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Reviews

These musical artists have their own pages on this site. They are all bands or solo artists that I consider worth getting to know; they all have multiple strong albums that I enjoy.

Arcade Fire

For a band, there are essentially two different career trajectories for a recording career. Like Radiohead or The Beatles, you … Continue Reading Arcade Fire

The Band 1969 Album

The Band

The Band started as The Hawks, backing blues belter Ronnie Hawkins, before supporting Dylan on his controversial 1966 electric tour. … Continue Reading The Band

The Beach Boys Pet Sounds

The Beach Boys

As a casual music listener it’s easy to hear The Beach Boys’ sun-drenched hits, and conclude that the Beach Boys were … Continue Reading The Beach Boys

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles

From very early in their career and probably until the demise of Western civilization, Liverpool’s The Beatles will stand unchallenged … Continue Reading The Beatles

Big Star Radio City

Big Star

Formed around former Box Tops lead singer Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, Big Star existed for a brief period of … Continue Reading Big Star

David Bowie Station to Station

David Bowie

Born David Jones, and changing his name to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees, Bowie pottered around as … Continue Reading David Bowie

Jeff Buckley Grace

Jeff Buckley

It’s not an overstatement that Jeff Buckley was one of the most singularly talented musicians of his generation; blessed with a … Continue Reading Jeff Buckley

Vashti Bunyan

English folk-singer Vashti Bunyan has had a unique career trajectory, which started when she recorded a Jagger-Richards song in the … Continue Reading Vashti Bunyan

Kate Bush The Hounds Of Love

Kate Bush

Kate Bush was discovered by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour as a teenager, and placed into a training scheme by … Continue Reading Kate Bush

The Byrds The Notorious Byrd Brothers

The Byrds

The Byrds started as a folk band, but their single ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ crystallised their distinctive sound, with Roger McGuinn’s … Continue Reading The Byrds

John Cale Paris 1919

John Cale

While his former Velvet Underground bandmate Lou Reed enjoyed a larger public profile, John Cale has always been like an … Continue Reading John Cale

The Clash London Calling

The Clash

Perhaps the most celebrated band to emerge from the 1970’s punk movement, The Clash started as a straight-out punk band. But … Continue Reading The Clash

Elvis Costello

Of all the musicians who emerged in the wake of punk in the late 1970s, Elvis Costello perhaps has the … Continue Reading Elvis Costello

Creedence Clearwater Revival

1969 and 1970 were flagship years for rock music, with most major 1960s acts still releasing albums, and exciting new … Continue Reading Creedence Clearwater Revival

Marshall Crenshaw Debut Album

Marshall Crenshaw

Detroit’s Marshall Crenshaw doesn’t belong in a conversation of most important musicians of his generation, but he’s a talented craftsman, … Continue Reading Marshall Crenshaw

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Deja Vu

Crosby, Stills & Nash

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash all started their careers in other notable sixties bands; Crosby left The Byrds … Continue Reading Crosby, Stills & Nash

Crowded House Together Alone

Crowded House

Breaking up Split Enz after feeling too much pressure to fill his older brother’s shoes, Neil Finn retained drummer Paul … Continue Reading Crowded House

The Decemberists The King is Dead

The Decemberists

The band most likely to win a Scrabble tournament, The Decemberists hail from Portland, Oregon, and are notable for flaunting their … Continue Reading The Decemberists

Nick Drake Bryter Layter

Nick Drake

A gentle sounding English folk-singer, Nick Drake hardly caused a ripple during his short life-time; he was too shy to … Continue Reading Nick Drake

Brian Eno Another Green World

Brian Eno

Brian Eno started his musical career as a member of Roxy Music, where he used his synthesiser to treat Phil … Continue Reading Brian Eno

Fairport Convention Liege and Lief

Fairport Convention

Fairport Convention are the focal point for British folk rock of their generation. While they started their career as a … Continue Reading Fairport Convention

Faith No More Angel Dust

Faith No More

Faith No More’s origins go right back to 1979, when the rhythm section of Mike Bordin and Billy Gould formed … Continue Reading Faith No More

Fleetwood Mac Rumours

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac started life as a blues band in 1967, when Peter Green recruited Mick Fleetwood and John McVie as … Continue Reading Fleetwood Mac

Peter Gabriel 3 Melt

Peter Gabriel

Leaving Genesis after six albums, at the age of 25, Peter Gabriel’s solo career initially felt like an attempt to … Continue Reading Peter Gabriel

Genesis Foxtrot

Genesis

In the mid 1980s, Genesis and its spin-off projects – Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, and Mike and the Mechanics – … Continue Reading Genesis

16 Lovers Lane The Go-Betweens

The Go-Betweens

It’s difficult to explain the appeal of The Go-Betweens; Robert Forster and Grant McLennan are neither strikingly talented guitarists nor … Continue Reading The Go-Betweens

Haim

A trio of sisters from California, Haim take their name from Este, Danielle, and Alana’s surname. The group grew up … Continue Reading Haim

The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America

The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady were formed in New York, but vocalist and lyricist Craig Finn was raised in Minneapolis, which a … Continue Reading The Hold Steady

Husker Du Zen Arcade

Hüsker Dü

Hüsker Dü started as a hardcore punk in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1979, with Bob Mould on guitar and vocals, … Continue Reading Hüsker Dü

Jason Isbell Southeastern

Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell joined Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley as a guitarist and vocalist in acclaimed Southern Rock band, The Drive-By … Continue Reading Jason Isbell

Jellyfish Spilt Milk

Jellyfish

San Francisco’s Jellyfish were under appreciated at the time, but have since gained a devoted following. They’re classified as a … Continue Reading Jellyfish

Can You Fly Freedy Johnston

Freedy Johnston

Freedy Johnston seems destined to be remembered as a one hit wonder for 1994’s ‘Bad Reputation’, a critically acclaimed but … Continue Reading Freedy Johnston

Joy Division Closer

Joy Division

Joy Division were one of several prominent bands who were inspired by the Sex Pistols’ famous 1976 gig in Manchester … Continue Reading Joy Division

King Crimson

Originating from an unsuccessful 1968 album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp, guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Michael … Continue Reading King Crimson

sun-kil-moon-april

Mark Kozelek

San Francisco quartet the Red House Painters (named after Tennesseean painting crew, The International League Of Revolutionary House Painters) made … Continue Reading Mark Kozelek

Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin were hastily formed by Yardbirds’ guitarist Jimmy Page in order to tour to fulfil contractual obligations – he … Continue Reading Led Zeppelin

Joni Mitchell Court and Spark

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell isn’t always given the respect she deserves. In her prime she was often labelled in terms of her famous … Continue Reading Joni Mitchell

The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues started their career as an R&B band, enjoying a hit with ‘Go Now’, fronted by future Wings … Continue Reading The Moody Blues

Van Morrison Into The Music

Van Morrison

Van Morrison began his career as the vocalist for the garage band Them, scoring hits with ‘Gloria’ and ‘Here Comes … Continue Reading Van Morrison

Gram Parsons Grievous Angel

Gram Parsons (and The Flying Burrito Brothers)

Gram Parsons, or as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die describes him, “Keith Richards’ citrus-heir drug-buddy”, is remembered … Continue Reading Gram Parsons (and The Flying Burrito Brothers)

Pavement Slanted and Enchanted

Pavement

Because their recording career so neatly covers the 1990s – debut Slanted and Enchanted was recorded in 1991 and swansong Terror … Continue Reading Pavement

Pearl Jam No Code

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam grew from the remnants of Mother Love Bone, whose singer Andrew Wood overdosed. Rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard and … Continue Reading Pearl Jam

Sam Phillips Martinis and Bikinis

Sam Phillips

Not to be confused with the Sun Records boss of the same name, Sam Phillips started her career as Christian … Continue Reading Sam Phillips

Pixies Trompe Le Monde

Pixies

New Zealand is a lovely country, with lots of sheep and mountains, and it’s a good idea to come and … Continue Reading Pixies

Portishead Dummy

Portishead

Portishead were formed in the city of Bristol, where a vibrant, multi-cultural music scene spawned trip-hop in the early 1990s. … Continue Reading Portishead

Prefab Sprout Jordan: The Comeback

Prefab Sprout

Formed around the songwriting talents of Durham’s Paddy McAloon, Prefab Sprout enjoyed some commercial success in the 1980s and early … Continue Reading Prefab Sprout

Queen II

Queen

Bassist and vocalist Tim Staffell quit trio Smile, but not before introducing his flatmate Freddie Bulsara to the band, joining astronomy student … Continue Reading Queen

Radiohead Kid A

Radiohead

Named after a Talking Heads song, Radiohead are the most critically acclaimed band to emerge in the 1990s. They convened informally … Continue Reading Radiohead

R.E.M. Lifes Rich Pageant

R.E.M.

R.E.M. emerged in the wake of punk from Athens, Georgia, and started their career as an insular Indie band, with … Continue Reading R.E.M.

The Replacements Let It Be

The Replacements

Yet another great musical act to come out of the state of Minnesota (see also Bob Dylan, Prince, Hüsker Dü, … Continue Reading The Replacements

The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers

The Rolling Stones

It’s widely acknowledged that The Rolling Stones hit their peak between 1968 and 1972 – right now I’m covering those … Continue Reading The Rolling Stones

Josh Rouse 1972

Josh Rouse

Nebraskan born singer-songwriter Josh Rouse grew up inspired by British bands like The Smiths and The Cure, and his music … Continue Reading Josh Rouse

Roxy Music For Your Pleasure

Roxy Music

Roxy Music were formed in 1971 by vocalist and keyboardist Bryan Ferry who, along with several of his band-mates, came … Continue Reading Roxy Music

A Wizard A True Star Rundgren review

Todd Rundgren

As a pop musician, Rundgren’s strength and weaknesses are relatively self-evident; on the positive side he’s a skilled musician on … Continue Reading Todd Rundgren

Bic Runga Beautiful Collision

Bic Runga

New Zealand’s Bic Runga has only released four albums of original material, starting with her 1997 debut Drive, but despite … Continue Reading Bic Runga

Simon and Garfunkel Bookends

Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel met as teenagers in a school play, where Simon played the White Rabbit and Garfunkel the Cheshire … Continue Reading Simon and Garfunkel

Paul Simon Graceland

Paul Simon

It wasn’t surprising that Paul Simon launched a successful solo career after leaving Simon and Garfunkel, given that he wrote all of … Continue Reading Paul Simon

the-smiths-the-queen-is-dead

The Smiths

The unlikely pairing of socially awkward Steven Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, extroverted and four years Morrissey’s junior, formed the nucleus … Continue Reading The Smiths

Split Enz Mental Notes

Split Enz

Formed by a group of Auckland students in 1972, Split Enz are an iconic New Zealand band. With a distinctive … Continue Reading Split Enz

Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town

Bruce Springsteen

Based on his radio hits I once classed Bruce Springsteen as a lame rocker, responsible for lowest common denominator anthems such … Continue Reading Bruce Springsteen

carrie-and-lowell-sufjan-stevens

Sufjan Stevens

One of the most consistently fascinating musicians to emerge in the 21st century, Sufjan Stevens is nominally an alt-folk artist, … Continue Reading Sufjan Stevens

Sting Nothing Like The Sun

Sting

Conventional wisdom is that Gordon Sumner surrendered his credibility when he left The Police, letting his pretentiousness overcome him as … Continue Reading Sting

The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses were formed in Manchester in 1983, around singer Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire. Drummer and backing … Continue Reading The Stone Roses

Talk Talk The Colour of Spring

Talk Talk

While there’s a natural progression between each of Talk Talk’s five studio albums, the distance between their 1982 synth-pop debut … Continue Reading Talk Talk

Talking Heads Remain in Light

Talking Heads

Talking Heads began their career in legendary New York club CBGB, effectively the focal point for American New Wave;  The Ramones, Television, … Continue Reading Talking Heads

James Taylor

With his warm voice, pretty guitar-picking, and introspective song writing, James Vernon Taylor was perhaps the figurehead of the singer-songwriter movement … Continue Reading James Taylor

Television Marquee Moon

Television

There were a plethora of musical acts that originated from the CBGBs club in New York in the mid-1970s; The … Continue Reading Television

I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight Richard and Linda Thompson

Richard and Linda Thompson

Richard Thompson left Fairport Convention after 1970’s Full House, his reputation secured as an excellent songwriter and guitarist. He released … Continue Reading Richard and Linda Thompson

Home, Land and Sea Trinity Roots

Trinity Roots

20th century New Zealand music was often Caucasian in origin, with the most internationally recognised musicians coming either from the … Continue Reading Trinity Roots

Townes Van Zandt Live at the Old Quarter

Townes Van Zandt

From a high profile Texan oil family, Townes Van Zandt was groomed as Texas governor, but inspired by singer-songwriters like … Continue Reading Townes Van Zandt

The Velvet Underground 1969 album

The Velvet Underground

1960s New York band The Velvet Underground have been cited as an influence by a legion of followers. Even if the … Continue Reading The Velvet Underground

Tom Waits Rain Dogs

Tom Waits

In New Zealand we have a sporting cliche, “a game of two halves”. This certainly applies to Tom Waits’ musical … Continue Reading Tom Waits

Jimmy Webb

Jimmy Webb wasn’t the only prominent songwriter to enjoy success in the 1960s, then launch his own solo career; Isaac … Continue Reading Jimmy Webb

Ween The Mollusk

Ween

It’s tempting to write Ween off as a novelty band – their biggest hit single, ‘Push th’ Little Daisies’, is … Continue Reading Ween

Stereo Paul Westerberg Review

Paul Westerberg

His work in the 1980s with the beloved Replacements left Paul Westerberg with colossal expectations to meet with his solo … Continue Reading Paul Westerberg

Wilco Being There

Wilco

Jeff Tweedy was always the junior partner in the pioneering alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, and when the group split into … Continue Reading Wilco

Bill Withers Just As I Am

Bill Withers

It’s difficult to discuss this enduring 1970s acoustic soul singer without referencing one of my favourite jokes, so let’s get it … Continue Reading Bill Withers

Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness First Finale

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is one of the most outrageously talented figures to emerge from the popular music era. His first song … Continue Reading Stevie Wonder

XTC Skylarking

XTC

Formed in Swindon around songwriters Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, XTC started their career as an abrasive new wave band … Continue Reading XTC

yes-close-to-the-edge

Yes

With their dazzling instrumental chops, lengthy songs, and lush harmonies, London’s Yes perhaps defined 1970s progressive rock better than any … Continue Reading Yes

Neil Young and Crazy Horse Rust Never Sleeps

Neil Young

Neil Young was born in Canada in 1945, where his father was a famous sports broadcaster. Before fame, he played … Continue Reading Neil Young

Zombies Odessey and Oracle Review

1960s Album Reviews

The following 1960s artists have their own dedicated page: The Band The Beach Boys The Beatles The Byrds Creedence Clearwater … Continue Reading 1960s Album Reviews

The Modern Lovers Jonathan Richman

1970s Reviews

This page collects album reviews for artists who don’t don’t have enough good records for their own page, or who … Continue Reading 1970s Reviews

Buzzcocks Singles Going Steady

Punk and New Wave

These bands all started their careers between the second half of the 1970s and the early 1980s, and to at … Continue Reading Punk and New Wave

Tracy Chapman 1988 Debut

1980s Reviews

The following 1980s artists have their own dedicated page: Kate Bush Marshall Crenshaw Peter Gabriel Pixies Prefab Sprout R.E.M. The … Continue Reading 1980s Reviews

Splint Spiderland

1990s Reviews

The following 1990s artists have their own dedicated page: Jeff Buckley Crowded House Faith No More Jellyfish Freedy Johnston Pavement … Continue Reading 1990s Reviews

Steve Wynn Here Come The Miracles

2000s Reviews

This page collects album reviews for artists who don’t quite qualify for their own page. The following 2000s artists have … Continue Reading 2000s Reviews