Monday, January 30, 2017

Video Of The Day #220: The Head and The Heart

There's a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

I think we've all had a moment where we've felt like the proverbial deer in headlights on a seedy Vegas stage somewhere way off the Strip. Maybe not exactly, but that sense of isolation and discomfort that feels as though you're sweating it out under the glare of a brutal spotlight while ne'er-do-wells cast pitying looks in your direction. And then, just like that, the spell is broken, and you can bust all sorts of moves and really have a moment. It's a sentiment The Head and The Heart captures in their cinematic video for the divine "Rhythm & Blues," a song that's just plain lovely.





[posted 1.30.17]

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Video Of The Day #219: Nana Grizol

There's a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

Today feels like a good day to talk about Nana Grizol's "TV Song." The ramshackle, rambunctious jangling proves to be instantly relatable and undeniably likable but it's what the band says that's so important. Because there is a message in this here song, yes indeed. And it fits in quite well with our very troubling times. The video is a fantastic piece of comic relief, with the collaborators poking fun at TV news with gleeful abandon. 
   


[posted 1.29.17]

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Newsworthy: 1/28/17

Have you heard the word? Here's a few items of interest you may want to know about.

Now that we've all recovered from the shock of The Avalanches releasing new music (yay!), Astralwerks has decided to reissue their fabulous debut, Since I Left You, on limited edition blue vinyl. Collectors, get shopping. The Avalanches will also be coming to the US to play their first-ever live shows, with stops at Coachella and Governor's Ball on their agenda. If you're a big fan, you might want to see them while they're here.

  


It makes me so very happy to think of new No Joy music, and that's exactly what's going on here. Their Creep EP will be released on 2/24, and with Jorge Elbrecht of Violens doing the production I have no doubt it'll be pretty stellar. Lead single (and crazy awesome video) "Califone" signal the band's intentions.



Wayne's World is 25 years old. Let that sink in. We all knew it was a classic, even back when it first came out. To celebrate, the movie is heading back to theatres 2/7-2/8, at select movie venues across the US of A. Find your Wayne's World, and make sure you go party on with Wayne and Garth (and think about the ageless Rob Lowe while you're at it).




[posted 1.28.17]

On The Road Again: Japandroids

Well, well, well. Look who's taking their show on the road?

This a year filled with a lot of no goodness, but one of the bright spots of early 2017 is the double whammy of a new Japandroids record and a rather lengthy Japandroids tour. Definitely go see these dudes when they come to your neck of the woods. And DC friends, stay tuned for a special announcement next month about one of the DC dates.  


JAPANDROIDS TOUR DATES



2/7 - Austin, TX - Mohawk Inside
2/8 - Austin, TX - Waterloo Records (in-store performance)
2/13 - Madison, WI - Majestic Theatre*
2/14 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue*
2/15 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre* SOLD OUT
2/17 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Theatre* SOLD OUT
2/18 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Theatre*
2/20 - Boston, MA - Royale*
2/23 - New York, NY - Terminal 5*
2/24 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer* SOLD OUT
2/25 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer*
2/27 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club* SOLD OUT
2/28 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club*
3/01 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle*
3/03 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse*
3/04 - Birmingham, AL - Saturn*
3/05 - St Louis, MO - The Ready Room*
3/07 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre*
3/09 - Los Angeles, CA - Fonda Theatre*
3/10 - Los Angeles, CA - Fonda Theatre* SOLD OUT
3/11 - San Diego, CA - Music Box*
3/13 - Santa Ana, CA -Observatory*
3/14 - San Francisco, CA - Fillmore*
3/15 - San Francisco, CA - Fillmore*
3/17 - Portland, OR - Revolution Hall*
3/18 - Seattle, WA - Neptune*
3/20 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom*
4/18 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Pumpehuset
4/19 - Hamburg, Germany - Uebel & Gefährlich
4/20 - Cologne, Germany - Gebaude 9
4/22 - Berlin, Germany - Columbia Theater
4/23 -Frankfurt, Germany - Zoom
4/24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Melkweg
4/26 - Paris, France - La Maroquinerie
4/27 - Brussels, Belgium - The Rotonde / Botanique
4/28 - Birmingham, UK - o2 Institute Birmingham
4/30 - Glasgow, UK - The Garage
5/01 - Leeds, UK - Stylus
5/02 - Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms
5/04 - Manchester, UK - Gorilla
5/05 - Brighton, UK - Concorde 2
5/06 - London, UK - o2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
6/03 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound
6/04 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound
6/10 - Porto, Portugal - Primavera Sound
* with Craig Finn



[posted 1.28.17]

Singles Club: VOWWS + Snowball ii + Here Lies Man

Consider Singles Club your musical matchmaker. I do hope you'll give all these ready to mingle bachelors and bachelorettes your ear as you listen to some new favorite tunes. Read on in the hopes of finding your musical love connection.

The latest single from transplanted Aussie duo VOWWS, "Heartbreaker," recalls some of Depeche Mode's dreamiest darkness, with a hint of the industrial gnawing at the edges of the glamourous gloom. Make sure you catch VOWWS on their tour with White Lies, landing in DC 2/1.

  


Music lovers of a certain age will appreciate Snowball ii's nod to the clamorous indie of the 1990s. The brainchild of Jackson Wargo, this LA product is full of frolicsome "oohs" and jaunty guitar tomfoolery, while also delivering a dynamite lo-fi noise. A firecracker of a song, "Groan's" is highly recommended. 





Like GOAT partying on the darker side of the Moon, Here Lies Man brings together black magic beats with a fearsome central riff. Founder Marcos Garcia of Antibalas here indulges in some fantastically compelling sonic contortions.




[posted 1.28.17]

Video Of The Day #218: Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders f/ Sharon Van Etten

There's a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

"Come On Back This Way" recently crept its way into my brain, so it feels like the right time to throw it back to the video for this earworm from Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders. The no frills clip stars Mr. Ladder, a sequined dress-clad dancing lady, and a cameo from a hook. You'll see what I mean. The spot that shines on Jack's white gloved hand on his synth lines is a winning nod to 80s video stylings. The song fits the video and vice versa, the theatric vibes of Ladder's deep seen-it-all baritone bringing it all together. Oh, and Sharon Van Etten! Her guest star turn here feels so very right. 







[posted 1.28.17]

The Week In Shows: 1/30/17-2/5/17

Another overcast, blah kind of Saturday afternoon seems as good a time as any to plot ones weekly live music schedule, I think. Let's take a look at what's happening in the greater DC metro this week, shall we? Hot diggity!

I'm sure many of you share the sense of overwhelming exhausted dismay and a hearty dose of rage that I currently feel because of you know who. Let's all take some solace in each other, and find some happy distraction in music both recorded and live. And now, without further ado, here's a look at some of the shows I happen to recommend for the coming week in the DC metro.

And as an aside, if you've got a show coming up you'd like me to consider including in my weekly calendar, just shoot me an email with "Calendar" somewhere in the subject line. Thanks y'all!

MONDAY, 1/30/17

-Great Good Fine OK + flor (DC9 - SOLD OUT)

WEDNESDAY, 2/1/17

-White Lies + VOWWS (9:30 Club - win tix!)
-Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires + The Sniffs (DC9)

THURSDAY, 2/2/17

-Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz + Radiator Hospital + Pinkwash (Black Cat)

FRIDAY, 2/3/17

-Super! Silver! Haze! + Outer Spaces + Video Love (Comet Ping Pong)
-Downtown Boys + Two Inch Astronaut + Loi Loi + Kosi (Black Cat - benefit for ACLU)
-Rhett Miller + Joe Purdy (The Hamilton)
-Cloud Nothings + LVL UP (Ottobar, Baltimore - worth the drive)

SATURDAY, 2/4/17

-Chad Valley + Computer Magic + Br'er (Black Cat)
-Steve'N'Seagulls + The Virginia Southpaws (Rock & Roll Hotel)
-Bear's Den (U Street Music Hall - SOLD OUT)
-Dumbfounded + Year Of The Ox (Songbyrd Music House - SOLD OUT)



[posted 1.28.17]

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Video Of The Day #217: Redspencer

There's a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

"Maybe it's ok if you don't know the way," begins the dulcet daydream that is Redspencer's "Ride It Out." The song's apparent focus on accepting one's personal uncertainties feels incredibly valid in our troubled times, while the soothing wash of lo-fi mellow is like a tonic. The video's throwback style is worn well by the song, and the scenery is rather interesting to boot. Take a load off and check it out, y'all. 






[posted 1.26.17]

Live Review: Cherry Glazerr @ DC9, 1/15/17

Intrepid mysterious special guest star The Paper went in search of good sounds at the Cherry Glazerr show, and the following is what transpired.

I committed the cardinal sin of showing up late to a sold out show and had to stand towards the back. Even so, it was immediately obvious that I would still have a great time. There were vaginas hanging  from the ceiling. Three to be exact. They were enlarged from their biological size and in bright playful colors like ones that might be used for educational purposes. The gemlike dot representing the clitoris was a beautiful touch.

Cherry Glazerr took the stage and seemingly started to soundcheck. They ran the gauntlet of their instruments, culminating in a delicious mayhem of noise. Apparently it was a warmup to properly launch into their first song. Properly because they roared into the set louder than the jungle. Breaking the sound barrier in every sense, it set the pace for sixty minutes of almost uninterrupted sonic bliss. Pausing after the second song to "preach to the choir" about "fuck Trump," the crowd erupted exactly one and a half beats into the third. The downside of not being a superfan of the band one is seeing is missing out on the euphoria of the band playing one's favorite song, which I am painfully reminded of by the head banging and fist-pumping around me and the flooring shaking beneath me.

The band never made any references to the hanging vaginas in the slightest. At least not verbally, perhaps because actions speak louder. Watching Clem at work is a study in grrl power. Half-singing, half-shouting "in control," she tore herself away from the mic and pounced wildly around the stage, swinging the guitar as if to spite the words she had just espoused. However, the animalistic veil cannot belie the completely competent control it takes to shred so masterfully.




[words and photo of Cherry Glazerr by The Paper]

[posted 1.26.17]

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Newsflash!: Win Tickets to White Lies @ 9:30 Club, 2/1/17

You love going to shows. I love giving you tickets to shows. It's a match made in heaven. Read on for how you can win some tickets.

I've been going to shows at the legendary 9:30 Club since I was a teenager, and have seen some of the best of the best grace that venerable stage. It is a pleasure to be offering a pair of tickets to several upcoming 9:30/IMP shows over the next few months.


Touring their fourth album, and first long player since 2013, the London lads in White Lies are surely chomping at the bit to unleash their live shenanigans upon us. Lovers of synth rock noise, this one's for you! 


I've got a pair of tickets to their 2/1 show at the 9:30 Club, and they can be all yours! Just send me an email and tell me your naughtiest white lie.

  
Fine print: Contest is for two (2) tickets to this show. Contest closes at noon Eastern on Tuesday, 1/30/17.

Best of luck to my little minxes!



[posted 1.24.17]

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Newsworthy: 1/22/17

Have you heard the word? Here's a few items of interest you may want to know about.

Proving themselves to be pretty much totally crushworthy, LA's Thurst is offering their badass debut Cut To The Chafe on a pay-what-you-will basis on Bandcamp. Before you go picking this one up for small change, you should know that proceeds of the album are headed to Planned Parenthood. So perhaps consider getting your fill of excellent art punk and doing good at the same time.
  


Speaking of doing good, Barsuk Records just released a little something called SAD! A Barsuk Records Compilation for The ACLU. The compilation is only available on Bandcamp, and all proceeds will go to the ACLU. I have the sinking feeling they're going to be busy for the next few years. If Barsuk bands covering other Barsuk bands is up your alley (and why wouldn't it be), you'll want to pick this up.



And finally, the ACLU is also the beneficiary of proceeds from the Gezellig Records compilation Is There Another Language?. Featuring material from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Dean & Britta, Surfer Blood, and this gorgeous little number from Lylas. Cassettes are sold out already, but consider going digital and making your purchase do serious good. 



[posted 1.22.17]

Singles Club: Lake Combover + Grim Streaker + PATHS

Consider Singles Club your musical matchmaker. I do hope you'll give all these ready to mingle bachelors and bachelorettes your ear as you listen to some new favorite tunes. Read on in the hopes of finding your musical love connection.

A little bit grunge and a little bit shoegaze, bedroom mastermind Lake Combover kicks off the Seal of Approval Records Singles Series in style. "I Know Where You Are (But I Don't Know Where You've Gone)" is the cherry on top. 



After listening to Grim Streaker's "Guts," you might need to catch your breath. The full-throttle vintage shredding and inescapable catchiness make this bottlerocket a must-listen. 
   


PATH's "Neoprene" smacks of dizzy dancefloor glamour and clandestine slinking around strategically darkened corners. This one-woman powerhouse covers both naughty and nice bases in this one.
  


[posted 1.22.17]

Video Of The Day #216: I Am The Polish Army

There's a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

It's safe to say many of us still mourn the loss of David Bowie. Brooklyn's I Am The Polish Army turned their blues into the fantastic, gritty and grimy clamor of "David Bowie," written on January 12th of last year just after our future legend said farewell. The video is all things bright and brazen, full of glam and oddities.  


"David Bowie" - I Am The Polish Army (Official video) from dsrphoto on Vimeo.



[posted 1.22.17]

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Week In Shows: 1/23/17-1/29/17

An overcast, blah kind of Saturday afternoon seems as good a time as any to plot ones weekly live music schedule, I think. Let's take a look at what's happening in the greater DC metro this week, shall we? Hot diggity!

One day down, many to go. But hearing about the events of today give me hope for surviving the next few years. Given that an attack on all things art is probably coming soon, I encourage everyone to get out and see live music, go to museums, and, of course, make some kind of art yourself. We will not be bullied into giving up what matters to us. And now, without further ado and stepping down from my soapbox, here's a look at some of the shows I happen to recommend for the coming week in the DC metro. 

And as an aside, if you've got a show coming up you'd like me to consider including in my weekly calendar, just shoot me an email with "Calendar" somewhere in the subject line. Thanks y'all!

MONDAY, 1/23/17

-Nice Breeze + Ara Casey & Chase Willett + Cecilia Turtwig Staggers (Benefit for Planned Parenthood) (Dew Drop Inn)
-Adam Ant + Glam Skanks (Lincoln Theatre - SOLD OUT)

WEDNESDAY, 1/25/17

-PHOX + Cuddle Magic (9:30 Club)

THURSDAY, 1/26/17

-Mothers + Foozle + Keepers (Songbyrd Music House)

FRIDAY, 1/27/17

-Cigarettes After Sex + LIBSYD READ (DC9 - SOLD OUT)
-Staycation + Drop Electric + Sunbathers (Rock & Roll Hotel)
-Bencoolen + The Danbees + Tomato Dodgers (Tropicalia)

SATURDAY, 1/28/17

-Tim Presley + Cate LeBon (U Street Music Hall - win tix!)
-Handsome Hound + Humble Fire + Josh Miller (Rock & Roll Hotel)
-Bond St District + Chiffon + Kotic Couture (DC9)
-Mogwai plays Atomic (6th & I)
-Austra (Black Cat)
-Mousetrap Dance Party (Black Cat)

SUNDAY, 1/29/17

-Van Morrisson Astral Weeks Listening Party (Songbyrd Music House)
-Star FK Radium + Emily Henry (Galaxy Hut)
-Marian McLaughlin (DC Public Library - Takoma Park branch)

[posted 1.21.17]

Friday, January 20, 2017

Good Cover Version: Flesh Panthers Does Creedence Clearwater Revival

Pulp gave the world the song "Bad Cover Version." But seeing as I'm a sonic optimist, I'm of the belief that there's more likely than not more good cover versions floating around than bad ones. Good Cover Version celebrates the good, and leaves all that bad and ugly stuff alone.

Like many of you, I'm feeling an unhappy mix of frustration, displeasure, and flat out despair today. I thought long and hard about what kind of post to write today, and finally decided that a cover of the scathing CCR hit "Fortunate Son" would do nicely. Chicago hellions Flesh Panthers, while definitely in need of a refresher on the song's lyrics, do a raw, loose cannon cover of the song that shreds with malice towards all. Today, of all days, their shambolic, white lightning rendition is oh so a pros pos. 
    


[posted 1.20.17]

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Newsflash!: Win Tickets to Tim Presley & Cate LeBon @ U Street Music Hall, 1/28/17

You love going to shows. I love giving you tickets to shows. It's a match made in heaven. Read on for how you can win some tickets.

I've been going to shows at the legendary 9:30 Club since I was a teenager, and have seen some of the best of the best grace that venerable stage. It is a pleasure to be offering a pair of tickets to several upcoming 9:30/IMP shows over the next few months.


Tim Presley is a heck of a talented lad. Cate LeBon is a heck of a talented lass. The twosome has made a record together, done shows together, and Cate even produced Tim's latest long player, his first under his given name. To see them both one the same night surely means nothing but wonderfulness. And happily, they are bringing this wonderfulness to DC on 1/28. 


It just so happens that I have a pair of tickets to said wonderfulness to give you. 


If you want to see Tim and Cate work their individual and collective weird and wonderful magic, your task is a simple one. Email me, and tell me why you'd like to see Tim and Cate. Or Cate and Tim. Either way, just justify your love and you might just win. 


Fine print: Contest is for two (2) tickets to this show. Contest closes at noon Eastern on Thursday, 1/26/17. 


Good luck my little fireworks! 

   



[posted 1.19.17]

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Guest Best Of Top Ten Live Shows of 2016 #1: Mitski, Rock & Roll Hotel, 6/25

While I didn't make it out to many shows in 2016, mysterious special guest star The Paper sure did. I'm proud to highlight the ten shows of 2016 that made his list of favorite shows.

Before I dive into my number one show of 2016, I'd like to mention several that made the decision so agonizing.

1/15 The Max Levine Ensemble: When the crowd started moshing, David expressed gratitude at the enthusiasm but asked them to do so in an up and down direction instead of left and right. Enormous respect for choosing to make his show a safe space rather than bask in the rock star aesthetic.

3/13 Le Butcherettes: Terry Genderbender and company rock like no other. Arguably the best musicianship I have ever seen.

4/27 Near Northeast: My favorite music blog hosted this lovely show where I fell in love with these local darlings. Kelly sang her way into my heart while playing the violin and tambourine at the same time!

5/20 Potty Mouth, Dyke Drama: Ally Einbinder and Sadie Switchblade. Enough said.

5/24 Witching Waves: Emma reminds me of my favorite drummer. She plays with a palpable passion.

6/18 The Meltaways, Snail Mail: Snail Mail made #5 so obvious inclusion here but the highlight was
Beck putting superglue over a wound so they could keep playing!

7/15 Heinous Orca: Would anyone expect a band from Tennessee to play Totoro?

10/13 Margot MacDonald, The Seshen: I always had a weakness for one woman bands and Margot has a beautiful voice. The Seshen is simply lovely.

For 2017, I am hoping to see Best Coast, KING, Candy Hearts, In This Moment, Chazzy B, Lung, Didi, Lizzo and Uffie. Anyone I should see? Without further delay, my best show of 2016.



Seeing Mitski changed me.

It started in incremental ways. For as long as I can remember, percussion has always been my favorite so I was delighted to find that the drum kit sat to Mitski’s left instead of behind the band like so many others. I doubt Mitski shares my sentiment on the matter and the gesture is actually a statement. Each member of her band should be given the same appreciation. Callan and Casey certainly deserve it.

That said, Mitski held my attention. She doesn’t so much play the bass but communicate with and through it. She isn’t exactly the only musician capable of this feat except she doesn’t move much. Instead, she’s tenderly poised. In her presence, I felt a peaceful ache. I felt the brilliant introspection of her music coming alive. I felt myself falling in love with the bass like a body from the balcony. And ever since, I found myself studying bass players at shows.

And hundreds of study subjects later, none of them led to an unexpected discovery about my musical taste. Apparently at some point, without my noticing, I started demanding a fuller volume and fuzzier sound in the music I listen to. Watching and listening to Mitski strum the bass was able to evoke the introspective emotions necessary for me to articulate my liking certain bands. Such as local darlings Flowerbomb whom I saw in attendance.

“Fuck Stevey” may be the two most profound words ever uttered.

She was expressing disgust at a character in some TV show at the beginning of a song. I forget which song or what TV show because at the conclusion, before the guitar could fade out, Mitski started to profusely tell the audience “thank you” and “I love you”. She confessed that her earlier remark made her feel terrible throughout the entire song.

The sincerity she showed in her remorse astounded me on multiple levels. For one, no one would have dwelled on such an inconsequential comment. For another, it’s a fictional character, not an actual person. Finally, she reflected on her words essentially instantly while playing. That’s a superlative commitment to self-examination.

A long time ago, an English professor accused my essay of sexism. I dismissed the ridiculous claim. There was no way I could be sexist. I am a decent human being. It took me years to realize my exclusive usage of masculine pronoun is incredibly sexist. Years after that, I would shout out song names at my favorite band during shows. It’s been ages since I last demanded anything from any women on stage yet roughly two years ago when Trophy Wife was going on hiatus, I had emailed expressing my fear that they would eventually disband. At their last show before the hiatus, Katy stated that she and Diane will play for as long as they can. I was exuberant at the time. It wasn’t until over a year later that I realized the inappropriateness of my request. The worst part is that these events occurred years apart.

Each of us believe we are a good person. It’s really easy (read: lazy) not to question it. And in the event we realize a mistake or are called out, we often consider it an isolated incident. It takes enormous courage and humility to examine oneself. I am completely awed by Mitki’s behavior, especially given the urgency in which she reflected. It’s clear she has made a habit of it. How does she do it? More than anything else, it takes forgiveness and this last step may be the hardest. After we recognize and accept our mistake, it can lead to negative, even depressing, thoughts about our character, our intrinsic goodness. So we quickly bury it.

We must forgive ourselves and each other.

This act of self love will encourage us to examine our words and actions, no matter how trivial, more frequently until it becomes second nature as Mitski demonstrated so masterfully. Writing this has been gut-wrenching for me yet she gracefully tackled it on stage before a sold out crowd. Thank you Mitski, for showing me that goodness is a work in progress and for inspiring me to be better and finally lending me the courage and forgiveness to do so.

--
This has been a great year of live music. After 120 shows and over 430 bands, I reflect upon my top ten even though top 50 would have been much easier.



[words and photo of Moor Mother by The Paper]

[posted 1.6.17]

Video Of The Day #215: Cherry Glazerr

There's a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

We've probably all gotten busy listening to music, but what about taking it one step further. As in...with your Rickenbacker. It's the double take concept behind this video for Cherry Glazerr's excellent, hypnotically fuzzed "Nuclear Bomb." And it definitely gives new meaning to the idea of a girl and her guitar. 

As a reminder, DC, Cherry Glazerr is in town tonight, playing a SOLD OUT show at DC9. If you're going, I salute you.
   




[posted 1.15.17]

The Top 25 Records of Fuzzy Logic's Teen Years

Perhaps more than any other Facebook status update I've ever seen, the Top Ten Albums When You Were a Teenager list has been all over my feed for weeks now. After so much saturation, I couldn't help but start to think about what my own list might look like. And then, having had plenty of titles (and memories) pop into my head, I decided to write about it. 

Of course, I couldn't possibly adhere to the 10 records thing. Instead, my list features 25 records I held close to my heart during those formative teenage years. There is so much that I missed at the time that thankfully I've subsequently come to know and love, but following the parameters of the list a little, I am sticking with the timeframe of me, aged 13-19. 

And so, in alphabetical order by band, here's my Top 25 Teenage Records. It came as no surprise to me, and will probably come as no surprise to longtime readers, that the vast majority of the records here are by British bands. I started early.  

1. The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

It may raise a few eyebrows to see the Liverpudlians on my list (especially since you won't see the Stones). But as a teenager, I closed my eyes and flew away listening to the Beatles and their version of psychedelic rock.

2. Beck - Odelay! 

Positively unavoidable when I was in high school. It seeped into my unconscious, and that was totally ok. 




3. Blur - Parklife

My Anglophilia started young, y'all. If it had a British accent, I was all over it. I can vaguely recall seeing Blur all the way back in 1997, and how amazing it was. This brazen, sarcastic pop tart of a record will probably always be my favorite of Blur's. 



4. The Charlatans - Tellin Stories

I was a faithful disciple of Q and Select and other British rags in the 90s, and so I went out and got my hands on whatever I could that I saw in said rags. The Charlatans has been a favorite band since the early 90s, and this cherished record filled with classics meant a great deal to me then and still means a great deal to me now. 




5. The Dandy Warhols - ...The Dandy Warhols Come Down

I can't tell you how much I listed to this CD. I'm surprised it's still playable. Another band I've been a fan of for 20 years now, this record blew my mind at the time and became a frequent companion as I transitioned from high school to college.



6. David Bowie - Hunky Dory

It's a story I've already told, but a band member from another band you'll see on this list got me hooked on Bowie the right way, starting with this one. Sassy, "Queen Bitch"-era David was a wonderful place to start, and I've loved him madly ever since.



7. The Doors - The Doors

Even as a young teenage girl, I was powerless to resist the velvet voice of Jim Morrison. I appreciate The Doors even more today, though they were quite a big deal to me as a youngin.



8. Garbage - Garbage

For some reason, my musical choices were pretty male-centric back in the day, but Shirley Manson still managed to rock my world. She was the sexy, self-assured, badass bosslady that teenage me dreamt of someday becoming, and still hope to be. 



9. Mansun - Attack of The Grey Lantern

The four Mansunites were just so different to everyone that I couldn't ignore them. There was something special to me about their debut record, and I was so dismayed when the fickle press turned their back on them. A little glam and a little fiery, this record has kept me coming back for 20 years.
  


10. Massive Attack - Mezzanine

In my humble opinion, this is one of the sexiest records ever made. It is dark and it is dangerous, and it has been a favorite for just about 20 years. And really, it feels like it hasn't aged one bit. Still an incredibly relevant listen.
  


11. Nirvana - In Utero

I was barely a teenager when this came out, but it made a huge impression on me, not just in terms of music. Nirvana managed to make a seismic impression on my generation, and there was a time you couldn't turn on the radio or turn on MTV (hey, millenials, MTV used to show actual music videos!) without hearing or seeing Nirvana. This one is timeless.
  


12. Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory? 

It's true. When I was 16 years old I was smitten with Liam Gallagher. "Wonderwall" was my favorite song. My first concert was Oasis. These days, I think Definitely Maybe is (very probably) my favorite Oasis record, but this song will be a favorite song for life. Probably the biggest deal song/record to me until I got to college.



13. Primal Scream - Vanishing Point

Whereas a great many people probably got their first Primal Scream experience with the divine dance trip of Screamadelica, my first Primals record was Vanishing Point. The gritty, grimy mindfuck was startling and wonderful. Still is.
  


14. Prodigy - Fat Of The Land

Confession: I used to dance around my house to this particular CD whilst holding my Discman for hours at a time. These former party kids turned their breed of dance music into big business, and I can still remember the intensity of seeing them at the 9:30 Club and HFStival at the height of their powers. And yes, I still throw this one on from time to time (no comment about the dancing, though).



15. Pulp - Different Class

Perhaps the smartest (and most authentic) of the Britpop bands, Pulp's take on modern life was wry and honest but also a whole lot of a good time. And o, Jarvis Cocker and that voice. I swoon even now.
   


16. Radiohead - The Bends

Right before Radiohead became RADIOHEAD and everyone hung on their every note (not that that's a bad thing), they put out The Bends. To me, this is an impeccable album. It shows hints of where Radiohead was to go next but also retains a certain simplicity (as opposed to the elaborateness that was to come). Even though I adored "Creep" as a young lass, this record sent me like few others.



17. Romeo & Juliet OST

As a teenager, this movie was it. Leo. Claire. Shakespeare. A great soundtrack. I might have actually liked the soundtrack even more than the movie itself, though the movie is such a huge touchstone in my teen years.
  


18. Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness

Of all the bands on this list, I think I've cooled the most on Smashing Pumpkins. But still, I look back on this record as being incredibly influential in terms of my musical tastes then and now, and how it gave me an appreciation of full albums. I remember how special it felt to buy that fat double CD case, probably the closest thing to the experience of buying vinyl I had (until I started to buy vinyl, of course).
  


19. Spacehog - Resident Alien

At the time, I was charmed by Spacehog and their fabulously theatrical antics. All these years later, I still am. I loved this record, and "In The Meantime" was one of those Big Deal songs of my formative music listening years. Good fun.
   


20. Spiritualized - Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Before I was enthralled with Spacemen 3, I was enthralled with Jason Pierce's post-Spacemen 3 outfit Spiritualized. The record looked cool in its packaging and sounded cooler. I didn't totally get it at the time, maybe I still don't, but damned if I don't adore this record.
  


21. Stone Temple Pilots - Core

Sometimes it can be easy to forget that STP was pretty darn good at the start. One of those records that got me hooked on dirty fuzz and scuzz and catchy licks. And badly behaved gentlemen. 
  


22. Super Furry Animals - Fuzzy Logic

Of all the records on this list, this one should be the most obvious. I was in love with Fuzzy Logic in 1996, and it's stayed near and dear to me ever since. These Welsh spacecakes stole my heart with their kookily magnificent songs about drugs, Howard Marks, gravity, and bad behaviour.
   


23. Trainspotting OST

Like all good Britpop-obsessed Americans I became Trainspotting obsessed, which of course meant listening to the soundtrack nonstop and buying the book to boot. Arguably one of the best soundtracks of all time, this had a little bit of everything, from Iggy Pop to New Order to Primal Scream. Still an epic listen.
   


24. The Verve - Urban Hymns

Let me be clear, this is not my favorite Verve record. Not by a long shot and a mile. However, this is the Verve record that got the world's attention, and therefore got my attention, and therefore got me listening to the records that preceded it. All of which turned The Verve into arguably my favorite bands of my late teens and onwards. Plus, the video for "Bittersweet Symphony" is always and forever defiant and hard to ignore. And the Ashcroft haircut will always have a thumbs up.
   


25. Weezer - Weezer (Blue)

I still love this one. I remember listening to it repeatedly and earnestly. I was kind of one and done with Weezer, admittedly, but I still crush on this record.




And there you have it! Does your list look like mine? In any event, I hope you've enjoyed taking a stroll down memory lane with me. In all honesty, I think the 90s produced a ridiculous amount of great music, and this list barely scratches the surface (though I think we can hopefully all agree that what's here is pretty darned good). And really, with the exception of Beatles and Doors records, this list is pretty much all 90s, all the time. I loved what was happening around me in terms of music (some of the fashion, however, I could have done without). 

[posted 1.15.17]