beasts of bourbon - black milk

Beasts of Bourbon: Black Milk (1990)

It took album #3 for The Beasts of Bourbon to fall prey to what we’ll call for lack of a better word “safe” music.  Which is not to say that Black Milk is a bad album; on the contrary, it’s a terrific amalgam of everything that was present on the previous two records (their debut The Axeman’s Jazz is a terrific gnarled album, but I don’t own a physical copy, so no review).  But that amalgam is tempered, somewhat.  There’s a tunefulness and restraint that doesn’t have the vital spark of Sour Mash, but is sweet just the same. Continue reading “Beasts of Bourbon: Black Milk (1990)”

beastie boys - sounds of science

Beastie Boys: The Sounds of Science (1999)

There’s an art to compilations, and it’s not always the same art.  Does that make sense?  I don’t know – it’s currently 10:30 in the morning and I’ve already had a snort of whisky in my coffee.  Anyway, compilations can be a generic overview, target a specific period in time, or – if they’re really ambitious – display an evolution of artistic exploration in such a way as to capture an essence, a distillation of what makes a band unique.  So enter The Sounds of Science by the Beastie BoysContinue reading “Beastie Boys: The Sounds of Science (1999)”

beastie boys - hello nasty

Beastie Boys: Hello Nasty (1998)

We’re back…with an album I intended to cover a few weeks ago, so I’m going off the few notes I scribbled down concerning Hello Nasty, the 1998 melange of styles brought to the table by the one, the only, Beastie Boys.  Breaking out of the grungy soul/funk hybrids that made up Check Your Head and Ill Communication,  things go a little more old school 80s with a lot more traditional sampling and scratching, but the imprint of what the band did is unmistakable.  Continue reading “Beastie Boys: Hello Nasty (1998)”

beastie boys - ill communication

Beastie Boys: Ill Communication (1994)

Yes, this is the one with “Sabotage” and as gigantic as that song was (and still is), it’s almost a shame that it overshadows some of the finer moments of Ill Communication, the fourth album from the Beastie Boys.  I’m not going to pretend “Sabotage” isn’t a great song, but coming back to the full album after so much time it feels a little like the grander, more polished version of Check Your Head.  Which is great, but not enough to put this album over the top in my ranking of the B-Boys discography. Continue reading “Beastie Boys: Ill Communication (1994)”

beastie boys - check your head

Beastie Boys: Check Your Head (1992)

It’s telling that the Beastie Boys are pictured with instruments on the cover of Check Your Head, their third album.  Constantly searching and evolving, the group put more of an emphasis on using live instrumentation, bringing in much more of the punk, rock, and soul/funk roots that colored their childhood.  If Paul’s Boutique is (arguably) the “best” Beastie Boys album, then Check Your Head is my favorite Beastie Boys album, the one that made me fall in love with the band. Continue reading “Beastie Boys: Check Your Head (1992)”

bauhaus - crackle

Bauhaus: Crackle (1998)

The truth of the matter is Bauhaus scratch a very particular itch for me, one I don’t get very often.  I picked up Crackle, their 1998 compilation back when it first came out and I was diving into different music, looking for something different.  At the time it was enough to satiate me when I was in the mood for dark and sullen punk, when Joy Division and Siouxsie & the Banshees weren’t cutting it.  Nowadays I’m more apt to stream one of the actual albums, but as a timepiece of their time here on this muddy confusing planet, it does a great job showing what made the band so vital. Continue reading “Bauhaus: Crackle (1998)”

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)”