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Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014
by Jesse Fink
Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.
10. “Bedlam in Belgium”
(Flick of the Switch, 1983)


This is a massively underrated barnstormer from the boys off the much-maligned (unfairly, I think) Flick of the Switch. The album was missing Mutt Lange, but the Youngs did have his very capable engineer, Tony Platt, as co-producer in the studio at Compass Point in the Bahamas. Tony’s a real pro. I think he did a perfectly fine job on this album, which also features the slamming “Nervous Shakedown”.


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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
by Stephen Rylance
Thirty years later, Soul Mining remains The The's most vital work.

Of all the intense young men making art from angst in the UK post-punk/New Wave scene of the mid-80’s, The The‘s Matt Johnson was perhaps the fiercest. Exhibiting a near-pyromaniacal obsession with images of hell and burning, this was a man who seemed to make music from inside the flames of his own private purgatory.


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Monday, Jul 28, 2014
Nowhere else in their discography have the B-52's made such a blatant song about having sex (which is to say nothing of their use of the word "Herculaneum").

Turn on that lava lamp ... ‘cause things are gonna get a little sexy up in here.


An ongoing theme to this extensive Behind the Grooves series on one of the most perfect pop albums ever created, the B-52’s eponymous debut from 1979, is how with its raw production and performances that completely commit to the absurdism in the lyrics, there is an immediate, potent effect that is achieved with each and every one of these songs, as if the band somehow congealed out melted platform shoes and tacky lamps in order to become a perfect antithesis to disco’s self-serious sanctimony, favoring the gritty instead of the lush and wacky instead of the romantic. They were art-pop weirdos on the crest of the New Wave wave, and because they believed so wholeheartedly in their songs about rock lobsters and creatures coming from Planet Claire, they exuded a confidence that they were never able to recapture, as on this disc and this disc alone, they created a world that was inhabited only by the B-52’s and their lucky listeners. As an album, The B-52’s worked because it played its own internal logic that’s simultaneously indecipherable and also completely relatable in its own wacky way.


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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
I know that you’ll feel better when you send us in your letter and tell us the name of your favorite vegetable. In the meantime, this week’s Counterbalance looks at a 1967 classic, lost and found.

Klinger: So the story goes that in 1966, Beach Boys leader and pop music wunderkind Brian Wilson was on a mission. He was not only out to top himself, but he recognized that the entire pop game was changing. His friendly rivalry with the Beatles had escalated once again as the Fabs answered his Pet Sounds with the equally (more?) adventurous Revolver. Recruiting upstart lyricist Van Dyke Parks and very nearly every session musician in Los Angeles, Wilson started composing his “teenage symphonies to God”, the album that would be his magnum opus: SMiLE. What happened next became the stuff of pop lore for 40 years.


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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Ten years after the release of A Ghost Is Born, the songs still just aren't there.

Ultimately, Wilco‘s A Ghost Is Born is a disappointment.


I should clarify. A Ghost Is Born is a disappointment not because it’s worse than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which was easily one of the best albums of 2002 and which was, for me (and for I imagine tons of others after Pitchfork gave it a perfect score) the entry point to the band. That line of thought definitely does not need to be pursued.


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