Category Archives: Not a review

500 albums in 999 days!

Wow, I just snuck under the wire yesterday on having to rename this blog “One Album Every Two Days”.  My late burst of activity has got me across the line, and the effort has rejuvenated my interest in this eternal quest. So let’s have a look at the wash up thus far.

Twelve letters have been completed (although I’ve still got a few more backlogged A-Ks to get through), with B-Bands accounting for 22.6% of albums reviewed. That letter also provides the current top 4 faves:

  1. The Black Keys – “Rubber Factory”
  2. The Beastie Boys – “Paul’s Boutique”
  3. James Brown – “Star Time Disk Two”
  4. Buffalo Tom – “Let Me Come Over”
  5. Gersey – “Hope Springs”
  6. De La Soul – “3 Feet High and Rising”
  7. The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – “Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury”
  8. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Henry’s Dream”
  9. Lily Allen – “Alright, still…”
  10. Steve Earle – “El Corazón”
  11. Darren Hanlon – “Hello Stranger”
  12. Grandview – “Room 15”
  13. Died Pretty – “Doughboy Hollow”
  14. Eminem – “The Slim Shady LP”
  15. James Brown – “Star Time Disk Three”
  16. Dinosaur Jr – “Bug”
  17. The Audreys – “Between Last Night and Us”
  18. Ani DiFranco – “Puddle Dive”
  19. PJ Harvey – “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea”
  20. Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray”

Aussie acts are over-represented in the upper echelons, with 30% of the top 20 and the top 100  (vs 23.8% of reviews). Here’s the top 10% for each letter:

A

  1. Lily Allen – “Alright, still…”
  2. The Audreys – “Between Last Night and Us”
  3. Ryan Adams – “Heartbreaker”

B

  1. The Black Keys – “Rubber Factory”
  2. The Beastie Boys – “Paul’s Boutique”
  3. James Brown – “Star Time Disk Two”
  4. Buffalo Tom – “Let Me Come Over”
  5. James Brown – “Star Time Disk Three”
  6. Dan Brodie and The Broken Arrows – “Empty Arms, Broken Hearts”
  7. James Brown – “Star Time Disk One”
  8. Billy Bragg – “Back to Basics”
  9. Solomon Burke – “Don’t Give Up On Me
  10. The Breeders – “Last Splash”
  11. The Black Keys – “Brothers”
  12. Beastie Boys – “Hot Sauce Committee Part Two”

C

  1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Henry’s Dream”
  2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Let Love In”
  3. Kasey Chambers – “Barricades and Brickwalls”
  4. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!”
  5. Rob Clarkson – “Off Your Faith”
  6. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “The Boatman’s Call”
  7. Custard – “Wahooti Fandango”
  8. Rob Clarkson – “Shirts & Skins”

D

  1. De La Soul – “3 Feet High and Rising”
  2. The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – “Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury”
  3. Died Pretty – “Doughboy Hollow”
  4. Dinosaur Jr – “Bug”
  5. Ani DiFranco – “Puddle Dive”
  6. Ani DiFranco – “Dilate”
  7. Bob Dylan – “Another Side of Bob Dylan”

E

  1. Steve Earle – “El Corazón”
  2. Eminem – “The Slim Shady LP”
  3. Eels – “Electro-Shock Blues”

F

  1. The Flaming Lips – “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”
  2. Fishbone – “The Reality of My Surroundings”
  3. Roosevelt Franklin – “The Year of Roosevelt Franklin/My Name is Roosevelt Franklin”
  4. Florence and the Machine – “Lungs”

G

  1. Gersey – “Hope Springs”
  2. Grandview – “Room 15”
  3. Golden Rough – “This Sad Paradise”
  4. The Guild League – “Private Transport”

H

  1. Darren Hanlon – “Hello Stranger”
  2. PJ Harvey – “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea”
  3. Ed Harcourt – “Here Be Monsters”
  4. The Hold Steady – “Separation Sunday”

I

  1. Abdullah Ibrahim – “Best of…”

J

  1. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – “Naturally”
  2. Janis Joplin – “Pearl”

K

  1. Paul Kelly – “Greatest Hits – Songs from the South Volumes 1 & 2”
  2. Ben Kweller – “Changing Horses”

L

  1. Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray”
  2. The Lucksmiths – “What Bird Is That?”
  3. The Lucksmiths – “Happy Secret”
  4. Bettye Lavette – “I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise”
  5. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears – “Scandalous”

Here’s to many many more…

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An L of a time

Finally we’ve crawled to the end of the letter L… and all those Lucksmiths albums. It’s been a long arduous journey. We started back on January 1. Forty or so reviews in 6½ months isn’t very impressive is it?  But that did span several countries.  It also spanned the usual diverse range of artists.  Looking at the resultant rankings, it would seem lighter indie pop won out, although soulfulness is as valued as always…

  1. Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray”
  2. The Lucksmiths – “What Bird Is That?”
  3. The Lucksmiths – “Happy Secret”
  4. Bettye Lavette – “I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise”
  5. The Lucksmiths – “A Good Kind of Nervous”
  6. The Lucksmiths – “Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me
  7. The Lucksmiths – “The Green Bicycle Case”
  8. Bettye Lavette – “The Scene of the Crime”
  9. The La’s – “The La’s”
  10. Love Me – “Love Me”
  11. The Lemonheads – “Come on Feel the Lemonheads”
  12. LCD Soundsystem – “LCD Soundsystem”
  13. The Liquor Giants – “The Liquor Giants”
  14. Ray Lamontagne – “Till the Sun Turns Black”
  15. Led Zeppelin – “Led Zeppelin IV”

As has become tradition, here’s a “L” track that didn’t get a review, but is an old fave of mine:

More like One Album a Week

Loyal readers, you might have noticed a lull in proceedings over the past week or so. I am currently staying in New York (with sporadic commutes down to Philadelphia). Our apartment here doesn’t have a newfangled stereo that’ll play my iTunes, so the albums currently in the queue are only heard when I don my headphones.

As such, you should lower your expectations regarding frequency of reviews. I suspect I might only get to one a week for the next 3 months!

On a more positive front, I am enjoying new venues and new gigs to see. Last night’s show featuring Wild Flag (featuring two members of Sleater Kinney), Superchunk and Bright Eyes at Radio City Music Hall was superb.

That letter’s done ‘K…

I did a much pacier job on the letter K. This letter was overpopulated with impressive works from solo singer-songwriters (of varying vintages), saw a lot of retro rock from very hirsute lads, and featured stinkers from a couple of acts.

Here’s the resultant top 10:

  1. Paul Kelly – “Greatest Hits – Songs from the South Volumes 1 & 2”
  2. Ben Kweller – “Changing Horses”
  3. Carole King – “Tapestry”
  4. Ben Kweller – “Sha Sha”
  5. Kings Of Leon – “Youth and Young Manhood”
  6. Ben Kweller – “Ben Kweller”
  7. K’Naan – “The Dusty Foot Philosopher”
  8. Kaiser Chiefs – “Employment”
  9. Ed Kuepper – “Sings His Greatest Hits For You”
  10. Kings of Leon – “Aha Shake Heartbreak”

Now looking at my singles pile, here’s an act I regret not getting to review:

And, now my customary question: what K albums did I miss that you’d recommend?

J = Just a sweet sixteen

J has flashed past me in a similar fashion to my youth, too fast but with little to really regret.

Here’s the top 10 albums from the 16 in this section of my collection:

  1. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – “Naturally”
  2. Janis Joplin – “Pearl”
  3. JaConfetti –“Rainbow Express”
  4. Junior Senior – “D-D-Don’t Don’t Stop the Beat”
  5. Robert Johnson – “King of the Delta Blues Singers”
  6. Jane’s Addiction – “Ritual De Lo Habitual”
  7. Syl Johnson – “The Complete Syl Johnson On Hi Records”
  8. Jet – “Get Born”
  9. Etta James – “The Best of…”
  10. Matt Johnson – “Burning Blue Soul”

A victorious effort for the ladies it would seem.

Getting all Web 2.01, I’m launching a new angle: tell me (via Comments) the top 3 albums in the J category that I should own but don’t (and why).  Feel free to go back and comment on previous letters too (click on “Not a Review” under CATEGORIES to see my earlier lists).

I’ll shut out the Js with a clip of a single I do own (perhaps the sentiment is a promise re: this blog and it’s quality):

I = I don’t own many I’s

I typically acknowledge the conclusion of each letter with a summary of my reviews, and some arbitrary ranking of the top 10 or so… but I only own 5 albums by artists in the I section, so such a list seems pretty redundant.

A few of my long time musical compadres and occasional readers may be prompted to ask “but what about Icehouse’s ‘Man of Colours’ which you owned on coloured vinyl??”.

Well, it seems a certain ex-girlfriend borrowed said record way back in early 1990 and never returned it. So I can’t share my erudite thoughts on this track (and many others), nor on the many, mnay fashion crimes contained in this classicly 1980s film-clip:

The soulfulness of Solomon Burke: RIP

I was sad to hear the news of Solomon Burke’s passing. I was a latecomer to this soul giant’s work.  Seeing him performing tracks off his fantastic “Don’t Give Up on Me” a few years ago ranks amongst the most exciting and captivating live concert experiences of my life.

His voice was superb, his song-choices excellent, and the whole throne/roses etc schtick pure brilliance:

It presumably is going to be a huge funeral.  When you had 21 kids and 90 grandkids, you’d expect a big turnout!

RIP, Solomon Burke.