30/30 classic review post-rock rock

slint – spiderland (1991)

The opening licks on ‘Breadcrumb Trail’ do not imply the sprawling jam of ‘Spiderland,’ nor do they show any signs of its nocturnal ambience. This record flooded from the basement of a band not doing as well as they could, while playing with a pointed creative privilege. The introspection means that they cannot flail outwardly. […]

30/30 blues classic review folk rock

bob dylan – blonde on blonde (1966)

Clarice Lispector’s 1973 work ‘Agua Viva’ is written in the syllabic flow of a perfect novel, but expressed through streaming narratives and hellishly opaque metaphor. An outline. I think Bob Dylan had the same idea on ‘Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ – to write passively with lyrical latitude and have faith that between alien […]

30/30 classic review classical

franz schubert – winterreise (1828)

Six months after his only commercially successful concert, Schubert died of an illness that history has since crosshatched as syphilis and/or typhoid fever. Despite the elemental desolation of Winterreise, it is ecstatic in movement—dropping low and leaping in a daze to touch the sun. The strict, often slow, tempo jousts with liquidus emotions that would […]

30/30 classic review punk rock

7 year bitch – ¡viva zapata! (1994)

We expend a lot of energy trying not to be irritable, so when anger rises it rouses the question of whether to silence it or push forward. That, of course, depends on stimuli. For 7 Year Bitch, the stimulus was the death of their guitarist, Stefanie Sargent, and the brutal murder of their friend, The […]

30/30 classic review pop rock

the velvet underground – loaded (1970)

Of all the terms I read when scanning the mixed user reviews for Loaded, ‘lukewarm’ struck me the most. This was the Velvet Underground record that intended to leave the warehouse and make love to the radio (almost literally on Rock & Roll). The blueprint foretold breezy, warm, and painless tracks, where the droning sonic […]

30/30 classic review classical post-rock

glenn branca – the ascension (1981)

“The only reason why I ever even bother to pay the slightest attention to this fucking world is because I love music.” – G.B Few records will ever ask as many questions about rock or life as Glenn Branca’s The Ascension. In Branco’s 1981, the art world had fossilised and underground ideas were at risk […]

30/30 classic review folk singer-songwriter

elliott smith – either/or (1997)

Elliott Smith packed more melody into a double-tracked whisper than would be expected in a Glee cover of Mariah Carey. He can also say ‘fuck’ with more power than any outlandish, testosterone-steaming ‘rockstar’. Either/Or is like the shadow of a pop hit—Brian Wilson might have written it if he spent the 1960s leaning musically into […]

30/30 classic review jazz

billie holiday – all or nothing at all (1958)

“Why people tear the seam of anyone’s dream is over my head.” Billie Holiday’s life was shaken by clandestine, anti-jazz government officials who sought to disgrace the African American public image. The opening line on All or Nothing At All, sung acapella, creates the image of a single spotlight on her face—everything else silent and […]

30/30 classic review folk

le mystère des voix bulgares – le mystère des voix bulgares: volume 1 (1975)

It’s a miraculous thing when a piece of art is as substantial as it is infinite.  Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares: Volume 1 is a compilation of Bulgarian folk songs, arranged with an avant-garde temper. These sublime tracks signal that while raw materials possess quantitative limits, they are boundless in essence. The voices are simply […]