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Calexico – The Thread That Keeps Us

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Calexico – The Thread That Keeps Us

Posted on 18 January 2018 by Joe

This tenth album from Arizona’s Calexico starts off as a highly impressive alternative rock album. The guitars squeal wonderfully across opener End of the World With You, crunch through Voices in the Field and pound into Bridge to Nowhere before delay pedalling their way into a short instrumental called Spinball.

Calexico The Thread That Keeps Us via Anti Records

Its an exciting four track run that is full of great choruses and hooks but with a doom laden darkness to keep it extra interesting.

Storms are coming and Calexico are loving every minute of it.

This approach returns later on the album on tracks such as Eyes Wide Awake, but before we get to that Calexico for some inexplicable reason start trialling a range of different styles. It’s almost as if a few random ideas have been soldered into what could have been a truly great alternative rock album.

The most jarring of these tangents is Under the Wheels – a sort of Europop reggae number. There’s more of this pop on Flores y Tamales and Another Space, which although better than Under the Wheels, seem like they should have been on another release. Here they are more like uninvited guests.

There’s some strong slow, acoustic numbers here. These are also good in their own right, especially the excellent The Town and Miss Lorraine and Music Box, but perhaps more suited elsewhere. They just don’t seem to fit on this album.

The conclusion I’ve come to after many listens is that The Thread That Keeps Us ironically lacks a thread to keep it to together. This is sad as each track, except Under the Wheels, is good in its own right. It is just I’m not sure when I’d want to sit down and listen to all 15 tracks in a row.

Perhaps, in an age of streaming and play lists that doesn’t matter anymore. But not being able to listen to Calexico release as one perfectly crafted collection is not a feeling I’m accustomed to. The horn laden Hot Rail and the beautiful melancholy of Carried to Dust continue to attract me to this day from start to finish. The same can’t be said of this interesting but ultimately uneven collection.

7/10

by Joe Lepper

For more information visit Calexico’s Facebook page here.

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Howe Gelb – Little Sand Box Set

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Howe Gelb – Little Sand Box Set

Posted on 09 January 2014 by Joe

Howe Gelb appears somehow ill suited to a solo career. The Giant Sand frontman seems just too much of a sociable guy to go it alone and it’s no surprise to find that the best of this eight CD box set collection of Gelb’s solo work is not solo at all. Instead what emerges is one of the music industry’s best collaborators with an ability to skip merrily across notions of genre, particularly with the Voice of Praise Gospel Choir on this set’s highlight ‘Sno Angel Like You.

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Even Dreaded Brown Recluse (1991), his first solo album, is created out of collaboration rather than a search for isolation. With tour promoters at the time concerned that Giant Sand’s already prolific output was diluting their ability to regularly pull in crowds Gelb hit upon the idea of releasing a solo album. That way tour promoters stayed happy and the band’s steady income from shows remained intact.

This album is also essentially a Giant Sand album in all but name, featuring its members John Convertino and Joey Burns and having the same eclectic Giant Sand mix of country, blues, punk, folk and jazz. As a collection it’s got an even looser feel than Giant Sand albums of the time, but there are still plenty of highlights interspersed in Gelb’s weaker flights of fancy.

The country twang of Picture Shows and the acoustic feel to Loretta and the Insect World sound great here and are among the best. Special mention goes to the full band feel of Warm Storm, another to add to the great Gelb cannon. But then there’s the grunge dirge of Actually Faxing Sophie and the weak Vienna 2-Step Throw Away, Vigdis and Blanket for Tina that bring down the quality and are among the more skippable moments.

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Hisser (1998) feels a little more solo, recorded on a four track at his home while as a single parent. But band mates and friends pop by and add weight and company to the album’s low-key tracks when needed. In terms of song writing this also features some of Gelb’s finest works, especially 4 Door Maverick, which he later reused for the Alegrias album, but more of that later. This track is part of a fine run of acoustic guitar tracks early on in the album through to Propulsion that are a delight. Creeper is another highlight and features a pump organ that he picked up for $35 dollars. As with Dreaded Brown Recluse, Hisser takes a turn midway through into more eclectic, odder jazz piano territory. But if you are even reading this then you will more than likely be a Gelb fan already and fully versed in his genre skipping tendancies.

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Confluence (2001) was born out of Giant Sand’s split, when the classic line up featuring Burns and Convertino moved on to form Calexico and “everything turned to shit” according to Gelb, via music journalist Sylvie Simmon’s notes that accompany this box set. Convertino and others still appear on the album but this has far more of a solo feel and I’m not sure Gelb is enjoying the experience one bit. In a word, this is depressing. Saint Conformity and 3 Sisters set the sombre tone for the whole album, which is the least appealing in this box set. Nevertheless it does contain one of my favourite Gelb songs among this whole set, Blue Marble Girl, featuring beautiful backing vocals from his second wife Sofie Albertsen Gelb.

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Things look up for 2003’s The Listener. Gelb has reformed Giant Sand with musicians from Scandanavia and he’s happy as Larry. Gelb is in a good place and the music is upbeat and at times even silly. Mainly with a piano lounge singer feel to it he comes across as a kind of Lou Reed with a sense of humour. It feels a little like a vanity project, the only time his solo work veers into that territory, but at least he’s having fun and that’s a joy to hear on this album. Among the highlights are Felonius, Cowboy Boots and the dramatic shuffling tango of Torue (Tango De La Tongue), which just about makes up for the lack of a killer tune.

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Three years later comes the key album in this collection, Sno Angel Like You, which is one of our Top 100 albums of all time. This 2006 album showcases an almighty partnership, with the Voices of Praise gospel choir, whose vocals breathing new life into old songs, such as Neon Filler, and on a whole bunch of new tracks just perfect for this spiritual feel. Gelb’s songwriting has always at its best been about subtlety, with the right turn of phrase or catchy chorus almost effortlessly slipped into his songs. Here those traits are given some rare bombast and its an uplifting experience that adds a whole new dimension to his music. A perfect match. The live album ‘Sno Angel Winging It (Live) is a nice addition to this box set as well, and was especially nice for me to hear as I managed to get to see Gelb and Voice of Praise perform this album at the time.

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A few more Giant Sand albums and tours pass by but in 2011 he’s back on the solo trail again and involved in another sterling collaboration, this time with gypsy musicians from Spain. As with ‘Sno Angel the music on Alegrias is at its heart Americana but using the distinct sounds of his collaborators to Gelb’s advantage. Recorded largely in Cordoba, Spain, the entire album is wonderful thanks to the classy playing of guitarist Raimondo Amador. Among many highlights are Notoriety and Blood Orange, which feature backing vocals from Prin La La and Lonna Kelley respectively

To close the box set Some Piano, a collection of piano releases brought together in one CD, is included. This takes me a little out of my indie rock and Americana comfort zone. It’s essentially a series of jazz piano instrumentals and while a nice inclusion in showing the breadth of his talent and style its not one I’ll be listening to repeatedly.

There are two ways of approaching this box set for those wanting to hear more Gelb. One is to embrace his eclecticism and varying quality of his releases, just buy it and discover the wheat from the chaff for yourself. The other is to just get ‘Sno Angel Like You and Alegrias, the two standout albums in his back catalogue, and marvel at how his best solo work is not solo at all.

8/10

by Joe Lepper

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Glastonbury Festival 2013 Preview – The Best Acts To Watch Out For

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Glastonbury Festival 2013 Preview – The Best Acts To Watch Out For

Posted on 04 June 2013 by Joe

The choice of music at the Glastonbury Festival can be bewildering: from the well known Pyramid Stage, which forms the bulk of the BBC TV coverage, to the smaller stages and bar venues.  To help out we’ve compiled our list of the key bands to watch out for, many of which have already impressed us live. It’s worth noting that the BBC Introducing tent line up had not yet been announced at the time of publishing and we urge you to check out that stage as well to find your new favourite band. It was one of our favourite locations when the festival was last held in 2011.

Dinosaur Jr

The Park Stage is shaping up to be one of our favourite line ups this year especially with indie rock veterans Dinosaur Jr making the Friday line up. Don’t expect witty stage banter from the maudlin J Mascis and the band but do expect some of the best guitar soloing and all round fret noodling you will ever hear.

Django Django

Django Django will have fond memories of Glastonbury having played the BBC Introducing Stage long before the release of their critically acclaimed, self-titled debut album in 2012. Back with a Friday evening Park Stage slot they are now highly experienced at delivering a stunning festival set with their idiosyncratic take on the notion of indie pop.

Tame Impala

They played twice at Glastonbury 2011 but mud and life conspired to ensure we missed them both times. Not this time as we will ensure we see this Australian act’s very modern take on psychedelic rock. Their Friday, Other Stage slot shows the wide appeal for their two stunning albums Innerspeaker and Lonerism.

Portishead

We champion local acts in our key areas of Brighton and the south west of England and they don’t come bigger for us than Bristol’s Portishead. Back from a hiatus in 2008 with the stunning album Third they are one of the most innovative acts in the UK and not to be missed live when they grace The Other Stage on Friday night.

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg at Glastonbury Festival 2011

Billy Bragg at Glastonbury Festival 2011

At the last Glastonbury festival in 2011 Bragg was headlining and organising the Leftfield stage. He proved once again what a consummate festival act he is. Armed with just his guitar, voice and wise words he provided this reviewer with shelter from the rain and one of the highlights from the festival. He’s back again at the same venue on the Friday night, this time with a full band. As an indication of how high his star is once again rising he has also bagged a Saturday afternoon Pyramid Stage slot, where he will bring his songs about love and a politics  to a wider TV audience.

Bridie Jackson and The Arbour

Bridie Jackson and The Arbour at the Glastonbury ETC finals

Bridie Jackson and The Arbour at the Glastonbury ETC finals

This year we were among the judges of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition (ETC) which was won by this north east of England  folk act. They quite simply stole the show at the finals of the competition with their haunting, stunning interpretation of English folk. Their prize is to open proceedings on Saturday at the Acoustic Stage, one of the most warm spirited venues at the festival.

Calexico


Another of our favourite acts is Arizona band Calexico, who put in a superb festival set at Pavement’s All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2010. Expect to be dazzled by their excellent blending of indie rock and mariachi music as they play tracks from the past and last year’s excellent album Algiers  at the Park Stage on the Saturday night.

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit at Bristol O2 Academy, 2012.

First Aid Kit at Bristol O2 Academy, 2012.

If you want stunning vocals from tiny Swedish women then look no further than sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, aka First Aid Kit. We caught their set at Bristol’s 02  Academy last year and were struck with the power of their vocal talents. Their cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s America is not to be missed should it make their set. It is an indication of how far they’ve come since we first saw them in a pub in Brighton many years ago that they now have a Sunday afternoon Pyramid Stage slot.

Stealing Sheep

Stealing Sheep at The Fleece, Bristol, 2012

Stealing Sheep at The Fleece, Bristol, 2012

The best support band we have ever seen. A packed Fleece in Bristol was left in awe last year when they supported Field Music. Now they headline in their own right and are firm favourites on the UK festival scene with their wholly original merging of indie folk bizarrely reimagined as a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack. Their Sunday afternoon slot at the Park Stage is well deserved after a busy year for this Liverpool band.

Matthew E White

Matthew E White at Thekla, Bristol, 2013

Matthew E White at Thekla, Bristol, 2013

Matthew E White skips across genres effortlessly, from gospel to funk to soul to country to rock. The eclectic West Holts is therefore the perfect venue for him to showcase tracks from his debut album Big Inner. We caught his set at Bristol’s Thekla this year and were left impressed not only with the quality of the music but his witty and engaging stage banter. Not to be missed when he takes to the stage on Sunday afternoon.

Phoenix

One of the best pop acts around. Following the success of 2009’s superb album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix they are back in 2013 with the release of Bankrupt! With a Sunday headline slot on the John Peel stage this French band will be primed to show Glastonbury how guitar pop should be played.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

The Pyramid Stage line up is arguably the most impressive it has been in years, offering a great mix of old and new artists. Last time we attended in 2011 we managed to avoid the stage entirely. This time we’ll be regulars at the venue with Sunday’s set by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds among those not to be missed. They and Cave in particular have still got it as a recording and live act all these years on. A true legend. Just watch the clip above and brace yourselves for amazement.

Words and pictures by Joe Lepper

 

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Calexico – Algiers

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Calexico – Algiers

Posted on 11 September 2012 by Joe

On the evidence of Algiers, the seventh studio album from Calexico, this Tuscon, Arizona, act is settling into middle-age rather nicely. Algiers is among their more laid back collections and has some echoes of the likes of the Doors, with some alternative indie rock twists along the way.

As with their last album Carried to Dust, Algiers shows a remarkably high quality throughout, with Joey Burns’ vocals and the band’s trademark trumpets shining  on an album you can put on from start to finish,  be transported to their hybrid world of American indie rock and mariachi and crave more beyond its 12 songs.

The recording in Algiers, New Orleans, is perfect for the Calexico sound; joyous, carefree but with a darker edge. In discussing the recording setting Burns says: “The place is strong and bold, soulful to the core, but surrounded by a sea of darkness.”

The Doors moment comes on third track Sinner in the Sea, which features some of the album’s best keyboard moments as Burns freaks out Morrison-style, breaking on through to the other side. Fortune Teller, with its similarities to The Shins track New Slang, is another high point and is sure to attract similar attention among TV, film and advertising companies with its sublime backing vocals.

The only slight curveball in this collection is the instrumental title track, but that is only in it not having any vocals. It matters little though, as it contains among the best melodies on the album, and gives the band a chance to show off their range in this well crafted jam, from guitar solos, slide guitar, trumpets and accordion.

Algiers is the kind of album fellow alternative music veterans The Shins and Wilco also release these days; showing supreme confidence in both their musical legacy and enduring ability to win over new admirers.

9/10

By Joe Lepper

Calexio are planning a UK tour next February:

Feb 15 Glasgow ABC
Feb 16 Manchester Ritz
Feb 17 Leeds Metropolitan
Feb 18 Bristol Academy
Feb 19 Brighton Corn Exchange


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September Preview

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September Preview

Posted on 04 September 2012 by Dorian

This is the first of a new monthly feature where we preview the best music releases and events in the coming month. Items marked with an * are currently scheduled for review on the site.

Albums

Album of the month: Cat Power – Sun*

Chan Marshal returns with her first album of new material for six years. The sound has moved away from the soul-pop of The Greatest and has more in common with her 2003 release You Are Free. The album has a modern feel with a focus on studio production techniques and features guest appearances from  Iggy Pop and Judah Bauer. Out now.

Cat Power - Sun

Cat Power – Sun

3rd September

Animal Collective – Centipede Hz

Deerhoof – Breakup Song*

Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t

Various – Metronomy: Late Night Tales (Read our review)

10th September

The XX – Coexist

David Byrne & St.Vincent – Love This Giant

Calexico – Algiers*

Racehorses – Furniture*

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives – Throw It To The Universe

17th September

Grizzly Bear – Shields*

Jim Noir – Jimmy’s Show*

Dinosaur Jr – I Bet On Sky

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Meat & Bone*

Menomena – Moms

24th September

Efterklang – Piramidia*

Mark Eitzel – Don’t Be A Stranger*

Yoko One with Thurston moore and Kim Gordon – Yokokimthurston

Tim Burgess – Oh No I Love You

Gigs and tours

Tour of the month: Allo Darlin’

Allo Darlin’ play a string of dates this month with a set drawing strongly from their excellent recent album Europe:

  • 4 Sep Fleece, Bristol*
  • 5 Sep Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle
  • 6 Sep Queens Social Club, Sheffield
  • 7 Sep Deaf Institute, Manchester
  • 8 Sep Kazimier, Liverpool
  • 9 Sep Blackburn Art College, Blackburn  1.45PM SHOW / ALL AGES
  • 10 Sep Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
  • 12 Sep The Haunt, Brighton
  • 13 Sep King’s College, London
Allo Darlin'

Allo Darlin’

Former American Music Club singer Mark Eitzel plays just two gigs in the UK:

Sat 8th Sep – The Palmeira, Hove*

Sun 9th Sep – SXSC Festival 2012, the Railway Inn/The Attic, Winchester.

El-P – The ATP promoted hip-hop act plays a short UK tour:

  • London Scala on Wednesday 12th September
  • Brighton The Haunt on Thursday 13th September
  • Birmingham The Rainbow Warehouse on Saturday 15th September
  • Bristol The Fleece on Sunday 16th September
  • Manchester Academy 3 on Monday 17th September

Grandaddy – Tuesday 4th September, Sheperds Bush Empire London

Deer Tick – Wednesday 5th September, Scala London

Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard – Thursday 6th September, The Haunt Brighton

The XX – Monday 10th September, Sheperds Bush Empire London

Jens Lekman – Wednesday 19th September, The Ruby Lounge Manchester

Dexys – Saturday 22nd September, Colston Hall Bristol

Festivals

The festival season is almost over, and with cancellations, abandonment’s and wash-outs it has not been a vintage year. However, there are still a couple of interesting festivals left that could prove the perfect end to the Summer.

Playgroup Festival, 213ts to 23rd September, Eridge Park – This festival has already moved once this year due to flooding on the beautiful Eridge Park site, so some late September sun would be welcome for the rescheduled dates. Expect fancy dress, games and an eclectic range of music – the theme this year is ‘Lost Toys’. http://www.playgroupfestival.com/

Playgroup Festival

Playgroup Festival

Festival No.6, 14th to 16th September, Portmeirion – A new face on the festival scene, Festival No.6 promises a interesting mix of live music, DJs, comedy and arts at the unique Welsh venue. Acts include Gruff Rhys, Field Music, King Creosote and the Wave Pictures, with New order, Primal Scream and Spiritualized headlining. http://www.festivalnumber6.com

Other stuff

Last Shop Standing, 10th September – Last Shop Standing is a film, released on DVD, that looks at the rise and fall of the record shop in the UK since 1960. Billy Bragg, Johnny Marr and Nerina Pallot contribute to a fascinating film that explores the role of the record shop and considers whether they will survive in the modern music climate. http://lastshopstanding.com/

Last Shop Standing

Last Shop Standing

To get your album/gig/tour/film/book/festival/t-shirt included in our monthly preview please send details to dorian@neonfiller.com.

By Dorian Rogers

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Top Five Bob Dylan Covers

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Top Five Bob Dylan Covers

Posted on 24 May 2011 by Joe

To celebrate Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday today we thought we’d compile a short list of some of our favourite Bob Dylan covers. Hope you enjoy, oh, and happy birthday Bob.

5. Stephen Malkmus – Ballad of a Thin Man

4. XTC – All Along the Watchtower

3. Jim James and Calexico – Goin’ to Acapulco

2. Nick Drake – Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright

1. Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower ….again. So good we had to include this track twice

Compiled by Joe Lepper

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Top 100 Albums (50-41)

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Top 100 Albums (50-41)

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Joe

There are some albums here you will have seen on similar lists before. But we’ve also opted for some obscurities with the aim of highlighting some different music for you to seek out.

We have been releasing this list ten at a time every Friday. We hope you enjoy this fifth instalment. The rest of the Top 100 can be found here.

50. Built To Spill – Keep it like a secret

Signing for a major label proved no bad thing for  Built to Spill. With some extra cash behind them this US band were clearly able to spend a lot of time getting their beautiful sprawling  guitar arrangements just right. On this 1999 album, which was their second for Warner Brothers, everything came together perfectly. Quality sprawling guitar sounds from frontman Doug Martsch coming at you from each speaker, brilliant hooks and all still with an alternative and independent edge, despite having the major label machine behind them. ‘Sidewalk’ is our standout on this collection of tight-as-you-like tracks as is the prog-rock-esque ‘Time Trap’. Other highlights are  ‘Carry the Zero’ and ‘Center of the Universe’, which were released as EPs.

49. The Kinks – Are The Village Green Preservation Society

This has proved to be the most contentious inclusion in our chart so far. The Kinks were a huge pop music success, one of the biggest acts of the 1960s, so what place do they have in an indie/alternative music chart? The hugely nostalgic Village Green Preservation Society sank like a stone on release in 1968 and didn’t spawn any hit singles. In contrast to this it has been a hugely influential album for alternative acts in the last 20 years. Album standout ‘Big Sky’ has been covered by Yo La Tengo as well as The Blue Aeroplanes, but the influence of the album goes further than that. It set the blueprint for a certain kind of Britishness that can be heard in albums by Madness, XTC, The Jam and Blur. Musically it is as inventive as anything that Ray Davies has produced through his career and the brilliant set of songs explains why this is the album of choice for Kink’s fans today.

48. The Fall – Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall


Picking an album by The Fall, out of the 27 released so far, was another tough choice in compiling our list. 1990’s Extricate has a special place in our hearts, as do more recent releases like  2010’s Your Future Our Clutter. But we’ve decided to narrow it down an era where we  first discovered them. An era in the mid 1980s, when thanks to the inclusion of leader Mark E Smith’s pop savvy wife Brix on guitar and production from John Leckie, they began achieving rare commercial and mainstream success. Ladies and gentleman we are proud to present 1984’s The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall. While the original vinyl version, with tracks such as the wonderful and bit frightening Lay of the Land, is great on its own the cassette and CD versions expanded the album further.  The inclusion of singles such as No Bulbs and C.R.E.E.P in these formats fit seamlessly among the album tracks and make this a great introduction to the band.

47. Calexico – Feast of Wire

Calexico were formed by the rhythm section from Howe Gelb’s Giant Sand and have produced a set of excellent albums mixing dusty border country with Mariachi sounds. Feast of Wire shows them upping the ante and has seen them described as the Tex-Mex Radiohead. There aren’t many similarities in the sound, but they do show a similar level of ambition and a desire to try out new sounds on the album. Waltz, country, jazz, electronica and, on ‘Not Even Stevie Nicks’, MOR pop all get an outing on the album and Morricone is clearly an influence on the arrangements. Despite the wealth of ideas and sounds it holds together perfectly as an album and stands as a high point in Calexico’s recording career.

46. Pretenders – Pretenders


After producing the Pretenders’ first single ‘Stop Your Sobbing’ in 1979 Nick Lowe decided against working with them again. He thought the new wave UK band fronted by American Chrissie Hynde, “wasn’t going anywhere”. Chris Thomas took over production duties for the band’s self titled debut and Lowe was proved woefully wrong as it achieved a Top 10 in the US Billboard charts and number one in the UK in 1980. Its success and inclusion in this list is not just because of great singles like ‘Brass in Pocket’, but also for its  ability to embrace a range of styles while sticking firmly to the band’s punk and new wave influences. From the reggae ‘Private Life’, to the hooky ‘The Wait’ through to the soulful ‘Lovers of Today’, this stunning debut’s variety is breathtaking.

45. The Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen

The Afghan Whigs time on the Sub Pop label and their penchant for R&B covers left them with the tag of being the early 90s token soul-grunge act. This label fails to take account of what an excellent rock and roll band they were, especially on their third album Gentlemen. Greg Dulli’s snarling vocals and dark lyrics fit perfectly with his bands punchy playing and the surprisingly ungrungey  production which Dulli handled himself. The album spawned three excellent singles ‘Gentelmen’, ‘Debonair’ and ‘What Jail Is Like’ all deserved to bring the band to a bigger audience but they and the album sold in modest numbers. In amongst the loud guitars and bluster is the beautifully sung (by Macy Mays) ‘My Curse’ which is the album’s standout track.

44.  Fugazi – Repeater


This first full length album from Fugazi shows the Washington DC band continue their mission to shelve their hardcore punk origins and search for new musical directions. Still with a punk heart through the vocals of singers ex Minor Threat frontman Ian Mackaye and former Rites of Spring member Guy Piciotto, the heartbeat of the band was the jazz rhythms of bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty, who combined expertly with Mackaye’s dampened guitar style. On Repeater Piciotto gained a greater influence on the music as the band experimented more with guitar feedback.  Repeater remains the best full album by the band. Tracks like ‘Merchandise’ and ‘Turnover’ are among the immediate highlights, but the subtlety of styles on tracks like ‘Brendan #1’ show a band at their peak enjoying breaking down the traditional barriers of straight edge and hardcore punk. Repeater sold in its hundreds of thousands, but the band resolutely shunned major label interest, carried on playing in small venues and stuck with Mackaye’s Dischord label throughout.

43. The Auteurs – New Wave

The Auteurs were closely linked with Suede and the emerging Brit-pop scene when New Wave was released in 1993. Anyone who has read lead Auteur Luke Haines’ hilarious memoirs ‘Bad Vibes’ will know that he was too arrogant, mean spirited and unstable to play the game and become the star that he believed he should be. New Wave was nominated for the Mercury prize and was one of the best records released that year. Haines was right about one thing, he is a superb songwriter and the album is brilliant track after brilliant track. ‘Show Girl’, ‘Don’t Trust The Stars’, ‘Starstruck’, ‘How Could I Be Wrong’ and ‘Idiot Brother’ are all examples of great melody and interesting insightful lyric writing. Haines would record several other great albums, but his first effort stands as the best.

42. Pulp – His n Hers


Pulp spent most of the ’80s in obscurity, gradually building up critical acclaim but never quite achieving success. With the release of their fourth album His ‘n’ Hers in 1994 that all changed. This is one of the great breakthrough albums of all time as tracks such as ‘Lipgloss’ and ‘Joyriders’  brought them to a huge mainstream audience and the band started to emerge as the key act  of the Britpop explosion. By their next album Different Class, with singles such as ‘Common People, Pulp’s popularity had gone stratospheric. But it is here on His ‘n’ Hers where for us they were at their peak. This is both musically and lyrically through the bittersweet and at times downright funny storytelling of frontman Jarvis Cocker. This is especially the case with our standout track on this album ‘Babies’.

41. Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted

Recorded by two Californian Fall fans Stephen Malkmus and Scott ‘Spiral Stairs’ Kannberg (with the help of anarchic drummer/engineer Gary Young) Slanted and Enchanted was the debut album by a band that would come to be one of the most important American acts of the 1990s. It is a lo-fi album, scratchy abrasive and hissy, but a collection of great songs sits behind the static. With songs like ‘Summer Babe’, ‘Trigger Cut’ and ‘Here’ (an oft covered classic) it demonstrated the quirky pop skills that would become a feature of their albums, but it also retained the esoteric charms of their early singles.

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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