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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.

The Band 1969 Album

The Band

After supporting Bob Dylan on his controversial 1966 electric tour, The Band went to earth and developed their unique blend of rock, folk, country, and blues.

The Beach Boys Pet Sounds

The Beach Boys

Brian Wilson was one of the most talented musicians from his era, with an ear for sophisticated chord progressions, studio arrangements, and vocal harmonies. 

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr will stand unchallenged as the world’s greatest rock and roll band.

Big Star Radio City

Big Star

The tuneful guitar pop of Big Star was spectacularly unsuccessful during the 1970s, but has since earned a deserved cult following.

David Bowie Station to Station

David Bowie

The success of the 1969 single ‘Space Oddity’ put London’s David Bowie on the map, and 1972’s Ziggy Stardust made him into a superstar.

Jeff Buckley Grace

Jeff Buckley

The talented Jeff Buckley drowned in 1997, leaving him with an extremely slim recorded legacy.

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

Her 1978 debut album, The Kick Inside, released at the age of 19 during the height of punk, was improbably accomplished and successful.

The Byrds The Notorious Byrd Brothers

The Byrds

The Byrds’ ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ crystallised their distinctive sound; gorgeous harmonies and Roger McGuinn’s ringing twelve string guitar.

John Cale Paris 1919

John Cale

While his Velvet Underground band-mate Lou Reed was better known, John Cale has always been like an invisible hand guiding the alternative music scene.

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.

Marshall Crenshaw Debut Album

Marshall Crenshaw

Detroit’s Marshall Crenshaw is a talented craftsman, whose deft guitar pop is likeable and accessible.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Deja Vu

Crosby, Stills & Nash

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash all started their careers in notable 1960s bands, joining forces as an acoustic trio for their 1969 debut.

Crowded House Together Alone

Crowded House

Neil Finn retained drummer Paul Hester from the final Split Enz lineup and created a more streamlined band, releasing their first album of guitar pop in 1986.

The Decemberists The King is Dead

The Decemberists

Portland Indie folk quintet The Decemberists are the band most likely to win a Scrabble tournament.

Nick Drake Bryter Layter

Nick Drake

A gentle sounding English folk-singer, Nick Drake hardly caused a ripple during his short life-time, but has received plenty of posthumous praise.

Brian Eno Another Green World

Brian Eno

After leaving Roxy Musicin 1973, Brian Eno built up an impressive catalogue as a producer and a fine solo career of avant-garde pop albums.

Fairport Convention Liege and Lief

Fairport Convention

Fairport Convention are the focal point for 1960’s British folk rock, with the sumptuous vocals of Sandy Denny and gifted songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson.

Faith No More

By 1988 San Francisco funk metal band Faith No More had released two albums, and had enlisted 19 year old vocalist Mike Patton.

Fleetwood Mac Rumours

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac transitioned from a blues band to a pop band, and relocated from the UK to California.

Peter Gabriel 3 Melt

Peter Gabriel

After leaving Genesis after six albums at the age of 25, Peter Gabriel’s solo career initially felt like an attempt to distance himself from his former band.

Genesis Foxtrot

Genesis

Genesis produced some great music in the 1970s, with their very English blend of progressive rock, 12 string guitar folk, and densely humorous lyrics.

16 Lovers Lane The Go-Betweens

The Go-Betweens

It’s difficult to explain the appeal of Australian 1980’s Indie pop band The Go-Betweens; Robert Forster and Grant McLennan are rudimentary singers and guitarists.

The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America

The Hold Steady

New York’s The Hold Steady blend classic rock guitar riffs with dense, interconnected, hip hop inspired lyrics.

Husker Du Zen Arcade

Hüsker Dü

Hüsker Dü started as a hardcore punk in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1979, before exploring more melodic pop-craft.

Jason Isbell Southeastern

Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell launched a country music career as a solo artist after leaving The Drive-By Truckers in 2007.

Jellyfish Spilt Milk

Jellyfish

San Francisco’s Jellyfish were under appreciated, but their intricate power pop has since gained a devoted following.

Can You Fly Freedy Johnston

Freedy Johnston

Not just a one hit wonder for 1994’s ‘Bad Reputation’, Freedy Johnston is a skilled craftsman dealing in minimalist, engaging songs.

Joy Division Closer

Joy Division

Joy Division started as a punk band, but producer Martin Hannett was instrumental in shaping them, drenching them in reverb and drawing out a chilling sound.

sun-kil-moon-april

Mark Kozelek

Mark Kozelek has created introspective slo-core music since 1992, with The Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon.

Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy

Led Zeppelin

With their virtuosity, Jimmy Page’s excellent production skills, and great songs on each of their eight albums, Led Zeppelin are the archetypal hard rock band.

Joni Mitchell Court and Spark

Joni Mitchell

In the 1970s, Joni Mitchell released a string of great albums that should place her as among the most important musicians of the rock era

Van Morrison Into The Music

Van Morrison

Van Morrison began his career as the vocalist for the garage band Them, before launching his solo career with 1968’s singular Astral Weeks.

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 as a country-rock pioneer.

Pavement Slanted and Enchanted

Pavement

Pavement’s slacker image and post-modern approach encapsulates the 1990s, and they’re a contender for the best band of their decade.

Pearl Jam No Code

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam’s rock music, fronted by charismatic Eddie Vedder, has out-lasted the grunge era of the early 1990s.

Sam Phillips

Sam Phillips started her career as Christian pop singer Leslie Phillips in the 1980s where she was marketed as the Christian Cyndi Lauper.

Pixies Trompe Le Monde

Pixies

Charles Thompson made the right decision in 1986, when he opted out of taking a trip to New Zealand to view Halley’s comet, and instead formed a band.

Portishead

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

Prefab Sprout Jordan: The Comeback

Prefab Sprout

Formed around the songwriting talents of Durham’s Paddy McAloon, Prefab Sprout enjoyed success in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Queen II

Queen

Releasing their first album in 1973, Queen were brimming with talent from flamboyant vocalist Freddie Mercury and distinctive guitarist Brian May.

Radiohead Kid A

Radiohead

Named after a Talking Heads song, Radiohead are the most critically acclaimed band to emerge in the 1990s.

R.E.M. Lifes Rich Pageant

R.E.M.

R.E.M., from Athens Georgia, emerged in the wake of punk in their early 1980s, an insular Indie band, with cryptic albums.

The Replacements Let It Be

The Replacements

Another great musical act from Minnesota, these 1980s’ alternative rockers were led by guitarist and songwriter Paul Westerberg.

The Rolling Stones

Like most celebrated bands, The Stones earned their reputation, and their run of albums between 1968 and 1972 is magnificent.

Josh Rouse

Nebraskan born singer-songwriter Josh Rouse writes introverted yet poppy music, with a penchant for 1970’s soft rock.

Roxy Music For Your Pleasure

Roxy Music

With the creative forces of Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, Roxy Music made experimental, decadent, and futuristic music in the 1970s.

A Wizard A True Star Rundgren review

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren thrived during the 1970s, a skilled multi-instrumentalist, a gifted studio technician, and a capable composer and arranger.

Bic Runga Beautiful Collision

Bic Runga

New Zealand’s Bic Runga reigns supreme as the queen of New Zealand pop music.

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 Cat.

Paul Simon Graceland

Paul Simon

Embarking on a solo career after disbanding Simon and Garfunkel in 1970, Paul Simon started as a singer-songwriter before exploring world music in the 1980s.

the-smiths-the-queen-is-dead

The Smiths

The unlikely pairing of the awkward Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, formed the nucleus of Manchester’s beloved 1980s’ band The Smiths,

Split Enz Mental Notes

Split Enz

New Zealand’s iconic band, fronted by Tim Finn, Phil Judd, and Neil Finn, played art rock in the 1970s and new wave pop in the 1980s.

Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town

Bruce Springsteen

1984’s huge selling Born In The USA album was the commercial culmination of an excellent body of recorded work stretching back more than a decade.

carrie-and-lowell-sufjan-stevens

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens is nominally an alt-folk singer, but that’s underselling his talents – he’s also a talented and sophisticated arranger.

Sting Nothing Like The Sun

Sting

Conventional wisdom is that Gordon Sumner surrendered his credibility when he left The Police.

Talk Talk The Colour of Spring

Talk Talk

The transition from 1982 synth-pop debut and 1991’s jazz and ambient influenced Laughing Stock is one of the most stunning transformations in popular music.

Talking Heads Remain in Light

Talking Heads

Talking Heads began their career in legendary New York club CBGB in the mid 1970s, becoming an arty and endearingly dorky band.

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

The pivotal part of Television’s sound is the guitar interplay of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd – both players are top drawer with their interlocking riffs and impressive solos.

Richard and Linda Thompson

Richard and Linda Thompson Album Reviews Richard Thompson left Fairport Convention after 1970’s Full House, his reputation secured as an … Continue Reading Richard and Linda Thompson

Home, Land and Sea Trinity Roots

Trinity Roots

Trinity Roots, a Wellington based trio, fuse dub and soul into arty, spacey songs while infusing a distinctly New Zealand atmosphere.

Townes Van Zandt Live at the Old Quarter

Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt was groomed as Texas governor, but dropped out of college in the 1960s to pursue a musical career, crafting sad, beautiful folk songs

The Velvet Underground 1969 album

The Velvet Underground

1960’s underground New York band The Velvet Underground have been cited as an influence by a legion of followers.

Tom Waits Rain Dogs

Tom Waits

For the first decade of Tom Waits’ recording career, he was a bluesy singer songwriter, but in his latter career he’s a mad carnival barker backed by junkyard instruments.

Ween The Mollusk

Ween

Lurking beneath all the silliness is an ace duo who are students of popular music, paying homage to everything from Jimmy Buffett to Prince.

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 career.

Wilco Being There

Wilco

Jeff Tweedy went from junior partner in the alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, to the leader of the critically acclaimed Wilco.

Bill Withers Just As I Am

Bill Withers

It’s very difficult to discuss this enduring 1970’s acoustic soul singer without referencing one of my favourite jokes, so let’s get it out of the way first, shall we?

Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness First Finale

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is outrageously talented figures; he enjoyed hits through the 1960s as a teenager, before taking artistic control on a magnificent streak of 1970s’ albums.

XTC Skylarking

XTC

Formed in Swindon around songwriters Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, XTC started as an abrasive new wave band with their 1978 albums.

yes-close-to-the-edge

Yes

With their dazzling instrumental chops, lengthy songs, and lush harmonies, London’s Yes defined 1970’s progressive rock.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse Rust Never Sleeps

Neil Young

Canada’s Neil Young is recognised as one of the rock music’s premium solo artists, especially his work during the 1970s, with his creaky voice and grungy guitar.

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 Fairport Convention … 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

2000’s Reviews

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