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1990’s

This tag is associated with 12 posts

Dead Actors Society

Each Oscars ceremony always includes an ‘In Memoriam’ segment, paying tribute to those in the movie world who have passed away in that particular year. Rarely mentioned are those fringe-dwellers, those faces you recognise but can’t put a name to, those people who have never been invited to the world’s largest smugfest…

Have a Musical Christmas

This came out around the time I was getting into Low, which is cool because it has stayed one of my favourite albs/EPs of theirs. I actually noticed “Just Like Christmas” being used in an ad on TV the other day, and I thought: Oh well, it’s only taken people 12 years to wise up to what a great band they are, and what a great song it is. Better late than never, I suppose…

Suzanne Vega – Solitude Standing (1987)

She’s the kind of artist I imagine who has some pretty devoted (read: borderline obsessive) fans who debate the definitions and decipher her imagery ’til dawn. And good on ‘em, but it’s not for me. These days I tend to leave her on in the background, like ambient music, and fill the room with that aromatic Vega vapour and just breathe it…

The Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen (1993)

This became a private soundtrack to many nights, alone, staying up late, reading, thinking, staring at the carpet, holding mental court over various recriminations. The album is one long confessional…a conceptual ode to the id. Greg Dulli is having it out with himself, never sparing his psyche, which may be ready to collapse, or perhaps through the furnace of these songs rise up and Phoenix from the flames…

The Grifters (1990)

The Grifters is a uniquely twisted tale of the con-artist lifestyle. Nearly every character in the film is an amoral soul – even the vaguely sympathetic figure of Roy is ice-cold. And it is a credit, mostly to screenwriter Westlake and author Jim Thompson (but let’s not forget the actors as well) that the film succeeds whilst wallowing in its oppressive motif…

Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996) • Martina Topley-Bird – The Blue God (2008) • Kate Bush – Hounds of Love (1985)

Tortoise deserve a genre named after them. It would at least make things easier for the unimaginative fools (like me) who write about music. Then I could just say: ‘In 1996, Chicago band Tortoise released this landmark album of Tortoise music that took Tortoise in a new direction and changed the way people would think about Tortoise forever. Only Tortoise can play Tortoise the way Tortoise was meant to played.’ It wouldn’t make much sense, but it would be so much easier…

The Fifth Element (1997) • Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) • In The Name Of The Father (1993)

This cartoon-ish film is one big barrel of fun, sporting a set of colourfully unique visuals (along with some amazing costumes designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier), and a cast privy to the films’ adolescent nature. And it is this ‘element’ that provides the joy of this sci-fi comedy, for it never takes itself seriously and never meanders…

Mazzy Star – So Tonight That I Might See (1993) • William Orbit – Hello Waveforms (2006) • Grace Jones – Nightclubbing (1981)

Mazzy Star are one of those bands that have a shadowy little corner of music history all to themselves. I imagine they’re still recruiting fans with their slow, sexy, scuzzed-up sound. They were never a popular band as such, but they were a serious cult band. And those bands just keep growing in status long after their official life is over. They were a little bit Velvet Underground, a little bit country, a little bit bluesy, a little bit folkie, a little bit gothic, a little bit psychedelic…

Sade – The Best of Sade (1994) • Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase (2005) • The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers (1976)

Best Ofs can be strange things. Sometimes they’re a great way of road-testing an artist/band. Sometimes the hits are all you want. Other times you’d be better served avoiding them altogether, and seeking out a particular album. Some bands are defined by their hits (eg: Abba), while others are completely misrepresented by them (eg: Genesis). Whatever the case, this was the first thing I ever got of hers/theirs (Sade is the band, Sade Adu is the singer), so I’m recommending it, because it made me eventually seek out their studio albums…

Spice Girls – Spice (1996) • Bat For Lashes – Fur and Gold (2006) • Kiss – Music from ‘The Elder’ (1981)

Though I’d say my favourite Spice Girls songs are “Spice Up Your Life” and “Too Much”, which are both on their second album Spiceworld (1997), you can’t go past their first album Spice for a non-stop pop-fest. (NB: By the time I’ve finished writing this – having listened to both again – I think I like Spiceworld more). In July 1996, with the single “Wannabe”, the girls hit the scene like Godzilla (if Godzilla was a massively marketed corporate girl-group in platform boots and Union Jack miniskirt)…

Langley Parks: Soundscapes, Themes & Noise – free individual track download…

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