Steely Dan – Aja

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?
Intellectual light radio rock

Thoughts
I’ve begun to appreciate Steely Dan more as I grow older. Their brand of breezy light rock with this lingering darkness appeals to me. They capture life’s disappointments in a distinct way, as if they’re always sitting on the border of being cheesy; like an inside joke at times. Is this Satire?

Humor aside, this is really catchy pop rock with articulate and relatable lyrics. A classic rock staple.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Steely-Dan-Aja/release/3366636

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Steely Dan – Aja

Description: Album Review of Steely Dan – Aja


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

MF Doom – Operation: Doomsday

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?

MF Doom’s distinct style over production that samples a variety of soul and jazz; kinda like a choppy J Dilla. Allmusic has more:

Doom was at his rawest and, lyrically, most dexterous. The out-of-left-field edge of Doom’s production — which features ’80s soul and smooth jazz mixed with classic drum breaks — is indeed abstract at times, but his off-kilter rhymes are palatable and absent any pretentiousness. In fact, the album arguably contains some of the freshest rhymes one might have heard around the time of its release.

Thoughts
Doom’s style certainly isn’t for everyone but the more I see rap evolve the more I realize just how remarkable his distinct style is.

Not much to add to the allmusic review. This album is raw – both lyrically and production wise. His raps are dense, he’s clearly an intelligent guy, switching topics quickly; a tactic which rewards repeat listens. Something about his delivery reminds me of Wutang, a rare quality. The production works well and I’m not mad at the super-hero interludes.

A true classic.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/MF-Doom-Operation-Doomsday/release/213193

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MF Doom – Operation: Doomsday

Description: Album Review of MF Doom – Operation: Doomsday


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Ryo Fukui – Scenery

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?
Proper Jazz piano trio

Thoughts
Solid and highly accessible jazz album. A mix of originals and standards, each feels perfect. Lyrical playing and agile without feeling over the top. Recommended.

More Info
https://www.discogs.com/Ryo-Fukui-Scenery2/release/7296774

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Ryo Fukui – Scenery

Description: Album Review of Ryo Fukui – Scenery


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?
The best of 90s radio alt rock.

Thoughts
A very important record to me, I could not stop listening to this when it came out in the summer of 1995. I know I wasn’t alone cause it was played constantly on the radio. It’s an important part of the development of my musical taste.

However even without that attachment the record has some all-out classics and otherwise great songs. Her lyrics are as the title would suggest, jagged. She’s observant and articulate which is why I think this has such universal love. The lyrics are highly memorable. Her songs often employ a juxtaposed approach: aggressive and then a quiet ‘innocent’ moment. It creates a dynamic aspect to her tracks

Instrumentation- love the textures, where was that bassline in the original master of you oughta know? There’s an interesting drum-loop like thing happening there. It appears again on you learn, giving a slight hip hop like bounce. Overall a perfect balance of alt and grunge textures in the singer-songwriter space. Her vocal range is impressive and perhaps best on display on forgiven. Perfect is over the top in it’s forced emotion around bad parenting.

An enjoyable trip down memory lane that stands the test of time.
More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Alanis-Morissette-Jagged-Little-Pill/release/1358782

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Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

Description: Album Review of Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Harmonia – Musik Von Harmonia

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?

Krautrock with synths: styles ranges from ambient to bouncy.

Thoughts

Great album, these tracks have a nice flow due to the repetitive expansiveness the jammy krautrock allows. A range of styles are on display which makes this an engaging listen: from the fun bouncy dino, semi ambient on sehr komisch.

Watussi got heavy play on WFMU.

Chilled out guitar on ahoi, hasn’t aged a bit and would sound just as good on a recent release.

Veterano is jammy excellence.

All around krautrock classic.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Harmonia-Musik-Von-Harmonia/release/884704

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Harmonia – Musik Von Harmonia

Description: Album Review of Harmonia – Musik Von Harmonia


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Pinegrove – Everything So Far

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?
Alt rock, has a 90s vibe to it.

Thoughts
Personal favorite band of mine. The songwriting can get repetitive but there’s a heartfelt sincerity that’s created in their music. The lyrics are key to this feeling, he sings with an uncertainty that illustrates a mature approach to life. I hear someone taking experiences as they come, learning and sharing them.

On this collection you hear the band evolving over a couple of albums. The earlier stuff, featured on the later half, is maybe a bit more drawn out, lyrics expanded and unrefined. It’s as if an epiphany is explored musically. I find the newer material is a bit more polished and crafted into some very memorable songs. If you like the band then this is a must have.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Pinegrove-Everything-So-Far-/release/10175309

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Pinegrove – Everything So Far

Description: Album Review of Pinegrove – Everything So Far


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Pinegrove – Cardinal

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?
Young alt rock band with personal exploratory singing.

Thoughts
Pinegrove is one of my favorite new finds over the past few years. Something about this band really just clicks for me. Maybe it’s the familiarity of the chord driven songs with lyrics that I connect with. Either way they’re entire catalog has gotten repeat listens and is a+.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Pinegrove-Cardinal/release/8117868

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Pinegrove – Cardinal

Description: Album Review of Pinegrove – Cardinal


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?

Techno with a pleasant floating ambient element. Certain tracks utilize a drum machine for a dance vibe, others are extended and much more in the ambient realm relying on repetition to create feeling.

Thoughts

A masterpiece: this sounds great and is aphex twin at his most accessible. Though the production can feel dated at times it never detracts. It’s distinct and a key album of influence for alt-electro of all stripes, it’s easy to hear how this would go onto influence many different artists while still sounding just as relevant today.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Aphex-Twin-Selected-Ambient-Works-85-92/release/32662

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Miles Davis,John Coltrane – The Final Tour (The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6)

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?

Dude… it’s miles and trane

Thoughts

An excellent collection of live jazz. It’s dense for a straight-through listening session but for an abridged selection I’d probably pick a start with the Copenhagen tracks where things are a bit more melodic and playful then get into the Paris tracks. The solos in Paris, particularly from trane, are extra crunchy form, worth the price of admission just ‘on all of you’ where it’s putting his all in.

Can’t recommend this enough, some of my favorite live jazz.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Miles-Davis-John-Coltrane-The-Final-Tour-The-Bootleg-Series-Vol-6/release/11754340

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Blood Orange – Freetown Sound

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?

Modern pop / R&B. Has a soulful well traveled hip vibe to it that incorporates elements of 80s synth funk.

Thoughts

Why a 5? This album was there for me in the hottest loneliest summer. It inspires hope fear and honesty. I’ll love it til I die.

Dev hynes you rock, thanks for this one.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Blood-Orange-Freetown-Sound/release/9001208

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