. I mean, music writers all have legendary tales about trying to interview Lou Reed. Most of these stories end up with Lou storming off or insulting said writer to the point the writer leaves. He was a cantankerous bastard. But his being an asshole to music writers was seriously … More Lou Reed: 1942-2013
The idea that electronic music is a recent invention of celebrity DJs or as an off-shoot of hip hop is false. Electronic music pre-dates the second world war, and thrived in post-war Europe, where artists like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Schaeffer created the blueprint of modern avant-garde music. It’s no accident countries like France, Germany, … More The Album List: # 192 The Avalanches “Since I Left You”
There are albums that evoke such a time and place that you tend to forget them. It’s a shame that happens, as music is eternal and if you love something you should listen to it, regardless of the shame factor (hello, NKOTB). Dummy is so linked in my head to 1995 that I put it … More The Album List: # 193 Portishead “Dummy”
For all my love of jazz, 80s pop, English story telling, obscure Scottish bands, and middle eastern melodic thievery, I love me some dirty desert rock and roll. Particularly when there is one hell of a guitarist. And especially when Dave Grohl shows up on drums. Dave. I love you.
We have come back to the man himself. Coltrane.
The Violent Femmes are another early 1980s band who seemed destined for greatness, and their die-hard fans would claim they succeeded. I, however, felt they would struggle greatly on later records to match their first’s sense of humour and lyrical honestly. The Violent Femmes are a great band, but nothing they have ever done has … More The Album List: # 196 The Violent Femmes “The Violent Femmes”
Neko Case’s voice is an earthy, bluesy alto with broad range, tinged with a southern accent long fed through a Northwestern upbringing. It’s one of the greatest voices in modern music, adept at so many genres that she can make your head spin. When I hear her on those great New Pornographer albums like … More The Album List: # 197 Neko Case “Blacklisted”
One of the many, many legends of rock and roll is about how Dexys stole the master tapes of their classic début album away from EMI and hid them in frontman Kevin Rowland’s parent’s house while holding out for more cash. It’s true, confirmed by many people, including the band and people who worked at … More The Album List: # 198 Dexys Midnight Runners “Searching For the Young Soul Rebels”
My slavish devotion to the English Folk revival has had me waxing poetic about other albums like this and this and even this . I’m a sucker for strumming and picking and songs about going all around hats, Greensleeves, Lord Randall and stuff. Pentangle had an ace up its sleeve, though, in guitarist Bert Jansch. An amazing guitarist, … More The Album List: # 199 Pentangle “Basket of Light”
If my list tends to skew 1980s pop at moments, it’s because I grew up in the 1980s with little more than a boom box where I ripped hundreds of hours of radio, plus several episodes of Video Hits (my boom box had a built-in mic. Yes, I did pretend to be a DJ like … More The Album List: # 200 Simple Minds “New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84”
David Bowie is one of the great loves of my life. I adored him when I was young and “Modern Love” was a hit, with its sixties inspired harmonies and bright pop. I loved him even more when I discovered “Heroes” as a teenager, and Low in college. There is a beauty in “Space Oddity”‘s story … More The Album List #28: David Bowie “The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars”