An Album a Day: #6 Tuesday Night Music Club

20 03 2013

Sheryl Crow | Tuesday Night Music ClubShe has always been hot right? Personally I think she has got hotter as she has got older but that’s maybe as I’ve also got older. There is also something very appealing about a hot girl that can also play guitar – am I wrong? Tuesday Night Music Club was of course Sheryl Crow’s debut album and you can see from the album cover that this is a very young Sheryl Crow.

I will also make a small confession now as this post was supposed to happen yesterday but work commitments got the better of me so I am doubling up tonight.

It’s a solid album and very reflective of it’s era of the early 1990’s, the sound is something I would simply describe as soft rock but is often pigeon-holed as pop rock or country rock, for me there is not as much a country influence as in one of my previous posts, The Jayhawks, and I would say that Sheryl is much more effective in her song writing and delivery with a more rounded sound that is not afraid to try something different like in Solidify which has a sound and tempo very reminiscent of funk.

A couple of very famous tracks were born out of this album with Run, Baby, Run and All I Wanna Do gaining a lot of radio airplay and were more the Sheryl Crow sound that we grew to love.

A good solid album with some excellent tracks that really gives a picture of the early 1990’s and where fashion and style were going.

Album Score: 7 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork: 7 out of 10

Really good sleeve (internally) not so sure about the photo of Sheryl on the front though, very late 80’s in it’s styling! All the lyrics re-produced which is always a bonus.

Track Listing:

  1. Run, Baby, Run
  2. Leaving Las Vegas
  3. Strong Enough
  4. Can’t Cry Anymore
  5. Solidify
  6. The Na-Na Song
  7. No One Said It Would Be Easy
  8. What I Can Do For You
  9. All I Wanna Do
  10. We Do What We Can
  11. I Shall Believe

Favourite Track: Run, Baby, Run

Tomorrow’s Review: Undertow – Tool

Next Selection: Much Against Everyones Advice – Soulwax

The ‘An Album a Day’  list so far.


An Album a Day: #2 Green

15 03 2013

REM - GreenIt was those two ‘classic’ albums Out of Time and Automatic for the People that introduced me to REM in the mid-90’s and it was those two albums that then encouraged me to delve into the back catalog, hence I picked up Green.

The album was originally released in 1988 and was REM’s first major label release for Warner Bros. I always find it interesting that REM are generally regarded as an Alternative Rock band, when in fact there is more of a pop element to the music they create which is why over time they have generated so much success commercially. Almost makes me wonder if Alternative Rock is the description used for those we cannot pigeonhole into other genre’s!

Sometimes I think we forget that REM were born in the 1980’s and that sound is certainly prevalent on Green although at the same time due to Stipes vocals it is unmistakably REM.

This album has some real gems on it with the more ‘poppy’ and commercial sound of Stand and Orange Crush juxtaposed with the more sedate and laid back Hairshirt and You Are Everything. You can certainly get the indication of the direction the REM sound was moving on Green with a lot of hints of what Out of Time and Automatic for the People were going to contain.

Album Score: 8 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork:  6 out of 10

You have to remember that this album was released in 1988 and it was still in the early days of CD, it contains all the usual production notes and weirdly the whole lyric for World Leader Pretend but nothing of the other tracks.

Track Listing:

  1. Pop Song 89
  2. Get Up
  3. You Are the Everything
  4. Stand
  5. World Leader Pretend
  6. The Wrong Child
  7. Orange Crush
  8. Turn You Inside-Out
  9. Hairshirt
  10. I Remember California
  11. 11

Favourite Track: I Remember California

Tomorrow’s Review: Your New Favourite Band – The Hives

Next Selection: Hollywood Town Hall – The Jayhawks

An Album a Day: #1 Murray Street

14 03 2013

Sonic Youth - Murray StreetI approached this first review in my series with some trepidation. This is due in part to my own feelings regarding Sonic Youth. I own two albums by the New York alt rockers and neither have ever featured highly on my listening list and both just garnering a few listens over time.

I think I fell in love with the idea of Sonic Youth and what they as a band represented rather than the actual sound of Sonic Youth, which has to be said at times alternates between melodic, noisy and chaotic.

The album opens with one of the more accessible and radio-friendly tracks on the album, The Empty Page, not that Sonic Youth have ever been about being radio-friendly. Simple layered guitars with Thurston Moore’s relaxed vocals that builds to a medium tempo and a more layered bridge section before rounding off with a cacophony of noise at around the halfway point only to bring you back down to the original style of the track with some nice delicate guitar playing which explores the motif of the starting riff.

One of the biggest things about this album is the contrast not only within tracks but across tracks and also between Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon’s vocals. Gordon’s strained, off-kilter sound is none more prevalent on the very post-punk sounding Plastic Sun which at 2:14 is the shortest track on the album. I was going to be kind of defamatory towards Gordon but changed my tact, I was going to say that at times the vocal is out of key, but in fact it is not and it is just part of the way the track is supposed to build and if it was sung in any other manner it just wouldn’t work.

There is no doubt that Sonic Youth has a distinct sound that is very lo-fi in the recording technique, more about a raw sound, almost like a live recording at times, but that is what creates and adds to the appeal. I think this is most obvious in a track like Plastic Sun but also with the layering and flowing of Sympathy for the Strawberry – the last track on my version of the album. It builds magnificently, with just lovely layered guitars, drums and bass for the first 3 minutes before a very naive and innocent sounding Gordon comes in with the vocals.

Overall I have enjoyed giving this album a thorough listening to, part of what this project was about it has to be said. I don’t think it will get into my top 10 albums of all time but it is definitely growing on me.

Album Score: 7 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork:  5 out of 10

The sleeve notes are somewhat lacking with a few band and live fan pictures in the interior and the usual track listing and production notes, I like lyrics but they haven’t been re-produced on this album. I would probably have marked this lower but for the cover image of two young girls picking what looks like strawberry’s under a blue netting.

Track Listing:

  1. The Empty Page
  2. Disconnection Notice
  3. Rain on Tin
  4. Karen Revisited
  5. Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style
  6. Plastic Sun
  7. Sympathy for the Strawberry

Tomorrow’s Review: Green, REM

Tomorrow’s Selection: Your New Favourite Band – The Hives

A Little Bit Late to the Party

7 01 2013

As you grow older and other things become more apparent in life, like having a family with a young child, a mortage, bills, and a general responsibility less of your money is actually your own.

Whereas in my late teens and early twenties pretty much all I spent my money on was drinking and music now that money is put to forced use elsewhere.

XX - The XX album coverWhat I am trying to get at here is that my buying power is not what it once was with regards to new music, and in the case of The XX I am little bit late to the party. This comes from the fact that a lot of my music purchases these days come to me as gifts at either Christmas or Birthday, one of the albums I got for Christmas was the debut album by the aforementioned The XX, the album called simply, XX, was actually released in 2009 (I know that is more than a little late to the party but hey!) on the British based Young Turks label.

The band hail from London and were formed by then 15-year-olds Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim before later being joined by guitarist Baria Qureshi.

The sound is at times quite haunting and in my ears very minimalist with a lot made of some great basslines and clean, simple guitar riffs. Both Sim and Madley-Croft offer vocals on the album and although there is a distinct difference in the voices the sound and style is very similar, both have gentle, melodic voices that really do (good job really) fit the style of The XX and provide a real tingling atmosphere.

It is hard for me to pinpoint the sound and give similarities between other artists but I do hear elements of JJ72 and also hints of Esben and the Witch although not nearly as dark and gothic. Within the vocals there is some kind of whispery quality but without the problems with volume.

Many of you I am sure are already familiar with the album and most notably the track Intro which has featured hugely in the media and especially within TV soundtracks – The 2012 Xfactor anyone? But for me the two standout tracks, that I would recommend anyone to download, are Shelter and Infinity both of which offer real power and angst by a band (at the time) not far out of their teens.

I have not managed to get hold of Co-Exist the second album but I am sure when my birthday comes around in April I may be able to give it the once over.

My rating: 4 out of 5

What others have said about XX:

…make predominantly slow, furtive pop music, mostly about sex. –

…their dark and brooding debut album, refreshingly showcases a new young band which aren’t riding on any particular wave of media attention. –

Urban tales of heartbreak and adoration from four sensitive south London souls. –

What did you think of the album? Let me know in the comments.

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