And just because they're old... well, they're new to me. So leave me alone. You too, collapsing walls and increasing paranoia.
Disclaimer: I really didn't edit this one much, so there are some dumb moments and some clever ones. I think they're mainly dumb, but honestly have no idea. And I left some things in that I never would, although I did do a spell check. I wrote A LOT. Good luck.
In alphabetical order:
- Big Country - Steeltown (1984). IMHO, the Scottish band Big Country had two great albums: 1986's The Seer (their third album) and 1999's Driving to Damascus (their last before lead singer Stuart Adamson's suicide in 2001). Steeltown was the followup to their debut The Crossing (which featured the timeless classic "In a Big Country"). Steeltown in the US was a colossal failure, and an the end of Big Country as a viable commercial entity. In the UK, it spawned three top 40 hits. So who was right? In the case, the UK. This band was so underrated, as was drummer Mark Brzezicki, who I first saw on my freshman roommate Sean's Beta (!) recording of him as a teenager playing for Pete Townsend. I have not had much human contact today. Verdict: Portable CD Case.
- The Call - sorry, this album was from Scott. Wrong post.
- The Cure - Disintegration (1989). I would never normally admit this, but seriously the only reason I have any interest in this is that in the South Park "Mega Streisand" episode where Stan (or Kyle) calls this the best album ever. This is where I find my music: from throwaway cartoon endorsements. This album makes me sad. But it is really good. (Now that's insight!) I always liked "Fascination Street" and "Lullaby." The album is surprisingly thoughtful and delicate. Surprising to me, anyways. Okay, now I'm babbling. Verdict: Portable CD Case.
- Devo - Smooth Noodle Maps (1990). Random question that just occurred to me: What are toast points? Aren't they just toast? (I am in a weird spot at the moment.) Anyways, Devo's eighth album in a thirteen year period, his was the last album in Devo's long run of commercial output (before reuniting to create 2010's Something for Everybody). Any Devo fans who didn't already hate me (and I know some that do) will undoubtedly feel that way before this review is complete. This sounds like "Weird Al" Yankovic got together with Depeche Mode and tried to make a serious but ironic album. This is where it turns ugly for Devo fans: I think it works. (I'm guessing they view this album like the part of the family tree where Cousin Molly married Uncle Ron.) Yes, I like it and I don't care. I am not trying to be clever, but I can't help it: I am really craving a grilled cheese right now and wondering if it can be made with toast points. (Moment of lucidity: Aren't you glad I left all these gems in?) Verdict: Portable CD Case.
- Devo - Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace 12/9/88 (1989). One of those great albums that captures a moment in time, with a band hitting on all cylinders. Simply put: a great live album. I may be turning into a Devo fan. Verdict: Portable CD Case.
- Gem - Hexed (1995). Guided by Voices guitarist Doug Gillard formed this band in 1995, prior to joining GBV. Okay, so the lyrics are a bit repetitive. But the music -- particularly the guitar playing -- is fantastic. Which is fortunate on standouts like "Only a Loan" and "I Hate It," with doctorate-level guitar work and grade-school dropout level lyrics. But it rawks, dude. Totally. Verdict: Portable CD Case.
- The Golden Palominos - This Is How It Feels (1993), Pure (1994). Most famous for their guest-star laden albums (e.g., Michael Stipe, John Lydon, Richard Thompson, Mick Taylor, and Bob Mould, to name a few), this band is the brainchild of ex-Feelies and Bob Mould band drummer Anton Fier. These two albums are their best, IMHO; they sound the most like a band, lightly touching on pop, soft indie rock, dance, and even a bit of ambient. Ironically, these are the two least star-studded albums of the catalog; only Bootsy Collins is along for this one. This Is How It Feels teeters on the brink of being trite inanity throughout, but stays on the right side of edginess throughout. If I didn't know better, I might identify the band as Texas. Pure is more of the same and perhaps even better. I could listen to both of these all day when in that ambient/trippy/poppy mood. Of course, the next album was a different lineup altogether and the end of the Palominos. Maybe they should have gone for album #3 with this group. Nice decision, assholes. Verdict: TIHIF - Portable CD Case; Pure - Car CD Changer.
- Ladytron - Light and Magic (2002). This electronic quartet's 2nd album (they just released their sixth in 2011) is marked by an edge and groove that a lot of electronica lacks, IMHO, as well as a lower bpmVerdict: Portable CD Case.
- The Primitives - Pure (1989). If you have a female lead singer, name your album Pure. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you've been caught skimming this post.) Some good songs here, but I'm really not sure what I was thinking when I put it into the pile for this list. Verdict: Sell-back Pile 1.
- The Psychedlic Furs - World Outside (1991). I really want to like The Psychedelic Furs. I really do. But everything I've ever heard has been hit or miss. Once again, my guess is true fans of this band will find this a piss-poor offering in their catalog. It's whiny, nasally, and tuneful in just the appropriate doses. I wish I had heard it years ago. Verdict: Portable CD Case.
- Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger (1991). I won't apologize for taking this long to give Soundgarden a real chance; I wasn't ready to listen to them until now. It's essentially a merciless grunge dirge. Me likee. Verdict: Car CD Changer.
- Stars of Track and Field - Centuries Before Love and War (2006). These guys were on my radar based on their 2009 track "Racing Lights." I wish I could describe this album, but I'm seriously loopy at the moment. I did give a bunch of songs 4 stars, and I have the general impression I enjoyed the album. So I like it... right? Verdict: Who knows? Definitely worth listening to at the beginning of the pain med cycle, clearly.
- Ultravox - The Collection (1985). It's an interesting idea to call this album The Collection, considering it completely ignores the band's first three albums, their live album, and their last two releases. It's a good summary of their four middle albums, and highlights some great pop synth and guitar tracks. A classic 80's sound for the first half; a little more of other albums would have helped. Verdict: CD Rack.
- Suzanne Vega - 99.9 F° (1992). Why is there no "Insert Symbol" in this blog compose interface? Would it really be that difficult? I loved "Luka" (which I'm shocked to realize was released in 1987... I was sure more like 1980 or 1982) and she has a great voice, but I was not a big fan of anything else she did (including Tom's Diner"). "Blood Makes Noise" is simply a phenomenal song, and I'm ready to listen to this now in all the ways I wasn't in 1992. She really is great at mixing things up musically throughout, and I'm liking this album. Uneven (e.g., "Fat Man and the Dancing Girl") but good. Verdict: Portable CD Case.
- XTC - Oranges and Lemons (1989). I've taken my sweet damn time getting into XTC but I'm hooked. I'm not sure why some bands take years and others take minutes to get. These guys are good, although I'd put a few albums ahead of this one from their catalog; the second half seemed to fall off the cliff (although perhaps that was the momentary lack of pain meds listening). Thanks to Scott and Barry for encouraging me to get into these guys. Verdict: CD Rack.