Wednesday, 24 November 2004

Brett's Birthdays on Friday 13th

Many know that Brett's birthday is on 13th December. Those of us who know Brett well know he is also a bit obsessed with his horror movies, and Friday The 13th is one of his favourites.

The question is now posed -- how many of Brett's birthdays to date (and which ones) have fallen on a Friday 13th? I was (very) bored the other day so I figured it out.

I'd like Brett to answer this post, without cheating :-)

The rest of you can just reply with a standard insult: "get a life", "who cares", "go home to your Granny"...

Elvis Costello Gig - Palais - 23rd November 2004

The Elvis Costello gig I went to last night was absolutely awesome. Easily one of the best gigs I've ever been to. Amazing what sitting in the 3rd row does to the enjoyment of a gig.

I was actually sitting next to the guy who created The Elvis Costello website. Amazing who you get to meet when you are in the good seats. I was having a bit of a chat to him, chatting about his music etc. Apparently he had a plant in the audience recording a bootleg of the gig :-) Even got some earplugs off him (Lorin and I were getting our right ears blasted from being so close to the speakers). Yes...I know I'm soft! Well the earplugs were more for Lorin than for me, but I put one in one of my ears as well, made it more enjoyable.

I was very close to meeting Elvis afterwards as well, there was a meet & greet session and he walked right past me to get into the cordoned off area where you needed to have a VIP pass to get in :-( He seemed very down to earth, chatting with the people casually like they were his old mates. Well, maybe they were (probably record company folk). I'd actually bought a T-Shirt in anticipation of getting him to sign it, but unfortunately the security people asked us to leave when they realised we didn't have VIP passes :-(

I'm going to make it my mission to get great seats to any future gigs I go to, it makes such a difference. The first time I saw Elvis Costello was at the concert hall and it was ok, but this time it was SO much better.

He played 11/13 songs from his new album -- the only songs he didn't play were the last two The Judgement and The scarlet tide. The judgement is probably my favourite track from the album, so I was a bit annoyed he didn't play that. Kinda like the last gig where he didn't play Episode of blonde which was my favourite track from When I was cruel.

Of his older hits, he played these:

(I don't want to go to) Chelsea
Pump it up
Radio, radio
(What's so funny 'bout) peace love and understanding?
Oliver's army
Accidents will happen
I can't stand up for falling down
High fidelity
Good year for the roses
Everyday I write the book

Some of his lesser known earlier songs he played:

Blame it on cain
Waiting for the end of the world
No action
13 steps lead down
Hidden charms
Tear off your own head (It's a doll's revolution)

He also played a couple of rarities:

The monkey (B-Side, inspired Monkey to man from his new album)
Suspicious minds (the Elvis Presley song, he segued Pump it up into this)

I think that covers everything he played, can't think of any of the other songs. The guy who I was sitting next to wrote down the setlist and he'll be publishing it on his website.

What a legend...I'm still on a high from it!

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

An Open Letter To Super Parma

Here's a letter I wrote to the friendly folk at the Super Parma website.

Hey Super Parma Dudes,

My name is Jeremy Young and I am a long time lurker first time writer. I am just writing to describe some parma experiences that some friends and I have had.

Last night a few workmates and I were in Richmond attending a gig at the Corner Hotel. Before heading down to Richmond, we knew we had to grab a bite to eat, so we decided to do some research on the definitive parma encyclopedia of

We checked out the "Parma Specials" section of your website, and noted that the Richmond Club Hotel had a Monday night special of a $10.00 Pot 'n' Parma. Clicking on the link, we subsequently discovered that you had rated the Richmond Club Hotel parma an impressive 16/20, so all was looking good -- we would going to get a good bargain parma, a free pot, some great music. The night was looking up!

Imagine our disappointment when we arrived at the said hotel and discovered that the special of the night was a steak sandwich and pot for $10.00! We didn't have a laptop handy, so we couldn't check out We decided quickly that even though we weren't going to get the bargain we were hoping for, we would try the parma anyway -- after all, the standard price was only $13 which was pretty cheap anyway. Unfortunately the hotel was pretty packed and they said there would be a 50 minute wait for meals -- 50 minutes we didn't have. So we decided to take a raincheck and return at some other time (hopefully on a Tuesday night when the real special was on). I guess the fact that it was packed out is a pretty good sign. Anyway, please update your website and move the special for this hotel to Tuesday night -- we don't want to see other disappointed folk turning up on Monday night expecting a bargain basement parma.

Luckily, we had a contingency plan from the start, and we noted that another pub in Richmond had a Monday night pot 'n' parma special -- The Vaucluse. We did recall that you guys had only given this a 12.5/20, but we weren't in any position to find another place at this time, so we decided to settle for merely a "good" parma.

When we received our parmas, we noticed that the chicken "breast" was a perfect heart shape -- it was obvious that this was manufactured processed chicken. Of course, you can deep fry anything and it will taste good, but that's missing the point of what a chicken parma stands for -- a chicken parma should be made from a REAL chicken breast.

Which takes me to my next point. I notice that you have only allocated 3 points to "quality of meat" in your ratings. On the other hand, I notice you have allocated 5 points to the size of the parma, and 4 points to the quality of the SAUCE. Now this may be a very controversial comment, but don't you think that the quality of the meat is more important than the sauce and the size of the parma? I mean sauce is very integral to the whole parma experience, but it's not called a PARMA chicken, it's a CHICKEN parma. The chicken forms the root of the whole parma experience, and because of this, I think the chicken should be allocated more points than the sauce. And what's the point of having a HUGE parma if the quality of the chicken is poor? Anyway, just personal opinion. But I'd be interested to know your rationale in coming up with the weighting of the points when rating parmas.

Also, a few notes about the chicken parma at the Burvale in Forest Hill. It truly is a horrendous parma -- you have to try it. It is an insult to everything a parma stands for. I guess my unflattering comments aren't going to make you rush out to Forest Hill to try it, but as the experts in the domain of chicken parmas, it should be your duty to inform people of the parmas to avoid just as much as it is to inform people of the superb culinary experiences. Finally, another note about the special at the Burvale, the price has moved up to $6, and it's only a Friday LUNCHTIME special, not a Friday DINNER special. So please update your website to indicate this. Not that anyone should really be eating the Burvie parma at all (or anything from the Burvie mind you). That place needs to be avoided like the plague.

All in all, great website, and keep up the great work!


Music Is Not a Loaf of Bread

Wired interviewed Jeff Tweedy of Wilco fame about how the Internet is changing music distribution. Finally, a refreshingly intelligent opinion - from an actual artist - about how musicians and labels must figure out new ways to harness technology, rather than trying to dictate how music is to be distributed.

So take note big nasty music mega-corporations, the Internet is not evil and, if you were to embrace technologies like peer-to-peer file sharing, you might be surprised at the results...

Now, I think I might go listen to my (legally purchased) copy of A Ghost is Born on my iPod. (Though I will skip the over-indulgent extended guitar solos!)

Monday, 15 November 2004

1976 vs. 1977, Leap Years & More

1976 vs. 1977? Ahhh many a man have had this debate before, and it's certainly a toughie. I've pretty sure a certain young man with the initials BM will disagree with me here, but I'm going to go with 1977.

Granted, 1976 has its fair share of classics: Stevie Wonder "Songs in the key of life", Peter Tosh "Legalize it" (a great concept album on the pros and cons of jay-walking) and Billy Joel's underrated "Turnstiles". And who can forget the debut album Mental Notes from NZ art-rock outfit Splut Unz? Tom Waits released his superb Small Change this year, and Queen released A Day At The Races, which was the follow up to their masterpiece A Night At The Opera (also named after a Marx Brothers movie). All solid albums in their own right.

1977 saw the release of Television's Marquee Moon, of which the title track is still one of the biggest goosebump raising guitar songs of all time. Elvis Costello released his debut album My Aim Is True, coincedentally released the same year a relative unknown "other" Elvis kicked the bucket. Billy Joel released his most critically acclaimed album The Stranger. Kraftwerk released Trans-Europe Express, considered a pinnacle album in the electronic music genre. On the punk side of things, The Clash released their self-titled debut and Sex Pistols released their only album, Never mind the bollocks. David Bowie released Low, which Pitchfork recently named the number one album of the 70's. On the disappointing side of things, Tom Waits released his weakest album Foreign Affairs. Meat Loaf also released his infamous Bat Out Of Hell album, hated by many but also loved by a certain man with the initials DW.

So while 1976 was a good year for music in its own right, I'd have to go with 1977 based on the anecdotal evidence outlined above.

And then the old question as to whether leap years produce better music because of the extra day, giving the potential for more great albums to come out. One thing to observe -- you will note that out of the all the years in my countdown, only 1968 was a leap year. Of course, the countdown isn't complete yet, so you will need to wait and see if leap years tend to be better years for music or not. One _could_ argue that albums which are released on February 29th age a lot better, simply because they age in a quarter of the time. If anyone knows of any well known albums released on a February 29th, please let me know. It could be a new blog posting all of its own.

Friday, 12 November 2004

Top 10 Years For Album Releases - #5

Another unmotivated Friday, another blog post :-)

Time to continue the controversial countdown. Good to see more interactivity from the readers lately -- it seems the years I am discussing are bringing back lots of good (and sometimes bad) memories. If you haven't contributed yet, feel free to do so. Just remember - opinions are like assholes. They stink if they are not kept clean.

#5: 2000

Ahhh...2000. The dawning of a new era (as "The Specials" once sang on their eponymous album from 1979). The year when everything was supposed to end. The millenium bug, which turned out to be nothing but propaganda from IT companies wanting to make a quick buck "securing" your system against the possibility that the world was going to end when the clock ticked over to midnight on January 1st. As anyone who lived through this knows, nothing terribly exciting happened at midnight. Hopefully we will be prepared for the Y10K bug. Imagine what will happen when they discover that 4 digits for the date isn't enough! I can see the futuristic scare tactics now...

Anyway, it was still the dawning of a new millenium. This was also the year that Jarvis Cocker of Pulp planned to meet up for a disco, thinking that it would be pretty strange when everyone was fully grown. I was there at 2 o'clock by the fountain down the road, but Jarvis didn't turn up. I was heartbroken. Anyway, it was quite amazing that we actually lived through the changing of a millenium. Not many get to experience this. This was also the year I started full time work, having completed my uni degree the previous year. As you could imagine, my music consumption increased by a huge amount at the dawning of the noughties. More money == More music. So without further ado, let's start talking about the music.

There was two classic debut albums released in 2000. One was by the local Shepparton band Augie March, who released their breathtaking Sunset studies album. These guys are truly one of the most talented bands around at the moment, and this was an amazingly mature album to be released as a debut album. Many bands would take 5-6 albums to release this level of brilliance. The 'March only had 2 EPs, Thanks for the memes and Waltz. Anyway, Sunset studies is not an easily listen (at 76 minutes), but it's an album which grows on you and embeds itself into your soul. You will quite literally fall in love with this album. Each listen will reveal a new track to be your favourite. Some tracks which you initially hated will astound you with their beauty on the 12th listen. It's a tragedy that these guys probably won't get the worldwide recognition their deserve, because they are up there with Radiohead as one of the great bands of today. If you ever get the chance, see them live -- they are sensational, and the witty banter between Glenn (the singer) and Dave (the drummer) is priceless.

Another album which came out of the blue in 2000 was Badly Drawn Boy's debut The hour of bewilderbeast. I remember reading about this album in Q magazine (as I was an avid reader at the time), and really admiring the cover art. Thanks to Kazaa (or maybe it was Napster at the time), I downloaded Once around the block and was very impressed. I decided to take the risk and it certainly paid off -- a masterful indie-folk debut album which was completely original at the time and stood out from a lot of crap that was being released at the time. Unfortunately, BDB (aka Damon Gough) has never been able to top this debut album, although he has released 3 more albums of quality varying from superb to below average.

Another artist I got into in 2000 was Elliott Smith. I purchased his album Figure 8 after a friend (who I don't really keep in touch with anymore) raved about this artist. I had a JB voucher and decided to take a risk and buy Figure 8, which had just been released if I remember correctly. Even though Figure 8 didn't absolutely blow me away at the time (and it still doesn't impress me as much as most of his other albums), it did a very important thing -- opened me up to the genius of this young singer/songwriter. I subsequently purchased all of his albums (in reverse order and at increasingly high costs ;-) and he became one of my favourite solo artists of all time. When I first heard about his death in September 2003 (via an SMS from Matt) I was quite upset. it was a first for me -- the first time an artist had died in their prime while I was a huge fan of their work. Now I know how people must have felt when Jeff Buckley and Kurt Cobain died. I know that Badly Drawn Boy knew what he was doing the night those two gentlemen died.

Then there was Radiohead and a certain controversial album known as Kid A. This was the first time Radiohead had released an album while I was a fan of them. I had purchased all their albums up to this point, but long after they had been released. I was very much into Radiohead and had heard rumours that their new album was going to be difficult, but nothing could have really prepared me for the first listen. Triple J played the album all the way through several days before it was released, and I remember Pete, Andy and I (maybe others but I can't remember) sitting around at Andy's house listening to this new music unfold in front of our ears. I'm not sure if this is how people felt when they first heard Revolver or Sgt. Pepper's, and I can almost guarantee that Kid A will never been considered a classic like those albums, but there's no doubt that I felt like we were witnessing musical history that evening. Maybe I'm being melodramatic here, but it's quite interesting how whenever a band releases a "difficult" album (e.g. Wilco with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot), it is termed "doing a Kid A". Another more sombre memory of this album was listening to it on the way to the funeral for a former schoolmate who had died from a heroin overdose in 2000. When I listen to this album, it does bring back memories of that. All in all, not a great album -- but still an important album in the big scheme of things.

Then there was a young up and coming band known as Coldplay, and their debut album Parachutes. I bought this one on Pete's recommendation -- I remember his comparisons between the lead singer and Jeff Buckley. Anyway, there are certainly some great tracks on this album -- notably opener Don't panic and Shiver, but it's a very lightweight album which doesn't really reward that much repeated listening. I preferred their sophomore release A rush of blood to the head, which I feel was a nice evolution for them and it took them out of their comfort zone. And that's more than can be said for Travis, who haven't really changed for 3 albums.

Then there was U2, who released their best album in 9 years -- All you can't leave behind. This is a really really great album. There's only 2 tracks I would consider weak -- Peace on earth (a bit too preachy) and Grace (which doesn't seem to go anywhere). Other than those, it's an extremely solid album with some great tunes. Even more considering they were still releasing albums this brilliant almost 20 years into their career.

Belle & Sebastian released their critically panned album Fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant. Wow, that's a mouthful. Most critics dismissed this album because it was a much more democratic album compared to most B&S albums -- instead of Stuart Murdoch writing all the songs, several other band members put in contributions. Their criticisms seem to be ignoring several facts. Firstly, their previous album The boy with the arab strap had 4 songs written/sung by other band members. Secondly, Peasant is full of some brilliant songs. It has a little bit of filler (Beyond the sunrise is probably my least favourite B&S song) but it also has some of my favourite B&S songs: The model, Waiting for the moon to rise and There's too much love.

And now to some other notable albums from twenty-dickity-zero:
  • Cosmic Rough Riders - Enjoy the melodic sunshine (there certainly is a lot of melodic sunshine to be enjoyed here. These Glaswegians, like Teenage Fanclub, sure know how to write a nice tune.)
  • The Cure - Bloodflowers (considered to be the final installment in their gloom trilogy started with Pornography and Disintegration, luckily this wasn't a Godfather Part III. Quite a beautiful album in parts, even if it's not the masterpiece it was trying to be.)
  • Placebo - Black market music (there are some excellent songs on here including Special K -- which was originally titled Fruit Loops before Brian Molko decided it was too autobiographical. I can't help but feel that their formula had been overused by this point though.)
  • Super Furry Animals - Mwng (SFA release their all-Welsh album! There's only one thing that can be said about this album. Ond ar y cyfan roedd y camau yn weigion, Y swigod coch yn llosgi fel gwreichion, Um cam ymlaen am ddwy aneffeithlon!)
  • Dandy Warhols - Thirteen tales from urban bohemia (many may be tempted to call their guys a novelty band, but this is a really solid album with some great musical moments. It has its fair share of novelty moments as well, many of which are brilliant -- like Get off.)
  • Doves - Lost souls (the debut album from this Manchester band is a beautiful one but they would reach their full potential on the follow up The last broadcast.)
  • Grandaddy - The sophtware slump (some great play-on words in the album title, luckily this wasn't a sophomore slump for Grandaddy. In the vein of OK Computer, this was a concept album on mankind vs. the fast paced world of today -- albeit in a much more direct way. This album has a song on it called Jed the humanoid, about a home-made robot who drinks himself to death. Need I say more?)
  • XTC - Wasp star (Apple Venus Volume 2) (the follow-up to the excellent Apple Venus, this is a harder rocking album -- relatively speaking. Some great songs on this album, but I can't say I have listened to it for a while.)
  • Ed Harcourt - Maplewood (Ed's first EP, this is very different from his first album proper Here be monsters. He seemed to be much more influenced by Tom Waits on this album, while on HBM he showed off his beautiful singing voice more.)
  • Gomez released 2 CDs this year. There was their B-Sides and rarities compilation Abandoned shopping trolley hotline which had a lot of interesting stuff, and a lot of filler as well. Then there was their EP Machismo which had its moments, but nothing to write home about.
  • PJ Harvey - Stories from the city, stories from the sea (this one was very critically acclaimed and while I appreciate it for what it is, it's not something that I have the urge to listen to very often.)
  • Powderfinger - Odyssey number five (this is their most commercial album to date, and I think it may also be their highest seller. In a similar vein to their previous album Internationalist, it has a much more polished production but unfortunately the songwriting quality isn't as good.)
  • Goldfrapp - Felt mountain (a very moody and atmospheric album. Not one of my absolute favourites, and not something I find myself listening to very often, but still rewards me when I do listen to it.)
And finally some of the disappointments of 2000:
  • Oasis released 2 albums this year. Firstly, their was their 4th album proper -- Standing on the shoulder of giants. After their 2 classic debut albums, a solid yet overlong and self-indulgent follow-up Be here now, and a superb B-Sides compilation in The masterplan -- fans were expecting more. What really peeved me about this album was their reluctance to change -- this was simply Oasis-by-numbers. But even Oasis-by-numbers would be okay if they had the songs to back themselves up, and this album is severely lacking. Way too much filler on this album. They also released a double live album Familiar to millions. I think I've listened to this once since I purchased it. Maybe twice. I think that pretty much sums it up.
  • St Germain - Tourist (I know some of the other guys who will be reading this are much bigger fans of this album than I am, but this album has never really done it for me a heap. It's got some amazing songs, notably So flute, but as a whole I find it has a bit of a yuppie cafe feel to it. When I say that, I mean it reminds me of something they would play in a trendy establishment to make the place seem hipper than it is. If I get an urge to listen to jazz, I'd prefer to listen to something by Miles Davis or John Coltrane, rather than the electro-jazz on this album.)
  • Billy Bragg & Wilco - Mermaid Avenue Vol. II (Billy Bragg & Wilco's first collaboration was a brilliant album that came out of the blue - a superb wedding of alt-country tunes and Woody Guthrie's lyrics. When listening to this sequel, one can only feel like these were the offcuts from the first album. Kinda like Amnesiac to the first album's Kid A.)
  • Primal Scream - Exterminator (this one got rave reviews. I am a huge fan of their '91 album Screamadelica. While that album successfully fused rock with the dance culture of the Madchester scene, Exterminator can be summed up with a simple word -- ugly. The music is heavy, the lyrics are dark -- but unlike The holy bible by the Manics', this album simply doesn't work for me.)
  • Bluetones - Science & Nature (this album is too novelty for my liking. I actually bought this without hearing anything by the band, and unfortunately it was one of my risks which didn't pay off. Their first album, Expecting to fly, is much better. But even that album has its faults.)
  • Muse - Showbiz (a decent debut album, but quite patchy. By their second album Origin of symmetry, they would improve immensely.)
  • Embrace - Drawn from memory (quite a nice sounding album in parts, but this band is really let down by Danny McNamara's weak vocals which need an injection of character.)
  • Tom McRae - Tom McRae (some stunning songs on this album, but lots of filler. And his voice is definitely an acquired taste which, like licorice, I have yet to acquire.)
  • Rivertribe - Journey (this album has the most interesting story on this list. I was at Knox Ozone shopping centre, and there was a chillout jazz/rock band with a definite Aboriginal influence playing there. I was very impressed with their music, so I decided to buy one of their CDs on the spot for $25. I asked one of the musicians about which CD I should buy, and after some discussion I purchased this one. It's a decent CD, but it's simple chillout music and thus nothing groundbreaking. But I guess $25 for a cool story is [kinda] worth it :-)
And that pretty much sums up the year. 'Twas certainly the dawning of a new era -- the noughties.

Monday, 1 November 2004

Top 10 Years For Album Releases - #6

And here we are again. I've been a bit slack with posting lately. I realise now that once I start one of these lists, I need to finish it -- so time to pull the socks up and continue the countdown.

*** DRUM ROLL ***

#6: 1994

Ahhh...the early nineties. So many memories of these years. 1994 was Year 10 for me, and not a particularly good year. Not as bad as 1993 the year before, which was probably one of my most depressing years of all time, but that's not a discussion for this forum. No, this forum is all about the muzak, and there was lots of great music this year. In grand tradition...let's start with the classics.

Who can forget Jeff Buckley's masterpiece Grace? Gorgeous is the only way to describe this album. I didn't get into Jeff Buckley's music until after he had died, and this occurred on May 29th 1997, which was many years after the year we are discussing here. So I guess you could say I jumped on the bandwagon just like many other people who didn't discover the genius of Grace until after he was dead and buried. I wish I could go back in time and hear this album when it first came out, basking in its beauty and being astounded by the talent of this brilliant young singer/songwriter. But that would have made me very depressed when he drowned... so maybe it's for the better that I didn't get into the music until later. Anyway, this album is a true gem, one of the best albums ever (and even more amazing when you consider it was his debut). His posthumous release Songs for my sweetheart (the drunk) is as good as you would expect it to be - it has its moments, but it was an unfinished album and you can really hear it.

A relatively unknown band called Oasis released their debut album Definitely maybe this year. I didn't get into this album until after their 2nd album, (What's the story) morning glory? was released in 1996 -- but it's an amazingly energetic debut album. Probably not the kind of album one would love if their heard it for the first time nowadays, but it just felt so bloody right in the mid-90's. Also, Live forever and Slide away are two of their finest cuts ever released. I actually heard this album first when my brother bought it (and later returned it). I remember listening more to the bonus single (Whatever) which came with it, mainly due to the amazing B-Side Half the world away, which is possibly my favourite Oasis song.

And then there was a certain live album by a relatively unknown band called Throwing copper. Wait a second, that doesn't sound right. Although I'm sure there's a lot of people who thought that at the time. Of course, the band was Live, and the album was Throwing copper. But you can easily see how many made that mistake. Interesting story behind me getting into this album. I remember hearing a few songs by this grungey sounding band on the radio (I listened more to radio back then), and liking all of them. They were some great tunes...and then I remember finding out that all of the songs were not only by the same band, but from the same album! The songs I remembered were Selling the drama, Lightning crashes and All over you. It took my a while to find out the name of Selling the drama, because the lyrics don't actually say that anywhere -- and this was before the days of google! Anyway, even when I give this album a spin nowadays, I consider it a very solid album. There isn't a bad track on here (even the bonus country track Horse is superb). Like the Oasis album, this is probably not an album I would like if I heard it for the first time today (because my musical tastes have changed a lot, and a heap of other bands sound like Live now) -- but this album has the memories.

Of course, in 1994 we were knee-deep in Britpop. Here's some notable albums from 1994 that fit into this mould:
  • Blur - Parklife (probably the quintessential Britpop album, this is simply a fun album that never fails to put a smile on my face when I listen to it. So many great tunes, and an epic [almost]-closer in This is a low)
  • Suede - Dog man star (their first album was pure Britpop. This was a very pretentious follow up which has aged the best out of all of their albums, and it still sounded amazing when I gave it a spin recently. A very ambitious, theatrical album.)
  • Pulp - His 'n' hers (together with Different class, this is Pulp at the peak of their Britpopness. Just a fun album!)
And then there was the genre which some affectionality named trip-hop. Some notable albums from '94 which fit this mould:
  • Portishead - Dummy (together with Blue lines, this album practically defined the genre. A classic album which includes one of my favourite songs of all time, the haunting Roads.)
  • Massive Attack - Protection (their follow up to Blue lines didn't quite have the consistency of their debut, but it's a very solid slab of triphop. Includes what is possibly my favourite Massive Attack song, the instrumental Heat miser.)
A few more classic albums from '94 which don't fit into any marketing mould:
  • Manic Street Preachers - The holy bible (Pete got me into this one. I'd heard their follow up albums Everything must go and This is my truth tell me yours. Those albums are like a walk in the park compared to the utter darkness and despair of this album. Possibly one of the darkest albums ever released, this is a harrowing listen, but nothing less than brilliant. I was hooked from the opening track Yes.)
  • Pavement - Crooked rain, crooked rain (I only recently got into these guys. While their debut album Slanted & Enchanted seems to get more of the acclaim, their second album CRCR does it for me a lot more. This has been classified as slacker music. I'd describe it as sloppy early 90's alternative rock/pop. Whatever you call it, it sounds awesome.)
  • Pulp Fiction soundtrack (another soundtrack which I'll allow, simply because it's very much of its time and a fantastic collection of songs chosen by an up and coming film director Quentin Tarantino -- as he was at the time. What was great about this soundtrack was how it brought many brilliant songs such as Son of a preacher man by Dusty Springfield into popular culture.)
And some other good albums from 1994:
  • The late Elliott Smith released his debut album Roman candle this year. Together with his eponymous second album, this is Elliott at his most lo-fi. Luckily, lo-fi doesn't mean lo-melody or lo-beauty. The guy never put a step wrong in his 10 year career.
  • Green Day released their classic album Dookie. Yes, it's Green Day. Laugh away. But I'll never be ashamed to say that I enjoy this album. It absolutely reeks of early 90's. But the memories that this album brings back. Do you have the time to listen to me whine?
  • Weezer released their self-titled debut album, affectionately known as The blue album. So many brilliant tunes on this one. Who can forget the Happy Days film clip for Buddy Holly?
  • Elvis Costello released his album Brutal youth, which was his first with his old backing band The Attractions since Blood & Chocolate in 1986. Definitely a return to form, if not quite the form of his earlier work.
  • Radiohead and Suede released their respective EPs, My iron lung and Stay together. My iron lung was a good taster for what was to come the following year with The bends, while Stay together had the brilliant title track (not available on any of their albums) and some great B-Sides including The living dead and My dark star.
And finally some honourable mentions:
  • R.E.M. released their critically panned album Monster. I've always considered this album to be terribly underrated. Sure it has a few duds on it, and it was definitely hurt by being released after the brilliant Automatic for the people, but it's really not a bad album. They should be praised for trying something different and releasing an alternative rock album -- at least they tried something different which is a lot more than can be said about some other bands.
  • Grant Lee Buffalo released their second album Mighty Joe Moon. Many consider this to be their best album. There are many beautiful cuts on this album (including Mockingbirds), but I don't get an urge to spin it a lot. Although when I do, it usually rewards me.
  • Ben Harper released his debut album, Welcome to the cruel world. This is probably my least favourite Ben Harper album as it's a bit too mellow and bit too preachy. He would really start to get brilliant with his 2nd album Fight for your mind.
  • Stone Roses released their 2nd album, appropriately titled Second coming. Has there ever been a more eagerly anticipated album in the history of music? Their self-titled debut album (released in 1989) is a work of genius and my favourite album ever released. Fans had to wait 5 years for a follow up. And yes, they are some good songs on this album. But it can only disappoint in comparison to their brilliant debut. I'm sure Pete will disagree with this entry, and I hope to see a retaliatory post :-)
  • Tori Amos released her second album, Under the pink. Some great songs on this one, but doesn't top her debut Little earthquakes.
  • Nick Cave released his album Let love in. Many choice cuts on this one, including Red right hand, Do you love me? and the title track. I remember loving this album when I bought it (second hand, a few years after it was released). I gave it a spin recently and didn't love it as much. But it's not without its charm.
  • Dream Theater released Awake. Ahh Dream Theater. How much money you guys have made me on Ebay. Anyway, out of the Dream Theater albums I have, this is easily my least favourite. Maybe it hasn't grown on me enough yet. I'll see how it goes.