26 June 2008

3 x 13 Albums (Part 3, 1995)

The music from my 26th year. These were my prime going to concert years, as far as what was released on CD, it was a pretty good time for music. Grunge was already cresting, Electronica was building steam, and all the really good stuff was coming out of the UK (which seems to be the usual pattern with regards to my personal music taste).

(1)To Bring You My Love - PJ Harvey
This was the first album by the great Polly Jean that I picked up. Also saw her twice in concert that year, the first time a small show at the Mayan (I think Mad Professor was the opening act, which seems like an odd bill in retrospect), the next time she swung through Los Angeles she was playing the much larger Wiltern Theatre and had Ben Harper opening (now there's a solid double bill). Great album, still find myself listening to it frequently 13 years later, but it's not my favorite PJ album, that'd be Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. (available on ZunePass)

(2)Post - Bjork
This is a fine, fine album. Bjork at her early Bjork-iest. Not quite the crazy experimental Bjork of later years, this is my favorite Bjork album. Love her take on It's Oh So Quiet. Nellee Hooper brought a solid groove to the whole affair. Hyperballad and I Miss You are fantastic dance tracks. The remix album Telegram is also excellent (and different enough that having both isn't overkill). Another act I caught in concert a few times (though not in 95, not sure why I missed her on this tour, maybe she hadn't toured SoCal that year, don't recall). (partially available on ZunePass, all songs purchaseable)

(3)Elastica - Elastica
This album wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Part 2 list. Could have easily been recorded in '82 instead of '95, and that's not a bad thing. Solid through and through, takes a semi-punky, semi-DIY aesthetic, and rocks hard throughout. (available on ZunePass)

(4)One Hot Minute - Red Hot Chili Peppers
I like this album, a lot. Dave Navarro joining up with the Peppers seemed like a great thing at the time, a shame it didn't last too long. They'd semi-abandoned the rap-rock and funk-rock stuff of their George Clinton years and had a much harder rock style under the supervision of Rick Rubin. Loved the tour in support of this concert, they were the last band that I've seen at the Fabulous Forum, and they rocked out (though not with their 'socks' out, they were getting too old for that gimmick, I guess). (unavailable on ZunePass, available for purchase, however)

(5)The Bends - Radiohead
Yeah, great album, yeah geniuses, yeah, whatever (OK, it really deserves the praise it received that year, this album does hold up, doesn't sound dated at all 13 years later). (available on ZunePass)

(6)King - Belly
Less successful than the album that preceded it (Star), it's actually a much better album. Music tastes had changed, though, and this sort of 'college radio' sound was no longer getting the exposure it had just a few years earlier. Tanya Donnelly is incapable of doing any wrong in my book. I love me some jangly power-pop, always have, always will. (available on ZunePass)

(7)Do You Want More?!!!??! - The Roots
Hip Hop artists who actually play instruments, whoddathunkit? A solid album, their first on a major label, they'd do better later (and worse, too), but this is still a very solid effort. (available on ZunePass)

(8)Maxinquaye - Tricky
Great album, with Tricky's trademark underwater vocals. The darker side of electronica, Tricky through together some nice beats, pushed down the tempo a bit, and came up with a classic. How the hell he went from this to being an actor in The 5th Element, I'll never know. (available on ZunePass)

(9)Tigerlily - Natalie Merchant
I really do love this album, even though I probably shouldn't. A touch somnabulant at times, there's something very right about Natalie Merchant's lazily slurred delivery on this album. The best songs on this album are truly great (Carnival, Jealousy, Wonder), and some songs are just filler, but as a whole this is a very listenable album. (unavailable on Zunepass, or for purchase)

(10)Garbage - Garbage
Take three parts studio veterans, one part saucy young Scottish lass, stir in a post-grunge pot, and layer with tons of attitude and a professional glossy sheen, bake at 350 degrees and out pops Garbage. Great debut album, Shirley Manson is an unbelievably charasmatic frontwoman, and Butch Vig and friends brought rock solid musicianship to the mix. Basically a garage band, if that garage band had decades of experience and training. (unavailable on ZunePass, or for purchase)

(11)Frogstomp - Silverchair
It's pure Nirvana heroworship from a bunch of 15 year old Aussies, but they manage to rock harder than Nirvana ever did. Sometimes the ersatz version of something can be better than the original in small doses. It feels a bit manufactured, slightly inauthentic, but that doesn't keep it from being a really terrific album. (available on ZunePass)

(12)Forever Blue - Chris Isaak
Another solid effort from a very solid performer. Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing was a great track, used to great effect in Kubrick's craptacular last film Eyes Wide Shut. The rest of the album rocks, and billys the way you'd expect Chris Isaak to rockabilly. His stuff never gets old, cause it started out old from the get go. (available on ZunePass)

(13) (What's the Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis
The best Beatles album released by a couple of brothers that despised each other. The Battling Brothers Gallagher could really lay down some solid Beatles influenced tunes when they weren't busy beating on each other or drinking mass quantities of hard liquor. (available on ZunePass)

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