Amoeblog

The 90s...the best albums of 1994...

Posted by Brad Schelden, February 8, 2013 05:44pm | Post a Comment
The year is 1994. Here we are in the middle of the 90s. This list of my favorite 10 albums of 1994 was not hard to come up with. But I honestly can't think of too many other albums that I loved this year other than these 10. I listened to a lot less music back in 1994. What I mean to say is that I listened to a lot less different bands. I listened to music a lot and it was a big part of my life. But in these mid 90s years I mostly listened to the same artists and albums over and over again. I was very into Britpop throughout the mid 90s. But there are really only two albums on this 1994 list that were really classified as Britpop. But there are some big albums missing from my list this year. Definitely Maybe by Oasis was of course also released in 1994. But I am saving them for my 1995 list. Blur released Parklife and Suede released Dog Man Star in 1994. And these albums was also a big part of my life and two of my favorites of the year. But I have already picked my favorite Blur and Suede albums for 1993. Split by Lush was another one of my favorites of 1994. But I already have them in my 1992 list. Maybe I should take another look at my self made rule of only putting one album by each band in my entire 90s list. But I still think it is a good idea. I don't need to keep talking about each band over and over again. And I always have my favorite one album for each band. There is just also usually a second album by each band that I love almost as much. Both 1993 and 1994 were two of my favorite years of the 90s. They were very similar and included many of the albums that I can't imagine my life without. Six of the albums on my list for 1994 were from bands from England. So no surprise there.
So here it is. My top ten albums of 1994...

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Album Picks: Ty Segall Band, Diiv, Flaming Lips, A Place to Bury Strangers

Posted by Billy Gil, June 26, 2012 06:09pm | Post a Comment
ty segall band slaughterhouseSo much great stuff was released today. First of all, Ty Segall Band's Slaughterhouse is blowing my mind right now. When I talked to Ty Segall earlier this year, he said he’d be releasing an album with his backing band that would sound like “totally heavy, fuzzed-out Sabbath, Blue Cheer-like noise rock kinda stuff.” Turns out that was no bullshit; Slaughterhouse, the second of three planned releases this year from Segall, is a pure blast, and might be his best record yet. Opener “Death” starts out with squealing feedback like Nirvana’s “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” or The Vaselines’ “Son of a Gun” before tearing into a yes, very Nirvana-esque blast of heavy, melodic guitar pop. You’re just going to want to track back and listen again the second it’s over. It’s just so much fun to listen to because Segall knows just when to unleash, firing furious riffery at the very end of “I Bought My Eyes.” His keen sense of what works and what does extends past the concepts of hooks and choruses, as the minute-and-a-half screamery of the title track is one of the most memorable pieces on the album. But you’ll still be humming the weird melodies of songs like “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” and “Muscle Man” because they find something fresh within seemingly well-worn territory. (The CD is out now; preorder the LP, due July 17, here.)

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Album Picks: Fiona Apple, King Tuff, Grass Widow, Liars

Posted by Billy Gil, June 19, 2012 07:27pm | Post a Comment
fiona apple the idler wheelToday Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel … was released. The first time I spun the album my jaw dropped. I grew up listening to Fiona Apple. She was one of my favorite artists in high school, and I’d followed her since the Tidal days, through her more “mature” albums When the Pawn … and Extraordinary Machine. I’d always still liked her, but my fervor had subsided a bit since those awkward teen years when her brand of super-confessional experimental pop really hit home. Well, this is something wholly different. As great as her previous three albums were, The Idler Wheel is the gutsiest thing she’s put out yet. Even more so than on Extraordinary Machine, Apple sounds uninterested in storming the radio with The Idler Wheel. She’s after something bigger here. Lyrically, she exposes her greatest wounds and digs at them with extraordinary candor and self-directed venom. “I root for you, I love you, you you you you” she sings on one of her lovelier tunes, “Valentine,” but even then, that devotion has a desperate tone that makes it hard to take at face value. Similarly, on “Jonathan,” lines like “I like watching you live” are accompanied by a fairly dissonant arrangement, deranged drumwork by collaborator Charlie Drayton and musique concrète that makes the whole thing sound like a ship coming apart. Vocally, Apple has never sounded stronger, scarier and more assured, frequently unleashing shiver-inducing cries, growling and singing with unchained vibrato within the same breaths, on songs like the searing “Left Alone.” And just when things get too grim, she closes the album with a jazzy, sexy ode to a guy who cuts through her like a “hot knife.” From start to finish, across its jagged edges and soaring heights, Idler Wheel is an exhilarating, simply astonishing listen.
 
king tuffI’m a big fan of garage rock but not necessarily of its sometimes limiting factors — guitars and vocals have to have just enough care balanced with slop, that sort of thing. So it’s nice to hear a couple of great up-and-coming albums from bands who subscribe to garage rock aesthetics but not “surf rock fun times” generic modes. King Tuff’s self-titled album is a real riot, from its opening track “Anthem,” which delivers perfectly delivered riffery the likes of which is pretty rare these days. Along with like-minded peers Ty Segall and the late Jay Reatard, King Tuff write songs first and foremost, and the ground covered here becomes more apparent upon repeat listens, which isn’t hard to do with an album that’s this much fun to listen to. “Alone & Stoned” has terrific ascendant vocal lines and a cool ’80s vibe under its garage veneer. “Unusual World” is a touching garage ballad that doesn’t shy away from varying its instrumentation, with synths and vibes adding nice touches to Tuff’s Marc Bolan-esque delivery. What I’m most taken with on King Tuff is that it delivers catchy garage pop tunes while refusing to adhere to one tempo and one sound like so many albums of a similar ilk. My personal favorite: the Vaselines-ish “Stupid Superstar.”
 
Grass Widow Internal LogicAlong those same lines, I really can’t get enough of Grass Widow’s Internal Logic. Starting off with its lo-fi sci-fi opener “Goldilocks Zone,” Internal Logic is a perfect example of a band perfectly executing a much-missed particular sound while adding its own peculiar flair of cool nerdy girl chic. Not to be limiting, but the album in some ways plays like a master class in post-punk girl bands: the multiple harmonic voices of Stereolab; the out-of-step tempos of Kleenex and ESG and their progeny, like Erase Errata and Electrelane; and off-kilter charm of bands like The Breeders. Fun and clever without biting off more than it can chew, Internal Logic pretty much leaves me with a smile on my face from start to finish.
 
liars wixiwLast but not least, I hope the new Liars album doesn’t get lost in the shuffle ‘cause WIXIW is every bit as good as their previous few releases, in my mind. Thought it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Drum’s Not Dead, I’m digging this new, quieter yet just as paranoid edition of Liars. WIXIW is pop in the way the Silver Apples or Portishead’s Third are pop, equal parts sinister and beautiful, with a throbbing heart underneath its digital beats. “Octagon” is disturbing, atonal at parts, yet its whole is instantly memorable, sticking mean hooks into you that feel better than they should. “No. 1 Against the Rush” sends goth down the autobahn, playing out like a krautrock variation on The Cure’s “A Forest.” WIXIW has been compared to Radiohead’s Kid A, and, listening to the title track — which disintegrates eerily under waves of oscillators and comes pulsing back for a haunting chanted chorus — it’s not hard to see why.