quinta-feira, março 31, 2005

250. Slint - tweez

originally uploaded by jrd550.
1989 was ages ago. This album sounds like a bunch of guys sitting in a room with a four track, knowing that they want to do something different and trying to figure out how. To me this is more a document of a band starting out, exploring - Spiderland is where they really find themselves.

5.5 out 10

terça-feira, março 29, 2005

249. Bedhead - whatfunlifewas

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Another oldie but a goodie, Bedhead fall into that 'too good, too soon' category. Although the vocalist also lacks any unique range, musically the band steps up and goes beyond the slo-core/lush sedentary trap - I realize I might just not be the right listener for slo-core but unlike other bands, Bedhead are okay with 'breaking out' of their peers instrumental slow cooker. Definitely a good band to start with if you are new to the genre.

7.5 out of 10

segunda-feira, março 28, 2005

248. Seam - the problem with me

originally uploaded by jrd550.
The problem with this album is that it doesn't really go anywhere. The pretty guitar chords, thick distortion and whisper like vocals are mismanaged, not used to their fullest potential. The songs are deliberately slowly paced and the vocals just yawn along. Granted for having come out in 1993 this record is pioneering, but 12 years later it has just faded. I got Codeine around about the same time (the band on Sub Pop, not the drug) and both put me to sleep. 'Autopilot' is by far the most interesting thing on the disc.

6 out of 10

247. Sonic Youth - Dusseldorf, Germany, 1996 (bootleg)

I'm not a religious man, but there I was listening to the last disc in my SY collection and, thanks to some divine intervention, the bootlegged concert turned out to be played during an easter festival in Germany. The audio quality is great, and the band is touring on a great album, 'washing machine' and the set is short but tight. The live version of the 'Diamond Sea' turns out to be more disastrous than epic, but still a great closer for a show. Listen to the track below for Thurston's happy easter greeting.
Sugar Kane
7 out of 10

domingo, março 27, 2005

246. Sonic Youth - classic (bootleg)

For some reason a while back (and it is still up, see link below) SY posted a ton of mp3's that were out of print. Some have reappeared as bonus tracks on last year's 'Dirty' deluxe re issue, but the majority I believe are only available on ebay or in used bins. I downloaded all 35 tracks and burnt three discs worth of stuff. There are half a dozen or so of live tracks, ranging from very early stuff to 'goo' era stuff, another six or so outakes/goofing around tracks (and really goofing around, nothing grounded in musical theory whatsoever) and then there are the gems, at least for me; I am a sucker for demos, instrumental versions of songs and alternates takes. The 'kool thing' demo, 'little trouble girl' instrumental and 'diamond sea' alternate are worth the download time, even on dial up. Visit the link and add these to your collection.
7 out of 10

quinta-feira, março 24, 2005

245. Thurston Moore - psychic hearts

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This is Moore's only solo outing I think, and it's everything a solo album from a member of a great band should be - a completely carefree personal endeavor. The second half of the album has hardly any vocals, there is an ode to the queen of noise, 'Ono Soul', and a 15 minute plus dedication to past rockers; 'Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars'. Worthwhile for any serious SY fan to pick up.

7 out of 10

quarta-feira, março 23, 2005

244. Sonic Youth - sonic nurse

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Nothing like a sonic nurse to bring sonic youth back to life (god I'm bad at this writing thing). Their groove is back, laid down with a heavy thick hand and nearly perfect. I never heard 'Murray Street', but this is one of the band's strongest albums in a long time - you get the feeling that the band is playing a gig and just plays through 5 songs straight before even saying hello. Check out the track below to hear what I mean.
9 out of 10

terça-feira, março 22, 2005

243. Sonic Youth - nyc ghosts & flowers

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This isn't really an album. Well it is of course, but it's really more of a side project, or should have been, maybe even released on the the band's label. Allthough the painting on the cover of this record doesn't reveal that much about whats inside, Burroughs' signature beneath it is a pretty good hint. The disc tries to be some sort of artistic marriage between instruments and poetry (normally one could call that music) but here the result is less satisfying and more annoying. You want the songs to break out into songs and all the spoken word antics to just shut up.

2.5 out 10

segunda-feira, março 21, 2005

242. Sonic Youth - a thousand leaves

originally uploaded by jrd550.
A deeply layered and discrete record that proves to be very rewarding if you are patient. The vocals take a back seat and play along to what the instruments have to say - when Kim tries to take the lead vocally, the mix is off putting, with your finger inching towards the skip button - but Moore and Ranaldo’s playing holds it all together, always adding enough brilliance to make you stay. Like a difficult read, it's worth it when you're done.

8 out of 10

241. Sonic Youth - washing machine

originally uploaded by jrd550.
'Washing Machine' is a much looser, relaxed album, where noise and melody meander through spoken and sometimes poorly sung words. The result is great, a summer Sunday afternoon, where 1 all of a sudden becomes 7 and you're slightly depressed about Monday. 'Becuz', 'Little Trouble Girl' are classic tracks and 'The Diamond sea' is an epic 20 minute musical kiss off. Very close to being a great, great album. Funny how the beginning of 'Unwind' sounds like Modest Mouse's 'Blame it on the Tetons'.
8.5 out of 10

sábado, março 19, 2005

240. Sonic Youth - experimental jet set, trash and no star

"Bull in the Heather" is a good enough track but the rest of the album feels like it has no soul - everything just falls flat - normally with SY you're garanteed to have something creep up on you. Not a bad disc, but not great either. I do realize that this little excercise of mine does have one drawback - maybe one shouldn't listen to 10 SY albums back to back (or any band's catalogue for that matter).

6 out of 10

239. Sonic Youth - dirty

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Label mates Nirvana had already exploded w/ Nevermind (I'm sure you know by now that they signed w/ DGC because of SY), so I guess somebody thought it was SY's turn. Butch Vig produced this set, a video was shot for '100%' and I'm sure they gained some new listeners but nothing like Nirvana. This is probably the bands most accessible album to non fans - the noise, spoken words, odd song structures are still there, but just polished, and a bit more focused. A good start for the uninitiated..

7.5 out of 10

quinta-feira, março 17, 2005

238. Sonic Youth - goo

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This kid in school gave me a tape with 'Bleach' on one side and 'Goo' on the other - of course the entire album didn't fit on one side of the 90 minute BASF tape, but I heard enough to get hooked. Later that year here in the states I picked it up on cd, back when they still came in those tall boxes. I love this album - Raymond Pettibon's art created a great visual backdrop for 'Kool Thing', 'Mildred Pierce', and 'Tunic (Song For Karen)'. The disc has aged greatly, or hasn't aged at all I guess (whichever the compliment is) - Chuck D's cameo sounds as fresh as it did back then. Although 'Mote' is my favourite track off the album I am posting 'Dirty Boots' because having re listened to it I realized it is one of the most perfectly crafted songs ever - it's almost as if you were given the chance to write one song in your life and you wanted to fit as many different emotions as possible - check it out, with headphones.
Dirty Boots
9.5 out of 10

quarta-feira, março 16, 2005

237. Sonic Youth - daydream nation

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I realize that not giving this album a 9 or above may be considered as sacrilege to some, but I think that since I didn't hear this until 95 or so it didn't have the impact on me as it did for the rest of the world back in 88. Hailed as one of the best albums of the 80's, the disc kicks off with 'Teenage Riot' - the most 'song like' song on the album. As the record progresses the vocals are somewhat flat (not that the band ever had the most dynamic range) and the album runs a bit long - but it still is required listening and a gem in SY catalogue. Great art by Gerhard Richter. 'Trilogy' is a masterpiece.

8.5 out of 10

terça-feira, março 15, 2005

236. Sonic Youth - sister

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This was the second SY album, my first being 'Goo' - this edition I have is even on the original SST label, not the Geffen reissues. 'Sister' is a great album, Steve's drumming anchors the band's constant exploration into noise and spoken word - you can tell that the band is getting settled into their sound, wearing it comfortably. Not epic, but tight.
Catholic Block
7.5 out of 10

sábado, março 12, 2005

235. Sonic Youth - confusion is sex/Kill yr idols

originally uploaded by jrd550.
At first the album (a combination of their first full length and its 12 inch follow up) sounds amateurish, poorly recorded, almost like a demo of a friends band. I then noticed it was released in 1983, so it probably was all those things. The album captures all the potential that this very young incarnation SY had and sounds like nothing else that was going on in 83' (not that I recall, I was 9 and had been in Brazil for three years already - though I did get a record player and 11 Kiss albums for my 10th birthday - thank you Mom). The best track is easily the version of 'I wanna be your dog'- a great, intense cover.

'I'll take off your dress/I'll shake off your flesh'

6.5 out of 10

quinta-feira, março 10, 2005

234. Dinosaur Jr. - where you been

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I used to really like this album, I even painted the back cover for oil painting class (no point in mentioning it if you can't see the back cover I guess). 'Out There' was one of my favourite tracks and it's a shame that the album hasn't aged well. J's mesh of grunge/emo/pop just sounds sort of annoying instead of moving, at times even borderline cheesey (listen to the strings on the track below, almost ruins a really good song).
Not the same
7 out of 10

233. Dinosaur Jr - green mind

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I never heard D Jr with Lou Barlow, which I realize is a shame since I have heard my share of Sebadoh and Folk Implosion and can only wonder what he sounded like with J Mascis. Green Mind is a better album than I remembered. J's voice can sometimes sound sort of fake or forced, but for the most part it lends itself well to his 'happy to be sad' pop songs. An interesting, but not essential album.

7.5 out of 10

quarta-feira, março 09, 2005

232. Shudder To Think - pony express record

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I always want to love this album. Everything about the band is great; they are Dischord alumni (chad would go on and on how they and Jawbox had to have a talk with Ian), their odd song structures, unique vocals, they even dressed really well which wasn't the trend in 94'... but the album just never takes off with me. The songs just never settle in, but that's part of their charm I guess. Still I get what they were trying to do and appreciate it. I am posting X-French Tee Shirt below since it is the best known track off of the album and the most accessible.
X French Tee Shirt
>7 out of 10

terça-feira, março 08, 2005

231. Jawbox - jawbox

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I always feel slightly depressed after I hear this album, not because of the subject matter or the fact that I am predisposed to feeling blue - but because the record never goes where it could. I have never heard 'For Your Own Special Sweetheart' and assume by all the great reviews I have read about it, that it hits where this album misses. J Robbins' band has all the right parts they just aren't put together as well as they could be. A standout track is the hidden cover of Tori Amos' 'Cornflake Girl'.
Cornflake Girl
7 out of 10

230. Rites Of Spring - rites of spring (bootleg)

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Chad burnt me a copy of this, so again it isn't a bootleg, but I just wanted to be clear that I don't own the original. I will be replacing my copy with the original though at some point - it was very cool to hear Guy doing all the lead vocals, and how is style has evolved. All of the songs sound urgent, but a romantic urgency - as if you need to say something to someone and it is the last chance you have - dramatic, I know, but the songs seem like they are all played with someone pulling you aside saying 'listen, just listen to me'.

7.5 out of 10

sábado, março 05, 2005

229. Fugazi - furniture

originally uploaded by jrd550.
A three song EP, containting the title track, an instrumental and another track with Guy on vocals - something for everyone. 'Furniture' is a great 'classic' Fugazi sounding song, simple yet effective - 'Number 5' is again proof at how tight and diverse Fugazi can be, especially with instrumentals and 'Hello Morning' is a decent Guy track.

7 out of 10

sexta-feira, março 04, 2005

228. Fugazi - the argument

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Ahhhh, the Argument - this is when it all came together for me - all of Fugazi's past suddenly pieced itself together, forming one of the best albums of that year. The record is so dense and intense that only upon repeated listens do you realize how brilliant the band is. All of their previous experimentation is still present, but contained - or really not contained in a song structure sense - but purposefully guided. Oh shit just buy the album.
The Kill
10 out of 10

227. Fugazi - instrument

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This is the soundtrack to film of the same name - I assume it is a documentary of the band. The majority of songs are instrumental, there are probably four tracks with vocals. Some of the tracks are completely new, some are demo versions of previously released tracks. The album, although not consisting of a group of cohesive songs, is surprisingly good. Often such collections of unreleased material should remain unreleased, but these are more than just 'afterthoughts' (no pun intended with the track 'Afterthought'. The demo version of 'Rend It' is hauntingly good (I posted the original track a couple of entries ago), and the intrumental tracks reveal how experimental the band is and how sick of a drummer Brendan Canty really is.

8 out of 10

226. Fugazi - end hits

originally uploaded by jrd550.
At this point Fugazi sounds completely different than when they first started out as a band - well not completely different, but on this release they have firmly crossed over into new musical territory, only revisiting the old sound much later on 'Furniture'. You have to remind yourself while listening to this that it's Fugazi.
No Surprise
8.5 out of 10

quinta-feira, março 03, 2005

225. Fugazi - red medicine

originally uploaded by jrd550.
On Red Medicine the band is, to me at least, perfecting their future sound, allowing ideas and sounds to flow freely (such a bullshit sentence, no?). The instrumental tracks "Combination Lock", "Version", et al speak louder than the tracks with vocals - or tend to reveal more. Maybe I am reading too much into this, but since instrumentals don't have to fall into a basic song structure I feel they are more indicitive of what the band is thinking/feeling. Furthermore, on the releases after Red Medicine the band is able to perfectly mesh the free form of their instrumentals into standard song structures (which for Fugazi are anything but standard). More on this to come. Again, great packaging design.

8 out of 10

quarta-feira, março 02, 2005

224. Fugazi - in on the kill taker

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I have heard 'true' fans complain that this is when Fugazi's sound started to stray from its punk roots and into their current sound - and I sort of agree with them, we do differ though in the fact that I think this was a good thing and not bad. The band's sound is assaulting in every possible way, the further the album plays the deeper you sink in, thrown around, not knowing what direction you are heading into next. Also, it was the first album in a series of album designs by the band (or whom they hired).
Rend It
8 out of 10

223. Fugazi - steady diet of nothing

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Although I love 'Exit Only', 'Latin Roots' and 'Long Division', I think this is my least favourite Fugazi album. The band still sounds great, and the sons aren't formulaic, but the album just seems to linger, never really hitting you over the head - and maybe it isn't supposed to, which is fine. The album sort of has its high and low points to me, but levels off with the 'Steady Diet' track.

"Exeunt. This is three minute access, so pop the question. Will we leave the last place burning? Or do we just get leaving?"

7.5 out of 10

222. Fugazi - repeater + 3 songs

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This disc combines the 'Repeater' album and er, the '3 songs' EP. To me this album feels like a more straight up punk album, much like 'Steady Diet...' - still musically further along than most punk bands, the songs and vocals are more straight forward. Even lyrically the band doesn't exercise tremendous poetic license, which isn't necessarily bad:

"you say i need a job, i've got my own business. you want to know what i do? none of your fucking business'

7.5 out of 10

221. Fugazi - 13 songs

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Unlike most albums that are put together by combining two EP's '13 songs' sounds like a proper full length, conceived from beginning to end - but really these 13 songs come from their self titled EP and the 'Margin Walker' EP. As I mentioned to you I was a late bloomer, familiar only with 'Waiting Room', having heard that song many a times at Respectables. This album is like a great kick to your face, each track catching you off guard as to how heavy it hits you, and you actually wanting more. Guy has both the most menacing and sexiest voice for a guy I have ever heard - sure it is easier to sing to Ian's songs but the ones that fuck with your head are Guy's. Simply this album was at least 10 years ahead of its time and is a must for anyone who has ever gotten goosebumps from listening to music. Fucking brilliant.

9.5 out of 10

terça-feira, março 01, 2005

The Waiting Room

Okay, so I am trying to get a little creative with the genre titles as they come up, if you can think of something better please pass it on. Next up is 'The Waiting Room'; the title refers to Fugazi's best known track, not necessarily their best track. I feel the title is appropriate since all the bands in this category were just sort of sitting around, doing their thing, waiting for listeners to catch up. I picked up the Henry Rollins disc in 1992 but never, even to this day, explored Black Flag. Thanks to Chad I had heard some Fugazi here and there back in 94, but can safely say that I never gave them a serious listen until about five years ago. My first Sonic Youth album was 'Goo', I think it was their fourth or fifth release. I was even sort of late with Dinosaur Jr., my first album being 'Where You've Been'. The only band in this category that I picked up at the same time of the band's inception was Sunny Day Real Estate. Anyway, whether you picked them up ages ago or yesterday is irrelevant - what is relevant is how ahead of their time all these bands sound, and how many copy cats they inspired.