Content tagged 'Roots Rock'
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.
"What's Love Got To Do With It" (Album of the Day)
Songwriters Terry Britten and Graham Lyle had offered “What's Love Got To Do With It” to singers including Cliff Richard, Donna Summer and Phyllis Hyman, but it's impossible to imagine anyone doing half of what Tina Turner did with it. In her hands, it was an anthem of survival and reinvention, embodying Tina's emergence from the shadow of Ike Turner and into the spotlight of MTV as a solo star. Released in May 1984, the track became the 44-year-old performer's first No.1 hit and earned three Grammy Awards, including Record and Song of the Year. Sparking a comeback that included the multi-platinum PRIVATE DANCER album and a Hollywood biopic that drew its name from the iconic single, Tina Turner's “What's Love Got To Do With It” will endure for as long as hearts can be broken.
Violator (2006 Remastered) (Album of the Day)
One of the hallmarks of a truly great group is its ability to build on successes; Depeche Mode had already sold out L.A.’s Rose Bowl on its Music For The Masses tour when it released VIOLATOR in 1990. The U.K. quartet’s seventh studio album, co-produced by the band and Flood, is arguably Depeche Mode’s best, filling dance floors all around the world and reaching triple platinum status in the U.S. VIOLATOR plays to each member's strengths, from Dave Gahan’s impassioned vocals to Alan Wilder’s inventive keyboard arrangements to one of Martin Gore’s best-ever sets of songs – including such memorable hit singles as “Policy Of Truth,” “Enjoy The Silence” and “Personal Jesus.” In “black celebration” of Dave Gahan’s birthday, we’ll give another spin to this dance/techno-pop landmark!
Modern Life is Rubbish (Album of the Day)
A difficult 1992 U.S. tour playing to unappreciative grunge fans left the members of Blur homesick, and frontman Damon Albarn frequently found solace in the music of The Kinks while on the road. That band's Anglocentric approach helped inspire MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH, which saw Blur shifting from the Madchester style of their debut to one that harks back to classic U.K. '60s songcraft. Released 25 years ago today, the album was “a weird combination of quiet nostalgic-sounding melodies and chord progressions, with these weird caustic lyrics about England as it was at that moment,” to quote Albarn. With such indelible singles as “For Tomorrow” and “Chemical World,” it proved a success, and MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH was the first step on a path that would take Blur to the pinnacle of British rock.
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.
Remain In Light (Deluxe Version) (Album of the Day)
“And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?” The amazing “Once In A Lifetime” only hinted at the burst of creativity on Talking Heads' REMAIN IN LIGHT. The 1980 Sire album finds the quartet incorporating African polyrhythms into its music, as well as making innovative use of loops and samples as instrumental tracks. Brian Eno returns as producer (guitarist Adrian Belew and funk keyboard great Bernie Worrell also contribute to the album), helping strike an appealing balance between danceable grooves (“Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On),” “Crosseyed And Painless”) and more experimental fare (“Houses In Motion,” “The Overload”). The Deluxe Edition of REMAIN IN LIGHT adds four previously unreleased outtakes to the landmark alternative rock album; we'll give the collection a spin now to wish Heads frontman David Byrne a happy birthday.
The Boy Is Mine (Album of the Day)
A Jerry Springer Show episode about love triangles that Brandy saw on TV helped plant the seed for “The Boy Is Mine.” The singer had initially planned to cut the song of competitive romance as a solo recording before taking a cue from the 1982 collaboration between Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. Fellow R&B hitmaker Monica signed on, creating a single (and video, costarring actor Mekhi Phifer) that ruled the airwaves in 1998. The track shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for a phenomenal 13 weeks - the first No.1 hit for either Brandy or Monica. The double-platinum duet was also a success with the critics; “The Boy Is Mine” earned three Grammy nominations including a win for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group.
Black & White (Album of the Day)
Elvis Presley and Dusty Springfield both knew a good song when they heard one, and each recorded a track from Tony Joe White's 1969 debut, BLACK & WHITE. As accomplished a composer as he is, Tony Joe is also a talented performer, and it was his guitar picking and hickory-smoked vocals that made “Polk Salad Annie” - recorded 50 years ago today – a Top 10 hit. That ode to hardscrabble life in the South is joined by such other originals as “Willie and Laura Mae Jones” and “Soul Francisco” on Side 1, while the flip gives White's distinctive bayou-based treatment to covers including “Little Green Apples” and “Scratch My Back.” Roots rock champion Billy Swan produced this fine set, and Louisiana swamp music never sounded sweeter than on BLACK & WHITE.
Hard Candy (Album of the Day)
Madonna pulled out all the stops for her 11th – and final – Warner Bros. studio album, HARD CANDY. Enlisting a team of A-list producers including Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams (all of whom also contribute vocals, along with Kanye West), the performer created a tough-but-sweet confection that was “like 'Holiday' with an R&B groove,” in Timbaland's words. The urban-oriented dance-pop of the 2008 set shines as brightly on LP-only tracks like “Candy Shop” and “Devil Wouldn't Recognize You” as it does on singles “Give It 2 Me,” “Miles Away,” and Top 10 hit “4 Minutes.” Needless to say, HARD CANDY was a smash, reaching No.1 on the U.S. album chart 10 years ago today and racking up more than 4 million sales worldwide.
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (Album of the Day)
After seeing Devo's first New York show, David Bowie declared that “this is the band of the future,” and as usual, he was right. Produced by Brian Eno, the band's debut, Q: ARE WE NOT MEN? A: WE ARE DEVO!, was playfully subversive from the smiling image of pro golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez on its cover to the herky-jerky version of “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” in its grooves. Though the principles of de-evolution would be further described on future releases, the Ohio quintet lay the groundwork for their skewed vision of reality on such songs as “Mongoloid” and “Jocko Homo.” The critical stature of the 1978 Warner Bros. collection has only risen with time, and both Pitchfork and Rolling Stone have cited the set as one of the decade's greatest. Today we'll give the gold-certified Q: ARE WE NOT MEN? A: WE ARE DEVO! another spin to wish co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh a happy birthday.