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Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1991) & Vanishing Point (1997)

[Albums 874 & 875 / 1001]

Have you ever attempted to write a post…and struggled to get started?

Wondering what more needed to be said about a certain artist or album?

Sometimes, I imagine I have a bit of trepidation because the artist/album is so revered.

Others, it’s because I realize that someone else has already summarized my feelings more succinctly than I ever could!

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I held up my end of the bargain, making it through multiple complete spins of both albums.

And see Mr. 1537‘s first sentence for (a more articulate & concise wording of) my thoughts.

Since he was right about the first two, I’ll take his word on the third!

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Verbalize the Positive

Thanks for the 2 reviews for the price of 1, Joe!

Dion – Born to be with You (1975) & William Orbit – Strange Cargo III (1993)

[Album 872 & 873 / 1001]

I suppose I could attempt to discuss ‘Wall of Sound’ production techniques.

Or perhaps endeavor to find the tipping point of where ‘Electronica’ becomes ‘Ambient.’

Instead, when thinking about Dion’s Born to Be with You & William Orbit’s Strange Cargo III, either album will inevitably draw a smile.

As despite not having a great deal of musical common ground, both were relaxing albums to which I fell asleep.

And as I previously described extensively with Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, that’s one of the highest compliments I can bestow upon an album.

Whether it was the soothing saxophone (reminiscent of the SNL goodbyes song) on Dion’s title track or Beth Orton‘s guest vocals on Orbit’s Water from a Vine Leaf, that was my cue.

To paraphrase a line from Clement Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas, I put on either album & settled my brain for a long winter’s nap.

As such, I’ll remember them fondly!

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Verbalize the Positive

Do you find your plans for a post evolve over time?

I think I was initially envisioning something with various famous ‘Dion’ (Céline, Stéphane, Phaneuf…)s – but it wouldn’t have expressed my gratitude to Dion (and William Orbit) sufficiently!

Thin Lizzy – Live and Dangerous (1978)

[Album 871/1001]

1978 = Best Year Ever for Live Albums?

See exhibits A (AC Lightning Bolt DC), B (Cheap Trick at Budokan), and C (Thin Lizzy) for supporting evidence.

After finally hearing Live and Dangerous, the question wasn’t whether the album was good or not.

Instead, I became genuinely intrigued about the space-time continuum.

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A few years back, a group of intrepid bloggers participated in a ‘top15onthe15th’ challenge, assembling ‘Top 15 Albums’ lists.

#15 on my list?

The Darkness, Permission to Land.

And if I were to remake the list today, I stand by that assessment!

The reasons are threefold: the relentless riffs, the hummable hooks, and the never-less-than-fully engaging energy.

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Over the years, there’s perhaps a slightly-more-than-microscopic chance that other listeners have previously connected the dots between Thin Lizzy & The Darkness.

I’ve since learned that The Darkness wears the Thin Lizzy influence on their sleeve; literally, as it appears guitarist Dan Hawkins is rarely seen without a Thin Lizzy t-shirt!

Inexplicably (or maybe entirely explain-ably?), instead of being able to fully immerse in this high-energy double-live album, I found myself fretting about timelines.

Would Permission to Land exist, if not for 1978 live albums?

Without AC/DC, would they have rooted their tunes in such killer riffs?

Without Cheap Trick, would they have had the same catchiness?

Without Thin Lizzy, would they have been able to put all the power & energy together to create such a memorable set?

Fortunately, we ended up on a timeline where The Darkness would have been able to hear these albums.

So thank you, Thin Lizzy (and ACDC + Cheap Trick), for having existed!

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Verbalize the Positive

One of my favourite love songs?

The Reasons, by The Weakerthans.

With the wonderful chorus line, “I know you might roll your eyes at this, but I’m so glad that you exist”

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Artist of the Week V – Quiz #9

Exceptional Artist of the Week V Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

2021 Artists of the Week (so far):

Bruno Mars, Stone Temple Pilots, Carole King, 2Pac, “Weird” Al Yankovic, Sonic Youth, Lady Gaga, Lionel Richie

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My thanks to all who have participated in the “Artist of the Week” quizzes so far.

Congrats to all those who correctly identified Lionel Richie last week.

The results after 8 weeks (as of Friday evening – results submitted after that time will be added to next week’s spreadsheet):

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Ready for Quiz #9?

Someone like you!

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Quiz Rules/Format
(Same as last year, feel free to skip to the quiz if you know the rules already)

Your Task: Name the mystery Artist, ideally with as few clues as possible.

Correctly guess the artist on the first clue? 500 points.

After scrolling down to the second clue? 400 points.

Still don’t know after the fifth clue? 0 points, but a crisp high-five for participating.

I’ll use google translate to put the correct answer at the bottom in Arabic (if you read Arabic, that’s fantastic, but no cheating by reading ahead!) and you can translate it back to the language of your choice to confirm your answer.

In the comments, please enter your POINTS earned (not the artist name) and I’ll keep track of the running totals in a spreadsheet.

In addition to eternal bragging rights, the winner at the end of the year may even get something as prestigious as a digital certificate.

Here goes!

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Artist of the Week #9
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points………………..American band, featuring 3 Followill brothers + 1 Followill cousin, formed in Nashville in 1999.

On the “Regional Holiday Music” episode of Community, Mr. Rad attempted to distract the audience by saying, “Look, _____ __ _____!”

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400 points……………….The band has a pair of albums on the list, Youth & Young Manhood (2003) and Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004).

Though they likely hit their commercial peak a few years later with the singles Use Somebody and Sex on Fire.

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300 points……………………Puzzle clue #1, (The Sacramento) ________ of _______ (Draisaitl)

 

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200 points………………..Puzzle clue #2, (The Los Angeles) ______ of ______ (a Canadian Furniture / Appliances store)

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100 points………………..The artist is K_____ of L____

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Answer:  ملوك ليون

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

The Regional Holiday Music episode of Community = an all-timer!

The Teardrop Explodes – Kilimanjaro (1980)

[Album 870/1001]

Talk about a misleading title.

I hear ‘Kilimanjaro’ and visualize something insurmountable, something miles away from feeling comfortable.

Or like the volcano itself, dormant.

Instead, The Teardrop Explodes deliver a lively & effortless journey to instant enjoyment.

I rarely say no to a macabre title + nice melody juxtaposition; in this case, Haha I’m Drowning, or the equally upbeat tunes + somewhat-less-than-cheerful titles, Treason and Sleeping Gas.

When the bulk of the album feels like an uptempo Peter Gabriel / Hot Hot Heat jam session, what’s not to (immediately) like?

Between this and having only recently explored his solo album, Peggy Suicide, my only somewhat trivial complaint is that I didn’t get to Julian Cope’s work sooner!

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Verbalize the Positive

It appears that ‘post-punk’ might be among my favourite genres!

Busy Calendar Years

[Albums 864 – 869 / 1001]

If you want something done, give it to a busy person.

Not necessarily someone that’s so industrious that they’re becoming overwhelmed (and quality begins to drop) but also not so inactive that they’re unproductive.

With musicians, I’m starting to see that their finest hours often occur when they are at their most frantic release pace.

Their busiest calendar years are also frequently their best.

Dylan in ’65.

Bowie in ’77.

And based on their respective peak-productivity calendar years, it appears the same could be true for Iggy Pop / Pere Ubu / Emerson Lake & Palmer / Nico.

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Nico – The Velvet Underground and Nico & Chelsea Girl (1967)

Surrounding yourself with talented people.

Need a good songwriter? Why not play a Dylan-penned tune, first released in 1965 (I’ll Keep it with Mine).

Need a good producer? Speaking of Dylan in ’65, why not Tom Wilson, who also produced Bringing it all Back Home.

How about some good backing musicians? How about Jackson Browne & the members of The Velvet Underground?

And when despite being surrounded by all of the above, your difficult-to-describe / harder-still-to-classify voice still stands out & ends up being the lasting memory in the minds of listeners?

That’s a good way to end up on the 1001 list.

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Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Tarkus & Pictures at an Exhibition (1971)

“Your art was the prettiest art of all the art”
– Roy from The (US) Office

Ever gone to look at actual pictures at an exhibition?

Although Roy’s critique of Pam’s watercolour paintings was hilarious, I’m not sure if my skills at art criticism would be much more profound.

With galleries, as I’m not terribly well informed about art history/techniques/eras (essentially all of the art), I have fairly surface level reactions.

And the same is likely true for my appraisal of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP)’s selections from the 1001 list, Tarkus & Pictures at an Exhibition.

But even if I’m relatively uninformed about their art, I can’t help but admire the audacity.

Not many bands release a 7-part / 20+ minute song suite on their 2nd album. Even Rush waited until album #4!

And fewer still decide to follow it up with a live album. Not a concert collection of their original hits, mind you, but instead, an arrangement of a Modest Mussorgsky composition from 1874.

Calling such decisions ‘bold moves’ might be an understatement; but they make it work.

I also find I’m continually impressed with groups that can achieve more with less: they only have 3 musicians, but the sound is never less than full.

And as far as Progressive Rock goes, ELP’s prog might even be the prettiest prog of all the prog!

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Iggy Pop – The Idiot & Lust for Life (1977)

Apparently, I started writing the review for this album in June of 2018 (as shown below).

It was all set to be Album Review # 605 / 1001.

Based on the opening quote, I believe the plan was for the post to revolve around a clip of Peter Dinklage exclaiming, YES!

And coming up on 3 years after the original draft, that succinct assessment still sounds about right.

I’m still quite excited (even ‘psyched out of my mind’) about this album.

Combine Lust for Life with The Idiot & how do I feel about Iggy Pop’s 1977?

YES!

(at 1:31)

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Pere Ubu – Modern Dance & Dub Housing (1978)

“Cleveland Rocks! Cleveland Rocks! Cleveland Rocks! Ohio!”
– Theme song from The Drew Carey Show

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland, Ohio.

And while Cleveland may indeed ‘Rock’ – I find the artists from there are more interesting / influential / intriguing than rocking, per se.

Nine Inch Nails? Industrial would be the first genre term that jumps to mind.

Tracy Chapman? One of the better voices in the business, but I’d be more likely to use terms like ‘folk’ or ‘blues’ when attempting to categorize.

Pere Ubu? I gather they have used the term ‘avant-garage’ – which probably fits about as well as any other description!

The band often walks the line between irresistible & irritating, sometimes oscillating between the two within a single track.

As with other ‘experimental’ music, not all experiments will be immediately successful.

But I think I agree with Robert Christgau’s take on these albums.

With The Modern Dance, he stated, “the highs are worth it, and the failed stuff ain’t bad.”

After exploring Dub Housing, “…it sent me back to The Modern Dance, which I liked fine originally and like more now.”

And that sums up Pere Ubu’s productive 1978 neatly: the albums aren’t necessarily beacons of consistency, but the peaks provide a good return on investment & the initial enjoyment grows with repeated visits.

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Verbalize the Positive

For many moons, I’ve argued that 1969 was the greatest individual calendar year for music.

However, I’m starting to think that 1971 could also be a contender – too many great calendar years is a nice problem to have!

808 State – 90 (1989)

[Album 863/1001]

“if you don’t like our 808s, then leave us alone, ’cause we don’t need your policies
We have no apologies for being”
– Alessia Cara, Wild Things

I enjoy learning new things.

I gather ‘808’ is often a reference to The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, an early drum machine. Over the years, its definition has evolved and these days it may also just be used as shorthand for a beat.

Given the genre here (IDM = Intelligent Dance Music, speaking of learning new things!), I believe this group’s name is a tip of the hat to the drum machine.

But do I like their 808s?

Well, like the Alessia Cara lyric, I like how the album is unapologetically IDM; they don’t appear to be chasing trends or throwing out a mishmash of styles, hoping that something will stick.

With the standard disclaimers about not being the target audience / the female vocal track being the standout (here, Vanessa Sherrington’s vocals on Magical Dream), I do admire their commitment to palindromic numbers.

As shown modestly with the track, Pacific 202, and more grandly with the track, 808080808.

Although 90 is not a palindrome (oh well, pobody’s nerfect, right?), I also like the lack of words in the album title.

In fact, I like it so much, it’s Top 5 material!

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Verbalize the Positive

How do you know it’s going to be a good day?

When you check your PC Optimum points account and see this as the current balance!

Artist of the Week V – Quiz #8

Exceptional Artist of the Week V Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

2021 Artists of the Week (so far):

Bruno Mars, Stone Temple Pilots, Carole King, 2Pac, “Weird” Al Yankovic, Sonic Youth, Lady Gaga

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My thanks to all who have participated in the “Artist of the Week” quizzes so far.

Congrats to all those who correctly identified Lady Gaga last week.

The results after 7 weeks (as of Tuesday evening – results submitted after that time will be added to next week’s spreadsheet):

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Ready for Quiz #8?

‘Cause you know just what to say!

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Quiz Rules/Format
(Same as last year, feel free to skip to the quiz if you know the rules already)

Your Task: Name the mystery Artist, ideally with as few clues as possible.

Correctly guess the artist on the first clue? 500 points.

After scrolling down to the second clue? 400 points.

Still don’t know after the fifth clue? 0 points, but a crisp high-five for participating.

I’ll use google translate to put the correct answer at the bottom in Arabic (if you read Arabic, that’s fantastic, but no cheating by reading ahead!) and you can translate it back to the language of your choice to confirm your answer.

In the comments, please enter your POINTS earned (not the artist name) and I’ll keep track of the running totals in a spreadsheet.

In addition to eternal bragging rights, the winner at the end of the year may even get something as prestigious as a digital certificate.

Here goes!

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Artist of the Week #8
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points………………..American artist born in 1949 in Alabama.

He spent the 1970s singing / keyboard-playing / saxamophoning with the following group (if you’ll kindly ignore the ’64’s)…

 

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400 points……………….and unable to slow down, he spent the 1980s Dancing on Ceilings & selling millions of solo albums.

Not just for one year, but just about All Night Decade Long!

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300 points……………………Hello? Is it this artist you’re looking for?

In Puzzle clue #1, __________ Hutz + __________ Sambora?

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200 points………………..Or as Puzzle clue #2, _______ Messi + ________ Ri¢h?

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100 points………………..The artist is L_________ R_________

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Answer:  ليونيل ريتشي

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

The video for Hello = unsettlingly priceless!

Concept Albums: Awareness vs. Enjoyment

[Album 861 & 862 / 1001]

Do you have a favourite ‘Concept’ album?

Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) & The Who Sell Out would be near the top of my list.

But in each of those cases, I knew ahead of time that I would be listening to a ‘Concept’ album.

Did that impact my enjoyment at all?

Do you have to know that you’re experiencing a ‘Concept’ album to have the full experience?

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With The Who’s Tommy, I was both well aware of the group & the stage musical (I recall my friend Aaron had a yellow T-shirt back in the day with the tagline, ‘See Me Feel Me Touch Me Heal Me’).

Surprisingly though, I’d never seen the show or heard the album in its entirety.

While I often exert far too much energy moaning about 75+ minute albums, the running length here didn’t bother me at all.

Maybe that was because it felt like the album / story was ‘going’ somewhere, rather than it merely being a collection of tracks that would benefit from increased editing?

With The Pretty Things, I didn’t realize that SF Sorrow was a concept album

Now that I’ve learned that it is, even after several spins, I’m still not entirely sure of its specific concept.

And that didn’t / doesn’t preclude me from enjoying it in the slightest!

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Verbalize the Positive

a) Kudos to Dick Taylor, who at one time or another, played in 3 groups that are featured on the 1001 list: The Pretty Things, The Mekons, and The Rolling Stones!

b) In a bit of serendipitous timing, I had this post lined up to publish on Saturday morning.

But then I realized The LeBrain Train will be discussing Concept Albums tonight and thought, why wait!

Check out Mike’s show tonight (The LeBrain Train on YouTube on Friday, February 19th) as they discuss the “Nigel Tufnel Top Ten Concept Albums” – enjoy!

 

Talvin Singh – OK (1998)

[Album 860/1001]

If…

0 = An unfavourable rating (lowest end of rating scale) & K = A strikeout in Baseball (“three strikes, you’re out”)

and

KO = A knockout, a decisive victory (the highest end of rating scale)

where does Talvin Singh’s OK reside?

In this case, it’s not just a clever name: neither a knockout nor a strikeout, but somewhere in between!

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Verbalize the Positive

Meatloaf’s appearance in the Wayne’s World clip referenced above would easily be in my Top 5 ‘musicians in movies’ list!