Archive for February, 2010

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Album 6 of 500: Thurston Moore – Psychic Hearts

February 28, 2010

BAND: THURSTON MOORE
ALBUM: PSYCHIC HEARTS
LABEL: DGC
RELEASE DATE: MAY 15TH, 1995

A Thurston Moore solo album? Was this the end of Sonic Youth? Most certainly not! Psychic Hearts is Moore’s first solo album with Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. Rolling Stone writer Mark Kemp reviewed the record and states, “Such gestures offer proof that Thurston Moore is the soul of Sonic Youth.” Granted, Psychic Hearts does sound like a Sonic Youth record, yet one can totally disagree with Thurston Moore being the only soul of Sonic Youth. Sonic Youth shares its vocal talents between three members, which simply means there is no ono soul in Sonic Youth.  One also can debate Psychic Hearts is Moore’s most pop like album. Unlike a Sonic Youth album, this album has a cleaner sound. “Ono Soul”  became an alternative rock hit, and massive video play on MTV’s alternative rock shows.  Coming out the same year as Sonic Youth’s Washing Machine, Psychic Hearts sounds somewhat similar to the sounds of Dirty or Experimental Jet Set. At times, one may ponder if one or two songs are rejects from these two albums, for example “Pretty Bad” or “Blues From Beyond the Grave.”  Psychic Hearts tells tales about self loathing people, which seems very appealing with Sonic Youth’s fanbase, ages 15 to 30.  “Ono Soul” is hauntingly beautiful, and could easily be used for a short film about abandoned asylums.  The self title track, “Psychic Hearts” reaches out to overly confused abused teenage girls.  Psychic Hearts is sort of a dark but great album.  We learn what Thurston Moore is capable of, and what contributes to Sonic Youth. One can say that Psychic Hearts is a Sonic Youth album in a second hand business suit.

A personal note regarding the album: Once during a radio show, I was playing “Ono Soul.”  I got an angry call from a listener asking me if he was listening to a corporate station and not to play such a popular song.  Oddly enough the song had to 11 years old at the time of this phone call. My response was, “But its Thurston Moore”.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records

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Album 5 of 500: Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville

February 23, 2010

BAND: LIZ PHAIR
ALBUM: EXILE IN GUYVILLE
LABEL: MATADOR RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 22, 1993

Before selling her soul, Liz Phair was super cool.  Exile in Guyville was Liz’s first full length release.  She started off under the name Girly Sound.  Her Girly Sound 1991 demos did indeed have songs that would appear on Exile in Guyville. Critics say Exile in Guyville was one of the greatest records of the nineties. Songs about one night stands, having good looks, blow jobs. and overall confusion with the opposite sex. Some found her lyrics offensive, “I want to fuck you like a dog, I want to take you home and make you like it.”  Liz had a Trinia or Peaches feel but with an indie rock touch. The most outlandish lyrics belongs to the song, “Fuck and Run”. “Fuck and run/Even when I was seventeen/Fuck and run, fuck and run/Even when I was twelve”.  “Even when I was twelve”? Exile in Guyville is really a great record done by a female musician who wasn’t afraid of telling the truth.  Liz had boy problems and she needed to let the world know, and she had no problem telling people that she slept around.  All she really wants is a guy she can call her boyfriend.  Exile in Guyville is an audio diary for anyone who is willing to listen.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records

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Album 4 of 500: Beck – Mellow Gold

February 22, 2010

BAND: BECK
ALBUM: MELLOW GOLD
LABEL: DGC RECORDS/BONGLOAD
RELEASE DATE: MAR 1994

Lyric insanity.  Mr. Hansen came out of nowhere with the slacker anthem, “Loser.” Dubbed to a one hit wonder, Beck proved critics wrong record after record.  Mellow Gold was launched in 1994, grunge when becoming stale and the mass alt scene needed a new hero.  The album was recorded in the 23 year old’s living room on an 8 track  that feature songs about toliets over flowing in cities, working in fast food, alcohol and lame hippie girls.  Each song takes you on this bizarre journey, through the pysche of a mad poet or a really stoned slacker, perhaps both.  In “Whiskeyclone Hotel 1997” Beck lyrics are outstanding for example: “She can talk to squirrels/coming back from the convalescent home/staring at sports cars/crying,”  What is great about that lyric is one can relate to it.  Oh look, there’s that crazy lady that stands at the side of the road and screams. “Truckdrivin’ Neighbors Downstairs (Yellow Sweat)” opens with a fight between what many believe, roommates who call each drunk and lousy pukes. “Soul Suckin Jerk” tells a story about a kid who burns his fried chicken uniform in chicken fat and ran through a mini mall in his underwear.  The Loser EP has a better version called “Soul Suckin Jerk [reject]”. The end of the record after “Blackhole” ends, about 30 seconds later we are parted with odd space like noises.  This album is perfect, pure genius, its funny, brilliant and made for adults who still talk to their childhood stuff animals.  Only if Beck would revisit this bad acid trip known as Mellow Gold.

A personal note regarding the album:  This is my number ONE favorite album of all time. I will probably work on this one even after I publish it.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records

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Number 3 of 500: Pavement – Wowee Zowee

February 22, 2010

BAND: PAVEMENT
ALBUM: WOWEE ZOWEE
LABEL: MATADOR RECORDS
DATE RELEASED: APRIL 11th 1995

Wowee Zowee is rumored to be Pavement’s first in studio album, even if it is their third full length release. Many people were upset with the record, saying Pavement purposely failed because of fear of becoming corporate rock. Perhaps, “Fight this Generation”  spoke of an actual fear of selling out. Cheating and comparing the two after this album, one would beg to differ of accused failure. “We Dance”  and “Father To a Sister of Thought” both could easily fit on the next album, Brighten the Corners. Some say this is Pavement’s last great record, and at points, one can agree.  This album does bring the forth a beautiful combination of the past and future for the band.  One can say this was Malkmus’s defined style, because you can hear similar styles in his later work with the Jicks.  In a 1997 review for the release of Brighten the Corners, Malkmus revealed poet John Ashbery being a big influence on his lyrics, where in Wowee Zowee you can certainly hear it, for example in songs like “Rattle by the Rush” or “Grave Architecture”.  Wowee Zowee is a mess of emotional states,  from pure mellowness  in “Motion Suggests Itself” to the anxiety of “Flux = Rad”.  Whether the kids liked it or not, Wowee Zowee is perhaps Pavement’s finest defined moment.

A personal note regarding the album: The first review I ever wrote was Wowee Zowee in 1995. I had to make a newspaper for my middle school class, and in it we needed do an entertainment piece. So I thought it would be cool to write a record review about the new Pavement record.  If I only I knew where that article was, but if I find it, I’ll post it.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records

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Album 2 of 500: Sonic Youth- Daydream Nation

February 21, 2010

BAND: Sonic Youth
ALBUM: Daydream Nation
LABEL: Engima

RELEASE DATE:  1988

Sonic Youth is a household name in music, as influenical as the Velvet Underground and still touring and recording albums almost 30 years later.  Formed in 1981, Sonic Youth didn’t really get on the map until the release of  DayDream Nation.  After a number of great albums, Daydream Nation really defined their sound. Thurston Moore  described the record when it was reissued as a box set in 2006, “a celebration of the sprawling wilderness that is the musical America and beyond. No limits, no boundaries. The feeling of mystery.  Made us famous whether we liked it or not.”  Noted as an indie masterpiece by most, Daydream Nation is a brilliant recording. Each song is an awesome combination of noise and poetry. “Teenage Riot” an anthem of pure distortion.  “Providence” sounds like a morning after the night on the town. “The Sprawl” defines Kim’s Gordon signature vocals, and  “Eric’s Trip” portrays Lee Ranaldo beat like poetry to the greatest extent. Truly an amazing album, Daydream Nation is an arts and crafts project of perfect noise.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records

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Album 1 of 500: Weezer- Pinkerton

February 18, 2010

BAND: WEEZER
ALBUM: PINKERTON
LABEL: DGC RECORDS
RELEASE DATE:  SEPTEMBER 24TH 1996

Weezer’s second full length album was puzzling. The Blue Album was a radio gem, giving us Weezer hits such as: “Undone the Sweater Song” and “Say It Ain’t So.”  Pinkerton was an album Rivers Cuomo wished he never recorded. Pinkerton is their best album, and each song cries of college life heartache, desperation, and confusion. Rivers Cuomo had attended Harvard at the time he wrote these songs.  Crushes on lesbians, creepy songs about fans and anthems for kids who have walls up to avoid heartbreak.  The last track, “Butterfly” is hauntingly confusing.  To this day, fans wonder what exactly Rivers is talking about with the lyrics, “I’m sorry for what I did/ I did what my body told me too/ I didn’t mean to do you harm.”   Some critics say this album started the emo movement, which is false, considering bands like Sunny Day Real Estate’s album, Diary was released in 1994.  Diary will be a 500 record, and even that is debatable for the so called emotional movement. Sadly, tracking Weezer’s career 13 years later, they have never came out with a powerful album since.  The one to follow Pinkerton was the Green Album, a cheap rendition of the Blue Album. Cuomo only goes down hill, and never shows emotion again, except in a few lyrics on the band’s 2002 album, Maladroit. Each record thereafter becomes the big box stores of music, cold and lyrically bland. For ten amazing little songs, Rivers Cuomo proves that he too has a little Holden Caulfield in him.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records

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Type Slowly: An Introduction to 500 rad Records

February 16, 2010

Hey how are you?

I have a little extra time on my hands, perhaps too much. I thought to pass the time, why not start a blog? I used to write record reviews for the URI’s newspaper. I imagine 89% of URI’s population had no clue who Guided by Voices were, but hey it was cool. I have decided to review 500 of the coolest albums in my eyes. Some of my favorite bands are as follows: Pavement, Sonic Youth, Modern Lovers, GBV, Stereolab, Beat Happening, to name a few. Second, I’m going try to throw some new names and such, if you’re like myself, you’re always out looking for new stuff. So enjoy. -2/2010 RM Cresser

If you like to shoot me an email, feel free: soonicyouth@aol.com

All writings ©2010 by 500 Rad Records