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Thursday, September 29, 2005

#817 - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Devo

"The über-dorks who made America uncomfortable for a couple years in the 1980s, Devo have emerged as one of the most influential bands of the decade, thanks to this 1978 debut. Not only did they make New Wave safe for the masses, they gleefully turned rock 'n' roll icons on their heads without forgetting to make music that rocks. See "Uncontrollable Urge" for proof." (real music guide)

#816 - Fisherman's Blues, The Waterboys

"Stripping away some of the U2-like arena ambition that popped up in their early releases, Mike Scott and the Waterboys found a perfect niche on this fantastic 1988 LP. The album plays like an Irish version of the Band or Fairport Convention: simple folk songs delivered within a rock context, sounding very much alive." (real music guide)

#815 - Rocket to Russia, The Ramones

"The Ramones provided the blueprint and Leave Home duplicated it with lesser results, but the Ramones' third album, Rocket to Russia, perfected it. Rocket to Russia boasts a cleaner production than its predecessors, which only gives the Ramones' music more force. It helps that the group wrote its finest set of songs for the album." (allmusic guide)

#814 - Leftoverture, Kansas

"Kansas wasn't new in ‘76--the group had escaped Topeka, Kansas, to record several albums with CBS, including the exciting Masque and Song for America. They joined the arena circuit via Leftoverture's "Carry on My Wayward Son," an instant hit with its explosive vocal arrangement and indelible guitar riff. For straight-ahead rockers ("What's on My Mind") and ornate epics (the five-part suite "Magnum Opus"), guitarist Kerry Livgren and keyboardist Steve Walsh dramatically pair vocal harmonies over classical- and jazz-inspired structures." (amazon editorial review)

#813 - Traffic, Traffic

"Considering that Traffic couldn't seem to stay intact for more than a few months at a time, the band's work seems even more remarkable. Recorded in the summer of 1968 and released later that fall, Traffic, the band's sophomore release, stands as the outfit's high-water mark and one of the great rock albums of its time...There's not a weak moment across these 10 songs. By fusing bits of country and folk, wisps of psychedelia, and elements of jazz and soul, the album managed to both presage and summarize the ambitious developments of rock music during its most creative era." (amazon editorial review)

#812 - It's Only Rock & Roll, The Rolling Stones

"It's uneven, but at times It's Only Rock 'n Roll catches fire. The songs and performances are stronger than those on Goats Head Soup; the tossed-off numbers sound effortless, not careless. Throughout, the Stones wear their title as the "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" with a defiant smirk." (allmusic guide)

#811 - Howlin' Wind, Graham Parker

"For most intents and purposes, Graham Parker emerged fully formed on his debut album, Howlin' Wind. Sounding like the bastard offspring of Mick Jagger and Van Morrison, Parker sneers his way through a set of stunningly literate pub rockers. Instead of blindly sticking to the traditions of rock & roll, Parker invigorates them with cynicism and anger, turning his songs into distinctively original works." (allmusic guide)

#810 - Planet Waves, Bob Dylan

"Considering that the record was knocked out in the course of three days, its unassuming nature shouldn't be a surprise, and sometimes it's as much a flaw as a virtue, since there are several cuts that float into the ether. Still, it is a virtue in places, as there are moments -- "On a Night Like This," "Something There Is About You," the lovely "Forever Young" -- where it just gels." (allmusic guide)

#809 - Perfectly Good Guitar, John Hiatt

"The title track is one of Hiatt's all-time best, using smashed guitars as a perfectly realized metaphor for abusive relationships and setting the impressive lyrics to the catchiest chorus of his entire career." (allmusic guide)


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