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.

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


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.

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.

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.

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


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 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


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

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.