Closed indefinitely

•July 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s likely to be a long time before I have a use for this blog again. I may begin publishing reviews on my dad’s in-development site, and there’s no word on me being invited to a certain indie video site like I was expecting. So for now, this is just here for archival purposes.

Ratings list (constantly updating! Now with Cabaret Voltaire and more!)

•May 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

–Favorite Artists–

They Might be Giants
Elvis Costello (and the Attractions)
XTC
Pink Floyd
Primus
The Clash
Kraftwerk
Public Image Ltd.
David Bowie
Joy Division
Bauhaus
Beck
The Jam
Peter Gabriel
NEU!
Gang of Four
Gary Numan
Rage Against the Machine
Ministry
Revolting Cocks
The Smiths

–Albums I Would Rate/Have Rated 5/5 (plus a corresponding letter grade)–

Bauhaus – Mask (A)

The Beatles – Revolver (A)

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (A-)

The Beatles – Abbey Road (A-)

(NEW) Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (A-)

Beck – Mellow Gold (A)

Beck – Odelay (A-)

Beck – Mutations (A)

(NEW) The Birthday Party – Prayers on Fire (A)

David Bowie – The Man Who Sold the World (A+)

David Bowie – Station to Station (A+)

David Bowie – Low (A)

David Bowie – “Heroes” (A-)

David Bowie – Lodger (A-)

Can – Ege Bamyasi (A+)

The Clash – The Clash [US and UK] (A)

The Clash – Sandinista! (A-)

Elvis Costello – My Aim is True (A+)

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – This Year’s Model (A)

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Armed Forces (A+)

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Get Happy (A-)

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Imperial Bedroom (A+)

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Blood & Chocolate (A)

(NEW) The Damned – Machine Gun Etiquette (A)

Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (A-)

Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (A-)

The Doors – The Doors (A)

The Dukes of Stratosphear [XTC] – Chips from the Chocolate Fireball (A+)

Echo & the Bunnymen – Crocodiles (A-)

Echo & the Bunnymen – Heaven Up Here (A-)

The Fall – Perverted by Language (A-)

John Foxx – Metamatic (A)

Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (3: Melt) (A-)

(NEW) Gang of Four – Entertainment! (A)

Chris Isaak – Heart Shaped World (A-)

Chris Isaak – Forever Blue (A-)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced? (A)

The Jam – Sound Affects (A)

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy (A-)

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures (A)

Joy Division – Closer (A)

Kraftwerk – Autobahn (A+)

Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express (A+)

Kraftwerk – The-Man Machine (A-)

Kraftwerk – Computer World (A)

Kraftwerk – Tour de France Soundtracks (A-)

Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool (A-)

NEU! – NEU! 75 (A)

Nine Inch Nails – Broken (EP) (A-)

Gary Numan + Tubeway Army – Replicas (A)

Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (A-)

Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother (A)

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (A-)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (A)

Pink Floyd – Animals(A)

Iggy Pop – Lust for Life (A-)

Iggy & the Stooges – Raw Power (A+)

The Primrose League – Letters to Cyril Connolly (A) http://primroseleague.co.uk

Primus – Pork Soda (A-)

Primus – Brown Album (A-)

Psychic TV – Hell is Invisible, Heaven is Her/e (A-)

Public Image Ltd. – Metal Box (A)

Public Image Ltd. – Flowers of Romance (A)

Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine (A)

(NEW) R.E.M. – Reckoning (A)

(NEW) R.E.M. – Lifes Rich Pageant (A)

Silver Apples – Contact (A-)

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Kaleidoscope (A)

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Juju (A)

(NEW) The Smiths – The Smiths (A)

(NEW) The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow (A)

(NEW) The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs (A-)

The Smiths – The Queen is Dead (A)

Sparks – Kimono My House (A)

The Specials – The Specials (A)

(NEW) Talking Heads – Talking Heads: 77 (A)

Talking Heads – Remain in Light (A)

They Might Be Giants – They Might Be Giants (A)

They Might Be Giants – Apollo 18 (A-)

Tones on Tail – Pop (A)

The Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground & Nico (A)

The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat (A)

The Velvet Underground – VU (A)

Tom Waits – Closing Time (A)

Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones (A)

Tom Waits – Rain Dogs (A)

Tom Waits – Bone Machine (A-)

Tom Waits – Blood Money (A)

X – Los Angeles (A)

XTC – Black Sea (A-)

XTC – The Big Express (A)

XTC – Skylarking (A)

XTC – Oranges & Lemons (A-)

–Albums I Would Rate/Have Rated 4.5/5–

Adam & the Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier (A-)

Bauhaus – In the Flat Field (A-)

Beck – One Foot in the Grave (2009 Reissue) (B+)

Beck – Guero (A-)

Cabaret Voltaire – The Crackdown (A-)

(NEW) Cabaret Voltaire – Micro-Phonies (A-)

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust (B+)

David Bowie – Alladin Sane (A-)

The Clash – Give ‘Em Enough Rope (A-)

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Trust (A-)

Elvis Costello – King of America (A-)

(NEW) The Cure – Three Imaginary Boys (A-)

Devo – B Stiff (EP) (A-)

Devo – Freedom of Choice (B+)

(NEW) Duran Duran – Duran Duran (B+)

(NEW) The Fixx – Reach the Beach (B+)

John Foxx – Metamatic re-release (A-)

Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (2: Scratch) (A-)

Peter Gabriel – Security (A-)

Peter Gabriel – So (A-)

(NEW) Chris Isaak – Silvertone (A-)

(NEW) Chris Isaak – Chris Isaak (A-)

(NEW) Chris Isaak – San Francisco Days (A-)

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands (A-)

John Linnell – State Songs (A-)

Joy Division – Substance (A-)

Kraftwerk – Minimum-Maximum (A-)

Ministry – Twitch (A-)

Ministry – The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste (A-)

Ministry – Psalm 69 (A-)

NEU! – NEU! (A-)

Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero (A-)

Gary Numan – The Pleasure Principle (A-) CD Reissue (B+)

Gary Numan – Telekon (CD Reissue) (B+)

The Police – Outlandos D’Amour (A-)

Iggy Pop – The Idiot (A-)

The Primrose League – Stigmata Playing Up Again (A-) http://primroseleague.co.uk

Primus – Sailing the Seas of Cheese (B+)

Primus – Tales from the Punchbowl (A-)

Primus – Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People (EP) (A-)

Public Image Ltd. – First Issue (A-)

Lou Reed – Transformer (A-)

Revolting Cocks – Big Sexy Land (A-)

Revolting Cocks – You Goddamned Son of a Bitch (A-)

Revolting Cocks – Beers, Steers and Queers (B+)

Rush – Permanent Waves (A-)

Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks (A-)

Silver Apples – Silver Apples (A-)

The Smiths – Meat is Murder (B+)

Sparks – Propaganda (A-)

Sparks – No. 1 in Heaven (A-)

Television – Marquee Moon (A-)

They Might Be Giants – Lincoln (A-)

They Might Be Giants – Flood (A-)

They Might Be Giants – Mink Car (A-)

They Might Be Giants – No! (A-)

Throbbing Gristle – The Second Annual Report (A-)

Tones on Tail – Everything! (A-)

The Velvet Underground – Loaded (A-)

(NEW) Tom Waits – The Heart of Saturday Night (A-)

(NEW) X – Wild Gift (A-)

XTC – Drums and Wires (A-)

XTC – English Settlement (B+)

XTC – Rag and Bone Buffet (B+)

XTC – Nonsuch (A-)

Albums I Would Rate/Have Rated 4/5–

Beck – One Foot in the Grave (B+)

Beck – Midnite Vultures (B)

Beck – The Information (B)

Beck – Modern Guilt (B+)

David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (B)

David Bowie – Reality (B+)

(NEW) Cabaret Voltaire – The Mix-Up (B)

(NEW) Cabaret Voltaire – Red Mecca (B)

(NEW) Chriddof – mrs egg (B+) http://www.mediafire.com/?lygnzvzu21z

The Clash – London Calling (B+)

The Clash – Combat Rock (B)

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Almost Blue (B+)

(NEW) Elvis Costello & the Attractions – All This Useless Beauty (B+)

Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses (B+)

(NEW) Gorillaz – Demon Days (B)

The Horrors – Primary Colours (B+)

Kraftwerk – Ralf und Florian (B)

Kraftwerk – The Mix (B)

Magazine – Real Life (B+)

Ministry – In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (B)

Ministry – Animositisomina (B)

Ministry – Twitched (B+)

Mono Puff – It’s Fun to Steal (B)

NEU! – NEU! 2 (B+)

Gary Numan – Telekon (B+)

Public Image Ltd. – Album (B+)

Public Image Ltd. – Happy? (B)

(NEW) R.E.M. – Accelerate (B+)

(NEW) Sparks – Indiscreet (B)

Lane Steinberg – The Return of Noel Coward’s Ghost (B+)

They Might Be Giants – Factory Showroom (B)

Throbbing Gristle – Heathen Earth (B+)

Throbbing Gristle – First Annual Report (B)

Stephen Thomas and People on Wheels – The Story So Far… (B+)

The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground (B)

Tom Waits – Mule Variations (B+)

XTC - Go 2 (B)

XTC – Explode Together: The Dub Experiments 78-80 (B)

–Albums I Would Rate/Have Rated 3.5/5–

Adam & the AntsDirk Wears White Sox (B-)

Adam & the Ants - Prince Charming (B-)

Elvis Costello – Brutal Youth (B-)

Deadsy – Commencement (B-)

Kraftwerk – Radio-Activity (B-)

Ministry – With Sympathy (C+)

Ministry – Dark Side of the Spoon (B-)

Ministry – The Last Sucker (B-)

They Might Be Giants – John Henry (C+)

They Might Be Giants – The Spine (C+)

Throbbing Gristle – 20 Jazz Funk Greats (B-)

(NEW) XTC – White Music (B-)

Television: Marquee Moon (5/5, A-) Updated

•April 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ve always liked Punk from more of a musical standpoint than ideological or otherwise, one reason I like The Clash more than the Sex Pistols. With that in mind, I find it interesting that Television influenced New York Punk as much as they did, being more poetic and melodious than their peers. Usually this direction of music is lost on me; I still haven’t listened to Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach’s Painted from Memory past “Toledo”.

What immediately impresses me and captivates me is the level of musicianship these four exhibit. Like fellow 70’s American Punk group Devo, Television had apparently been playing for years before their first record was released, (in Television’s case, since 1973). In that time, like Devo, Television had grown to master their guitars, but Devo never performed theirs in such a splendid fashion. Frontman Tom Verlaine and guitarist Richard Lloyd know their punchy chords, but they also know their way around the guitar’s frets, and they make those strings sing in almost every track (Verlaine never used distortion in his career). Best examples include leadoff track “See No Evil”, Blues-Boogie-esque number “Friction”, “Prove it” from side two’s softer numbers, and the 10 & 1/2-minute guitar classic “Marquee Moon” (which also features my two favorite guitar solos on the record). Not even East Bay Ray did such a fantastic performance on the Dead Kennedys’ debut, but then again he wasn’t two guitarists at once.

Tom Verlaine is not bad at all as a vocalist; he can be a bit of a warbler and a wailer, which grates at times, but he’s not at all a singer I had to “get used to”.

While there’s not a bad song on the record, it still gets to me that side two is softer and slower than side one, getting more romantic than before. I’ve never understood why anyone thinks it’s necessary for an energetic record (marginally as Marquee Moon is) to include slower moments; they never sit right with me. That being said, the guitars are still played expertly and beautifully. They play particularly hauntingly in “Elevation” and “Torn Curtain”, sweetly in “Guiding Light”, while almost going rock virtuoso in “Prove It” (my third favorite performance overall, as I mentioned). The prominent inclusion of pianos on this side was a little unnecessary, as they neither add nor detract from the listening experience.

As finicky a listener as I am, I was still quite impressed with Television’s debut. For all of Tom Verlaine’s romanticism, they were strong musicians and very talented guitarists. You can rue the day I stop enjoying these tracks.

[5 stars, A-]

Album Highlights: “See No Evil”, “Marquee Moon”, “Prove It”

Masterpieces of the Past – The Birthday Party: ‘Prayers on Fire’

•March 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Nick Cave is a fairly well-known singer and songwriter, his work with the Bad Seeds being critically acclaimed since they debuted. But even if you’ve heard of him, you might not have heard of his original band in the 80s, The Birthday Party. Now, with a name like that, you might expect some fairly upbeat pop music, right?
Try: “Theatrical mindfuck”.
The Birthday Party were challenging, percussive, noisy, jazzy, bluesy, howling, raucous, and all around chaotic post-punk. Sunny, they were not. And nothing quite defines why they were so damn cool than their 1981 record ‘Prayers on Fire’.

Now, when I say they were challenging, don’t take that lightly. Sure, you may get sucked in with the trebly bass-rumble and quick bass drum beats of “Zoo Music Girl”, but don’t expect the Birthday Party to be the slightest bit conventional. Even within that very first song, out of nowhere they bring in trumpets. Nobody would be expecting that, and yet it works so perfectly because it’s so out of place.

The musicianship is the number one driving force behind ‘Prayers on Fire’. The drums are big and pounding; the bass rumbles and chugs; the guitars are jagged and simple, with hints of rockabilly, (one of the more memorable performances); and yet in this context, pianos and the occassional saxophone find the perfect space to fit in. And Nick Cave, of course, makes a hell of a singer. He can howl, he can spit erotic venom, he can croon, he can channel demons. He makes Iggy Pop look like he was always sober.
The lyrical content is as theatrical as the music. Cave sings of sexual obsession, death, counting chickens, Fats Domino on the radio; he’s a strange one. Oddly enough, despite the album being called ‘Prayers on Fire’, religion isn’t one of the topics. I thought that was strange, but if you know me, you’ll know I’m glad he left it out.

To add to the challenge of listening to the record, a number of the songs don’t follow a standard rhythm. Track 4, “Nick the Stripper” is a 5/4 rhythm, track 6, “Figure of Fun” is a 6/4, and track 8, “A Dead Song” is something like 9/8. Even in the more rhythmic songs, Nick Cave still does whatever the hell he wants; he’ll spill his vocals over into places they would have put the chorus, just so he can sing more of the depraved and show off his warped sense of humor. The Birthday Party were trying to test your patience, which explains why in track 7, “King Ink”, the drums randomly start pounding away completely out of time with everything else and Nick Cave just starts freaking out.
In fact, the one song where your patience may get tested the most is “Figure of Fun”, where it honestly sounds like everyone is just freaking the fuck out. Even then, what the Birthday Party puts together still sounds awesome; it opens with a wash of white noise and guitar feedback that pops up ocassionally in the rest of the song, and you know The Jesus and Mary Chain were listening closely to that. And then more of Nick Cave’s sense of humor pops up in the lyrics, where he howls “I’m impressed by everybody, but I impress no one. It’s irritating.”

I will reiterate: ‘Prayers on Fire’ is a mindfuck. But it is so damn cool to listen to. As far as I’m concerned, it deserves the patience that you’re willing to give.

Cell (AKA Artistic Fail)

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m on Facebook, doing whatever the hell I usually do there. To the right side of the screen, I see an ad that says something to the effect of: “Are you a fan of Nine Inch Nails?” As a matter of fact I am. “Check out Cell”. On a whim, I click this ad. In the band’s description, it says, “Cell started in 2006 as a challenge to recreate and understand Industrial music. Along the way vocals were written [sic], followed by instrumentals and eventually entire songs”. They had me by my prostate.

So, I click the listen button to a song of theirs’ called “Stop This”. Their ad really couldn’t have been better phrased, because this sounded EXACTLY like Nine Inch Nails. The song format, the instrumentation, and ESPECIALLY the vocals. I’ve never heard someone sing like Trent Reznor, if not rip his entire personality off, verbatim. I listened to the other three songs they had available to hear; same deal. “A challenge to recreate and understand Industrial music”. Indeed. They recreated it, alright. And I think they understand Trent Reznor to his very essence.

I just hope, for their sake, that they develop a face of their own.

Cell’s Facebook band page: http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=cell&init=quick#!/pages/Cell/55290537818?v=app_2405167945&ref=search

The bass sounded quite cool, though.

If only I had a decent video camera

•March 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m thinking of starting a series of album reviews on my podcast entirely of lesser-known masterpieces. My reviews are primarily to advertise those exact albums, what with me being a 70’s-80’s obsessed post-punk in a wash of 21st-century teenyboppers and rare exceptions. This country’s music tastes suck. So, listen in to the podcast at http://ustream.tv/channel/fatty-time for my review segment, if you liked my positive reviews. I’m pretty much done doing the negative ones.

If I had a video camera, I could do those on my YouTube/Blip channels. It’s the kind of thing that’s perfect for those that like TGWTG.com.

Top 5 Favorite – Bands/Artists

•February 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A menagerie of favorite bands and artists.

Post-Punk

5. Tones on Tail

4. Gang of Four

3. Bauhaus

2. Public Image Ltd.

1. Joy Division

Punk Rock

5. The Sex Pistols

4. Dead Kennedys

3. The Damned

2. X

1. The Clash

New Wave/Punk

5. Devo

4. The Police

3. The Jam

2. XTC

1. Elvis Costello & the Attractions

Alternative Rock

5. The Jesus and Mary Chain

4. The Smiths

3. Primus

2. Beck

1. They Might Be Giants


Protopunk

5. The Stooges

4. The Doors

3. Can

2. NEU!

1. The Velvet Underground

Progressive Rock/Art Rock/Experimental

5. Can

4. Pink Floyd

3. Tom Waits

2. Peter Gabriel

1. David Bowie

70’s – 80’s Synth/Electronic

5. Throbbing Gristle

4. Sparks

3. John Foxx

2. Gary Numan

1. Kraftwerk

 
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