Content tagged 'Alternative'
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.
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.
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.
Fountains of Wayne (Album of the Day)
Named after a Wayne, NJ, lawn ornament store, Fountains of Wayne carried the power-pop torch higher than almost any other band of the 1990s. Built around the talents of singer-songwriters Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger, the group signed to Atlantic Records and their eponymous debut followed in 1996. Its dozen originals offer sly looks at modern life buoyed by hook-filled alt-rock arrangements; singles “Radiation Vibe” and “Sink to the Bottom” qualify as highlights, but you'll find yourself singing along to “Sick Day,” “Leave The Biker” and others just as enthusiastically. While its kid superhero cover image was used by another band right around the time of release, it's entirely appropriate for this exhilarating album – FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE will rescue you from musical doldrums.
SONG OF THE DAY - This Must Be The Place (Album of the Day)
Released 35 years ago this month, Talking Heads' SPEAKING IN TONGUES was the group's commercial breakthrough following a trio of acclaimed albums with producer Brian Eno. The collection includes the quartet's first Top Ten hit, “Burning Down The House,” but follow-up single “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” is equally noteworthy. Atypically for the band, “it's a real honest kind of love song,” said lyricist David Byrne. “I don't think I've ever done a real love song before.” The melody is purposefully simple, with group members switching from their usual instruments to play it, and that simplicity may explain its popularity in soundtracks and cover versions. Cited by Pitchfork as one of the 50 best songs of the 1980s, "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" is our song of the day.
Ritual De Lo Habitual (Album of the Day)
No less an authority than Alice Cooper declared Jane’s Addiction's RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL “their peak album, where they really went out on a limb,” and it's tough to argue with the rock legend on this point. The second and final studio set from the L.A. quartet's original incarnation spans alt-rock ragers (“Stop”), mainstream rock hits (“Been Caught Stealing”) and haunting ballads (“Classic Girl”) as well as progressive epics (“Then She Did”). Frontman Perry Farrell and axeman Dave Navarro play every song as if it might be their last, and today we'll cue up the double-platinum RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL to celebrate the guitarist's birthday.
SONG OF THE DAY - World In Motion (Album of the Day)
“This should be the last straw for Joy Division fans,” said New Order singer Bernard Sumner of “World In Motion,” the band's improbable 1990 hit. It's hard to imagine anything further from the quartet's post-punk roots than this football anthem, written to support England's team in its World Cup bid, but the song's success underlines New Order's skill and versatility. Co-written with comedian Keith Allen, the track frames an anti-hooligan message (and a rap by athlete John Barnes) with buoyant alternative rock based on a BBC theme penned by the band's Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert. “World In Motion” became New Order's sole U.K. No.1 single, and as the FIFA World Cup kicks off again, it's our song of the day.
Mermaid Avenue (Album of the Day)
When Woody Guthrie's daughter wanted music added to some of her father's unrecorded lyrics, she made a savvy choice in U.K. troubadour Billy Bragg, who in turn enlisted alt-country group Wilco to help. Asked to give Guthrie's words a contemporary framework rather than imitate the folk legend, the performers came up with the remarkably effective MERMAID AVENUE, released 20 years ago on Elektra Records. Drawn from hundreds of manuscripts penned from the late-1930s to the mid-1960s, these 15 tracks include protest anthems, love ballads and children's songs, with lead vocals split between Bragg and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key,” “California Stars” and “Birds and Ships” (with guest singer Natalie Merchant) are just a few of the gems on MERMAID AVENUE, which earned a Grammy nomination and a place on innumerable 1998 year-end best-of lists.
Mixed Up (Album of the Day)
With the DISINTEGRATION album and its accompanying world tour, The Cure finished the 1980s with a bang, and Robert Smith was determined to keep up the momentum. But there were some tensions within the group, so rather than return to the studio, the frontman curated an album of The Cure's rarer 12" mixes. MIXED UP evolved beyond a compilation of existing tracks when Smith realized that some of the newer remixes were superior to the older ones; “my revised ambition was to compile an album that was contemporary without being dated,” he explained. Two tracks on the album, “A Forest” and “The Walk,” were entirely re-recorded, and the band convened in June 1990 to record a new track, “Never Enough.” In keeping with that spirit, the 3-disc Deluxe Edition of MIXED UP includes a “Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018” disc of 16 favorite songs that Smith himself remixed last year.