Wednesday, July 6, 2005

introducing Endtroducing . . . - part two

It’s been said that anyone who watched The Beatles invade The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964 picked up an instrument the following day and started a band. For any music fan with even a suppressed desire to write, it’s nearly impossible to hold a 33 1/3 book in your hand and not think, “What album would I write about?”

“I literally get three or four e-mails, phone calls, letters every day from people who want to write for the series,” Barker concurs. Since that’s not nearly enough to choose from, we decided to lend him a hand – we accosted some of our more literate friends, writers, and musicians, and popped the question: If you had a gun to your head, what album would you/could you write 25,000 words on?

Iggy & The Stooges’ Raw Power
This band was so far ahead of its time that even by its third album -- which completely nails the perfect combination of badass guitar riffs and aggressive vox -- there were still a few years to go until punk exploded. I can't decide if I'd rather be seduced by Iggy the swaggering sex maniac, or just flat out BE him.
- Michelle Laudig, Music Editor, Phoenix New Times

Los Lobos’ Kiko
It was a break from the past without being an abandonment of it, and it was proof that roots rock needn't sound musty and old-timey. Also, there must have been some "interesting" dynamics in the studio, as Louie Perez emerged from behind the drum kit with his weird ideas and expanded role on the guitars and Cesar Rosas, apparently the most conservative musician in the band, seemed to have been pushed aside. (Only "Wicked Rain" and "That Train Don't Stop Here Anymore" made the cut of 16 tunes. Both are among his best tunes ever, as it happens.) Not that I have ever directed so much as a home movie, but "Kiko," “When The Circus Comes to Town," "Angels With Dirty Faces" are all songs that I have long dreamed of making into videos -- I have the scripts for all of them etched in my head.
- John Nova Lomax, Music Editor, Houston Press

The Who’s Live At Leeds
Consistently picked as the best live album of all time, Live At Leeds holds special meaning for me because it’s how I learned to play the guitar. The way it was mixed helped a lot -- the drums and vocals are straight up the middle, the bass is panned all the way to one speaker, and the guitar is panned to the other, so if you turn off one speaker you have Pete Townshend playing guitar live (with no studio overdubs or trickery) on a magical night for you to steal riffs from. It’s the best unintentional guitar lesson of all time.
—Kevin Bowe, producer, songwriter, and guitarist for Paul Westerberg & His Only Friends

Joni Mitchell’s Hissing of Summer Lawns
It’s the record where she started to lose people due to her burgeoning jazzbo streak, but also because she went from the confessional “I” and pulled a Dylan and started using “you.” It’s deep and deeply misunderstood, and packed with feminist narratives she insists are not feminist. It’d be a great one to unpack and untangle.
—Jessica Hopper, editor, Hit it or Quit it

Star Ghost Dog’s The Great Indoors
A beautiful album by a group I’m totally infatuated with -- it’s smart and moody and gorgeous and I love it to pieces. I can’t believe they broke up (there must be a German word for this kind of mourning), but I long for the Parallel Universe Travel Machine to go to the world where they recorded a third and fourth and fifth brilliant album/CD/whatever.
—Geoff Schmidt, author of Write Your Heart Out: Advice from the Moon Winx Motel

Tom Tom Club’s Tom Tom Club
Because I find Tina Weymouth to be completely fascinating, and I’d love to discover how they recorded that many people to make such an amazing album. Also, rehearsing/recording and living at Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas has been an Architecture in Helsinki daydream for years, and if I was researching, I’d have to go there, right?
—Kellie Sutherland, singer/multi-instrumentalist, Architecture in Helsinki

Public Image Ltd.’s Metal Box
Given the turnaround time from punk icon to yesterday’s news, Johnny Rotten created a blueprint for the fusion of house, dub, punk, electroclash, and avant-garde experimentalism long before some of those styles existed... on a major label budget, no less.
—Kevin Chanel, Editor, ChinMusic

The Mekons’ The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll
Yah, I get teased for declaring the Mekons as my favorite band in the whole world, since I’m not old, balding, or a man (the band’s been around longer than I’ve been alive). But when Jon Langford yelps I was born inside the belly of rock ’n’ roll!, it seriously has to be one of the greatest rock moments ever.
—JP Pfafflin, publicist, Bloodshot Records

Santana’s Caravanserai
Fusion music has always gotten a bum rap in my book, and Santana’s blend of Latin vibes with jazz licks and hippie peace and love is remarkably beguiling, and feels like the music of a utopia that never happened. At least, it never happened in the world, which is how it usually is.
—Will Blythe, author of the forthcoming To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever, a love story about the Duke-North Carolina rivalry

Geto Boys’ The Geto Boys
The Geto Boys caused so much controversy at the time, it’d be fascinating to navigate the multi-angled stories behind the production, camaraderie, aftermath, shit storm, and resultant lasting influence.
—Todd Inoue, Music Editor, San Jose Metro

Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing
Surfacing was an extremely special album at an influential time in my life. It influenced me deeply, and it still resonates. She’s got one of the most controlled voices... she’s the Chris Cornell of her genre. Her wide range of melody is ridiculous. The songs are so sincere, you can tell she was documenting something special to her, and it forces the listener to relate even more. It’s so melodic and hooky and beautiful.
—Donald Carpenter, singer, Submersed

Modest Mouse’s This Is A Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About
Because the existential philosophy and the travel writing embedded in the lyrics are just as important as the music itself (which is, needless to say, some of the best I've ever heard in my life).
- Dan Eldridge, Music Editor, Pittsburgh City Paper

The Beatles’ Revolver
I would write on The Beatles’ Revolver (on Apple – first bought at the age of 9) because of the range of songs, voices, styles, and instruments (drums, electric & acoustic guitars, strings, pianos, organ, French horn, tape loops, trumpet, sax, tabla, sitar, the sound effects for Yellow Submarine). As a vision of and from youth and popular music, it is still stunning.
- Paul Burch, singer/songwriter, Paul Burch & The WPA Ballclub

Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds
The only album I could fathom using said word allotment for (without rambling on nonsensically a la generation blog). A psychedelic soundtrack to California sunshine while still retaining a charming self pity... it has never stopped sounding challenging, yet still so friendly to ears of all ages. Plus, how fun would it be to conclude drawing parallels to....Wilson Phillips!
—Robert Suchan, singer/guitarist, Koufax

No Pick
I’d tell them to shoot me. I’ve lived plenty.
—John Doe, singer/songwriter/bass player, solo artist, and founding member of X

introducing Endtroducing... - part one

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