strangeways here we come

The sun is eclipsed by the moon, so one way or another this darkness got to give :

DOK
# Artist Album Year 2013
30 The Band Music from Big Pink 1968 12
29 The Doors The Doors 1967 36
28 Brian Wilson SMiLE 2004 10
27 Paul Simon Graceland 1986 2
26 The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967 31
25 Neil Young After The Gold Rush 1970 24
24 Electric Light Orchestra Out of the Blue 1977 8
23 Crosby Stills Nash & Young Déjà Vu 1970 16
22 Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon 1973 26
21 Radiohead OK Computer 1997 32
GvZ
Artist Album Year 2015
30 Harry Nilsson Nilsson Schmilsson 1971 *
29 Santana Abraxas 1970 11
28 Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness 1995 17
27 Kraftwerk Trans Europe Express 1977 *
26 Paul McCartney & Wings Band on the Run 1973 16
25 Crosby Stills Nash & Young Déjà Vu 1970 25
24 The Smiths Strangeways Here We Come 1987 28
23 The Beatles Abbey Road 1969 20
22 Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti 1975 13
21 Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon 1973 12
RKH
Artist Album Year 2015
30 Pixies Doolittle 1989 36
29 Grateful Dead Workingman’s Dead 1970 *
28 Paul Simon Graceland 1986 15
27 The Beach Boys Pet Sounds 1966 43
26 Kraftwerk Trans Europe Express 1977 *
25 Guided By Voices Bee Thousand 1994 44
24 Steely Dan Aja 1977 *
23 Bruce Springsteen Nebraska 1982 *
22 Radiohead OK Computer 1997 26
21 Donald Fagen The Nightfly 1982 25

Canvass the town and brush the backdrop, it’s hair pie:

GvZ:

30. (20) Jethro Tull – Aqualung (1971)
29. (12) The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord (1968)
28. (32) The Smiths – Strangeways Here We Come (1987)
27. (*) Killing Joke – Killing Joke (1980)

26.  (16) Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
“Went Mental. Deny. Deny. Deny.”

RKH:

30. (26) The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord (1968)
29. (12) Guided By Voices – Alien Lanes (1995)
28. (*) Steely Dan – Katy Lied (1975)
27. (44) Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen (1993)

26. (32) Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)
“Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Go Mental.”

1. Eels – Hospital Food (Electro-Shock Blues, 1998) 

The Beautiful Freak from 1996 had his reasons to sing the blues on this second album, as he lost his mother (lung cancer) and sister (suicide), making him the only remaining member of the family after his father’s death in ’82. Good album (not really comparable to the later and great Blinking Lights), with a cover of Daniel Johnston’s ‘Living Life’ being often played during its supporting tour (an admiration that eventually led to a tribute album in 2004).

2. 13th Floor Elevators – Splash 1 (Now I’m Home) (The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, 1966) 

One of my favorite sixties bands, despite (or maybe thanks to) their limited discography. Band that came from Texas, but when the lead single from this album (‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’) reached San Francisco and people there heard about this band that served as an elevator for your consciousness, their fame was made in the Bay Area. The Elevators started performing at the notorious Fillmore with bands like Quicksilver Messenger Service and The Great Society. After the release of their second great album, the band practically split up, despite the release of a third ‘album’ in 1969. Later work that ís worth mentioning: singer Rocky Erickson’s album True Love Cast Out All Evil (2010), a collaboration with Okkervil River.

3. The Smiths – Unhappy Birthday (Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987)

Final (Marr even left the band before the release) and probably best Smiths album. It’s a classic thoroughbred cooperation between Marr (music) and Morrissey (lyrics), both acting on their top level.

4. Tortoise – Six Pack (Standards, 2001)

Album that was already shuffled a couple of times before, but that couldn’t convince me. Called post-rock, alternative rock or indie rock, although I personally would never associate any of those genres with Tortoise.

5. Jethro Tull – For a Thousand Mothers (Stand Up, 1969)

From Jethro Tull’s key album, on which this song is the memorable clincher. Ian Anderson must have realised he just created a pretty damn good album and on this track he throws out all his anger towards his parents, who were always doubting his potential. His voice and flute sound more uptempo than anywhere else on the album, finishing it off with a tremendous flute solo.

6. The Mothers of Invention – Concentration Moon (We’re Only in It for the Money, 1968)

‘No Commercial Potential’ was the name of Zappa’s project (‘it’s all one big album’) that produced four of his best albums, with this one perhaps having the most commercial potential. That would have even been higher when the original cover artwork (parodying The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s and eventually being used as interior artwork) would have been used, but Zappa didn’t get permission from The Fab ‘only in it for the money’ Four’s managers. This is probably still the reason why some Zappa-fans don’t play any Beatles music in their bar.

7. The Byrds – Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe (Mr. Tabourine Man, 1965)

Of course a lot of Dylan-covers on The Byrds’ deciding breakthrough album, but this song was written by Jackie Deshannon. She supported The Beatles before during their first US ‘In it for the money’ Tour and also wrote some hit singles (like ‘Don’t Turn Your Back on Me’) together with Jimmy Page, before he started Led Zeppelin. Time to discover some more of her own music.

8. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Sweet Hitch-Hiker (Mardi Gras, 1972) 

Last track on Creedence’s last album, and maybe one of the best songs they ever made. Or should I say … he ever made? Always an interesting issue, but if one album makes clear that CCR would have been nothing but a very mediocre roadhouse band without John Fogerty’s songwriting, than it’s this one, thanks to its somehow hilarious historical account. The other members of the band would have requested to have additional say in the group’s musical decisions. As a result, Fogerty kind of obliged them to contribute songs equally, resulting in by far the worst Creedence-album, although Fogerty himself shines again with this song and his masterpiece ‘Someday Never Comes’. However, how many classics like this did he make during his solo career…?

9. The Moody Blues – House of Four Doors (In Search of the Lost Chord, 1968)

Hands down one of the best albums ever made, on which the magnum opus (‘Legend of a Mind’) is captured between the two parts of ‘House of Four Doors, separated by John Lodge’s cello (aka the cracking door). The four doors the Moodys open during this first part represent four musical eras in European music: medieval minstrel music (acoustic guitar and flute), Baroque (harpsichord and cello), classical music (piano) and… modern rock music, as the opening of the last door is followed by the epic ‘Legend of a Mind’.

10. Fleet Foxes – Battery Kinzie (Helplessness Blues, 2011)

Already three years old this one, but still played now and then in expectation of that crucial third album. Pecknold’s intentions were to create ‘that kind of cohesive sound’ like on Astral Weeks, ‘with guitar mistakes and without flawless vocals’. Did he succeed? I guess not, but there are a lot of gems out there on this album, like this one for example.

This is an ode to the shuffle. How better to get a good insight in your digitized album collection than by a classic shuffle? Finally discover the albums you never got into, finally throw the ones away you will never get into and worship those classics that never grow old again. The Shuffle of this week:

1. Muse – Blackout (Absolution, 2003) 

Highly orchestrated and classical influenced song from Muse’ third album. No clue what happened to this band after 2006, when I lost them after a disappointing fourth album.

2. David Bowie – Sweet Thing (reprise) (Diamond Dogs, 1974) 

Another album that mixes different styles of music, this eight one from David Bowie. Although it’s already the third album after Ziggy Stardust (1972), preceded by a cover album and Stardust’s transformation to Aladdin Sane (1973), the remains of Ziggy’s sound are still audible here. What definitely characterized the album is the somehow distorted guitar sound (with Bowie himself replacing Mick Ronson on guitar) and (in this song) the start of using cut-up lyrics, something  Thom Yorke would repeat later on Radiohead’s Kid A.

3. Pink Floyd – Jugband Blues (A Saucerful of Secets, 1968) 

One of my favorite Pink Floyd albums, beautifully demonstrating the evolution the band had made between its good debut album and the outstanding Atom Heart Mother (1970). This evolution was marked by the fact that this key album was the only one featuring all five band members, as Gilmour was replacing Barett during the recordings. This closing song was written and sung by Barett  and (therefore not surprisingly) comes very close to the debut album’s sound.

4. The Velvet Underground – After Hours  (The Velvet Underground, 1969) 

Not Meg White on one of White Stripes’ albums, but another personal favorite album from the late sixties. This closing track was, just like all other songs on the album, written by Lou Reed while Maureen Tucker takes the lead vocals. A very surprising album considering its two predecessors and worth a complete review over here.

5. Beck – Ramshackle (Odelay, 1996) 

Another closing song, from an album you’re almost obliged to appreciate, although it didn’t really convince me yet. This song however is a true highlight, just like the  few other songs that originated from the acoustic sessions that were originally meant to constitute the album. Lay down and enjoy.

6. The Smiths – A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours (Strangeways, Here We Come, 1987) 

Time for an opening song then, from Marr and Morrisey’s last collaboration. Traditionally the album cover is featuring a classic movie star,  this time being Richard Davalos. One of The Smiths’ best songs.

7. The Yardbirds – Hot House of Omagarashid (Roger The Engineer, 1966) 

Very strange track (initially I thought that it was Black Monk Time again) from an album that was camouflaged by a serious layer of dust for a long time. The album stems for the period after Jeff Beck replaced Clapton on guitar and incited the band to start experimenting with different styles, resulting in some Gregorian chants on this song.

8. Brian Eno – St. Elmo’s Fire (Another Green World, 1975) 

Is this XTC with one of their better eighties records? No, it turns out to be technical pioneer Brian Eno (announcing something called ‘hypertext’ as one of the future’s defining phenomena before anyone had ever heard about the internet) with a wonderful song from his 1975 classic.

9. Electric Light Orchestra – Wild West Hero (Out of the Blue, 1977) 

And another closing song, from the most colorful album of 1977. The vocals are outstanding on this one, and the orchestration is just a little less predictable than elsewhere on the album.

10. Janis Joplin – Half Moon (Pearl, 1971) 

The Acid Queens’ most polished and therefore most successful album, with the Full Tilt Boogie Band. Recently saw her performance at Monterey again; such an unbelievable voice. Till next time.

Jukebox

StandUp1969 teaforthetillerman1970 darksideofthemoon1973 blondeonblonde1966