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)”

bb king - live at the regal

B.B. King: Live at the Regal (1965)

There are live albums, and then there are live albums.  Some of simply documents of a band or artist at a point in time; others are a snapshot of a comet, a fragile glimpse of the celestial heavens that will never come again.  Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club.  James Brown’s Live at the Apollo.  Hell, I’m more than happy to throw in Iron Maiden’s Live After Death…”Scream for me Long Beach!” indeed.  When it comes to blues, you can take your pick of classic live documents, but one that has always stood out as a a testament to the form is Live at the Regal, the 1964 recording of the great, the singular, B.B. King. Continue reading “B.B. King: Live at the Regal (1965)”

AC/DC, Alcest, and Music That Hurts

It’s probably not a shocking revelation that as I’ve been doing this project I’ve also been buying music.  Since it’s still in its infancy, the chances of picking up an album that would have already been reviewed is small.  But it does and did happen, so I wanted to take the time to spend a few words on two recent purchases: Highway to Hell from AC/DC and the debut full-length from Alcest, Souvenirs d’un autre monde.  Over the short course of writing this, it turned into something else. Continue reading “AC/DC, Alcest, and Music That Hurts”