Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Young Gods


One of the first bands to make "rock" music with samplers. They made great use, in particular, of a Guns N Roses riff. But it never turned them into a one-trick pony. The music is powerful, yet expansive and very organic. Great stuff.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Banco de Gaia


Banco de Gaia is Toby Marks, who started out making trance-y electronic music, then added samples he'd collected from around the world to create some of the most unique, spacey, groovy electronica you're ever likely to hear.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Steve Kilbey


Steve Kilbey has been incredibly prolific over his career. He has more albums solo or with a collaborator than with main band, The Church. And unlike so many other artists who are prolific only because they don't seem to have a filter, Kilbey's work is incredibly consistent.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Zerra One


Zerra One was a short-lived band that just never found their audience.  They seemed to be perfectly positioned alongside other bands like the Teardrop Explodes, Echo & the Bunnymen, early U2, etc, but failed to chart with either of their 2 albums and disappeared all-too-soon.  Matter of fact, they never even had a CD release.  It's a shame because there's some great, edgy Alt rock between their albums and singles.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Icehouse


Icehouse had a long run of hits in their native Australia, but only ever reached international success with "Crazy" and "Electric Blue" in 1987. Unfortunately, those 2 singles featured videos with Iva Davies' jeri-curled mullet and put them in the "bad 80s haircut" club, along with Flock Of Seagulls.  In reality, Icehouse were more akin to late-period Roxy Music and I think all their albums are pretty solid.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Belouis Some


Belouis Some had 2 songs from their debut, "Imagination" and "Some People," that got heavy radio play.  They eeked out another 2 albums before disappearing to the dust bin.  "Imagination," in particular, still ends up on 80s compilations, probably due to it sounding very much like poppier side of The Cure.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Shriekback


Alt Goth Funk?  Shriekback are cool, sublime, sometimes dancey, sometimes dark.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Crazy House


Crazy House were poised for big things in 1987, with their major label debut coming after 2 LPs of quirky Alt Rock.  Their song "Burning Rain" started getting some buzz on Alt and AOR stations... and then they just collapsed, reappearing in 1989 under a different name and a reworked version of "Burning Rain" called "Perfect Crime" before disappearing into the forgotten bin.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Oingo Boingo


Growing up in Southern California, Oingo Boingo were a staple of Alternative radio.  Sometimes bands are bigger regionally than nationally, much less internationally.  That's a shame because Boingo was one of the most inventive, exciting acts of the 1980s.  Lead singer Danny Elfman, of course, subsequently found fame and fortune as a film composer.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Joan Jett (and the Blackhearts)


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

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Suicide


I hope when I say it's a good night for Suicide, it isn't taken the wrong way. Alan Vega passed away this year, maybe lost among the larger celebrity names. Or perhaps he was never going to be lauded by the mainstream anyway. No matter. They started dark, minimal and gritty... and never really changed much. Why would they?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Sa Dingding


Sa Dingding is often described as the "Chinese Bjork" and that could be an apt description, not because she sounds like Bjork, but because her unique vocals are often otherworldly.  And her music is also characterized by ever-shifting styles.  Some of SD's music verges on techno-pop, while at other times it is more organic, utilizing acoustic instruments.  But whether singing in Mandarin, Tibetan, or her own made up languages, it is definitely Chinese in sound and vision.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Juno Reactor


Juno Reactor is the long-running project from Ben Watkins, who kicked off his musical career collaborating with Youth.  JR started as a pretty straight trance act but much like Banco de Gaia, elements of world musics infiltrated and changed the music into something totally different, although recent albums have seen a return to a more trance-heavy sound.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Xmal Deutschland


Xmal Deutschland were a post-punk band from Germany that sounded like a perfect hybrid of Siouxsie & The Banshees and Cocteau Twins.  Sadly, they never garnered the attention they deserved and by their final album, 1989's "Devils" most of the original members had gone.  They had a bit more rhythmic kick than most 4AD groups, but still fit pretty well with the stereotypical 4AD sound.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Television


Television was an essential New York band from the late '70s.  Originally formed by Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell, Hell left before they recorded their now-classic debut, Marquee Moon.  Verlaine and 2nd guitarist Richard Lloyd interwove their guitars in a who's playing lead/who's playing rhythm style that would influence many post-punk bands like The Church and The Chameleons.

Television lasted a brief 2 albums before breaking up, but Verlaine continued recording under his own name and didn't stray far from the formula.  Television reformed for 1992's self-titled album and have occasionally played shows ever since.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Cranberries


When I first heard the Cranberries, it was the song "Linger" and I kept getting it confused with that Sundays' song around the same time. I still think the first album sounds like Sinead O'Connor fronting the Smiths... but I don't think that's a bad thing.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Crime And The City Solution


Crime & The City Solution were an Australian band fronted by singer Simon Bonney, with members drawn from The Bad Seeds, Birthday Party, Einsturzende Neubauten, and more recently, WovenHand. They definitely have a similar vibe to early Nick Cave - a dark, cinematic vision full of ships and the wild sea that occasionally turns violent. Great stuff.

Friday, May 31, 2019

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Saturday, May 18, 2019

XTC


XTC have been brilliantly crafty and annoyingly quirky... sometimes in the same song.  But they made some truly classic songs of the late '70s and '80s.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

16 Horsepower


16 Horsepower started David Eugene Edwards' musical career by playing a dark, gothic-tinged, old time country music. The band gradually morphed into something pretty unique, even while retaining the use of instruments like banjo, mandolin and dulcimer. DEE continued on with Wovenhand after ending the 16 HP name.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Danielle Dax


Danielle Dax... I got to see her live in... 1990, I think it was. She was excellent. Her cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows" was getting good rotation on the MTV. Sire Records thought she could be the next Siouxsie Sioux. And then... silence. Apparently, she is a fairly successful interior decorator and gardener now.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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.

Monday, May 6, 2019

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.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

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.

In the '90s, Gutterball was a short-lived band featuring Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), Bryan Harvey (House of Freaks) and Armistead Wellford (Love Tractor).

And now, surprisingly, The Dream Syndicate are back, touring and releasing albums again.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Gang Of Four - Songs Of The Free


Gang Of Four... creating a groove out of hurky-jerky rhythms. This album actually has a smoother, pseudo-funk sound. Leftist anthems you can dance to.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Offspring


Just in time for summer... these guys epitomize SoCal punk rock.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Midnight Oil


One of the greatest live bands I've ever seen, probably the best "political" band to ever exist, Australia's Midnight Oil was all over Alt radio in the '80s and '90s.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

R-A-M-O-N-E-S


Joey Ramone was a brilliant songwriter.  Unfortunately, from the early '80s on, Johnny would veto or just refuse to play on any of Joey's songs he didn't like, which means a lot of the later albums were half-assed affairs with too many songs from Dee Dee, or even CJ.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Cult


The Cult embody rock music, sometimes in spite of themselves.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The way of CURVE


Curve - essentially the duo of Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia - were one of my favorite bands of the 1990s. So many bands tried, and almost all failed, to merge a dark, cacophonous sound with pseudo-industrial rhythms with Ice Queen vocals. Curve not only succeeded but during the 5 years between their 2nd and 3rd albums, they saw Garbage hit mainstream hitdom with a very similar, though poppier and less edgy, sound.

Their discography gave me fits back in the day - oh, those Brits and their love of multi-release CD singles and the myriad of promotional-only material that I would sit on the back floors of record shops hunting for. I'm sure I missed a few, but I found a good lot...

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

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.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Prodigy

Along with Chemical Brothers and Moby, The Prodigy really helped electronic music take hold in America.  They often got slagged off in the press, but their music really was a precursor to Grammy-winning Skrillex and giant EDM festivals that are commonplace everywhere now.

RIP Keith Flint

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Talk Talk - RIP Mark Hollis


Such a great band, even their hit singles didn't do justice to the great albums they graced the '80s with before getting quieter and quieter and disappearing with a whisper.