1. The Velvet Underground – What Goes On (The Velvet Underground, 1969) [singlepic id=274 w=80 h=50 float=left]
One of my favorite Velvet-songs, this second track from their (post-Cale) third album. Pretty straight forward, with that awesome pushing Velvet guitar sound. The instrumental combo with the rhythm guitars and Doug Yule’s (replacing Cale) organ could easily be called one of rock’s greatest song climaxes ever.
2. The Cure – The Figurehead (Pornography, 1982) [singlepic id=358 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Just like Faith from 1981, this fourth album continues the bands practice from its break-through album Seventeen Seconds (1980): explicit melancholy written by the classic line-up Smith-Tolhurst-Gallup. This song in particular resembles The Smiths’ sound, especially the surprisingly melodic guitar riff and of course the desperate lament, but is fortified with that typical repeating drum and bass rhythm. The instrumental parts laid the groundwork for post rock, while Smith himself would rather concentrate on writing some solid pop songs later on.
3. XTC – 1000 Umbrellas (Skylarking, 1986) [singlepic id=360 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Andy Partridge signed the end of XTC’s touring history in 1982, as he started to suffer from stage fright. Just like The Beatles did earlier, XTC concentrated on working in the studio from then on and also picked up the idea of making a concept album. Skylarking was supposed to be about growing up, getting older and dying, all in one day. The result was an incredible album filled with orchestration, like the numerous string sections in this song, completely in line with the Paul McCartney Academy of Pop Music.
4. Afghan Whigs – Now You Know (Gentlemen, 1993) [singlepic id=125 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Typical guitar sound from the nineties, resembling that of their lumberjacket wearing peers from Washington. However, not only did their wardrobe differ, also the lyrics from this Cincinatti band sound much more mature and devoted, even reminding of Dylan sometimes. This is of course their best (and fourth) album, released one year after break-through album Congregation (great cover) and recorded in Memphis.
5. The Beatles – Not a Second Time (With the Beatles, 1963) [singlepic id=357 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Iconic pop album, released in the US as Meet The Beatles. It’s actually a mix of some of the bands’ live covers like ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’, ‘Please Mister Postman’ and ‘Money’, together with the Fab Four’s first songwriting gems, like McCartney’s ‘All My Loving’. This one is a Lennon song without electric guitar, so no Harrison.
6. Smashing Pumpkins – To Forgive (Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness, 1995) [singlepic id=332 w=80 h=50 float=left]
For me personally one of the biggest rediscoveries last year. Billy Corgan already dominated the Pumpkins on their second album (Siamese Dream (1993), on which he frequently overdubbed the bass and guitar parts with his own stuff), and on this magnificent third (ultimate cocktail of riff & melody) he shined like never before, and never afterwards. The threatening, modest sound of this song would dominate the next album and also returned on Radiohead’s OK Computer .
7. Pavement – Conduit For Sale! (Slanted and Enchanted, 1992) [singlepic id=356 w=80 h=50 float=left]
More nineties, and not complaining. Californian trio that formed in 1989, played till 1999 and saw their status grow each year since. Great record that offers a lot, except pretention.
8. The Raconteurs – Top Yourself (Consolers of the Lonely, 2008) [singlepic id=359 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Second and (for now?) last album of The Raconteurs, written by Brendan Brenson and Jack White, the man who secured the heritage of all preliminary guitar music in the new century. Whatever band this guy played in, it never took long before I liked it.
9. David Bowie – Right (Young Americans, 1975) [singlepic id=355 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Bowie leaves his androgen identity behind and freely throws Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder into the blender in a way that makes all other attempts at white soul pale into insignificance. Featuring Carlos Alomar for the first time.
10. The Eagles – Life in the Fast Lane (Hotel California, 1976) [singlepic id=8 w=80 h=50 float=left]
A dash of funk blew over from the previous song into the guitar playing of Joe Walsh. Classic.
Time for another 15 timeless records with the next section of the 50 albums you must hear before buying yourself a house, with a lot of albums from the past decade this time. We run into Funeral and The King of Limbs again, while also Songs:Ohia, Queens of the Stone Age, Animal Collective, KORT and Wilco’s excellent Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (twice) gain a spot in this weeks lists.
41. Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R (2000)
42. Radiohead – The King of Limbs (2011)
43. Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Co. (2003)
44. Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St. (1972)
45. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
41. (22) Fleetwood Mac – Bare Trees (1972)
42. (18) King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)
43. (*) Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion (2009)
44. (*) Blind Faith – Blind Faith (1969)
45. (46) Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (1970)
41. (40) Lou Reed – Berlin (1973)
42. (44) Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen (1993)
43. (*) Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
44. (*) KORT – Invariable Heartache (2010)
45. (*) Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
Last poll asked whose vocal harmonies you like best. The B-bands happened to be clear favorites, as The Beatles won the vote before The Beach Boys and The Byrds. With the new poll you can give your opinion about your favorite George Harrison composition.
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. Pink Floyd – On the Turning Away (A Momentary Lapse of Reason, 1987) [singlepic id=128 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Starting this week with one of Floyd’s latest great singles, a very nice power ballad dominated by Gilmour’s vocals and guitar playing. In this way a song (just like the album) with a lot of recognizability, but without the originality the band was famous for, as the sound resembles that of ‘Wish You Were Here’ while the lyrics seem to be borrowed from Dark Side of the Moon.
2. Killing Joke – Complications (Killing Joke, 1980) [singlepic id=126 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Quite the anthithesis then with this song from Kiling Joke’s debut album. It’s completely driven by the fast guitar riff that reminds of the bands punk roots. A preview of what was released later by bands like Nine Inch Nails and Faith No More.
3. Echo & the Bunnymen – Thorn of Crowns (Ocean Rain, 1984) [singlepic id=119 w=80 h=50 float=left]
The transition is completed by the post-punk of Echo & the Bunnymen (again!) from four years later. I’m going to explore this band further, as the shuffle is clear on this point.
4. Pearl Jam – Why Go (Ten, 1991) [singlepic id=127 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Time for guitar licks from all different eras this week, as this juwel from one of rock history’s most amazing debut albums kicks in next. The music of this song was written by bass player Jeff Ament long before Eddie Vedder added the lyrics about a girl in a psychiatric hospital.
5. The Band – Rockin’ Chair (The Band, 1969) [singlepic id=129 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Easy going song from the best album that I discovered in the past couple of years. This group and its sound are officially declared incredible. About time for an album review right here.
6. The Afghan Whigs – My Curse (Gentlemen, 1993) [singlepic id=125 w=80 h=50 float=left]
I guess this is the moment to add this one to my mp3 player, as I have nothing to say about Greg Dulli’s curse yet. (update: after a long struggle that lasted a couple of years, this album has convinced me of being a modest classic)
7. Titus Andronicus – A Pot In Which To Piss (The Monitor, 2010) [singlepic id=131 w=80 h=50 float=left]
An album I got passed by art spotter Levenskoenst. Kind of Guided By Voices meets Neutral Milk Hotel, with lyrics contributed by The Band.
8. The Books – All Our Base Are Belong to Them (Thought for Food, 2002) [singlepic id=130 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Album I was never captivated by. This song doesn’t really change that. Or wait a minute… no.
9. Traffic – Forty Thousand Headman (Traffic, 1968) [singlepic id=132 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Total highlight then with some great late sixties rock from this bands’ second album. The album offers a great variety of rock songs, in which you seem to recognize different rock bands from that era like Blind Faith (inevitably thanks to Steve Winwood’s presence), Fleetwood Mac (‘Don’t Be Sad’) and Jethro Tull (this song).
10. Johnny Cash – I Hung My Head (The Man Comes Around, 2002) [singlepic id=67 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Can we close in a better way than by hanging our head together with mister Cash?