AMP – Stenorette
AMP were apparently late-comers to the whole droney post-rock party in the 90s; Kranky put this one out in 1998, but I had never heard of them until a few years ago. I have another album by them that's just two records of straight-up ambient drones, but this one has beats and vocals as well. Kind of indistinguished. If I had first heard this in 1997 I probably would have thought it was awesome, but it wasn't out yet.
Bowery Electric – Beat
...aaand speaking of 90s droney post-rock acts on Kranky, here's Bowery Electric. This one did come out in 1997, and I did hear it, and I did think it was awesome. Everything about this band holds up except their curiously unimaginative beat selection once they ditched the drummer and went with just loops. Cool guitar sounds, though.
There's now a bar/club called Bowery Electric. It's on the Bowery, about a block or two from where CB's used to be. I wonder if it's related. I think the band was primarily a couple, so maybe after they quit the music thing they settled down together and opened a bar. Total speculation, I have no idea.
Broadcast – Pendulum EP
This band got some buzz when Drag City put out a comp of their early EPs, but I didn't like it. So I kind of ignored them, but everything I've heard by them since then I've liked. This one's no exception.
Interesting to note that their inarguable best song isn't on any of their albums, it's a Warp compilation exclusive called "A Hammer Without a Master" from the Warp 100 comp. Okay, not that interesting.
Cheap Trick – Dream Police
Terrific artwork. I don't think bands have costumes designed specifically for their album cover shoots anymore.
Stormcrow/Coffins split EP
I'm filing this under Coffins because theirs is the better of two sides by bands I've never heard of otherwise, but neither is particularly good. Coffins may even be more disappointing because they appear to be Japanese. I always expect better from the Japanese. Heavier, louder, more extreme, whatever.
Fluke – Six Wheels On My Wagon
Trancey ambient house from a few years before the whole electronica thing. Actually some really good stuff on here.
godspeed you black emperor! – lift your skinny fists like antennas to heaven
Where'd these guys go? I guess this one will always remain their masterpiece.
Grand Funk Railroad – Closer To Home
Now that's more like it.
Incidentally, this one has "Sin's a Good Man's Brother" on it, which might be the single best riff Farner ever wrote, but I don't even think their's is the best version of that song. Check out the cover on Suck's seminal Time To Suck.
Jamie Lidell – Multiply
Eat your heart out, Amy Winehouse.
Mercury Rev – Deserter's Songs
Willie Nelson – Country Willie
Pavement – Wowee Zowee
This album holds up remarkably well, but I have no idea whether or not it's purely a product of its time. I remember it seeming that way when it first came out. I have no idea what someone hearing this album for the first time today would make of it. Probably the same thing I did, really, which was, "What a fucking mess." It took a while for this one to make sense. Would someone hearing it today be willing to give it sufficient time to sink in? I guess it would depend on whether they were already Pavement fans. The albums before and after this one in the catalogue are far more accessible, so perhaps if they liked one of those first.
G— saw these guys in Central Park last week and loved it, said it was one of the best reunion shows he's seen. I had curiously low expectations for the whole tour, but what do I know. It must have been pretty great, because if there's anybody who loves looking for reasons to hate shit, it's G—.
Primal Scream – Screamadelica
It's almost amazing how well this album holds up. This should the be the most dated slab of also-ran hackery on the Shelf, yet somehow the years do nothing to tarnish its in-the-moment freshness. What's more amazing is that the Scream, who collectively have little discernable talent other than an ability to spot trends early and impeccable taste in producers, have managed to make multiple excellent albums over the course of their wildly inconsistent (and still going) career. Never two in a row, but that's part of the fun, really.
Quasi – The Sword Of God
Wilco – A Ghost Is Born
Had this on in the backkground the other day with the wife, kids and parents all hanging out in the living room. Reasonable volume. Made it all the way through that long drone on side four without anyone saying a word about it. It was all I could hear the whole time, I couldn't concentrate on anything else, but no one else even seemed to notice. I have no idea what this means.
Wire – Chairs Missing
The label on side two of my copy is so far off-center that it partly covers the last song ("Too Late"), so the record makes hideous static noises as the needle runs over paper while the song winds down. It's a 4 Men With Beards reissue. I wonder if they'd replace it. I've never asked.
By the way, is it possible this album is even better than Pink Flag?
LA Vampires Meets Zola Jesus
I'm filing this with my other Zola J records because I don't have any LA Vampires albums and because she's the reason I bought it. Not as great as her solo stuff.
By the way, she's got a new EP out on Sacred Bones and it has "Sea Talk" on it, which is the most fantastic song I've heard this year other than Roll Deep's "Green Light". And maybe Robyn's "Hang With Me". Maybe.