A Few Thoughts On A Few Bands
CHINA CRISIS: Criminally ignored and unfairly labeled “The English Steely Dan”. This is sophisticated synth-pop, with a good sense of humor. Recommend you find and download Working With Fire And Steel in it’s entirety.
FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON: Loopy electro with, again, a sense of humor. Some you can chill to, some you can dance to. Lifeforms and the greatest ‘hits’ sampler entitled “Teachings From The Electronic Brain” will be all you’ll need.
IGGY POP: This guy and the work he did with the Stooges, although panned at the time, was groundbreaking to say the least. The Stooges stuff is great of course, but his solo stuff in the seventies is uneven, save The Idiot and Lust For Life, which are wonderful.
JOHN PRINE: A magnificent songwriter that is respected by fellow musicians but unrecognized by the public. Damn shame, because (terrible white afro aside) his songs are Americana at it’s finest.
LLOYD COLE: Like the Jazz Butcher, or Robyn Hitchcock, Cole was very underrated–still is, unfortunately. He’s been putting out consistently great records since the 80’s, each different and each with their moments. I think that Antidepressant, one of his newer offerings, ranks among his finest.
MERCURY REV: A weird, creepy carnival of a band. Ever seen the film “FREAKS”, from the 1930’s? The Rev’s music could definitely soundtrack it! They WILL take some getting used to (repeated consecutive listenings are recommended), but it’s worth the patience in the end. Deserter’s Songs is a must for any serious music collector!
OZRIC TENTACLES: Just a screwed up band with super sonic chops! Elements of electronica mixed with live instrumentation and sci-fi imagery makes for a very entertaining listen. Sounds horrible, right? A proggy electronica band? I got news for ya folks, most electronica bands have more than a hint of prog in ‘em! This is what YES should have sounded like!
(EARLY) SIMPLE MINDS: Up until John Hughes single-handedly destroyed their credibility these guys were pretty cutting edge. They should have been bigger than U2. God knows they were more talented. Radiohead cite them as a huge influence, as do many others. New Gold Dream is their undisputed masterpiece, but everything before is equally excellent. Everything after you can safely ignore.
ROXY MUSIC: Search out the stuff when Brian Eno was in the band, b-sides and all. Not to say Bryan Ferry’s stuff wasn’t good (it was!), but the dynamic between the two made for some groundbreaking and very influential records.