Category: alternative rock

On this day in music history: December 6, 1994…

On this day in music history: December 6, 1994 – “Vitalogy”, the third album by Pearl Jam is released (the vinyl LP is released on November 22, 1994). Produced by Brendan O’Brien and Pearl Jam, it is recorded at Bad Animals Studios in Seattle, WA, Southern Tracks Recording, Doppler Studios in Atlanta, GA and Kingsway Studios in New Orleans, LA from November 1993 – October 1994. The band writes the material for the album during the tour for their previous release “Vs.”, recording it over a period of eleven months. The original working title for the album is “Life” which is changed to “Vitalogy” (meaning “the study of life”), which is the name of an early twentieth century medical book, of which lead singer Eddie Vedder owns a copy. Text and illustrations from the book are included in the booklet that comes packaged with the album. In an unconventional move, “Vitalogy” is released on vinyl two weeks ahead of the CD and cassette configurations, selling enough copies (35,000 units) for it to actually enter the chart at #55. It drops to #173 in its second week, but leaps to the top of the chart on December 24, 1994, two weeks after the CD and cassette versions are released, selling 877,000 copies that week. It spins off three singles including “Spin The Black Circle” (#18 Pop) and “Better Man” (#13 Pop). Pearl Jam wins the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for “Spin” in 1996. Like the album itself, all three singles are pressed as vinyl 45’s with accompanying picture sleeves. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2011 with three additional bonus tracks, with an exclusive limited edition sold through retailer Best Buy, including a T-shirt. The same year, the vinyl LP is reissued, pressing it as a 180 gram two LP set for better sound quality over the original 1994 release, which was issued as a single LP. The single “Immortality” b/w “Rearviewmirror” is reissued as limited edition 7" replicating the original label and picture sleeve artwork, is released on Record Store Day in 2011 to promote the reissues of the album. “Vitalogy” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: December 6, 1983…

On this day in music history: December 6, 1983 – “Japanese Whispers”, the fifth album by The Cure is released. Produced by Robert Smith, Chris Parry, Steve Nye and Phil Thornalley, it is recorded from November 1982 – April 1983. The set is a compilation put together by the band’s UK label Fiction Records (released in the US initially on Sire Records), and collects their recently released singles “Let’s Go To Bed”, “The Walk” and “The Lovecats” along with their respective B-sides. It remains in print for many years, until it is deleted when compilation albums “Standing On A Beach/Staring At The Sea” and the B-sides box set “Join The Dots”, include all of the material featured on “Whispers”. However, due to its long standing popularity with Cure fans, it is reissued once more on CD in 2006 (Europe only). “Japanese Whispers” peaks at twenty six on the UK album chart, and #181 on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: November 12, 198…

On this day in music history: November 12, 1984 – “Hatful Of Hollow” by The Smiths is released. Produced by John Porter, The Smiths, Roger Pusey and Dale “Buffin” Griffin it is recorded at BBC Radio 1 and Jam Studios in London from Spring 1983 – Summer 1984. The bands’ first compilation album, it is issued just seven months after their debut release. The album compiles single A and B-sides released in the UK, and contains several tracks recorded BBC Radio 1 originally broadcast on shows by DJ’s John Peel and David Jensen. The track “How Soon Is Now?” originally issued as a B-side in the UK is reissued in both the UK and US as a separate A-side in 1985. In spite of its UK success, the album is not released in the US until 1993. Also in 1993, a limited editon vinyl pressing of the album, pressed on two 10" discs is issued in the UK and Europe. “How Soon” is added to US edition of the bands’ second studio album “Meat Is Murder” in 1985. “Hollow” is remastered and reissued on CD and as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2011. “Hatful Of Hollow” peaks at number seven on the UK album chart.

On this day in music history: November 7, 1988…

On this day in music history: November 7, 1988 – “Green”, the sixth album by R.E.M. is released. Produced by Scott Litt and R.E.M., it is recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN and Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, NY from May – September 1988. Fulfilling their contract with I.R.S. Records with their fifth album “Document”, R.E.M. leave the label. Several labels court the band, before deciding on Warner Bros Records. Their decision is based on Warner Bros’ granting them full creative control, though they’re offered more money to sign with other majors. The deal is reported to be worth between $6 and $12 million dollars. The band write and record demos back home in Athens, GA, before moving into Ardent Studios in Memphis. Final recording and mixing are completed at Bearsville Studios in upstate New York. When “Green” is released, R.E.M. make the decision to not release the first track “Orange Crush” (#1 Modern Rock), as a commercial single in the US. Its enigmatic video is rotated heavily on MTV, though does not actually feature R.E.M. in it. The title makes reference to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War, having detrimental affects on all who are exposed to it. The second single is the polar opposite of the previous one. “Stand” (#6 Pop, #1 Modern Rock, #1 Mainstream Rock) is written after a discussion, about “super bubblegummy pop songs” that they had grown up listening to. Wanting to up the ante, lead singer Michael Stipe intentionally writes “the most inane lyrics” he can. “Stand” becomes R.E.M.’s biggest single to date, later used as the theme song for comedian Chris Elliott’s sitcom “Get A Life”. It is also later parodied by “Weird Al” Yankovic as “Spam”. The third single “Pop Song ‘89” (#86 Pop, #14 Modern Rock, #16 Mainstream Rock), is accompanied by a video directed by Stipe. He appears shirtless in the clip, dancing with three other women who are topless. When MTV tells him they have to put black censor bars over the women’s breasts in order for the video to be aired, Stipe asks that they cover his chest with the censor bars stating “a nipple is a nipple”. The final track “Untitled” is not listed on the back cover, and the space where the title is supposed to appear, is left blank. “Green” is another critical and commercial success for R.E.M., spinning off one final single with “Get Up”. The four singles are also issued as a limited edition 7" box set titled “Singleactiongreen”, and is packaged with a poster. “Green” is remastered and reissued on CD and vinyl (the latter does not contain bonus material) in 2013, to commemorate its 25th anniversary, including a live bonus disc recorded in Greensboro, NC in 1989. Five tracks from the live set are released as a limited edition vinyl EP on Record Store Day in April of 2013. “Green” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: November 4, 1987…

On this day in music history: November 4, 1987 – “The Lion And The Cobra”, the debut album by Sinead O’Connor is released. Produced by Sinead O’Connor and Kevin Moloney, it is recorded at Oasis Studio in London from Late 1986 – Mid 1987. The first album by the then twenty year-old Irish singer and songwriter features musical support from Adam & The Ants guitarist Marco Pirroni and singer Enya. It spins off three singles including “Mandinka”, whose video receives heavy airplay on MTV, and “I Want Your (Hands On Me)” (duet with MC Lyte on the remixed version). The latter appears in the film “Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”. O’Connor receives a Grammy nomination for “Mandinka” in 1989, performing the song on the live Grammy telecast. The albums cover photo (taken by Kate Garner of the band Haysi Fantayzee) features different photos of the singer. The original European release uses a shot of O’Connor with her arms crossed in mid-scream. The US cover uses similar shot with her in a more subdued and pensive pose. Out of print on vinyl since the early 90’s, the album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Music On Vinyl in 2015, featuring the original European cover photo. “The Lion And The Cobra” peaks at number thirty six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 24, 1995…

On this day in music history: October 24, 1995 – “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness”, the third album by The Smashing Pumpkins is released. Produced by Billy Corgan, Alan Moulder and Flood, it is recorded at Pumpkinland, Sadlands, Bugg Studios, The Chicago Recording Company in Chicago, IL, and The Village Recorder in West Los Angeles, CA, from March – August 1995. Following the back to back successes of their breakthrough album “Siamese Dream” and the covers album “Pisces Iscariot”, Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan is anxious to push the boundaries of his bands’ music even further. Inspired by classic records like The Beatles’ “White Album”, Corgan is looking to make an extended musical statement by creating something akin to “The Wall” for Generation X". The band significantly changes their approach to recording by beginning the sessions in their rehearsal space. Also, instead of working with producer Butch Vig again, Corgan co-produces the album with Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Nine Inch Nails) and Flood (U2, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode). Unlike the previous albums, guitarist James Iha and bassist D’Arcy Wretzky take a more proactive role during the sessions (rather than Corgan playing nearly all of the instruments, with the exception of drums, played by drummer Jimmy Chamberlin). As a result, recording moves ahead much faster, with the band cutting nearly three dozen new songs, before paring it down to the final twenty eight used for the final track listing. Split into two CD’s titled “Dawn To Dusk” (disc one) and “Twilight To Starlight” (disc two), and as a limited (to 5,000 copies on the original pressing) triple vinyl LP with the individual sides titled “Dawn”, “Tea Time”, “Dusk”, “Twilight”, “Midnight”, and “Starlight”. While not technically a concept album, the songs articulate Billy Corgan’s personal journey from his teenage years to his adult life at that point. The album is released to a rapturous response, and is regarded as one of the best of the 90’s. It spins off a total of five singles including “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”, “Zero”, “Tonight, Tonight”, and “1979”, all of which receive heavy play on MTV. The video for “Tonight, Tonight” wins six MTV VMA Awards including Video Of The Year in 1996. It is nominated for seven Grammy Awards including Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year (“1979”), winning the award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1997. The album is remastered, remixed and reissued in 2012 as a six CD/one DVD set, containing demos, unreleased takes and mixes not used on the original album. The DVD includes performances from two shows on the “Mellon Collie” tour from 1996. “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness” debuts at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.

On this day in music history: October 22, 1991…

On this day in music history: October 22, 1991 – “Girlfriend”, the third album by Matthew Sweet is released. Produced by Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet, it is recorded at Axis Studios in New York City from Early – Mid 1990. Inspired by the break up of Sweet’s marriage, the album features the musician with a number of guest musicians including guitarists Robert Quine, Richard Lloyd (Television), and The Indigo Girls. Released on RCA’s Zoo Records imprint, its sales are only modest, but receives significant support from college radio and commercial AAA format and Modern Rock stations. The album draws raves from critics and fans, and is regarded as one of the great power pop albums of all time. The album spins off two singles including the title track (#4 Mainstream Rock). The cover artwork features a photo of actress Tuesday Weld. The album is remastered and reissued in 2006, with live recordings, demos and acoustic versions of several songs included as bonus tracks. Initially released on only CD and cassette, the album is reissued on vinyl in 2014. The first LP release is a limited edition 180 gram vinyl pressing from audiophile label Classic Records in 1995,that quickly goes out of print, and becomes a pricey collectors item. The vinyl release is reissued again in 2017 by Music On Vinyl. An expanded edition of “Girlfriend"is released as a double 180 gram LP set, and as a hybrid SACD (to follow in December of 2018) by Intervention Records in September of 2018. "Girlfriend” peaks at number one hundred on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: October 10, 2007…

On this day in music history: October 10, 2007 – “In Rainbows”, the seventh album by Radiohead is released. Produced by Nigel Godrich, it is recorded at Canned Applause in Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK, Tottenham House in Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK, Halswell House in Taunton, Somerset, UK and Hospital Studios in Covent Garden, Westminster, UK in from February 2005 – June 2007. Fulfilling their contract with EMI Records in 2003 with “Hail To The Thief”, Radiohead follow it with a world tour. The band then take an extended hiatus to rest and tend to their growing families. Re-grouping in early 2005, it is without their long time producer Nigel Godrich who is busy at the time working with Beck. The band then hire producer Mark “Spike” Stent, best known for his work with U2 and Björk. After a year in the studio, the producer goes over the material, and bluntly tells them the songs “aren’t good enough”. The band break ties with Stent and work on the project stops. They then embark on their first tour in over two years, also using the shows to test new material written during this time. In October of 2006, the band reconnect with Godrich and work resumes on their seventh album, quickly putting them back on the right path. Feeling that “Hail To The Thief” was over long, they pare the work in progress down to the best ten songs for the main release. When recording wraps in the late Spring of 2007, there comes the task of how to release their new album. Titled “In Rainbows”, Radiohead take the unprecedented step of issuing it as a “pay what your want” MP3 digital download for exactly two months prior to the physical release. Though receiving some criticism for the move, it is enthusiastically received by the public, selling over 1.2 million digital downloads. Along side the standard single CD and vinyl LP release, the album is made available as a mail order only limited box set that contains the standard ten song CD, a bonus CD with eight additional tracks, and enhanced content with artwork, photos and song lyrics. The lavish “discbox” package also includes a double vinyl LP set mastered at 45 RPM. Issued in the UK through XL Recordings and in the US on TBD Records through Red Distribution in early December of 2007, It enters the UK and US album charts at #1, making it only the tenth indie distributed album to top the charts in the US. It receives seven Grammy nominations in 2009, winning two awards for Best Alternative Album and Best Special Limited Edition Package for the limited release. It makes history and proves to be a game changer, showing an album can be successfully marketed and promoted without major record label support. The Eagles also follow suit, issuing their album “Long Road Out Of Eden” through mass market retailer Wal-Mart, rather than through a major label with similar success. “In Rainbows” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 8, 1991 …

On this day in music history: October 8, 1991 – “Badmotorfinger”, the third album by Soundgarden is released. Produced Soundgarden and Terry Date, it is recorded at Studio D in Sausalito, CA, Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, WA, and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from March – April 1991. The Seattle based bands second major label album is the first to feature new bassist Ben Shepherd, replacing Jason Everman (who leaves to join Mind Funk). it spins off three singles including “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage” and “Jesus Christ Pose”. The album becomes their most successful to date and helps break the grunge rock movement from its cult underground following into mainstream popularity. When Soundgarden lands a slot on the second Lollapalooza Tour in 1992, the album adds a limited edition five song EP titled “Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas” (or SOMMS) featuring covers of rock and new wave classics. The album also receives a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 1992, with their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Into The Void (Sealth)” on the “SOMMS” EP receiving a nomination in the same category in 1993. To commemorate the twenty fifth anniversary of the albums’ release, it is remastered and reissued in November of 2016. It is reissued as a standard single CD, a two disc deluxe edition and as an elaborate limited Super Deluxe box set edition. The box contains three CD’s with the first two consisting of the original twelve song album and sixteen bonus tracks. The third disc features a full live performance recorded at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, WA on March 6, 1992. The full concert is also included on a DVD packaged with the set, and a second DVD featuring the “Motorvision” home video release from 1992, originally issued only on VHS tape. It also includes additional live performances, with the original music videos for “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage” and “Jesus Christ Pose”. The final disc is a Blu-ray disc including the full album in high resolution audio and remixed into 5.1 surround sound. The lavish box also comes with a fifty two page booklet, fully annotated with rare photos and new artwork. Other collectible artifacts come with the set, which is housed in a 14" x 14" box that comes emblazoned with the album cover logo which is battery powered and spins when switched on. The album is also reissued as a double 180 gram vinyl LP set. “Badmotorfinger” peaks at number thirty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 6, 199…

On this day in music history: October 6, 1992 – “Automatic For The People”, the eighth album by R.E.M. is released. Produced by Scott Litt and R.E.M., it is recorded at Bearsville Studios in Bearsville, NY, Criteria Studios in Miami, FL, John Keane Studio in Athens, GA, Kingsway Studios in New Orleans, LA, and Bosstown Studios in Atlanta, GA, from Late 1991 – Mid 1992. Issued as the follow up to the hugely successful “Out Of Time”, much like its predecessor, the overall mood of the album is quiet and subdued, though the lyrical tone of the songs are decidedly darker with many dealing with mortality. The band originally intend for it to be a “harder rocking album”, but does not come out that way, when they are unsatisfied with the thirty songs that are written and demoed. Instead, they take a more unorthodox approach to writing the songs. Instead of playing their usual instruments, drummer Bill Berry plays bass during the writing sessions, with bassist Mike Mills playing organ or piano, and guitarist Peter Buck playing mandolin. Composing songs without the presence of drums, has an overall affect on the feel of the finished product. The album takes its title from a phrase off of the sign of a soul food restaurant (Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods) located in the bands’ hometown of Athens, GA. The actual image pictured on the cover is from the sign in front of the Sinbad Motel in Miami, FL. It spins off five singles including “Drive” (#1 Modern Rock, #28 Pop), “Man On The Moon” (#4 Modern Rock) and “Everybody Hurts” (Modern Rock #21, #29 Pop). Written about late comedian Andy Kaufman, “Man On The Moon” also becomes the title of a biopic starring Jim Carrey as Kaufman, and directed by Miloš Forman. Some CD copies come in a limited edition wooden pine box. It also contains sixteen cards with artwork and photographs printed on vellum. In 2003, it is reissued as a hybrid DualDisc, and as a DVD-A disc, with the latter featuring DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mixes, and the original stereo mix in high resolution. For its twenty fifth anniversary in 2017, it is remastered and reissued as a three CD + Blu-ray box set. The extras include a live concert performance recorded at The 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA. Also previously unreleased demo recordings, many of songs not being re-recorded for the final album. The Blu-ray features a new remix in Dolby True-HD 7.1 sound, and with the standard stereo mix in high resolution sound (with one additional bonus track. The Blu-ray also contains seven music videos, as well as the original electronic press kit video. Initially issued on limited edition vinyl on its original 1992 release (with sides one and two titled “DRIVE” and “RIDE”), it is briefly reissued in Europe in 1999. The album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2017. “Automatic For The People” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.