Category: Jim McCabe

The Jam “This is the Modern World”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#899 in the Series) is The Jam, This is the Modern World The punk rock explosion of 1975-1980 made for some strange bed fellows. The Stranglers and Eddie and the Hot Rods were holdovers from the pub rock era. Many claim that the Sex Pistols and Clash were puppets controlled by ego maniacal managers. The Buzzcocks and Undertones were pop tune perfectionists. For the want of an easy title, the media called them all punk. The Jam were thrown under this umbrella. The Jam were formed in 1975 in Woking, Surrey, England by 17 year old singer, writer, guitarist Paul Weller, bassist Bruce Foxton, and drummer Ric Buckler. The trio came together with...

The Shaggs ‘Philosophy of the World’

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (# 873 in the Series) is The Shaggs, Philosophy of the World. Parents. We all think that our kids are special. They are. To us. In 1969, Austin Wiggins thought that his daughters were a musical gift to the world. With little training and experience to go with their poor equipment, the Shaggs were to record an album that would launch Dot, Helen, Betty, and Rachel Wiggin to superstardom. The resulting long player has become a document of great discussion. Is it an amateurish attempt at music? Is it a thing of misunderstood brilliance? Is it to be embraced? Is it to be avoided like the plague? Some of the greatest moments in...

Beach House ‘Bloom’

Posted 27 Jun 2013 in Albums of 2012, Albums of the 10s, Jim McCabe

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#866 in the series) is Beach House, Bloom (Sub Pop) When you think of rock ‘n’ roll epicenters in the colonies you think of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, and Athens (GA.), etc… Of all places, Baltimore has dropped Beach House on us. Baltimore’s two biggest musical exports may be O.A.R. and Good Charlotte. Beach House, at an early point in their career, may already be “Charm City’s” most accomplished band. Beach House is a series of musical contradictions. The name Beach House may give you the impression of warm, breezy, summer tunes (each time you say Beach House there may be some brain activity that wants to link this band...

NEU! “NEU! ’75”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#559 in the Series) is NEU!, NEU! ’75. While not a pro at reviewing albums, I fully understand that you are supposed to wait until the end of an article to pass final judgment on a record. In the case of NEU! ’75, I cannot. This is an all-time masterpiece. NEU! was formed in 1971 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Drummer Klaus Dinger and guitarist Michael Rother had just left an early version of Kraftwerk. Rother and Dinger did not want care for the synthesizer heavy direction that Kraftewerk were headed in and wanted to go in a more guitar oriented vein. NEU! was born. NUE! ’75 is the duo’s third release and bore...

UFO “The Chrysalis Years (1973-1979)”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (# 553 in the Series) is UFO, The Chrysalis Years, (1973-1979). I am going to delay with the normal album review inroduction and substitute it with: IT’S ALL HERE! ALL YOU COULD WANT FROM THIS SEMINAL 1970’S HARD ROCK JUGGERNAUT. AND IT COSTS LESS THAN NINETEEN DOLLARS ON LINE! Now that I have that out of my system…… UFO was a great heavy rock band that my friends and I worshipped as teenagers in suburban Chicago. My first show was UFO at the Aragon Ballroom on October 10, 1975. This group had everything. UFO possessed the piledriving rhythm section of Peter Way (bass) and Andy Parker (drums). They featured serviceable short term...

Cluster “Cluster ’71”

Posted 02 Oct 2011 in 70s, Experimental, Jim McCabe

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (# 512 in the Series) is Cluster, Cluster ’71. This will be the most vague and confusing review that I have written for Cool Album of the Day. It may be the most vague and confusing review ever written on this site. I am completely OK with that. Why? Cluster ’71 is completely different to me every time I listen to it. It’s loud. It’s serene. It’s scary. It makes perfect sense. It’s background noise. It’s the greatest album ever made. One thing is certain, though. It will probably drive people away as it draws me closer. Cluster is a German avant garde collective that was formed in Berlin in 1970. With the...

Ride “Nowhere”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (# 487 in the Series) is Ride, Nowhere. There have been some ridiculous labels for rock music’s subgenres. Acid rock? Math rock? Proto-punk?  The most ridiculous of all is emo (isn’t almost all rock music “emo”tional?). The late 1980’s and early 1990’s gave us shoegazer rock. Shoegazing got its name from musicians who were not very mobile on stage staring at their instruments. It appeared that they were staring at their shoes. Some of the great bands hatched in this period were Lush, Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and Ride. Ride was formed in Oxford, England circa 1988. 1990 witnessed the band releasing 3 EP’s before dropping their debut album, Nowhere,...

Be-Bop Deluxe “Sunburst Finish”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#454 in the Series) is Be-Bop Deluxe, Sunburst Finish. Create a list of 1970’s guitar heroes. Hendrix, Clapton, Richards, Schenker, Gallagher, Ronson, Jones, etc… Be-Bop Deluxe’s Bill Nelson wouldn’t get much mention. He should. Be-Bop Deluxe was a band formed in England in 1972. Classification of Be-Bop is a difficult proposition. In 1972 Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones dominated much of the rock world. Perhaps the most logical comparison may be that Be-Bop Deluxe was a poppier version of Roxy Music. Nelson was definitely the straw that stirred the Be-Bop drink. While each member of the band contributes mightily to the sound, every song builds to a burst...

The Wildhearts “Earth vs. The Wildhearts”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (# 450 in the Series) is The Wildhearts, Earth vs. the Wildhearts. A friend once questioned my musical tastes. “What do you do when you want to mellow out?” I believe that she was telling me that I should listen to her favorite band, the Eagles (something which I would never do). I replied “Watch television or take a nap. Rock and roll is supposed to be fast, loud, aggressive, and a bit obnoxious.” The Wildhearts debut “Earth vs. The Wildhearts” fits this philosophy perfectly. Visualize a blender with equal parts hard rock, glam, and punk in it and you would have England’s The Wildhearts. In 1993, The Wildhearts dropped their debut on...

Art Brut “Bang Bang Rock and Roll”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (# 443 in the Series) is Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll. Sometimes an album that makes perfect sense comes out of nowhere. My friend Fred sent me Art Brut’s 2005 debut years ago. Art Brut writes simple and quick pop songs (the longest tune is 3:45 long). These guys have put the fun back into rock and roll. The absolute star of Art Brut is “singer” and sarcastic front man Eddie Argos. Eddie narrates his songs as much as he sings them. His greatest talent is his bombastic wit and strong sense of cynicism. “Yes, this is my real singing voice” Eddie proclaims. Bang Bang Rock and Roll jumps to a...

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