Category: alternative rock

Damon Albarn presents the Mojo Legend Award to…

Damon Albarn presents the Mojo Legend Award to Ike Turner in 2007.

On this day in music history: May 10, 1994 – &…

On this day in music history: May 10, 1994 – “Weezer” (aka “The Blue Album”), the debut album by Weezer is released. Produced by Ric Ocasek, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City from August – September 1993. Formed in 1992 by lead guitarist and vocalist Rivers Cuomo, drummer Patrick Wilson, bassist Matt Sharp and rhythm guitarist Jason Cropper, Weezer are playing live gigs only months afterward. Continuing to rehearse and write songs, within a year, the band begin drawing major label attention and are signed to Geffen subsidiary DGC Records in 1993. The band are paired with Cars co-founder and lead singer Ric Ocasek who signs on to produce their debut album. During the recording, Jason Cropper quits the band and he is replaced by Brian Bell. Weezer’s unique musical sensibility which combines punk and metal attitude with strong power pop guitar riffs and hooks, are counterbalanced by the band’s own shy and nerdy demeanor. The first single “Undone – The Sweater Song”, is supported with a quirky and innovative low budget video directed by Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”, “Adaptation”), that becomes an immediate hit on MTV. Jonze also directs the video for the follow up single “Buddy Holly” (#2 Modern Rock, #18 Hot 100 Airplay), in which the band are digitally morphed into clips from the classic sitcom “Happy Days”, playing on stage in Arnold’s Drive-In. Using the same green screen techniques employed by Industrial Light & Magic on the film “Forrest Gump”, Weezer’s performance footage is seamlessly blended in with the film clips from the series. Also featuring a cameo appearance by actor Al Molinaro, the video is another huge MTV favorite, winning four MTV VMA awards in 1995 including Best Alternative Video and Breakthrough Video. The album spins off a third and final single with “Say It Ain’t So” (#7 Modern Rock, #51 Hot 100 Airplay). In time, Weezer’s debut album will come to be regarded as one of the best albums of the 90’s. In 2004, it is remastered and reissued as a two disc Deluxe Edition. The first disc features the original ten track album, with disc two containing fourteen tracks, including B-sides, unreleased track, live acoustic recordings and alternate mixes. Originally released on vinyl in very limited quantities in 1994, it is reissued briefly in 2002 by Geffen Records. In 2012, it is released as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, pressed on blue marbled vinyl, and by Back To Black (UK & Europe on standard black vinyl). A hybrid SACD is also issued by the label in 2014. Another vinyl reissue released by Geffen/UMe with Direct Metal Mastering, and includes a poster is released in 2016. “Weezer” peaks at number sixteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 4, 1993 – “R…

On this day in music history: May 4, 1993 – “Rid Of Me”, the second studio album by PJ Harvey is released. Produced by Steve Albini, it is recorded at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN in December 1992. Following up her critically acclaimed debut album “Dry” from the year before, British musician Polly Jean Harvey and her band come to the US to work with famed indie rock producer Steve Albini (Pixies, The Jesus Lizard, Nirvana) on their second album. The album is recorded over a two week period, with the bulk of the recording being done in only three days. Its hard edged “claustrophobic sound” combined with Harvey’s highly personal lyrics and wildly dynamic vocals, makes an immediate impact. Upon its release, “Rid” draws major acclaim and praise from both the underground and mainstream rock press as well as fans. In time, it is regarded as one of the best alternative rock albums of the 90’s. The album’s now iconic cover shot (taken by photographer Maria Mochnacz in her bathroom) features a photo of Harvey posed topless (cropped at the upper chest) swinging her wet hair upward. The photo is taken in total darkness with the camera flash providing the only illumination for the final image. “Rid Of Me” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, and one hundred fifty eight on the Billboard Top 200.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: May 3, 1982 – “P…

On this day in music history: May 3, 1982 – “Pornography”, the fourth studio album by The Cure is released. Produced by Phil Thornalley and The Cure, it is recorded at RAK Studio One in London from January – February 1982. Part three in a trilogy of albums that includes “Seventeen Seconds” and “Faith”, much of the material is written and recorded while The Cure is in a state of flux. With leader Robert Smith battling depression, drug use and in-fighting threaten to tear the band apart. The situation becomes so intense that it drives bassist Simon Gallup to quit after the sessions conclude, reducing the band to a duo of just Smith and Laurence Tolhurst. At first, The Cure’s label Fiction Records is not enamored of the record and feels that it will not sell. The band’s manager Chris Parry has co-producer Phil Thornalley “polish up” the track “The Hanging Garden” (#34 UK) for single release, feeling it has the best chance of being a potential hit. In spite of the labels doubts, it becomes a career defining release for the band, and a high water mark for the goth music genre and subculture. Only The Cure’s second album to receive a release in the US, it is licensed to A&M Records, before being reissued by Elektra Records in 1988 who acquires the band’s back catalog after signing with them. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2005, as a two disc Deluxe Edition. The first disc features the original eight track album, with the second disc containing fourteen bonus tracks including demos and live performances from the time of its original release. “Pornography” peaks at number eight on the UK album chart.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228 

On this day in music history: May 1, 1989 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 1, 1989 – “Disintegration”, the eighth studio album by The Cure released. Produced by David M. Allen and Robert Smith, it is recorded at Hookend Recording Studios in Checkendon, Oxfordshire, UK from November 1988 – February 1989. After the breakthrough success of The Cure’s 1987 album “Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me”, bandleader Robert Smith finds himself at odds, with the tidal wave of fame and mainstream exposure, that comes his way. Newly engaged to his childhood sweetheart Mary Poole, she and Smith move to the Maida Vale district of London, in semi seclusion to get away from the press and fans. Feeling pressured to follow up “Kiss Me”, and depressed at the prospect of turning thirty, Smith begins taking LSD to cope. The result is a return to the bands dark, gothic sound of years past. Upon hearing the finished album, The Cure’s US record label Elektra Records feel that Smith and the band have committed “commercial suicide”, by making a deliberately “gloomy” record. They even go as far as asking Smith, to push back the release date of the album, feeling that it is “willfully obscure”. To everyone’s surprise, it becomes The Cure’s most commercially successful album. “Disintegration” also is the final Cure album to credit founding member Laurence “Lol” Tolhurst, who is fired during the recording sessions. Originally The Cure’s drummer and later keyboardist, his contributions to the band diminish throughout the 80’s, as his drinking and drug taking escalate. It’s later revealed that Tolhurst did not play on the album at all, but Robert Smith gives his old friend partial songwriting credit along with the other band members. It spins off four singles including “Fascination Street” (#1 Modern Rock, #46 Pop), “Lullaby” (#5 UK, #74 US Pop) and “Love Song” (#2 US Pop, #18 UK), the latter becomes The Cure’s biggest single in the US. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2010 as triple CD deluxe edition, featuring the original album on the first disc, the second disc featuring demos and tracks as works in progress. The third CD features an expanded version of the live album “Entreat” (titled “Entreat Plus”) including all twelve songs from “Disintegration” performed live. It is also reissued on vinyl as a 180 gram double vinyl LP, releasing the full album in that format in its entirety for the first time. Original LP pressings released on a single disc omitting “Homesick” and “Last Dance”. This is done to improve the vinyl LP’s sound quality. At nearly seventy two minutes, the full album is too long to fit on two LP sides comfortably.  "Disintegration" peaks at number three on the UK album chart, number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: April 30, 1996 -…

On this day in music history: April 30, 1996 – “To The Faithful Departed”, the third album by The Cranberries is released. Produced by Bruce Fairbairn and The Cranberries, it is recorded at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland from November – December 1995. Coming off of the multi-Platinum success of their first two albums “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?” and “No Need To Argue”, The Cranberries keep moving, even after the exhaustive grind of recording and touring over the previous two and a half years. After the tour for “Argue”, the band return the studio almost immediately after it concludes in the Fall of 1995. Looking to move away from the softer sound of their previous albums, they make an unpredictable choice in selecting the producer for their next release. Best known for his work with Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and AC/DC, Bruce Fairbairn seems like a highly unlikely choice for the Irish alt-rock band. The album’s title makes reference to losses experienced in The Cranberries inner circle, including mentor Denny Cordell and Dolores O’Riordan’s beloved grandfather, who had both passed during the recording of the album, and is dedicated to their memories. The harder edge the band adopts on “Departed” meets with mixed results from the band’s fans. Receiving critical praise, it sells substantially less (1.5 million copies in the US) compared to five million for their debut and seven million plus for their sophomore release. The album is reissued in 2002 as “To The Faithful Departed (The Complete Sessions 1996-1997)”, and features four additional bonus tracks from the original recording sessions, but left off the first release. “To The Faithful Departed” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: April 30, 1984…

On this day in music history: April 30, 1984 – “The Top”, the fifth studio album by The Cure is released. Produced by David M. Allen, Chris Parry and Robert Smith, it is recorded at Genetic Studios, Garden Recording Studios, and Trident Studios in London from Late 1983 – Early 1984. After the surprise chart success of the singles “Let’s Go To Bed”, “The Walk” and “The Love Cats” in The Cure’s home country of Great Britain, Robert Smith decides to move the band away from its dark and morose goth-rock sound. Smith moves towards more accessible and pop oriented material, but still maintains a quirky and experimental edge. At this point, the band consists mainly of Smith and keyboardist Laurence Tolhurst, with bassist Simon Gallup having quit prior to the sessions, and the other members having left prior to that time. “The Top” is virtually a solo album by Smith with him playing most of the instruments himself, augmented by Tolhurst who has switched from playing drums to keyboards, drummer Andy Anderson, saxophonist Porl Thompson (later switching to guitar) and bassist Phil Thornalley. It spins off the single “The Caterpillar” (#14 UK). It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2006 as a two CD Deluxe Edition. The first disc contains the original ten track album, with disc two featuring demos, rough mixes and live performances. Long out of print on vinyl, it is reissued in Europe for Record Store Day in 2012 as a limited edition gold vinyl pressing. It is reissued on vinyl in the US by Rhino Records in 2016. “The Top” peaks at number ten on the UK album chart and number one hundred eighty on the Billboard Top 200.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: April 26, 1994 -…

On this day in music history: April 26, 1994 – “Throwing Copper”, the second album by Live is released. Produced by Jerry Harrison, it is recorded at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN from July – September 1993. Issued as the follow up to their modestly successful debut “Mental Jewelry”, it is the breakthrough release for the York, PA based rock band. The album sells slowly at first, but gradually gains momentum over the next year, with the band touring relentlessly in support of it. All of this helps it become a huge hit on both Modern and Mainstream rock radio, spinning off four singles including “I Alone” and “Lightning Crashes”. “Throwing Copper” finally hits number one on the Billboard Top 200 in its fifty second week on the chart, making it the sixth slowest climb in history to the top of the pop album chart. Originally released on a very limited basis on black and clear vinyl in 1994, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Music On Vinyl in 2012. It is issued on standard black vinyl and copper colored vinyl, with the latter limited to 1,000 numbered copies. A second colored vinyl pressing limited to only 400 copies is released in 2014 as an exclusive through Concerto & Plato record stores in the Netherlands. “Throwing Copper” is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

Born on this day: April 21, 1959 – Singer, son…

Born on this day: April 21, 1959 – Singer, songwriter and founder of The Cure, Robert Smith (born Robert James Smith in Blackpool, UK). Happy 60th Birthday, Robert!!

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

Born on this day: April 21, 1959 – Singer, son…

Born on this day: April 21, 1959 – Singer, songwriter and founder of The Cure, Robert Smith (born Robert James Smith in Blackpool, UK). Happy 60th Birthday, Robert!!

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228