The Day After: The Next Day, Three Months On.

There is hype, and then there is David Bowie’s first release in a decade hype. There is absolutely no comparison. None. Not. A. One. Thank the glam gods that it wasn’t unfounded! If your only experience with Bowie’s back-catalog comes from a “best-of” compilation a la Changes, or pseudo-staples like Ziggy Stardust, ‘Heroes’, or Space Oddity, you’ve got another thing coming. This is the 21st century, get your shit together. The Next Day, which came out March 8th on Columbia, requires context. A lot of context. Undoubtedly, critics and fans alike will be tossing around things like ‘reinventing,’ ‘revival,’ and ‘return to form’ – No. No. […]

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Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold (’12)

It’s about time someone released a half decent album that is absolutely not forward thinking. Parquet Courts’ debut LP Light Up Gold is the throwback to 90s American grunge that the music scene wasn’t aware it needed. They’re not trying to impress anyone with hip-now sounds or progressive styles. Fuck off chill-wave. Fuck off psych. Parquet Courts are here. Andrew Savage, previously of Fergus & Geronimo moved from Texas to the hipster mecca of Brooklyn, NY. Originally released on cassette, Light Up Gold has since been rereleased on What’s Your Rupture? early this year. It’s pure post-punk, garage rock pleasure […]

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Frank Sinatra – Watertown (’70)

There’s more to Frank Sinatra’s musical career than meets the eye. In 1970, he released Watertown, a concept album many consider to be his magnum opus. You read that correctly, Sinatra did a concept album. Unsurprisingly, it was a commercial failure, marking it as his only release not to break into Billboard’s top 100. Watertown is the one oddball record in Sinatra’s discography, an overlooked classic that has an entirely warranted cult following – nothing Sinatra released before or after compares. After a cursory listen the narrative seems to be a simple love story that ended badly, one that traces […]

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The The – Soul Mining (’86)

“How could anyone know me, when I don’t even know myself?” Oh there’s upbeat delivery in The The’s first studio LP, but it’s certainly not a happy message being conveyed. Frontman Matt Johnson’s solo release two years earlier, Burning Blue Soul (which is commonly mistaken as a The The release), was so negative both lyrically and sonically he was practically moving backwards in emotional development. Soul Mining sees, on the whole, Johnson lightening up a bit, or at the very least shrouding his lyrical negativity in upbeat music. The first track spells the end of Johnson’s overtly dour attitude, a la his solo work, […]

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Art Tatum – Piano Starts Here (’68)

You hear a lot about blind musicians – Amadou and Miriam, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder – yet none can claim such incredible ability and artistry as pianist Art Tatum. (Although he wasn’t completely blind, but close enough.) He pioneered a distinctive piano style, combining stride, jazz, and classical influences to create an incredibly diverse and well rounded sound – something unmistakably Tatum. If you watch him play, he stays entirely calm and controlled, yet performs with such immediacy and technical ability – it’s mind boggling. I mean, if there were an Olympic medal for fastest, most accurate piano playing, Tatum […]

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The United States of America – Self Titled (’68)

  “And the price is right, the cost of one admission is your mind” The United States of America were signed to Columbia Records before putting out material, or even playing a live show. Soon afterwords, they released this self titled psychedelic LP, their only album. They split mere months after its release. What is truly surprising about this album, is the electronic sounds (not to be confused with electronic music). As Joe Byrd, (vocals/effects) once said, “The only available functioning keyable synthesizers were Robert Moog’s, at +$20,000. We were left with whatever functioning sounds I could squeeze from three […]

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The Police – Synchronicity (’83)

You’ve been letting your feelings show, are you safe Miss Gradenko? I don’t know much about The Police. In fact, I don’t really want to. I find Sting to be unbearably arrogant and his solo work needlessly sappy. (And honestly, what the fuck is he singing about anyway? See, here). But good god, Synchronicity is amazing. Synth-y. Heavy on the bass, with some jungle beats thrown in for good measure. Cheesy yet fitting harmonies. Basic pop song structure. Miss Gradenko is phenomenal. Repetitive but phenomenal, and surprisingly written by Stewart Copeland rather than Sting. If you omit Every Breath You Take […]

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