Tag Archives: REM

403. Hüsker Dü – “New Day Rising”

Where would the world of røck and röll müsic be without the trusty umlaut? Much heavy and death metal might never have happened.

Of course, the doubly umlauted lads of Hüsker Dü were not long-haired, lycraed up pose rockers, but they did reportedly add the umlauts in honour of the mark’s musical heritage.

Like many who arrived late on the scene, I fell for the Dü-esters because of that Don’t Want to Know if You Are Lonely track, which isn’t here. The vibe is, however, with buzz-heavy guitars, a cracking pace, and often-competing vocals.

I gave this album a couple of listens on a Friday afternoon, and it works perfectly as a energy-boosting, caffeine like jolt to the system.  This is such a chronicle of how powerful, and at the same time melodic, various indie bands of the mid-t0late 80s could be (think REM, The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr).

Punk plus melody = these guys.  Check out the title track (plus a later career goodie) – this is a band I wish I’d seen live (Bob Mould didn’t cut it 15+ years later):

File under: Not a bad moon in sight

355. Guided By Voices – “Under the Bushes Under the Stars”

Regular readers of this blog (and also the more irregular/infrequent of you) may have already picked up that I really don’t know that much about music-making.

I only write as an avid and attentive listener. As such, any advice or opinion I give regarding what a band should be doing better should clearly be seen as speculative and ill-informed at best.

I say all this because yesterday I was pretty convinced that GBV were hampered by the low and borderline obstructive production quality on the album in question.

Well, on this one they got all disciplined and almost slick. The production values hit passable levels, and thus we are left to scrutinise the band in a less distracted way.

Unfortunately, they seem to have traded off some spontaneity and creativity along the way. Among the 24 tracks (yeah, they’re still prolific) there aren’t as many pearls (unpolished or otherwise). The borderline Beatlesque qualities of the previous release are lost as the band comes across as some very, very reserved REMBuffalo Tom-Flying Nun hybrid, but without a big, ear-catching track to keep me coming back.

File under: Sounds like bad bush to me…

168. Neneh Cherry – “Homebrew”

I am partial to mixing together malt, yeast, hops and water in a plastic tub in the vain hope that via some magic of alchemy I will conjure some delectable nectar able to quench my thirst and tickle my taste-buds.

Neneh Cherry Homebrew Album coverNeneh Cherry name-checks said process in the title of this her second album. I’m not quite sure why, as there is nothing amateurish or low-fi to be heard on the disk in question.

Perhaps she’s alluding to a slightly domestic focus in terms of subject matter, or perhaps to the long gestation period of the album (3 years plus).

Irrespective, this is another highly competent effort. She still spits out rhymes and delivers soulful crooning. She also hooks up with some buddies (a rapper who it turns out is from Gang Starr and one M. Stipe from REM) who add some much needed diversity to the mix.

The sounds here aren’t always my cup of tea. While it less dated in it instrumentation relative to her debut, it’s all a bit too slick and Massive Attack-like for my liking. But when she gets it right (e.g. Money Love) I enjoy the flavours and slight buzz.

File under: Well-bodied ale, with pleasant aftertaste