There's just too much good music out there, too many artists and bands with whole catalogues of music that you will never get the chance to root through... I'm hoping condensing some artists work down into a bitesize chunk of ten songs will make you want to listen to the rest. Please enjoy and give feedback.
Friday, 19 February 2010
The Stills Spotify Playlist
2.Snakecharming The Masses
4.In The Beginning
5.Changes Are No Good
6.She's Walking Out
7.Don't Talk Down
9.Still In Love Song
10.Eveerything I Build
Montreal's the Stills are nothing like Interpol, but like those New York City suit-wearing hipsters, the Stills launched their career with a stately post-punk sound inspired by the likes of Echo & the Bunnymen and Joy Division. Having known one another since the age of 12, vocalist Tim Fletcher, drummer Dave Hamelin, guitarist Greg Paquet, and bassist Oliver Crowe played in various bands before forming the Stills in 2000. These art school students temporarily left their beloved Canada for a two-month stay in N.Y.C. to design a lush, swarthy pop style with the help of a four-track recorder. A deal with Vice followed before the year's end; however, joint shows with the Music, the Rapture, the Streets, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were what cemented the Stills a dominating spot among the ever-changing rock scene.
The Rememberese EP appeared in June 2003, while stateside dates with Interpol followed that fall. Logic Will Break Your Heart marked The Stills' full-length debut in October, and the band spent time touring the U.K. and North America before heading into the studio to record a second album in late 2004. Founding member Greg Paquet announced his departure from the lineup the following year, and drummer Dave Hamelin responded to the change by switching roles and filling Paquet's spot on guitar. Touring keyboardist Liam O'Neil and Sea Ray drummer Colin Brooks were also added to the lineup. The resulting Without Feathers, released in 2006, was something of a departure for the group, relying less on new wave and post-punk and more on rootsy, '70s heartland rock (Hamelin also became the band's co-frontman, sharing vocal duties with Fletcher). 2008's Oceans Will Rise saw the Stills stretching their boundaries even further, this time incorporating sonic experimentalism and uplifting, anthemic rock.
Sunday, 7 February 2010
BRMC Spotify Playlist
1.Ha Ha High Babe
2.Red Eyes and Tears
3.Weapon of Choice
4.Six Barrel Shotgun
5.Whatever Happened To My Rock'N'Roll (Punk Song)
6.We're All In Love
7.Spread Your Love
9.Took Out A Loan
The seed that became Black Rebel Motorcycle Club -- or B.R.M.C. for short -- was planted back in 1995, when Robert Turner and Peter Hayes met while attending high school in their hometown of San Francisco. They formed a solid friendship and camaraderie based on a mutual love of early-'90s U.K. bands like Ride and the Stone Roses and a few on the successful Creation Records label (the Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine). They ultimately decided to put their as-yet-unnamed project on hold, and joined other bands while still attempting to keep in touch with each other; frequently they would attend each other's gigs. In 1998, after both had fled their previous groups, they rejoined, this time adding new drummer Nick Jago. (Jago, originally from England, had finished art school to move to the States in 1996). They began performing live in November 1998. Originally calling themselves the Elements -- they quickly changed it after discovering many other bands had shared the same title -- they purloined their new name from the Marlon Brando-led biker gang who stormed into that dusty California hamlet in The Wild One.
By 1999, B.R.M.C. had recorded a polished 16-track demo CD that began making the rounds (they sold all 500 copies at their shows), and relocated to Los Angeles. Local Santa Monica-based KCRW (a well-known FM station that compiled and released yearly Rare on Air CD compilations) jumped on the band's demo first, giving them their initial airplay, but soon interest in the band spread across the Atlantic, where BBC Sheffield even named the demo their "Record of the Week." Oasis' Noel Gallagher heard it and wanted to sign the band to his new Brother Records imprint, telling MOJO magazine that they were his favorite new band, but after inking a lucrative Warner/Chappell publishing deal, they were fielding offers from interested major and indie labels, ultimately choosing to sign in March 2000 with Virgin Records. After a short U.S. tour with the Dandy Warhols, the band entered the studio and produced a self-titled debut, B.R.M.C., which was issued in March 2001. Two years later, the trio returned with a slicker edge; Take Them on, on Your Own appeared in September 2003. They severed ties with Virgin Records eight months later. A deal with RCA surfaced within months, and the acoustic, Americana-influenced Howl arrived in August of 2005. The band moved back to the loud rock & roll approach favored on their first two albums with 2007's Baby 81. In 2009, B.R.M.C. released a live album documenting a performance during the Baby 81 tour.
Reuben Spotify Playlist
1.Stuck in My Throat
2.Every Time A Teenager Listens To Drum And Bass, A Rockstar Dies.
5.Parties Break Hearts
8.Oh The Shame
9.Moving to Blackwater
10.Nobody Loves You
Straddling metal and hardcore punk, British trio Reuben began with Jamie Lenman and Jon Pierce, two friends who had been playing in bands together since they were 13. In 1998, they recruited drummer Jason Wilcox, formed a group called Angel, and began playing local shows and releasing demos. Wilcox left the band in 2000 and was replaced by Mark Lawton; the group would change its name to Reuben a year later. After Lawton decided to attend university, the band was again in search of a percussionist. Guy Davis moved from occasional fill-in to permanent member, and the trio released its first single, "Scared of the Police," in March of 2002. The video for the song was picked up by MTV2, exposing Reuben to a nationwide audience and catapulting them into the spotlight. Despite this initial success, talks between Reuben and independent studios continually fell through -- while they continued to release singles on a number of labels, they remained an unsigned band.
In the summer of 2003, Reuben self-financed and recorded their first album, Racecar Is Racecar Backwards, with the intent of releasing it on the Integrity label. Once again negotiations fell through, and only one single, "Stuck in My Throat," was released through the company. The album was eventually released in July 2004 on Xtra Mile, an imprint of the band's press agency and funded by SINE, an independent arm of Sony. Reuben spent the rest of the year on a headlining tour and returned to the studio at the beginning of 2005; their second album, Very Fast Very Dangerous, was released in September of the same year. It sold well, but not well enough for Sony to recoup its investment -- the company decided not to allocate any more money to Xtra Mile, and Reuben were forced to leave the label.
Once again unsigned, the band decided to embark on a new project -- an independent film chronicling life in an underground rock band. Filmed while the bandmembers were playing shows, rehearsing, recording, and even while working their day jobs, the finished DVD was sold while Reuben embarked on another tour in February 2007. Upon the tour's completion, the band set up its own label, Hideous Records, and sold both the DVD and an EP via its website. Reuben's third album, In Nothing We Trust, was released in the summer of 2007.
Wilco Spotify Playlist
1.Can't Stand It
2.You Are My Face
4.She's a Jar
5.Ashes of American Flags
7.Heavy Metal Drummer
8.How To Fight Loneliness
9.I'm The Man Who Loves You
10.I'm Always In Love
Wilco rose from the ashes of the seminal roots rockers Uncle Tupelo, who disbanded in 1994. While Jay Farrar, one of the group's two singer/songwriters, went on to form the band Son Volt, his ex-partner Jeff Tweedy established Wilco along with the remaining members of Tupelo's final incarnation, which included drummer Ken Coomer as well as part-time bandmates John Stirratt (bass) and Max Johnston (mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and lap steel). Guitarist Jay Bennett rounded out the group, which in 1995 issued their debut album, A.M., a collection of spry country-rock tunes that followed the course established in Tweedy's earlier work. Wilco's sophomore effort, 1996's two-disc set Being There, marked a radical transformation in the group's sound; while remaining steeped in the style that earned Tweedy his reputation, the songs took unexpected detours into psychedelia, power pop, and soul, complete with orchestral touches and R&B horn flourishes. Shortly after the release of Being There, which most critics judged to be among the year's best releases, Johnston left the group to play with his sister, singer Michelle Shocked, and was replaced by guitarist Bob Egan of the band Freakwater. At the same time, while remaining full-time members of Wilco, Stirratt, Bennett, and Coomer also began performing together in the pop side project Courtesy Move. In 1998, Wilco collaborated with singer/songwriter Billy Bragg on Mermaid Avenue, a collection of performances based on unreleased material originally written by Woody Guthrie.
Their stunningly lush third album, Summerteeth, followed in 1999 and met with critical acclaim but only average sales, initiating tensions with their label, Warner Bros. 2000 saw the release of Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2, which featured more selections from the band's collaborations with Bragg on Woody Guthrie's unfinished songs. Following this release, longtime drummer Ken Coomer decided to amicably leave the band and was replaced by the Chicago-based Glenn Kotche. The band then focused on recording their fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which ultimately led to the departure of guitarist Jay Bennett, and further tensions with their label. Unwilling to change the album to make it more "commercially viable," Wilco bought the finished studio tapes from Warner/Reprise for a reported $50,000 and left the label altogether. Leaked tracks from the album surfaced on the Internet in late 2001, and the stripped-down lineup of Tweedy, Kotche, Stirratt, and multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach embarked on a small tour to support -- or drum up support for -- their unreleased album. Nonesuch Records picked up the album and the official release came out in early 2002 to widespread critical acclaim. Meanwhile, an independent film documenting the drama surrounding the album entitled I Am Trying to Break Your Heart followed in the fall of 2002. During the down time after the album was recorded, Tweedy composed and recorded the film score to the Ethan Hawke film Chelsea Walls, which ended up being released around the same time as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
Wilco toured extensively following the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and in 2003 began work on their next album, A Ghost Is Born. While sessions went smoothly compared to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, after the album was finished Leroy Bach left the band in a split that was described as mutual and amicable; guitarist Nels Cline, keyboardist Mike Jorgensen, and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone joined Wilco for their subsequent tour. Shortly before the album's release, Tweedy surprised many fans by announcing he had entered a drug rehabilitation facility to treat a dependency on painkillers, prescribed to treat a long history of migraine headaches aggravated by panic disorder. Tweedy discussed his health problems in depth, along with the often tangled history of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo, in Wilco: Learning How to Die, a biography of the group written by rock journalist Greg Kot, published to coincide with A Ghost Is Born's release in the spring of 2004. The following year, the group released Kicking Television: Live in Chicago, a 23-track collection recorded in the Windy City's Vic Theater, an album that was later deemed one of the Top 20 best live albums by Q Magazine. In 2007 Wilco's sixth studio album, Sky Blue Sky, hit shelves. Less experimental than its predecessors, Sky Blue Sky peaked at number five on the U.S. album charts and made a strong showing internationally. Wilco's seventh album, the breezy and laid-back Wilco (The Album), was released on June 30, 2009, one month after the death of former bandmember Jay Bennett, who passed away in his home in Urbana, IL after accidentally overdosing on the prescription painkiller fentanyl.
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
The Fall Spotify Playlist
1.Who Makes The Nazis?
2.No Xmas For Quays
3.C 'n' C Hassle Schmuk (Peel Session)
4.Psykick Dance Hall
5.Pay Your Rates
6.Spoilt Victorian Child
7.Eat Y'Self Fitter
9.(We Wish You) A Protein Christmas
Out of all the late-'70s punk and post-punk bands, none were longer lived or more prolific than the Fall. Throughout their career, the band underwent a myriad lineup changes, but at the center of it all was vocalist Mark E. Smith. With his snarling, nearly incomprehensible vocals and consuming bitter cynicism, Smith became a cult legend in indie and alternative rock. Over the course of their career, the Fall went through a number of shifts in musical style, yet the foundation of their sound was a near-cacophonous, amelodic jagged jumble of guitars, sing-speak vocals, and keyboards. During the late '70s and early '80s, the band was at their most abrasive and atonal. In 1984, Smith's American wife, Brix, joined the band as a guitarist, bringing a stronger sense of pop melody to the group. By the mid-'80s, the band's British following was large enough to result in two U.K. Top 40 hits, but in essence, the group has always been a cult band; their music was always too abrasive and dense for the mainstream. Only hardcore fans can differentiate between the Fall's many albums, yet the Fall, like many cult bands, inspired a new generation of underground bands, ranging from waves of sound-alike indie rockers in the U.K. to acts in America and New Zealand, which is only one indication of the size and dedication of their small, devoted fan base.
Prior to forming the Fall in 1977, Smith worked on the docks in Manchester, where he had auditioned and failed with a number of local heavy metal groups. Smith wasn't inspired by metal in the first place; his tastes ran more toward the experimental rock & roll of the Velvet Underground, as well as the avant-garde art rock of Can. Eventually, he found several similarly inclined musicians -- guitarist Martin Bramah, bassist Tony Friel, keyboardist Una Baines, and drummer Karl Burns -- and formed the Fall, taking the group's name from the Albert Camus novel.
Guided By Voices Spotify Playlist
1.I Am A Tree
2.A Salty Salute
3.The Best of Jill Hives
4.Hold on Hope
5.The Brides Have Hit Glass
7.As We Go Up, We Go Down
9.Game of Pricks
10.Everywhere With Helicopter
Inspired equally by jangle pop and arty post-punk, Guided by Voices created a series of trebly, hissy indie rock records filled with infectiously brief pop songs that fell somewhere between the British Invasion and prog rock. After recording six self-released albums between 1986 and 1992, the Dayton, OH-based band attracted a handful of fans within the American indie rock underground. With the 1994 release of Bee Thousand, the group became an unexpected alternative rock sensation, winning positive reviews throughout the mainstream music press and signing a larger distribution deal with Matador Records. Despite all of the attention, the band never changed their aesthetic, continuing to record their albums on cheap four-track tape decks and thereby limiting their potential audience, yet that devotion to lo-fi indie rock helped Guided by Voices maintain a sizable cult during the late '90s.
Schoolteacher Robert Pollard formed Guided by Voices in the early '80s. Throughout the group's history, Pollard was at the center, writing the majority of the songs and leading each incarnation of the band. During the '80s, Pollard was frequently joined by his brother Jim, who continued to write songs for the group even after his departure in the late '80s. Guided by Voices didn't become a full-fledged band until guitarist Tobin Sprout and bassist Dan Toohey joined the group in 1985. A year later, the group released an EP, Forever Since Breakfast, on the local indie I Wanna Records. Guided by Voices released their first full-length album, Devil Between My Toes, on their own G Records in 1987; it was followed several months later by Sandbox, which appeared on Halo. Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia was released on Halo in 1989 and Same Place the Fly Got Smashed appeared on Rocket #9 Records in 1990.
During the latter half of the '80s, Guided by Voices was essentially a hobby. The band rarely performed, and a wide array of musicians appeared on the group's albums -- according to some estimations, nearly 40 musicians passed through the band during its first decade. Nearly all of the Guided by Voices albums before Vampire on Titus were recorded in Steve Wilbur's eight-track studio in his home garage; Wilbur occasionally played guitar and bass on the records. Guided by Voices added Mitch Mitchell (rhythm guitar) and Kevin Fennell (drums) around the time of Propeller (1992), which was released on Rockathon Records.
Prior to 1993's Vampire on Titus, all of Guided by Voices' records were essentially interchangeable musically, and none were widely available. Vampire on Titus was the first album the band released on the Cleveland-based indie label Scat, and the wider distribution meant the record was heard by a larger audience. Soon, the group had won fans like fellow Dayton native Kim Deal (Pixies, Breeders) and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. Later in 1993, the band began playing live for the first time in several years, with Greg Demos replacing bassist Toohey. By the spring of 1994, Scat had entered a national distribution deal with Matador Records. Bee Thousand was the first album released under the deal, and it became a surprise word-of-mouth hit, earning positive reviews from mainstream publications like Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. Pollard had quit teaching shortly before the spring release of Bee Thousand, and the group toured heavily behind the album, appearing on the second stage at several Lollapalooza dates. By the fall, GBV's video for "I Am a Scientist" was aired a handful of times on MTV. Demos left the band in late 1994 to study law and was replaced by music journalist Jim Greer.
By the release of 1995's Alien Lanes, the group had joined Matador's official roster; their contract with Scat was completed with the spring release of Box, a five-disc box set containing the band's pre-Propeller albums. Alien Lanes was greeted with positive reviews upon its March release, and the group embarked on its first full-scale American tour. Greer left the band before the recording for Under the Bushes Under the Stars, which was released in spring of 1996. That fall, Pollard and Tobin Sprout both released solo albums on the same day; the records were quickly followed by an album-length EP a month after their release. As the solo albums indicated, Pollard and Sprout had a falling out during the group's extensive tour earlier that year, which resulted in Robert firing the rest of the group.
At the end of 1996, Pollard recorded the next Guided by Voices record, Mag Earwhig!, supported by the Cleveland garage punk band Cobra Verde. In 1999, Guided by Voices left Matador to sign with TVT Records, who paired the band with producer Ric Ocasek in hopes of giving GBV's label debut, Do the Collapse, a more radio-friendly sound. Pollard, however, allowed fans of his older work to revel in his lo-fi period with Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft, a four-disc box set featuring 100 unreleased songs recorded over the space of 25 years. While GBV's second album for TVT, 2001's polished and hard-rocking Isolation Drills, received strong reviews, the band hadn't expanded their fan base far beyond their loyal cult, and in 2002 GBV returned to Matador with Universal Truths and Cycles, as well as releasing a number of side projects through Pollard's reactivated Rockathon label.
In the spring of 2004, Pollard startled his fans with the announcement that he would be breaking up Guided by Voices later that year. The band's final album, Half Smiles of the Decomposed, was released the following August, and the resulting farewell tour concluded with a New Year's Eve show in Chicago. Even broken up, 2005 was a busy year for GBV. Pollard signed with Chapel Hill's Merge Records and announced plans for a 2006 solo album. Rock critic and former bandmember Jim Greer released Guided by Voices: A Brief History: Twenty-One Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll. There was another boxed set of unreleased material, this one entitled Suitcase 2: American Superdream Wow, and the 1992 album Propeller was reissued. To add to the accumulation of GBV material, a live album, Live from Austin, Texas, was released in 2007, showcasing one of their last recorded performances.
Monday, 1 February 2010
The New Pornographers Spotify Playlist
1.Three or Four
2.Mutiny, I Promise You.
3.Letter From An Occupant
5.Entering White Cecilia
6.The Fake Headlines
7.The Bleeding Heart Show
9.The New Face of Zero and One
10.Sing Me Spanish Techno
The Vancouver indie rock supergroup the New Pornographers features the talents of Zumpano's Carl Newman, the Evaporators' John Collins, Destroyer's Dan Bejar, cartoonist/filmmaker Blaine Thurier, drummer Fisher Rose, and guest vocalist Neko Case. Newman began the band in 1996 as a lark after releasing Zumpano's Goin' Through Changes; one by one, the other members joined the fold, and the New Pornographers' first official rehearsal took place in 1997. By the following year, the group had completed four songs, but then Case left Vancouver for Chicago, Thurier began work on his film Low Self Esteem Girl, and the other members attended to their other bands and projects. Rose left in 1999, and Limblifter/Age of Electric drummer Kurt Dahle and guitarist Todd Fancey joined the Canadian supergroup. With a solid lineup in tow, the New Pornographers reunited and began recording again in early 2000, completing their debut album, Mass Romantic, in time for a fall release and critical acclaim. Ray Davies joined the band at SXSW in fall 2001, performing the Kinks classic "Starstruck" for the first time ever. After a brief North American tour, each member returned to their respective projects by 2002. Bejar recorded with Destroyer, and Case headed out on the road with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds in support of her second solo album, Blacklisted. Nobody strayed too far, however, for the New Pornographers headed back into the studio before the year's end to work on a follow-up to Mass Romantic. The pop-powered Electric Version, which appeared in spring 2003, marked their first for Matador. Twin Cinema followed in 2005 and garnered a good deal of critical praise, receiving near-perfect rankings from such influential outlets as Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. Bolstered by such a positive reception -- as well as the success of Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood in 2006 -- the group went in a mellower direction with 2007's Challengers.
Iron & Wine Spotify Playlist
1.He Lays In The Reins
2.Boy With A Coin
3.Kingdom of The Animals
4.Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
6.Dead Man's Will
9.We All, Us Three, Will Ride
10.Lovesong of the Buzzard
Singer/songwriter Samuel Beam, who rose to prominence with a blend of whispered vocals and softly homespun indie folk, chose the moniker Iron & Wine after coming across a dietary supplement named "Beef Iron & Wine" while working on a film. Raised in South Carolina, Beam received his bachelors degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and later his Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University Film School. Although Beam would later expand his sound to include electric instruments and rich, lush textures, he was firmly exploring the former style when several of his lo-fi recordings caught the ear of Jonathan Poneman, co-owner of Sub Pop Records. The songs had been recorded in Beam's bedroom without the aid of studio flourishes, but Poneman nevertheless requested that additional material be sent to the label for submission, and Beam responded by sending two CDs in the mail -- both of them full-length albums. Poneman considered releasing them both, but instead slimmed down the set to 12 songs and released it in September 2002 as The Creek Drank the Cradle. The similarly themed The Sea & the Rhythm EP followed in 2003, but it was 2004's full-length, Our Endless Numbered Days, that signaled his arrival on the indie pop scene. Recorded in Chicago with producer Brian Deck, Endless Days was resolutely hi-fi, but the addition of a full band only illuminated Beam's deft lyricism and intimate vocal delivery, resulting in one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. Late 2004 found the newly marketable Iron & Wine popping up on television commercials and movie soundtracks (In Good Company, Garden State), culminating in a busy 2005 which saw Beam release two EPs, the lush Woman King and In the Reins, a collaboration with Arizona spaghetti western aficionados Calexico. 2007 saw the release of the politically charged Shepherd's Dog, Beam and company's most diverse, and most listenable record to date. A two-disc collection of B-sides, rarities, soundtrack inclusions, and discarded tracks from the Iron & Wine archives called Around the Well arrived in early 2009.
Teenage Fanclub Spotify Playlist
2.Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From
5.What You Do To Me
8.Dumb Dumb Dumb
10.I Need Direction
After first gaining acclaim for a densely melodic sound which anticipated the coming emergence of grunge, Scotland's Teenage Fanclub spent the remainder of their career as torch-bearers for the power pop revival, unparalleled among their generation for both their unwavering adherence to and brilliant reinvention of the classic guitar pop approach of vintage acts like Big Star and Badfinger. Blessed with the talents of three formidable singers and songwriters (Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley, respectively) all sharing an unerring knack for crafting immediately infectious melodies, Teenage Fanclub's radiant brand of pop classicism enjoyed only a brief moment devotion to its unapologetically old-fashioned sensibility yielded of commercial and critical vogue, and over time, the band's dogged increasingly dwindling fan base and virtually non-existent record sales. Nevertheless, almost none of their contemporaries can claim either Teenage Fanclub's consistency or longevity -- though never groundbreaking or hip, their music possesses a timelessness and accessibility matched by precious few.
Singers/guitarists Blake and McGinley first teamed with singer/bassist Love in 1987 in Glasgow's short-lived Boy Hairdressers, issuing the single "Golden Shower" on the famed Scottish indie label 53rd and 3rd, before disbanding. After a brief stint with the BMX Bandits, Blake reunited with Love and McGinley to form Teenage Fanclub in 1989; drummer Francis McDonald, a fellow BMX Bandit, completed the original lineup, although McDonald was replaced by fan Brendan O'Hare during sessions for the group's debut album, 1990's A Catholic Education. Released on the Creation label overseas and on the fledgling Matador imprint in the U.S., the album's thick, murky squall staked out sonic territory subsequently occupied by the nascent grunge movement and made Teenage Fanclub an instant critical favorite; the God Knows Its True EP soon followed, but although American major labels came courting, the band still owed Matador one more record. They submitted The King, a ramshackle collection of instrumentals capped off by a tongue-in-cheek rendition of Madonna's "Like a Virgin"; instead, the record was summarily rejected by Matador honcho Gerard Cosloy, and after paying Cosloy what they felt the remainder of their contract was worth, Teenage Fanclub signed to Geffen.
Never shy about celebrating their inspirations -- covers of the Beatles' "The Ballad of John and Yoko," the Flying Burrito Brothers' "Older Guys," and Phil Ochs' "Chords of Fame" are scattered across various singles and EPs -- Teenage Fanclub's 1991 Geffen debut, Bandwagonesque, gloriously evoked the raggedly radiant pop manna of Big Star, the famed 1970s cult band led by ex-Box Tops frontman Alex Chilton and his singing/songwriting partner Chris Bell. With its newfound melodic ingenuity, brash guitar sound and gorgeous harmonies, the record was a massive critical success, and although mainstream pop radio failed to bite, the group found a warm welcome on collegiate airwaves. Although somewhat hard to believe in retrospect, Bandwagonesque topped Spin magazine's best-of-1991 year-end list in the face of staggering competition including Nirvana's Nevermind, My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, and R.E.M.'s Out of Time; a few months later, they were tapped as Rolling Stone's Hot Band for 1992, and at the peak of their success, the Fannies even performed on Saturday Night Live, that same year also opening for Nirvana.
Although the title of the 1993 follow-up Thirteen served immediate notice that Teenage Fanclub's Big Star fetish continued unabated, the album's bitter lyrical outlook and heavier guitar sound owed much to Neil Young, while the epic closer, "Gene Clark," honored the pioneering Byrds co-founder. Critical reception was decidedly icy, however, and in 1994, O'Hare was dismissed from the lineup, briefly resurfacing in Mogwai before mounting his own project, the Telstar Ponies. Ex-Soup Dragon Paul Quinn assumed drumming duties for the 1995 follow-up, the shimmering Grand Prix; by now, however, whatever critical cachet the Fannies had amassed was long gone, and after the disc sold poorly on both sides of the Atlantic, Geffen dropped the group from its roster. Sony picked up their contract just long enough for a U.S. release of 1997's Songs From Northern Britain, which again made few waves outside of the power pop faithful. Quinn left Teenage Fanclub in the midst of completing 2000's Howdy! More setbacks were to follow as Sony refused to release Howdy in the United States. The album eventually recieved distribution via Thirsty Ear in 2001, a year after its original release.
A year later, the band brought a relationship they had developed with spoken word artist Jad Fair to fruition by backing him on the album Words of Wisdom and Hope. In 2003, the band took stock of its career by releasing the retrospective anthology Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds: A Short Cut to Teenage Fanclub.
It took three more years for Teenage Fanclub to return to the studio, eventually working with Chicago post-rock icon John McEntire at his Soma recording studio. Forming its own label Pema, the Fanclub released Man-Made in 2005.
Nada Surf Spotify Playlist
4.Your Legs Grow
7.The Way You Wear Your Head
8.There Goes Something
10.I Like What You Say
Once in danger of being relegated to "one-hit wonder" status, the power pop outfit Nada Surf soldiered onward after the success of 1996's "Popular," following up a brief residence on the Billboard charts with a slew of solidly crafted albums. Founders Matthew Caws (vocals, guitar) and Daniel Lorca (bass) were longtime school friends, having studied together at the Lycée Français de New York in upper Manhattan. After Lorca spent some time abroad in the late '80s, the two reunited after graduation to form Because Because Because in 1991. By 1993, they had jumped ship and shifted their focus to a new project, Nada Surf, whose first two indie releases won the band a contract in Spain. They then recorded an LP for the European label, only to have their original drummer quit. Ira Elliot (formerly of the Fuzztones) was brought aboard just as the group's European deal fell through, and the band's luck returned when their demo found its way to Ric Ocasek, who offered to produce additional sessions if Nada Surf wished to re-record the material.
The trio soon signed to Elektra in 1995 and cut their debut LP, High/Low, with Ocasek behind the boards. "Popular" became a surprise radio hit the following summer, and Nada Surf found themselves lumped into the "nerd rock revival" camp alongside Superdrag, Cake, and Weezer. This newfound popularity allowed Nada Surf to release several tracks from their European demo as part of the Karmic EP, but it also proved to be a double-edged sword. When the band returned in 1998 with The Proximity Effect, Elektra balked, claiming the album didn't have a "Popular"-sized single. The album was released in Europe before Elektra permanently dropped the band and shelved the record; it would take Nada Surf a full two years to buy back the rights to their work.
The Proximity Effect finally entered U.S. record stores in 2000, when Caws issued it on his own MarDev label, and Nada Surf traveled the country to promote its release. After pooling together the funds of their merchandise sales, the bandmates then entered the studio to independently record a third album, Let Go. Barsuk signed the group and released the album in 2002; three years later, The Weight Is a Gift (produced by fellow labelmate Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie) furthered the band's critical acclaim. Nada Surf then returned in 2008 with Lucky, which featured musical contributions from Ben Gibbard, Ed Harcourt, and members of both Calexico and Harvey Danger.
Saturday, 30 January 2010
Ryan Adams Spotify Playlist
2.My Love For You Is Real
4.How Do You Keep Love Alive
5.The Hardest Part
6.Hotel Chelsea Nights
8.If I Am A Stranger
9.Touch, Feel & Lose
Mixing the heartfelt angst of a singer/songwriter with the cocky brashness of a garage rocker, Ryan Adams is at once one of the few artists to emerge from the alt-country scene to achieve mainstream commercial success and the one who most strongly refused to be defined by the genre, leaping from one spot to another stylistically as he follows his increasingly prolific muse. Adams was born in Jacksonville, NC, in 1974. While country music was a major part of his family's musical diet when he was young (he's cited Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash as particular favorites), in his early teens Adams developed a taste for punk rock and he began playing electric guitar.
At 15, Adams started writing songs, and a year later he formed a band called the Patty Duke Syndrome; Adams once described PDS as "an arty noise punk band," with Hüsker Dü frequently cited as a key influence and reference point. The Patty Duke Syndrome developed a following in Jacksonville, and when Adams was 19 the band relocated to the larger town of Raleigh, NC, in hopes of expanding its following. However, Adams became eager to do something more melodic that would give him a platform for his country and pop influences. In 1994, Adams left the Patty Duke Syndrome and formed Whiskeytown with guitarist Phil Wandscher and violinist Caitlin Cary. With bassist Steve Grothman and drummer Eric "Skillet" Gilmore completing the lineup, Whiskeytown (the name came from regional slang for getting drunk) released their first album, Faithless Street, on the local Mood Food label.
The album won reams of critical praise in the music press, and more than one writer suggested that Whiskeytown could do for the alt-country or No Depression scene what Nirvana had done for grunge. But by the time the band signed to a major label -- the Geffen-distributed imprint Outpost Records -- the band had undergone the first in a series of major personal shakeups, and in the summer of 1997, when Whiskeytown's Outpost debut, Stranger's Almanac, was ready for release, Adams and Wandscher were the only official members of the band left. Cary soon returned, but Wandscher left shortly afterward, and Whiskeytown had a revolving-door lineup for much of the next two years, with the band's live shows become increasingly erratic, as solid performances were often followed by noisy, audience-baiting disasters. Consequently, as strong as Stranger's Almanac was, Whiskeytown never fulfilled the commercial expectations created for them by others. In 1999, the band -- which was down to Adams, Cary, and a handful of session musicians -- recorded its third and final album, Pneumonia, but when Geffen was absorbed in a merger between PolyGram and Universal, Outpost was phased out, and the album was shelved; shortly afterward, Whiskeytown quietly called it quits.
Following Whiskeytown's collapse, Adams wasted no time launching a career apart from the band, and after a few solo acoustic tours, Adams went into a Nashville studio with songwriters Gillian Welch and David Rawlings and cut his first album under his own name, Heartbreaker, which was released by pioneering "insurgent country" label Bloodshot Records in 2000. The album received critical raves, respectable sales, and a high-profile endorsement from Elton John, and Adams was signed by Universal's new Americana imprint, Lost Highway Records. Lost Highway gave Whiskeytown's Pneumonia a belated release in early 2001, and later that same year, they released his second solo set, Gold, which displayed less of a country influence in favor of classic pop and rock styles of the 1970s. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the album's opening track, "New York, New York," was embraced by radio as an anthem of resilience (though it actually concerned a busted romance), and Adams once again found himself touted as the "next big thing."
Always a prolific songwriter, in a bit more than a year following Gold's release, Adams had written and recorded enough material for four albums. Adams opted to whittle the 60 tunes down to a 13-song collection called Demolition, which was released in 2002 as he went into the studio to record his official follow-up to Gold. A year later, Adams' concept album Rock N Roll was released alongside the double-EP collection Love Is Hell. Tours around the globe kept Adams busy into the next year as he maintained momentum writing songs and keeping his ever-changing presence in the music press. In May 2005, Adams released his first of three albums for Lost Highway, the melancholic double-disc Cold Roses. Jacksonville City Nights, a more classic-sounding honky tonk effort, followed in September, and 29 appeared in late December. Always prolific, in the interim period before his next album was released, Adams posted a large selection of tracks -- including several hip-hop tunes -- on his website, but fans were greeted with more straightforward material on 2007's Easy Tiger and 2008's Cardinology with the Cardinals.
"WHEN IT'S ALL SAID AND DONE, REMEMBER THE FEARLESS, REMEMBER THE DREAMERS, REMEMBER THOSE WHO REPRESENT THE GHETTO...THE FAIRY TALE OF NOTHING TO SOMETHING. I'M BRIEFLY SADDENED BY NEGATIVE COMMENTS, BUT I HAVE TO REMEMBER THOSE PEOPLE ARE SCARED, INCAPABLE OR JUST PLAIN IDIOTS. WE ARE THE FUCKING ROCK STARS BABY. NO COCAINE, JUST LIFE MY NIGGAS!! NO COCAINE, JUST LIFE! IT'S FUNNY TO ME WHEN FASHION BLOGGERS DOWN OUR OUFITS AND THEN SUPER JOCK OUTLANDISH SHIT ON THE RUNWAY BUT THEN THEY DRESS MAD PRUDE AND DON'T LIVE FASHION. WE LIVE IT MAN. FUCK THAT, WE LIVE IT!!! WE LIVE IT SO HARD PEOPLE LIVE THROUGH US! WE REPRESENT YOUR INNER SPIRIT!! THE CHILD IN US ALL, THE BRUTAL HONESTY, THE NAIVETY, THE BRAVE WARRIOR, THE ADRENALINE THAT ALLOWS A MOTHER TO LIFT A CAR IF HER CHILD WAS TRAPPED UNDER IT! REMEMBER, THERE WAS A TIME WHEN EVERYBODY DISSED MICHAEL JACKSON EVERY CHANCE THEY COULD. IMAGINE THE PRESSURE OF BEING A TRUE ICON. VERY FEW HUMAN BEINGS ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO TAKE CONSTANT HATE!!! IF WE DON'T DO WHAT YOU FEEL IS THE SHIT, YOU BEAT US UP VERBALLY AND MENTALLY, LIKE A CATHOLIC SCHOOL TEACHER BEATING A CREATIVE STUDENT INTO SUBMISSION. I CAN HEAR YOU SCREAMING 'COLOR INSIDE THE LINES!!!' WELL FUCK YOUR COLORING BOOK, COLOR BY NUMBERS APPROACH TO LIFE. AT THE END OF THE DAY WHO ARE WE HURTING??? OH "THE NEW BLACK???" SINCE BARACK IS PRESIDENT BLACKS DON'T LIKE FUR COATS, RED LEATHER, AND FRIED CHICKEN ANY MORE?! WHEN YOU TRULY UNDERSTAND CULTURAL SETTINGS, BOUNDARIES, AND OUR MODERN DAY CASTE SYSTEMS, THEN YOU CAN FEEL THE GLORY AND PAIN FROM THE DAYS OF KINGS IN AFRICA TO THE NEW KINGS OF THE MEDIA. LET THE BALL PLAYERS DANCE AFTER THEY SCORE! IT'S LIFE MY NIGGAS, IT'S LIFE! REMEMBER CLOTHING IS A CHOICE. WE WERE BORN NAKED!!! FRESH IS AN OPINION, LOVE IS OBJECTIVE, TASTE IS SELECTIVE, AND EXPRESSION IS MY FAVORITE ELECTIVE. NO MORE POLITICS OR APOLOGIES!!!"
The Magnetic Fields Spotify Playlist
1.I Don't Believe You
3.Falling in love with the wolfboy
4.When You Were My Baby
7.Too Drunk to Dream
8.I Don't Want To Get Over You
9.The Book of Love
10.A Chicken with it's head cut off
The Magnetic Fields may be a bona fide band, but in most essential respects they are the project of studio wunderkind Stephin Merritt, who writes, produces, and (generally) sings all of the material. Merritt also plays many of the instruments, concocting a sort of indie pop synth rock. While the Magnetic Fields' albums draw upon the electronic textures of vintage acts like ABBA, Kraftwerk, Roxy Music with Eno, Joy Division, and Gary Numan, Merritt's vision is far more pointed toward the alternative rock underground. His songs are also far warmer and more purely pop-oriented than the above references indicate, sounding at times like late-20th century equivalents to the catalogs of Phil Spector or Brian Wilson.
Merritt began recording music on his own four-track at a young age, but he didn't issue the first Magnetic Fields album until 1990, when he was well into his twenties. The first pair of discs featured the choirgirl vocals of Susan Amway, but Merritt handled the vocals himself on most subsequent releases, singing in a deep croon not far removed from his European influences. The synth pop quotient also became heavier on those albums, although Merritt always took care to mix in quite a few natural instruments with the electronic ones, often with the help of Claudia Gonson (percussion) and Sam Davol (cello, flute). Throughout it all, an emphasis remained on the band's pop hooks and eccentric, romantically reflective lyrics rather than the bedrock synthetic rhythms and textures.
In addition to his work with Magnetic Fields, Merritt involved himself in several side projects over the years, the most notable being the 6ths' Wasps' Nests album in 1995. Merritt sang only one track himself on this disc, for which he acted as composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist, employing well-known alternative rock singers like Barbara Manning, Dean Wareham (Luna), Lou Barlow, Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo), Chris Knox, and Robert Scott (the Bats) to handle the lead vocals. After releasing 1997's New Despair as the Gothic Archies, Merritt finally returned to the Magnetic Fields aegis for 1999's 69 Love Songs, released as both a trio of separate discs as well as a limited edition three-CD box set. Merritt spent the next few years releasing more side projects, including records from the Gothic Archies, Future Bible Heroes, the 6ths, as well as numerous soundtracks. It wasn't until May 2004 that Merritt and his Magnetic Fields finally got around to making i, a collection of songs that begin with the aforementioned vowel. Distortion followed in early 2008; shortly thereafter, Merritt set to work on an acoustic folk-influenced album, Realism, which was released in January 2010.
Paul Westerberg and The Replacements Spotify Playlist
1.I Will Dare
3.It's A Wonderful Lie
5.I Don't Know
8.As Far As I Know
9.Love You In The Fall
The Replacements initially formed in 1979, when Paul Westerberg joined a garage punk band formed by brothers Bob (guitar) and Tommy Stinson (bass) and drummer Chris Mars. Originally called the Impediments, the Minnesota residents changed their name to the Replacements after being banned from a local club for disorderly behavior. In their early days, they sounded quite similar to Hüsker Dü, the leaders of the Minneapolis punk scene. However, the Replacements were wilder and looser than the Hüskers and quickly became notorious for their drunken, chaotic gigs.
Spoon Spotify Playlist
1.The Beast And Dragon, Adored
4.I Turn My Camera On
7.Don't You Evah
8.Sister Jack(Piano Demo)
9.Rhythm & Soul
10.I Summon You
Hailing from Austin, TX, Spoon originated in 1994 as a collaboration between Britt Daniel (vocals/guitar) and Jim Eno (drums) and a rotating cast of supporting players. Their hybrid of indie and punk resulted in a number of Sonic Youth and Pixies comparisons after the release of their 1996 debut album, Telephono. Spoon toured with the likes of Pavement, Guided by Voices, Silkworm, and Archers of Loaf before their Soft Effects EP was released in 1997. Following an ill-fated move to Elektra Records, which found them being dropped from the label following the issue of their third album, A Series of Sneaks, in 1998, Spoon went the indie route with a handful of 7" singles and the Agony of Laffitte EP in 1999. In fall 2000, the Love Ways EP was released on Merge, paving the way for spring 2001's full-length Girls Can Tell. The album was a critical success, ending up at or near the top of many best-of-2001 lists. Spoon released the more musically adventurous follow-up Kill the Moonlight in August 2002. The band opted for a bigger, darker sound on 2005's Gimme Fiction. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga -- which was named after the melody of one of the album's songs, "The Ghost of You Lingers" -- mixed unusual instrumentation and nods to Motown and soul, and was released in summer 2007. The 2009 single "Got Nuffin" hinted at the rawer, brasher approach of Spoon's next album, Transference, which arrived in early 2010.
The National Spotify Playlist
7.So Far Around The Bend
8.You've Done It Again, Virginia.
9.The Geese of Beverly Road
Setting up their tunes on a creative territory amid American electric rock and indie rock's mellowest tunes, the National ultimately present melodious and inspiring compositions also enlightened by a set of influences, including country-rock and even British pop/rock. Originally coming from Ohio, the band eventually formed in New York in the late '90s, with a five-piece lineup, embodied by brothers Scott (guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums), Aaron (bass) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), and by vocalist Matt Berninger. Following a series of live presentations, the group eventually managed to enter the studio to record their first record. The National, their debut and self-titled album, hit the record stores in 2001, achieving considerable acclaim. The Ohio natural crew then continued to play on several live shows, eventually securing a growing fan base. In 2003 the group released Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, a deft blending of alternative country and chamber pop, followed by the EP Cherry Tree in 2004. The following year the band signed with Beggars Banquet and released Alligator. The National returned in 2007 with Boxer, an ambitious effort that featured orchestration by the Clogs' Padma Newsome and Sufjan Stevens on piano.
Sufjan Stevens Spotify Playlist
1.To Be Alone With You
2.For The Widows in Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti
3.John Wayne Gacy. Jr.
4.Dear Mr Supercomputer
5.Decatur, or round of applause for your Step-Mother!
7.Once in Royal David's City
8.Casimir Pulaski Day
10.The Dress Looks Nice on You
A singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Detroit-born Sufjan Stevens started venturing into the music world while attending Hope College as a member of Marzuki, a folk-rock band based in Holland, MI. Following the release of two full-length albums with the group, Stevens decided to go solo in late 1999, investing fully in a career that was waiting to shine by itself. Sun Came, his debut album, appeared in 2000, confirming his superior musical command, complex instrumentation, and sparkling melodies. The promotion of the disc included playing on the road with the Danielson Famile, with whom he began regularly working. The heavily electronic Enjoy Your Rabbit, a song cycle concerning the animals of the Chinese zodiac, hit record stores in 2001, followed in 2003 by Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lake State, a 15-track conceptual piece produced and performed by Stevens -- he played over 20 instruments -- that placed his home state under the writer's microscope. Despite the record's narrowed focus, it was among the best reviewed that year and made many critics' year-end lists. In 2004, Stevens released his follow-up, Seven Swans, a thoughtful, spiritual, and quasi-mystical collection of stand-alone songs produced by Danielson Famile mastermind Daniel Smith.
Stevens returned to his ambitious "states" project in 2005 with the epic Illinoise (extended title: Sufjan Stevens Invites You To: Come on Feel the Illinoise), which became one of the best-reviewed album of 2005, spawning accolades both regional and international -- it was also smacked with a lawsuit concerning the depiction of DC Comics icon Superman on the cover, who was eventually covered by a balloon sticker and subsequently removed from further pressings. The 21-track Avalanche: Outtakes & Extras from the Illinois Album and the five-disc Christmas box set Songs for Christmas arrived in 2006, followed in 2007 by the instrumental BQE, a self-described "symphonic and cinematic exploration of New York City's infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway" that was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music and performed on three consecutive nights (November 1-3, 2007) in front of a film shot by Stevens, who had officially relocated to New York in 2000. Run Rabbit Run, a version of 2001's Enjoy Your Rabbit performed by the Osso String Quartet, and a recorded version, BQE, arrived in October 2009.