1. Lemonheads – Rudderless (It’s a Shame About Ray, 1992) [singlepic id=105 w=80 h=50 float=left]
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) [singlepic id=89 w=80 h=50 float=left]
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) [singlepic id=92 w=80 h=50 float=left]
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) [singlepic id=343 w=80 h=50 float=left]
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) [singlepic id=68 w=80 h=50 float=left]
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) [singlepic id=378 w=80 h=50 float=left]
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) [singlepic id=10 w=80 h=50 float=left]
8. Feist – Honey Honey (The Reminder, 2007) [singlepic id=377 w=80 h=50 float=left]
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) [singlepic id=303 w=80 h=50 float=left]
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) [singlepic id=268 w=80 h=50 float=left]
The shuffle heard my prayers and delivers an early Beirut just in time, back in Tom’s bunker. Cheers.
1. B.B. King – Worry, Worry (Live at the Regal, 1965) [singlepic id=326 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Starting this little trip through rock history with young Riley Ben King, a former cotton cropper and recreational gospel singer from Mississippi who turned into the number one Blues Boy from Memphis, Tennesee. King was 39 when he went to Chicago to play the Regal Theatre, packed with a dozen hit singles about desire and sorrow and his Lucille. The recordings became one of rock’s finest live albums. Someday baby Oh…someday baby.
2. Mike Oldfield – Orabidoo (Five Miles Out, 1982) [singlepic id=328 w=80 h=50 float=left]
One of the disappointing albums Oldfield released after his experimental breakthrough with Tubular Bells in 1973. After nine years of doubt during which he released five more albums, Oldfield finally decides to turn away from long symphonic compositions on side 2 of this album. Not yet ready for poppy excesses like ‘Moonlight Shadow’ on the next album, Oldfield and Reilly still sing their vocals trough a vocoder on this one to give it the experimental feel.
3. Kraftwerk – The Model (Minimum-Maximum, 2005) [singlepic id=166 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Back to the live stage with this album from Kraftwerk, collecting many shows from the band’s world tour in 2004. The increased tempo gave the legendary songs an even more modern sound, as this song originally appeared on 1978’s all-time classic The Man-Machine. Back then Kraftwerk already sketched us this image of the human being that has become one with his machine, although our new hands weren’t called Iphones yet.
4. Electric Light Orchestra – Standin’ in the Rain (Out of the Blue, 1977) [singlepic id=101 w=80 h=50 float=left]
It took some time for Jeff Lynne to establish exactly the sound he had in mind when The Move fell apart, but after searching for three years during the early seventies, he was at full speed. Just when disco was getting ready to conquer the world, Lynne knew how he wanted to rediscover McCartney’s ‘Eleanor Rigby’ string sections and launched three successful symphonic albums in a row: Eldorado (1974), Face the Music (1975) and A New World Record (1976). For the following album he only needed a couple of weeks in a Swiss chalet, on which this is the opening song of side three: ‘Concerto for a Rainy Day’.
5. Neil Young – Cinnamon Girl (Live Rust, 1979) [singlepic id=329 w=80 h=50 float=left]
More live music with this classic from Neil Young, from the Rust Never Sleeps tour. Young performed this tour together with Crazy Horse, and that’s why this track obviously couldn’t be lacking on the setlists. The original is of course to be found on 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, on which Crazy Horse established its fame as Young’s legendary backing band. This was mainly due to producer David Briggs, who just like Neil (and contrary to Jack Nitschze, producer of Young’s debut) loved the raw live sound that defines that album.
6. Björk – Pluto (Homogenic, 1997) [singlepic id=327 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Penultimate track on Björk’s fourth studio album, the first intense collaboration with producer Mark Bell, who produced among others this song about the primal drift to make tabula rasa of your environment. Remarkable is the unorthodox combination of classical string sections with electronic beats, characterizing the whole album and referring to the raw (natural) as well as the computed (hi-tech) side of Iceland.
7. The Beatles – Glass Onion (The Beatles, 1968) [singlepic id=137 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Lennon song that finally gave the world a clue about McCartney being the walrus or not. Also the first track on the White Album with Starr on drums, as McCartney played the drums on both his own ‘Back in the USSR’ and Lennon’s ‘Dear Prudence’.
8. The White Stripes – As Ugly as I Seem (Get Behind Me Satan, 2005) [singlepic id=331 w=80 h=50 float=left]
In fact the only Stripes album I did not play the life out the past year. As the folkish intro of this song already indicates, Jack White moves away a bit from collecting all the best electric riff-based songs he wrote (Elephant!) and tries out another range of instruments and rhythms.
9. Van Morrison – Cyprus Avenue (Astral Weeks, 1968) [singlepic id=305 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Absolute gem, from an absolute must-have album. Listening the lyrics closely already suffices to admire this epic piece of music, that acquired its definite fame thanks to numerous legendary live versions, as the traditional closer of every performance.
10. Talking Heads – Thank You for Sending Me an Angel (Stop Making Sense, 1984) [singlepic id=330 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Closing with a fourth live track, not from the original release that contained only nine (adjusted) tracks from the movie, but from the 1999-release, including all sixteen songs. The band once performed live for the first time as a support act for the Ramones, but that was about the last time that the paths of Talking Heads and punk would cross, after being noticed by Brian Eno. Just when the paths of Byrne/Eno and the Tom Tom Club also seemed to diverge, this movie from Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme was released.