1. Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod (Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs, 1992) ministry-psalm69

Prereleased and succesfull single from Ministry’s fifth album, on which a blend of industrial and beat-driven speed metal bans out all melody. Most noteworthy is of course the title of the radio-edited version on the single: Short, Pusillanimous, So-They-Can-Fit-More-Commercials-On-The-Radio Edit.

2. The Chameleons – On The Beach (What Does Anything Mean? Basically, 1985) thechameleons-whatdoesanythingmeanbasically

Post-punk with a classic rock line-up, from Northern-England during the 1980’s. That’s exactly what you get: dreamy guitar melodies and a drummer impersonating a computer. They disbanded after this album (before reuniting between 2000 and 2003), probably because they suffered from that typical post-punk syndrome, the lack of much variation in their songs, something they inevitably inherited from their testators.

3. Electric Light Orchestra – The Whale (Out of the Blue, 1977) elo-outoftheblue

Early morning in Robotland, where the population wakes up with a lot of bleeps and beeps till the mighty drums march in. After a while some deformed voices seep through and the landing of aliens seems to be completed. This could have been some avant-garde band from the early 2000’s if you didn’t know it’s ELO.

4. Caribou – Irene (Andorra, 2007) caribou-andorra

Exactly one of those acts I was referring to, thank you. The ideal opportunity for your headphones to act like they got a pair, with sounds draining away and rising up all over the place.

5. Kraftwerk – Numbers (Minimum Maximum, 2005) kraftwerk-minimum-maximum

Recording from their live performance in San Francisco (2004), collected on this report from their world tour. It originally appeared on Kraftwerk’s eight album Computer World (1981), that successfully succeeded to defy the ungrateful fate of following up The Man Machine. Computer World (with great cover) continues to tell the story about the human being becoming one with his machine, although it is now called a computer.

6. Andrew Bird – Scythian Empires (Armchair Apocrypha, 2007) andrewbird-armchairapocrypha

The Scyths was a generic term for different kinds of horseman tribes that reigned over the extensive plains in Eurasia for about ten centuries. No wonder this was a great source of inspiration for the young Andrew Bird when searching for a good subject to start his songwriting life. Awesome song, highlighted by the piano intermezzo, on a very strong album.

7. Led Zeppelin – Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Led Zeppelin, 1969) ledzeppelin1969

The proof on Led Zep’s debut album that Plant’s voice also sounds great along the acoustic guitar. It’s a traditional folk song that was written (and played) by Anne Bredon and later recorded for the first time by Joan Baez as the opener of her first live album. With Page and Plant both being fans of Baez it was only a matter of time before this song was transformed into a hard rock classic, right?

8. A Perfect Circle – Thomas (Mer de Noms, 2000) aperfectcircle-merdenoms

Band that was founded in 1999 by Billy Howerdel, who had been writing some songs in the years before. Maynard James Keenan offered his vocals already back then (Howerdel was one of Tool’s guitar technicians) and was eventually invited to form a band together. After adding some wigs and gigs in L.A., this album was released as the band’s debut. The line-up of backing musicians has changed numerous times since then, but Howerdel (music) – Keenan (lyrics) always remained a solid tandem.

9. Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) (What’s Going On, 1971) marvingaye-whatsgoingon

Second sucessfull single (after the title track) from the album that is considered by some music professors as the best album ever made. Including a delicious sax solo by Wild Bill Moore in the second part.

10. Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Own Me (A Girl Called Dusty, 1964) dustyspringfield-agirlcalleddusty

A girl called Dusty growing up, leaving the lighthearted pop trios behind and cautiously entering the worlds of Motown, Bacharach/David and Goffin/King. Excellent debut album from the Princess of the Swinging Sixties.

1. Lemonheads – Rudderless (It’s a Shame About Ray, 1992) lemonheads-itsashameaboutray

As written earlier, Boston based Lemonheads’ lonely claim to fame. Solid, melodic alternative rock that unfortunately quickly lost its rudder when it grew up.

2.Tom Waits – Diamonds & Gold (Rain Dogs, 1985) tomwaits-raindogs

Satisfied with a bunker full of professional musicians (including Keith Richards), Tom snaps out for some fresh air and smokes a cigarette or ten on the roof top. Coming from the distant neon spoiled city, he can hear the industrial sound of synthesizers and drum machines. After inhaling a last shot of imagination, he’s ready to go back inside. Unleash the Chinese drunk and give me your best midget’s bar mitzvah’s sound.

3. Beirut – A Candle’s Fire (The Rip Tide, 2011) beirut-theflyingclubcup

Not playing at the Ba Da Bing anymore, but at his own Pompeii label on this third album. Pleasant and fresh indie pop, but lacking the musical class from his first two albums. Looking forward to number four nevertheless.

4. The Doors – The Unknown Soldier (Waiting for the Sun, 1968) thedoors-waitingforthesun

Like I said last time, probably the Doors album with their best songs on it. Although I consider this one not among them, it became the album’s first single (with a stripped-down outro) and closed side 1. Rather an anti-media than anti-war song, with typical Morrisonesk catharsis in the end.

5. Of Montreal – Eros’ Entropic Tundra (Satanic Panic in the Attic, 2004) ofmontreal-spita

According to its name, you might associate this band with Canadian peers like Islands, Sunset Rubdown, Apostle of Hustle and Arcade Fire. However, these guys are from Athens, Georgia and rather linked to a group of guys who regarded the unfinished Smile-album as their Holy Grail, recorded albums in their Pet Sounds Studio and like to hang around in their pedestrian-based eco-village: Elephant 6. Collective sixties-tribute.

6. Jack Eliott – Boll Weevil (Jack Takes the Floor, 1958) jackelliott-jacktakesthefloor

Traditional from Jack Eliott’s third studio album, recorded off-the-cuff in London while this New York cowboy (for real) was touring across the British pubs and nightclubs. Keith Richards and Paul McCartney could have been among his audience and after returning to the US, he adopted Bob Dylan as his musical son: all admirers of the Ramblin’ Jack Eliott.

7. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Country Girl (Déja Vu, 1970) DejaVu1970

Victory of vocals, with Young’s After the Gold Rush –visions still being very present on this song.

 

8. Feist – Honey Honey (The Reminder, 2007) feist-thereminder

Ending up in Canada at last, with former Broken Social Scene vocalist Leslie Feist. Feist broke through with her second album Let it Die, but this third one was the biggest success after all, especially commercially. Good album, although the shuffle didn’t hit its strongest track.

9. Spirit – Soldier (Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, 1970) spirit-twelvedreamsofdr-sardonicus

What I said last time about Gary Usher’s work on The Notorious Byrd Brothers, does as well apply to David Briggs’ production of this fourth Spirit album: it completely disguised the hostilities between the band’s greatest actors, guitarist Randy California and singer Jay Ferguson. The original line-up still fell apart a month after the release, but the album was certified Gold five years later.

10. Beirut – The Bunker (Gulag Orkestar, 2006) beirut-gulagorkestar

The shuffle heard my prayers and delivers an early Beirut just in time, back in Tom’s bunker. Cheers.

1. Fatboy Slim – Soul Surfing (You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby, 1998) fatboyslim-youvecomealongwaybaby

One of the less known tracks from the Hotel California of the nineties, freely dropping four singles in the top of the charts and personally bringing the big beat genre to the attention of the great audience thanks to all the hooks and well-chosen samples. Fair enough, but I’ll pick my druggy Hotel.

2. Ray Price – There’s No Fool Like A Young Fool (Night Life, 1963) rayprice-night-life

I couldn’t have imagined a greater contrast to start this shuffle with, as we move over to mister Ray Price, born and died in Texas at the blessed age of 87. Price moved to Nashville during the early fifties, where he became the great ambassador of honky tonk. Just when Bakersfield was about to launch country music to prominence during the early sixties, Price released his best album about the real Night Life: not the preceding joyful expectations, not the ecstatic moments of drunkenness, but the disappointing conclusions right before closing time.

3. Pink Floyd – Pigs on the Wing 1 (Animals, 1977) pinkfloyd-animals

Lighthearted, acoustic bookend about Waters’ girlfriend at that time, on Pink Floyd’s tenth album, that was itself bookended by Wish You Were Here and The Wall. On WYWH, Waters was primary aiming at the music industry of which Floyd had inevitably become part of. On Animals, he broadens his critical sight to late seventies Britain as a whole, drawing capitalist parallels with Orwell’s Animal Farm and presenting a decent successor to Selling England… from prog pals Genesis. Its promotion tour In the Flesh, with massive arena gigs culminating in Waters spitting at a fan, directly led to Water’s next project: The Wall.

4. The Beatles – When I’m Sixty Four (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967) beatles-sgt-pepperslonelyheartsclubband

Small step to another guy who loves the bass, himself and the idea of a good concept album. And of course, McCartney (who wrote the song when he was 16, to record it only eight years later when his father turned 64) wouldn’t be McCartney if he didn’t add a clarinet trio to this composition.

5. The Mountain Goats – Song for Dennis Brown (The Sunset Tree, 2005) themountaingoats-thesunsettree

Indi folk band from California, that originally consisted mainly of singer John Darnielle. He led a lo-fi life with an overwhelming need to write songs throughout the nineties, before recording well-thought through albums in the new century. After discussing his meth years on the third one, this album treats his not so enviable childhood. This album breathes revenge.

6. Echo & The Bunnymen – Rescue (Crocodiles, 1980) echothebunnymen-crocodiles

Jim Morrison meets The Smiths, literally, on this lead single from The Bunnymen’s (Liverpool) debut album. Nothing to laugh about here, that way setting the tone for a series of four strong albums. And those covers, those beautiful covers…

7. Blind Faith – Presence of the Lord (Blind Faith, 1969) blindfaith-blindfaith

Probably the strongest track on this muscular album, with Clapton on guitar and vocals from Steve Winwood. Talking about album covers, this must be one of the weirdest in rock history. The portrayed 11-years old girl asked for a horse as compensation for the use of her image, but had to settle with 40 pounds…

8. The Move – The Last Thing on My Mind (Shazam, 1970) themove-shazam

Clapton and Winwood fantastically fade into one of my absolute favorite cover songs of all time. It was originally written by Tom Paxton and covered numerous times afterwards. But this version absolutely tops them all: top class vocals complemented by delicious guitar solos towards the end.

9. Sonic Youth – Rain King (Daydream Nation, 1988) sonicyouth-daydreamnation

A jump in time, but the guitars are still there on this electric powertrip. They took their time, but with this album, Sonic Youth brought the guitar back home. Not in any specific nation, but at the forefront of the music scene.

10. Broken Social Scene – Shampoo Suicide (You Forgot It in People, 2002) brokensocialscene-youforgotitinpeople

A pleasant surprise after my recent addiction to Apostle of Hustle’s Folkloric Feel, although this track rather sounds like Tortoise or something like that. Didn’t like BSS’s debut album, but this one is a young and modest classic.

1. Tindersticks – Cherry Blossoms (Tindersticks II, 1995) tindersticks-tindersticks2

Strings-piano duet from Tindersticks’ (Nottingham) second self-titled album. Lost the band out of sight for a few years but listening this record again a few times proved that I have to regret that, especially the strings on several tracks (recorded at Abbey Road) are intriguing. Imagine that the lyrics were sung in German and it would be the perfect soundtrack for a Stasi movie.

2. Guided By Voices – Exit Flagger (Propeller, 1992) guidedbyvoices-propeller

Dayton’s finest featuring sound wizard Robert Pollard as its only captain, whose characterizing voice kicks in after a classic guitar intro. Propeller was GBV’s fifth album, and the first one that gained them some nationwide attention. Ironically, only 500 copies of it were originally released, all with different, handmade artwork. Another artisanal credit: the intro of the opening track was reenacted by the band itself during the recording sessions.

3. The Troggs – From Home (From Nowhere, 1966) thetroggs-fromnowhere

The Troggs? ‘Wild Thing’, right? Yes, their cover of Chip Taylor’ song will always remain the first thing that crosses into people’s minds when asked after this band (if anything at all comes up, that is). Is there more to say? Yes, The Troggs were a classic mid-sixties British (Andover) four piece band that had eleven other songs on this debut album of which at least eight are to be classified somewhere in between ‘worth listening’ and ‘great song’. However, although much cited as an influence for later garage bands, they have more in common with early Beach Boys and Lennon-McCartney compositions.

4. Pink Floyd – On the Turning Away (A Momentary Lapse of Reason, 1987) pinkfloyd-amomentarylapseofreason

Roger Waters left Floyd in 1985 after using it as a vehicle for his personal trilogy Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut. Gilmour and Mason asked Richard Wright to rejoin the band and together they proved (with this album) what Waters probably believed to be impossible: that Pink Floyd without Waters would still be a more successful act than Waters on his own. One of the better songs on the album, including typical Gilmour solos and biting backing vocals.

5. Vampire Weekend – Walcott (Vampire Weekend, 2008) vampireweekend-vw

Probably the best song on this terrific debut album. Affirming what was stated last time.

 

6. The Byrds – Tribal Gathering (The Notorious Byrd Brothers, 1968) thebyrds-notoriousbyrdbrothers

Great Crosby song, that could as well have been appeared on his later projects Crosby, Stills & Nash or Déjà Vu. Not surprisingly, these projects were started right after this album, as he was already fired at the release of it, giving the horse the opportunity to feature the cover of one of rock’s greatest albums. Melody and experimentation dance with each other, while Gary Usher’s production completely wiped the underlying tensions (drummer Michael Clarke also left the band and former member Gene Clark made a temporary comeback of three weeks).

7. Tame Impala – The Bold Arrow of Time (Innerspeaker, 2010) tameimpala-innerspeaker

From the debut of this Australian (Perth) band, if you want to call it a band because it’s a one man project. Kevin Parker recorded the vocals and most of the instrumentation on this album, that sounds like 13th Floor Elevators walking into a 2010 studio.

8. Lambchop – Popeye (OH (Ohio), 2008) lambchop-ohio

American equivalent of today’s opener, with a song from their tenth album. Eventually sounds like a hit sensitive song featuring a catchy ‘lalala’ chorus, but halfway it suddenly transforms into an Afghan Whigs track, somehow cleverly combined with a southern touch. Interesting.

9. Creedence Clearwater Revival – It Came Out of the Sky (Wily and the Poor Boys, 1969) WillyandthePoorBoys1969

Although John Fogerty could also offer you a serious jam when he wanted to (only think of ‘Susie Q’), it was especially after the fog above the psychedelic San Francisco was cleared that CCR claimed most of its fame. A roots sound started to dominate the American rock scene, led by this band and The Band.

10. The Bees – No Trophy (Sunshine Hit Me, 2002) thebees-sunshinehitme

Must have been over five years since I heard this. British band from the Isle of Wight, led by Paul Butler and Aaron Fletcher. Sounds Caribean, but is also perfectly served on a European summer morning underneath a tree.

Happy New House Year:

GVZ:

5. (23) Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde (1966)
“Here we are: the melancholic romanticist, some morally omniscient cynics and the one that just tells me to get stoned. Unfortunately I don’t have a basement, my friends.”

4. (5) Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“The completion of that download, the uncompromising support tour: for the first time in my life I consciously witnessed rock history being written.”

3. (8) Love – Forever Changes (1967)
“Who gives a shit about forever? The Now Album.”

2. (2) The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
“If they would have replaced ‘Yellow Submarine’ by ‘Paperback Writer/Rain’, this list would have been a dictatorship.”

1. (1) The Velvet Underground and Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
“What has become of democracy anyway?”

RKH:

5. (20) DJ Shadow – Endtroducing… (1996)
“Technological deconstruction leading into organical reconstruction. The first true musical collage that actually sounds great.”

4. (4) The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
“The Big Bang. The start of an ever expanding revolution that’s still being felt today. But tomorrow? It’ll never know.”

3. (2) Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)
“Ying. Mysticism, conjured by a 23 year old seer. The musical definition of The Divine Touch.”

2. (1) Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity. We shouldn’t flee from this revelation, but embrace it with every fiber of our being. Let this album be your guide.”

1. (9) Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)
“Sitdown and listen, really listen. Take it all in. Poignant lyrics, passionate singing and subtle yet overwhelming melodies. A sum greater than it’s parts, which 43 years later still makes me wonder why the most relevant questions are often times the least asked ones.”

GF:

5. The Who – Who’s Next (1971)
“Een oerkracht van protest en  schreeuwen in de verre wildernis.”

4. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971)
“Verslavend, strak en geil, van de platenhoes tot de nummers.”

3. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“Zang, teksten en instrumenten verweven tot een magisch geheel, zoals het samenkomen van zon en regen.”

2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
“Zware gitaren, fluisterende stemmen, pakkende melodieën en teksten over gevoelens die ieder kent maar nog nooit zo mooi gehoord heeft.”

1. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks (1975)
“And every one of them songs rang true and glowed like buning coal.”

Let it snow, here we go: #10-6.

GVZ:

10. (4) Genesis – Selling England by the Pound (1973)
“Enchanting epitaph of British culture, that perished as a result of mulinational-led consumerism. If punk only had a little fantasy, I would maybe have liked it.”

9. (17) Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run (1973)
“People making pictures with an iPad, people telling me there is no alternative, people with melons on their head: no other album better fuels my need to leave it all behind and settle on a desert island.”

8. (7) Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)
“My desert island.”

7. (10) The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
“Three of the best all-time solo debuts for the price of one triumphal break-up. And ‘Octopus’s Garden’ always turns a smile on my face.”

6. (3) Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
“Abbey Road just knows what I need, but Pillow knows what I want.”

RKH:

10. (10) The Band – The Band (1969)
“The album solely responsible for my undeniable urge to one day (someday, I swear I will) make an extended roadtrip through the South of the USA.”

9. (5) Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)
“Instantaneously likeable, yet keeps on giving. The only answer you’ll ever need to your first world problems? ‘Boom boom!’ “

8. (11) Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“The sound of The Greatest Band Alive embracing their own past, present and future. “

7. (18) The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
That B-side contains the greatest 22 minutes and 13 seconds in rock history. Simple fact. The A-side’s not too shabby either.”

6. (3) Genesis – Selling England by the Pound (1973)
“Scientific evidence that imagination is still humankind’s most worthwhile characteristic. Take my hand Peter and lead me to your beautiful and slightly frightening world.”

GF:

10. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)
“Een ochtendalbum en dan bedoel ik elke ochtend al vijf jaar lang.”

9. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)
“Van samenzang gesproken, mijn stem is geen meerwaarde maar bij ‘Cecilia’ kan ik me niet inhouden.”

8. Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Co. (2003)
“Een album voor een zondagmiddag, voor een herfstdag of een valavond.”

7. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
“Als dit een top van nummers was, stond ‘Neighbourhood’ bovenaan, maar ik hoef het niet op replay te zetten, dit album kan ik gewoon genietend blijven draaien.”

6. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008)
“Er zijn veel bebaarde zangers die met een gitaar wat samen zingen, stop ermee en luister naar Fleet Foxes.

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