Saturday, June 09, 2007

Battle of the Decades #12

A better bunch this time, if nothing really great (and no keepers). No luck with the 50s or 60s.

2000's - Bebel Gilberto - Tanto Tempo - (6.8/10)

1990's - The La's - The La's - (5/10)

1980's - Cramps - Songs the Lord Taught Us (6/10)

1970's - Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (7/10)

1960's - N/A

1950's - N/A


Coming up:

o Domino, Fats – This is Fats
o Smith, Jimmy – Back at the Chicken Shack
o Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1st Album)
o Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
o Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker
o Cole, MJ – Sincere

Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

Label - Epic
Producer - David Briggs

Country - US

Genre - psychadelic rock

Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1970)

A1Prelude - Nothin' to Hide3:41
A2Nature's Way2:30
A3Animal Zoo3:20
A4Love Has Found a Way2:42
A5Why Can't I Be Free1:03
A6Mr. Skin3:50
B1Space Child3:26
B2When I Touch You5:35
B3Street Worm3:40
B4Life Has Just Begun3:22
B5Morning Will Come2:58

The problem with this album is that many have gone on to do what it does (and better) and so even though I'd never heard it before, it ends up sounding a bit tired and familiar in a very non-exciting way. It was actually quite ahead of i's time really, a 1970 album that kind of paves the way for the mid 70's albums that most people know.

It's likeable on a first listen and there are some good songs (Solider especially is great), but I don't think it has really stood the test of time.

While I sit there listening to it "Hmm not bad" at the same time I'm just left a bit "meh" about it all. Maybe too classic rock? Who knows.

If you like standard 70s psychedelic rock, you might like this. For me it's just a bit "been there, done that", no matter how new it may have been at the time.

Score - 7/10
Recommended - Yep.

The Cramps - Songs The Lord Taught Us

Decade - 1980s

Label - IRS

Producer - Alex Chilton

Nationality - US

Genre - Punk/Rock

A1TV Set3:12
A2Rock on the Moon1:53
A4I Was a Teenage Werewolf3:03
A5Sunglasses After Dark3:47
A6The Mad Daddy3:48
B1Mystery Plane2:43
B2Zombie Dance1:55
B3What's Behind the Mask2:05
B5I'm Cramped2:37
B6Tear It Up2:32

The Cramps - Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)

Ah, the sweet irony of the title. This sounds more like Dracula taught them their songs in some dark cave somewhere.

This is a bunch of re-done rock tunes with a hefty amount of trashy punk and attitude and some onminous drumming. They come off as a bit crazy really but in a fun kind of way, if not a bit novelty act. So fun that their guitarist drove off with the van that was filled with their gear, sold it to fund his drug habit and was never seen by the band again!

They are pretty much a B grade horror movie - if you're into that, you'll probably enjoy them quite a bit. I can't say it's my thing.

Score - 6/10
Recommended - Why not?

The La's - The La's

Decade - 1990s

Label - Go! Discs

Producer - Steve Lillywhite

Country - UK

Genre - Pop

1Son of a Gun1:56
2I Can't Sleep2:37
3Timeless Melody3:01
4Liberty Ship2:30
5There She Goes2:42
8Way Out2:32
10Freedom Song2:23
12Looking Glass7:51

The La's - The La's (1990)

This is one of those inclusions that makes me want to write to the collaborators of this book and ask them WHY WHY WHY? Why were perfectly wonderful albums left out (particularly in the 2000s) and this forgettable one-hit wonder slotted in?

Remember "There She Goes"? Cute, catchy jangly guitar pop tune? This is them. If you've never heard of The La's it's because other than that song, they never had another hit or released another album.

There's nothing horrible about this album, it's just completely forgettable. Most of the songs are 2-3 minute guitar ditties with very average melodies that just don't make any impact. The songwriter, Lee Mavers later described this album to NME as "a pile of shit. There is not one good thing I can find to say about it". I don't always trust a songwriter's response to their own album and he's probably being overly harsh in this case, but he's not TOO far off the mark because it is really quite hard to even find one point to justify it being in a book called "1001 albums you must hear before you die".

There She Goes is a good, solid pop song. It's the best on this album, and that's the sad part.

Score - 5/10
Recommended - No

Bebel Gilberto - Tanto Tempo

Decade - 2000s

Label: Ziriguiboom

Producer -Suba

Country - Brazil

Genre - Bossa Nova

1Samba da Benção4:47
2August Day Song4:37
3Tanto Tempo3:01
4Sem Contenção3:10
5Mais Feliz4:17
7So Nice (Summer Samba)3:32
10Samba e Amor3:28
11Close Your Eyes4:16

Bebel Gilberto - Tanto Tempo (2000)

Well, one of the few albums on the list not from the UK/US/AU.

Bebel obviously comes from a music loving family - her father is Joao Gilberto, a Bossa Nova legend (and these are his songs). Her mother is also a singer, Muicha, and her uncle (Chico Buarque) is a singer/songwriter. Bebel has recorded with all of them!

This album is actually the biggest selling Brazillian album outside of Brazil... a fact the poor producer never got to see because he died straight after it was completed.

Anyway to the album itself - it is basically background music. Pleasant and fairly relaxing background music for sure with an old time and Latino vibe - but that is still all it is.

There is just nothing really compelling here. She has a nice (and again, pleasant) voice but there is little passion or rawness to make you sit up and listen. While the electronic vibe towards the end of the album is good, it still doesn't add enough personality to this to make it interesting. I have a feeling it probably doesn't even improve on the originals.

It's certainly not a hard listen. The production is lush and a bit dreamy, so for those who like background music or very relaxing, passive music then it's a good choice.

Score - 6.8/10
Recommended - Sure

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Battle of the Decades #11

Only a short bunch this time, I couldn't find the 50s, 60s or 90s albums!

2000's - Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker - 8/10

1990's - N/A

1980's - AC/DC - Back in Black - 3/10

1970's - Miles Davis - Bitches Brew - 5/10

1960's - N/A

1950's - N/A


Coming up:

o Prima, Louis – Wildest
o Everly Brothers – A Date with the…
o Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus
o Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us
o La’s – La’s
o Gilberto, Bebel – Tanto Tempo

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

Decade - 1970s

Label - Columbia
Producer - Teo Macero

Country - US

Genre - Jazz

APharoah's Dance20:06
BBitches Brew27:00
C1Spanish Key17:34
C2John McLaughlin4:26
D1Miles Runs the Voodoo Down14:04

Miles Davis -
Bitches Brew (1970)

My last review of poor ol' Miles wasn't very nice. I didn't like Kind of Blue much at all. I was hoping to like this more, and I suppose I did.

I do like the first track - Pharaoh's Dance. It was ominous and scary and I could totally see where Thom Yorke got The National Anthem from.

But it went downhill from there, I was just bored with the other tracks. It's also very difficult to listen to 20 minute long tracks of noise when you aren't even a "background music" person.

Someday over the rainbow perhaps I'll find a Jazz album I like.

Score - 5/10 (bonus point for the great cover art)
Recommended - I have no idea...headache.

AC/DC - Back in Black

Decade - 1980s

Label - ATCO

Producer - Robert John Lange

Country - Australia (I'm SORRY)

Genre - Cra....I mean Rock.

A1Hells Bells5:11
A2Shoot to Thrill5:17
A3What Do You Do for Money Honey3:34
A4Given the Dog a Bone3:31
A5Let Me Put My Love Into You4:14
B1Back in Black4:14
B2You Shook Me All Night Long3:29
B3Have a Drink on Me3:58
B4Shake a Leg4:05
B5Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution4:12

AC/DC - Back in Black (1980)

WTF? Seriously, I've never understood AC/DC. Australia has a habit of liking anyone who is Australian and happens to make it overseas...even a little bit. Savage Garden anyone?

I listened to this twice and I still could barely tell you one song off it, except the ones I already knew. Boring riffs....blurgh.

If you want some hard rock with no personality, try this. Try not to choke.

Score - 4/10
Recommended - No. Unless you're very drunk at a pub.

Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker

Decade - 2000s

Label - Bloodshot

Producer - Ethan Jones

Country - US

Genre - Alt Country

1(Argument With David Rawlings Concerning Morrissey)0:37
2To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)3:04
3My Winding Wheel3:13
5Oh My Sweet Carolina4:57
6Bartering Lines3:59
7Call Me on Your Way Back Home3:09
8Damn, Sam (I Love a Woman That Rains)
9Come Pick Me Up5:18
10To Be the One3:01
11Why Do They Leave?3:38
12Shakedown on 9th Street2:53
13Don't Ask for the Water2:56
14In My Time of Need5:39
15Sweet Lil Gal (23rd/1st)3:39

Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker (2000)

I'm quite open to alt country. I'm a huge Wilco fan and also love Tweedy's stuff in Golden Smog so I was quite expecting to like Ryan Adams, or at least think it is a pretty good album.

And yep, it ended up just "pretty good".

As the title suggests, Heartbreaker is an album about....heartbreak. Not quite as emotionally intimate (or one noted) as Beck's Seachange, but it is still an album essentially about the ups and numerous downs of love.

Two problems for me with this album - one is that it's very front loaded and so drags about 3/4 of the way through. The second is that it's about 5% too country rather than alt-country for my tastes. That of course, is not the album's fault.

Generally though, I like it and I'm keeping it. The duet with Emmylou Harris is sweet and I really like Adams' voice. The first track (one of only two up tempo rock tracks) "To Be Young" is just very very fun.

Unfortunately I read this is his most under-produced album so I don't think I'll be checking out his later stuff that eagerly. Maybe one day.

Score - 8/10
Recommended - Yep.

Battle of the Decades #10

What a boring bunch again. Also could not find the second Elvis album (sadness eh?) or the 90s albums. Oh well.

2000's - Air - The Virgin Suicides (score) - 5/10

1990's - N/A

1980's - Dexy's Midnight Runners - Search for the Young... - 6/10

1970's - Derek & The Dominoes - Layla... - 6/10

1960's - N/A

1950's - Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley - 3/10


Yep that's right, no winner. All round a bad bunch. If I HAD to I'd
probably go for the Clapton one.

Coming up:

o Louvin Brothers – Tragic Songs of Life
o Makeba, Miriam – Miriam Makeba (1960)
o Davis, Miles – Bitches Brew
o AC/DC – Back in Black
o Deee Lite – World Clique
o Adams, Ryan – Heartbreaker

Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley

Decade - 1950s

Label - RCA

Producer - Uncredited
Country - US

Genre - Rock n Rol

A1Blue Suede Shoes2:01
A2I'm Counting On You2:24
A3I Got A Woman2:25
A4One-Sided Love Affair2:11
A5I Love You Because2:43
A6Just Because2:33
B1Tutti Frutti1:58
B2Tryin' To Get To You2:33
B3I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)2:01
B4I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')2:24
B5Blue Moon2:40
B6Money Honey2:33

Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley (1956)

Elvis Elvis Elvis....boy oh boy. Proof that important and influential doesn't always = good.

Elvis is certainly considered one of, if not THE most important figures in American music and he's so famous that you'd have to be literally kept in a small room for your whole life to not have heard of him.

But all that doesn't really matter when it come to the music....right? And most of this is just throw away rubbish now. Appropriated rubbish that stole music that was already being made by others who were more talented but weren't quite as white as Elvis, as well.

It's not all bad, but it's clear that Elvis is a performer, and not some great talent. Blue Moon is the best song, but it's at the end and you have to listen to some very very dull and insipid ballads before you even get there.

The faster songs can be fun but overall it's just an album filled with mediocrity that has dated very badly but is buoyed up by the fact that it's Elvis.

Score -3/10
Recommended - No.

Derek & The Dominoes - Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs

Decade - 1970s

Label: Polydor

Producer - Tom Dowd, The Dominoes

Country - UK & USA

Genre - Rock

A1I Looked Away3:04
A2Bell Bottom Blues5:06
A3Keep on Growing6:22
A4Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out4:57
B1I Am Yours3:32
B3Key to the Highway9:47
C1Tell the Truth6:45
C2Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad4:50
C3Have You Ever Loved a Woman6:51
D1Little Wing5:23
D2It's Too Late3:45
D4Thorn Tree in the Garden2:51

Derek & The Dominoes - Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

I'd never heard of Derek and The Dominoes but quickly figured out it was just Eric Clapton!

This is a double album that bombed at the time of its release. Now sometimes amazing, great, wonderful albums have no commercial success and it's only after the artist is dead or years later that people realise how awesome it was. Not in this case. This is just an average album with forgettable songs apart from Layla.

This is the long version of Layla and it's pretty good. But that's all I really found on the album and the rest of the time I was just plain bored.

If you're into some classic dad rock stuff you might like it - otherwise, I don't think you're missing much.

Score - 6/10
Recommended? To dads.