Friday, May 18, 2007

Various Artists tribute to Vic Chesnutt "1996 - Sweet Relief II - Gravity Of The Situation" 1996

tribute to Vic Chesnutt

Review by Denise Sullivan
Madonna, R.E.M., Live, and Hootie & the Blowfish are among the artists who tackle Athens, GA, singer/songwriter Chesnutt's music on this volume for Sweet Relief, the foundation Victoria Williams established to assist ailing musicians such as herself and Chesnutt, who is paraplegic. Although the hard grunge "Sponge," contributed by hometown friends R.E.M., makes perfect sense, other contributions meet with questionable results. "Guilty by Association" by Madonna and her brother-in-law Joe Henry turns a dark ballad into a semi-orchestrated piece.
Nanci Griffith and Darius Rucker's "Gravity of the Situation" is bland. But fans of quirky singer Mary Margaret O'Hara will be enthralled by her spare "Florida," and the Chesnutt/Williams collaboration "God Is Good" closes the set on a hope-filled note; it's the best of the 14 tracks.

1 Kick My Ass (Garbage) 2:31
2 Sponge (REM) 4:06
3 Gravity of the Situation (Nanci Griffith and Hootie & The Blowfish) 4:35
4 When I Ran off & Left Her (Soul Asylum) 3:57
5 Dodge (Dog's Eye View) 4:44
6 Supernatural (Live) 3:28
7 Sad Peter Pan (Smashing Pumpkins and Red Red Meat) 5:08
8 West of Rome (Sparklehorse) 5:44
9 Guilty by Association (Joe Henry and Madonna) 4:26
10 Panic Pure (Kristin) Hersh 2:54
11 Withering (Cracker) 4:14
12 Free of Hope (Indigo Girls) 5:43
13 Florida (Mary Margaret O'Hara) 2:51
14 God Is Good (Vic Chesnutt & Victoria Williams) 5:19


5 Tom Waits Boots

David Byrne "Grown Backwards" 2004

Review by James Christopher Monger
David Byrne, like fellow New York transplant David Bowie, has reached a well-deserved apex in his career. After eight post-Talking Heads solo outings, the eccentric composer, songwriter, artist, and world music entrepreneur has transcended the inconsistencies of his previous efforts and created a genuinely moving and wickedly fun record. Like Bowie's Heathen and Reality, Grown Backwards is a mature work by an icon who has come to terms with his past, present, and future, and there's a joy in the simple act of creativity here that gives even the heaviest of subject matter an effervescent charm. Opening with "Glass, Concrete, and Stone," Byrne finds the perfect middle ground between his orchestral epic The Forest and the South American-inspired Rei Momo — in fact, it's the latter that informs many of Backwards' arrangements. Texas-based chamber group the Tosca Strings feature on nearly every track, giving the more experimental cuts a much needed fluidity, especially on the arias Un Di Felice, Eterea, from Verdi's La Traviata, and Au Fond du Temple Saint, a duet from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. It's no great surprise that the shape-shifting Byrne has chosen opera as his latest foray, but what is surprising is that it works. The Bizet duet in particular, featuring Rufus Wainwright, is lent an emotional resonance by the juxtaposition of the pair's wildly different vocal styles — when they finally meet in harmony it's like two Central Park bums behind Tavern on the Green, clinking their 40-ounce bottles and weeping into a dumpster beneath a sea of summer stars. The wonderfully acerbic "Empire," with its refrain of "The weak among us perish," is Byrne at his political best, emphasizing the "play" in wordplay like a sinister Paul Simon. While by no means a protest record, it bristles with liberal wit and social commentary, especially on the Broadway-style "The Other Side of This Life," a hilarious and scathing jab at the entertainment empires and their minions. "Tiny Apocalypse" finds Byrne at his surreal best, nearly rapping the lyrics "A three-tone carpet and a Jackie Chan spear/lookin' at a hairdo and a bellyful of beer/well, I ain't no poet, ain't got no rhyme/but I got me a car and I know how to drive" over an easy Tropicalia groove. As with many of the prolific artist's releases, the record could be trimmed by five or six songs, but fans have grown accustomed to these aberrations — which are still of higher quality that many in the industry — and are willing to either let them go or let them grow. While by no means perfect, Grown Backwards is the colorful, multiethnic sound of a New York City enthralled with itself, and like a select few of the Big Apple's denizens, Byrne is a perfect conduit for its love.

1 Glass, Concrete & Stone Byrne 4:13
2 The Man Who Loved Beer Book, Wagner 2:40
3 Au Fond du Temple Saint Bizet 4:49
4 Empire Byrne 4:12
5 Tiny Apocalypse Byrne 4:03
6 She Only Sleeps Byrne 2:57
7 Dialog Box Byrne 3:31
8 The Other Side of This Life Byrne 4:00
9 Why Byrne 2:55
10 Pirates Byrne 3:53
11 Civilization Byrne 3:17
12 Astronaut Byrne 2:55
13 Glad Byrne 1:57
14 Un Di Felice, Eterea Verdi 2:55
15 Lazy [*] Byrne, X Press Two 9:36


Talking Heads Discography

Talking_Heads 77 (1977)
More Songs About Buildings & Food (1978)
Fear Of Music (1979)
Remain In Light (1980)
Speaking In Tongues (1983)
Stop Making Sense (Live) (1984)
Little Creatures (1985)
True Stories (1986)
Naked (1988)
Talking Heads Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
At the start of their career, Talking Heads were all nervous energy, detached emotion, and subdued minimalism. When they released their last album about 12 years later, the band had recorded everything from art-funk to polyrhythmic worldbeat explorations and simple, melodic guitar pop. Between their first album in 1977 and their last in 1988, Talking Heads became one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '80s, while managing to earn several pop hits. While some of their music can seem too self-consciously experimental, clever, and intellectual for its own good, at their best Talking Heads represent everything good about art-school punks.
And they were literally art-school punks. Guitarist/vocalist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, and bassist Tina Weymouth met at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early '70s; they decided to move to New York in 1974 to concentrate on making music. The next year, the band won a spot opening for the Ramones at the seminal New York punk club CBGB. In 1976, keyboardist Jerry Harrison, a former member of Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers, was added to the lineup. By 1977, the band had signed to Sire Records and released its first album, Talking Heads: 77. It received a considerable amount of acclaim for its stripped-down rock & roll, particularly Byrne's geeky, overly intellectual lyrics and uncomfortable, jerky vocals.
For their next album, 1978's More Songs About Buildings and Food, the band worked with producer Brian Eno, recording a set of carefully constructed, arty pop songs, distinguished by extensive experimenting with combined acoustic and electronic instruments, as well as touches of surprisingly credible funk. On their next album, the Eno-produced Fear of Music, Talking Heads began to rely heavily on their rhythm section, adding flourishes of African-styled polyrhythms. This approach came to a full fruition with 1980's Remain in Light, which was again produced by Eno. Talking Heads added several sidemen, including a horn section, leaving them free to explore their dense amalgam of African percussion, funk bass and keyboards, pop songs, and electronics.
After a long tour, the band concentrated on solo projects for a couple of years. By the time of 1983's Speaking in Tongues, the band had severed its ties with Eno; the result was an album that still relied on the rhythmic innovations of Remain in Light, except within a more rigid pop-song structure. After its release, Talking Heads embarked on another extensive tour, which would turn out to be their last; it's captured on the Jonathan Demme-directed concert film Stop Making Sense. After releasing the straightforward pop album Little Creatures in 1985, Byrne directed his first movie, True Stories, the following year; the band's next album featured songs from the film. Two years later, Talking Heads released Naked, which marked a return to their worldbeat explorations, although it sometimes suffered from Byrne's lyrical pretensions.
After its release, Talking Heads were put on "hiatus"; Byrne pursued some solo projects, as did Harrison, and Frantz and Weymouth continued with their side project, Tom Tom Club. In 1991, the band issued an announcement that they had broken up. Five years later, the original lineup minus Byrne reunited as the Heads for the album No Talking Just Head. Then in 1999, all four worked together to promote a 15th-anniversary edition of Stop Making Sense.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Robert Fripp & The League of Crafty Guitarists "Intergalactic Boogie Express: Live in Europe" 1991

Review by Ted Mills
A brilliant live recording of Robert Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists. From King Crimson covers and Fripp-written exercises (the several "Circulation" tracks, that turn the assembled group into a web of interconnected notes) to Bach preludes and a cover of "Wabash Cannonball," the group is incredibly sharp, disciplined, and the total opposite of loose. The title track is all that and more: an unstoppable machine rushing headlong at the listener. Probably one of the best League recordings, this is almost a final statement on the ideas and techniques of Fripp's Guitar Craft workshops (though they continue to this day). You will soon forget these are acoustic guitars: it's pure steel.

1 A Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur Gavin 2:30
2 Rhythm of the Universes Gavin 4:05
3 Larks' Thrak Fripp 2:37
4 Circulation I Fripp, Fripp 1:17
5 Intergalactic Boogie Express Fripp 2:25
6 G Force Gavin 3:03
7 Eye of the Needle Fripp 3:02
8 Corrente Bach 1:36
9 Driving Force Fripp 3:27
10 Groove Penetration Buttram 2:03
11 Flying Home Golden, McSurely 2:06
12 Circulation II Fripp 2:40
13 Fireplace Ball 3:37
14 Fragments of Skylab Russino 3:07
15 Asturias Lams 3:14
16 Prelude Circulation Bach 2:03
17 Cheeseballs Ball 1:07
18 Prelude in C Minor Bach 1:38
19 Wabash Cannonball Traditional 9:18
20 2:12

P.S. Dieses ist ganz spezielles hochladen fьr meinen sehr, sehr, sehr spezielle und lieben Freund Johanna - hope You'll like it!:)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Birthday Party Discography

Prayers On Fire (1981)

Junk Yard (1982)
Mutiny (The Bad Seed E.P) (1983)
The Peel Sessions

The Birthday Party Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The Birthday Party were one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early '80s, creating bleak and noisy soundscapes that provided the perfect setting for vocalist Nick Cave's difficult, disturbing stories of religion, violence, and perversity. Under the direction of Cave and guitarist Rowland S. Howard, the band tore through reams of blues and rockabilly licks, spitting out hellacious feedback and noise at an unrelenting pace. As the Birthday Party's career progressed, Cave's vision got darker and the band's songs alternated between dirges to blistering sonic assaults.
Originally, the Australian band was called the Boys Next Door, comprising Cave, Howard, Mick Harvey (guitar, drums, organ, piano), bassist Tracy Pew, and drummer Phill Calvert. After the Door Door album and Hee Haw EP under that name, the band moved to London and switched its name to the deceptively benign Birthday Party. Once they arrived in Britain, their demented, knotty post-punk began to gel. They released their first international album, Prayers on Fire, in 1981, earning critical praise in the U.K. and U.S. While the band was preparing to record the follow-up, Pew was jailed for drunk driving; former Magazine member Barry Adamson, Harry Howard, and Chris Walsh filled in for the absent Pew on 1982's Junkyard. After the release of Junkyard, the Birthday Party fired Calvert and moved to Germany, where they began collaborating with such experimental post-punk acts like Lydia Lunch and Einstürzende Neubauten. Harvey left in the summer of 1983. The group briefly continued with drummer Des Heffner, but it soon disbanded after a final concert in Melbourne, Australia. Cave had the most successful solo career, recording a series of albums in the '80s and '90s that maintained his status as a popular cult figure; Harvey joined Cave's backing band, the Bad Seeds. Howard joined Crime & the City Solution, which also featured his brother Harry and Harvey.

If You have more records by The Birthday Party - share! :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Death in June 1983-1991 Years Discography

Biography by Jason Ankeny
Industrial innovators Death in June emerged in 1980 from the remnants of the punk unit Crisis, reuniting singer/multi-instrumentalist Douglas Pearce and bassist Tony Wakeford; drummer Patrick Leagas completed the original lineup, which made its live debut late the following year with an opening slot for the Birthday Party. The 12-inch "Heaven Street" soon followed, and in 1983 Death in June issued their first full-length effort, The Guilty Have No Pride; from the outset, the group was criticized for its adoption of fascist imagery, and charges of Nazism dogged Pearce throughout his career. Upon completing the Burial LP, Wakeford left the lineup to form Sol Invictus; following the release of 1985's Nada!, only Pearce remained, with Leagas exiting to form his own project, Sixth Comm. Beginning with the 1986 double album The World That Summer, Pearce continued Death in June primarily as a solo concern, aided by a revolving group of collaborators including Current 93's David Tibet, Boyd Rice and Coil's John Balance; the abrasive electronics and martial rhythms of early efforts gave way to an increasingly expansive sonic approach over the course of subsequent outings including 1987's Brown Book, 1989's The Wall of Sacrifice and 1992's But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?, the latter evoking Pearce's longstanding interest in traditional European folk music. The first British act to perform in Croatia following the outbreak of Yugoslavia's civil war, Death in June documented their experiences on 1993's Something Is Coming; subsequent efforts include 1995's Rose Clouds of Holocaust, 1997's Take Care and Control and 2000's Operation Hummingbird.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Residents "Animal Lover" 2005

Review by Sean Westergaard
The reigning kings of the concept album are back with Animal Lover, another very dense though not completely impenetrable offering from the Residents. They seem to be continuing with the themes of mortality that surfaced in Demons Dance Alone, but this time viewed through the observations and relationships between humans and animals. Each song is accompanied by a written text (in addition to the lyrics), that sketches the scene and characters of the song. There seems to be an overall structure to the work as a whole because groups of songs are separated from each other by brief instrumentals. There's a general malaise permeating Animal Lover, but each of the "sets" of songs presents its own moods and emotions (one set is more menacing and confrontational, one set very sad and sympathetic, etc.). As has been the case for decades now, the Residents have a knack for exposing the dark underbelly of the human condition, but this time it's tempered with some surprisingly empathetic moments. "Inner Space" deals with a woman watching her father die in a hospital (the story explained through the eyes of a mouse, but sung by the daughter) and "The Cat" seems to be about a mother and son and their changed relationship both to each other and the family cat following the son's absence, perhaps due to a war. There's alot more going on in these songs and the way they're arranged, but it will take multiple listens to begin to decode it. Musically, they've added some very organic sounds to their creepy synth stylings, adding lots of acoustic bass, harmonica and violin to the processed sounds of electric guitar and keyboards. There's also a fairly extensive use of
chimes, gongs, and gamelan. The "singing Resident" has a diminished role as they utilize a broader palette of voices, including a couple excellent performances by Molley Harvey. There is also an additional disc included, where they take various elements from the album proper and come up with something akin to a dance remix disc, but bear in mind what that could mean given that it's a Residents project. It's really quite amazing how they continue to turn out intelligent, thought-provoking and thoroughly original material time and time again. As with any Residents album or project, it sure as hell won't appeal to all tastes, but close attention given by open-minded listeners will be rewarded. There is no one out there like them.
1 On the Way (To Oklahoma) Residents 4:06
2 Olive and Gray Residents 4:07
3 What Have My Chickens Done Now? Residents 4:24
4 Two Lips Residents 2:43
5 Mr. Bee's Bumble Residents 3:25
6 Inner Space Residents 4:18
7 Dead Men Residents 3:25
8 My Window Residents 5:19
9 Ingrid's Oily Tongue Residents 1:55
10 Mother No More Residents 3:19
11 Dreaming of an Anthill (Teeming) Residents 2:23
12 Elmer's Song Residents 4:34
13 The Monkey Man Residents 4:01
14 The Whispering Boys Residents 4:28
15 Burn My Bones Residents 8:51
16 Residents 2:55
17 Residents 6:51
18 Residents 1:38
19 Residents 1:22
20 Residents 6:28
21 Residents 12:39

Music From Soviet Movies

The Residents "George & James: The American Composers Series, Vol. I" 1984

Review by Rick Anderson
Volume one in the Residents' dryly named American Composers Series (get those tongues out of your cheeks and start singing, boys) is a collection of compositions by two of America's most famous musical geniuses, George Gershwyn and James Brown. After starting off with a trio of Gershwin numbers ("Rhapsody in Blue," "I Got Rhythm," and "Summertime") all delivered in the Residents' trademark creepy/funny/bewildering style. The program continues with eight tunes taken from James Brown's Live at the Apollo album, one of which is the famous minute-long intro. Weird? You betcha. Effective? Sort of, if you know what you're getting into. The artificially lowered voice, cheesy organ, and fastidiously accurate backing vocals are a hoot on "I'll Go Crazy" and "Try Me," whereas "Think" collapses into chaos, while "Night Train" barely hangs on by virtue of its insanely simple keyboard part. It's difficult to see what the band was trying to say with this project, but wondering what they're trying to say has never been a good way to approach the Residents.

1 Rhapsody in Blue Gershwin 10:31
2 I Got Rhythm Gershwin, Gershwin 3:04
3 Summertime Gershwin, Gershwin, Heyward 4:08
4 Live at the Apollo Brown 0:54
5 I'll Go Crazy Brown 1:45
6 Try Me Brown 0:50
7 Think Brown 1:57
8 I Don't Mind Brown 2:39
9 Lost Someone Brown 5:39
10 Please, Please, Please Brown, Terry 1:19
11 Night Train Brown 3:38

The Residents "Stars & Hank Forever: The American Composers Series, Vol. II" 1986

Review by Rick Anderson
The Residents reportedly intended their American Composers Series to last 16 years and cover heaven knows how many volumes. Stars & Hank Forever, which finds the Residents interpreting music by Hank Williams and John Philip Sousa, was the second volume, and it's probably just as well that it turned out to be the last. The charming goofiness that buoyed the first volume (George & James) is replaced by a slightly discomforting sense of borderline disrespect (on the Hank Williams material) and overkill (on the Sousa compositions). Their rendition of "Six More Miles (to the Graveyard)" is genuinely haunting and almost even pretty, but Williams' memory and enormous talent deserve better than the facile deconstructions of "Hey Good-Lookin'" and "Jambalaya" in which the band indulges here. As for the Sousa material, it seems a bit more deserving of parodic treatment than the Hank Williams songs, and the Residents do have lots of fun with "Nobles of the Mystic Shrine," "The Washington Post," and of course, "The Stars & Stripes Forever." But six such arrangements was maybe a few too many in this case. Like the first volume in the series, this one is worthwhile but not essential.

1 Hey, Good Lookin' Williams 2:47
2 Six More Miles (To the Graveyard) Williams 4:16
3 Kaw-Liga Rose, Williams 4:54
4 Ramblin' Man Williams 3:13
5 Jambalaya (On the Bayou) Williams 4:47
6 Nobles of the Mystic Shrine Sousa 4:45
7 The Stars and Stripes Forever Sousa 3:12
8 The Thunderer Sousa 3:27
9 The Liberty Bell Sousa 4:14
10 Semper Fidelis Sousa 3:05
11 The Washington Post Sousa 4:24

The Residents "Mark of the Mole" 1981

Review by Ted Mills
After Eskimo, the band's attempt to sonically recreate Inuit tales through sound, the Residents began to undertake a similar project that would color the rest of their career. The Mark of the Mole trilogy would result in three albums and a world tour that would nearly bankrupt the band and Ralph Records, and cause (rumor has it) two of the original members to leave the band. It was also the beginning of the band's desire (often detrimental) to broaden their scope, to construct long concept albums, or imagine series of albums that would never be completed. Mark of the Mole imagines a race of mole workers who live underground and worship darkness and work (they're the heroes). When a flood forces them to flee their home, they migrate across the desert to the land of the Chubs, who subjugate them and cause war to break out. This is some of the grimmest, most discordant, rough hewn music the band has set down on record, with a grinding piece called "It Never Stops" summing up the tone of the record perfectly. Perversely, there is much to enjoy in this trip to the group's dark side, and the album's resolution truly feels like a breath of fresh air.
1 Voices of the Air Residents 2:55
2 The Ultimate Disaster Residents 8:54
3 Migration Residents 7:15
4 Another Land Residents 4:42
5 The New Machine Residents 7:16
6 Final Confrontation Residents 9:47

Thursday, May 10, 2007

F.S.K. "International" 1996

Part 1
Review by Richie Unterberger
Although David Lowery is still involved with F.S.K. as producer and sort-of-bandmember, this has a less rootsy, oom-pahish feel than some of their previous work. Most of it's sung in German as well, which leaves the non-Deutsch speakers a bit puzzled, though song titles like "Roxy Munich," "The Moog Banjo Revival," "Amon Duul Diskographie," and "Mark Twain in Heidelberg" certainly sound like they might be a hoot. Their weird sense of humor gets taken to extremes on the covers of "She Acts Like a Woman Should" and "To the Other Woman," poker-faced renditions that add another level of confusion by having a woman assume the lead vocals of these male-to-female love songs. Even after repeated playings, it's hard to know what to make of an album so willfully eccentric. Fans of pop absurdists like Zappa and the Bonzo Dog Band might find some kinship with these folks, but F.S.K.'s humor is more obscure and less immediately appealing.

1 Roxy Muinch Hoffmann, Lowery, Meinecke ... 1:37
2 Die Kaiser Wilhelm Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 5:16
3 El Pastor Aleman Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 2:48
4 Olympiaturm '72 Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 1:09
5 I Want Out of the Circus Lowery 3:51
6 El Pitbull Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... :41
7 She Acts Like a Woman Should Scott 3:49
8 Mark Twain in Heidelberg Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 3:30
9 Mein Kubano Girl Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 3:49
10 The Moog Banjo Revival Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... :44
11 Euro-Trash Girl Faragher, Hickman, Lowery ... 7:15
12 Karl-Eduard Von Schnitzler Polka Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 3:26
13 When Amish Go Bad Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... :35
14 Amon Duul Diskographie Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 4:12
15 Das Schlechteste Land Der Welt Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 2:57
16 Jane Fonda Lied Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 3:28
17 Josh's Melodica Intermezzo Lowery 1:00
18 Dachshund Walzer Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 4:06
19 To the Other Woman Williams 3:07
20 1 + 1 = 3 Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 3:34
21 Medley: Was Kostet Die Welt/Kleiner Polizist Hoffmann, Meinecke, Melian ... 3:18
22 Roxy Munich 2 Hoffmann, Lowery, Meinecke ... 1:49

The Residents "Our Finest Flowers" 1993

Review by Ted Mills
As part of their 20-year retrospective, the Residents shunned a typical greatest-hits package (there have been plenty of those), and instead recorded an album of reinterpretations of their own catalog — sort of. This is cut-and-paste revisionism, with a melody line from one song, bass parts from another, and lyrics from yet another. Being such, it will make much more sense to the hardened fan than the casual listener. And unlike the previous year's Freak Show, their knack for creating a sonically interesting album returns. "Jungle Bunny," for example, meshes together the Snakefinger song "Picnic in the Jungle" with "Monkey and Bunny," the song written with Renaldo & the Loaf, and brings out a little more of the humor. "Ship of Fools" takes apart "Ship's a Goin' Down" and places it underneath Mark of the Mole's "Worker's Hymn," switching over to a lovely snatch of God in Three Persons for the chorus — the result is undoubtedly more than the sum of its parts, and possibly not greater, but there is a catharsis to hear all these varying themes come together. The group almost makes sense of its history and creates mystery once again.
1 Gone Again Residents 3:59
2 The Sour Song Residents 2:43
3 Six Amber Things Residents 2:37
4 Mr. Lonely Residents 2:31
5 Perfect Goat Residents 2:50
6 Blue Tongues Residents 3:39
7 Jungle Bunny Residents 2:51
8 I'm Dreaming of a White Sailor Residents 3:13
9 Or Maybe a Marine Residents 2:49
10 Kick a Picnic Residents 2:29
11 Dead Wood Residents 4:26
12 Baby Sister Residents 3:47
13 Forty-Four No More Residents 3:39
14 He Also Serves Residents 2:49
15 Ship of Fools Residents 4:16
16 Be Kind to U-Web Footed Friends Residents 0:43

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Smiths Collection - Studio, Live, Compilations

1984 - The Smiths

1985 - Meat Is Murder

1986 - Ask (Single)

1986 - The Queen Is Dead

1984 - Hatful of Hollow
1987 - The World Won't Listen
Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The Smiths were the definitive British indie rock band of the '80s, marking the end of synth-driven new wave and the beginning of the guitar rock that dominated English rock into the '90s. Sonically, the group was indebted to the British Invasion, crafting ringing, melodic three-minute pop singles, even for their album tracks. But their scope was far broader than that of a revivalist band. The group's core members, vocalist Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, were obsessive rock fans inspired by the D.I.Y. ethics of punk, but they also had a fondness for girl groups, pop, and rockabilly. Morrissey and Marr also represented one of the strangest teams of collaborators in rock history. Marr was the rock traditionalist, looking like an elegant version of Keith Richards during the Smiths' heyday and meticulously layering his guitar tracks in the studio. Morrissey, on the other hand, broke from rock tradition by singing in a keening, self-absorbed croon, embracing the forlorn, romantic poetry of Oscar Wilde, publicly declaring his celibacy, performing with a pocketful of gladioli and a hearing aid, and making no secret of his disgust for most of his peers. While it eventually led to the Smiths' early demise, the friction between Morrissey and Marr resulted in a flurry of singles and albums over the course of three years that provided the blueprint for British guitar rock in the following decade.Before forming the Smiths in 1982, Johnny Marr (born John Maher, October 31, 1963; guitar) had played in a variety of Manchester-based rock & roll bands, including Sister Ray, Freaky Part, White Dice, and Paris Valentinos. On occasion, Marr had come close to a record contract — one of his bands won a competition Stiff Records held to have Nick Lowe "produce your band" — but he never quite made the leap. Though Morrissey (born Steven Patrick Morrissey, May 22, 1959; vocals) had sung for a few weeks with the Nosebleeds and auditioned for Slaughter & the Dogs, he had primarily contented himself to being a passionate, vocal fan of both music and film. During his teens, he wrote the Melody Maker frequently, often getting his letters published. He had written the biography/tribute James Dean Isn't Dead, which was published by the local Manchester publishing house Babylon Books in the late '70s, as well as another book on the New York Dolls; he was also the president of the English New York Dolls fan club. Morrissey met Marr, who was then looking for a lyricist, through mutual friends in the spring of 1982. The pair began writing songs, eventually recording some demos with the Fall's drummer, Simon Wolstencroft. By the fall, the duo had settled on the name the Smiths and recruited Marr's schoolmate Andy Rourke as their bassist and Mike Joyce as their drummer. The Smiths made their live debut late in 1982, and by the spring of 1983, the group had earned a small but loyal following in their hometown of Manchester and had begun to make inroads in London. Rejecting a record deal with the Mancunian Factory Records, the band signed with Rough Trade for a one-off single, "Hand in Glove." With its veiled references to homosexuality and its ringing riffs, "Hand in Glove" became an underground sensation in the U.K., topping the independent charts and earning the praise of the U.K. music weeklies. Soon, Morrissey's performances became notorious as he appeared on-stage wearing a hearing aid and with gladioli stuffed in his back pockets. His interviews were becoming famous for his forthright, often contrary opinions, which helped the band become a media sensation. By the time of the group's second single, "This Charming Man," in late 1983, the Smiths had already been the subject of controversy over "Reel Around the Fountain," a song that had been aired on a BBC radio session and was alleged to condone child abuse. It was the first time that Morrissey's detached, literary, and ironic lyrics were misinterpreted and it wouldn't be the last."This Charming Man" reached number 25 on the British charts in December of 1983, setting the stage for "What Difference Does It Make"'s peak of number 12 in February. The Smiths' rise to the upper reaches of the British charts was swift, and the passion of their fans, as well as the U.K. music press, indicated that the group had put an end to the synth-powered new wave that dominated Britain in the early '80s. After rejecting their initial stab at a first album, the Smiths released their eponymous debut in the spring of 1984 to strong reviews and sales — it peaked at number two. A few months later, the group backed '60s pop vocalist Sandie Shaw — who Morrissey had publicly praised in an article — on a version of "Hand in Glove" that was released and reached the Top 40. "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" reached number ten, becoming their highest-charting single amid a storm of controversy about its B-side, "Suffer Little Children," which was about the notorious Moors Murders. More controversy appeared when Morrissey denounced the hunger-relief efforts of Band Aid, but the group's popularity was not affected. Though the Smiths had become the most popular new rock & roll group in Britain, the group failed to make it outside of underground and college radio in the U.S., partially because they never launched a full-scale tour. At the end of the year, "William It Was Really Nothing" became a Top 20 hit and Hatful of Hollow, a collection of B-sides, BBC sessions, and non-LP singles, went to the Top Ten, followed shortly by "How Soon Is Now," which peaked at number 24.Meat Is Murder, the band's second proper studio album, entered the British charts at number one in February of 1985, despite some criticism that it was weaker than The Smiths. Around the time of the release of Meat Is Murder, Morrissey's interviews were becoming increasingly political as he trashed the Thatcher administration and campaigned for vegetarianism; he even claimed that the Smiths were all vegetarians, and he forbade the remaining members to be photographed eating meat, even though they were still carnivores. Marr, for his part, was delving deeply into the rock & roll lifestyle and looked increasingly like a cross between Keith Richards and Brian Jones. By the time the non-LP "Shakespeare's Sister" reached number 26 in the spring of 1985, the Smiths had spawned a rash of soundalike bands, including James, who opened for the group on their spring 1985 tour, most of whom Morrissey supported. However, all of the media attention on the Smiths launched a mild backlash later in 1985, when "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" was pulled from Meat Is Murder and failed to reach the Top 40. "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" revived the band's fortunes in the fall of 1985, and their third album, The Queen Is Dead, confirmed their popularity upon its release in the spring of 1986. Greeted with enthusiastic reviews and peaking at number two on the U.K. charts, The Queen Is Dead also expanded their cult following in the U.S., cracking the Top 100. Shortly before the album was completed, former Aztec Camera guitarist Craig Gannon became the band's rhythm guitarist, and he played with the band throughout their 1986 international tour, including a botched American tour. The non-LP "Panic," which was criticized as racist by some observers for its repeated refrain of "Burn down the disco...hang the DJ," reached number 11 late in the summer. A few months after its release, Marr was seriously injured in a car crash. During his recuperation, Gannon was fired from the band, as was Rourke, who was suffering from heroin addiction. Though Rourke was later reinstated, Gannon was never replaced.The Smiths may have been at the height of their popularity in early 1987, with the non-LP singles "Shoplifters of the World" and "Sheila Take a Bow" reaching number 11 and ten respectively, and the singles and B-sides compilation The World Won't Listen (revamped for U.S. release as Louder Than Bombs later in 1987) debuting at number two, but Marr was growing increasingly disenchanted with the band and the music industry. Over the course of the year, Morrissey and Marr became increasingly irritated with each other. The singer wished that Marr would stop playing with other artists like Bryan Ferry and Billy Bragg, while the guitarist was frustrated with Morrissey's devotion to '60s pop and his hesitancy to explore new musical directions. A few weeks before the fall release of Strangeways, Here We Come, Marr announced that he was leaving the Smiths. Morrissey disbanded the group shortly afterward and began a solo career, signing with Parlophone in the U.K. and staying with the Smiths' U.S. label, Reprise. Marr played as a sideman with a variety of artists, eventually forming Electronic with New Order frontman Bernard Sumner. Rourke retired from recording and Joyce became a member of the reunited Buzzcocks in 1991.Rank, a live album recorded on the Queen Is Dead tour, was released in the fall of 1988. It debuted at number two in the U.K. A widely criticized, two-part The Best of the Smiths compilation was released in 1992; the praised Singles compilation was released in 1995. Joyce and Rourke sued Morrissey and Marr in 1991, claiming they received only ten percent of the group's earnings while the songwriters received 40 percent. Rourke eventually settled out of court, but Joyce won his case in late 1996. An appeal was scheduled.
If You have other The Smiths albums or singles - please, share!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Geckos "Move Yourself" 1996

Very cute band - if You have their albums - please, share!:)
Totally Fuzzy