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Happy 40th Trans-Europe Express

April 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Trans-Europe-Express.jpg

by Raul

Trans-Europe Express was released March 21st 1977, the sixth release by German electronic music band Kraftwerk.

This release came about through friends expressing to the band members that they should write an album based on the railway that connected 130 cities in Europe, running west from Spain east to Austria and from Denmark to the south of Italy.

Kraftwerk founding members Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider met with David Bowie and Iggy Pop prior to the recording of Trans-Europe Express and were so flattered by the attention they were giving by both artists that references of the two can be found in the lyrics on the album.

Though the release was given lukewarm reviews upon its release, it’s been a heavy influence on a wide variety of bands and genres to follow such as Joy Division, Afrika Bambaataa, and Radiohead to name a few. Forty years later, it still holds its own.

Ramones’ “Leave Home” Turns 40

January 11, 2017 Leave a comment

LeaveHome.jpg

by Raul

This week marks the 40th anniversary of Leave Home, the Ramones’ follow up to their classic debut album.

On January 10, 1977 the Ramones avoided the sophomore jinx with the release of the album that had a higher production value, but with the same upbeat three chord magic that made their eponymous debut a groundbreaking classic. The title of Leave Home is a reference to the band leaving New York to tour the world.

The front cover was designed by the same artist who worked with the Rolling Stones on Black and Blue and the back art was the first appearance of the now iconic Ramones logo.

There were three singles from Leave Home: “I Remember You,” “Swallow My Pride,” and “Carbona Not Glue.” The last was pulled from the album after it was released due to a trademark on Carbona, a popular stain removal product at the time. It was replaced in the UK with “Babysitter” and in the U.S. with “Sheena is a Punk Rocker,” which is also on Rocket To Russia. The 2001 expanded edition contains all three songs.

Leave Home sounds just as good now as it did 40 years ago. If that’s not proof that you can’t kill rock n roll, I don’t know what is!!

Blur: Reissued

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

by Mari Stauffer

So what’s all the fuss about the year 2012? Well, Mayan prophecies aside, 2012 marks 21 years since British band Blur released its debut album Leisure. I distinctly remember hearing the single “There’s No Other Way” on the radio before the album came out in the U.S. That is one catchy track! The simple guitar hook in the beginning drew me in right away, only to be accompanied by the signature “Madchester” syncopated drumming and Damon Albarn’s lackadaisical vocal musings. This combination ensured my love of not only the song, but this entire album.

Leisure came out on the heels of the “Madchester” music scene, known for mixing rock, usually on the psychedelic side, with dance music (think Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Charlatans U.K., New Order…). The whole album has many of these musical elements. Some tracks have a more shoegaze feel, with a droney guitar sound. There are also moments of more Smiths/Cure-like jangles and mesmerizing reverb. As prevalent as the syncopated beats are, there are some slower, more exploratory tracks which give the listener a glimpse into future Blur endeavors. I swear I can hear an embryonic sound of the Gorillaz in one of the songs. Many critics claim Leisure to be the least developed of all the Blur albums, but it still remains one of my very favorites. This is a simpler Blur, as they came upon the music scene. Even though it may not sound as technically complex as future albums, it is still, no doubt about it, a Blur album complete with signature Blur elements (observational lyrics of daily English life, anyone?), not the least of which is the Brit-pop sound for which they have become so well known.

To mark the 21st anniversary of Leisure, the band has reissued every studio album they’ve released (7) on CD as well as vinyl. Each CD comes with a bonus disc, with b-sides and previously unreleased gems. Each vinyl record has also been remastered, and are double records, with the exception of Leisure. Come into Streetlight to check out these special releases. Happy 21st to one of my very favorite bands!

Cheers, mates!