alice cooper - killer

Alice Cooper: Killer (1971)

(Yeah, we’re out of sequence but I recently picked this up at the record shop and needed a Beatles break, so even though the As are done here’s a welcome diversion) 

I grew up knowing about Alice Cooper rather than listening to Alice Cooper.  You couldn’t get away from that visage, the Welcome to My Nightmare look that’s been a staple of the man/the band for so many decades now.  But behind the paint and the Grand Guignol theatrics has always lay a band that could rock with the best of them and Killer demonstrates how versatile the entity that was/is Alice Cooper could be. Continue reading “Alice Cooper: Killer (1971)”

beatles - abbey road

The Beatles: Abbey Road (1969)

There’s a sense of the mythic in that opening bassline, the way it connect the drum.  It’s all sex and slink, a dirt revelation of the youth of 1969, 79…2019.  Abbey Road is the true last gospel of The Beatles, and  the true gospel of The Beatles, the last time the band would truly ever “Come Together,” and it’s little wonder it’s so glorious a send off, despite it being released after Let It Be.   Continue reading “The Beatles: Abbey Road (1969)”

beatles - magical mystery tour

The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

Man, 1967 was a busy year for The Beatles.  Only a few short months after Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came the ill-advised television special Magical Mystery Tour.  If you’ve ever seen the film, it’s a poorly contrived mess; a huge departure from the fun of A Hard Day’s Night and Help!.  Fortunately, the new songs that accompanied the film were still pretty damn great, and so we can still hold our head high with Magical Mystery Tour the album, even if the second side is filled with previously released singles. Continue reading “The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour (1967)”

beatles - sgt pepper

The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Retired from touring in 1966 and given the freedom to explore other avenues of creativity, The Beatles regrouped and went into full-on experimental mode, crafting a vaguely conceptual album about a fictitious band with which they could embrace new technologies and make music unfettered (to a point) and untethered (to a point) from the musical zeitgeist their previous work created.  Thus was born Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the only album to ever inspire a film starring Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees.  If that’s not a legacy, I don’t know what is. Continue reading “The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)”

bathory - twilight of the gods

Bathory: Twilight of the Gods (1991)

By now the switch from any kind of extreme thrash/black metal is gone, and Twilight of the Gods represents the full vision of Bathory into pure anthemic Viking Metal. Taken as a template for the style and a touchstone for dozens of bands who would iterate on the idea later, it might be near perfect. As a satisfying and cohesive album there’s a lot to love, though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I missed a little of the punch and pleasure from the faster, more immediate songs from the past. Continue reading “Bathory: Twilight of the Gods (1991)”

bathory - blood fire death

Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)

So here’s why you sometimes have to be dubious of what you buy.  After finally succumbing to the black metal bug, I decided I needed to dig deeper in Bathory, one of the primal godfathers of the genre.  I had heard the earlier stuff but didn’t own anything beyond the final two albums which – as we’ll see in a few days – were decidedly different.  So after deliberation I decided to start with Blood Fire Death, the touchstone for mainman Quorthon’s transition from the gnarly black metal of his earlier album into the more viking metal pomp if his later stuff.  And so I bought a CD off of Amazon.

From the Kraze label. Continue reading “Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)”