This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home. Albums listened to for week 14 cover from 22 June to 25 June.
Monday 22 June – Emo day
Have I really gone all emo today? Decided to explore a wee bit of American music so picked this bunch which depending on how you wished to label it emo, nu-rock, post hardcore, punk pop or math rock (yeah there is such a thing!).
Out of all the bands played here I have only seen three – The Ataris, Cave In and Taking Back Sunday. I did have a ticket for My Chemical Romance but me and my wife couldn’t go so we ended up selling our ticket. I never bothered to get a ticket for the reunion show this year but all gigs are cancelled thanks to Covid.
Ok, a quick run down on the albums played on Monday. The first three albums played were recommendations from Kerrrang magazine. There was money off coupons and thanks to the free CDS that were given away in magazines it lead to interest in buying some of these albums.
The Ataris So, Long Astoria (2003) was a really good album and I love their version of Don Henley’s The Boys of Summer where they name check Black Flag rather than Deadhead from the original.
Cave In’s third and only major label studio album Antenna (2003) and The Blood Brothers was another recommendation and I bought their third album …Burn, Piano Island, Burn (2003) and is quite hard working listening to it due to a lot of screaming! Hope the neighbours didn’t notice but the volume wasn’t definitely up that early in the morning.
Another band whose album was part of the money off promotion was The Movielife. Their album, Forty Hour Train Back to Penn (2003) was a great listen. Sadly they broken up after that. One thing I have noticed abut the three albums chosen so afar was that they were all album number 3 for each band. Crazy to think I had never had heard of them before but sometimes the exposure in a magazine can help reach out.
Sunny Day Real Estate released Diary in 1994 at the height of the grunge. However, the band didn’t sound like the popular Seattle bands at the time but was more melodic and would be the benchmark for future emo groups. William Goldsmith and Nate Mendel would go on and join Foo Fighters.
Another couple of bands that I listened to post 2000 were Thursday and Thrice. War All The Time (2003) by Thursday and The Artist in the Ambulance (2003) by Thrice were played here. These two bands would get another day allocated to themselves later.
Rounding off the emo themed day were the two heavyweights of the genre – Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance. Tell All Your Friends (2002) by Taking Back Sunday is a great record. I got to see the band in Dublin around that time.
My Chemical Romance however were the band that went on to greater success than all the others listed here. Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004) was their second album. Bigger things awaited with their biggest seller The Black Parade (2006).
Tuesday 23 June – Sounds from the American underground
After a day of emo rock it was time to go back to the older bands from the 1990s and mainstays of the alternative rock scene – Pavement, Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh.
Pavement’s biggest hit was the single Cut Your Hair (1994) and I have been a fan of the band since. I only got to see them once that that was at the Glastonbury festival in 1999 which is the subject matter over the next couple of days. A great collection of Pavement albums here – Slanted and Enchanted (1992), Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994) – my favourite album, Brighten the Corners (1997) and Terror Twilight (1999). The compilation album Quarantine the Past: The Best of Pavement (2010) was issued to coincide with the reunion of the band and collected the best songs from all their albums.
I got into Dinosaur Jr. in 1993 when they released Where You Been. That year proved to be a really great year of music. The follow up Without a Sound (1996) would be their six album so I had a lot of catching up to do. Feel the Pain was a big hit for them from this album. They are loud live!
Sebaodh was formed by Lou Barlow who played bass for Dinosaur Jr. I got into them quite late so wasn’t too familiar with a lot of their stuff. Their seventh album, The Sebadoh (1999), was their first and only released on a major label. I am going to check out their other albums.
Wednesday 24 June – Clutch
To say that the hump day was going to be pure rock fury was no understatement! You won’t get a harder working band than these guys and front man Neil Fallon is an awesome frontman that he gives 100% each time live.
Clutch were one of the gig casualties of Covid. I was looking forward to their return to Belfast as their shows here have been amazing and you get a great buzz seeing them live.
So without further ado it’s onto the albums that I own and listened to today. The volume is definitely going up!
First up is Pitchfork & Lost Needles (2005) which is collection of songs from EPs. Jam Room (1999) was their fourth album. I think around this time I may have seen them supporting Therapy? A live album, Live at the Googoplex (2002) is a collection of various live recordings during the Pure Rock Fury tour.
But it is the next three albums that have got me back into Clutch in a big way. Earth Rocker (2013) does not disappoint. It is an banger of an album. Definitely one of my favourites. The next two albums are great too – Psychic Warfare (2015) and the most recent album, The Book of Bad Decisions (2018) which is the album they were currently touring.
Was so looking forward to seeing them this year but the good news is they are coming back to Belfast next year. They make great videos for their songs and How To Shake Hands is hilarious spoofing on Neil Fallon being a presidential candidate and wins! He is going to put Jimi Hendrix on a 20 dollar bill and Bill Hicks on a five note! What a time to be alive!
Thursday 25 June – Glastonbury part 1
Glastonbury was no doubt amongst many festivals that had been effected by the pandemic. BBC were going to provide lots of footage of the festival over the years so for Thursday I had a look at what they were streaming and had a listen while working. I caught up with sets by Nick Cave (2013) was due to see him this year, The Charlatans (2019), Idles (2019) and Primal Scream (2011). Never got round to watching Radiohead’s set from 1997 (have that on bootleg CD) and had seen the band a few dates beforehand in Dublin before they played Glastonbury. The live footage definitely worked as it was just as good as being there.
Friday 26 June – Glastonbury part 2 the one I was at.
I made my one and only trip to Glasonbury in 1999 and what a weekend it was. I really enjoyed it but it was pure hell on earth trying to get home. I never made it back after that.
I seen quite a lot of bands that day but have opted for this lot to listen to as they had albums out and were on tour at the time – Bush, Manic Street Preachers, Hole, REM, Ash and Skunk Anansie.
Ok, starting off with the band less popular in their home country but huge in America – Bush. The Science of Things (1999) was their third album. Next up was Hole. I never thought I would have liked them but they surprised me. Celebrity Skin (1998) was their most commercially successful albums. I hadn’t listened to this album in a while.
Manic Street Preachers first headline slot at Glastonbury was marred by the “toilet gate scandal”. Turned out the band reserved the toilets for themselves which didn’t go down too well with Billy Bragg! This Is Truth Tell Me Yours (1998) was the followed up from the success of 1996’s Everything Must Go. It was on this tour that I got to see the band live for the first time. They played Belfast a few days earlier before Glastonbury. The crowd was huge and it was impossible to get near the front. I
Surprise headliners that weekend were Skunk Anansie. Stoosh (1996) was their second album and I gave that listen to for the first time in ages.
Headliners REM did not disappoint. They also played Dublin that year too and it was great to see them twice in one year. Up (1998) was their current LP and they were touring it. I managed to get a box set of REM At the BBC which contained two discs of their entire live set from Glastonbury. It was great to listen to it again and relive the experience.