Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The The


The The is the musical project of Matt Johnson. To listen to the first album, one would never guess he'd become an excellent songwriter, sign to a major label, get radio airplay and be in MTV rotation. Nor would anyone have guessed he'd record a fairly straight album of Hank Williams tunes.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Then Jerico


Then Jerico will probably be of interest to people into '80s jangle pop or fans of the Alarm, Mighty Lemon Drops, or Waterboys.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Cure


Not to sound like a broken record but... I'm not a huge fan of the Cure, I just happen to have most of their stuff. Actually, I really like the early 80s stuff.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Big Noise


Here's some late-'80s rock. This was their one album. I found lots of stuff like this in the bargain bins back in the day. It kind of treads the line between AOR and Alt radio and never found a home on either.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Midnight Oil - Overflow Tank


Glad to have these boys back. They've included 1 disc of b-sides and 1 disc of unreleased demos on this new box set, along with 2 discs of previously unreleased live tracks.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Boss


I could write an essay about Bruce, but it's probably all been said before. I will offer, though, that I think he's the best, most consistently excellent American songwriter of the last 40 years.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Angelfish


Shirley Manson started out in the band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie in the '80s, supplying backing vox and keyboards. When that band failed to break into the US market, they refashioned themselves as '90s chick rock band Angelfish, with Manson taking the lead role. They only lasted 1 album, but it's pretty decent.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Blondie


Blondie is the band. Deborah [Debbie] Harry is the singer. She's had a strange career considering they have a few gigantic hits. They've had an on again/off again relationship, with Harry going off to spotty solo ventures and acting in B-movies.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Berlin


Berlin started as a dark kind of synth band who ended up having one of the biggest songs of the '80s. There's some good stuff spread across their 3 major label releases.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Eve's Plum


They only lasted 2 albums, but Eve's Plum delivered some pretty good '90s chick rock.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Joan Jett (and the Blackhearts)


I say: Joan. You say: Jett. I say: Joan. You say: Jett. I say: Joan. You say: Jett.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

R.E.M.


What more needs to be said about REM? They made 2 of my favorite albums of the '80s - Reckoning and Document - and emerged from their first decade second only to U2 in critical and commercial stature. The '90s boosted them to mainstream pop star status. Their output in the new century, though, was pretty lackluster and they called it quits in 2011.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Thompson Twins


People never believe me when I tell them that Thompson Twins' first two albums are full of some pretty good, edgy post-punk tunes. That's probably because they went from that to mainstream crossover success with a handful of New Wave anthems, and all the way to has-been, out of step adult contemporary within a mere 9 years.

And that's not even mentioning their Live Aid performance which was... bizarre? Look it up online if you've never seen it. But beware... why anyone thought it would be a good idea to invite Madonna to sing for their cover of the Beatles' Revolution... whew.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Gutterball


An indie supergroup of the unknowns? Gutterball was a short-lived band featuring Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), Bryan Harvey (House of Freaks) and Armistead Wellford (Love Tractor).

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Dream Syndicate


The Dream Syndicate were an LA band in the 1980s. Despite critical accolades and getting the opening slot on tours for both U2 and REM, they never found commercial success. Too punk for country, too country for New Wave, too AOR for Alternative, too edgy for AOR.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Drivin' N' Cryin'


Led by singer/songwriter Kevin Kinney, Atlanta's Drivin' N' Cryin' first found success on college radio in the mid-80s before finding themselves on heavy rotation with 1990's Fly Me Courageous. They were another casualty of the grunge era, their AOR roots rock deemed untrendy and were totally forgotten about by 1993's follow-up.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Plugz / Cruzados / Tito & Tarantula


Tito Larriva has been a staple of the L.A. music scene since the late '70s. First, he led The Plugz, often cited as the first Hispanic punk band. Then he moved on to roots rock with Cruzados. And for over a decade, he played bluesy rock with Tito & Tarantula.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Brian Setzer Orchestra


Brian Setzer has actually gotten some pretty varied sounds from his orchestra - rockabilly, swing, jazz, and even Mozart. It's all got a pretty irresistible hopped-up energy and unpretentious sense of fun.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra


Ending my Bryan Ferry triptych with a trio of albums he did with a jazz orchestra. Unlike almost every other rock/pop singer who has reached back into the classics songbook, Ferry and band come off very authentically. This is not one of those cases where an aging pop star goes for the adult contemporary throat.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Bryan Ferry


Bryan Ferry started his solo career while Roxy Music was still active. When Roxy finally petered out in the early-80s, Ferry just continued doing what he does. Is he an edgy crooner or a suave rocker? I'm not sure, but he has been able to carve out his own identifiable sound. Viva!