Hüsker Dü were the ultimate power trio. From hardcore punk beginnings, the band pioneered alternative rock sounds which eventually blended distinctly US punk noise with a more thoughtful singer-songwriter approach, which in turn paved the way for guitarist/vocalist Bob Mould’s solo career. Contrasting Mould’s abrasive approach, drummer/vocalist Grant Hart later wrote songs with a more palatable quality. Hart – a truly underappreciated songwriter – captured raw and emo-ish beauty on tunes like ‘Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely’ and ‘Every Everything’; tunes that were pivotal to the Hüskers’ balance between sheer force and a cerebral approach to punk.
On September 3rd 2017, it was announced that the legendary Walter Becker had passed away.
The multi-instrumentalist and record producer will always be best known as an integral part of westcoast rock/jazz-rock trailblazers Steely Dan. Taking in various elements of rock pop and jazz, brought to life in the studio and in the live setting by a crack team of session players – including Michael McDonald, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Toto’s Steve Lukather and countless others – few had equalled the perfectionist sound of Steely Dan.
From the beginning of his career in the late 70s through to his peak in popularity at the turn of the 90s, Chris Rea was a very prolific artist. In a thirteen year stretch, he released eleven albums. In the twenty first century, the very idea that a band or artist could average almost one album per year for so long is almost an alien concept.
Given Chris’s popularity – especially in Germany – it’s strange how these albums have been overlooked with regards to expanded reissue. However, each one – barring 1978’s ‘Whatever Happened To Benny Santini?’, which spent years in an out of print limbo – is still only available in the same CD pressing made in the late 80s.
On this day in 1995, Grateful Dead bandleader Jerry Garcia passed away. His legacy remains as strong as ever and Dead fans across the globe still hold the band’s work in very high regard. Despite some top quality studio albums, it was always in the live setting when Jerry and the band really became something special.
Like most bands with long careers, of course, the Dead didn’t always get it right. They’d sometimes get it spectacularly wrong (as was the case with a late 80s show with Stephen Stills). With Grateful Dead’s official live releases now numbering several dozen and hundreds of bootlegs still in circulation, the world of Dead live recordings can be a minefield.
The Britpop years between 1993-97 brought wave after wave of great music. From the well documented – Oasis, Blur, Suede and Pulp – to those lesser talked about years later – Gene, Marion, Menswear – each act brought their own slant to classic retro styles, often centering around guitar driven pop-rock.
Among the big players were Sleeper. Sleeper were special. With a musical grounding that mixed the pop hooks of Blondie and the proto punk-pop of The Undertones with lyrical narratives that were often interesting, their first two albums (‘Smart’, 1995 and ‘The It Girl’, 1996) have really stood the test of time.