Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rock Albums Post Three / 1979

This post features albums released in 1979...

1979  was a great year in music with albums by groups such as Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, The Cars, Donna Summer, Supertramp, Styx, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and many other favorites. Rock music was once again in a transition period. Classic Rock (which was still very much alive) was sharing the spotlight with New Wave, an increasingly popular new sub-genre and hybrid of rock, punk and dance music. Groups such as Blondie,  Talking Heads, The Cure, The Cars, Gary Numan and others were beginning to make a huge impression on the face of popular music.

Each album is given a rating ranging from 1 star to 10 stars 
(10 stars is the best) 
Please add your comments and ratings on each album

The Cars - Candy-O 
Released in June 1979 exactly one year after the release of their hugely successful debut album the Cars continued in a trend of success. Their second album hinted more at an electronic KROQ new wave style while their first album featured a classic rock sound.

Candy-O, like their debut, featured  female on the album cover. This cover was painted by Alberto Vargas, an artist known for his paintings of pin-up girls which showed up in Esquire and Playboy magazines from the 40's to the 60's. The model who posed for the painted coincidentally was named Candy.

With Candy-O the Cars proved they were not a one hit wonder. The album reached #3 on the US chart as well as #6 in New Zealand and #7 in Australia it also hit #30 in the UK.

The first single from the album was the classic "Let's Go", which was written by Ric Ocasek and featured lead vocals by the band's bassist Benjamin Orr. The song was a huge hit in many countries around the world reaching #14 in the U.S., #5 in Canada and #6 in Australia. The song featured a signature clapping sound which was derived from a 1962 instrumental called "Let's Go" recorded by the Routers. The second single "It's All I Can Do" wasn't quite as successful on the charts but was certainly a big favorite by fans of the Cars and AOR music listeners. This song is described as a romantic new rock ballad. The third single "Double Life" failed to chart but received heavy airplay on classic rock radio stations across the U.S.. This song featured the lead vocal of Ric Ocasek with backing vocals by the entire band. "Double Life" embraces a fresh modern rock sound as it's lyric speaks of the alienation of infidelity in a relationship. "Lift me from the wondermaze, alienation is the craze".

Besides the three singles the albums also features several outstanding album cuts including "Since I Held You", "Candy-O", "Nightspots", "Lust For Kicks", "Got A Lot On My Head" and "Dangerous Type" - all of which received a good amount of airplay on classic rock and new wave radio stations.
Rock Music Rating: 9 stars

Eagles - The Long Run
After releasing five consecutive album one right after the other it took the Eagles 3 long years to record and release "The Long Run". Released on September 24, 1979 the album reached #1 in the U.S. and stayed their for 8 weeks. It dethroned Led Zeppelin's "In Through The Out Door" (of which you can read later in this post). The album also reached #1 in Australia, Canada and Sweden. It was Top 5 in Norway, New Zealand and the UK.

The track "The Geeks Don't Want No Freaks" included Jimmy Buffett on backing vocals.  The moody "Sad Cafe" featured jazz musician David Sanborn playing saxophone.

The album included three U.S. top ten hits with "The Long Run", the ballad "I Can't Tell You Why" and the classic "Heartache Tonight". The latter of which went #1. "In The City", "Sad Cafe" and "Those Shoes" also received radio airplay on classic rock stations.

"Heartache Tonight" won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. This was their fourth out of six Grammy Awards.
Rock Music Rating: 8 1/2 stars

Electric Light Orchestra - Discovery
"Discovery" was a big hit worldwide charting in Japan, New Zealand, Italy, Austria and Canada as well as reaching #1 in the UK, Austrailia and Norway. In the U.S. the album made it up to #5.

Released in May 1979 their were five singles released from the album. The first was "Shine A Little Love", contained a bit of a disco beat and gave ELO a huge boost in universal sales. The song reached the Top Ten in 8 different countries around the world including #1 in Poland and Canada. In the UK the song reached #6 and in the U.S. #8.

The second single was the big sounding "Don't Bring Me Down", which ended up being ELO's biggest worldwide hit (barring movie songs and/or duets). It charted in the Top Ten in 12 countries around the world, which is more than any of their other songs. The song placed the best in Australia and Canada where it reached #2 and in the UK it was #3. In the U.S. the song made it to #4 becoming their biggest U.S. hit.

The third single didn't fare to well. "The Diary of Horace Wimp" was a curious song obviously influenced by the Beatles with the added electronic technology of the late 70's. The song was patterned after one of their hits from 1978 "Mr. Blue Sky". Despite it's catchy feel good sound the song failed to catch on in most parts of the world, although it did hit #8 in Ireland and #10 in England.

The fourth single "Confusion" brought ELO back into the Top 20 throughout many countries around the wrold. By the time the fifth single, "Last Train To London" was released the album had run it's course and the song did not chart in many countries although fared well in France reaching #3 there. It also reached the Top Ten in the UK and Ireland. In the U.S. the song just squeezed into the Top 40 at #39.

The song "On The Run" received a fair amount of classic rock radio airplay and could have been a single had there not already been five releases.

As with other ELO releases the album featured an entire orchestra including instruments such as cello and violin. The orchestral and choral arrangements were composed by Jeff Lynne, Richard Tandy and Louis Clark . Clark also conducted the orchestra. Louis Clark is best remembered for his "Hooked On Classics" albums released in the early 80's.
Rock Music Rating: 7 1/2 stars

Journey - Evolution
In 1979 Journey was just on the brink of taking an already hugely successful career into worldwide super-stardom with in the next 2 and 3 years. 

"Evolution" brought Journey their first legitimate U.S. hit single with "Lovin' Touchin', Squeezin'". The album was their first to chart in the UK reaching #100.

"Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" was written by Steve Perry and was influenced by Sam Cooke's 1962 classic "Nothing Can Change This Love". "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" hit #16 in the U.S. as well as #6 in Canada and #37 in New Zealand.

"Just The Same Way" was the album's first single release but did not chart so well. It reached #58, but still showed an upward progression in the records sales and chart positions. "Just The Same Way" was co-written by Journey band members Gregg Rolie, Neil Schon and Ross Valery. The leads vocals were shared by Gregg Rolie and Steve Perry.

"Too Late" was a third single that showed poorly on the charts but received a good amount of classic rock radio airplay.

"City of the Angels" was a highlight from the album which some claim may be the album's strongest track. The song received radio airplay on FM classic rock station throughout the U.S. and Canada.

With Steve Perry now firmly fronting the band, "Evolution", their fifth studio album,  found Journey sounding stronger and more focused then ever. They incorporated many elements of romance and radio friendly hooks in the album's songs. This was the prototype for future albums such as "Departure", "Escape" and "Frontiers".
Rock Music Rating: 8 stars

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn The Torpedos
"Damn The Torpedoes" was one of those albums that became part of the culture of many rock music listeners. Each song contained the electric power of the current music of the day, yet with a sense of going back to roots in rock with hints of country and blues. The album felt comfortable from first listen and became a staple at most house parties throughout 1979 and 1980.

Their 3rd studio album, "Damn The Torpedoes", was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers U.S. breakthrough having reached #2 (for seven weeks) and selling over 2 million copies.   Pink Floyd's "The Wall" kept Petty from reaching #1. The album was released on October 19, 1979.

The first single "Don't Do Me Like That" received heavy rotation on FM classic rock radio including KROQ, KLOS and KMET as well as some Top 40 radio.  The song reached U.S. #10 and generated enthusiastic interest and strong sales for the album. Tom Petty was firmly poised for worldwide super-stardom.

Two other singles "Refugee" and "Here Comes My Girl" both received heavy airplay and reached #15 and #59 respectively. "Refugee" became an anthem of sorts with it chant like chorus..."Everybody's had to fight to be free. You see, you don't have to live like a refugee".  The song gave a feeling of freedom and release for those locked up in the torments of love.

"Even The Losers", "Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)", "Century City"  and "Louisiana Rain" all received critical acclaim as well as heavy airplay on album oriented rock stations.
Rock Music Rating: 10 stars

Pink Floyd - The Wall

1973's "Dark Side of the Moon" was a turning point for Pink Floyd, both in sales and musical growth. "The Wall" released on November 30, 1979 became a classic upon it's release. This was their crowning moment. It just didn't get any better than this. It went on to become one of the Top 30 biggest selling albums worldwide having sold over 30 million copies to date.

The album  delivered a theme of isolation and loneliness in it's songs. Pink Floyd asked Is there anybody out there? Was this a cry for help. In the song "Another Brick In The Wall", the author (Roger Waters) is tormented by his schooling in 1950's Britain. The school was extremely controlling and as Waters said, rebellion was needed. To escape the loneliness Waters built a wall around himself.

"Another Brick In The Wall (Part Two)" was released and the song immediately rose to #1 in more than ten different countries around the world as well as Top 3 in several others. The song brought out a sense of unity as the chorus shouts "we don't need no education". It was a means of speaking out against discipline as a means of control. The North London Islington Green School students provided the school choir type vocals. The choir included 23 kids aged 13 to 15. They were overdubbed 12 times to give them a larger and haunting choral sound.

Two other singles were subsequently released "Run Like Hell" and "Comfortably Numb". Both received heavy airplay while "Comfortably Numb went on to become an all-time classic and has been covered by many acts including radically re-arranged Bee Gees disco styled version which reached #10 in the UK in 2004 by Scissor Sisters.

Roger Waters vision was that of a momentous musical experience. The result was well beyond the band's wildest expectations. The album was one in which multitudes of people felt a type of identification in the philosophical statements in the album. It was a connection with the dark side of loneliness and isolation.

Many musicians from various musical genres participated in the making of the album. Bruce Johnston (Beach Boys and Rip chords), Toni Tennille (Captain and Tennille) both contributed background vocals in a few songs. Lee Ritenour (guitar) and Jeff Porcaro (Toto, drums ) were only a few of many uncredited musicians who participated in the recording of "The Wall".

The double album, Pink Floyd's 11th studio album includes many classic tracks such as "Mother", "Goodbye Blue Sky", "Young Lust", "Hey You", "Is There Anybody Out There" and "In The Flesh".

The album is created to be listened to as an album instead of a set of individual songs - although each song holds up well on it's own strength and as a thematic whole.

In 1982 the spectacular British film, "The Wall", which incorporated live action and animation was released and based on the classic 1979 album "The Wall". All the songs from "The Wall" were featured in the movie with the exception of "Hey You" and "The Show Must Go On".
Rock Music Rating: 10 stars

The Police - Regatta de Blanc
Preceded by the single release "Message In A Bottle" the release of "Regatta de Blanc" was emphatically anticipated. "Message In A Bottle" was the perfect teaser for the upcoming album. The song had all the trademarks of classic written all over it. A chant like chorus. A message of a cry out for help, a plea to be noticed. Right from the opening guitar chords the song hits on strong and keeps a driving momentum with Stewart Copeland's always fantastic drum work. The song was a huge European hit reaching #1 in England, Ireland and 32 in the Netherlands. In the U.S. it didn't fare as well, it only reached #74, but received very strong radio airplay and became a classic Police track.

One month later, in October 1979, "Regatta de Blanc" was released to a welcome reception. The album flew to #1 in the UK, Australia, France and the Netherlands. As well as reaching #3 in Canada and #4 in New Zealand. The U.S. seemed to be the hard sell, the album fared decently reaching U.S. #25 and eventually sold over a million copies. The album recharted on the U.S. billboard chart at #153 in 1983, after the release of "Synchronicity". This was the Police's 2nd studio album.

The reggae influenced "Walking On The Moon" was the second single and it sold just a s well as "Message In A Bottle" with the exception of not charting in the U.S. The video for the song was filmed at the Kennedy Space Center and features footage from NASA.

The instrumental "Regatta de Blanc" brought the Police their first Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. This was their first of 6 total Grammy Awards wins.

The song "Bring On The Night" was written about the execution of Gary Gilmore who was found guilty of robbing and murdering two men in Utah. He was executed by a firing squad on January 17, 1977.

Five of the eleven songs were written by Sting. Stewart Copeland wrote 3. Copeland and Sting co-wrote one song together, while the last two were written by the entire trio of Sting, Copeland and Summers.
Rock Music Rating: 8 1/2 stars

Supertramp - Breakfast In America
"take a look at my girlfriend. she's the only one I got," echoed the halls of many high school campuses and college age dorm parties. Supertramp's 6th studio album, "Breakfast In America", was their peak both commercially and artistically.  The album reached #1 in seven countries arround the world including Canada, Australia and the U.S., where it stayed at #1 for six weeks.

Several of the songs on the album are played on a wurlitzer electric piano, creating a distinctive sound. The album's first single "The Logical Song" was driven by this sound. Right from the very opening of the song the Wurlitzer is prominently featured and is a dramatic constant throughout until the end. "The Logical Song" was released a month and a half after the album's March 29th release. The song was an instant hit commanding heavy airplay in both the U.S. and UK, where it reached #6 and #7 respectively.

The second single, "Breakfast In America", didn't do as well in the U.S. reaching only #64, but became a staple on classic rock radio. In the UK it reached #9.

"Goodbye Stranger", the album's third single, took Supertramp back into the U.S. top 15 reaching #15, but only made it to #57 in the UK. It was somewhat a reversal of the chart history of their previous single. This song, like the others, is supported by the Wurlitzer and propels forward with electric guitar and rhythmic bass lines in the chorus.

The band decided to release a fourth single, which was somewhat uncommon during this time. Three singles from one album was the industry norm. Though as we moved into the 80's four to five singles from an album became commonplace. The fourth single was the classic "Take The Long Way Home, which was already well known both from it's inclusion on the phenomenally successful "Breakfast In America" and from the heavy airplay it had already received at this point in time. Despite the fact the song brought Supertramp back into the U.S. Top Ten reaching #10, though it did not chart in the UK. It did however reach #9 in Germany.

"Breakfast In America" won two Grammy Awards. One for Best Recording Package and the other for Best Engineered Album, Non Classical. The album was nominated for Album of the Year but lost out to Billy Joel's "52nd Street".
Rock Music Rating: 8

 Talking Heads - Fear Of Music
This was the second of three Talking Heads albums produced by the maestro Brian Eno. Eno brought Robert Fripp (of King Crimson fame) to play guitar on "I Zimbra". During this time Eno was also working with David Bowie and Devo. Eno was becoming a heavily sought after producer and musician.

"Fear Of Music" contained funk based rhythms which looped back and forth with electronic sounds constructed by Eno. Tina Weymouth (the band's bass guitarist) has commented that David Byrne has an insane but fantastic sense of rhythm.

The album was a minor but worldwide hit having charted in the Top 30 in the U.S., Canada, UK and New Zealand, where it reached #11.  Three singles were released as follows; "Life During Wartime", "I Zimbra" and "Cities". None of them charted well anywhere, but all of them became alt-rock classics and also garnered airplay in dance clubs. Talking Heads entered a new phase in their career - dance music.

"I Zimbra" was the first of three Talking Heads to place on the U.S. Dance chart reaching #28. "I Zimbra" capitalized on a prominent disco beat and funk filled bass lines which pushed the song forward to become an underground dancefloor classic. 

"Life During Wartime" is the prominent track on "Fear Of Music". The song is a grim look of a recruit on the front-line. Byrne's lyric speaks of gunfire, grave sites, roadblocks and disease. Byrne shouts out, "this ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around,"  (which became an anthem in the clubs and at house parties). In one round of the chorus Byrnes names Mudd Club and CBGB, both popular underground clubs in New York.

Critics have hailed "Fear Of Music" as one of rock music's finest moments. In a Rolling Stone Magazine review, John Pareles commented, "Fear of Music is often deliberately, brilliantly disorienting. " He continued to say, "The album is foreboding, inescapably  urban and obsessed with texture." Other critics described it as an unconventional rock release and praised the album's gritty weirdness.

In the Rough Guide to Rock published in 1979, Andy Smith commented that the album was a strong contender for Best Album 70's because it's "bristling with hooks, riffs and killer lines."
Rock Music Rating: 9 1/2

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rock Albums Post Two

Pat Benatar - Crimes Of Passion 
Pat Benatar's 2nd studio album continued in the same new wave alt-rock style as her 1979 debut "In The Heat Of The Night". "Crimes Of Passion" released in August 1980 showed a maturation in Benatar's attitude and a very solid choice in material. The album brought Benatar her first Grammy award for Best Female Rock Vocal of 1980.

Included on "Crimes Of Passion" is her signature tune "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", which was her first U.S. Top Ten hit and achieved gold status for selling more than 1 million copies.  The song "Hell Is For Children" is about child abuse in America. The royalties for the song are still donated to various child abuse causes and charities. Although the album contains many Benatar originals some of the best songs are covers. She does a great cover of The Rascals 1967 hit "You Better Run" in which she gracefully belts the tune with a female toughness only rivaled by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders.  One of the album's most surprising songs is Benatar's cover of Kate Bush's charming "Wuthering Heights". Benatar successfully covers the song with a tempo change and keep the same sort of yearning feel as Benatar chimes in with a emotionally beautiful vocal and adds a bit of musical edge and muscle to it.

The album is full of outstanding tunes including this reviewers all-time favorite tunes by Benatar, "I'm Gonna Follow You" and "Never Wanna Leave You".Both containing a cool and sly sort of new wave feel. The latter includes an extremely effective bass line and some of the best guitar licks found on any Pat Benatar album.

Cat Power - What Would The Community Think
With this recording Cat Power's 3rd studio album her voice shows a development of strength, focus and empathy from her previous albums. Her hushed vocals are backed by guitar, feedback and echoing keyboards.

This 1996 release brought Cat Power (known as Chan Marshall) to the attention of critic whom almost unanimously gave the album rave reviews. Rolling Stone Magazine gave the album 4 stars out of 5 and commented, "What Would the Community Think is leaner and tougher, powered by the rhythm section of Two Dollar Guitar guitarist Tim Foljahn and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley." Alternative Press magazine liked it even more giving it a 5 star rating.

Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley produced the album, as well as playing drums for her. The album contains a variety of sounds including alt-rock ("Good Clean Fun" and "Nude As The News"), reflective modern folk ("King Rides By" and "Water and Air") and country tinged tunes ("They Tell Me" and "Taking People") which benefit from Chan's soulful delivery.

The album's lead single, "Nude as the News" was Cat Power's first song to receive an official music video in 1997, directed by Brett Vapnek. In retrospect, Marshall has divulged that the ambiguous lyrics to the song were written about an abortion she had in 1992, and the names "Jackson" and "Jesse" in the song are references to Patti Smith's two children.

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Released on September 16, 1968 "Electric Ladyland" was Jimi Hendrix's first and only U.S. #1 album. His 3rd and final studio album showcased Hendrix's wide scope of musical interest. He included a variety of music genres including the psychedelic "Burning of the Midnight Lamp," previously a UK single in the summer of 1967; the extended blues jam "Voodoo Chile;" the New Orleans-style R&B of Earl King's "Come On;" the avant-gard and epic studio production of "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be);" the smooth R&B sounds of "Have you Ever been To electric Ladyland;" the social commentary of "House Burning Down;" and the Sixties-era Britpop of Noel Redding's "Little Miss Strange."

 The double album included a reworking of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower", which has been praised by Dylan as well as critics. The song reached #20 in the U.S. and the top ten in several parts of Europe. This was Hendrix's only U.S. Top 40 hit."Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" placed at #1 on the UK charts in 1970.

This was the only album Hendrix produced. His studio perfectionism was legendary. He and Mitchell recorded well over 50 takes of "Gypsy Eyes" over three sessions, Hendrix generally insecure about his voice and often recording his vocals hidden behind studio screens. Hendrix sings all the backing vocals himself on the title track and on "Long Hot Summer Night". He was said to be very happy with the vocal results on "Have You Ever Been to Electric Ladyland."

The album is ranked at #54 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums. "I'm getting myself personally together in the way of music," Hendrix said on the release of his third album. "Some tracks are getting very long. That's why you can only get about twenty tracks — our type of tracks, anyway — onto two records."

The album cover on the UK edition was a photo of nude women, which was eventually replaced when Experience Hendrix took over Hendrix's catalog. Experience Hendrix is run by his family. 

Guests on the album include: 
Dave Mason (twelve string guitar on"all Along The Watchtower" and backing vocals on "Crosstown Traffic")
Buddy Miles (drums on "Rainy Day Dream Away" and "Still Raining Still Dreaming")
Steve Winwood (organ on "Voodoo Chile")

Japan - Quiet Life
"Quiet Life" is the 3rd studio album by British band Japan released in December 1979. "Quiet Life" was a departure from their previous two albums which were influenced by the alternative glam rock sound which was popular throughout the early and mid seventies. "Quiet Life" leaned more toward the new wave and new romantic sound which was made popular in the early 80's by bands such as Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Visage and of course Japan. The album is also noted for being the first time lead singer and guitarist David Sylvian used his baritone vocal style which became a trademark for the band.

Initially the album was not a success and it wasn't until after the success of Japan's late 1981 album "Tin Drum", that "Quiet Life" finally reached the Top 40 in the UK and went on to sell over 100,000 copies earning them a Gold certification.

Two singles were released from the album "Quiet Life" and a cover of "All Tomorrow's Parties" which was originally recorded by Velvet Underground and Nico. Both songs received limited airplay with "Quiet Life" receiving some club rotation in the U.S. and UK.

Led Zeppelin III
Unlike other bands who made it big after two or three albums Led Zeppelin was huge right from the start. Zep formed in 1968 and released their first album in January of 1969 their debut reached the Top 10 in both the U.S. and UK and was in the Top 20 in several other countries around the world. Led Zeppelin II was released later in 1969 and was a worldwide #1 hit.

Their third album Led Zeppelin III proved that Zep was not a flash in the pan. These guys let the world know that they have what it takes to rock and roll with the best of the best. Led Zeppelin III was released on October 5, 1970 and reached #1 in the U.S., UK, Australia and Canada.  The album also made the Top 5 in numerous countries around the world including japan, Spain, France, Germany and others.

Several of the songs on III were conceived and composed in a cottage in Wales, known as
Bron-Yr-Aur, which had no running water or electricity. This encouraged the band to get in touch with a change of musical direction. Many of the songs put an emphasis on acoustic arrangements. 

Plant expressed his recollections:
"[Bron-Yr-Aur] was a fantastic place in the middle of nowhere with no facilities at all-and it was a
fantastic test of what we could do in that environment. Because by that time we'd become obsessed with change, and the great thing was that we were also able to create a pastoral side of Led Zep."

After Plant and Page composed and prepared the material for the album they were joined by the rest of the band at Headley Grange, a run down mansion in East Hampshire, to rehearse the songs. The album  was recorded in May and June of 1970 at both Headley Grange and Olympic Studios in London. Some  additional work was done at Island Records and mixing was done at Ardent Studios in Memphis. 
The album's opening track "The Immigrant Song" was released as a single and became one of Led Zeppelin's biggest hits. It reached #16 in the U.S. and made the Top 10 in Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands and Switzerland. It's b-side was the non-LP song "Hey, Hey What Can I Do". The song "Friends" stands out for having a slight bit of a Middle Eastern influence in it's sound. Page used an Altair Tube Limiter to enhance the acoustic quality of his Harmony guitar. This same device was later used by Page on "All My Love", which was included on their "In Through the Out Door" album. The song "Gallows Pole" is an updated arrangement of a traditional folk song called "The Maid Freed from the Gallows". Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter recorded the song in 1939 as "Gallis Pole". "Tangerine" brings us to a melancholy side of Zeppelin which pulls at the heartstrings. Featuring an acoustic country flavor courtesy of the pedal steel guitar playing of Page, the song has it's origins in an old Yardbirds song titled "Knowing That I'm Losing You". The album concludes with "Hats Off to (Roy)
Harper", a track dedicated to their influential contemporary and friend, Roy Harper, honoring Harper’s work and acknowledging the band's roots in acoustic music.

Radiohead - The King Of Limbs
"The King Of Limbs" brings Radiohead back to a more abstract and experimental sound which was prominent on earlier works such as "Kid A" and "OK Computer". The album makes good use of loops, samples and ambient sounds, and an emphasis on percussion and drummer Phil Selway and bassist Colin Greenwood's rhythm section.

Released in February and March 2011 the album has reached the Top 10 in many parts of the world, although is not faring as well as their previous four albums. Critics on the other hand have given the Radiohead's 8th studio album extremely good reviews with Metacritic assigned the album an average score of 80 (out of 100) based on 34 reviews.

The album includes a few instrumentals with "Feral" being one of the more interesting. The song features cut-up loops and fuzzy yet very appealing bass line. "little By Little" is a dark tune in which Thom Yorke sings of the mystery of attraction.  The album's highlight "Lotus Flower" features an infectiously driving bass line, synthesized sound effect, clapping rhythms and Thom Yorke's soul stirring falsetto.

Rammstein - Liebe ist für alle da
Rammstein is a new industrial metal  from Berlin, Germany formed in 1994. Their popularity spans the globe and they've sold near 20 million albums worldwide. Their songs are usually in German, but they have also performed songs entirely or partially in other languages such as English, Spanish, French and Russian.

Liebe ist für alle da released in October 2009 is their 6th studio album. It reached #1 in Germany, Austria, Finland, The Netherlands and Switzerland. As well as reaching #13 in the U.S. and #16 in the UK. To date this is their biggest selling album worldwide.

 The English meaning of Liebe ist für alle da is Love Is For Everyone and the songs on this album frame the band's vision of love from the physical to the emotional. The controversial song "Pu**y", the album's debut single was released as a single to an adult website in which the male band members appeared nude (played by body doubles). The song was a commentary on the sexual mores of German society and that of America. The song was Rammstein's first and only #1 hit in Germany and also hit #1 in Finland.

Haifisch was another single released from the album. this one only reached 33 in Germany and did not chart anywhere else. The song is a dark and eerie song. It's an ode to the shark. Right before announcing the video premier, the info letter from Rammstein's website left this quote regarding the song: "the shark not only has teeth – he’s got tears as well. But since it lives in the briny deep, no one sees them. A shame. After all, this cartilaginous fish is one of the oldest of the world’s many misunderstood creatures. A bit more sympathy couldn’t hurt!"

Santogold is also known as Santigold. She was born in Philadelphia in 1976 her real name is Santi White. She released her debut album simply titled "Santogold" on April 29, 2008. The album met with minor success throughout the U.S. and parts of Europe. "Santogold" reached #74 on the U.S. Billboard album chart and #26 in the UK. Her highest chart position was #25 in Belgium.

Santogold's goal of the album was to "help break down boundaries and genre classifications" and show that she wasn't just "a black woman singing R&B." "The cool thing is that I was able to work with all these genres that are typically sub-cultural, like dub or punk or something, and then, by writing in a way that had hooks, made it accessible to everyone."

Sani has said she loves 80's new wave and pop music. One of her biggest influence is Devo, they are her ultimate favorite band.  Some of her material has been compared to the Pixies, who Santi cites as an influence. She grew up listening to a lot of reggae and jazz and her main influences are James Brown and Aretha Franklin.

Rolling Stone Magazine rated the album 5 stars out of 5 saying that Santogold "mixes dub, electronic and new wave for one of the year's most unique debuts."

One of the album's highlights is the song "My Superman" which was co-written by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Santi said that she took inspiration of the number "Red Light". "'My Superman' is an interpolation of a Siouxsie Sioux song, 'Red Light,'" she explained. "I love her song and I love this song."

X Marks The Pedwalk - Inner Zone Journey
X Marks The Pedwalk is a German band formed in 1987, whose styles range from post-industrial dance to electronic body music. 

"Inner Zone Journey" is their 6th studio album and was released on April 13, 2010. It was released 12 years after their previous album "Freaks" from 1998. This comeback garnered much attention with the fans of industrial music and was received quite well by critics.

This new album finds XMTP utilizing a somewhat ethereal mood to communicate it's message on several of the songs yet never letting go of the industrial dance pulse which made the band famous in the first place. "Inner Zone Journey" has a slight bit of a pop feel that was not present on any of their previous album, the songs here are radio accessible in an alternative sort of way. Like previous albums the inclusion of female backing vocals works beautifully to compliment lead singer Sevren Ni-Arb's muscular yet clear vocals.

The album contains numerous highlights including the down-tempo "Satellite" and the mysteriously serene "Obscure Reason". "Clean Hearts" brings us back to the typical XMTP sound with a deep house bass line and a multi-layered electronic sound. "Runaway" has been described as having hit potential and this reviewers favorite song, "Seventeen" was the albums only song to be released as a single.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rock Albums Post One

Bjork - Homogenic  
With her fourth studio album Icelandic musician Bjork took her signature sound to a challenging new level of artistic depth. Gone were the sweet melodies and peppy dance compositions of the two prior albums. The songs on Homogenic contain a dark and cryptic sound combining electronic beats and swirling string instruments. Slant Magazine called it the greatest electronic album of it's decade. 

Bjork wanted this album to reflect her native Iceland in concept saying she wanted it to sound like "rough volcanoes with soft moss growing all over it". In an interview Bjork commented that in Iceland everything revolves around nature, very elementary and uncontrollable. She also said on the other hand Iceland is very modern, everything is high-tech. She wanted this album to reflect this contradiction. She used many traditional instruments such as violin to capture the beauty Iceland's nature. she als used some uncommon instruments such as the accordion and glass harmonica to fill the uniqueness of Iceland. This combined with electronic techno beat and a range of primitive screams to hazy electronically enhanced vocals Homogenic has achieved status of being one of the most unique and unusual albums of all-time.

Released on September 22, 1997 the album was a huge worldwide success reaching #28 in the U.S., #4 in the UK, #16 in Japan, #2 in France, #6 in Australia, 35 in Sweden, #3 in Norway and #10 in Germany.  

The album also brought several awards and nominations to Bjork including a Brit Award, a Danish Music Award and nominated for a Grammy.

David Bowie - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) released on September 12, 1980. this was Bowie's 14th studio album. It reached #1 in the UK and #12 in the U.S. as well as making the Top 3 in several other countries around the world.
The musical genre was considered post-punk and contained several songs which were popular on new wave radio stations including the hits "Ashes To Ashes" and "Fashion". The album included the legendary Robert Fripp (King Crimson, Fripp & Eno) playing guitar on many tracks. As well as Pete Townshend on guitar for the song "Because You're Young".

Broken Bells (Self titled Debut)
Broken Bells is an alt-rock duo comprised of Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) and James Mercer (vocalist and guitarist of the band The Shins). Their style is cool, smooth, chill and very eclectic.

Released on March 9, 2010 the album charted extremely well in the U.S. reaching #7 on the Billboard album chart as well as reaching the Top 20 in Australia, Canada and Denmark.

Highlights include "The High Road", "Your Head Is On Fire", "the Ghost Inside" and "The Mall & Misery".

Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
Eno is one of the world's most respected musician/producer/composer/singers of all-time. He is regarded as a prime innovator of ambient music having produced a countless string of highly regarded ambient albums including titles such as "Discreet Music" and "Music For Films".

Eno first achieved acclaim as a member of the band Roxy Music from 1971 to 1973. From their he went solo and released a flurry of album which continues to the current day.

Eno has produced and/or performed with many well known musicians such as U2, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Devo, Robert Fripp, Genesis, Coldplay, Grace Jones, Depeche Mode, Paul Simon and a host of others.

"Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) was Eno's 2nd solo album and was released in November 1974. The album is a loose concept album with topics ranging from espionage to the Chinese Communist revolution. Phil Manzanera and andy mackay (both from Roxy Music) appear on the album. Phil Collins plays drums on the song "Mother Whle Eyeless".

Included is the Eno classic "Third Uncle" which has been referred to as an early predecessor to punk rock. The song was covered by Bauhaus in 1982. 

The Mars Volta - The Bedlam In Goliath
Recorded in 2006 and 2007 and was released on January 29, 2008. This was The Mars Volta's 4th studio album. The album charted in more than 18 countries around the world including #3 in the U.S. , 33 in Australia, 36 in Canada, #9 in Finland and #10 in Norway.

The track "Wax Simularca" was released as a single and won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.

The album was released on a limited USB flash drive which unlocked a variety of bonus material on the 29th of each month throughout 2008.

My Morning Jacket - Circuital
With their sixth studio album My Morning Jacket moves with leaps and bounds beyond the expectations of their eagerly awaiting fans. This album puts MMJ on track with other great album releases of the last ten years. Recorded throughout 2010 and 2011 and released on May 31, 2011 "Circuital" debuted on the U.S. album chart at #5, thus far making it MMJ's highest charting U.S. album to date.

The album is full of somber emotion a trait familiar in their previous albums. Every track fits with it's predecessor telling a story of longing, desire, victory and just plain old fun. The album nicely combines a mix of 70's inspired classic rock, hints of funk, trippy pop tunes, metallic infused Motown soul and folk songs with an expansive large room sound.

It's hard to categorize MMJ but to be sure this album is solid and offers a blend of music that keeps the listener entertained from beginning to end. Jim James (the band's lead singer, songwriter and guitarist), explained that the album "Circuital" is named after the title song in that he ends up in the same place that he started.

Pink Floyd - Soundtrack from the film More
Their first full length soundtrack release and their third album. Released on July 27, 1969 Pink Floyd was still in the beginnings of making their mark on the musical landscape.

"More" is one of two Pink Floyd albums to feature David Gilmour as it's sole lead singer, the other is 1987's "A Momentary Lapse of Reason". It was their first album which they produced themselves without any assistance from an outside producer.The album contains several acoustic folk ballads with a few hard rock songs. they also experiment musically on several instrumental tracks. The sole single release "The Nile Song (Europe and Japan release only) did not make any charts. "Green Is The Colour", "Cymbaline" and "cirrus Minor" are highlights on the album.


Pretenders (Self-titled Album)
This self-titled debut propelled the Pretenders into the Top 10 throughout Europe and North America. Chrissie Hynde's tough girl image and the rockin' sounds of the Pretenders was a combination that caught the attention of critics and music buyers in a big way.

The first single to be released was "Stop Your Sobbing" in 1979. It barely made the Top 40 in the UK and #65 in the U.S. The song was a cover of Kinks song included on their self-titled 1964 debut album and was written by Ray Davies. Davies later fathered a child with Chrissie Hynde. It wasn't until their third single, "Brass In Pocket", that they finally made their mark. The song went straight to #1 in the UK and the Top 15 in the U.S. and with that the legions of fans followed.

Their debut album was recorded throughout 1979 and was released in Europe   toward the end of '79 and in North America in January 1980. A combination of punk, new wave and pop tunes the album is considered a modern day classic and in 2003 was ranked at #155 in Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All-time.

Roxy Music (Self titled Debut Album)
Roxy Music burst onto the scene with an energy and eclecticism that begged for attention. Bryan Ferry with his sophisticated crooner styled lead vocal backed by wild guitar frenzied music and electronic sounds provided by the visually freaky Brian Eno. Their debut album was the beginning of a substantial career for Roxy Music and was released in June 1972.Many of the songs were thematically linked to movies. "@HB" was Ferry's tribute to Humphrey Bogart and quotes the line "Here's looking at you kid". "Chance Meeting" was inspired by David Lean's "Brief encounter" (1945). "The Bob" took it's title from "Battle of Britain" (1968) and simulates the sound of gunfire.

The album was met with positive reviews from critics and Rolling Stone Magazine gave the album a rating of 4 stars out of 5.


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