Category Archives: Alternative

Weezer – Waiting On You (1996)

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Weezer’s Pinkerton was a slow burner. Much grittier than the polished power pop that Ric Ocasek had helped the band realise on their successful debut, their sophomore pressing was produced by Weezer themselves. The result was a more Pixies/Flaming Lips-like sound that would give the album longevity. Listen to ‘Waiting On You’ and enjoy. Have a great week.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1998

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 1998 in no particular order:

Belle and Sebastian – The Boy With the Arab Strap

Boards Of Canada – Roygbiv

Money Mark – Tomorrow Will Be Like Today

Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945

Mercury Rev – Holes

Beastie Boys – Intergalactic

Lauryn Hill – Doo-Wop

Refused – New Noise

Silver Jews – People

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Honourable mentions also go to: Air for ‘La Femme D’Argent‘; Elliott Smith for ‘Waltz#2‘; Eels for ‘Last Stop: This Town‘; People Under The Stairs for ‘San Francisco Nights‘: The Beta Band for ‘Dry The Rain‘; and Massive Attack for ‘Teardrop‘.

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Khruangbin – White Gloves (2015)

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Khruangbin is the Thai word for airplane and its use by the band serves as a tribute to the Thai rock/funk that inspires them. Laura Lee (bass), Mark Speer (guitar) and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) are all from Texas (I kid you not), but evidently well travelled. “She was a queen. She had a house. She was a fighter. She was a queen. Had a good dude. Bought me a rabbit… She was a queen. One day she was gone. She died in a fight. ‘Cause she was a fighter. She was a queen. She was a queen.” The murmuring sounds of ‘White Gloves’ feature on their only studio album to date, The Universe Smiles Upon You.

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Father John Misty – Total Entertainment Forever (2017)

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I saw Josh Tillman last week at one of his sold-out nights at Hammersmith Apollo. In some ways, his recordings don’t really do his voice justice. ‘Total Entertainment Forever’ is the the fourth single off the Father John Misty album Pure Comedy. The breezy Beatles-like sound and eccentric video both live up to one of the all-time opening, rhyming couplets: “Bedding Taylor Swift/Every night inside the Oculus Rift”. Have a great week.

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Phum Viphurit – Long Gone (2017)

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Phum Viphurit is Thai-born, Kiwi-raised and is now living in Bangkok as a solo artist with an acoustic guitar. The combination is infectious…part MacDeMarco, part Haircut 100. He released ‘Long Gone’ as a single back in the summer.

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Foals – Spanish Sahara (2010)

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The Foals’ sophomore album Total Life Forever, and more specifically the song ‘Spanish Sahara’, was when the band metamorphosed from hyped math rock into a bonafide stadium act. When composing the song, lead singer Yannis Philippakis had tapped some emotional memories of encountering a dead dog in the surf when he was a child. It worked. Have a great week.

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John Joseph Brill – I’m Not Alright (2017)

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Keeping to the contemporary theme this week… there is more than a slight resemblance of Matt Berninger’s baritone and his dystopian outlook in today’s sound. But this is not The National; instead I present Londoner John Joseph Brill’s recent single ‘I’m Not Alright’.

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Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Over Everything (2017)

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Full of humour and good chemistry, this year’s standout release from Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile was ‘Over Everything’. As the first single from the duo’s album, Lotta Sea Lice, the song is an effortlessly blissful introduction into their own brand of space folk.

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Dan Auerbach – King Of A One Horse Town (2017)

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With its touches of John Barry, Steely Dan and Tame Impala, ‘King Of A One Horse Town’ cannot be accused of pigeonholing the Black Key. It’s a single off his new album Waiting On A Song. Dan Auerbach has told fans that “The King … is anyone who’s scared of the outside world. Anyone who’s afraid to go beyond their own block for fear of failure. It could be a drug dealer. A drunk. A professor. That’s a feeling any of us can relate to.”

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Beastie Boys – Intergalactic (1998)

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Oh yes. ‘Intergalactic’ was the first single from their fifth studio album Hello Nasty. Released in May 1998, this was warped retro-futurism according to the NME. It was out there, with its lovely touches of Afrika Bambaataa and Manga. Have a great week.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1999

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 1999 in no particular order:

Röyksopp – So Easy

Blur – Coffee And TV

Dr. Dre – Still D.R.E.

Wilco – She’s A Jar

Pavement – Spit On A Stranger

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – I See A Darkness

dEUS – Instant Street

The Flaming Lips – Race For The Prize

Sigur Rós – Starálfur

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Honourable mentions also go to: Pépé Bradock & The Grand Brûlé’s Choir for ‘Deep Burnt‘; Mos Def for ‘Ms. Fat Booty‘; Shack for ‘Comedy‘; Pete Heller for ‘Big Love‘ and Death in Vegas for ‘Dirge‘.

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Primal Scream – Star (1997)

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I have very fond memories of this song. Primal Scream had been dormant in my thoughts for a few years leading up to the release of their Star EP in 1997. I heard it and I smiled. Have a great weekend.

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Eels – Novocaine For The Soul (1996)

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The Eels’ standout song ‘Novocaine For The Soul’ will always remind me of TV show Trigger Happy TV It was released as the lead single from their 1996 debut album, Beautiful Freak. Have a great weekend.

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Grant Lee Buffalo – Fuzzy (1993)

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Why weren’t Grant Lee Buffalo more successful? Listening to the title track of their 1993 debut album Fuzzy, one can only rejoice Grant Lee Phillips’ vocals and his bandmates’ glorious melodies. “I would have like to/Now I’m fuzzy/Fuzzy now!”

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Cherub Rock (1993)

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The notion of records that kick off with swagger has got me thinking… a few years earlier,  The Smashing Pumpkins’ released their 1993 album Siamese Dream.  ‘Cherub Rock’ opens the LP with drum-rolls, a grungy guitar riffs, fuzz and Billy Corgan’s lamenting vocals. They were destined for the rock pantheon from that moment on.

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