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rock

This tag is associated with 14 posts

Queen – A Kind of Magic (1986)

Queen took prog’s cerebral bookish head and reattached it to its body, then gave it a nervous system via strong melodies delivered with a maximum of passion and heart-pumping surges of adrenal energy. In doing so they managed to create a unique style of rock/pop with brawn and brains…

Beach House – Teen Dream (2010)

Victoria’s voice is great, it reminds me of Cat Power or Martha Wainwright, if they were born as Jim Morrison. Which may sound weird. But there is a swagger to her voice. There is mystery to it. Like Jimbo, there are worlds in that voice. She twists some of those getaway notes in deeper, lower registers, crooning lyrics that would make The Lizard King proud…

Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977)

The album, constructed with the help of legendary producer Phil Ramone, remains one of his best sellers. And he was kind of big for listless suburban teens, like myself, who drunkenly sang along to his tunes at parties with friends. He wasn’t shredding any guitars or thundering any drum-kits or speaking in-code about drugs, but it fit right in with whatever else we were grooving to at the time…

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland (1968)

No matter who comes along now, whenever they try to make one of those ‘Greatest Guitarists of All Time’ lists, the #1 spot will always be reserved for Jimi Hendrix. It’s one of the immutable laws of Rock. Which is how it should be. Hendrix redefined the guitar (and the blues) like no one else. He achieved sounds that still mystify guitarists today. ‘How the hell did he do that?’ But this designation often overshadows and negates Hendrix’s other skills as singer and songwriter and lyricist and producer…

The Cure – Disintegration (1989) • Nite Jewel – Good Evening (2009) • Rodriguez – Cold Fact (1970)

This is still hands-down my favourite Cure album. I say ‘still’ because back in my high school days, The Cure were a big fave band for me and my mates. We dug their whole catalogue, but it was great timing that we should witness the release of Disintegration, because after their (partial) dissolution in the wake of Pornography (1982), Robert Smith directed the music toward a more pop-orientated sound, with the hit singles “Lets Go to Bed”, “The Walk” and “The Lovecats”…

The Conet Project – Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations (1997) • Stars of the Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline (2007) • Elvis Presley – The Essential Elvis Presley (2007)

‘Seven, zero, nine, eleven…Seven, zero, nine, eleven…’; ‘Alpha, charlie, lima, delta…Alpha, charlie, lima, delta…’ Then, after a few minutes, they disappeared. This was weird. ‘What the hell is it?!’, was on the lips of many listeners. They became known as Numbers Stations, and no official explanation had ever been given when Akin Fernandez came across them in 1992. So the industrious radio addict started to log the frequencies and the times and the messages of these enigmatic occurrences. And more importantly, he recorded them…

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…

Lush – Spooky (1992) • Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008) • Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Flaunt It (1986)

Remember Lush? Like many bands of the early 90s, Lush became kind of big and also a bit dwarfed by the explosion of the alternate music scene, which gave rise to countless new bands vying for a piece of the booming major-label pre-internet spotlight. Some bands got a bit overlooked in the process. Anyway. Lush produced some damn good music and a couple of really cool albums. This was their first (studio album)…

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…

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

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