// archives

album reviews

This tag is associated with 9 posts

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…

Barry White – Stone Gon’ (1973)

If I needed another reason to dig this album, just get a load of that cover, the ambient/sci-fi/prog undertones were superbly visualised here with Barry looking like some intergalactic prophet of love, beamed down from Venus to rescue the human race from an unfeeling future of empty detachment and soulless internet porn. Right on, Barry, right on…

J.J. Cale – Naturally (1971)

Even in this era of fashionable ageing-rocker-mega-tours, Cale has always remained a kind of mystery man, despite a cult status that could easily be capitalised on. Instead, he has chosen the quiet dignity of going about his bluesy business outside the parameters expected of musicians of his ilk. He has become a timeless enigmatic Mr. Cool that the Claptons and Knopflers can only envy and do covers of…

The xx – xx (2009)

It’s like meeting a bunch of cool dudes at a bar, and somehow you end up in their car, soundlessly cruising through empty streets snug in the backseat, and they have this cool music coming out of the old stereo, and not much is being said, but you feel you can trust them because they’re not driving too fast and the tones of the keyboard are like protective coloured skins…

Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours (1955)

Break-ups can be tough. But the sorrowful trade-off can be clarity. An emotional leveller can put things into perspective and enable one to see and feel things more clearly. It won’t stop the pain, but it may give one some hope. When Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner split up, Frank decided to release this, an album that sustained a single inconsolable mood for the entire two sides…

Marcy Playground – Marcy Playground (1997) • Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (2008) • Jaco Pastorius – Jaco Pastorius (1976)

One band that got lost in the shifting sands of the post-grunge years was New York’s Marcy Playground. They were never gonna be a revolutionary band, but I think they were certainly victims of bad timing, and changing trends within the industry. This, their debut, produced the single “Sex and Candy” which became quite a big hit and propelled them into the spotlight for a while. But it soon faded. And they seemed to disappear from the radar. The thing is, this band wrote some really good songs…

dEUS – Worse Case Scenario (1994) • Pocahaunted – Island Diamonds (2008) • Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygène (1976)

Deus should have been HUGE. Three or four years before Radiohead achieved legendary status with OK Computer and came to define the (somewhat clunky) term Meta-Rock, Deus produced this, their debut album, which was already pointing the way forward. Post-punk, post-rock, post-grunge, art-rock, no one really knew what to call it, but it sure was good. The Belgian band had obviously absorbed the soft/loud Pixies thing; the viola drone of The Velvet Underground; the greasy gravelly personas of Tom Waits…

Dire Straits – Communiqué (1979) • Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (1984) • Amy Winehouse – Back To Black (2006)

Though long considered by critics one of the daggiest groups of all time, Dire Straits produced a kind of post-Dylan soft-cock-rock that is still uniquely their own. (I suspect the tennis sweatbands had as much to do with that cynical designation, than just Mark Knopfler’s proclivity for solos). Despite the success of their first single, “Sultans of Swing”, I always felt they were more a mood band than a chart-storming hit machine…

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

.
GritFX T-Shirts: Movie, TV, Pop Culture, Humorous and Weird Tee Designs