Tag: 1999

The Greenhornes – Gun for You

ARTIST: The Greenhornes 220px-Gun_For_You

TITLE: The Greenhornes

YEAR RELEASED: 1999

CHART ACTION:  No

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not by them

LINEUP: Craig Fox, Patrick Keefer, Jack Lawrence, Brian Olive, Jared McKinney

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Cincy-area garage band’s debut is a homage to the 60’s garage era, but it’s a flat celebration.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Greenhorne’s first record sounded like they were the cousins of the Detroit area garage revival. The sound is dominated by Jared McKinney’s organ and Craig Fox’s garage-era front-man swagger. Yet it seems more like a copy than a truly inspired original.

They definitely know the sound and the motif. But what’s missing is some spark. The production doesn’t do them any favors, either. It sounds flat, and it’s possible they were rushed in recording and mixing.

They’d sort it all out soon enough, but this is one to pass up unless you need to complete your collection.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: One cover is “Wake Me, Shake Me” by the Blues Project

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE C: It’s just a flat record (and not the shape). They’d do better work soon enough. EXILED

Eminem – The Slim Shady LP

ARTIST: Eminem 220px-Eminem_-_The_Slim_Shady_LP_CD_cover

TITLE: The Slim Shady LP

YEAR RELEASED: 1999

CHART ACTION: #2 US, #10 UK

SINGLES: My Name Is (#36 US, #18 R&B, #37 Alternative, #10 Rap, #2 UK), Role Model (#111 Rap),  Guilty Conscience (#56 R&B, #5 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: 97 Bonnie & Clyde

LINEUP: Eminem, Dr. Dre, Bass Brothers, Mel-Man

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Eminem’s major debut establishes his Slim Shady persona to the masses.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Eminem had released an album and an EP to crickets (or worse) in Detroit, but thanks to participating in a battle in LA, his EP found his way to Interscope records, and to Dr. Dre. The rest…history.

This record is uncompromising, raw, brutal at times, and like nothing in the hip-hop world. Instead of glorifying his lifestyle, Eminem tells another tale – tells it how it is living in trailer park squalor working low wage jobs and just trying to scrape by and exaggerating it at times.

While Slim Shady is a character, inhabiting a cartoony world of outrageousness. There’s definitely some lyrics and themes that haven’t aged well (and didn’t go over well then), and “97 Bonnie & Clyde” is just chilling. But his flow is superb and the beats are on point. Despite the lyrics, it’s a great sounding record – just overly long.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: There were several lawsuits about this album, including his mother and a school bully.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Two bonus editions with different versions and mixes.

 GRADE B+: Just a bit long, and a bit over the top.

Drive By-Truckers – Pizza Deliverance

ARTIST: Drive-By Truckers                220px-Pdeliv

TITLE:  Pizza Deliverance

YEAR RELEASED: 1999

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Bulldozers and Dirt

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe at shows, but this wasn’t widely released until they hit it big.

LINEUP: Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Rob Malone, Matt Lane. Help from John Neff, Barry Sell, Earl Hicks, and Adam Howell.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After some turnover, the DBT’s second album shows Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley solidifying the sound and story idioms of the band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There’s more rock here in this second effort by the Drive-By Truckers (“Nine Bullets”), but still the band is rooted in the traditional country music vibe using mandolins, banjos, and former member John Neff’s pedal steel guitar. The DBT’s Patterson Hoods; view of the South and the USA from the perspective of the south carries through this album.

Hood’s wry sense of humor is present in “Too Much Sex (Too Little Jesus)” and other cuts, and his story telling about small yet memorable events is put forward as well with “The Night GG Allin Came to Town”.

Still, this record could have used some editing and trimming. Again, the songs linger perhaps a bridge or verse too long, and that makes some lose interest as the album goes forward.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: After this album, the marathon DBT’s tours started across the country.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B: An improvement as the band moves toward the well-known DBT sound.

 

Frank Black & The Catholics – Pistolero

ARTIST: Frank Black & the Catholics              220px-Fb-pistolero

TITLE: Pistolero

YEAR RELEASED: 1999

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: I Gotta Move

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Bad Harmony, I Love Your Brain.

LINEUP: Frank Black, Scott Boutier, David McCaffery, Rich Gilbert

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album from Frank Black’s group continues his foray into straight rock and roll. The songs are a bit more off-kilter in a Frank Black way.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “More Rock!” is what Frank Black decreed, and thus, the second record from his association with the Catholics rocks in much the same way as the first. Yet here, the songs are more Frank Black-ian, with twists and turns, manic vocals, and off-kilter subjects.

It’s still pretty straight forward, production wise, as it was recorded live to two track. Yet the songs themselves are varied enough to avoid the same-same sound. Black and Rich Gilbert’s guitars mesh well together, though Gilbert’s not as adventurous as Joey Santiago.

It’s not the Pixies, but it’s what we had by him in 1999, and that was fine.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Rich Gilbert became the group’s lead guitarist for this album 

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: A-:  It’s rock, with weirdness, but not really weird rock.

 

Muse – Showbiz

ARTIST: Muse                                 220px-Museshowbizalbumcover

TITLE: Showbix

YEAR RELEASED: 1999

CHART ACTION: #29 UK

SINGLES: Uno (#73 UK), Cave (#52 UK), Muscle Museum (#25 UK), Sunburn (#22 UK), Unintended (#20 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe not, at least not here.

LINEUP: Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme, Dominic Howard

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut from the grandiose, semi-progressive UK group establishes their sound and their air of pomposity, all while being mostly listenable.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Sure, they’ve got some Radiohead in them (a less obtuse and strange Radiohead). Yeah, they’ve got a streak of pretention and gratuitous grandiosity. But darn, if this record doesn’t hook you in for the most part.

The second track, “Muscle Museum” is the album highlight. There’s a definite hook and melody that makes it radio friendly, but the complexity and the production means that it’s not just garden variety radio fare, and the hooks make it a lot more than just a new proggy track by a prog-wanna-be band.

The trio don’t always succeed at what they’re doing. Some of the deeper cuts don’t have the same drive or energy, and it does seem a bit long-ish (hey it was the late 90’s, no edits needed), but this basically established Muse’s base sound, one they’d build on later.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band chose these tracks from 50 or so, with some of the other songs destined for B-sides.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, various versions for digital download, Japan, and the Benelux area. 

GRADE: A-: Sometimes over-wrought, but enough good-to-great tracks to keep you listenting.

Mike Ness – Cheating at Solitaire

ARTIST: Mike Ness                                             220px-CheatingAtSolitaire

TITLE: Cheating at Solitaire

YEAR RELEASED: 1999

CHART ACTION: #80

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Covers Don’t Think Twice, You Win Again, and Long Black Veil

LINEUP: Mike Ness, Josh Freese, Daniel Glass, Chris Lawrence, James Saez, Veikko Lepisto, Mando Dorame. Guests Brian Setzer, Bruce Springstreen and Billy Zoom.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First solo album by long-time Social Distortion frontman shows his rootsy leanings.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s sometimes odd to see a solo album released by someone so identified and in control of their own band. Mike Ness is, for many, Social Distortion, yet when this came out in 1999, Ness showed that he’s got another side of him.

There’s more of a country and roots lean to this collection of songs – many of them are originals and mine the same lyrical content of Social Distortion. But the music has more of a relaxed feel. It’s not uptight and angry, sometimes it’s more weary and matter-of-fact.

There’s some SD still leaking through, and the album seems overly long (15 tracks seems excessive). But it was nice to see Ness branch out a bit.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: A few tracks were leftovers from older Social Distortion albums.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: One extra on the vinyl copies.

GRADE: B:  A bit too long, but a refreshing change up for the most part.

Grant Hart – Good News for Modern Man

ARTIST: Grant Hart mvd6102a

TITLE:  Good News for Modern Man

YEAR RELEASED: 1999

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Hmmm..no. I myself didn’t know this album existed until I started my project.

LINEUP: Grant Hart

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Former co-leader of Husker Du releases second solo album after years of leading Nova Mob, and it’s fairly successful.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Hart’s early solo material was spotty, as was Nova Mob, so it’s refreshing to hear this album as a more complete and whole project. MI0000246702

 

If you were expecting the bile and sturm und drang of Husker Du, it’s not really here. Hart has a gift for melody, and nuance in his playing of multiple instruments that was hidden when all he did was crush his drums. His songwriting is still personal, but there’s a softer side to it, and it doesn’t seem forced.

 

While there are some flaws, at least they’re flaws somewhat in execution and production. The songs are better and it seems more cohesive than his other solo work.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: He released a solo acoustic live album called Ecce Homo in 1994 that is now seemingly gone from most all channels.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: I was rather surprised, since Hart’s work since Husker Du was spotty at best. This shows his songwriting talent is still there.

 

Ted Leo – tej leo(?), Rx / pharmacists

ARTIST: Ted Leo 220px-Ted_Leo_and_the_Pharmacists_-_tej_leo,_Rx-pharmacists_cover

TITLE:  tej leo(?), Rx / pharmacists

YEAR RELEASED: 1999

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Nada

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  Zip

LINEUP: Ted Leo did almost everything, really pert near everything.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Former Chisel member releases confounding solo album which is more of an experiment in found sound and samples than actual music.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: If you were expecting earnest, lyrical and passionate guitar rock on this album, well, think again. This first effort from Leo is more noise than songs, more sound than music.

There are a few great snippets of tracks here and there, but they’re obscured by noise, feedback and weirdness in the tracks themselves, and some tracks are just that.

It’s kind of incomprehensible. I’m exiling this. Sorry Ted.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: One track had him singing in the shower. It sounds like any one of us singing in the shower

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: D+: Sorry, not happening. There are a few minutes of good stuff, but the rest is balderdash. Sorry, Ted.

Isis – The Red Sea

ARTIST: Isis           220px-Isis_Red-Sea

TITLE:  The Red Sea

YEAR RELEASED: 1999

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  None

LINEUP: Jeff Caxide, Aaron Harris, Aaron Turner, Jay Randall or Chris Mereschuk on electronics.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Doom sludge death growl metal infused with some electronics and samples.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first cut is just a noise experiment really, so that’s discarded (it made my head hurt), then we get to the meat of this. ISIS is fusing metallic riffs, time signatures, and repetition into one big stew, plus the addition of some electronics providing texture and sonic depth.

The vocals ain’t pretty, but they’re probably fitting with the material. It’s not music for the faint-hearted. In fact, you have to have a tolerance of noise, death growl and experimental riffing to really get it.

This was kind of a ‘canvas’ for future albums, experimental and dark.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The last few cuts of this was their cassette demo used to get signed..

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: In Japan, one cover version.

GRADE: C+. I myself can deal with some of this, I get it. It’s not their best, nor does some of it really work. But it’s a start.

My Morning Jacket – The Tennessee Fire

ARTIST: My Morning Jacket Mmj_the_tennessee_fire
TITLE: The Tennessee Fire
YEAR RELEASED: 1999
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably none, except MMJ freaks.
LINEUP: Jim James, Johnny Quaid, Two Tone Tommy, J Glenn
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Roots folk-rock-country amalgamation’s debut is drenched in reverb, so much so it makes it hard to hear the majesty of the songs.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Reverb, it’s a good thing in doses. What I really don’t like, personally, are records that are so reverb heavy that it makes it hard to listen to.

That’s the issue with this album for me. James was and is fond of reverb, and he even took to recording his vocals for this album in an empty grain silo. However, it’s just too much.

You can hear glimpses of what makes the band great and powerful in their harmonies. The songs are just as strong as the rest of the MMJ catalog. That reverb, though.
NOTES & MINUTAE: James and the rest of MMJ got together when they were in other bands performing at the same venue. James broke up his band and got together with the other three to form the band and make this album. This may seem odd, but it happens a lot.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: C+-: The songs are good and I hear the potential. I just can’t get around the production. That may be on me, but I stick with this grade. I’m exiling this.