Thursday, August 23, 2012

Currently listening to: Week of August 19, 2012

To really hear an artist's work, you must look past the hit singles. The entire album is worth hearing to truly get a glimpse of it all in one body of work. Here are some of the albums I am listening to this week.

Dead Can Dance - Anastasis (2012)

Dead Can Dance finally return with their follow up to 1996's Spiritchaser. With their most recent album, Anastasis, it feels like they never left. Don't call it a comeback, they never truly left us. Fittingly, the word anastasis is Greek for "rebirth". Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard bring new life into today's stagnant music world. This records kicks off with the brilliant Children of The Sun, featuring Brendan's distinctive vocals. Next, we hear Lisa Gerrard on the track Anabasis which features some Arabic strings and Indian percussion. Lisa also shines on Kiko, which features Moroccan vocalists. Brendan's voice sounds amazing on the songs Amnesia and especially Opium, which is a tad new age, but is really mellow and will grab you. My personal favorite is Return of the She King which features both Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry on vocals. I love this album and it is one of this year's best. I do wish it was more than 8 tracks though. A must have for any fan of Dead Can Dance, any of the original 4AD bands such as This Mortal Coil or Cocteau Twins, Lisa Gerrard's soundtrack stuff, fans of Projekt, Brendan Perry's solo work or folk. There is no other band like this. Here are some must hear tracks:
Return of the She King:

Marilyn Manson - Portrait of An American Family (1994)

This is where it all began. Marilyn Manson's major label debut album (they had already cultivated a strong fanbase in South Florida where they had released a ton of selfreleased casette tapes), this album introduced the band to the world. It made an impact but they would not become a household name until 1996 with the release of Sweet Dreams. This album was produced by the head of their label Nothing, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Marilyn Manson were the first band signed to Trent's label. This album is a mixture of industrial rock and some metal. This album portrayed the world they were living in at the time. Dirty, mischievous, and shades of grey. My personal favorites are Lunchbox, which is about fighting back bullies with a lunchbox, Get Your Gunn, which was about the murder of Dr. David Gunn, who was killed by abortion activists and is really about the hypocrisy of those claiming to have the moral high ground , and Misery Machine, which is a take off Scooby Doo and the mystery machine, and it mentions the Abbey of Thelema, made famous by Aleister Crowley. There are many references to things like Willy Wonka, Twin Peaks, John Waters movies, Scooby Doo, etc.. This was basically where the band was at the time, they were really into the whole duality thing, especially with the name of the band being a mixture of serial killer/starlet and male/female. They displayed a mixture of childlike humor, and adult depravity. A very ambitious debut album and and a taste of things to come. Here are some of my favorite songs.
Get Your Gunn:
 Wrapped in Plastic:

Ramones - Rocket to Russia (1977)

The Ramones third studio album, this one really improves on the production side, which Leave Home left lacking. There are some really fun, upbeat songs like Cretin Hop, Rockaway Beach, and one of my favorites Teenage Lobotomy. Another highlight is their covers Surfin Bird and Do You Wanna Dance. Beach Boys type harmonies flow throughout this album, and it finds The Ramones at their most humorous, even in tragedy, such as the song We're a Happy Family, which makes light of family drama. All in all, if you must own a Ramones album,aside from compilations, this is one i would recommend, along with their first album and End of the Century.

We're a Happy Family:
Rockaway Beach:
Do You Wanna Dance:

Janes Addiction - Nothing's Shocking (1988)

Janes Addiction actual debut album (they had a previous live record) this record cemented the band's reputation as one of Los Angeles' main bands to watch in the late 80s. Lead singer Perry Farrell has one of the most distinctive voices ever and it really shows on songs like Jane Says and one of my favorites, Had A Dad. This album also introduces guitarist Dave Navarro (who would later join the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their ill-fated One Hot Minute album in 1995), bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins (who would later work with Peter Murphy). The band is sort of like a mixture of Led Zeppelin and punk, with a hint of psychedelic. I personally prefer Perry Farell's other band, Porno For Pyros but this is a must have album if there ever was any. Here are my favorite songs.

Had A Dad:

Ocean Size:
Jane Says:

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