A collection of posts from my original weblog...or the inscrutable rantings of a madman...could be both...

Thursday, December 14, 2000

MY ALBUMS OF THE YEAR (2000) - A PARTIAL LIST (Cont.)

Numero 5....and.....................it's a TIE:

Supergrass "Supergrass" and Yo La Tengo's "And The Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out" - I hadn't bought any of Supergrass' previous albums. I got this one as a promo, threw it in the mix at my part-time gig one day and it just grew on me. Yeah, it's the usual mixed bag of Beatles/Kinks/Bowie and a bit of Stones for good measure. The melodies are great, however, and it moves along with a pace that is mellow and rockin'--and if a song like Eon dosen't convince you this is a tight, tuneful band, then you need to go and buy The Onion's "Least Essential Record of The Year"..the A-Teens "Abba Generation" and console yourself with that. In fact, "Eon" is one of the best songs I've heard this year. It's got a beautiful, haunting melody that seriously stuck in my mind for DAYS!!

...And The 'Tengo...I think they seriously smoked a TON of kind ganga and wrote some m-e-l-l-o-w tunes. These songs drift right past you when they leave the speakers. As usual, ultra-killer production that also manages to sound very thrown-together..tres-indie. The lyrics concern relationships...meeting, getting-together..trying to keep it together for the long haul--and they're probably thinly-veiled references to Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley's marriage. They're also universal sentiments that could speak for anyone who's been there. C-Dog, a known 'Tengo aficiando, didn't like this one too much. I have to say that it is startling to hear them so.....quiet....but I give 'em props for turning the amps down and making a near-ambient rock record.

No. 5-1/2: An EP (that's why it dosen't get a full number..) by Brave Captain..also known as Martin Carr--the former guitarist for the Boo Radleys. I won this from eBay in an auction from a kind chap in England. It's too bad he (Martin) waited this long to make more music after the Boo Radleys broke up in '98. This stuff is amazing...ramshackle but polished production (similar to Yo La Tengo's asthetic). It's got some very strong melodies and anyone who thought Sice WAS The Boo Radleys is in for a shock. My favorite tunes are an akoostic ditty called Starfish and a melancholy slow-tempo thing called Third Unattended Bag On The Right, which sounds like Imagine-era Lennon crossed with an M.B.V. ballad, it's f*#@in' amazing! Martin's actually got a decent singing voice. Oh yeah...the EP is called Fingertip Saint Sessions--Volume 1. I think me and three people in England have listened to it. I believe there's a "Volume 2" as well..can't wait to hear it.

Saturday, December 09, 2000

MY ALBUMS OF THE YEAR (2000) - A PARTIAL LIST

No 3: Radiohead "Kid A" - As much as I hate to include an album that also appears on R.S.'s list--this is by far the strangest release to hit a top position on 'the charts'. The boys from Oxford tried to get as weird as possible within their status as new pop darlings...the songs sound empty--like they just didn't bother to finish them...keyboard figures that roll along with no attempt to frame a song, vocals that are buried in the mix or completely unintelligible and almost no guitars..aside from Optimistic (the inevitable single 'cause it sounds most like 'old' Radiohead). Doubtless they lost a lot of supposed fans who dug O.K. Computer with their stubborn avant-garde-ness, but I say screw 'em if they can't take a joke. Radiohead have always grown in a new direction with each release and this one is no exception. If you want guitars, listen to Travis...if you want out-n-out experimentalism in a mainstream framework...this is your band. How to Disappear Completely is definitely among some of the best stuff they've ever done.

No. 4: Outkast "Stankonia" - I know, I know..yet another similarity to the dreaded Rolling Stone list..I cain't hep it, tho...this disc is sooo great...the production is amazing and Big Boi and Dre hit hard with their distinctive rhyming styles..smooth flow and funny-as-hell...I don't want to say this is their Revolver..'cause I hope they've got better things to come..but this is some sort of high-water mark (by the way, the 'high' is not a pun)...a classic THC record if I've ever heard one. The only shortcomings are that a lot of the guest rappers don't fit well with B.B. and Dre's flow--they tend to take away from their respective tracks rather than add a new dimension to them. Exceptions are B-Real (from Cypress Hill) and Erykah Badu's soulful singing (can't remember the track she's on at the moment). Some of the lyrics fall into the sexist category at times...but then they'll have a track like Ms. Jackson...where they're apologizing to a girl's mother for treating her daughter badly and vowing to help raise their child. That's a rare thing, unfortunately, in the gangsta/thug rock reality..and the track also works without resorting to sappy cliches. You should check this disc out if you dig quality hip-hop. Plus, I think it's Dre..has a whole Jimi Hendrix thing going on with his look...and the disc I bought has a super-groovy psychedelic cover (I think there's 2 different covers available....) which brings the message across even more.