Apologies for the hiatus… more on that later….
Siouxsie & The Banshees – The Rapture
Goth come out into the light (it was the ’90s… even Robert Smith seemed… happier). This album was produced (for the most part) by John Cale of The Velvet Underground fame. If you listen to this album next to 1990s Wrong Way Up by Eno/Cale, you can definitely hear the sound Cale was working with.
PJ Harvey – To bring you my love
Oh good god one of the greatest albums of all time. PJ Harvey has more soul than a fishmonger, more heart than a venison butcher, and more guts than either of them put together. If you’ve never listened to her music, give this album a listen from start to finish.
Here’s the whole album:
Here’s a sample:
Radiohead – The Bends
For some, this is the last good Radiohead album. Can you believe it? But this is the one that made them famous, with nearly every song getting radio play. And for good reason. Also, the videos they made were iconic, and I’m not even a big fan of music videos. But these are a couple of my favourite videos of all time.
Annie Lennox – Medusa
The critics HATED this album of covers by ex-Eurythmics singer. Fuck the critics. Annie Lennox can do no wrong.
Here’s a track that made its way into American Beauty.
King Crimson – Thrak
Fripp et al return with a newer, bigger King Crimson, with a heaviness that reminded me of RED-era KC. Not for those looking to sing along… but prog-fans delight…
Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight
Definitely in my top three Marillion albums. It’s a sort of concept album around themes of fame, with a great closing line in the song King: I hope for your sake you have what it takes to be spoiled to death.
Ani Difranco – Not a Pretty Girl
I discovered Ani Difranco in my first year of university, when a girl I’ll never forget but wish I could introduced me to her music, and asked me to play guitar for her while she sang the title track to this album. Ani is so prolific it’s hard to keep up, and she’s been pigeon-holed and labelled so many times it’s unfair and unreal. What she is to me is a hell of a songwriter, and an amazing, innovative guitarist.
Poor Elliot. Like that Don McLean song about Vincent van Gogh… This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.
Ben Folds Five
You know, when I start listening to Ben Folds, I usually end up listening through the majority of his/their catalog — they’re that good. So it’s hard to choose one favourite song to show you. I mean, these guys are like if the Vince Guaraldi Trio were a punk outfit produced by Brian Wilson. Ben treats the piano like Townsend treated his guitar, Robert Sledge plays bass like Mingus on methamphetamine, and Darren Jesse recalls Buddy Rich on drums.
Check out this song Underground, with it’s dance-ability and fuzz bass, its harmonies and its jazz outro and I dare you not to love it.
Oasis – What’s the story morning glory
The best Beatles cover band ever? Perhaps. Love them or hate them, you couldn’t ignore them in 1995. (Bit of personal trivia… I once won a karaoke contest with Don’t Look Back in Anger.)
Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon collie and the Infinite Sadness
I wanna say “You’ve heard this one, you know you have…” but then I’m reminded that I’m old.
and now…. my wife’s favourite song:
Pulp – Different Class
I remember seeing Pulp on Letterman and watching the keyboardist play one finger piano and Jarvis Cocker with his heroin chic androgyny and knew I was seeing something special… but special like The Velvet Underground in that they’d be liked by a few during their day and then recognized for their brilliance after they were gone. After all, their minimalist tones reeked of the Velvets’ influence.