Content tagged 'Rock'
Bananamour (Album of the Day)
Kevin Ayers was the first member of legendary Canterbury group Soft Machine to launch a solo career, and his four albums for Harvest remain unheralded progressive rock gems. The last of these, BANANAMOUR, filters some of the singer-songwriter's most accessible material through his relentlessly diverse approach; the 1973 collection shifts effortlessly from psychedelia to glam to punchy R&B and beyond. Gong guitarist Steve Hillage and former bandmates Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt can all be heard here, while a couple of Ayers' other musical friends helped inspire songs: Syd Barrett (single “Oh! Wot A Dream”) and Nico (the ethereal epic “Decadence”). BANANAMOUR turns 45 this month, and ranks among the British eccentric's crowning achievements.
Double Vision (Expanded) (Album of the Day)
Though half the band was British (hence the name), America embraced Foreigner with open arms in the late 1970s. Founded by journeyman guitarist Mick Jones and powered by Lou Gramm's strong vocals, the group was an immediate smash, their debut album going multi-platinum. Foreigner's follow-up was even more successful; 1978's DOUBLE VISION ruled the U.S. Top Ten for half a year thanks to the hit singles “Hot Blooded,” “Blue Morning, Blue Day” and the title number. The Expanded Edition of this arena rock classic adds swaggering live versions of “Hot Blooded” and rare song “Love Maker” to the original 10 tracks. In honor of Gramm's birthday, we'll give DOUBLE VISION another spin today.
The Muffs (Album of the Day)
Singer-guitarist Kim Shattuck spent five years paying her dues with SoCal retro-garage greats The Pandoras before departing with that group's rhythm guitarist Melanie Vammen to form her own band. Joined by a bassist and drummer, The Muffs began cranking our irresistible pop punk and were signed to Warner Bros., which released their eponymous debut album 25 years ago this week. You'd expect the raw energy here, but the quality of the songwriting is a revelation; these 16 tracks (all but a handful penned by Shattuck) burst with hooks and memorable melodies, with singles “Lucky Guy,” “Big Mouth” and “Everywhere I Go” among the many highlights. Co-producer Rob Cavallo, who'd helm DOOKIE a year after this, must have been taking notes – though THE MUFFS is easily a match for Green Day's breakthrough.
Black Love (20th Anniversary Edition) (Album of the Day)
For their follow-up to the critically lauded GENTLEMEN, The Afghan Whigs headed to Memphis' Ardent Studios for 1996's BLACK LOVE. The band's fifth studio album overall, the Elektra collection boasts a strong R&B influence and a rich cinematic feel - lead singer Greg Dulli had been planning to make a film noir movie, and though the project was never completed, it left its mark on the music. Opener “Crime Scene Part One” was inspired by the screenplay for "The Million Dollar Hotel," and the album's dark tone fuels songs like the singles “Honky's Ladder” and “Going To Town.” Rhino's 20th Anniversary Edition of BLACK LOVE adds nine previously unreleased recordings, including demos, outtakes and studio jams, and now we'll give it a spin in honor of Greg Dulli's birthday.
Unplugged... And Seated (Album of the Day)
The stripped-down, predominantly acoustic approach of MTV's Unplugged series allowed for a fresh spin on rock classics, and few performers took better advantage of it than Rod Stewart. Released 25 years ago today, UNPLUGGED … AND SEATED features the U.K. singer-songwriter on 17 career-spanning songs ranging from such early favorites as “Stay With Me” and “Maggie May” to more recent hits including “Forever Young” and “Have I Told You Lately.” Former Faces bandmate Ronnie Wood joins in on guitar for many of these tracks, and though they hadn't worked together in nearly two decades, the chemistry is still palpable. A Stewart show is usually pretty animated as Rod plays to the crowd, but even when UNPLUGGED … AND SEATED, he makes thrilling music.
Fate Of Nations (Album of the Day)
Since his Led Zeppelin days, Robert Plant has explored many different paths, and so it was on his FATE OF NATIONS, released 25 years ago this month. The album drew inspiration from turning-point artists like Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane and Traffic that Plant explained “were trying to tell the listener something, joining various traditions, with the sense of a quest being insinuated and bandied in their acoustic and electronic themes.” The U.K. singer-songwriter does his heroes proud on a set of richly textured folk and rock arrangements, with lyrics that touch upon concerns both personal (“I Believe,” an elegy to his son) and political (“Network News”). FATE OF NATIONS would be Plant's last real solo album for nearly a decade, and it has the majestic feel of a musical summation.
Arise (Expanded Edition) (Album of the Day)
Sepultura hit its stride in 1991 when the Brazilian quartet released its acclaimed fourth record, ARISE. Recorded in Florida with producer Scott Burns, the album has been certified platinum based on worldwide sales and includes indispensable thrash/death metal tracks like “Under Siege (Regnum Irae)” and “Dead Embryonic Cells.” Now available from Rhino, the Expanded Edition of this raucous classic features a newly remastered version of the original album along with 28 bonus tracks. The previously unreleased material includes an industrial remix of “Dead Embryonic Cells,” a cover of Motorhead’s “Orgasmatron,” basic tracks for “Murder,” “Altered State” and more. ARISE: EXPANDED EDITION also features the CD debut of eight concert recordings originally released on the band’s first home video, Under Siege (Live In Barcelona).
Space Ritual (Album of the Day)
Hawkwind had earned a reputation as one of the hardest-gigging bands in Britain by the time they played the December 1972 concerts heard on SPACE RITUAL. These performances were elaborate rock operas, and though you can't see the light show, dancers or Barney Bubbles-designed sets on this double album, the music is spectacular on its own. Drawn largely from previous studio collection DOREMI FASOL LATIDO, the songs tell a sci-fi tale of Starfarers traveling to Earth – a delightfully harebrained concept that, in the hands of the group's classic lineup (including a pre-Motorhead Lemmy on bass), inspired some thunderously heavy progressive rock. “Orgone Accumulator,” “Space Is Deep” and “Sonic Attack” have lost none of their mind-warping power, and SPACE RITUAL will take you on an audio trip across the cosmos.
Paradise And Lunch (Album of the Day)
Truly a musician's musician, guitarist Ry Cooder has been a bridge connecting contemporary audiences to a dizzying variety of traditional musics for almost half a century. His ongoing career includes a string of acclaimed albums for Reprise, of which PARADISE AND LUNCH was his fourth - and one of his best. Produced by Russ Titelman and Lenny Waronker, the 1974 collection touches on blues, gospel, jazz and folk, with Ry applying his distinctive stamp to such highlights as “Jesus on the Mainline,” “Tattler” and “Ditty Wah Ditty,” which features Earl “Fatha” Hines on piano. Though there are other stellar instrumentalists (including saxophonist Plas Johnson and drummer Jim Keltner) supporting the headliner's faultless fretwork, Cooder's down-home vocals are just as important to the set's soulful appeal, and PARADISE AND LUNCH is heaven for roots rock fans.
Pretenders (Album of the Day)
The 1980 self-titled release by Pretenders was a record that classic rock, new wave and punk fans all could love. Its dozen tracks include such distinctive originals as “Precious,” “Kid,” “Mystery Achievement” and the hit single “Brass In Pocket,” as well as an inspired cover of The Kinks' “Stop Your Sobbing.” That former music journalist Chrissie Hynde would prove an outstanding songwriter may not have been a surprise, but her alternately tough and tender vocals surpassed all expectations; throw in a top-flight guitarist (James Honeyman-Scott) and rhythm section (bassist Pete Farndon and drummer Martin Chambers) and you have a band ready to take on the world. PRETENDERS made the Top 10 on the Billboard chart, went platinum and is still cited as one of the greatest debuts of all time. We'll give it another spin now in honor of Farndon, who was born on this day in 1952.