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Monday, Aug 4, 2014
"Moon" isn't a bad song by any means, but when surrounded by so many notable home runs, it feels like the odd man out, a b-side that snuck its way onto the album's actual b-side.

If this Between the Grooves series has gone out to prove anything, it’s that crystallized inside the recording of the B-52’s first album is a nervy, gritty, and surprisingly supple New Wave energy that was wacky as it was sexy, smart as it was fun, kitsch as it was considered. It is a near-flawless album, and one of the greatest pop discs ever made. Although there were still great songs throughout their career (and a very decent attempt to reclaim what made this 1979 disc special with their 1980 follow-up Wild Planet), the nine tracks that make up this eponymous effort are as close to perfect as you could possibly get.


Yet, if there is a single “weak track” to be found on The B-52’s, it would be the second song on this LP’s b-side: “There’s a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)”.


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Friday, Aug 1, 2014
I've got the brand new doo-doo, guaranteed like Yoo-Hoo, I'm on like Dr. John, yeah Mr. Zu Zu. I'm a newlywed, not a divorcee, and everything I do is funky like Lee Dorsey. Beastie Boys’ 1994 landmark is this week’s Counterbalance. Phone is ringing. Oh my God.

Mendelsohn: Hey, Klinger. Remember 1994? I do, but mostly through my rose-colored glasses of teenage nostalgia. The year had a strange mix of music. Grunge was starting to lose its hold while the lad rock from Britain had yet to talk over the charts. What 1994 gave us was an eclectic music scene that offered up albums by Jeff Buckley, Portishead, Oasis, Nine Inch Nails, Notorious B.I.G. and Soundgarden, just to name a few. And like the wide-ranging, critically acclaimed albums of the year, there was one that seemed to capture the zeitgeist, as pop became an amalgamation of the varied genres of the ever-expanding music universe. That record was Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication — a sort of genre-defying jam session, as the former frat hip-hop brohams from Brooklyn tried to get in touch with another level, melding their punk-influenced hip-hop with laid-back grooves, world beat, and funk as they reinvented themselves into enlightened elder statesmen.


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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
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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