The Fix – Vengeance/In This Town, black 7″

An uncompromising single limited to a 200 run, which helped The Fix to establish US hardcore as a force to be reckoned with at the turn of 1980s. Punk may have been born in England during the late 70s, but the early 80s belonged to US hardcore punk. With The Teen Idles, Minor Threat and Black Flag doing the rounds, more and more bands emerged, … Continue reading The Fix – Vengeance/In This Town, black 7″

The Story Behind The Sleeve #20: John Phillips – John Phillips

John Phillips (John, The Wolf King Of L.A.) was the eponymous 1970 solo debut album by The Mamas & The Papas’ bandleader following the turbulent break-up of the California band. Recorded with members of The Wrecking Crew, with Phillips’ vocals low in the mix the cosmic Americana veils some dark subject matter. Despite featuring his best-known single, Mississippi, it was a commercial failure. The album’s … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #20: John Phillips – John Phillips

R.E.M. – The Best Of R.E.M. At The BBC

A triumphant chronicle of US alt-giants R.E.M.’s enduring relationship with the Beeb. Gary Walker bemoans the lack of a vinyl boxset. What better way to retell the enduring relationship between one of America’s greatest bands and a UK audience that grew exponentially across 24 years than this celebration of their performances on the BBC? With the comprehensive Deluxe 8CD and DVD edition offering a full … Continue reading R.E.M. – The Best Of R.E.M. At The BBC

Genre Hopping: American primitive guitar

Based on the fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing of its pioneering father, Chris Parkin traces the genre’s lineage from John Fahey to the modern day. Anyone wishing to avoid the stuck-groove sonic terrorism that is festive pop music should drop the needle on John Fahey’s 1968 album The New Possibility, on which carols and festive folksong are worked into striking American primitive guitar arrangements. Indeed, much … Continue reading Genre Hopping: American primitive guitar

Rowland S. Howard – Teenage Snuff Film

Australian guitarist and songwriter Rowland S. Howard followed stints in The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party with this solo debut. Having already had a storied career with The Boys Next Door (Shiversis surely one of the greatest songs ever written) and then moved on to The Birthday Party, Rowland S. Howard was regarded as one of the best songwriters of the late 80s/early … Continue reading Rowland S. Howard – Teenage Snuff Film

The Story Behind The Sleeve #19: Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Spiritualized main man Jason Pierce had been attracted to Mark Farrow’s work with Pet Shop Boys, telling him at the first meeting for the Ladies And Gentlemen… cover simply, “music is medicine for the soul”. That mission statement sparked Farrow’s take on a tablet box to accompany a hugely ambitious album that included Dr John and The London Community Gospel Choir among its guests. Pierce … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #19: Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Smashing Pumpkins – Shiny And Oh So Bright

Propelled by news that some original band members of Smashing Pumpkins (James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin) have returned, their 10th studio album feels lined up for a ‘return to form’ narrative. Sadly, that’s not the case. Billy Corgan remains as ambitious and single-minded as ever on the record, chasing his vision for the band, which seems to exist somewhere between rare glimpses of the old … Continue reading Smashing Pumpkins – Shiny And Oh So Bright

The Beatles – The Beatles (50th Anniversary Edition)

How best to improve an album that most people agree is too long at 30 songs? Make it longer, of course. Such a counterintuitive move has come about now that the widely bootlegged Esher Demos recorded at George Harrison’s Surrey home finally get an official release for The Beatles’ 50th anniversary. Those 27 demos join a new Giles Martin mix which, like his take on … Continue reading The Beatles – The Beatles (50th Anniversary Edition)