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.


  1. Homogenic and Bedlam in Goliath are both great albums, but I don't think they're the artists' best. I far prefer Debut and De-loused. What do you think?

  2. Hi Fizee thank you for your comment. With this post I am not necessarily rseeferring to these albums as the best by any of the artists. They are albums for one reason or another I decided to review. Bedlam does happen to be my favorite by The Mars Volta - but I agree overall their best is probably De-Loused or Frances. As for Bjork my favorite is Volta - I love that album. I chose Homogenic because that album marked a progression and change in her style - which I really enjoyed. I like the electronic side of Bjork quite a bit.

  3. Man... Why did you put the Amazon links next to the albums?!? LOL! Now I'm gonna have to order "More" (which I've never heard), and "Pretenders" (which I haven't heard in years)... Yes, I am an impulse shopper. :)
    Great site btw.

  4. @ krouth always glad to oblige... Pink Floyd's "More" is well worth the purchase for any Floyd fan and for any fan of acoustic classic rock. What can we say about Pretenders first album - no doubt about it - it rocks!

    Thanks for the nice words!



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