RS #462: R.E.M. – Document

R.E.M.- Document
R.E.M's album covers always looked like a the work of a really amazing graphic design student who actually got a paying gig.

R.E.M., Document

Release Date: 1987 Previously Owned: Yes. On vinyl.
Impressions: I started liked R.E.M back in junior high when my cool music friend Matt, who hipped me to Hüsker Dü and The Clash, also got me into R.E.M.'s Life's Rich Pageant. Michael Stipe's mumbly, cryptic singing took me a while to get warmed up to, but I started to enjoy their and catchy Big … Continue Reading ››

RS #463: Echo and the Bunnymen, Heaven Up Here

Echo and The Bunnymen
Which one is Echo?

Echo and the Bunnymen, Heaven Up Here

Release Date: 1981 Previously Owned: Yes. On vinyl.
Impressions: Looking back at some of these entries, I'm gonna have to try to be more succinct if I want a shot at finishing all 500. Haven't listened to this one in a while. Let's throw it on... The opening bunch of songs "Show Of Strength," "With a Hip," and "Over The Wall" meld together and set up a dark, uneasy tone not unlike a John Carpenter film for Goths for the rest of the … Continue Reading ››

RS #464: Def Leppard, Hysteria

Def Leppard, Hysteria
You'd scream too if you were trapped inside of the cover of a terrible album for all eternity.

Def Leppard, Hysteria

Release Date: 1987 Previously Owned: No. Unless I have a record hiding in my collection somewhere. First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: The path not taken. When I first was getting into music in the early '80s,  Def Leppard's Pyromania was out. I was trying out a lot of different things and their hit single "Rock of Ages" momentarily intrigued me-- with that goofy count off at the beginning ("Unta glebin gloutin globin,)" … Continue Reading ››

RS #465: The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs

The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
I thought that was a dirty joke, but no, this album actually contains sixty-nine songs about love.

The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs

Release Date: 1999 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: I know almost nothing of these guys/this guy. Let's listen...Quirky, jaunty opener "Absolutely Cuckoo" then leads into the dour, but funny "I Don't Believe in the Sun." Kind of cynical, but affecting, interesting instrumentation. Sometimes the sound with rinky-dink keyboards, banjos, and ukuleles seems a bit too indie-cute, like something you'd see in a hipster movie or commercial, but still winning me over. Nifty songs with … Continue Reading ››

RS# 466: Coldplay – A Rush of Blood To The Head

Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head
"The album cover will be done by next Friday. Oh, you need it today?"

Coldplay, A Rush of Blood To The Head

Release Date: 2002
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: Ah, Coldplay. I find these guys very hard to get worked up about one way or the other. Listenable. Tasteful. Agreeable. Radiohead with the edges sanded off. Even the name, Coldplay, sounds like an apt description of their chilly post-U2 arena rock. Well, enough chatter, let's listen... From the beginning, "Politik" is listenable, tasteful, and agreeable. … Continue Reading ››

RS #467: Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love

Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel Of Love
"Issa not too bad, eh Boss!?"

Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel of Love

Release Date: 1987
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions:  Let's get this straight: I like Bruce. But, I'm not too knowledgable. I recall this album seeming like a weird deal at the time because it followed up Born In The USA, (which in hindsight seems impossible.) It still sold well, but sort of seemed like a disappointment. Let's fire up the Spotify and give this album a listen... Oddly, the spare, Bo-Diddleyish ditty "Ain't Got You" starts off the album a lot … Continue Reading ››

RS #468: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
That typeface really makes it look like "Paul Buggerfield," which would probably be the name of the band in "A Bug's Life."

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Release Date: 1965
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions:  Completely never heard of these fellas. Paul Butterfield is a blue-eyed leader of this blues/rock combo. Mid '60s. Loaded with blues standards. Sure. Let's put it on... Hmm, sounds kind of proto-Cream? "Born In Chicago" sets up the sound. Lots of energy, looseness, and has a gritty Chess records atmosophere that makes it almost sound … Continue Reading ››

RS #469: Fugees – The Score

Fugees, The Score
Lauryn Hill must be like volleyball-player tall.

Fugees, The Score

Release Date: 1996
Previously Owned: Yes
Impressions:  Haven't give this one a spin in a while. Let's go... After the obligatory opening skit, "How Many Mics" kicks off with a nice off-kilter beat and, weird that I didn't remember this, but tons of crazy references (Seal, Crazy Baldheads, Stevie Wonder, Last Tango In Paris, Jefferson Airplane, movies, tv, sports, heck, even the cover is a Godfather theme.)  like almost at a Beastie Boy level. Many of the tracks ("Zealots," "No Woman, No Cry") have a great … Continue Reading ››

Concert Review! The Replacements at Riot Fest Chicago

The best photo my iPhone could muster.
The best photo my iPhone could muster.
I took a break from my Album Death March to head out to Riot Fest Chicago in Humboldt Park last night to check out the reunion of The Replacements. Or at least "The Tommy Stinson and Paul Westerberg Show With Two Guys From Paul's '90s Touring Band." My tempered enthusiasm was about as high as it could get and still be considered "measured." The Replacements are … Continue Reading ››

RS #470: L.L. Cool J, Radio

L.L. Cool J, Radio
Takes 16 "D" Batteries.

L.L. Cool J, Radio

Release Date: 1983
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: No
Impressions:  Before he was doing the NCIS thing or battling sharks, L.L. (along with Run DMC) was one of the first big crossover rap stars that moved hip-hop from the secret mix tapes and 12" records we passed around at school to the mainstream. I haven't listened to this album since way back when. Let's take it for a spin... From the get-go, the sound is classic boom-bap minimal Rick Rubin production. "I Can't Live Without … Continue Reading ››