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90s

This tag is associated with 8 posts

Rowland S. Howard, R.I.P.

As guitarist/songwriter with Melbourne’s Boys Next Door, who then morphed into The Birthday Party (then on to collaborations with Lydia Lunch, to Crime and the City Solution, and These Immortal Souls, and then on to solo efforts), he was the man beside Nick Cave who served up the frightening sounds that scraped the back curtains with feedback and laid the sonic landscape…

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)…

Se7en (1995) • Face/Off (1997) • GoodFellas (1990)

Se7en is one dour film, but this production design and the accompanying incessant rainfall gave the film a look that felt far more noir than any noir could. Aside from all of this, the film afforded director Fincher (a) the attention he so obviously deserved; and (b) respect for standing up to the studio execs who wished for a happy Hollywood ending to this unforgiving tale…

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

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