Alt & Indie AOTW
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12-24-2004, 08:19 AM
Louder Than Bombs
The Smiths are widely known to be one the best and most original bands to come out of England, and in particular, Manchester in the 80?s. The Smiths were formed in 1982, when Johnny, who was then writing reviews for a local newspaper was looking for a lyricist and suggested getting together and forming a band with Morrissey. They settled on the name Smiths, as a response against each and every one band who chose problematical names to highlight their music. To finish the band, they recruited Marr's schoolmate Andy Rourke as their bassist and Mike Joyce as drummer. With a loyal fan base then, the fans of The Smiths have also been raved about Morrissey?s solo work for the past 10-15 years. The main hype towards the Smiths, is mainly due to Morrissey?s flowing, poetic, political lyrics which at times highlights the working man?s life in Manchester impeccably. And Marr?s own unique, charismatic and appealing style of riffs and progressions on guitar. Rourke, and Joyce shouldn?t be underestimated in their own field either?..
Louder Than Bombs is be a compilation of the Smiths work from 1984-87. 20 of the 24 tracks appeared on previous albums including, what some people say is their finest work: debut album The Smiths and The Queen Is Dead. And this isn?t the only compilation they?ve done, oh no, Hatful of Hollow and mostly b-sides album The World Won't Listen were released when the band were still together. After their spilt in 87, three ?best of? (Best I Sep. ?92, Best II Nov. ?92 and The Best of Sep. 2001.) a singles collection (simply named Singles May ?95) and a live album (Rank Sep. ?88) were all released.
best songs on the album?
This Night Has Opened My Eyes This, in my opinion is one of Marr?s great songs. It starts with a typically reggae style guitar riff, and gradually thorugh the song, you can tell what a great writer he is. On my first listen to it, the riff that kicks in later, grabbed me in no other way a song has before. Definitely on of the LTB highlights.
Heaven Knows I?m Miserable Now Maybe of the most well known Smiths? songs, and probably one of the few where both Morrissey?s and Marr?s brilliance is shown in the same song. The word for this is ?catchy?. Catchy lyrics, riff, vocals and bass-line makes it an almost prefect song.
Hand In Glove This was the Smiths first ever release, when Rough Trade made ?Hand In Glove? a one-off single in 1983. Back then, critics called it one of the finest love songs in modern years, and is typical of early Morrissey lyrics, and typical of the album.
so, if you're wanting to get into the smiths, get either this album or The Queen Is Dead
this album was made by:
Morrissey ? Voice
Johnny Marr ? Guitars
Andy Rourke ? The Bass Guitar
Mike Joyce ? The Drums
and it was produced by:
John Porter, Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Stephen Street and The Smiths
Words by Morrissey. Music by Johnny Marr, except Track 14 by Twinkle.
12-30-2005, 08:40 AM
Before I start, I should add that this band is quite possibly one of my all-time favourites and while I have tried to be unbiased in the reviewing of this album, I obviously have failed; mainly due to my love for this band, and also the singer who yes, is extremely beautiful and yes, I have met and hugged him :)
AOTW: Athlete- Vehicles & Animals
Released: April, 2003
Vocals, guitar: Joel Pott
Bass, backing vocals: Carey Willetts
Keyboards, backing vocals: Tim Wanstall
Drums, backing vocals: Steve Roberts
Record label: Parlophone
Background info to the band
Formed in south-east London originally in the mid-nineties as teenagers, the four members spent years playing in underachieving bands (thought admittedly, not together in one band) and putting off day jobs (including skate shop owners, and being gardeners!) for a life of music. In 1999 the four friends came together, under the name Athlete and, taking inspiration from American bands such as the Flaming Lips and Grandaddy, they began to record new material for the Regal Recording label. Their Athlete EP was released in early 2002, with the leading track ?Westside? which set the foundation blocks for the electro-synthy-keyboard-driven sound with huge, swooping choruses (following of course the amazing acoustic opening). The meaning behind this generally fantastic song takes a sly swipe at the herd mentality of the music biz of the time. Oh yes. The explosion and immediate snapping up of this band following this EP was fairly? subtle, shall we say, but they were indeed offered a major label recording contract with Parlophone Records, who no doubt realised the incredible potential of this band and were eager to claim them for their own, perhaps indeed hoping to replicate the success of another of their signings: Coldplay.
2003: New Band On the Block
As Q magazine wrote at the time: ?being in a band is less fun than ever before: one flop album and it?s back to finding door handles for disgruntled Homebase customers, while the music industry?s own, spectacularly higgledy-piggledy finances mean that should you fluke a hit single, you?ll be in more debt than when you started? (quote, pg. 99, Q Magazine, issue 202, May 2003, the one with Madonna on the cover, yes I still have it from nearly 3 years ago: I have almost all the Q mags dating back to the year 2000 :cool: ). Anyway, so it was a risk for Athlete to be taking in this time of the ever increasingly grinding and pressurising music industry. They did not have the ?typical sound? for a band that is destined to sell albums by the bucketload. However, it?s very tempting to dub ?Vehicles & Animals? as a minor British pop classic. I hesitate to say Britpop, because to me, that suggests the 90s, Blur, Pulp, etc. Athlete I don?t think are really too similar to either of these bands at all. Who are they similar to? Hard to say really, because there?s no-one else comparable! Nah, they?re just? hard to place. So take a listen and see for yourself :D
Vehicles & Animals: What?s It All About?
?Vehicles & Animals? is a very British album with a slightly odd sound, which as far as I know is the best in the world (in my own opinion of course). The British-ness of the lyrics, the vocals and of course the musicianship it what gives the album its quirkiness, and perhaps? its quaintness? It is virtually indefinable in terms of genre- although I personally like to settle for the genre of unbelievably fantastic- due to it?s great variability within not only the album, but also the very tracks themselves. It?s a mixture of indie, rock and gold ol? pop music. This is beautiful :)
?Vehicles & Animals? is a success of subtle experimentalism, box-twiddling electronic trickery and brightly optimistic pop usage. "You Got the Style" tackles racial unrest in multicultural London with a sunbeam of pure positivity, frontman Joel Pott singing "We should be laughing about it / Making the most of the true British climate" as Tim Wanstall's synth-lines bounce like stray beach balls bouncing down the street on a busy summers day :)
Athlete are specialists in their neon bright sing-along choruses (El Salvador, Westside, Beautiful, et cetera), but with an approach oh so pretty and shy and tentative. They are the sort of songs you would take on holiday to the beach were they real live people, but seen as they are unfortunately only sounds on a disc, I?m afraid we must all make do with simply listening to them in our cars, or CD players, or mp3 players. The songs are not only infectious, but there is no cure for them. Once you listen to them once, you?ll want to listen to them some more, and more, until, like me, you are completely taken over. You sing along without realising you even knew the words. You smile when you listen to them without knowing why. The rain will stop falling when this CD is on because of it?s pure uplifting-ness and general optimism of all things ever to be created.
The subjects of the tracks vary of course, what album has all songs about the same thing? (Except of course, Mariah Carey?s). The title track, Vehicles & Animals is inspired by the nephew of singer Joel, and carries the breeze of childhood innocence. The touch of British class is clear on Dungeness, amongst others, with a whimsical song of going away on holiday with friends. With a guitar solo. Oh, life is good.
There are moments on this album where one thinks ?is this still the same CD that I put on earlier?? For example, on track number 9, ?Out Of Nowhere? there?s almost an underground rap feel to it, with its garage beats and vocals some have compared to Mike Skinner of the Streets. It also ends up with the shouting of ?Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!? on this song. It is not one to be missed. And ?Le Casio? is of course probably the most epic thing since? Bohemian Rhapsody.
So to sum up!
?Vehicles & Animals? is as bright and breezy as a beautiful sunny morning at the coast, sure to blow away your cobwebs and leave you smiling and happy.
Thank you for reading. I apologise for my perhaps forceful nature of imposing this band on you. But if after reading this you at least feel slightly interested to hear this incredible band, I will feel very happy indeed. And someday I will write a Part II to follow this up, with a review of their second album, Tourist.
I would post their Myspace link, but unfortunately I don?t think they have one. And all the unofficial ones I can find just have tracks from their second album which is not as good as this one you have just been reading about :)
www.amazon.com or www.amazon.co.uk offer free song samples, but if you would like a full mp3 song please feel free to PM/email me with requests, and I can email/MSN a track over. Or else go and buy the album, it?s only £5.97 on Amazon! And I?ve seen it in like HMV for only a fiver as well! Bargain!
03-12-2006, 11:30 PM
Firstly I'd like to thank everyone for reading what will hopefully be the first of many AOTW's written by me. I have tried to stay as objective and unbiased as possible.
AOTW: Jeff Buckley - Grace
Released : August 23rd, 1994
Backing band :
Michael Tighe - Guitar
Gary Lucas - Guitar ("Mojo Pin" and "Grace" )
Mick Grondahl - Bass
Karl Berger - Strings
Loris Holland- Organ
Misha Masud - Tabla
Matt Johnson - Drums/Percussion
Record Label : Columbia
Some background info on Buckley:
Buckley was born November 17th, 1966 of Mary Guibert and Tim Buckley and Died May 29th, 1997. Buckley's father being an acclaimed singer / songwriter, and his mother a Pianist, he was exposed to music at an early age. Whilst in his late teens Buckley studied and graduated from the Musicians Institute's two year course in Los Angeles.
His debut as a singer came at a memorial service for his father, Tim Buckley. Jeff was not billed as a performer, preffering to use the performance to pay respects to the father that he never knew, and not as a springboard to fame. He performed with Gary Lucas who incidently wrote the music to two songs "Grace" and "Mojo Pin"
Meanwhile Buckley had become a regular performer at a cafe Sin-e p (pronounced shin-ay), he attracted the attention of Columbia Records and the rest is history .
Current Public Perception:
Buckley is seen as somewhat of a cult figure in todays music scene, admired by many for both his legend and his music, Buckley would have most likely wish to have been remembered for his art alone, as he once sang to a french audience at the Olympia in Paris, "Remember me ... Forget my fate... "
Grace : The Debut Album
On August 23rd 1994, Grace was released to the American public, like so many other classic albums Grace fared poorly in the sales department, despite recieving widespread critical acclaim indeed it is still heralded as one of the best albums of the 90's and has been in many greatest album charts.
Thoughout the albums 10 tracks, Buckley's voice stands out, treated as an instrument in its own right, his vocals glide effortlessly throughout the intricate guitar work whilst carefull never to infringe on it. The Guitar and Bass both do excellent jobs of supporting this incredible vocal linel, from the various intricities on the title track "Grace", to one of my favourite's, the thumping, driving bassline on "Eternal Life" which is also serves as the albums most rebellious and angry track .
The lyrics also are worthy of much attention, Buckley was indeed a poet in his own right, these lyrics were by no means an after thought a track that trully stands out for it's lyrics is "Mojo Pin":
"the welts of your scorn, my love, give me more
send whips of opinion down my back, give me more
well it's you i've waited my life to see
it's you i've searched so hard for"
Obviously Buckley can not take credit for the lyrics of his three covers on the album, but as is sometimes the case Buckleys renditon of Hallelujah has been accepted for some time as the definetive version, I defy anyone not to feel moved apon hearing Hallelujah for the first time as Buckley laments:
"it's not a cry that you hear at night,
it's not somebody who's seen the light,
it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah"
To sum up "Grace" is an extraordinary album, one that has many stand out points, far to many for this article to explore, and they can only be experienced fully if you yourself go out and purchase the album yourself I promise you wont regret it.
I can of course provide some tracks for you to sample if you add me at firstname.lastname@example.org ( yes that is my real email adress)http://www.goodbyemag.com/may97/buckley2.jpg
03-20-2006, 10:32 AM
Again thanks for taking the time to read this AOTW, this is one of my favourite albums of all time, and inspired me to pick up the Guitar as well as the Bass.
AOTW : Radiohead - The Bends
Released : March, 13th 1995
Radiohead are :
Thom Yorke - Guitar, Vocals
Jonny Greenwood - Lead Guitar
Ed O'Brien : Guitar, Effects, Backing Vocals.
Colin Greenwood : Bass Guitar
Phil Selway : Drums
Radiohead was born in the early 90's - previously all band members had played in a band called On A Friday - , in the grunge oriented early 90's scene a the young Radiohead flourished, they were booked for gigs frequently with various record labels showing intrest, the group finally signed a 6 album record deal with EMI.
The band spent a long time trying to break into the mainstream, finally doing so with there well know single "Creep" , the band subsequently released there first album Pablo Honey and following this they released there second studio effort, The Bends.
The Bends has since been voted one of the best albums of all time on many occasions, and is said to be comedian Rikki Gervais's favourite album.
The Difficult Second Album:
The Bends was released on March 13th, 1995, it was the outcome of a particularly difficult recording session, the band was close to burning out following there hectic tour off the back of Pablo Honey and were hard pressed to better its success. The evidence of this comes from the albums title in itself, Radiohead felt they had rose to fame too quickly, and with this new found fame came a much bigger critical backlash and company pressure than theywere used to, the albums title can be seen as a tribute to this.
Since its release The Bends has garnered oustanding critical appraisal, managing to beat down Radioheads most strident critics and has also stood the test of time, remaining an important album over ten years after it was first released. The album has an alternate rock feel, gone are the post grunge songs from Pablo Honey, The Bends is the start of Radioheads, rise to legendary status among there peers.
The album flows perfectly, from the synth intro of Planet Telex, past Fake Plastic Trees ( a song written for a world of mass marketing and quick fixes ), onto one of the albums stand out and darkest points, Street Spirit.
The Bends is a fine album and a showcase of Radioheads early talent, it shows that the band don't need all the technical wizadry they have now to pull of a great album, and is perhaps the album with the greatest look at Radioheads lives.
Anyone wishing to hear clips from this album can add me on msn at email@example.com
Fun Facts :
- Fan's of the Bends Include :Rikki Gervais, Tommy Lee.
- Jonny Developed RSI during the albums creation.
- The version of "My Iron Lung" on the Bends was actually taken from a live performance. Radiohead couldn't come up with a version they liked in the studio, but performing it live on tour they nailed it, so they cleaned it up in the studio and just put it on the album.
-If you listen to Planet Telex, Thom's singing is a little more slurred than usual, thats because he was lying on the floor drunk when he recorded the singing for it with the mike lying next to him.
-Fake Plastic Tree's distorted guitar comes in half a bar to late, this was kept on the album because the band felt it sounded better.
Tab : The Bends ... Clickity (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/r/radiohead/the_bends_album_ver2_crd.htm)
03-27-2006, 05:09 PM
Thanks again for reading this I'v chosen this AOTW as I love the band and wanted to vainly try and follow in the footsteps of Jallas's excellent work on there first album.
AOTW : Athlete - Tourist.
Released : Jan 31st, 2005.
Label : Parlophone.
Joel Pott - Guitar, Vocals.
Carey Willets - Bass, Backing Vocals.
Tim Wanstall - Keyboards, Backing Vocals.
Stephen Roberts - Drums, Backing Vocals.
Athlete have been together since 1999, friends since the age of 14 they have taken there wide ranging musical influences and produced a band quintisentially British, a distinct take on Britpop.
They released there first album Vehicles and Animals, in Spring 2003, the album garnered favourable if not amazing reviews as well as a Mercury Prize Nomination, it set them on a distinct path in the music business, never completely turning into the mainstream, instead staying just out of its reach to achieve a lasting appeal.
That appeal didn't fade away as there second album Tourist went straight to number one, following the massive success of the single Wires .
Tourist has carved Athlete a slightly different sound, the album is much more sombre, obvious influences being Coldplay, the album is predominantly piano driven, and again they have used there obvious ability to create countless hummable chorus's.
Despite this more mature sound I feel Athlete have lost something, the instant accessability of Vehicles and Animals has all but dissapeared, to truly apreciate Tourist, you have to be in for the long haul, you have to constantly fight the urge to skip the songs to there hits, once you have fought that urge though, and gave the album its fair chance, it stands up to Vehicles and Animals, and its more mature lyrics, and song structures truly shine through.
The album itself is solid enough, it doesn't shine as much as Vehicles and Animals, but it was always going to be hard to follow through on such an impressive debut. Most importantly for me the album shows future promise, Athlete are a band that have managed to achieve success, and keep the intimate feeling only smaller venues can afford. Athlete are a band that are growing and developing, lets just hope that album number three can beat back some of there most ardent critics.
Track Listing :
2. "Half Light"
4. "Trading Air"
6. "If I Found Out"
7. "Yesterday Threw Everything At Me"
8. "Street Map"
9. "Modern Mafia"
10. "Twenty Four Hours"
11. "I Love"
Anybody wanting Tracks from this album can add me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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