Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 5/18/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Wednesday’s album is #622:

Public Image Ltd. – The Flowers of Romance

Just when it seemed that PiL couldn’t push the envelope any further, they came out with this bitter, astringent album that’s arguably even more cutting-edge than Second Edition. The melodies may seem Middle Eastern, but it’s actually inspired by the ancient Celtic music that John Lydon had been listening to around 1981. It’s also Martyn Atkins’ great shining moment: he fills the spaces between these eerie, ghostly, skeletal tunes and Lydon’s ominously wailing monotone with some of the most memorable rock drumming in decades. The intensity never lets up, from the claustrophobic, terrorized Four Enclosed Walls, Track 8 and Phenagen; the ridiculously catchy, anthemic yet completely avant-garde title track; the creepy, singsongey Under the House; the hypnotic instrumental Hymie’s Him; the snarling Banging the Door, antifascist anthem Go Back and elegaic Francis Massacre (about an IRA activist sentenced to life in Mountjoy Prison). This was also the group’s last adventure in experimental music: from there, they’d go through a funk phase, a generic stadium rock phase and end in the early 90s with something of a return to their punk roots. Here’s a random torrent.

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May 18, 2011 Posted by | avant garde music, lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album of the Day 8/28/10

Every day, we count down the 1000 best albums of all time all the way to #1. Saturday’s album is #885:

Jah Wobble – Without Judgement

Hypnotic, atmospheric, occasionally Middle Eastern-tinged grooves from 1989 by the original PiL bassist, taking him further from rock toward the eclectic pan-global sound he’d dive into much more deeply in the following decades. It’s the most dub-inflected album he’s ever made, with vast washes of string synthesizer, funk guitar, all kinds of percussion and the occasional horn weaving up and then out of the mix, his characteristically terse, emphatic bass sometimes fat and propulsive, otherwise playing hide-and-seek with every other texture here – and there are a whole slew of them. There are also a couple of straight-up funk vamps, some proto-trip-hop and more than a hint of reggae in places. Most of the tracks are instrumentals: the highlight of the album is Wobble’s poem A13, a savage critique of suburban conformity and dullness read in a deadpan monotone over bleak washes of sound panning into and across the mix. It ends with the most bizarre, and barely recognizable, version of Will the Circle Be Unbroken ever recorded. Here’s a random torrent.

August 28, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music, world music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 7/25/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Saturday’s song is #368:

Public Image Ltd. – The Order of Death

Brooding Italian movie theme from 1983 with layers of synth over a drum loop, John Lydon intoning the mantra “This is what you want, this is what you get,’ which ended up serving as the album title after guitarist Keith Levene either quit the band or was fired depending who you believe. Some fans prefer the more poignant but less ominous acoustic guitar version from the Commercial Zone lp released by Levene as retaliation in 1985.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 7/23/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Thursday’s song is #370:

Public Image Ltd. – Acid Drops

From the surprisingly good and final PiL cd That What Is Not, 1992. Listening to the sample of John Lydon intoning “No future, no future, no future” from God Save the Queen at the end of the song around the time the album came out – during Bush One’s gulf war – was nothing short of scary. Somehow we survived and we have this blistering, multitracked guitar firestorm as a memento. And in the intervening years the Sex Pistols actually got back together. Who would have predicted it. Mp3s are everywhere.

July 23, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 7/20/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Monday’s song is #373:

Public Image Ltd. – The Flowers of Romance

The Flowers of Romance were Sid Vicious’ first, short-lived band (he was the drummer – they never recorded anything). This macabre, sketchily chromatic masterpiece, a sort of tribute from his best (and apparently only) friend in the Sex Pistols is the 1980 title track to PiL’s best album. The best version out there is actually the screechy live take on the 45 RPM Live in Tokyo lp from 1985 (click the link above), journeyman Louis Bernardi fighting to replicate Keith Levene’s corruscating, overtone-laden guitar part.

July 20, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 6/9/09

We do the top 666 songs of alltime countdown every day here to keep the front page fresh regardless of whether or not there’s something new to report (and there is – tons of album reviews, interviews and more waiting in the wings, stay tuned). Tuesday’s song is #414:

Sielun Veljet – Turvaa

One of the most innovative bands of the early 80s, these wild, scorching Finnish rockers imbued overtone-laden PiL-style noise-rock with murky Nordic tonalities. This one screeches along on a darkly distorted, snapping bassline. The title sarcastically means “saved.” Best version out there is on their 1983 double live album, long out of print, although there are mp3s out there. The link above is a torrent of the band’s first three albums.

June 9, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment