Jan 6 Reviews / Next Level Releases...

All the reviews this week are leftovers that I didn't get to, and it will probably be like that for another week or two until things get ramped up fully for the year. It's okay, because I certainly missed a lot of things.

The discussion topic for this week is a bit of a hard one to describe, but it's based on discussions that I've had with friends regarding releases that when you hear them, you know you've heard something different that causes a slight "shift" in how you hear everything after them. These are releases that don't come along very often, ones that seem to open your ears just a little bit more than normal and get inside you just a little more. Know what I'm talking about?

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bjork - homogenic
radiohead - ok computer
pink floyd - dark side of the moon
autechre - confield
chemical brothers - dig your own whole
royksopp - melody am
depeche mode - violator
massive attack - mezzanine
beatles - them all

Aphex Twin's I Care Because You Do is the first one that comes to mind here. I listened to this CD non-stop when I was in China, trying to let its off-kilter tunes work their way into my head.

(Oh, and The Moon And Antarctica is another one that just popped into my head.)

the velvet underground - white light/white heat

daft punk - homework

david holmes - funk compilation

The first album that showed me how absolutely great music could be was R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People. In college, Pulp's Different Class turned me onto British music. Soon after, I got into college/indie rock through Quasi's Field Studies, and Loveless by My Bloody Valentine got me obsessed with shoegaze. Most recently, Steve Reich's Music For 18 Musicians has shown me how an instrumental album can be so simple and complex at the same time.

new topic- me and a friend were arguing the other day, who's the most influentual american musician/who's the most influentual american band

i forgot pet sounds , you better believe that

the dial sessions - charlie parker, parker made me understand jazz music, to this day i have never heard a single musician as talented
kiss me kiss me kiss me, the cure & black celebration, depeche mode, this was the first time (i was 12 yrs old) i realized that music that wasn't on the radio all the time was usually better, or at least more thoughtfully done
gish - smashing pumpkins, i had listened to the the pixies and jane's, but this was a different color
ok computer - radio head, i think that goes without saying

there have been others just as important or more so to me but these are the ones that actually changed the way i listened to sounds

minutemen - double nickels on the dime

Fog's "10th Avenue Freak Out" is underrated for a reason. Mr Broder, with all respect to my hometown music scene, really tries far too hard on this album. I very much enjoyed his earlier work, including his collaboration with why? (Hymie's Basement). But I think the time spent hanging out with why? resulted in a very calculated attempt at being 'weird'. The music is far too obtuse the 'pop' tag it is trying to achieve, and the lyrics, as mentioned before, just too much. Not that I am attempting to be the cool police, or anything like that, but the album really reeks of effort.

There are some good moments on this album, but, not enough to save it.

check out this year-end list from the writers of one of the best e-zine's going...

Michelle - glad you like it!

Velvet Underground and Nico - obvious choice but I had never heard anything like it before and from this I discovered MBV, Sonic Youth and what was once called Indie!

UFOrb - The Orb. This is the first electric album I ever listened too. I was blown away by it. After this I discover FSOL - Lifeforms, Autechre - Amber

Brian Eno - Music for Airports. Thanks to this and Aphex Twin - SAWII, I developed a tolerence for drone that bemuses all my friends.

first of all, glad to see michelle and alex giving it up for Fog. "10th Avenue Freakout" is one of the most underrated albums of the year. I saw him solo a few summers ago and he was great. moving on...
the only thing I can think of off the top of my head is Aphex Twin's "Richard D. James Album."
Truly changed how I approached music, especially "girl / boy song."

There are many many albums which I've totally been into over the years, but only a handful that I can really say have made a big enough imapct on how I listen to music. I'll list them in the order that they came up in my life..
1.Jimi Hendrix-Electric Ladyland
2.Miles Davis- Kind of Blue
3.King Crimson-Discipline
4.Brian Eno- On Land
5.Steve Tibbetts- Exploded View
6.Phillip Glass- Einstien on the Beach
7.Steve Reich- Music for 18 musicians
8.The Books-The Lemon of pink

There have been quite a few records that made a big impression on me in the past but as my tastes become more refined not many of them have faired as well with time. However, two records that really opened up my ears at the time and continue to amaze me are the those last two Talk Talk albums - Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock (Laughing Stock is the only album that I own on three formats - vinyl, cassette and cd).
I'm obsessed with these records, esp Laughing Stock. Those records are so gorgeous and sad. There's like 20 members mentioned in the liner notes but the music is so sparse and impatient. This is definitely the finest example of restraint!
There were some interviews with the engineer, Phil Brown in Tape Op a couple of years ago that kinda shed light on the creative process. It's pretty interesting to say the least. I think Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene kinda lost their minds over the minutiae of the recordings. Kinda odd since it all sounds so live and effortless.

Bedhead - Beheaded
Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
John Vanderslice - Life and Death of an American Fourtracker
The Six Parts Seven - Everywhere and Right Here

David A
Mercury Rev-Boces
Spiritualized-Complete Works, Vol. 1
Miles Davis-Live/Evil
Plug-Drum N' Bass for Papa
Aphex Twin-Selected Ambient Works 85-92
The United States of America-The United States of America
Ween-The Pod

The albums that have changed my way of listening music have been a lot, in different times, and sometimes not only for musical but also for personal reasons. I may say that when I was about 13-14 years old the album the woke up my "adult" sensibility for music has been the first one by he Stone Roses (I still own the original cassette of it...).
Later on, surely the following:
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Bark Psychosis - Hex
Flying Saucer Attack - Further
Rachel's - The Sea And The Bells
Jessamine - The Long Arm Of Coincidence
Labradford - Labradford
Hood - Rustic Houses Forlorn Valleys
Mogwai - Come On Die Young
For Carnation - Standards
Godspeed You Black Emperor! - F# A# infinity
Sigur Rós - Agætis Byrjun
Songs: Ohia - Lioness
Pan American - Quiet City
Piano Magic - The Troubled Sleep Of Piano Magic

...and some others I'm surely missing now.

* Toto "Rosanna" (7"/45rpm)
* London Symphony Orchestra (John Williams) "Star Wars: A New Hope, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack"
* Def Leppard "Hysteria"
* Frédéric Chopin's "Nocturnes"
* Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
* The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds"
* My Bloody Valentine "Loveless"
* Boards Of Canada "Music Has The Right To Children"
* Godspeed You Black Emperor! "Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada"
* Sigur Rós "Agaetis Byrjun"
* Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares "Volume 1"
* Keith Jarrett "The Koln Concert"
* Arvo Pärt "Te Deum"
* Basil Kirchin "Quantum"
* Arthur Russell "World Of Echo"
* Joanna Newsom "The Milk-Eyed Mender"

Tribe Called Quest Low End Theory - Really got me into what hip hop could be.
DJ Shadow Entroducing - Dj Shadow reinvented it all.
Sigur Ros - Pretty much all of them
Buck 65 - Man Overboard - a grossly underrated album - really an eye opener
The Books - all of them!
Sufjan Stevens - Presents...Michigan. Never thought I would be into this stuff.

I would call these "Musical Epiphanies":

The Associates - "Party Fears Two" and the "Sulk" album
Bark Psychosis - the two singles on Cheree, which featured "All Different Things" and "I Know"
Bastro - "Diablo Guapo" album
Steven Jesse Bernstein - "Prison" album
Boredoms - "Soul Discharge" album
Butthole Surfers - "Locust Abortion Technician" album
Cocteau Twins - "Treasure" album
Dead Can Dance - "Spleen And Ideal" album
The Human League - "Reproduction" album
Kitchens Of Distinction - "The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule"
Thomas Köner - "Permafrost" album
Kraftwerk - "Computer World" album
Mogwai - "New Paths To Helicon"
My Bloody Valentine - "You Made Me Realise"
OMD - "Enola Gay"
Panasonic - "Vakio" album
Trumans Water - "Spasm Smash XXXOXOX Ox And Ass" album

A few albums that have changed the way I listen to music:

"Homogenic" by Björk.

"Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" by Spiritualized.

"The Soft Bulletin" by the Flaming Lips - this is still one of my all time favourite albums.

i just want to thank 'alex' from sarasota FL for recommending 'fog 10th ave freakout' on his top 10 list ... it is absolutely amazing! particularly, tracks 8 onwards ... love love love ...

: k
I'd say 'Good Morning Spider' from Sparklehorse. That I would say.

I would also type / say Led Zep's 'Houses of the Holy', for side B alone ("No Quarter" and "D'yer Mak'er").

Also - Peter adding 'Pet Sounds' is just exactly right. That album - timeless and unmatched.

Anything Jeff Magnum was a part of - see "Three Peaches".

Neutral Milk Hotel-In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

summer of first love, first mix cd, first introduction to good music.

A couple for me...

Steve Reich's "Music For 18 Musicians"
Slowdive - "Just For A Day" (esp. "Catch The Breeze"
The Cure - "Faith"
My Bloody Valentine - "Loveless"
Mortal - "Fathom"
Sigur Ros - "Ny batteri" (I heard this before "Agaetis...", and I think it might have left a bigger mark.)
Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson - "Children Of Nature"
Soul Whirling Somewhere - "Eating The Sea"

the first time i ever heard anything by sigur ros it changed the grace i expected from my music.

that's to be expected.

I'm going to have to go with Godspeed's F#A# album. Four years ago I guess, I came across an article about some band who didn't like Radiohead. I was really, really into Radiohead at the time (my liscense plate on my car said OKCMPTR), so I thought I'd see why this upstart band from Canada was dissing them. The interview talked about Radiohead, but also about Godspeed's music in general. I thought it sounded like it was worth checking out, so I did. That was the album that really changed things for me, in a way that was completely different than how OK Computer changed me. I still love Radiohead, but listening to Godspeed has influenced the way I write, play, and listen to music.

well, i am going to show my age a little here but, soft cell "non stop erotic cabaret" was one of my first recollections of a record just completely captivating me and turning my world inside out.

a friend of mine who was several years older and bought a lot of uk releases, lent me the cassette of it when it came out (i was 10 at the time). as she was giving it to me she said, "please don't let your mother hear this, she will not be happy with me introducing this to you." ok.

i went home and the first thing that came blaring out of the speakers (mother was not at home at this point) was "frustration". wow! i was equal parts anxious, awed and confused. it really shattered all conceptions i had of, well, really anything; and yet i had to be secretive about it. it was not something that i could share my enthusiasm with anyone on, especially with tracks sporting names such as "sex dwarf". the whole record just made me realize how tame (even though i still love them) my favorites at the time were; gary numan and blondie. it was so perverse and frantic, to me it was the aural equivalent of a nervous breakdown spurred on by longing, anger and well "frustration".

i really never turned back from that point... so many artists during my ages of 11-15 just turned my world upside down in so many different ways. however, that really was the most major "turning point" record and still remains one of my all time faves.

Great responses so far. I would also add "F#A#oo" by Godspeed You Black Emperor to my list. After reading some reviews for it, I picked it up on a whim and it pretty much blew me away the first time I heard it and still does (although their "Slow Riot...EP" is still my fave of theirs). Something about the strings and field recordings and the feeling of dread and desolation with just a sprinkle (a small one) of hope that got me hooked.

Way back when (1992), it was White Zombie - La Sexorcisto. Listened to it every day (at least once) for 9 months. First band I ever listened to that used lots of samples, etc. Really ended up opening my mind to electronic music afterwards.

A year later, 2 albums that slayed me were Autechre - Incunabula and Scorn - Evanescence. I bought both on a whim without ever having heard them, and they remain 2 of my absolute favorites.

In 1998, Godspeed You Black Emperor - F#A#oo blew my mind, and when I saw them live in 99, it made me listen to music in a completely different way.

A few years ago, I heard the first couple of minutes of Hood - Cold House and became hooked! The mood and production of that album... just amazing.

Most recently, cLOUDDEAD has really opened my eyes to the fact that "hip hop" is not necessarily about street life, bling, cars, and lady lumps.

Fog - 10th Avenue Freakout is the latest album to truly awe me.

for me, the record that changed the 'paradigma' was "sings reign rebuilder" by set fire to flames. what i most like about this recording is exactly what many people seem to find frustrating, i.e a certain sense of unfinishedness, incoherence. i love the way the melodies, voices and sounds appear and fade away,, it's all somehow so flawed and beautiful; unsettling and reassuring at the same time. the voice of lyingdyingwonderbody still sends shivers down my spine every time it emerges from wherever it emerges,,

dj shadow - entroducing
this is hip-hop? yessuh, it is. turned six of my friends on to this with one spin, as well.

godspeed you black emperor! - Hung Over As The Oven In Maida (Peel Session)
I heard this shortly after an mp3 was released on the internet. I listened to this song time and time again, and knew I had discovered something completely unreal. Wow, what an amazing song.

tim hecker - haunt me, haunt me do it again
back when soulseek was still young, i came across two albums, haunt me and another one i cannot remember. i thought i was listening to the other album (a standard idm affair) but really i was listening to this. yep. all down hill from there.

qua - forgetabout + painting monsters on clouds
dear lord, where did this kid come from? i had been listening to electronically produced music for some time, but nothing prepared me for this. some of the most beautiful music, hands down, i have ever heard.

my bloody valentine - loveless & the beach boys - pet sounds
cliche? possibly. but until you've rocked out to these albums, volumed pumped and air guitaring all the way, then you will understand the beauty. that's what i did only a month ago.

I know exactly what you are talking about.

The very first release to completely alter how I heard music was Radiohead's 'Kid A'. It was the catalyst for weaning me off of radio-play and singles. That was a long time ago. Lately, some releases that altered how I heard music:

Univers Zero-'Rhythmix'(experimental and extremely percussive chamber music)

Hood-'Cold House'(so autumnal, landscapish, with just enough eletronic tinkering)

Savoy Grand-'Burn The Furniture'(really takes getting used to--this is intensely SLOW music, but extremely precise, very melodious, and superb lyricism)

'The Fire This Time'-Audio Documentary-(a chilling documentary set to electronic music about the Gulf War. Chilling, disturbing, intensely moving. www.firethistime.org/

Bark Psychosis-'Hex'(poetical, beautiful masterpieces of sound: every song a story and the whole album a masterful journey)

Bola-'Fyuti'(who knew floating electronica could be so melodic, so seemingly classical in composition)

Piano Magic-'Disaffected'(meaningful lyrics set to intensely absorbing music--perfect for walking alone at night in the city; late at night)

And very recently...

Kettel-'Volleyed Iron"(an ambient record not to miss. This to me is the definition of good ambient--a dreamlike journey to close your eyes with...quite indescribably actually)

These albums, and many more, are like the yardsticks of my musical evolution. They altered my perception of what defines music, and most importantly, music at its essence should move a person emotionally and viscerally, and all these did that for me personally.

Larry Def Chill
The first album to do this for me was Fugazi - "In on the Killtaker". I was probably listening to Pearl Jam, Tool, and Alice in Chains at the time, and I don't why I bought it. When I got home and listened to it I thought "this is awful". For some reason I kept listening and it bot better and better until it was all I listened to. And everything since then has been judged the standard set by "Killtaker". Definite watershed.

The other one would be Tortoise - "TNT". Not because it was the first thing I heard like it, but it was the first thing that I loved that sounded so... foreign (can't find the right word).

I have a couple of these releases, and they seem to have come along at different stages during my life and in completely different ways.

The first one was New Order - "Brotherhood." At the time, I was just starting to get into electronic and 'alternative' music, and this one really struck me just right. It had everything that I thought music should have in it, with great melodies, dancey parts, and hooks (pun intended on the basslines) galore. After that, I bought a bunch more of their releases and have really liked them since (barring some of their really recent releases).

A second record that really caused me to rethink how I heard things was the "Broken EP" by Nine Inch Nails. At the time, I'd never heard anything so HEAVY and LOUD and aggressive. I'd heard plenty of punk and hard rock at that point, but nothing quite compared to the total assault that that record hit me with. It started me on a phase where NIN was my favorite group for several years, and even though that love affair faded, that record still remains very powerful to me.

Probably the most recent modern release that caused such a weird reaction for me was Sigur Ros - "Aegitis Byrjun." The first time I heard it, it was like I was hearing some kind of music from an alien planet that was beautiful and mysterious. It's still my favorite release from the group.

A couple other not quite as modern releases (that I only first heard in the past 10 years) that caused me to do a double and triple take include both Henryk Gorecki's "Symphony #3" and Steve Reich's "Music For 18 Musicians." Both have lodged themselves firmly into my top 5 pieces of music ever.