- The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" 1967 (UK)
featuring exclusively the music of 1967 on the show this week for
pledge drive. OK, I finally had to do this one! Released 50 years ago
this month, The Beatle's seventh studio album ia where "greasy teenage
rock 'n' roll" grew up into "Rock Music for adults, which can be ART!"
There certainly was no album released that year that was more important
than this one.
- Bob Dylan "Hard Rain" 1976 (USA)
Bob Dylan has a birthday this week, so our classic album is one of his lesser known live albums. More review coming soon.
- Three Man Army "A Third Of A Lifetime" 1971 (UK)
Review coming soon.
- Pink Floyd "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" 1967 (UK)
week is the 12th anniversary of the Kosmik Radiation show going on the
air, so CAOTW #524 is one of the most classic psychedelic albums which
has not yet been a classic album. Furthermore, this summer marks the 50th
anniversary of this record's release, and the band has just put out a
massive box set of material from 1965-1972 including many outtakes from
early albums like this one. Piper
was Floyd's debut and is the most unique album in their discography,
because it is the only one they made under the leadership of their
original singer/songwriter/guitarist, the legendary weirdo Roger "Syd"
Barrett. He basically took too much acid and became unreliable, so was
booted from the group in 1968 to be replaced by his old shoolchum David
Gilmour, establishing the classic anonymous-no-frontman lineup that
recorded so many classic albums in the 1970's.
Barrett is often compared to his contemporary John Lennon; though I
don't think you can argue that Barrett could write songs as catchy as
Lennon's pop hits, they both contributed some of the most incredibly
unconventional psychedelic songs of 1967.
Syd was also a very original guitar player, as shown most clearly on
the ten minute instrumental "Interstellar Overdrive" which is this
record's centerpiece: a chromatic riff halfway between surf-rock
and heavy metal which devolves into pure psychedelic freakout
- Black Sabbath "Sabotage" 1975 (UK)
Sabbath's greatest period was the years 1970-1975, when they released
their first six albums. They would make two more with original lead
singer Ozzy Osbourne in the late 70's, followed by a few with Ronnie
James Dio, then one in 1983 with Ian Gillan (from Deep Purple),
after which they went into a steep decline until the era of reunion
tours and albums (usually with Ozzy, but occasionally with Dio under
the alternative band name "Heaven & Hell"). The band (minus
original drummer Bill Ward) recorded an excellent final album in 2013, which was my pick for the #1 album of that year. As I said on the air at the time, it was their best album since Sabotage,
this week's classic album which was Sabbath's most progressive (epic
songs & synthesizers) but still a crushingly heavy LP. It also
probably contains the best vocals of Ozzy's career - never really
considered one of the natural greats, he is a strong comperitor with
the likes of Plant and Halford on this one.
- Stereolab "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" 1996 (UK/France)
Stereolab's classic run of albums began with their 1993 album with the long title and lasted until the end of that decade.
They heralded a postmodern age of ironic appropriation of culturally
received signifiers, much like the contemporaneous hip-hop movement,
only way more European. In other words, the Stereolab sound is thrown
together from a bunch of old ideas: easy listening bop-bop-shoo-bop
vocals, bossa nova beats, krautrock keyboards, indie guitars, even a
pilfered R&B riff here and there (the leadoff track on this album
is clearly based on Rufus Thomas' "Sixty
Minute Man"). Their lead singer, lyricist and mini-moog player Laetitia
Sadier (who has a brand new album out this month) wrote songs that
alternate between didactic Marxist criticism and open-hearted
sentiments, delivered in a cereberal soft rock monotone in her native
French as well as English. Since Stereolab "went on hiatus" in 2009,
she has released a series of solid solo albums that frequently make the
Kosmik Radiation best of the year lists. The other core members include
Time Gane, the guitarist who wrote most of the music, who has been
little heard from since the hiatus (he lives in Germany and has a band
called Cavern Of Anti-Matter that I haven't heard). The second singer
during their classic era was Mary Hanson, the fan favorite who stood
center stage playing tambourine and bop-doo-wahing complimentary vocals
lines with Laetitia (except when she picked up a guitar which always
meant they were about to drop a frenzied krautrock bomb). Mary died
tragically in a traffic accident in 2002, and frankly the group was
never the same again. For the first time in a while I'm going to add
some video clips: The 'lab live in 1996, and Laetitia solo. Also we must pay tribute to the Most Important Man in the History of Rock, Chuck Berry.
- The Feelies "Crazy Rhythms" 1980 (USA)
Feelies have just released their sixth album, the second since the
group's 21st century reunion. (How many bands of yesteryear have not
reformed? Husker Du remains the holdout!)
This, their debut album, came out 37 years ago, back in the days when
punk rock had just ceded to "new wave" but MTV hadn't come along yet.
"Indie rock" was still a few years away, but one of the quintessential
founding records of the golden age of indie was Crazy Rhythms. Their debt to The Velvet Underground was obvious from their first album; by the time of their third album the influence of The Stooges was equally obvious. The third piece of the puzzle was Talking Heads:
I don't know of any direct lineage between Heads and Feelies (other
than the greater New York area in the late 1970's), but David Byrne and
his preppie friends were the ones who made it safe for nerds in
sweaters to rock. The utter unflashiness of The Feelies in fact
prefigures the alterna-grunge non-style-style of the following decade
(Kurt Cobain and that Weezer guy also rocked in sweaters), and their
manic guitar explorations on one and two-chord grooves has similarly
proven a blueprint for the ages.