derho
User

Reviews 31
Approval 94%

Soundoffs 32
Album Ratings 59
Objectivity 59%

Last Active 12-09-12 11:26 am
Joined 11-13-12

Forum Posts 2
Review Comments 307

Average Rating: 3.99
Rating Variance: 0.59
Objectivity Score: 59%
(Somewhat Balanced)

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5.0 classic
Brian Eno Another Green World
Eno manages a %100 success rate in creating precisely the sonic environment he envisions on each of this masterpiece's 14 tracks. It's a pursuit of the logical end of the Glam movement, establishing music as a fully formidable force in the field of abstract modern art. It's rare for a musician to come so close to reinventing the wheel, and so completely. The session musicianship is simply legendary, particularly Robert Fripp, who shines perhaps his very ever brightest here between the grooves. There's no question, however, that Eno's intuitive brilliance when it comes to the synthesis of emotion through sound is what brings the whole thing home. 10/10
My Bloody Valentine Loveless
Most people (myself included) have a tendency to think of Loveless as this far away object; unattainable, insurmountable, impossible to understand with human ears. The more I go back to this record, however, the more human it seems. You can almost touch the haze of avarice and unbridled ambition at moments. It's a modern tower of babel story. Try as they might, MBV will never reach these heights again. In this tale though, the tower remains. A looming spectacle for all to observe in awe for generations to come. 10/10
Phil Spector A Christmas Gift For You
This is more than just the greatest Christmas album of all time. Herein lies the standard for all hyper-polished production efforts to come. In this 1962 release you can hear Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper, and, hell, OK Computer if you listen carefully enough. Also, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is just hands down an incredible song. 10/10
Slint Spiderland
Sly and The Family Stone There's A Riot Goin' On
Frustrated, exhausted, paranoid, and pained, "There's a Riot Goin' On" channels the deepest downs of human emotion through a soupy-thick sheeth of funk guitar, compressed vocals, and creeping Hammond-organ pulsings. Some of that late-60's bombast can be felt (see astounding opener "Luv N' Haight"), but it's all more wary... down to earth... dark. At this point, there wasn't much of a family at all. Sly was essentially a junky. Caught up in organized crime and megalomania, he managed to alienate himself from close friends and collaborators. The brotherhood and unity he spoke so fervently for on 1969's "Stand!" seemed a childish fantasy. "There's a Riot" is thus more reserved, almost a retreat. But when it explodes, like around midway through "Time", it knocks you over. It gets harrowing, but it demands attention, the way the overdubbing and the improvisation and the psychosis mix to bring harmony to the discord. It's a study of humanity in the dregs, but heals as much as it hurts. Damn. 10/10
Talking Heads Remain in Light
Television Marquee Moon
This is the finest of urban theater. Guitar lines somersault and flip over tight-rope walking rhythms as set pieces are strewn this way and that in the manic action. We watch in awe as the cast dances, the set crashing down around them. They seem to know where each brick will fall, like it's all part of the show's design. People call this record "simple." Really? You play it then. Bare-bones as it may seem, this here is a thing of unmistakable genius and perfection. Marquee Moon stands as perhaps the greatest punk document of all-time. 10/10
The Mekons Fear And Whiskey
The Replacements Let It Be
I'm starting to think that Rock & Roll was only really perfected one time. The Stones didn't do it, and I'm definitely not talking about fucking Sgt. Pepper. It's here, somewhere on that grayscale roof. It's that snort you hear seconds before that Kiss cover kicks off, and that turnaround at the end of "Androgynous" that hits me every time like a flung filing cabinet or something. These songs come to me when I'm least expecting, and most in need. Late nights listening to the crushing sound of an answering machine. Walking crowded blocks to "Seen Your Video" and feeling okay no matter what the situation. It's hard to imagine that Paul Westerberg had every intention of cutting the tracks like "Gary's Got a Boner" out if he didn't have to keep Bob Stinson entertained. It's that carelessness, that recklessness, juxtaposed with explosive sensitivity... dissatisfaction. It's powerful. Beyond powerful. 10/10
The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground
"White Light/White Heat" was a veritable fireball of a record, spewing smoke and shrapnel out into the atmosphere while soon-to-be-punks watched in wonderment from below. And then it burnt out. So we come to the Velvet Underground's 3rd effort, a self-titled masterwork of clean tones, calm voices, and lights at the end of the tunnel. No, "The Velvet Underground" is not their most exploratory work, but it was daring. Reed decided it was time to escape the womb that was Andy Warhol's factory, to disavow their reputation as high and mighty art-rockers. Never does this record feel like some kind of cheap marketing trick. Beyond that, it has under its belt a legacy of influence vast enough to put it right up there with the debut. 70's glam, R.E.M., 80's indie rock, shoegaze and dream-pop, belle & sebastian, Madchester, Brit-Pop, hell, it all comes back to this record and the choice Louie made. "Pale Blue Eyes" is a gorgeous highlight among the slower numbers, not to discount the Doug Yule-sung "Candy Says". The middle of the album brings a string of quasi-religious songs, peaking with "I'm Set Free", that evoke a rising from the bleakness of lows like "Heroin" from their debut. The sonically challenging "Murder Mystery" is their most beautiful experiment, and closer "After Hours" ties everything up with a pretty, bubblegum bow. A record that cannot be overlooked. 10/10

4.5 superb
Django Django Django Django
Grimes Visions
Husker Du Zen Arcade
In 1984, hardcore had a heart-attack. "Zen Arcade" sees the Huskers spreading their arms and
experimenting in ways their contemporaries never could have imagined. And this is no mixed-
bag mushfest. From the opening slam of "Something I Learned Today" to the hurricane-swirling
chaos of "Recurring Dreams", the band provide consistently fresh performances. Side two is
hardcore at its most poetic (lyrically and musically), side three is psychedelia at its most
explosive, and side four is dumb punk at its most intelligent. The concept of the record is
easy to ignore, the story of a punk runaway trying to find himself (by the way it's all a
dream), but funneled through Bob Mould's strikingly emotional delivery, it takes new shape,
particularly in the context of Mould and drummer Grant Hart's struggles for acceptance as
gay punks in a scene knee-deep in ignorance. The dichotomy between the smart and the naieve
is painful and touching, and is reflected in the music. A bit innocent, at times, but a
truly remarkable achievement. 9.5/10
Husker Du New Day Rising
Sharpens ideas explored on "Zen Arcade" without blunting the attack. That crack-thump-crack-thump that introduces the title track is the event horizon. It's too late. You're in. Has there ever been an opener so magnetic? Anyway, it's pop. The hardcore is gone, not that they didn't play hardcore-as-pop in the first place. They sorta take R.E.M.'s place in the underground, and you can hear it in Mould's superb guitar work. A bit less exciting in terms of innovations, but it's comfortable... listenable... a record to be loved in a way its predecessor never could be. 9/10
Joy Division Unknown Pleasures
Of all the stellar records released during the Post-Punk revolution of 1979, "Unknown Pleasures" remains the best remembered. Maybe it's that album art, stark but wavering, or the way Ian Curtis pleads and begs and croons and roars through song after song in the unaffected voice of one truly damaged. Most likely it's the apparent (albeit hard-to-explain) expertise of each and every one of the record's contributors, despite their overwhelming lack of experience. The influences are prominent, but are limited and startlingly varied, leading to a variety of fascinating concoctions. Sabbath sludge is vaulted over Can atmospherics (courtesy of the incredible Martin Hannett's production), Kraftwerkian rhythms, and hauntingly funky bass grooves. You'll dance, you'll cry, and you'll want to turn on all the lights. The album was a victory not for its innovations but for its delivery of the thick aesthetic concepts that had been brewing in the underground for years to the masses. When the records started to sell, experimentation became financially viable for Majors, and that's a beautiful thing. 9.5/10
Love Da Capo
Neu! Neu!
"Neu!" explores the sound of making something out of nothing. It's process-based before process based was hip and cool for rock-and-rollers. Silence becomes softness becomes cacophony. The guys are real virtuosos. Guitar lines are exquisitely timed, drums are unbelievably tight, and the bass remains modest but driving throughout. The first track is the most immediately appealing, a timeless road anthem, but there's not a wasted moment on the whole thing. Shouldn't be listened to all split up and MP3-itized. Could be considered one of the most cohesive pieces of rock ever composed, so don't ruin it, you kids! 9.5/10
Operation Ivy Energy
A truly kick-ass punk experience that ought never be forgotten, unlike much of the music that came out of the ska-punk scene it spawned. 9/10
R.E.M. Murmur
R.E.M. emerged out of the tail-end of the oft-neglected school of American Post-Punk. Their debut, "Murmur", fell nothing short of cultural milestone, stimulating the underground and sowing the seeds for the alt-rock explosion of the coming decade. Jangly indie-rock had been around for a few years in the way of washed-out British once-punks, but nobody (and I mean NOBODY) did it this well. The band is incredibly tight, and the album's structure is accordingly astonishing, particularly for a debut. They weave effortlessly from stomps to waltzes, all imbued with the alluring air of mystery Stipe is so famous for creating. A worthy document. 9.5/10
The Fall This Nation's Saving Grace
The Human League Dare!
"Dare!" is to the culture of it's time what Oscar Wilde was to Victorian England. It's social criticism by the most social of socialites. Philip Oakey is a dedicated hypocrite, happy to flaunt his contradictory ways to grab your attention. At moments it's so shallow it's depraved, then you realize he knows just what he's doing. The same could be said for the music itself. The record was a landmark in that it brought synths to the top of the charts. Eno and Bowie both have a strong presence here, but it's the diffusion of mid-to-late 70's ambient into 3-5 minute ballets of pure pop that makes it a bit of a revolution. In fact, "Dare!" could be called one of pure pop's great high points. There's hardly any ingenuity sacrificed to mindless hookitude. Songs unpeel themselves to reveal greater complexity upon each listen. It's really a joy. To be listened to with headphones for sure. Loud too. Don't be afraid to dance. 9/10
The Modern Lovers The Modern Lovers
The Pop Group Y
The Stone Roses The Stone Roses
There's not a dull melody anywhere on this record. A tiny, tiny handful of dull moments, but never a dull melody. More 60's in spirit than in practice, the Roses set the gold standard for the decade to come in British guitar rock. Something about those layers of reverb feels revolutionary. Those stuttered, dancing snare lines, the guitar figures that spread out like clouds forming... sure, it's derivative, but all the same it's one of a kind. The vocals are breathy and sexual, the lyrics adolescent and naive. You can feel the party. And you can feel the drugs. Can't say it's not a masterpiece. 9.5/10
Yo La Tengo Painful

4.0 excellent
Animal Collective Centipede Hz
David Bowie "Heroes"
It would be impossible to expect the rehabilitated Bowie to continue in the same vein as "Low" and produce an album quite as important. Where its predecessor served as the conduit by which sad kids in London could learn about the wild experiments being spilled out on the german vinyl their local record stores didn't carry (they carry it now), "Heroes" was Bowie's chance to take his new penchant for the avant and make it his own. You know, Bowify it. For the most part, he succeeds. The title track is just about his greatest achievement. Robert Fripp strangles from his guitar what could be the most ephemeral sound ever put down on tape while Bowie delivers and inspired reading of his surprisingly human poetry. There are places in "Blackout" and "Joe the Lion" where it feels like the record might explode. Genuinely. That's right, genuine Bowie. Drinks on me. The ambient stuff on side two is in no way groundbreaking, and of course Eno's behind most of it, but it's still beautiful. "Moss Garden" is a highlight, on the album and in the genre. No, Mr. Stardust, you haven't fooled me into thinking your mess of a vocal performance on "Sons of the Silent Age" is some kind of an artistic statement, but you have privileged us with some truly stellar tunework. Thanks. 8/10
Fugazi Repeater
This record invents a language for itself that is at once recognizable and difficult for the listener to understand. Still, the words (rhythms) flow beautifully in to one another in such a way that makes comprehension irrelevant. Stacked with about a half-dozen home-runs, most notably "Turnover" and the title track, and several more near-perfect tunes, "Repeater" is packed with ideas. Here and there, the ideas aren't brought fully into fruition. That's the only downside. I'm tellin' ya. 8.5/10
Jack White Blunderbuss
Liars WIXIW
Meat Puppets Up on the Sun
A simply delightful album. I mean delightful through-and-through. No, I don't use the term lightly. It feels thick, the whole thing, with good-vibes and shimmery guitar-tones. Seems by '85, all the first-wave indie groups were dead, dying, or making pop. As far as the 'pups are concerned, it feels like they should have been doing it all along! The album does play a bit like the steamy cup-o-joe on the cover. A little cream is tossed in when the needle falls, and so it swirls, fast at first, then slug-slow, all before frothing up and settling, fairly evenly, throughout the solution. I get that filler feeling every once in a while, but only for a moment. Mainly diamonds. 8.5/10
My Bloody Valentine Isn't Anything
My Bloody Valentine m b v
While the blemishes hurt, and they can get pretty ugly, we can?t try and hide them. This is a critical document in popular music, though it may not be remembered that way. For me, it signals the end of an era. The gods of self-obsessed texture rock are gods no more, but hell, they can still make a beautiful mess. Tap your reverb pedals in reverence, and cover your ears. Tinnitus really isn?t cool, guys. 8/10
Parquet Courts Light Up Gold
Sleater-Kinney Dig Me Out
20 years after "Maquee Moon", Sleater-Kinney prove punk still has the power to move and inspire. The Tucker/Brownstein guitar battery out-funks and out-rocks more than a handful of other groups who had the privilege of a bassist. It's calculated but furious, like a meticulously planned bombing. It all feels like a crusade. Just get out of the way and watch. Tucker's vocals are utterly feral, that delicate tremolo serving as the album's ever thumping heart. Kim Gordon is probably the strongest presence here in terms of influence (see particularly "Heart Factory"), but the whole thing is inflected with a personal sheen. Couldn't be recreated. "Turn It On", "Little Babies", and "Not What You Want" serve as highlights, but come on, play the whole thing. You've earned it. 8.5/10
Sly and The Family Stone Stand!
This record plays like one hell of a test-run. Two fairly fruitful experiments in making a guitar sound like a human being, "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" and "Sex Machine", are fun listens but tend to drag and feel a bit out of place. Otherwise, the tracks are all funk classics, from the sex-drive swagger of "I Want To Take You Higher" to the chanting, almost childish "Sing a Simple Song". It's marketed as a protest album, and that's fair, but the main vein is summer-of-love optimism; unity and togetherness, encouragement. "You Can Make it if You Try" and "Different strokes for different folks" and all that hippy stuff. It got them jumping in '69, but retrospectively its bittersweet, because we know those feelings won't last. 8/10
Talk Talk Spirit of Eden
Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food
This record is unendingly insistent. With the help of modern genius Brian Eno, the Heads go from shaking the foundations to emitting a kind of sonic boom. It's sharper, wittier, and, ultimately, more fleshed out: their first great album. Byrne's commentary on the significance of the mundane seems all the more relevant in the context of warmer production. Songwriting aspirations just hinted at on "'77" are brought into fruition: magic carpet slide-guitar ballads ("The Big Country), caustic funk-ups ("Found a Job"), and pop-pop-poppers that fade to bleakness without a hiccup ("The Good Thing"), it's all here. Watch one of America's premier groups find themselves in ways other bands could only dream of. 8.5/10
Talking Heads Talking Heads: 77
Super original stuff. The quirky ying to Television's doleful yang. It definitely has that sparse, little-tampering punk aesthetic, but, like Marquee Moon, it's different. The guitars are sharper, speed is less of an object. It set a precedent and predicts everything from Double Nickels on the Dime to the Meat Pups. 8/10
Wilco Summerteeth
Wilco get more tender and more consistent on this 3rd release. Not honest, mind you. Tweedy's lyrics are as dada as ever, inspiring endless amounts of fruitless analysis. The music manages to give the nonsense context. The material itself is a little slice of the Big-Star-worship power-pop revival of the 90s, but the idiosyncrasies of Tweedy's character, paired with the inventive instrumentation, sets it apart. Notable throughout is the buzzing bear-hug synth, courtesy of the late Jay Bennett, which is cheesy only in the classiest way. While slow numbers like the uneasy "Via Chicago" and "She's a Jar" are highlights, the lower tempos sometimes drag. Everywhere they pick up the pace is an absolute joy, particularly "I'm Always in Love" and "Nothing'severgonnastandinourwayagain". Definitely worth a listen. 8/10

3.5 great
Beach House Bloom
Cloud Nothings Attack on Memory
David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust...
A rock & roll celebration, as much rock & roll of the time was. Bowie establishes himself as the embodiment of what the mainstream thinks is "weird". His career, notoriously twisty-turny, will take him to glorious sonic heights as the 70's wear on. Here, he simply produced a very-good album (only revolutionary to those who never heard the records that begot it) and established a very wacky image. The singles are undeniably brilliant, particularly the bombastic charge of "Suffragette City", one of his very best. 7.5/10
Loop Heaven's End
The only thing separating this from the shoegaze that was born a year later is the lack of apparent feeling. It gets a little old after a while but it's real cool. Stooges with tons of fuzz. 7/10
Tame Impala Lonerism
The Men New Moon
The Rolling Stones Some Girls
There are more than a few noteworthy songs on this record, enough to warrant some repeat listening. There's more to it, though. It can still be rough and rocky, but it's a mellowing out; an acknowledgement of the inevitability of age the way only the biggest rock and roll band ever could do it. Sure, we don't necessarily have to buy Jagger's self-obsession anymore, but the lies are sort of beautiful in their own way. He's human for denying his own humanity. "Miss You" is certainly one of their best, and songs like "Beast of Burden" take old formulas into new dimensions. They can still sway and swing and make you feel things the way they did in '72. 7/10
Youth Lagoon Wondrous Bughouse

3.0 good
Dirty Projectors Swing Lo Magellan
Foxygen Take The Kids Off Broadway
Here, Foxygen seem to have some genuine ambition. The songs are urban, scattered, schizophrenic, and sort of exciting. They owe too many things to too many people, but they still seem ready to carve out a sound of their own. It's a debut, so it's all okay. They have time to make their masterpiece. 6.5/10
Japandroids Celebration Rock
Lee Ranaldo Between the Times and the Tides
Perfume Genius Put Your Back N 2 It
Mike Hadreaus sings with such focus on enunciation and sincerity that he may as well be Sufjan Stevens. But where Stevens is the kind of folk-pop excess, Hadreaus, as his stage name suggests, is a master of subtlety and minimalism. Too minimal sometimes. Gets dull. 6/10
The Stooges The Stooges
An important record because it set the groundwork for later releases. The first two songs are absolute classics worthy of repeat listening. The droning, drooling "We Will Fall", as well as several cuts from side two, show that they're still heavily at the mercy of label-mates the Doors' influence. The highlights are without a doubt the one-twofer of Iggy's vocals and Ron Asheton's guitar. That stupid-smart approach Asheton takes, playing parts so simple a monkey could do it before blowing you away with a vicious solo, is *the* punk blueprint. Iggy made a bit of an impression here as well, enough to open the door for Fun House. Definitely established them as a group to watch. 6.5/10
Widowspeak Almanac

2.5 average
Foxygen We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors...
The Men Open Your Heart

2.0 poor
Alt-J An Awesome Wave
Crystal Castles Crystal Castles III
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