Tag Archives: Album Recommendations

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 14

MC5 – The Anthology: 1965-1971

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Partly recommending the anthology to ensure you get the uncensored version of “Kick out the Jams,” but also because there are a lot of other really excellent—and weird—tracks on here. I say weird because in a weird way, the underground importance of “Kick out the Jams” has kind of served to obscure how bizarre this band could actually be.

“Shakin’ Street,” “Tonight,” “American Ruse”—these are songs that could only have come from a few select brains …

Mainly tho, the anthology just hits on LOTS of what we expect from the MC5; jams. Loud, insane, oddly funky, and furiously revolutionary jams.

Kick ’em out.


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 13

Ministry – The Land of Rape and Honey

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Well, given that it’s Friday the 13th, seems only appropriate that I recommend one of the most frighteningly intense albums ever made.

 

 


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 12

Townes Van Zandt – Rear View Mirror

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Honestly, it’s an impossibly choice, but if I HAD to choose a favorite TVZ album, I think it might actually be this obscure little gem.

It was recorded live, with elegantly minimal and perfectly complementary accompaniment from fiddler Owen Cody and guitarist Danny Rowland, and it includes a significant selection of Townes’ greatest songs, but most importantly, the artist himself is seemingly at just a perfect point to be delivering this material.

No longer the hopelessly youthful and sweet-voiced innocent, not yet the shambolic, booze-thickened wreck of later years—no, what you ever here is simply maturity and mastery.

Virtually every song here is just bone-chillingly beautiful; it’s extraordinary that one man could contain such vast amounts of haunting beauty within him—sadly, he couldn’t, actually, and that’s understandable when you here things like “Our Mother The Mountain” as it appears on this album. It’s literally TOO beautiful. It hurts.

 


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 11

Django Reinhardt – The Classic Early Recordings

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Without question some of the most important recordings ever made in the history of jazz, the guitar, and … music.

Ted Kendall and JSP simply outdo themselves with the mastering here.

These are 5 CDs that no jazz fan, no guitar fan, and no music fan should be without.


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 10

Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners

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100 years ago today, Thelonious Sphere Monk took bodily form in the oxygen around our earth.

Monk is the champ.

This is one of the Top 5 most important jazz albums ever recorded.

My favorite Thelonious Monk quote:

“Everyone is influenced by everybody but you bring it down home the way you feel it.”

Deep bows, Thelonious Monk. Deep bows.

 


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 8

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Bad Reputation

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You don’t dig Joan Jett, man, I can’t do a thing for ya.

There’s a whole lots of bodies strewn by the side of the road, people who believed in that whole three-chords-and-the-truth shit. Turns out, not every idiot with a guitar, a fake book, and a notebook has somethin’ worthwhile to say.

Truth is, straight up guitar rock is hard to do.

Who did do it well? The Ramones of course. The Replacements. Husker Du. The Stooges. MC5. Then of course there’s early Kinks. Early Costello.

Joan Jett looms large over it all. Nothin’ fake, nothin’ phony, nothin’ wrong. Just straight up strength, song to song. Heart on the sleeve, pick on the strings, sweat on the brow, mouth at the mic, strap slung slow.

Joan Jett rocks, man. She rocked then, she rocks now. This is where it began, and it’s still goin’.

You don’t dig Joan Jett, man, I can’t do a thing for ya.

 


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 7

Chris Whitley – Perfect Day

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A National Resophonic is like a Villanelle. It’s a complicated form that does not yield beauty easily. One must work it, test it, twist it, push it, do battle with it, wring it and wring it and wring it, and force it to give forth its magic.

It is uniquely depressing and heartbreaking to have to listen to someone recycle ghastly 12-bar cliches on a National. It’s shameful.

Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” is probably the most well-known example of a Villanelle, and it is a poem that evidences both extraordinary craft, and extraordinary beauty:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This is what composing and performing with a National Resophonic should be and do; there should be extraordinary beauty brought forth through extraordinary craft.

Chris Whitley did not simply PLAY National Resophonics. He brought beauty forth with them, through extraordinary craft. Nowhere is this more evident than on this album. Strangely, because these are covers, we feel this truth even more deeply—we KNOW these songs, and yet … do we?

What Chris does on this album is simply staggering. He wrestles from his Nationals something only the very few achieve—singular beauty.


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 6

Chris Whitley – Living with the Law

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I first heard this album shortly after it was released, and it was a revelation; I felt as if I just understood it immediately, understood him, understood the music, understood the songs, and I just loved the whole experience of listening to this incredible piece of work.

It would be years before I’d meet and share stages with Chris, and I’d of course come to find out this album wasn’t exactly a “pure” expression of who he really was, but while I felt I understood why that was so, that realization hasn’t changed or dampened my affection for this record—I still love it.

He was just such a badass at this stage of the game. Somehow—and with no small measure of courage—he seemed to get more vulnerable as he matured as an artist, whereas here, he’s on the edge of brazen, a bit macho, slightly venomous, just a really tautly coiled and intense cat.

The Malcom Burn touch is all over this thing, and while it may have been a bit of a box to escape, it’s a beautiful sonic box all the same.

Living with the Law, Big Sky Country, Kick the Stones, Make the Dirt Stick, Poison Girl … the list goes on. They’re just killer songs—fully-formed in a way that not all of his later work would be. I’m grateful for everything Chris created, and while some of his later work ranks as his best, this album will always hold a real special place in my heart.


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 5

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Long After Dark

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Find me a guitar player that says he/she doesn’t like the Bigsby line on “You Got Lucky” and I’ll show you a liar.

Find me a guitar player who hasn’t at one time or another played the barre chord riff from “Change of Heart” and I’ll show you someone who don’t know what fun is.

Find me someone—anyone—who doesn’t love at least one song on this album, and I’ll pray for them.


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 4

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

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Where it all began. Hard to believe “Breakdown” was their FIRST single ever. What an announcement of intention.

 


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