Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Grateful Dead - built to last

Everyone says this, the 13th and final studio album by the Grateful Dead from 1989, is not very good. Well everyone except me that is, i think its one of the best records ever recorded. I have a few 1000 albums but the only one i would run back into a burning house to save is this one (though to be honest just buying it again on Amazon would be safer).

Its sublime. Relaxed West Coast rock mixing bluesy rock with synths and electronic wizardry. Sonic adventures abound on the sprawling epic "Victim or the crime" which shows more innovation in a few asymmetric chords than most bands show in an entire career. "Picasso moon" also scores highly here, at once familiar and totally alien.

Then there is the beauty of tracks like "Standing on the moon" and "Built to last", reflective and melancholic. Its pretty much perfect, the only problem was there never was a 14th album to follow it up.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mike Nesmith & the First National Band - magnetic south

From 1970 Mike Nesmith's first solo album after leaving the Monkees and a superb musical treat it is too. The early 70s saw one strand of 60s psychedelia morph into country rock and this album is an early example of that. Its at once harking back to the past and looking forward, steeped in Americana. "Joanne" is a highlight, a sweet country ballad. "Mama nantucket" also rollicks along complete with yodelling!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Idlewild - everything ever written

Idlewild have returned, older and wiser (and with new blood). Their comeback album is very good though also "older and wiser". It has a more mature sound but still possesses plenty of the indie pop rock thrills that excited many back in the day (including myself).

You have to love the hard guitar drive of "Collect yourself" but elsewhere are Celtic folk touches that are melding well into the Idlewild DNA. Its a great album and another great comeback album by a 90s indie band. Maybe its nostalgia that the old stagers are using to keep their grip on our sonic hearts... or newer bands are becoming harder to like? Or we're all getting old.