Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Derek, I haven't seen an actual CD, but do have downloads Nazz and Nazz Nazz.   Both are great...I see (from allmusic) there is a good looking anthology out there as well.   I think you have a shot at finding it (or others) at Soundscapes or some such, given the Todd Rundgren connection.   

And yes, it's definitely time for a CD club.    I've got some new music to play.    And could use a beer.

So my much anticipated 1994 list.  Really, anyone who knows me (and I think you all qualify) will recognize a huge number of my standard (I've heard I can be a bit repetitive) gotta haves on this list.  

Pavement - Crooked Rain 
Sebadoh - Bakesale
Sloan - Twice Removed       
Hole - Live Through This
Guided by Voices - Bee Thousand
Weezer - self titled (blue)
Toad the Wet Sprocket - Dulcinea
Superchunk - Foolish
Blur - Parklife
Live - Throwing Copper
Luna - Bewitched
Beck - Mellow Gold
Nirvana - Unplugged
Green Day - Dookie
Sonic Youth - Experimental Jet Set
Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary 
Treble Charger - NC17
American Music Club - San Francisco
Len - Superstar
Tortoise (self titled)

Awesome list eh?  Really, undeniably one of the great years in rock and pop.

Problem is, 1993 is almost as good.   Maybe better.  

Nirvana - In Utero
Belly - Star
Dino Jr. - Where You Been  
Radiohead - Pablo Honey
Flaming Lips - Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (still my favourite record of theirs)
Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville
Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dreams
The Breeders - Last Splash
The Posies - Frosting on the Beater
Superchunk - On the Mouth
Uncle Tupelo - Anodyne
Eleventh Dream Day - El Moodio
Cracker - Kerosene Hat
Counting Crows - August and Everything After
Bad Religion - Recipe for Hate
Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen

Bloody amazing year too.   Really.   But I would tend to choose 94 based on the inclusion of Crooked Rain and Bakesale, maybe for me the two records most emblematic of the greatness of the 90's alternative rock scene.   As I write out all of these great records I still get a bit of a chill.  I remember the feeling I had at the time of being connected to the music viscerally, and yet also intellectually and profoundly.    Perhaps I knew in my heart that feeling this much of a thrill about music (one brilliant release after another) for a two year period was unlikely to last.   And to experience at the age of thirty or so was a little unexpected.   And it was probably sometime on 1997 before I realized that the magic period was over, and in a way, had been for a while.  



Monday, October 27, 2008

As we await the still to be posted definitive 1994 album list may I suggest that we are fast approaching the time for another CD club. Perhaps Mike you can participate by suggesting some records that are currently seeing air time in your world. And good luck with that October "winter" storm coming your way.

Thanks to Brian once again for that 60s comp that he handed out at the last CD club. I've been listening to the "Nazz Nazz" album by the Nazz tonight and it's a beauty. I might even have to go out and find myself a legitimate CD copy. Anyone seen this on disc?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Well admittedly, I might have been playing the role of disingenue there. If such a word exists. But it's not like me to turn the other cheek. However methinks we're getting away from the original point, which is, 1967 was a bitching year of music. As was....wait for it.....1994 (post forthcoming).

Another good blog question concerns the nexus of pop charts and good music. When (like, which year) were they most closely aligned? And why are they generally so far apart? Would top-selling albums provide a better barometer?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Picking, at random, the Billboard Top 20 from pretty much any year in the last 30 is like shooting fish in a barrel if you're looking for complete dreck. The Billboard charts have been a bellweather for nothing at all where timeless music is concerned. Take a look at 1987, 1995 or 2002 if you don't believe me. I think you're being rather disingenuous if you're trying to pump up the case for 1967 by citing "Reunited" and "The Pina Colada Song" as proof that it was a better year than 1979.

For purposes of full disclosure Le Freak, Good Times and Pop Music were some of my favourite tunes of that year. As for Heartache Tonight I think you all know how I feel about the Eagles.
A solid argument as always Mike. While I can't and won't attempt to deflect attention from the puerile qualities of our National and Provincial "songs", it's worth reminding all that 1979, with its undoubted high points, was a year when disco (Phase 1) was in its death throes - though clearly not fast enough. In fact, perhaps better to move off of this line of argument altogether, when you look at the Billboard Top 20 below, which despite the inclusion of The Knack (and I mean, c'mon, it's the Knack!) and Blondie, may be one of the worst annual top 20's in the pantheon of modern pop.

(And this is where Stuart jumps in and says "le Freak" and "I Will Survive" are great songs that he had a lot of early-teen romantic success with.)

01.My Sharona » Knack
02. Bad Girls » Donna Summer
03. Le Freak » Chic
04. Da Ya Think I'm Sexy » Rod Stewart
05. Reunited » Peaches & Herb
06. I Will Survive » Gloria Gaynor
07. Hot Stuff » Donna Summer
08. Y.M.C.A. » Village People
09. Ring My Bell » Anita Ward
10. Sad Eyes » Robert John
11. Too Much Heaven » Bee Gees
12. MacArthur Park » Donna Summer
13. When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman » Dr. Hook
14. Makin' It » David Naughton
15. Fire » Pointer Sisters
16. Tragedy » Bee Gees
17. A Little More Love » Olivia Newton-John
18. Heart Of Glass » Blondie
19. What A Fool Believes » Doobie Brothers
20. Good Times » Chic

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Great points Brian. However, if you're going to truly compare years, you have to look at the bad as well as the good. Remember that '67 was the centennial year here in Canada, which gave us two of the worst national theme songs ever penned. Both the Ca-na-da (1 little, 2 little, 3 Canadians) song AND the equally timeless Ontari-ari-ario theme were created during that year, and between them they provide a substantial but hard to quantify offset to all of the gems that you listed.
For me (and, I suppose, countless others) the 60's was in all measurable ways the most remarkable period for pop music. Such an explosion and progression over such a short period, and coming from nowhere and nothing only a few years previously. It's the end of the war twenty years later, the demographic bubble, the new order of Europe and America, all of these things and more. And like Stuart, I delved so deeply into the music in my teens that I felt like I lived it (though I do get your point Derek). It was a big part of my youth, and still some of the most important music to me on all levels.

So I thought originally that I would choose my fave 60's year based on a sort of top five approach (since there's so much music), so was thinking 1968 based on The Stones Beggar's Banquet, The Beatles White, The Zombies Oddysey, The Kinks' Village Green, and Love's Forever Changes. Wow, I thought, what a Big Five. Plus I think of 1967 as primarily the year that psychedelia peaked (just listen to the Hollies playing sitar on their release from that year....boo hiss), which while in many cases is magnificent ear candy, in my gut I know hasn't aged as well as music before and after. So I felt good about 1968.

Stupidly, I suppose, while in the afterglow of my smug I've-nailed-the-right-year state, I glanced at the release date for Forever Changes, only to find that it was actually November 1967. I was surprised. OK, I figured, that's an important record, so let's make sure that if I lob it back into 1967 it doesn't tip the scales. And a bit of research (and just giving my head a shake becase I own all these records) more than convinced me that, really, 1967 wasn't all just hype. It was an unbelievable year, and yes, quite possibly the best single year of pop and rock records.

I'll throw a few out, and if you don't have all of these records, well, for Christ's Sake go get them.

Buffalo Springfield - Again
The Doors - self-titled
The Velevet Underground and Nico
Beatles - Sgt Pepper's
Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
The Monkees - Headquarters (I kid you not this is a great record)
The Byrds - Younger than Yesterday
The Stones - Between the Buttons (plus, Satanic Majesties' Request)
J Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced
Moby Grape - self titled debut
Cream - Disraeli Gears
Pink Floyd - Piper at the Gaets of Dawn
Love - Forever Changes
Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed
The Kinks - Something Else
Traffic - Mr. Fantasy
Dylan -John Wesley Harding

Those are kind of the obvious ones, the A list if you will. There's great B List of slightly lesser knowns as well:

Ten Years After (debut)
Donovan - Mellow Yellow
Nico - Chelsea Girl (one of my very favourite records)
Mamas and Papas - Deliver
Procol Harum - self titled debut
Arlo Guthrie - Alices' Restaurant
Absolutely Free - Mothers of Invention
The Turtles - Happy Together (amazing summer pop)
Big Brother and the Holding Company (self titled debut)
Yardbirds - Little Games
The Rascals - Groovin'

Lots more too. So, there you have it, my first choice for best single year, is, predictably (but not without justification) 1967.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I will have to look back at that year (1979) as it had already led to the Buzzcocks who have been getting lots of play on my ipod lately (thanks Derek)...I seemed to have been spending the last half of the seventies getting into 60's music so i missed the sharp change from disco to punk and only caught on in the early eighties, (which meant I missed it completely as the heart of it was so brief)....thanks for some of those more obscure late 70's tips....
I did look at 71 but without a beatles album....I couldnt quite justify it....68 is great too (wherefore art thou list Brian)....I thought you would pick 67 though....
actually 1989-91 is a very similar transition.(granted that is 3 years not 1) ..from oldies like the cure(disintegration, ) Lou reed new york, morrisey (viva hate) and newcomers stone roses pearl jam 10 nirvanna (nevermind) pixies (doolittle) again it is the changing of the guard...what about 1999-2001??
In terms of 1979, great pick...one, after all, that started this whole blog trail in the first place. Hard to argue with its importance to all of us guys in our forties (Kyle may not get it though). And such great music. I would add a couple of small-ish bur great release - The Records' Shades in Bed (which I loved then); Gang of Four's Entertainment (which I learned to love later), and Rolling Stones Some Girls, which although it came out in 1978 was the record I lived with most in 1979, and which started my life long romance with British pop/rock (Romancing the Stones?). So I think 1979 works equally well as both a personal and academic take on the best year in pop.
Well, I think to a degree it's about the way the human brain tends to organize itself, compounded by media, historians etc. Nobody's talking about 1989 or 1999 as breakthroughs, though arguably the early 1990's with Nirvana etc was truly revelatory.

I thought we might get some picks for 1971, with, off the top of my head, Led Zep IV, Who's Next, Sticky Fingers, Pearl, multiple others, or 1970, with All Things Must Pass, Derek and the Dominoes, Cosmos Factory, etc.
I find it very strange that the end of each decade seemed to be a turning point for musical styles and thus was very potent because you get the older and the newer styles fighting and producing great music... its strange how all stlistic periods in fashion, auto design, interior design etc....as well as music seem to match the datelines of the decade which are such arbitrary chronilogical markers...its almost as if the style makers have one eye on the calander and so with the turning of the new decade new shit starts to happen..

Monday, October 13, 2008

Looks like you've beaten me to the punch there Mike. And you've almost stolen the very words from my mouth where 1979 is concerned. This was indeed the pivotal year in my lifelong love of music. For me this year meant so much because at the age of 16 and actually living through this transitional period in music my hunger for the new was insatiable.

I'm sure that many of you, and some already have, could make a case for a year in the 60s but I'd find it difficult to pick a year where the music, the radio play, the live scene all pre-dated my enjoyment of the records. As much as I adore the Zombies "Odyssey and Oracle" there's no personal connection with any of the tracks on the record. I'll never remember where I was or how I felt when I first heard "This Could be Our Year". I distinctly remember how I felt upon first hearing "Making Plans for Nigel" and understanding that my parents would never ever get this song.

To add to Mike's already very complete list:

Squeeze - Cool for Cats
Joe Jackson - Look Sharp
The Police - Regatta de Blanc
Blondie - Parallel Lines
The Cars - Candy-O (not as great as their debut but pretty great, the sort of reverse Strokes)
Buzzcocks - A Different Kind of Tension (the band along with the Jam that, more than the Sex Pistols, defined the late 70's UK music scene)
Cheap Trick - Dream Police
B52s - B52s
Stranglers - The Raven
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Gary Numan - Pleasure Principle
Pretenders - the album came out in 1980 but Stop Your Sobbing and Brass in Pocket were both singles in 1979
Flash and the Pan - Flash and the Pan

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I've just reviewed my own collection by year, and it seems to me that 1979 produced a nice crop of music. It was a transition time for rock as the 70's hard rock and disco bands were being supplanted by punk and new wave. But really, I'm looking at this more from the perspective of music that I enjoyed, and it probably has something to do with the fact that I was personally awakening to the world of rock in 1979. Albums from that year include:

- Breakfast in America by Supertramp
- Daman the Torpedos by Tom Petty
- In through the Outdoor (Led Zeppelin's final studio album)
- London Calling, by the Clash
- Rust Never Sleeps AND Live Rust by Neil Young
- The Fine Art of Surfacing by The Boomtown Rats
- The Wall by Pink Floyd
- Caroline Mas (not a widely acclaimed record, but one that I've always liked a lot)
- Cheap Trick at Budokan (an early favorite of mine, and the band I saw at my first concert)
- Crusader by Chris de Burgh (again, more of a personal favorite than an industry milestone)
- Rickie Lee Jones
- Queen Live Killers
- Tusk by Fleetwood Mac
- Low Budget by the Kinks
- Communique by Dire Straits

And moving beyond my personal collection of music, we have:

- Armed Forces by Elvis Costello
- Setting Sons by The Jam
- Fear of Music by The Talking Heads
- The Undertones
- Drums and Wires by XTC
- The Great Rock 'n Roll Swindle by The Sex Pistols
- Labour of Lust by Nick Lowe

It doesn't compete with '69 from a rock history perspective, I don't think. But it's one of my favorite years.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Good choice Stuart.  1969 has got to be considered one of the greatest years of all time.     Despite being two years after the release of Da Capo.    Another good record in there was The Kinks' Arthur, and Love's actual 1969 release, Four Sail.   

Interesting how it is mostly the Brits though eh?  

Though the Airplane's Volunteers, the Dead's Aoxomoxo, and Santana's great first record (Santana) were all from 69 too.    Great year of music.

I'm going to nominate 1968, 198? (let's keep that one a mystery) and yes, 1993.   Though strangely I don't remember the scene from Juno.    I'll fill in the details in a separate note.
ok so its CSN , not CSY...
a few more....from 69
Rod Stewarts first album self titled
The bands second album...The band
The allman brothers first self titled album
Blind Faith
Love da capo ( ok so its a shit album ....Brian likes it}
ok ill take this on.....1969...because it still had very good albums and or songs from previous generations and had definative albums from all the top bands that would consolidate and then define the sound for generations to come.. ()ok I knoe that sounds like an old timer on a classics radio station but you take my point...its hard to pick 80's or later bands because they are so derivative of what came before, but I am sure i will get challenged on that front )
so ;
Beatles - abbey road and arguably let it be also..
Stones let it bleed
the who - tommy
led zepillin - I and II !!!
dylan- nashville skyline ( granted not his best but highly underrated)
Neil Young- everyone knows this is nowhere
velvet underground - self titled
fairport convention- 1st 2 albums!!!!
creedence clearwater --3 fucking albums!!!!..bayou, green river and willy
nick drake- 5 leaves
presley- suspicious minds , in the ghetto....
Neil diamond- sweet caroline
Johhny cash- a boy named sue

probably more if i think about it

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I don't want to steal Derek's, um, thunder, since he's apparently dying to post on this.   But neither 1967 nor 1977 were mentioned.   Though they were both great years.   


I'm guessing this was a pissing match between 1977 and 1967, yes? Or did 1993 get into the mix, a la that scene from the movie Juno?

Elaborate, s'il vous plait.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I'm well behind on my posts, boys, just too busy these days.  Wanted to respond to Kyle's eighties post, but perhaps there has been too much water under the bridge.  Briefly though, I'll say that the eighties were a period, like the zeroes, when commercial radio was pretty weak, but in my view anyway, the various alternatives to commercial radio were very strong, and almost, though not quite, defined it as a "good" versus "bad" era in music.     I could list examples but I suspect we all know most of them.   From where we stand now, I tend to agree that the eighties doesn't stand up well versus the decades before or after.   But history re-invents these things regularly.  I distinctly felt in the eighties, that the seventies was a grim decade, other than the salvation of punk and new wave at its end.   Prog rock, disco, soft southern cali rock, and the genesis of metal in a plethora of bad "hard" rock, these were all things that the punks rebelled against, and rightfully so.  And yet, strangely, now, the seventies feel like a fertile decade of pop and rock.  

Which brings me to my next point.   Derek and I had a few the other night, and began a classic blog discussion on eras in rock music.  Ultimately we boiled it down to this: Which single year should be considered the greatest rock and pop year of all time, and which releases from that year support your argument?   

Derek had a strong opinion (a year, I mean) Friday night, and since this was his idea for a post, I'll leave it to him to expand on it, assuming Saturday morning didn't change his thinking.  I will chime in later in the week after giving the whole thing a little more thought.  

Friday, October 03, 2008

Read your post too quickly the first time, Derek. Seeing the words Ciaran and Elmo, I thought you were complaining that your only concert of the year thus far would involve an orange muppet. I was all ready with a snide comment too! (If you wanted simple song structure and childish lyrics why didn't you just get tickets to a Kimya Dawson concert? Rimshot! Your witty rejoinder: I wanted something more sophisticated. ba da dum. cymbol).

But now I realize you're talking about...Dr. Dog show. Enjoy!

And thanks for pointing the way to the gratis Mercury Rev instrumental stuff, which for some reason I suspect I'm going to enjoy more than the with-vocals new album.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Just as a follow up to the Mercury Rev posts most of you are probably aware that their new record is now available on e-music but they also have a second full-length (completely instrumental) that is available as a free download from their website.

And in the how do you know you're 45 department. This Friday night (yes October 3rd) I will be attending my first rock show of the soon to be departed 2008 at the Elmo. Shouldn't be too much longer before Ciaran has me beat in the live music department.

Has anyone seen anything live that's blown them away this year?