You, me, the music, and me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

VARIOUS ARTISTS American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986

Rhino RHI2-74192 (2006)

Released in conjunction with the documentary film of the same name, American Hardcore presents a varied overview of the hardcore scene that grew in America in the wake of the punk rock of the seventies. With 26 songs clocking in at a total of 37 minutes, its brevity is symbolic of the nature of the music being made at the time; performing and recording in the shadow of then-President Ronald Reagan's Cold War with Russia and the looming threat of nuclear war, many of the bands probably felt that there wasn't much time to say what needed to be said, so they had better say it as fast as they could. After a while, the songs all feel like one big song, with slight pauses for subtle shifts in vocal and instrumental tone. What the bands lack in individuality, however, they more than make up for in energy. Highlights include Bad Brains' "Pay to Cum", Canadian punkers D.O.A.'s "F***** Up Ronnie", and Flipper's sardonic "Ha Ha Ha".

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

GEORGE HARRISON All Things Must Pass

Capitol STCH-639 (1970)

George Harrison may have been known as "the quiet Beatle" during his tenure with rock and roll's most revered band, but he proved he had a lot to say with the release of his triple-album solo debut in 1970. All Things Must Pass surprised listeners and critics alike with its consistency and the strength of its songwriting; often overshadowed by the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team, he usually managed to get no more than a song or two on each Beatles album. ATMP showed off his mastery of both the mid-tempo ballad ("Beware of Darkness", the majestic "Let It Down") and the rocker ("Wah-Wah", "Art of Dying") and even provided Harrison with a few chart hits ("My Sweet Lord" and the sunny, upbeat "What Is Life". The third record in the set (subtitled "Apple Jam") consists of instrumental jams led by George with some of his friends, lending credence to critic Robert Christgau's theory that, of the four Beatles, Harrison was "the player", or enjoyed his role as lead instrumentalist of the Beatles so much that he didn't mind his reduced songwriting duties with the band. Thank goodness that, on ATMP, the "quiet Beatle" finally got to have his say.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Aum Fidelity AUM042 (2007)

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