Classic Album of the Week

Posted every other Tuesday evening BEFORE the show.

Only Classic Albums from the most recent three months are included on this page.

Older Classic Albums can be found on the original playlist pages, listed in alphabetical order here.

Click on LP covers for more info and reviews.

   

"Peacetika" by Cows (1991)
Cows "Peacetika"  1991 (USA)
Too hick for punk, too dumb for indie, too sloppy for grunge, hence they called this group "noise rock." And so politically incorrect in a smartass way! (Peep that cover art, Peacetika, get it? Or as our old pal Michael from Killdozer always likes to say "Fuck you hippie!") More ruminations on this record later!
"III" by Led Zeppelin (1970)
Led Zeppelin "III"  1970 (UK)
Spring has sprung, so here's a classic acoustic folky record from the hippy era, but also it's kinda metal. Led Zep is the type of band that defines "iconic": all four members were among the best in the biz in their respective roles, and they bowed out with a set of precisely ten classic albums (including the live one and outtakes compilation, and you must include them because ICONS!) By this point, I think the idea that Zep III is their most underrated gem is a cliche - yeah, they broadened the palette after the first two albums. Although the second side is arguably the crucial part, in that it is mostly folky acoustic music (but Bonham still makes it metal), side one is where I find the biggest buzz. Check out this immortal sequence from the golden age of seamless album sequencing: "Immigrant Song" kicks it off with a literal Viking war cry, then "Friends" is led by slide guitars playing something "Indian" until overtaken by orchestra and synthesizer, immediately into "Celebration Day" which is a truly rousing song that shoulda been one of their "hits", AND THEN "Since I've Been Loving You" is one of their finest heavy blues songs, AND THEN "Out On The Tiles" is a prog-metal riff orgy that points the way to Rush.
"On The Road" by Traffic (1973)
Traffic "On The Road"  1973 (UK)
Traffic was one of Britain's finest jazz-rock-prog combos, featuring the famous Steve Winwood of Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith, countless guest appearances all over the seventies albumscape, and "Back In The High Life Again" in the 1980's. Perhaps their most underappreciated album is this classic recorded on tour in Germany, with future Can member Rebop Kwaku Baah on board. Original other-singer-songwriter Dave Mason was long gone by this point, and the group's original jazzers (Chris Wood on reeds and Jim Capaldi the drummer) led their sound in the direction of epic songs of moods and solos, anchored by the classic Winwood voice and some trendy seventies prog rock concepts. For example, check that 15 minute version of "The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys" with the farout lyrics, sax honk-outs, spacy organ reveries, and groovin' bits (were they influenced by the krautrock of the country they were on tour in? They do sound like Can at points . . . and not just cuz Rebop). 
"Static Disposal" by Debris (1976)
Debris "Static Disposal"  1976 (USA)
This one-off, outsider proto-punk album from Oklahoma is legendary because it was on the NWW list. But you know what else? WORT has PLEDGE DRIVES where we ask for financial support, and we are one of the few radio stations that will play music anything like this! (That PLEDGE link works for donations anytime of the year - tell 'em Dave 3000 sent ya!) So anyway, Debris is a totally obscure band and I've already told you all the facts I know about them. So what does the record sound like? Well, artsy punk rock with angular riffs, frenzied rockouts, weird breakdowns, ranting and screaming, poetry recitations - i.e., when I say "punk" I don't mean mohawked Sex Pistols, I mean TRULY antisocial noisemakers like Chrome, Suicide and the mystery metal of VON LMO. But all of the weird stuff on Static Disposal has been done many times by many underground freaks over the postpunk decades, so it doesn't sound that groundbreaking in 2018 BUT >>it was recorded in 1976<< - We tend to think of the past as having been simpler, unsophisticated times but what this album teaches me is that there have been outsiders and weirdos making fascinating, uncompromising music with an original vision in the shadows for a lot longer than "indie rock" has been a concept. 
"Out Here" by Love (1969)
Love "Out Here"  1969 (USA)
Valentine's Day is a day of Love - the band that is! Arthur Lee basically fired the rest of the band (those that hadn't already quit or gone to jail) after their third album, the acclaimed baroque pop masterpiece Forever Changes. Love recorded one more album to complete their contract with Elektra records, a more electric and rocking album called Four Sail (as in "love for sale" get it?) Elektra promptly dropped the band after that record flopped, and they immediately released our COATW, a double LP on the peculiar hippie label Blue Thumb. Apparently this album merely consisted of everything else they had recorded with the new lineup while at Elektra. It is certainly not a very focused album, containing scraps of short throw-away tunes, and another song extended to 12 minutes courtesy of a boring 8-minute drum solo (the group's main brain even credits himself as "Arthurly" for added flakiness). But the highlights of this record are excellent examples of Lee's unique songwriting style and the psychedelic rock sounds of the time; in particular lead guitarist Jay Donnellan rips it up like Hendrix if he never got past the garage band stage.
"Soused" by Scott Walker & Sunn O))) (2014)
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) "Soused"  2014 (USA/UK)
Since we were focusing on new releases on the show last time, I figured we might as well induct another 21st century recording into the hall of classics. My favorite artist of the 21st century is probably Scott Walker, who just turned 75 years old this month. Formerly an incredibly strange crooner of easy listening music, but more recently the creator of indescribable avant-garde "uneasy listening" music, he has also been the governor of Wisconsion since 2010! His most recent album of songs (as opposed to orchestra music) was a collaboration with the heavy guitar drone duo Sunn O))) (which is simply pronounced "sun"), and it was my pick for the #2 best album of that year. This album is absolutely monumental, but was released the same year as the heaviest triple-LP of the 21st century to date, by Swans.
     
Click here for classic albums from more than three months ago.
          

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