Sunday, April 30, 2017

Roxy Music


Roxy Music came onto the scene with weird costumes, pathos, and screeching synth sounds (thanks to Brian Eno). They evolved into a refined, danceable, stylish pop act. Probably no other band had as much influence on 1980's New Wave and pop music.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Depeche Mode - Singles Boxes 1-6

As any collector of those pesky CD singles knows... the problem is that there's a different release for every country/region of the world, often with differing tracks. Which is why this box set exists. It collects all of DMode's singles and attempts to compile all the different versions.

Going from 1981 to 2004, that makes up 36 singles, which is a heck of a lot of songs.

If you're wondering about the exact tracklisting, the record collector's resource is Discogs

Friday, April 28, 2017

Brian Setzer - solo


Brian Setzer actually made an attempt at contemporary rock (albeit still rootsy) with Knife Feels Like Justice in 1986, and Live Nude Guitars in 1988. Neither one was very successful in the US and it wasn't long before he returned to rockabilly.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Stray Cats


The only successful revivalists go all in. You have to. You can't be a weekend warrior and make a career of it. Stray Cats did it right and are one of the few to go retro with authenticity.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Peter Gabriel


Funny enough, I find it hard to sit through an entire Peter Gabriel album beginning to end, but when looking at individual songs, there's a heck of a lot I like.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

OMD


Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are another New Wave band that if you've only heard their mainstream hits (or the iconic scene in Pretty In Pink) you may be surprised upon hearing their first couple albums. That might have helped The Best Of OMD become a classic. That and it plays like a great album, more than just a collection of their hit songs.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spandau Ballet


Spandau Ballet were known for their international smash "True," but also derided as a caricature of New Wave's soft image. Actually, their first few albums were fairly experimental, sounding not too different from early Human League, OMD, etc.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Simple Minds


Simple Minds have been releasing albums since 1979. Their early years contain a lot of really inventive music, a moody kind of new wave influenced by Krautrock. Then they moved into some edgy, still moody rock albums before finding mainstream success. They're still at it, too, putting out consistently high quality stuff.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

House of Freaks


House of Freaks was the duo of Bryan Harvey and Johnny Hott. They had a minor hit in '88 with "40 Years," but sadly, their second album, though being better than their debut, failed to achieve success. They managed 2 more albums before backing Steve Wynn in the short-lived band Gutterball.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Corey Hart


Speaking of terminally un-hip artists... many people may be surprised to learn Corey Hart is one of the best-selling Canadian songwriters. Known internationally for his early '80s hits "Sunglasses at Night" and "Never Surrender," a deeper look into his work does reveal many gems along the way.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

John Mellencamp


John Cougar... John Cougar Mellencamp... John Mellencamp. Another artist who was, in my teen years, terminally un-hip. Only as an adult have I grown to appreciate him as a very consistent tunesmith, instead of unjustly seeing him as a 3rd-rate Springsteen.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

John Fogerty


Following the singer-songwriter thread, you cannot forget this guy. As an anecdote about how absurd the music industry is - in 1985, Fogerty was sued for sounding too much like... CCR, the band he founded as its singer, songwriter, guitar player, arranger, producer. So, he was essentially sued for sounding too much like himself. It's no wonder there have been two decade-long gaps in his recording career.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Steve Earle


From hard-rockin' to straight-up bluegrass, Steve Earle is a great songwriter, roots rocker, and as close as I get to "country" music.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Elvis Costello


Elvis Costello... forever the other Elvis. Anytime someone has produced a catalogue the size of his, there's gonna be something in there you like... and something you don't. But he is, without a doubt, a true songsmith.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A-Ha


You can't go wrong with any of A-ha's albums from the 1980s. The soaring voice of Morten Harket and the pulsing, sometimes moody synth lines are classic pop music of the era. Their comeback in the 2000s has been mostly excellent, too.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Love And Rockets


Express is still one of my all-time favorite albums. And most of the rest ain't too shabby, either.

Friday, April 14, 2017

John Cale


John Cale is one of the most underappreciated members of the R'n'R Hall of Fame. His discography is stylistically diverse and holds many gems for intrepid listeners.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Sidewinders / Sand Rubies


The Sidewinders were a band from Arizona - the southwest of the US - and their music reflected their arid, sun-parched homeland. Unfortunately, after 2 major label releases, they were forced to change their name to Sand Rubies, which seemed to break any momentum they had.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Men They Couldn't Hang


The Men They Couldn't Hang were Celtic folk-punk before that even was a 'thing'. They were rather unfairly compared to the Pogues. I think they have a pretty different vibe than the Pogues. More folk, less punk. They're still around, too. Check them out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tamikrest


Tamikrest is a group of Tuaregs from Mali playing a kind of desert blues. It is a trance-inducing, highly addictive music that lies at the crossroads of African and Middle Eastern traditions. Highly recommended.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Iggy Pop


Mild-mannered James Newell Osterberg slips on some skin-tight Levi's, rips his shirt off and transforms into The Iguana.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Pixies


At this point, I would think every fan of indie-alterna-rock would have everything by the Pixies... but maybe not.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Fall - studio albums


The wonderful and frightening world of the Fall, indeed. By the time you've finished reading this, there will undoubtedly be a new Fall record. They've darn-near put out an album a year since 1979. Some are completely mediocre... except for that one track that is pure magic. And, thus, it's very hard to simply recommend one single album. You're going to have to dig.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Church


One of those albums I never really get tired of listening to. Starfish has some of my favorite dual-guitar interplay ever. It's shimmering and dark and mysterious and completely immersive. And what a treat that they're still making great music almost 30 years later.