I can’t finish a week of tracks from 1992 without a mention of Crowded House. It’s all a bit time and place, but I spent a few days listening to their standout album Woodface while travelling across California. It was the best 1980s-sounding album released in 1992; and it didn’t get much better than ‘Fall At Your Feet’. Have a great weekend.
‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ is the haunting, beating heart of one of the most ambitious debut LPs ever recorded. The Manic Street Preachers were already on fire when they released the double album Generation Terrorists… they had been waiting for the record deal that would change everything. Columbia Records signed the Manics, but could not have foreseen the permanent, mysterious disappearance of their guitarist Richey Edwards just three year later.
Radiohead are no fans of the track that started it all. ‘Creep’ featured on Pablo Honey and put them on the map with its breakthrough in the US. Thom Yorke apparently took to calling the song ‘Crap’ and at one concert in Montreal, he answered a fan’s song request by telling the crowd to “f*ck off, we’re tired of it”. A nice problem to have.
“I’ve been crowned the king of it and it’s all that we have/ So, wait to hear my words and they’re diamond sharp/ I can open it up and it’s up and down.” The “king of it” is Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus. 1991 may have belonged to Nirvana, but 1992 was all about Pavement’s debut Slanted And Enchanted, “the quintessential indie rock album” (Rolling Stone) . ‘In The Mouth A Desert’ was the fourth track on Side 1 of the L.P.
Yesterday, I was looking back at 1992 and all that it had to offer. The process threw out a few blog omissions from the standout sounds that year. For starters, South Central L.A. hip hopsters The Pharcyde released their classic debut Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde. It featured that sample of Quincy Jones’s ‘Summer In The City‘. Have a great week.
A compilation for sunny day in June. 1992 could have been a creative wasteland between what had been (Madchester, shoegazing, grunge) and what was to come (the Wu-Tang, trip hop, Britpop). But no, far from it. For starters, this was the year that Slanted and Enchanted and Selected Ambient Works 85-92 reached our ears.
Honourable mentions also go to: Sade for ‘No Ordinary Love‘; Derrick May for his Illusion First Mix of ‘Sueño Latino‘; Mel’isa Morgan for ‘Still In Love‘; Coco Steel & Lovebom for ‘Feel It‘, My Bloody Valentine for ‘Only Shallow‘, Sergio Mendes for ‘Fanfarra (Cabua Le-Le)‘, Spiritualized for ‘Shine A Light‘, Kevin Saunderson for his Tunnel Mix of Inner City’s ‘Pennies From Heaven‘, X-Press 2 for ‘Muzik Xpress‘; Flowered Up for ‘Weekender‘; and The Pharcyde for ‘Passing Me By‘.
The summer of 1992. Spiritualized released their debut album Lazer Guided Melodies. If you don’t know it, do check it out. ‘Shine A Light’ reassured lovers of Spacemen 3 that Jason Pierce continued his ongoing affinity for the pioneering sounds of The Velvet Underground. Part VU, part space rock, part psych rock, part shoegazing, part…
A quarter of a century before Bicep were shaking up house music, Ashley Beedle, Rocky & Diesel were changing the sound of the dance floor both sides of the pond. X-Press 2 was another classic musical project on Junior Boy’s Own production, building on the success of Heller & Farley’s Fire Island in the same year. ‘Muzik Xpress’ is a big-room barnstormer.
Channelling the Daisy Age philosophy of De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde showed that the West Coast could do it too. Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde and its roller coaster art appeared in 1992. The excellent track ‘Passin’ Me By’ may take all the plaudits, but there was fun to be had throughout. ‘4 Better Or 4 Worse’ is a case in hand.
Ooops… premature post (such is the excitement about this track). As I have shown through much scientific testing, 1992 was the annus mirabilis for house music. Away from the techno, ambient and progressive standouts, the likes of Doc Livingstone, Joey Negro and DJ Nature were shaping the sound of the the disco/house crossover half a decade before the French Touch. DJ Nature (AKA Milo Johnson) was a founding member of Bristol’s legendary Wild Bunch soundsystem that generated Massive Attack. In 1989, Milo moved to New York to get closer to the work of Larry Levan, Louie Vega and Tony Humphries. His early productions were under the Natureboy moniker on his own Ruff Disco Records. On ‘Tobago’, he deconstructs disco into something punchier and darker. This pearl features on his compilation Ruff Disco Volume One.
The Black Crowes released their sophomore album The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion in 1992. One of its finest moments is the riff-laden rocker ‘Remedy’. Borrowing a hook from Parliament’s ‘Night Of The Thumpasorus People’, the band reveal their ability to take a classic sound and make it their own. They would revisit this trick on their cover of ‘Hard To Handle’. Have a great weekend.
Inspired by the death of their friend Troy Dixon, “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” was the lead single off Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s debut album Mecca and the Soul Brother. It features one of the classic jazz sample spots from Tom Scott and The California Dreamers’ track ‘Today’. Have a great week.
The Cure’s 1992 studio album Wish succeeded some hard competition in the band’s acclaimed Disintegration. But from out of its shadow, the band produced a couple of gems: hit single ‘Friday I’m In Love’, of course; but the real deal is the jangling, dancey hook-laden ‘From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea’, blessfully included as the longest track on the album.