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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Musical Grand Slams

Not sure I’d agree with any of these but Len Kasper contributed so, ummm, baseball-related.

With Baseball’s Opening Day around the corner, Jim and Greg team up with Len Kasper, TV voice of the Chicago Cubs, to pay homage to their version of a Grand Slam. We all know how this works in baseball (though sports-phobe Jim DeRogatis is still getting the hang of the rules). A batter hits a home run with bases loaded, sending four players to home plate. In music, Jim and Greg define a grand slam as four masterpiece albums in a row. Which artists have achieved this rarest of rock feats?

Walt Davis Posted: April 09, 2013 at 12:44 AM | 216 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   101. zack Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4409897)
If you did it by recording date rather than release date I think you could make a case for:

Black Dots
s/t
Rock for Light
I Against I

Except that most of the songs on Black Dots appears on the first two albums also.
   102. spycake Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4409899)
I'm impressed that Help! through Sgt. Pepper was less than a year, though.

Actually almost two years -- Help! was August 1965, and Sgt. Pepper was June 1967.

Although that's still pretty impressive. Help! was a good record but nothing too adventurous or groundbreaking; if The Beatles had quit then, they would have been remembered as a big pop act for a few years but not much else. But in the following year and a half, the band recorded and released Rubber Soul, Revolver, grew mustaches, and then really took an experimental plunge with the Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane single (Feb. 1967). And of course, Sgt Pepper a few months later.

Have any other bands all grown mustaches at the same time? (And I'm not talking about any Movember stunts here.)
   103. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4409902)
Even if the others are still good, the latter two can't hold a candle to Inflammable Material and Nobody's Heroes,

Very much agreed.

nothing Wire did later can touch Pink Flag,


Very much disagreed. Pink Flag has been my No. 1 album, period, for decades now, but that doesn't mean the subsequent 2 albums in particular aren't absolutely exceptional.

   104. zack Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4409903)
Maybe I'm giving Pink Flag too much landmark status. The other albums are wire albums, Pink Flag is like nothing that came before it.
   105. SoSH U at work Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4409906)
Have any other bands all grown mustaches at the same time? (And I'm not talking about any Movember stunts here.)


The Charlie O's. Sadly, infighting and money disputes limited them to three masterpieces in a row before disbanding.

And I'm with the idea that masterpiece is being thrown around way too freely here. I love the Pogues above all else, but Rum, Sodomy & The Lash is the only thing that's close to a masterpiece.

   106. cardsfanboy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4409907)
I'm talking to myself with these, but:
Tool:
Undertow
Aenima
Lateralus
10,000 Days


Agree on the first two,(Undertow is on my short list of favorite album of all time) but the next two were just merely good albums... By the standards of masterpieces that seems to be acceptable in this thread it qualifies, but I don't think they meet the real standards of masterpieces.
   107. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4409908)

Very much disagreed. Pink Flag has been my No. 1 album, period, for decades now, but that doesn't mean the subsequent 2 albums in particular aren't absolutely exceptional.


Oddly, Pink Flag is easily my least favorite of that trio of Wire albums - give me 154 or Chairs Missing any day. I do recognize that this is a minority opinion and is purely subjective.
   108. cardsfanboy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4409909)
And I'm with the idea that masterpiece is being thrown around way too freely here.


I'm thinking masterpiece is too high of a bar to begin with, that is akin to a no-hitter/cycle, not a grandslam(which can be accomplished with a reach on error, single and a walk followed by a homerun...the requirements to set up a grandslam isn't that high of a bar.
   109. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4409911)

Oddly, Pink Flag is easily my least favorite of that trio of Wire albums - give me 154 or Chairs Missing any day. I do recognize that this is a minority opinion and is purely subjective.


Might have something to do with the order in which you discovered them (this may well not be applicable in your particular case, of course). I got them as they came out, or rather fairly shortly thereafter. (Chairs Missing, being import only, was half of the first mail-order music purchase I ever made, I believe back in early '79; the other half was Inflammable Material. Jesus.)
   110. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4409917)
Might have something to do with the order in which you discovered them
Nah. I bought the entire trio at the same time. All three albums impressed me, but Chairs Missing was clearly then and now the one which stood above the other two.

Where's Voros? I want to ask him about his favorite Wire song, "I Am The Fly."
   111. Drexl Spivey Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4409922)
Josh Homme will never admit it but QOTSA is really missing Nick Oliveri.


Yes. I'm still looking forward to their upcoming album, which will feature Dave Grohl (on drums) and will have guest spots from Elton John and Trent Reznor.

But yeah, the losses of both Nick and Joey makes the QOTSA seem like Homme...and some other people.

   112. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4409928)
Nah. I bought the entire trio at the same time.


Which I still think is relevant. If I hadn't heard Pink Flag back in, IIRC, 5/78, when punk (& to a certain extent music in general; I doubt that I owned 50 albums in total, & my background was still pretty much what I'd been listening to on the radio the previous 8 years or so) was still brand new to me, there's no way it would've had the impact it did. That almost certainly wouldn't have been the case if I'd inititally experienced it in the context of Chairs Missing & 154, not to mention dozens of other albums by other artists.
   113. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4409930)
I love the Pogues above all else, but Rum, Sodomy & The Lash is the only thing that's close to a masterpiece.


I'd say that If I Should Fall From Grace with God is, if not better than RS&L, equally as good.

They're both fantastic.

   114. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4409936)
And of course I'm heretic enough to like the Shane-less Waiting for Herb waaaay more than anything they did with him. (Same goes for his own Pogues-less The Snake, for that matter.)
   115. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4409937)
their upcoming album, which will feature Dave Grohl (on drums) and will have guest spots from Elton John


Elton John as a Queen? Never would have guessed it.
   116. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4409942)
Which I still think is relevant. If I hadn't heard Pink Flag back in, IIRC, 5/78, when punk (& to a certain extent music in general; I doubt that I owned 50 albums in total, & my background was still pretty much what I'd been listeninig to on the radio the previous 8 years or so) was still brand new to me, there's no way it would've had the impact it did.
I do see your point, but it's also worth pointing out that Pink Flag immediately floored ME when I first heard it as well, despite having thousands and thousands of albums (and punk records) at that point. I had never heard anything like it before, and really haven't found anything like it since (maybe some early Minutemen material comes close, but still not touching). Its effect was profound.

It's just that Chairs Missing is a formally superior album in terms of its compositions. Perhaps that's my basic bias towards postpunk showing up (if I had to claim any one subgenre as a focal point, it would be UK postpunk from 1978-1985 or so), but it always stood out from the trio: lacking the conceptual and sequencing audacity of Pink Flag, perhaps, but with better SONGS and beginning-to-end consistency. Every song on Chairs Missing is distinct and unique, an actual composition. Meanwhile part of Pink Flag's impact on the listener is the fact that, after "Reuters," the whole album rushes by in a neck-breaking blur, until slowing to a sickening, churning stop with the title track, and then suddenly making an unexpected turn into pop melody near the end. Several tracks (e.g. "Start To Move," "Surgeon's Girl," "Brazil," "It's So Obvious") are barely distinct from one another -- and that's the point!

Don't get me wrong, though -- I love that album. I love it because it works on two levels, both as a musically interesting experience and an intellectually audacious conceptual-art statement.
   117. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4409946)
I am a complete Blur homer but
Modern Life is Rubbish
Parklife
The Great Escape
Blur
is a pretty solid run.
   118. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4409947)
I largely agree with your every point, actually, perhaps because this also very much applies to me --

if I had to claim any one subgenre as a focal point, it would be UK postpunk from 1978-1985 or so

-- except that I suppose I'd make the cutoff date around 1982 for all sorts of purposes. (Not, of course, that I don't have dozens & dozens of favorite albums that came out after that.)

Take away the context of early discovery & impact in Pink Flag's favor, & Chairs Missing probably moves up to my top spot. As it is, it's still in the top 10.
   119. Drexl Spivey Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4409949)
Elton John as a Queen? Never would have guessed it.


Nicely done.

Homme did a "Web Redemption" segment on the tosh.o show with the "What what...in my butt" gay guy and now has Elton John on an album.

Homme said some homophobic things in a concert in Norway; he's trying to prove that he's not really a homophobe.
   120. smileyy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4409950)
And of course I'm heretic enough to like the Shane-less Waiting for Herb waaaay more than anything they did with him. (Same goes for his own Pogues-less The Snake, for that matter.)


Whooooa. People have said some crazy stuff on this site, but this is the first one that has me reaching for torches and pitchforks.

Edit: Ok, ok, I can see the Shane-less Pogues being more...pop-y, and more likeable. But not better.

Edit2: By "better" I think I'm meaning "significant, groundbreaking, memorable". Waiting for Herb may be likeable, but its pretty disposable.

Edit3 (and maybe I'm done now): Which is to say, it doesn't have real high SQUARP -- Song Quality Above Replacement Level.
   121. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4409952)
No doubt you're right, but of course it's all by definition highly subjective.

At base, I guess, I prefer my drunken Irishmen to sing with at least a semblance of teeth & coherence.

As for SQARP, "Tuesday Morning" should've been the world's biggest hit when it came out. The fact that it wasn't is an indictment of the entirety of humanity, & the destruction of Earth by a comet would be too good for us. (See also: the Mekons' "Millionaire," I guess from roughly the same time.)
   122. Baldrick Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4409957)
I agree they have no slam, but for different reasons. I think that On Every Street is actually their best album, so that would make 4. But Brothers in Arms is top heavy, with the singles being great but the rest of the album not so much. Too bad, too, since I do think that Making Movies and Love Over Gold qualify as masterpieces.

Huh, just goes to show...

I like On Every Street fine, but it feels like a major step down from those other three (and arguably the debut). I can definitely see the argument against Brothers in Arms. Side Two is good, but maybe not great (except for the title track which is stupendous).

Making Movies is my all-time favorite album (or, at least in the top three with Abbey Road and The Lonesome Crowded West), and Romeo and Juliet is my all-time favorite song.
   123. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4409964)
except that I suppose I'd make the cutoff date around 1982 for all sorts of purposes.
I think this works for me too as long as we're stipulating that window as applying only to START points for postpunk bands. I don't think any of the key postpunk bands began their careers after 1982 (though some of them really didn't even fully bloom until long afterwards -- I'm thinking in particular of Talk Talk, which gets in under the wire at 1982 but doesn't really become TALK TALK until 1986's The Colour Of Spring...and yet their sound is critically tied to the postpunk aesthetic in so many ways).

The key groups, for me at least: Wire, Joy Division/New Order, Magazine, The Fall, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, Public Image Ltd., and Talk Talk.

I don't know quite how to classify groups like Mission of Burma (who always seemed so perfectly BRITISH POSTPUNK to me in songs like "Academy Fight Song" and "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" that it was actually a big surprise to learn they were in fact Bostonians), R.E.M., Minutemen, or Husker Du. The Huskers probably belong to the hardcore movement and its subsequent transformations (see also: The Replacements, who went in a somewhat different direction), but the Minutemen always struck me as the only potential heirs to Wire's Pink Flag and Chairs Missing sound out there.

I also don't know where XTC falls. Drums And Wires and Black Sea are clearly key postpunk documents, but they were otherwise so proudly out-of-step with musical trends in subsequent years that I've always just figured they fall into their own sui generis category.
   124. PreservedFish Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4409969)
Esoteric is an entertaining/aggravating combination of Professor Know-it-All and total fanboy.
   125. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4409973)
I think this works for me too as long as we're stipulating that window as applying only to START points for postpunk bands. I don't think any of the key postpunk bands began their careers after 1982 (though some of them really didn't even fully bloom until long afterwards -- I'm thinking in particular of Talk Talk, which gets in under the wire at 1982 but doesn't really become TALK TALK until 1986's The Colour Of Spring...and yet their sound is critically tied to the postpunk aesthetic in so many ways).

The key groups, for me at least: Wire, Joy Division/New Order, Magazine, The Fall, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, Public Image Ltd., and Talk Talk.

I don't know quite how to classify groups like Mission of Burma (who always seemed so perfectly BRITISH POSTPUNK to me in songs like "Academy Fight Song" and "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" that it was actually a big surprise to learn they were in fact Bostonians), R.E.M., Minutemen, or Husker Du. The Huskers probably belong to the hardcore movement and its subsequent transformations (see also: The Replacements, who went in a somewhat different direction), but the Minutemen always struck me as the only potential heirs to Wire's Pink Flag and Chairs Missing sound out there.

I also don't know where XTC falls. Drums And Wires and Black Sea are clearly key postpunk documents, but they were otherwise so proudly out-of-step with musical trends in subsequent years that I've always just figured they fall into their own sui generis category.


That covers the basics pretty nicely, though I don't think one can really leave out Siouxsie & the Banshees or, a bit later, Gang of Four or I suppose Killing Joke & perhaps the Psychedelic Furs. (I have no doubt that I'm leaving out any number of other obvious groups ... Cabaret Voltaire, for instance.)

As far as American acts that are hard to classify, for me the prime example of that is Pere Ubu, who in some respects were playing postpunk before punk per se got up & running. The same can be said for Suicide, I suppose. Maybe Talking Heads or Devo, even.
   126. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4409974)
Esoteric is an entertaining/aggravating combination of Professor Know-it-All and total fanboy.
Hey man, I like to talk about what I like.

More accurately, I always figured that the worst, most annoying sorts of music fans were the hipster snob types who guarded their musical tastes as if they were carefully-curated representations of their personal worth -- and therefore looked down on other people for not liking the same things they did. Me? I'm not looking to feel superior...I'm looking for converts. I want everyone to enjoy all this s**t as much as I do!
   127. smileyy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4409976)
I wonder if Brothers in Arms would benefit from a track re-ordering, by moving Walk of Life or Money for Nothing later in the album. Though breaking up the somber/gloom of the second side might be weird.
   128. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4409977)
I don't think one can really leave out Siouxsie & the Banshees or, a bit later, Gang of Four or I suppose Killing Joke.
No, those all need to be in there. Not among my favorites, but still important players (Siouxsie in particular). I just forgot.
   129. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4409986)
No, those all need to be in there. Not among my favorites, but still important players (Sioxsie in particular). I just forgot.


Easy enough to do, god knows. Similarly, I'm not a big fan of the Slits & so neglected to include them in my addendum, but they should be there as well; ditto for the Raincoats, who didn't knock me for a loop till Looking in the Shadows in the mid-'90s, long after they'd broken up.
   130. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4409993)
By the way, PreservedFish, if you think this is all fanboyish then you should see the series of essays I wrote for another site about terrible albums from otherwise good bands. I can definitely bring out the bile when it's necessary. For example:
Once I got too drunk at a local roadhouse, passed out in a urine-soaked drainage ditch by the side of the highway, and woke to find myself the bound captive of a hobo cult who proceeded to drug me and use my prostrate body as their profane flesh-altar in a series of humiliating sado-masochistic sodomy rituals...which, on the whole, was a far more enjoyable experience than listening to all four sides of Yes's Tales From the Topographic Oceans.
   131. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4409994)
As a Steely Dan fan, I have to admit The Royal Scam is the equivalent of a rally-killing strikeout


This is so wrong. Anyways Katy Lied (a year earlier) interupts any chance at a GS. I love Steely Dan, but I don't even think they had 3 'masterpieces' in a row.
   132. zack Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4409995)
Do EP's count? They have a P in them.

Crime, as Forgive By
Reinventing Axl Rose
Eternal Cowboy
Searching For a Former Clarity

Funnily enough, I never even listened to a single second of their last two albums despite desperately loving the first four.

Blondie would come close if it wasn't for Plastic Letters.
   133. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4410000)
Has anyone here ever had an aggressive, shabbily-dressed homeless man accost you, demand money, and then turn around, drop his soiled pants and poop on your shoes?

Yeah, so that's what paying money to listen to A Quick One by The Who is like, pretty much.
   134. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4410011)
If you really want bile, get me started talking about John Lennon's solo career, Neil Young's American Stars 'N' Bars, or White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground...
   135. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4410016)
American Stars 'N' Bars


Certainly not a great album, but Neil has had a lot of stinkers. It has "Like a Hurricane" on it though, and that's one of his top 10 songs IMHO.
   136. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4410021)
I am a complete Blur homer but
Modern Life is Rubbish
Parklife
The Great Escape
Blur
is a pretty solid run.
Pretty solid indeed, but I have no idea why you'd omit 13. Count me as one of those people who thinks that Blur's "britpop" phase, while fairly good, isn't nearly as interesting as what they got up to after Graham Coxon began listening to Pavement 24/7 and the band (bravely) transformed into something much more avant-garde and harder-edged. Blur and 13 are their clear peak, IMO.
   137. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4410023)
But yeah, the losses of both Nick and Joey makes the QOTSA seem like Homme...and some other people.


Castillo's gone, but Oliveri is back on this QOTSA album.

For Kanye: How do they go to 808's and Heartbreaks, but not count My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy?
   138. smileyy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4410025)
It has "Like a Hurricane" on it though


So do half his other albums released since then. Ok, ok, he releases a lot of live albums and that song is *($#ing fantastic, moreso live.
   139. DA Baracus Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4410027)
Oliveri is back on this QOTSA album.


Excellent.
   140. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4410034)
Might have something to do with the order in which you discovered them (this may well not be applicable in your particular case, of course). I got them as they came out, or rather fairly shortly thereafter. (Chairs Missing, being import only, was half of the first mail-order music purchase I ever made, I believe back in early '79; the other half was Inflammable Material. Jesus.)

This is a good point, though - I wasn't born yet when any of those albums came out, actually (though not by too much). I discovered Wire through another group doing a cover of "The 15th" about 10-12 years ago. I bought 154 first, followed by Chairs Missing, then Pink Flag. My musical taste skewing more towards synthpop/new wave type stuff than punk also has a role, I think.
   141. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4410035)
Certainly not a great album, but Neil has had a lot of stinkers. It has "Like a Hurricane" on it though, and that's one of his top 10 songs IMHO.
Oh now you gone and done it...

(WARNING: SKIP PAST THIS POST UNLESS YOU WANT TO READ A *VERY LONG*, ENTERTAININGLY BILIOUS ESSAY ABOUT NEIL YOUNG AND AMERICAN STARS 'N' BARS)
- American Stars 'N' Bars, Neil Young -- Sure, Neil Young has put out a number of thoroughly atrocious albums during his meandering, Dylanesque "now he's relevant/now he's a punchline" career. Hell, the entire decade of the Eighties is pretty much one long unrelieved shitshow of crapulence until he remembered how to play rock music again on Freedom. (I count exactly two songs worth remembering from 1981 to 1989, "Transformer Man" and "Misfits." You can safely throw the rest back into the Pirate Bay latrine you fished them out of, kiddies.)

But during the 1970s he was more or less the exact roots-rock doppelganger of David Bowie: shifting styles and approaches from album to album with a gleefully willful, whiplash-inducing frequency. Like Bowie, his refusal to concede an inch to critical expectations or popular demands was matched only by his (almost comically) morbid devotion to placing his personal demons right out there in the open on his records for everyone to see. It's actually quite remarkable how well Bowie and Young map onto one another in the way they ploughed their respective furrows through the '70s: both ran screaming from massive success into a haze of drugs and destructive behavior, capping their psychological recoveries with a trilogy of quasi-confessional masterpieces that critics initially dismissed but have subsequently become enshrined in the canon of All Time Great Albums: Low/"Heroes"/Lodger vs. Time Fades Away/Tonight's The Night/On The Beach. The real way in which Young and Bowie parallel one other, though, is in how they managed to pull off all these left turns without embarrassing themselves artistically.

Well, until this piece of shit. So the story goes that in 1977 Young was about to release the long-awaited Decade compilation, but scuttled it at the last second because he had a change of heart. He insisted that Reprise release his newest album instead. Too bad for Reprise, because that album turned out to be American Stars 'N' Bars, which packages one of the ugliest covers in the Young discography with the most pointless and useless music of his career up until that point.

I can already guess how a bunch of you are going to respond: "NO WAI MAN THAT'S THE ALBUM WITH LIKE A HURRICANE UR A QUEERMO DOOD." Well, 1.) No I am not; 2.) Not that there would be anything wrong with that if I were; 3.) And sure this LP has "Like A Hurricane," but what the #### else does it have? I'll tell you what it else it has: a juvenile, melodically-retarded paean to pot-smoking that would embarrass the editors of "High Times" ("Homegrown"). Three or four utterly generic country songs with shrieky backing vocals from Nicolette Larson and goofy fiddle. ("Hold Back The Tears," "Hey Babe," "Bite The Bullet," "Saddle Up The Palomino.") A seven minute long ode to the reproductive behavior of salmon. ("Will To Love"). And nothing else.

If the album sounds like a schizophrenic wreck that's because it is: Young threw together recently-recorded country trash with material dating all the way back to 1974 (the mediocre "Star Of Bethlehem") and 1975 ("Like A Hurricane," which sticks out like a sore thumb), and called it an album. Maybe he thought he was making a statement by including all these disparate-sounding numbers from the vaults together on one album. If so, I can confidently summarize that statement: "dung."

American Stars 'N' Bars marks the exact moment in Neil Young's career where his obsessive-compulsive control freak tendencies with respect to the way he handled his studio archives began to turn his discography into a minefield. He would go on to release a number of great albums after this one, but things would never be the same: after this record, you could never be sure whether the next Neil LP you picked up was going to be something like Rust Never Sleeps...or something like Re-ac-tor. If you're searching for the moment where Young lost his consistent greatness and became the walking musical embodiment of caveat emptor, it's right here.
   142. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4410040)
Pretty solid indeed, but I have no idea why you'd omit 13. Count me as one of those people who thinks that Blur's "britpop" phase, while fairly good, isn't nearly as interesting as what they got up to after Graham Coxon began listening to Pavement 24/7 and the band (bravely) transformed into something much more avant-garde and harder-edged. Blur and 13 are their clear peak, IMO.


Yeah, I agree that 13 is probably better than Blur, but it's close.

IMO they really have two different peaks- Modern Life is Rubbish-Parklife, then Blur-Think Tank.

How about Ghostface Killah:
Supreme Clientele
Bulletproof Wallets
Pretty Toney Album
Fishscale
Or I guess you can take out Fishscale and replace it with Ironman.
   143. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4410044)
Is Radiohead too obvious? They're an easy call if you can include EPs, and I would still say they qualify on the back of their 1995-2001 output. Hail to the Thief could have been there if it were like 2-4 tracks shorter, and In Rainbows was nearly as good as OK Computer or Kid A, IMO.

Bends
OK Computer
(Airbag/How Am I Driving EP)
Kid A
Amnesiac
   144. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4410045)
NO WAI MAN THAT'S THE ALBUM WITH LIKE A HURRICANE UR A QUEERMO DOOD."


HAHA, I walked right into your trap didn't I?

I do quite like the Trans album though, especially "Like an Inca" and "Sample and Hold". Neil was a pioneer of electronica!

On the Beach is probably his best album, I love it.
   145. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4410050)
Is Radiohead too obvious?
We discussed this a bit back on page one. The problem is that Amnesiac is (IMO) a perceptible drop-off from Kid A (something which wouldn't have necessarily been the case had Thom Yorke not insisted on a self-sabotaging last-second change to the tracklisting...but that's a question for another day). I like Hail To The Thief quite a bit (particularly some of the songs others tend to dismiss like "Backdrifts," "I Will," "We Suck Young Blood," and "Scatterbrain") but as you point out it's overstuffed with material that would've been better off as B-sides (e.g. "Sit Down Stand Up," "The Gloaming," "Punch-Up").

In Rainbows is a miracle. It's a 'comeback' that I never expected (and I follow them obsessively...I actually know people inside their camp, that's how crazy I am about them), and shockingly, their best album. Their career arc looked so clear and 'regular' up until that point: ascent with The Bends, higher with OK Computer, epic career peak with Kid A, and then a long, gentle decline...but suddenly In Rainbows scrambled everything. Now I genuinely think they're capable of returning to top form every time they come out of the gate.
   146. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4410051)
Trans is generally awful, but I agree, "Sample and Hold" is great.
   147. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4410053)
I discovered Wire through another group doing a cover of "The 15th" about 10-12 years ago.


Fischerspooner, no doubt. Nice version, IIRC.
   148. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4410057)
Fischerspooner, no doubt. Nice version, IIRC.
Is anyone here familiar with My Bloody Valentine's cover of "Map Ref"? It's the one track of their 'classic' period that remains frustratingly unavailable after this new reissue campaign.
   149. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4410058)
I don't know if there are an Super Furry Animals fans out there, but they had an awesome run from '99 through '05:

Guerilla
Mwng (a Welsh-language album that I've actually never heard, but all the critics say it was awesome)
Rings Around the World
Phantom Power
Love Kraft

If you're not familiar, they do witty, catchy, gloriously-produced pop, heavy on harmonies.
   150. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4410060)
Is anyone here familiar with My Bloody Valentine's cover of "Map Ref"? It's the one track of their 'classic' period that remains frustratingly unavailable after this new reissue campaign.


I believe it's from the Wire tribute comp Whore, which I've got.
   151. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4410061)
Trans is generally awful, but I agree, "Sample and Hold" is great.
Meh. It's not garbage, but it's pretty repetitive.

"Transformer Man," however...that's just genius. An authentically heartbreaking lyric (he wrote it about his attempts to communicate with his Downs Syndrome child and his belief that technology would allow them to reach one another), and the vocodered singing voice -- which makes Neil into a weird ghostly soprano -- works against all odds to make the song even more moving.
   152. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:31 PM (#4410065)
Rants' SFA post reminds me, for some reason, that I forgot the Frank & Walters, who are definitely contenders with their 2nd through 4th albums (The Grand Parade, Beauty Becomes More Than Life, Glass). I need to give their first (Trains, Boats & Planes) & 5th (A Renewed Interest in Happiness) a few more listens to see whether they attained the 4-straight plateau.
   153. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4410074)
Whoops, should have read more closely on page one - I mostly just skimmed yesterday and then came back after someone in the Dugout mentioned this thread again.

I agree on HTTT - and completely agree about "I Will", which is gorgeous. We might differ a little on which of the tracks should have been relegated to b-sidedom (I like "Punch-Up at a Wedding" - it sounds more unfinished to me than unworthy of being on the alum, but WTF am I?), but agree in general. Also *almost* agree with In Rainbows - I am hopelessly biased toward OK Computer (it remains my favorite album of all-time). Although hearing Kid A at the time was more of a sonic revelation, In Rainbows is the album I'd rather put on today for sure.

Of course, two standouts from In Rainbows ("Nude" and "Reckoner") date back to the late 90s, no?

   154. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4410075)
Trans is generally awful, but I agree, "Sample and Hold" is great.


Let me rephrase - "I get a kick out of it". I don't mean to call it anything like objectively "great".
   155. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4410085)
Of course, two standouts from In Rainbows ("Nude" and "Reckoner") date back to the late 90s, no?
"Nude" is from 1997, though they did a fairly radical restructuring of it in 2006 which (again, shockingly) managed to improve it. "Reckoner," however, was brand new -- so new, in fact, that it was one of only two songs from In Rainbows that hadn't been played at all during their 2006 "pre-album" tour (where they debuted all the new material before recording it in order to get a feel for arrangement decisions, etc.).

The more detailed story: there WAS, once upon a time, a song called "Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses" that dated from the Kid A/Amnesiac sessions. The song was then retitled "Reckoner" and played exactly ONCE in 2001 (thankfully, we have a pristine soundboard version), and then never again. It was kind of a mess, however -- only half-written, if that -- so when Radiohead decided to haul it out of mothballs as a surprise addition to In Rainbows they began trying to write additional music for it.

The new material they came up with (the arpeggiated chord sequence/falsetto wail that opens the In Rainbows cut) was so good, though, that they quickly decided to jettison the old song altogether and come up with an entirely new one based around the new material. Thus "Reckoner," a brand new song that stole the title out from under the old number for which it was originally intended as a mere coda.

It may well be their greatest triumph. IMO, at least.

Postscript: Thom Yorke eventually released a 'solo' -- i.e. with Jonny Greenwood -- recording of the original "Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses" (yup, they gave it its old name back).
   156. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4410091)
I recall seeing Nude played in one of the final scenes of Meeting People is Easy, so I'm glad my memory is right on that one - very different instrumentation, arrangement and even lyrics then. Want to say there was an organ part played by Jonny and another verse/chorus at the end?

I had never put that together about Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses/Reckoner. I knew about and have heard the Kid A/Amnesiac era one, but always wondered why, when I finally heard "Reckoner" on In Rainbows, it sounded nothing like what I was expecting based on my previous experience (though better as well). That all makes a lot more sense now; thanks for the (recent) history lesson.
   157. Urkel's Boner Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4410098)
Maybe I'm just a "small hall" guy when it comes to declaring albums masterpieces, but there seems to be a very low bar in these lists. I mean, Candy Apple Grey??? Calling that a masterpiece is just insulting the brilliance of Zen Arcade and New Day Rising.

Discogs needs a Play Index style database search of its user rankings so we can figure this out in a more sabermetric fashion. For the record, Candy Apple Grey has a 4.11/5 rating compared to 4.59 and 4.42 for Zen Arcade and New Day Rising respectively.
   158. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4410102)
I recall seeing Nude played in one of the final scenes of Meeting People is Easy, so I'm glad my memory is right on that one - very different instrumentation, arrangement and even lyrics then. Want to say there was an organ part played by Jonny and another verse/chorus at the end?
Correct on both counts. There is a famous AUD recording of that arrangement from April 2, 1998 in San Francisco that was THE go-to version of "Nude" for years...here it is on YouTube. (One of best-recorded audience tapes in RH history, so good it almost sounds like an SBD.) The version from Meeting People Is Easy comes from Radio City Music Hall, at the penultimate show of the tour, IIRC.
   159. Nasty Nate Posted: April 10, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4410120)
...but as you point out it's overstuffed with material that would've been better off as B-sides (e.g. "Sit Down Stand Up," "The Gloaming," "Punch-Up").


I love PunchUp At A Wedding but really hate The Gloaming, which is the epitome of a trend whereby Radiohead sometimes falls in love with boring beats.
   160. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4410159)
Agree on the first two,(Undertow is on my short list of favorite album of all time) but the next two were just merely good albums... By the standards of masterpieces that seems to be acceptable in this thread it qualifies, but I don't think they meet the real standards of masterpieces.

Lateralus is Tool's best album.
   161. simon bedford Posted: April 10, 2013 at 07:34 PM (#4410221)
esoteric
I have to admit i have no clue what you are talking about when discussing Mister Youngs history, are you completely unaware of the unlistenable wankfest that was known as "journey through the past"? or the incredibly unpleasent circumstances that went into that double disaster ( very easily one of top 3 worst double discs of all time, by a major artist, up there with metal machine music on the rip off scale) being unloaded on his unsuspecting tie-dyed fan base? the wheels came off right there and never were quite put on right again, the doom tour , the endless csn+y reunions, the occasional sell outs..it all starts with this grave sin against humanity to satisfy his own hubris.
to think after what he did to his own fan base with this dog he had the audicity and hypocracy to sing "this notes for you". nobody who ever schiled for beer or pepsi ever so purpsofully ###### over thier fans to finance a vanity project the way neil did..american stars n bars was a long time after niels fall from common sense, almost 5 years after he first took complete and utter leave of his senses.
   162. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 08:07 PM (#4410235)
I have to admit i have no clue what you are talking about when discussing Mister Youngs history, are you completely unaware of the unlistenable wankfest that was known as "journey through the past"? or the incredibly unpleasent circumstances that went into that double disaster ( very easily one of top 3 worst double discs of all time, by a major artist, up there with metal machine music on the rip off scale) being unloaded on his unsuspecting tie-dyed fan base? the wheels came off right there and never were quite put on right again, the doom tour , the endless csn+y reunions, the occasional sell outs..it all starts with this grave sin against humanity to satisfy his own hubris.
Can't disagree more here, though of course de gustibus non est disputandem and all that. Journey Through The Past was a soundtrack album to the godawful movie of the same name. It contained only one previously unreleased song, "Soldier" plus a bunch of live (and fake-live) stuff and rehearsals and movie-clips. I agree, it's terrible, but it certainly doesn't count as a "real" Neil Young release of original songs. You talk about him "screwing his fans over" with it, but I for one have a pretty damn hard time figuring out how anyone could have looked at the tracklisting of that record, seen it explicitly labeled as a film soundtrack, seen a bunch of old songs that they'd already been familiar with, and been taken by surprise.

But yeah, it's definitely crap.

Furthermore, the so-called "doom tour" that you're referring to is actually one of the universally agreed-upon highlights of Neil Young's career: that's the 1973 tour that gave rise to the Time Fades Away album (still unreleased on CD; Young offers a bunch of BS excused but the real reason is because he finds it too painful an era to revisit). Time Fades Away is a REAL masterpiece, not one of those "oh it's a good album" ones but an authentically searing confrontational howl of pain. "Time Fades Away," "L.A.," "Don't Be Denied," and ESPECIALLY "Last Dance" are among the finest things Young has ever done, period.

No, American Stars 'N' Bars really IS the beginning of his chronic inconsistency problems, because literally every single official Neil Young up until that point had been either "merely" very good or an outright sweeping success. (In the former category: the self-titled 1968 debut, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Harvest, and Zuma. In the latter category: After The Gold Rush, Time Fades Away, Tonight's The Night, and On The Beach.) It is in fact pretty remarkable that he didn't put out a record that could even reasonably be considered MEDIOCRE (the closest he came was Harvest, his biggest commercial hit!) up until American Stars 'N' Bars, which went well past that threshold right into awfulness.

Afterwards he perked up again for a bit with Comes A Time and Rust Never Sleeps (a lot of people also like Live Rust, but I think it's really rather 'meh'), and then slid straight into the ditch with Re-ac-tor and Hawks & Doves (Hawks & Doves has a few quietly intriguing songs hiding out on it, actually.) His albums with Geffen were, famously, so bad that he actually got sued by his own record label for releasing crap. And so on, and so on, and so on.

EDIT: "Last Dance," from Time Fades Away.
   163. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 08:28 PM (#4410250)
Yeah, Time Fades Away is fantastic.

Damn shame that's never been officially released, but thankfully it's easy enough to find (or listen to on Youtube).

Fourteen junkies too weak to work,
one sells diamonds for what they're worth,
down on pain street, disappointment lurks ...
   164. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 10, 2013 at 08:47 PM (#4410275)
I don't know if there are an Super Furry Animals fans out there, but they had an awesome run from '99 through '05:
...
Mwng (a Welsh-language album that I've actually never heard, but all the critics say it was awesome)


I am not a critic (or Welsh), but "Mwng" really is as strong as any of their releases.

Because of their tendency to noodle and dick around and haze out, I'm not convinced that any of SFA's albums is wall-to-wall goodness. But if we started compiling 40-track best-ofs, it's possible they surpass any of their contemporaries.
   165. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:47 PM (#4410334)
By the way, if you're a fan of KC and you haven't spent a ton of time (and money!) at www.dgmlive.com, you are missing out.


So, Eso ... I'd consider myself a decent fan of KC ... at least of the officially released stuff ... AND ... I'm also a huge fan of live recordings, especially if a band is improvisational in nature on stage.

So, I've looked at dgmlive, but frankly, it was always a bit overwhelming as to where to start.

If put on the spot, give me 5 ESSENTIAL purchases from the site, giving consideration to both show AND recording quality?
   166. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4410376)
Lateralus is Tool's best album.
Concur.

Biff I like your PT list except i never quite got into Stupid Dream and would start with Lightbulb Sun.

Also, Arriving Somewhere But Not Here is sortof like a distillation of a significant portion of PT's styles and evolution into one (admittedly long) song, which I love.
   167. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:39 PM (#4410381)
If put on the spot, give me 5 ESSENTIAL purchases from the site, giving consideration to both show AND recording quality?
Sure, I'd be happy go through chapter and verse, but first you need to provide me with a little guidance to narrow things down:

1.) Are you exclusively interested in one particular era? For example, only the Muir/Cross/Wetton '72-'74 stuff? Or are you interested in the '71-'72 Islands stuff and good Discipline era stuff? (The original In The Court Of The Crimson King-era band is pretty comprehensively covered by the Epitaph 4CD set...if you have that, you don't need anything else.)

2.) Do you insist strictly on SBD recordings? There are some very good AUDs available, and some less-good-but-still-listenable AUD recordings of truly epic shows (I'm thinking in particular of the April '73 Paris show at L'Olympia...it's an imperfect audience recording but my god what a show.

3.) Are you only interested in downloading shows (i.e. instant access) or are you up for some of their mail-order stuff (from the King Crimson Collector's Club, that is)?

4.) Do you already own the Great Deceiver boxed set? The U.S.A. live album?

Answer those questions for me and I can give you some very good recommendations.
   168. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:08 PM (#4410395)
1) No particular era, nor any need to spread things across eras ... I don't have Epitaph.

2) Nope. I've collected live recordings for 30 years, I've got plenty of AUD that are better than some SBDs; from what you've said, I'll trust your judgement. Generally speaking, I'd prefer things that are both quality in performance and recording, but if you think something tips the scale so far in factor of performance, then feel free ...

3) Didn't know there was a difference (per dgmlive.com). Would prefer download, but will MO if it's worth the effort (is there a fee to join the club?).

4) Yes. Yes.
   169. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:29 PM (#4410400)
Ooops 4) No. Yes.
   170. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:34 PM (#4410403)
1972-1974

As preliminary matter only two (!) soundboard recordings of a Muir-era show (October-December 1972) are known to exist - one is an abbreviated performance for German TV and the other is a partial SBD that cuts off halfway through the show. A real shame, because this was in fact the most crazy-daring era of live KC, where the band would set aside anywhere from 30 minutes to a full hour for pure 'free' improvisation. These improvs could get HEAVY - dense, extremely dissonant, percussive, so far out there that some people might find them to be pure cacophony. Me? I love 'em. There are several fairly decent audience tapes from this period, but if you only want truly top-shelf audio the only options are 10/17/72 Beat Club and 11/13/72 Guildford, both of which have to purchased mail-order from the dgmlive site (you also get them if you buy the deluxe 14-disc Larks' Tongues reissue I mentioned awhile back).

1.) 10/13/72 - Zoom Club | Frankfurt, West Germany: This one must be ordered via mail from the King Crimson Collector's Club (click on this link), so I wouldn't include it unless I had to. Quite literally, The Beginning. The first-ever concert given by the Muir/Cross/Wetton version of King Crimson, this is an AUD recording so it's definitely not up to SBD par, but HOLY CRAP is it ever obligatory. The performances here of the Larks' Tongues material are radically different in their early versions from what would eventually be recorded. The truly fascinating thing, however, is that the band also engages in over an hour of nonstop free-jazz-rock improvisation. Some of it is impenetrably dense. Some of it is quite lyrical. Some of it is a mess! But if you're a fan of the band, this is the equivalent of finding a copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This is, again, an AUD, but it's a surprisingly good AUD given that this was an obscure gig in a backwater town (chosen specifically so KC could get their live sea-legs under them without too much publicity and pressure)

2.) 4/9/73 - L'Olympia | Paris, France: This is an audience recording, and not as good as many others, so buyer beware (check the samples available on the website to get a sense). However, it's impossible to pass over because it may just be the single greatest (recorded) performance King Crimson ever gave. They're still early in the transition from the "free improv" Muir-era stuff into a slightly more disciplined "songs here/improv there" format they'd settle into later in the year, and the energy is off-the-charts. Nearly a half-hour of free-form stuff ("Improv II" is glorious in particular) surrounding a complete performance of Larks' Tongues. The sound quality is the poorest of anything I'm recommending here...but if you can get past it the music is A++

3.) 10/23/73 - Apollo Theatre | Glasgow, Scotland: The biggest no-brainer on this list. A complete multitrack show, one excerpt of which was used on Starless And Bible Black ("We'll Let You Know"), and a large chunk of which was used for The Great Deceiver boxed set. Since you don't have that set, this is flat-out obligatory. Perfect, flawless, I can't say enough about it. Except that maybe the best part is the encore, where a crowd shrieking for the band to return and play "21st Century Schizoid Man" is instead greeted with...the obscure 1968 song "Cat Food." BUY THIS ONE NOW.

4.) 3/30/74 - Elzer Hof | Mainz, West Germany: Several German dates from around this time are available at DGMlive. They're all great, but this one is the best, a cut above. The improvs are what puts it over the top, particularly "Arabica" and "Atria." Oh, and did you know that they made a second stab at the "Trio" improv in concert? Here it is!

5.) 4/29/74 - Stanley Warner Theater | Pittsburgh, PA: Assuming you don't want the mail-order AUD recording of 10/13/72 I mentioned to start, substitute this bad-boy in instead. Another great late-period show with a glorious Cross-driven improvisation ("Daniel Dust" is amazing) and big improv contributions from Bruford ("Bartley Butsford") and Wetton ("Wilton Carpet") as well. Plus the actual song performances are flawless. A multitrack 'official release quality' recording. A MUST OWN.
   171. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:41 PM (#4410411)
(okay, so I did a bunch of editing on the above post...final version now)
   172. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:54 PM (#4410423)
I'm not sure if Sonic Youth quite gets there, but EVOL, Sister, Daydream Nation, and Goo is a very strong quartet. I'm higher on Goo than most SY fans, though.
   173. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:59 PM (#4410427)
I'm not sure if Sonic Youth quite gets there, but EVOL, Sister, Daydream Nation, and Goo is a very strong quartet. I'm higher on Goo than most SY fans, though.
The other problem is that EVOL honestly kind of sucks. "Expressway To Yr. Skull" is one of their greatest-ever songs, to be sure, but the rest ranges from "meh" to "turn this godawful crap off."

Could be worse, though. Could be Bad Moon Rising. Now THAT is nearly unlistenable garbage, and I speak as a guy who (inexplicably) actually finds Confusion Is Sex and Kill Yr. Idols to be pretty good as far as horrible noise is concerned.
   174. Monty Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:33 AM (#4410443)
The truly fascinating thing, however, is that the band also engages in over an hour of nonstop free-jazz-rock improvisation.


It's interesting how one sentence can mean very different things to people. Just as an example off the top of my head, the sentence I have quoted could be either tremendously exciting or a dire warning.
   175. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:51 AM (#4410453)
It's interesting how one sentence can mean very different things to people. Just as an example off the top of my head, the sentence I have quoted could be either tremendously exciting or a dire warning.
It is oftentimes both, with that concert.
   176. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 11, 2013 at 01:27 AM (#4410469)
Oh, and did you know that they made a second stab at the "Trio" improv in concert? Here it is!


I may have to buy that show, for that one alone...
   177. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 01:42 AM (#4410470)
If you want to get a sense of what I'm talking about when I refer to the cacophonously dense, HEAVY free improvisations that the early Muir-era King Crimson featured, here's the video of that German performance I mentioned above (the 'psychedelic' video production is, in retrospect, unwittingly hilarious), from the Beat Club in Bremen, 10/17/72. This is *very* early in the band's working existence, so this improv is quite a bit more primitive and less assured than it would get during the November/December gigs, but if nothing else you get a very real understanding of what Jamie Muir brought to King Crimson while he was a member of the band. He's utterly transfixing, both sonically (his percussion instruments include, among other things, a giant band saw that he would whip around, metal chains, duck calls, and a bag of leaves) and visually (watch him stalk around like a crazed monkey!)

Part 1
Part 2

   178. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4410674)
Just wanted to make sure CoB saw this.
   179. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4410711)
Thanks a bunch, Eso, very excited to check these out and I'll put up some feedback when I've had a chance to listen to them a couple of times.

What other live stuff do you listen to/ collect obsessively?
   180. simon bedford Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4410727)
estoric
not sure i follow your point about "journey through the past" . its the fans fault for not realizing the double scam would be awful because it was a soundtrack? hard days night was a soundtrack and it was pretty good....
Young originally had no intention of realsing a soundtrack album for his home movie which is commendable until his reprises parent company warners poonied up the dough to complete the movie only if they got the rights to the soundtrack, which young agreed to ( not commendable at all).
the fact the young was coming of a very commercial and hig profile time period makes the whole thing stink of not only ego gratification ( he was a very young man making a movie about his mythical past? blech) but also a cheesy cash in where finance dictated he had to do it ( much as steal your face had to be released by the dead to offset thier less horrible movie) Young was rightly savaged critically for this move and his following album and tour ( theres a reason time fades away isnt avaialble, its really not very good) and young champoined the doom tour to replinish his treasury ..I have to say I always found at ammusing to read decades liner notes with neil rabbiting on about heading from the mainstream to the gutters while describing a time when he was touring the largest staduims in the world in the most lucrative tour of that year...one mans gutter i guess..
journey through the past was clearly the begining of youngs awful second guessing period, every album after time fades away onwards is swimming in outtakes, running orders were routinely changed last minute, songs trashed at the last minute, it was almost as if young was in a contest with bob dylan to see who could do the most damage to their respective releases.
American stars n bars isnt a very good album, it does have like a hurricane on it, time fades away has no such masterpiece . last dance is ok but it simply isnt in the same league as hurricane which is an out and out classic..on the beach tonights the night zuma,every young album that came out post time fades away could have been and almost was a very very different propisition, his decline period and poor judgement started long before the point you chose.
   181. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4410735)
What other live stuff do you listen to/ collect obsessively?
I have extensive/encyclopedic live knowledge of the following groups: The Grateful Dead (well over 300+ shows from 1966-1974 plus familiarity with hundreds more that I do not keep copies of), The Velvet Underground (literally everything that's available), Soft Machine (1967-1970), Genesis, Can, Bruce Springsteen (especially the 1972-1978 stuff), Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention (ONLY the original band, i.e. 1966-1969), The Fall, Joy Division, New Order, Pavement, Pink Floyd (only 1967-1971), R.E.M. (1980-1985), Radiohead (damn near EVERYTHING), and Talking Heads (1976-1980).

As is clear from the above, there are certain groups whose live work I'm really only interested in during a certain timespan, usually correlating to what I think their most interesting studio work is.
   182. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4410743)
American stars n bars isnt a very good album, it does have like a hurricane on it, time fades away has no such masterpiece . last dance is ok but it simply isnt in the same league as hurricane which is an out and out classic
We simply have to agree to disagree here. I'll be honest and confess that I don't even care for "Like A Hurricane" that much -- it's a very good song, but it's not a first-tier classic the way I consider songs like "Last Dance," "Time Fades Away," "Revolution Blues," or "Ambulance Blues" to be. Different tastes, I suppose.

And I think Young's peak was inarguably the Time Fades Away/Tonight's The Night/On The Beach trilogy. Who cares if the tracklistings for those albums were being juggled up until the last minute? The final products were masterpieces.
   183. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4410770)
I've got those Revolution Blues ...
I see bloody fountains and 10 million dune buggies, coming down the mountain
well I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars, but I hate them worse than lepers
and I'll kill them in their cars
   184. simon bedford Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4410773)
esoteric
well i meant hurricane is considered a masterpiece the same way that . I dont know stairway to heaven is considered one , maybe not on that scale but ...and there are probably 30 led zep songs i like better than stairway and probably just as many neil songs i prefer ( to give you a laugh two songs by neil i think that are "better" and i am not kidding would include "lost in space" and "evening coconut" ).
i would agree with you on tonights the night, i used to work in the music business and the local paper ( the toronto star) did a poll of a few peoples top ten albums of all time and tonights the night was one of my choices..as for the other two, um not so much but i can certanly see what other people liked about them.
my point wasnt that time fades away was terrible, it isnt, it just isnt great, but the reviews at the time ,and the reviews of that tour, were terrible there was a huge backlash against young for what was seen as his hubris in the entire journey through the past, and frankly I think he got off lightly , he never had the right to sing "this notes for you", as i stated before he screwed his fans over with clear intent to statisfy his own ego and complete a dreadful vanity project, and he knew exactly what he was doing .
   185. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4410786)
Speaking of Neil Young, has anyone checked out this digital music thingy he's involved with?
   186. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4410809)
No, really, Time Fades Away is pretty damn great. Masterpiece? Maybe not, but it stands alongside Tonight's the Night and On the Beach as a massive artistic peak for Young.

The fact that people at the time couldn't perceive the worth and quality of those albums really has very little interest to me (in retrospect, it's easy to see how the bitter anger and guilt that pervades these three albums was too much for a certain segment of fans who kept wanting Heart of Gold II).

Modern critical reviews of the album are much more favorable and appreciative of the album's worth and place in Young's career:


Anyone who has followed Neil Young's career knows enough not to expect a simple evening of mellow good times when they see him in concert, but in 1973, when Young hit the road after Harvest had confirmed his status as a first-echelon rock star, that knowledge wasn't nearly as common as it is today. Young's natural inclinations to travel against the current of audience expectations were amplified by a stormy relationship between himself and his touring band, as well as the devastating death of guitarist Danny Whitten, who died of a drug overdose shortly after being given his pink slip during the first phase of tour rehearsals. The shows that followed turned into a nightly exorcism of Young's rage and guilt, as well as a battle between himself and an audience who, expecting to hear "Old Man" and "Heart of Gold," didn't know what to make of the electric assault they witnessed. All the more remarkably, Young brought along a mobile recording truck to capture the tour on tape for a live album and the result, Time Fades Away, was a ragged musical parade of bad karma and road craziness, opening with Young bellowing "14 junkies, too weak to work" on the title cut, and closing with "Last Dance," in which he tells his fans "you can live your own life" with all the optimism of a man on the deck of a sinking ship. While critics and fans were not kind to Time Fades Away upon first release, decades later it sounds very much of a piece with Tonight's the Night and On the Beach, albums that explored the troubled zeitgeist of America in the mid-'70s in a way few rockers had the courage to face. If the performances are often loose and ragged, they're also brimming with emotional force, and despite the dashed hopes of "Yonder Stands the Sinner" and "Last Dance," "Don't Be Denied" is a moving remembrance of Young's childhood and what music has meant to him, and it's one of the most powerful performances Young ever committed to vinyl. Few rockers have been as willing as Young to lay themselves bare before their audience, and Time Fades Away ranks with the bravest and most painfully honest albums of his career -- like the tequila Young was drinking on that tour, it isn't for everyone, but you may be surprised by its powerful effects.
--Allmusic


   187. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4410815)
I think it's hilarious Neil Young is a model train enthusiast. Also, he's pretty great, obviously.
   188. Perry Posted: April 11, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4410882)
I'm sure there are plenty of Springsteen fans who would say he's done this, but (saying this as a huge fan), I don't think so. Born to Run, Darkness, and The River all count (though the second disc of The River threatens to knock it off the perch). But I don't think Nebraska is nearly as good as the hipsters say, nor am I all that enthusiastic about pre-BTR Springsteen.


Disagree. I think The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle is staggeringly great, and I'd argue that everything from that one to Tunnel of Love qualifies. Allmusic.com's editor rating for each of his first EIGHT albums, from Greetings through Tunnel, is 5 stars, with the exception of Darkness, which they "only" rate at 4.5.

Edit: Correction, Tunnel of Love is also at 4.5.
   189. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4410918)
But I don't think Nebraska is nearly as good as the hipsters say

Nebraska is the only one I like! For me, The Hold Steady fills the niche that Springsteen just doesn't, for whatever reason. There's just something, I don't know, slightly cornball about Springsteen that's always kept me at a distance. I think Springsteen is a great guy, though.
   190. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4410947)
Honestly, it was all downhill for Bruce Springsteen after The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle. Not a quick collapse or anything, but the simple truth is that nothing he ever did after that -- no, not even Born To Run -- is as great as the Van-Morrison-goes-to-Jersey stylings of WIESS. Hell, even the unreleased outtakes from those sessions are all fantastic, absolutely top-shelf Springsteen: "The Fever," "Phantoms" aka "Zero And Blind Terry" (I like both versions), "Thundercrack," "Santa Ana," "Seaside Bar Song," "Janey Needs A Shooter," "Winter Song," "Bishop Danced," etc....E Street Shuffle could easily have been a double album and it you wouldn't have been able to pick out the flaw on it.

Well, except "Wild Billy's Circus Story." Never did like that one.

EDIT: Oh and if you think those early Springsteen albums are great, you HAVE to hear the concerts from that era. Thankfully there are a number of great SBDs and AUDs from 1973-1975, and good godamighty it wasn't just a myth.
   191. Jeremy B. Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4410951)
Will have to wait to jump into the Neil battle, thanks to a reviewer report that has to be completed today. In the meantime, because they've got more hits than Sadaharu Oh:

License to Ill
Paul's Boutique
Check Your Head
Ill Communication
   192. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4410962)
Honestly, it was all downhill for Bruce Springsteen after The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle. Not a quick collapse or anything, but the simple truth is that nothing he ever did after that


Oof, I have to strenuously object to that. I think Born to Run is obviously better, I personally like Darkness better, and I think the first half of The River is better (though I'm fine knocking it for the lackluster second half). And let it be said that I love The Wild, The Innocent..., and Greetings. That's a run unmatched by any American artist, in my mind.

   193. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4410963)
License to Ill
Paul's Boutique
Check Your Head
Ill Communication


Oh, good call. I'd probably quibble with the first and last of those being on the same plane as the middle two, but I wouldn't argue too much.
   194. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4410967)
Eso: I'm not really a big unreleased guy, typically, out of sheer laziness if nothing else, but am I crazy or is the The Promise version of Racing in the Street better than the official version?
   195. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4410972)
Eso: I'm not really a big unreleased guy, typically, out of sheer laziness if nothing else, but am I crazy or is the The Promise version of Racing in the Street better than the official version?
Everyone thinks that, not just you. The "official" version is just a barebones piano/vocal performance he knocked out in 1998 for the 18 Tracks ripoff set.

There's an even better, still-unreleased alternate version of "The Promise" (also from the Darkness sessions) floating around out there, btw.
   196. Monty Posted: April 11, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4410983)
R.E.M. (1980-1985)


I'm a big fan of the super-early R.E.M. bootlegs. I particularly enjoy the song "Wait," because it has so much energy live. And it has backup singers!
   197. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4411007)
I'm a big fan of the super-early R.E.M. bootlegs. I particularly enjoy the song "Wait," because it has so much energy live. And it has backup singers!
Yes! Yes! Exactly the sort of thing I'm thinking about. I had long been told that those early, unreleased songs were terrible, but when I finally hunted down those 1980-1981 shows it turns out that they're full of goofy, peppy energy. It's certainly true that they sound different from the material that would go on to form their early 'classic' sound (i.e. the Chronic Town, Murmur and Reckoning stuff), but they're still great fun. It's also interesting to find out just how many songs that we associate with "later" R.E.M. were actually around as early as 1980: "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" (written about my hometown, and yes we're proud), "What If We Give It Away," "Just A Touch," "Mystery To Me," "Pretty Persuasion," etc.

(My favorite one of those super-early R.E.M. songs that quickly disappeared is either "That Beat" or "Scheherezade," FWIW.)

Another great thing about those early R.E.M. concerts is that every now and then they would suddenly whip out a completely new and otherwise unknown song...and then never play it again. For example, listen to this utterly magical unknown number from 1/22/82 Greensboro, NC. There is exactly one known performance of it -- this is it. That chorus is haunting! And they never even tried to reuse it! (Some of the lyrics did make it into "Pilgrimage," however.)
   198. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4411015)
Boy, I could get as super-nerdy detailed about dissecting great early R.E.M. shows as I have been about King Crimson. Only problem is that it's not quite as easy to instantly access them...unless you're a member of DIME or whatnot. (And even then not everything is found there.)
   199. Monty Posted: April 11, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4411024)
Boy, I could get as super-nerdy detailed about dissecting great early R.E.M. shows as I have been about King Crimson. Only problem is that it's not quite as easy to instantly access them...unless you're a member of DIME or whatnot. (And even then not everything is found there.)


I only have a couple concerts from their Athens days. And I got them the old-fashioned way: on custom-pressed vinyl records from well-connected record stores.
   200. simon bedford Posted: April 11, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4411053)
on the springsteen front, if you can find it, the bryn mawr concert from 75 when suki lavah was still in the group is essential, its the closest any american artist ever got to being the north american version of Van Morrison, its probably my fave bootleg of all time. it presents an intersting "what if" scenario to springsteens career, what if landua hadnt been let into the creative henhouse ?( remeber landua was a guy who though "peppermint twist" was better than ANY bob dylan song)
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