Category: Alternative Pop/Rock

Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar

Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar       Thom Jurek: ‘”I want to tell you something/About the grace of faded things….” This line from the song “Southern Gothic,” delivered by Ulver’s Kristoffer Rygg near the end of The Assassination of Julius Caesar, eventually becomes a manifesto for the single-minded aesthetic pursued on the […]

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The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding       Marcy Donelson: The War on Drugs’ debut for Atlantic Records, A Deeper Understanding, is very much a follow-up to the group’s critically acclaimed Top 30 breakthrough Lost in the Dream from three years prior. That album’s notoriously meticulous blend of heartland rock influences, Bob […]

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Pulp – Different Class

Pulp – Different Class       Stephen Thomas Erlewine: ‘….  Pulp don’t stray from their signature formula at all — it’s still grandly theatrical, synth-spiked pop with new wave and disco flourishes, but they have mastered it here. Not only are the melodies and hooks significantly catchier and more immediate, the music explores more […]

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Michael Kiwanuka ‎– Home Again

Michael Kiwanuka ‎– Home Again       Thom Jurek: ‘An age ago, major labels signed artists knowing it would take three, four, or even five records before she or he matured sufficiently to build a a dedicated audience. Some labels even signed “prestige artists,” those who wouldn’t necessarily make boatloads of cash, but their […]

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Madrugada – Madrugada

Madrugada – Madrugada       Madrugada is the sixth and final studio album by the Norwegian band Madrugada. It was released by the band’s own label, Malabar Recording Company (distributed by EMI records), on 21 January 2008. The album was produced by Madrugada and John Agnello who also produced the band’s 2001 release The […]

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The Offspring – Smash

The Offspring – Smash       Stephen Thomas Erlewine: ‘The Offspring’s second album for Epitaph did the impossible: it landed in the Top Five, unheard of for independent records. The Offspring crossed over due to the raucous, Eastern-tinged single “Come Out and Play,” which stopped and started just like Nirvana, only without the Seattle […]

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Crowded House – Woodface

Crowded House – Woodface       Chris Woodstra: ‘Where Crowded House’s previous album, Temple of Low Men, showcased the often dark side of a man alone with his thoughts, Woodface represents the joy of reunion and the freedom of a collaborative effort — more than half of the album was originally conceived as a […]

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Fiona Apple – Tidal

Fiona Apple – Tidal       Stephen Thomas Erlewine: ‘Fiona Apple demonstrates considerable talent on her debut album, Tidal, but it is unformed, unfocused talent. Her voice is surprisingly rich and supple for a teenager, and her jazzy, sophisticated piano playing also belies her age. Given the right material, such talents could have flourished, […]

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Echo & The Bunnymen – What Are You Going To Do With Your Life

Echo & The Bunnymen – What Are You Going To Do With Your Life       Stephen Thomas Erlewine: ‘Echo & the Bunnymen made a dignified return in 1997 with Evergreen, but that record displayed some hints of rustiness and a desire to stay hip — two things notably absent from its superb sequel, […]

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Phil Collins – …But Seriously

Phil Collins – …But Seriously       Geoff Orens: ‘Spawning four hit singles, But Seriously topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. While pursuing much of the same formula as on No Jacket Required, there was also a move toward more organic production as Collins abandoned some of the drum machines and […]

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Nada Surf – The Weight Is A Gift

      MacKenzie Wilson: ‘Upon its reissue in 2003, Let Go had already positioned itself to be an indie rock milestone in the making for Nada Surf. They’d left the major labels behind for Barsuk and remained for their fourth album, The Weight Is a Gift. The punk threads found on Let Go are […]

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Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication       Greg Prato: ‘Many figured that the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ days as undisputed alternative kings were numbered after their lackluster 1995 release One Hot Minute, but like the great phoenix rising from the ashes, this legendary and influential outfit returned back to greatness with 1999’s Californication. […]

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PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

      Heather Phares: PJ Harvey followed her ghostly collection of ballads, White Chalk, with PJ Harvey – Let England Shake, a set of songs strikingly different from what came before it except in its Englishness. White Chalk’s haunted piano ballads seemed to emanate from an isolated manse on a moor, but here Harvey […]

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Noir Désir – Des visages des figures

      Sergey Mesenov: ‘Des Visages des Figures, the sixth studio album by French bad-boy guitar band Noir Désir, turned out to be their last. It was released in 2001 and featured a considerably quieter and more stripped-down version of Noir Désir’s brand of fiery and angular guitar rock. The album went to number […]

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David Byrne – Feelings

      Stephen Thomas Erlewine: ‘Attempting to inject some adventure into his multicultural, worldbeat-inflected avant-pop, David Byrne dabbled with trip-hop and drum’n’bass on Feelings. These tracks, including a collaboration with Morcheeba, are essentially window dressing, a way to distract attention from Byrne’s lack of new ideas. The songs that work best on Feelings, like […]

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Counting Crows – Films About Ghosts: the Best of

      Stephen Thomas Erlewine: ‘Counting Crows always seemed a little older than their years, so it somehow seemed appropriate when they arrived at certain milestones a little earlier than their peers. They released their first live album, an exhaustive double-disc set, just two albums into their career, then, two albums later, they issued […]

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Garbage – Garbage

Garbage – Garbage Garbage is the debut album by alternative rock group Garbage. It was released in the late summer and autumn of 1995 worldwide. “Stupid Girl” was nominated Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group in the 1997 Grammy Awards. The band was considered innovative for its fusion of […]

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Stone Temple Pilots – Purple

Stone Temple Pilots – Purple       Stephen Thomas Erlewine: ‘Stone Temple Pilots had hits with Core, but they got no respect. They suffered a barrage of savage criticism and it must have hurt, since their second effort seems a conscious effort to distinguish themselves as a band not indebted to grunge. That didn’t […]

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Lunatic Soul – Lunatic Soul

Lunatic Soul – Lunatic Soul       Amazon: ‘Great artists are rarely content to keep repeating themselves, and rarely are they content to exist and create within one genre. So it really wasn’t a surprise that Riverside’s Mariusz Duda eventually pursued a solo career. The sheer multitude of thoughts and ideas flowing out of […]

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Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream     Greg Prato: ‘While Gish had placed the Smashing Pumpkins on the “most promising artist” list for many, troubles were threatening to break the band apart. Singer/guitarist/leader Billy Corgan was battling a severe case of writer’s block and was in a deep state of depression brought on by a […]

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