Tag Archives: 1998

Sparklehorse ‎- Painbirds (1998)

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Listening to Sparklehorse is difficult because of what I/we know about singer-songwriter Mark Linkous’s life. Good Morning Spider is the record he made after he nearly died from an overdose in a London hotel while supporting Radiohead on the first Sparklehorse tour in 1996. Two years later, I was lucky enough to see him tour the album and the miserably beautiful song ‘Painbirds’. A decade later, while in the process of breaking up with his wife of 20 years, Linkous was greatly affected by the suicide of his close friend Vic Chesnutt. A few months later he shot himself in the heart. A really sad story – a wonderful song.

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Lauryn Hill – Ex-Factor (1998)

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Effortlessly fusing soul, R&B, rap and reggae, Lauryn Hill’s debut solo record The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill drew from her experiences with The Fugees, but said something much more personal. The assumption was that the lyrics were directed at Wyclef Jean. The album remains Hill’s only solo studio long player. The song would resurface a sample in Drake’s ‘Nice For What‘. Have a great week.

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Silver Jews – Random Rules (1998)

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David Berman took his own life last week. He leaves behind a world that is lesser for his departure. The man that coined the phrase “Slanted and Enchanted” had began Silver Jews in the 1989 with friends Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich. While the latter pair would go on to form Pavement, Berman’s project never lost their shared interests. Berman’s widest acclaim came with the release of the 1998 album American Water. Its opening track ‘Random Rules’ reminds me of Pavement’s ‘Range Life’. In fact, Malkmus had participated in the making of the early Silver Jews albums as a side project. But all the songs were masterfully written by Berman, even if a lot of what he said was “lifted off men’s room walls”. Last month, Berman released his first work in over a decade since the dissolution of Silver Jews. The self-titled LP by Purple Mountains is his epitaph. RIP DB.

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Gang Starr – Moment Of Truth (1998)

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Friday and a Moment Of Truth. Have a great weekend.

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Jurassic 5 – Concrete Schoolyard (1998)

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Jurassic 5’s self titled debut EP was the best of alternative hip hop in 1997. At its heart is the old school ‘Concrete Schoolyard’. Have a great weekend.

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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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Gomez – 78 Stone Wobble (1998)

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Bring It On was the debut album by Gomez that won the 1998 Mercury Music Prize. The Southport band had an original take on bluesy rock, as exemplified by one of the LP’s standout tracks ’78 Stone Wobble’. Acoustic guitar and distorted vocals were an unusual mix, but absolutely on point. It was reminiscent of Beck.

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Eels – Last Stop: This Town (1998)

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In 1998, the Eels took an introspective turn for their second release, Electro-Shock Blues. It was still pop music, but much darker than debut Beautiful Freak. ‘Last Stop: This Town’ is about singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett’s (aka E) sister Elizabeth, who had committed suicide. The video features a spinning carrot that slowly turns into a clone of E. Yes, indeed.

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Boards Of Canada – Roygbiv (1998)

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Boards Of Canada 1998

A year after Radiohead’s OK Computer, Scottish duo Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin released their masterful Music Has The Right To Children. The world had changed. Track 10 was Boards Of Canada’s ‘Roygbiv’; just feel the intelligence.

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Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945 (1998)

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Neutral Milk Hotel 1998

The art rock of Radiohead’s seminal OK Computer paved the way for new levels of creativity in the decade that followed. I will feature some of my favourite alt rock this week. Neutral Milk Hotel’s second album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was released a year later and was once described as like listening to a marching band on an acid trip. Take its song ‘Holland, 1945’, on which Jeff Mangum sings about the only girl he had ever loved being buried alive with her sister by her side and being reincarnated as a boy playing piano in Spain. All of which make complete sense, when accompanied by buzzing indie-rock, a harmony of horns and a zanzithophone. Good morning and have a great week.

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Colin Hay – I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You (1998)

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Colin Hay

By 2004, it had been almost 20 years since Colin Hay had fronted the new wave outfit Men At Work. The public eye had turned away from Hay’s output despite a number of solo projects. Then suddenly, ‘I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You’ pops up on the Garden State soundtrack. The song had in fact featured as the closing song on his 1998 album Transcendental Highway. It’s a song that does his distinctive voice great justice.

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Massive Attack – Teardrop (1998)

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Massive Attack again

Seven years after Massive Attack’s Blue Lines introduced what would become to be known as trip-hop, they released another ground-breaking affair, Mezzanine. Last month, I featured Felt’s collaboration with Elizabeth Fraser. This was 13 years after ‘Primitive Painters’ and Massive Attack had the wherewithal to collaborate with Fraser, a worthy successor to their previous muses Tracey Thorn and Shara Nelson. The dubby treatment of the album’s ‘Teardrop’ would reach a wide audience via the Hugh Laurie series House.

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Elliott Smith – Waltz#2 (XO) (1998)

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Elliott Smith again

‘Waltz #2 (XO)’ is indeed a waltz, but not like the ones I’ve been subjected to via Swiss TV wallpaper this last week. It is written in 3/4 time signature, but its sentiment is not for the ballroom. Released as a single off Elliot Smith’s 1998 album XO, the song is about his mother. It’s a introverted start to the week; it must be all the over consumption of the last few days.

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Energy 52 ‎– Café Del Mar (Three ‘N One Mix) (1998)

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Cosmic Baby

In 1993, German DJs Kid Paul (aka Paul Schmitz Moorman) and Cosmic Baby (Harald Bluechel – he should have stuck with Harald) clubbed together to produce what many consider to be the greatest house tune of all time. ‘Café Del Mar’ isn’t, but this bonafide trance classic certainly had an impact during its journey from German warehouse to Ibiza outdoors. The zenith was the 1997 release on Hooj Choons that housed the almighty Three ‘N One remixes.

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