Content tagged 'aod'
Bananamour (Album of the Day)
Kevin Ayers was the first member of legendary Canterbury group Soft Machine to launch a solo career, and his four albums for Harvest remain unheralded progressive rock gems. The last of these, BANANAMOUR, filters some of the singer-songwriter's most accessible material through his relentlessly diverse approach; the 1973 collection shifts effortlessly from psychedelia to glam to punchy R&B and beyond. Gong guitarist Steve Hillage and former bandmates Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt can all be heard here, while a couple of Ayers' other musical friends helped inspire songs: Syd Barrett (single “Oh! Wot A Dream”) and Nico (the ethereal epic “Decadence”). BANANAMOUR turns 45 this month, and ranks among the British eccentric's crowning achievements.
Double Vision (Expanded) (Album of the Day)
Though half the band was British (hence the name), America embraced Foreigner with open arms in the late 1970s. Founded by journeyman guitarist Mick Jones and powered by Lou Gramm's strong vocals, the group was an immediate smash, their debut album going multi-platinum. Foreigner's follow-up was even more successful; 1978's DOUBLE VISION ruled the U.S. Top Ten for half a year thanks to the hit singles “Hot Blooded,” “Blue Morning, Blue Day” and the title number. The Expanded Edition of this arena rock classic adds swaggering live versions of “Hot Blooded” and rare song “Love Maker” to the original 10 tracks. In honor of Gramm's birthday, we'll give DOUBLE VISION another spin today.
Life After Death (Album of the Day)
The Notorious B.I.G. rose quickly to the top of East Coast hip-hop with a brilliant debut; unfortunately, Biggie's reign was brief - he was killed just weeks before the release of follow-up album LIFE AFTER DEATH. The acclaimed collection picks up right where READY TO DIE left off, and like its predecessor, is peopled with thugs and playas trying to survive some very mean streets. As befits its epic 24-track length, the set features a small army of talented producers (Sean "Puffy" Combs, RZA, Easy Mo Bee) and guest rappers (Jay-Z, Lil' Kim, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony) while remaining the product of a singular vision. Though filled with violent drama, LIFE AFTER DEATH also sets its sights on mainstream radio with the catchy beats of "Mo Money Mo Problems,” the unexpected optimism of “Sky's The Limit” and “Hypnotize,” which became a posthumous #1 hit on this day in 1997.
Always & Forever (Album of the Day)
Randy Travis' debut took the country world by storm, and a year later he very nearly topped it with ALWAYS & FOREVER. The 1987 Warner Bros. set boasted strong songs across the board, and “Too Gone Too Long,” “I Won't Need You Anymore (Always and Forever),” “Forever and Ever, Amen” and “I Told You So” each topped the Billboard Country chart. Travis' sturdy baritone is remarkably pliant; he wrings every drop of emotion from these ten tracks, and Nashville production gloss is kept to a minimum. An album of undeniable quality, ALWAYS & FOREVER helped country music cross over to a mainstream audience, and we'll cue it up again now to wish Randy Travis a happy birthday.
The Muffs (Album of the Day)
Singer-guitarist Kim Shattuck spent five years paying her dues with SoCal retro-garage greats The Pandoras before departing with that group's rhythm guitarist Melanie Vammen to form her own band. Joined by a bassist and drummer, The Muffs began cranking our irresistible pop punk and were signed to Warner Bros., which released their eponymous debut album 25 years ago this week. You'd expect the raw energy here, but the quality of the songwriting is a revelation; these 16 tracks (all but a handful penned by Shattuck) burst with hooks and memorable melodies, with singles “Lucky Guy,” “Big Mouth” and “Everywhere I Go” among the many highlights. Co-producer Rob Cavallo, who'd helm DOOKIE a year after this, must have been taking notes – though THE MUFFS is easily a match for Green Day's breakthrough.
"What's Love Got To Do With It" (Album of the Day)
Songwriters Terry Britten and Graham Lyle had offered “What's Love Got To Do With It” to singers including Cliff Richard, Donna Summer and Phyllis Hyman, but it's impossible to imagine anyone doing half of what Tina Turner did with it. In her hands, it was an anthem of survival and reinvention, embodying Tina's emergence from the shadow of Ike Turner and into the spotlight of MTV as a solo star. Released in May 1984, the track became the 44-year-old performer's first No.1 hit and earned three Grammy Awards, including Record and Song of the Year. Sparking a comeback that included the multi-platinum PRIVATE DANCER album and a Hollywood biopic that drew its name from the iconic single, Tina Turner's “What's Love Got To Do With It” will endure for as long as hearts can be broken.
Violator (2006 Remastered) (Album of the Day)
One of the hallmarks of a truly great group is its ability to build on successes; Depeche Mode had already sold out L.A.’s Rose Bowl on its Music For The Masses tour when it released VIOLATOR in 1990. The U.K. quartet’s seventh studio album, co-produced by the band and Flood, is arguably Depeche Mode’s best, filling dance floors all around the world and reaching triple platinum status in the U.S. VIOLATOR plays to each member's strengths, from Dave Gahan’s impassioned vocals to Alan Wilder’s inventive keyboard arrangements to one of Martin Gore’s best-ever sets of songs – including such memorable hit singles as “Policy Of Truth,” “Enjoy The Silence” and “Personal Jesus.” In “black celebration” of Dave Gahan’s birthday, we’ll give another spin to this dance/techno-pop landmark!
Modern Life is Rubbish (Album of the Day)
A difficult 1992 U.S. tour playing to unappreciative grunge fans left the members of Blur homesick, and frontman Damon Albarn frequently found solace in the music of The Kinks while on the road. That band's Anglocentric approach helped inspire MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH, which saw Blur shifting from the Madchester style of their debut to one that harks back to classic U.K. '60s songcraft. Released 25 years ago today, the album was “a weird combination of quiet nostalgic-sounding melodies and chord progressions, with these weird caustic lyrics about England as it was at that moment,” to quote Albarn. With such indelible singles as “For Tomorrow” and “Chemical World,” it proved a success, and MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH was the first step on a path that would take Blur to the pinnacle of British rock.
Black Love (20th Anniversary Edition) (Album of the Day)
For their follow-up to the critically lauded GENTLEMEN, The Afghan Whigs headed to Memphis' Ardent Studios for 1996's BLACK LOVE. The band's fifth studio album overall, the Elektra collection boasts a strong R&B influence and a rich cinematic feel - lead singer Greg Dulli had been planning to make a film noir movie, and though the project was never completed, it left its mark on the music. Opener “Crime Scene Part One” was inspired by the screenplay for "The Million Dollar Hotel," and the album's dark tone fuels songs like the singles “Honky's Ladder” and “Going To Town.” Rhino's 20th Anniversary Edition of BLACK LOVE adds nine previously unreleased recordings, including demos, outtakes and studio jams, and now we'll give it a spin in honor of Greg Dulli's birthday.
Remain In Light (Deluxe Version) (Album of the Day)
“And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?” The amazing “Once In A Lifetime” only hinted at the burst of creativity on Talking Heads' REMAIN IN LIGHT. The 1980 Sire album finds the quartet incorporating African polyrhythms into its music, as well as making innovative use of loops and samples as instrumental tracks. Brian Eno returns as producer (guitarist Adrian Belew and funk keyboard great Bernie Worrell also contribute to the album), helping strike an appealing balance between danceable grooves (“Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On),” “Crosseyed And Painless”) and more experimental fare (“Houses In Motion,” “The Overload”). The Deluxe Edition of REMAIN IN LIGHT adds four previously unreleased outtakes to the landmark alternative rock album; we'll give the collection a spin now to wish Heads frontman David Byrne a happy birthday.