Tag: 1987

Sepultura – Schizophrenia

ARTIST: Sepultura 220px-Schizophrenia_album

TITLE: Schizophrenia




OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: None unless you were a death metal head in the 80’s

LINEUP: Max Cavalera, Igor Vacalera, Paulo Jr. , Andreas Kisser

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A lineup change, better songs, and a better studio coalesces the band into a tight, taught unit.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Andreas Kisser joined Sepultura as the new lead guitarist, and almost immediately the results showed. The change moved them into more of a traditional thrash metal, which suited them greatly. The songs became tighter and more controlled. The vocals also were more suited to this style. It was a change for the better.

This record was recorded in a better studio than the previous record, and that also helped the band form its sound and vision far beyond their debut. It’s a great leap forward.

There are still some issues, though, with the songs sometimes blending together and the ideas outreaching their execution, but this album showed that path forward for Sepultura.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Kisser’s parents were European (Slovene and German), though he is a Brazilian native.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A few bonus cuts and demos

GRADE B: Much better, more focused, and the groundwork for the band going forward.


Suzanne Vega – Solitude Standing

ARTIST: Suzanne Vega 220px-Pongnan21-1-

TITLE: Solitude Standing



SINGLES: Gypsy (#77 UK), Luka (#3 US, #23 UK), Tom’s Diner (#58 UK), Solitude Standing (#94 US, #79 UK)


LINEUP: Suzanne Vega, Marc Shulman, Anton Sanko, Michael Visceglia, Stephen Ferrera. Help from Shawn Colvin, Mitch Easter, and others.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The breakthrough record contained the hit, the novelty which later became a signature, and solid folk rock.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The tracks on this, the second Suzanne Vega full-length, were written during the 80’s and polished in the studio by the backing band. The musicians added a great deal of depth and adventure to the tracks, which helped this albums overall mood.

Vega’s warm alto is mixed well with the backing, and the lyrics and melody work for the songs and arrangements. Foremost is the title track, with its twists and key changes, and the big hit “Luka” which is a big-sounding song that is intimate as well.

“Tom’s Diner” was the out of left field hit – an acapella version became the basis of remixes and another album entirely. But here, it fits in well as an opener and as an instrumental coda to one of the best folk albums of the 80’s

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They tried to figure out the day Vega wrote it or was referencing, and the best guess is most of it was November 18, 1981.


GRADE A: An interesting folk album deeper than the hits and novelty.

Candlemass – Nightfall

ARTIST: Candlemass

TITLE: Nightfall



SINGLES: Samarthin, At the Gallows End

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Bewitched, The Well of Souls

LINEUP: Messiah Marcolin, Lars Johansson, Mats Bjorkman, Leif Edling, Jan Lindh. Mike Wead helped as well.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Finding their vocalist, Candlemass releases a classic Swedish doom metal record.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It didn’t take long for Messiah Marcolin to make his mark with Candlemass. The first verse of “Well of Souls” showed his power, range, and dramatics. Coupled with classic doom metal riffs, the stage was set for a doom metal classic.

Bassist Leif Edling’s songs improved from their first record as well, and the tight playing of the band, veering from pure doomy sludge to taut thrash. “The Well of Souls” was an instant classic (though not a single, for whatever reason).

The rest of the songs suffer a bit by comparison to the outstanding beginning, and there are some instrumentals to set the mood between songs (which is fine, really). The whole album coheres and it’s great for anyone who wants some dramatic doom in their life. And who doesn’t?

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Guitarist Lars Johansson broke his arm and was replaced for a few tracks by Mike Wead. Wead joined Candlemass in the 90’s.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Demos and live tracks.

 GRADE A-: Just listen to the glory of “The Well of Souls”

Chumbawumba – Never Mind the Ballots

ARTIST: Chumbawumba                      Chumbaballots

TITLE: Never Mind the Ballots




OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Hahahahah, um…no.

LINEUP: Lou Watts, Harry Hamer, Mavis Dillon, Alice Nutter, Danbert Nobacon, Boff Whalley, Dustan Bruce, Simon Lanzon, Neil Ferguson

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Politics and elections!

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A musical play or anarchist agit-prop opera or whatever you want to call it – Chumbawumba’s second album is all about electoral politics featuring two candidates, the public, and how the two supposedly opposite sided candidates seem to want the same thing in the end

Funny how that’s appropriate now as well.

Musically, this is a much better and more commercial (sounding, commercial sounding, people) record. The band really can play well, and the arrangements are complementary to the lyrics and messages.

The messages, themes, and motifs are radical commentary on the UK’s issues in the late 80’s, but the political messages rather much fit to any political system. Candidates will be about one thing, mainly. That’s power. No matter what they say, that’s what they want.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They had promo T-shirts in English and French that said “THE VOTE CHANGES NOTHING! THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES!”

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. This isn’t streaming, but it’s available on You Tube.

 GRADE B+: You probably need to somewhat agree with their politics to really enjoy it, but it’s good.

Sonic Youth – Sister

ARTIST: Sonic Youth                        220px-Sonic_youth_sister

TITLE: Sister




OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Schizophrenia, (I Got A) Catholic Block

LINEUP: Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Where Sonic Youth’s promise intersects with its reality.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Finally, an album that fulfilled Sonic Youth’s vision and promise. While Evol was a great leap forward, Sister is the culmination of their SST career and put them at the precipice of greatness.

The trend towards recognizable song-structures is there, and they utilize structures to make an impact in lyrics and sound. Still, they allow Kim Gordon to recite powerful feminism over what sounds like free-form noise (but definitely isn’t). The drumming by Steve Shelley is propulsive and evocative (and really drives songs like “Stereo Sanctity”).

The band was able to construct haunting songs (“Schizophrenia”), first person observations (“Tuff Gnarl” and a combo of creepy first person songs (“Pacific Coast Hightway”). It peters out a bit at the end (after a cover of a song by Crime) but really, the cover is probably the cause of the letdown. Had they re-sequenced it and ended with the cover, it would have been nearly perfect.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The first versions, in the UK, had the final two cuts spelled “Kotton Krown” and “White Kross”, while later versions had it as “Cotton Crown” and “White Cross”

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The CD version appends “Master=Dik”, the first appearance of the Ciccone Youth sound.

 GRADE A: Of course not for everyone (it IS Sonic Youth), but this is one of their must-haves. A great mix of rock song structures and avant-garde tuning and sounds.

Primal Scream – Sonic Flower Groove

ARTIST: Primal Scream                               220px-Sonic_Groove_Flower_album_cover

TITLE:  Sonic Flower Groove



SINGLES: Gentle Tuesday (#86 UK), Imperial (#86 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Streams of Whiskey

LINEUP: Bobby Gillespie, Jim Navajo, Robert Yount, Andrew Innes, Dave Morgan.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: UK band sounds like a refugee from the Paisley Underground in their debut.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Sounding like they transplanted from LA in 1965 (or in 1982), Primal Scream’s debut is definitely in the jingly, psychedelic motif. The guitar jangle and swirl, the vocals are gentle, almost too gentle, and the melodies have a psychedelic, raga tinge to them.

The opening cut, “Gentle Tuesday” is quite good and promising, and a few other tracks have the same kind of edge, but most of tracks fall into a rut where the song isn’t hooky enough, and the guitar jangle blurs together from one track to another.

Even though this charted, and isn’t half bad, the band went on hold and emerged a different type of group, leaving the jangle mostly behind.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Mayo Thompson of the ‘famous’ Red Krayola produced the album.


GRADE: B-: If you are into Byrdsy stuff, it’s fine, but it’s got some great stuff and some stuff that’s just a meh genre exercise.

Melvins – Gluey Porch Treatments

ARTIST: Melvins                                220px-Gluey_orig

TITLE:  Gluey Porch Treatments




OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Hahahahaha, yeah right

LINEUP: Matt Lukin, Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: If not the spawning pool for grunge, at least one of the catalysts.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “Eye Flys” opens up this, the first full length, and the true Melvins spirit is imbued in this track. A simple, slow, repetitive bass line, drums sound on the 2 and 4, and a feedback wall of guitar that builds up into an actual riff and then a song 4 ½ minutes in, and then vocals (slowly yawping at that), and it’s over less than two minutes after the song really kinda starts. It’s the Melvins, man. They don’t get anywhere and their not in a hurry.

There are a lot of tracks here. Many are short – under a minute even. Many are slow, a slowly building wall of noise but sometimes they have get up and go. Do they make sense? Can you understand them? Who cares? 71wAECAVcxL._SX355_


This probably is the best thing to check out to wonder why they became such a beloved band in the grunge scene. It’s pretty scuzzy, and sometimes brilliant.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They appropriated “Leeech” from Green River, since that band never played it.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, so many bonus tracks from demos on the CD version. 

GRADE: B+: By no means is it flawless – but the flaws are pretty much the reason to listen to it.


Bill Lloyd – Feeling the Elephant

ARTIST: Bill Lloyd

TITLE:  Feeling the Elephant cover_elephant





LINEUP: Bill Lloyd with some help from David Russell, Scott Sullivan, Marc Owens, Jim Hodgekins, and Kim Richey

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A set of power-pop demos recorded over a four year period is a hidden gem for a singer-songwriter who was about to break big in country.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: In a few months after this was released, Bill Lloyd would become famous in the country music as part of Foster & Lloyd, but these songs were firmly in power-pop territory, and they hold up a lot better than that country duo’s tracks.

Most of these tracks are self-recorded as a one-man band, and date from a four year period. Yet they sound cohesive, tight, and very much like a self-contained album project.

Lloyd’s sense of melodies and arrangement are demonstrated on each track, and he’s well known as a rock and country guitarist and that’s also in evidence here. The only drawback is some of the production – very 80’s sounding at times. Still, it’s a must for power-pop lovers.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: He’s an in-demand session guy and also tours as a sideman besides his solo work.


GRADE: A: It’s surprising how good this is. A very much hidden power-pop gem.

The Rainmakers – Tornado

ARTIST: The Rainmakers       R-1368277-1213474079.jpeg

TITLE: Tornado



SINGLES: Small Circles, Snakedance (#31 Modern Rock), No Romance


LINEUP: Bob Walkenhorst, Steve Phillips, Rich Ruth, Pat Tomek

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Follow up to their snarky debut has more bile than snark and really doesn’t connect with audiences.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Musically, the second album by the Rainmakers is more diverse, and has better and more varied arrangements than their debut record. Yet, the songs on this go around seem bitter, a bit detached, and less humorous for the most part.

Bob Walkenhorst also tries to be a bit more serious at times, and there he’s more heavy handed than poignant, and that takes away from the musical improvement.

Still, “Wages of Sin” and “Rainmaker” are pretty good 80’s alternative / college rock, and some of the other cuts only falter because they do sound dated a bit. Yet, it’s still kind of a disappointment after the way the college crowd jumped on their first one.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Stephen King (the author, not the asshat congressman) was a fan and quoted their lyrics in a couple of his books.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, leftover cuts and B-sides 

GRADE: B-: Enough decent stuff to make it passable, but it’s still rather much a lyrical disappointment.

La Bamba – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

ARTIST: Various (Mostly Los Lobos)                         220px-Labambasounds

TITLE: La Bamba



SINGLES: Come On, Let’s Go (#21 US, #18 UK), La Bamba (#1 US, #1 UK), Donna (#83 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: All of them but not these versions.

LINEUP: Los Lobos (8 tracks) with cuts from Howard Huntsberry, Marshall Crenshaw, Brian Setzer, and Bo Diddley

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Big, huge soundtrack (at least sales wise) to the move about the life of Ritchie Valens.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: If you weren’t going to use the original songs by Ritchie Valens and others (and just WHY NOT – I mean, they sound great now), then having Los Lobos record the Ritchie Valens was the least you could do.

It struck gold. The movie made a big box office impression, and the soundtrack hit the charts and made Los Lobos a household name, at least for a summer.

Yet, now, it seems unnecessary. Every song on here is found easily on the web in the original forms, and while Los Lobos does a great and reverent job with the Valens tracks, they’d be the first to tell you that you need to have the originals.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: I don’t need to tell you the title track was Los Lobos only #1 hit.


GRADE: C-: Not necessary in this day and time.