Paris 1919 – John Cale (1973)

Paris 1919 - John Cale (1973)

This is basically a concept album, but not in the same way as, say, Tommy. It’s a portrait of a specific point in time and space, specifically Paris 1919. Not all of the lyrics are based on that, but it is a fitting soundtrack for that era. It’s layered, intensely personal, and absolutely beautiful, with A Child’s Christmas in Wales perfecting symphonic art rock and the title track expanding on the Velvet Underground’s later sound. Plus Cale’s voice, ragged and touching throughout, is an asset – it makes me wish he’d sang more with the Velvets, but I’ll always have his solo work.

Choice Cut: A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

pom pom – Ariel Pink (2014)

pom pom - Ariel Pink (2014)

Ariel Pink does an amazing job at harkening back to the days of Frank Zappa, lo-fi, and new wave all while keeping pom pom new and exciting. Not that Zappa, lo-fi, or new wave aren’t exciting to begin with, but those styles kind of get old after awhile. Maybe it’s the synthesis of these genres, or maybe it’s just how weird this album is, but whatever it is pom pom is most definitely worth a listen.

Choice Cut: Put Your Number In My Phone

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana – Shiina Ringo (2003)

Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana - Shiina Ringo (2003)

Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana, (English title Kalk Semen Chestnut Flower), is the essence of art pop and easily one of the best records of the 00’s. Not only is the songwriting terrific – the hooks on Kuki and Yattsuke Shigoto are the hooks of the gods – but there’s this great anything goes spirit and Shiina’s voice is in top form throughout. She also plays an insane amount of instruments, including koto, pipe organ, percussion, piano, erhu, shamisen, melodica, recorder, kalimba, harmonium, jaw harp, whistle, drums, guitar… And some people say that nobody does anything different anymore.

Choice Cut: Kuki

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (CD)

Share Button

Singles – Future Islands (2014)

Singles - Future Islands (2014)

Singles is an appropriate name for this album, because that’s what this album sounds like: a collection of singles. Singles kind of acts like a greatest hits album for songs that were never released by Future Islands, and because of that there isn’t a bad song on this album. Not only does this album not have a bad song, the vocals from Samuel T. Herring are pretty amazing. If I had to make a list of strongest singers of 2014, Samuel T. Herring would be the entire top five because of the set of vocal chords that guy has.

Choice Cut: Seasons (Waiting On You)

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

Broken Bells – Broken Bells (2010)

Broken Bells - Broken Bells (2010)

I could spend the better part of this review talking about the lead singer for the Shins and Danger Mouse…but that’s too easy and does this great album injustice. The artistic chemistry is clear. The falsetto vocals and lush electronic instrumentation are a wonderful blend, and I think this album was underappreciated upon its release. Broken Bells is laid-back, calm music, very easy to listen to, very accessible. We tend to recommend divisive albums on this site, but this a crowd pleaser that everyone can enjoy.

Choice Cut: The High Road

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

Hounds of Love – Kate Bush (1985)

Hounds of Love - Kate Bush (1985)

An art pop album that gives you the best of both worlds: the unique song structures, chord progressions, and arrangements of art rock paired with the catchiness of a great pop song. The first side is laced with brilliant gems like the classic Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God), Hounds of Love, and Cloudbusting, the greatest orchestral pop song ever written (and that includes the ones by those Beatle guys!). The second side is an ambitious suite titled The Ninth Wave that both soothes and terrifies, relaying the story of a woman seeing her life flash before her eyes as she drowns beneath icy waters. People say that this one of the greatest albums ever made by a woman. I say drop the “by a woman,” and you’ve got it right.

Choice Cut: Cloudbusting
Buy Album: Amazon (CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise? – Art of Noise (1984)

Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise? - Art of Noise (1984)

Well, I’m not afraid of the Art of Noise, but I can see how you could be intimidated. I can’t really pin it down as clearly ambient or experimental. It’s a bit aggressive to be ambient, but it’s not regular enough to be dance. AllMusic calls it dance-rock, but I don’t even think that’s quite right. Two things are for sure: it’s interesting and it’s good. Art of Noise is exactly that, art made out of odd sounds – vaguely industrial, vaguely dreamy, vaguely dancey, vaguely rocky.

Choice Cut: Moments in Love
Buy Album: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button