Latest Blog Posts

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

15 Jun 2012

Mendelsohn: Ready for more Radiohead, Klinger? In case you weren’t keeping track, this is the third Radiohead LP to make it into the Top 100 of the Great List (if you want to get super-technical, Radiohead has a fourth album, In Rainbows, lurking just outside the Top 100 at number 127). To put that into perspective, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan each have four records in the Top 100, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin have three, and everyone else has fewer. That puts Radiohead in some heady company. Do you feel comfortable placing Radiohead on a list like that? You can put them at the end if it makes you feel better: the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead. Looks weird, doesn’t it?

But there it is. The list doesn’t lie. At number 86 is Radiohead’s The Bends, the bands sophomore effort and response to the rising fame that engulfed them after the success of Pablo Honey, fueled by the single “Creep”. I can’t talk rationally about this record. This disc was the soundtrack to my freshman year of college and, as you know, that can be a terrific and terrifying time. The stories I could tell.

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

8 Jun 2012

Klinger: All right, Mendelsohn, I know you have a tendency to be somewhat, uh, skeptical about a lot of these albums that have made it into the top 100 list of the most acclaimed albums of all time. And I respect that—you believe that music is an inherently personal experience, and if something doesn’t hit you on a gut level, you have a hard time fully appreciating it. But as I’ve been listening to this Screamadelica, I can’t help thinking that it’s got your name all over it. It’s got those dance beats you’re always going on about (and I’m assuming many of them are in whatever BPM it is you say you prefer), a few fairly credible Sticky Fingers homages (the group even somehow managed to conjure up Rolling Stones mainstay Jimmy Miller), and a whole mess of signifiers that point to stuff you’ve liked in the past (psychedelic sounds, soul music, twinkly noises).

Even putting aside Primal Scream’s cultural impact, which was obviously quite significant in the UK (I can’t open a copy of Mojo without seeing lead singer Bobby Gillespie’s mug in there somewhere), I should think that this an album that you can really sink your teeth into. So I’m just going to step aside and let you have at it. Take it away, Mendelsohn!

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

1 Jun 2012

Mendelsohn: So… Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy is just an update on the Velvet Underground model just with more noise and less Nico? Is that about right? That’s all I’m getting from this record. I mean, on the plus side, there’s no Nico. But leading up the cons is the fact that neither Jim nor William Reid, brothers and principal songwriters, are anywhere close to Lou Reed. And Reed is about the only reason I listen to the Velvet Underground.

After torturing myself with this record for a week, I keep coming back to the word “droll”. Please don’t take that as a cue to dissuade me of my position. Just stating fact.

Klinger: Droll? “Curious or unusual in a way that provokes dry amusement?” That droll? “A short comical sketch of a type that originated during the Puritan Interregnum in England?” I’ve gotta be honest with you, Mendelsohn—I have no idea what you’re talking about.

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

25 May 2012

Klinger: It’s certainly no surprise to me why critics would be so taken with the Stooges, and Fun House in particular. As the decade changed hands from the 1960s to the ‘70s, rock still felt like it was very much in a state of flux. And it may well have seemed that one of the casualties of that changeover was the concept of the rock band as a bunch of blue collar buddies loading up on beer and using guitars and drumsticks as cudgels to pound their hormonal angst into crude representations of music. The initial wave of “garage rock” had given way to considerably more noodly blues experimentation, and the likes of James Taylor and Elton John were looming large on the horizon. Even if that first wave of rock writers were longing for a time that never technically existed, Iggy Pop, the Asheton brothers, and Dave Alexander were more than able to fill the Kingsmen-shaped hole in those critics’ hearts.

It’s also not too surprising that this second album nosed out the others in the mathematical race to the top of the Great List. Although it’s in a virtual tie with 1973’s Raw Power, Fun House certainly has the edge over their debut LP. Tipping the balance away from the Stooges’ primal basheriffics (and trading in the 10-minute psychedelic dreamery of “We Will Fall” for the freaked out babble-jazz of “L.A. Blues”—which only sounds like it’s 10 minutes long), Fun House presents a group that’s doing something quite nearly inimitable—not that loads of bands haven’t tried in the ensuing decades. Your thoughts, Mendelsohn?

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

18 May 2012

Mendelsohn: And we’re back to U2, this time it’s with Achtung Baby. The last time we talked about Dublin’s favorite sons, we found them on the musical warpath as foot soldiers for earnest rock, making the Grand Statement with 1987’s The Joshua Tree. Fast forward four years, and we are looking at a considerably different band. Well, musically, anyway. Bono and the Edge are still there along with the other two, whose names I never can remember. Is it Adam and Bill? Don’t tell me, I won’t commit it to memory. I don’t care enough, which also sums up the way I feel about U2. But you know that; we’ve been here before.

The thing that I find the most troubling about Achtung Baby is how dated is sounds to me. Right off the bat, in “Zoo Station”, with the Edge’s distorted guitar-riffs, swirling effects, and that nearly machine-like drum beat, it just screams early ’90s. But then, it may have been U2 that gave birth to the sound of the early ’90s, so I can’t really hold that against them, can I?

//Mixed media

Marina and the Diamonds Wrap Up U.S. Tour at Terminal 5 (Photos)

// Notes from the Road

"Marina's star shines bright and her iridescent pop shines brighter. Froot is her most solid album yet. Her tour continues into the new year throughout Europe.

READ the article