Tag Archives: Radiohead

Nineties Guitar Masters

Another of those difficult lists where you leave off many great musicians but I only limit myself to ten and in no particular order. Except this time I am going to start with a few who narrowly missed out on the eighties list.

moore

Blues-rocker Gary Moore doing what he does best

Gary Moore blew me away from the first time I heard him play. A case could be made for him to have appeared on either the seventies or eighties list but I decided to deposit him here. This is because in 1990 he released the most successful album of his career in Still Got The Blues. Featuring the likes of Albert King, George Harrison and Albert Collins, this album is predominantly a bunch of blues covers with some originals thrown in for good measure and is still well worth a listen today.

Choice Pick: The classic title track “Still Got The Blues”

vai

Vai holding a guitar that he can undoubtedly play

Steve Vai did make a name for himself in the eighties playing with Frank Zappa, Alcatrazz and David Lee Roth and releasing his debut studio album, the inventive mess that was Flex-Able. But when he released his second studio album in 1990, Passion and Warfare, he really took the world by storm.

Choice Pick: “The Audience Is Listening” from Passion and Warfare.

hammett

Metallica axeman and former Satriani student, Kirk Hammett

Although Metallica had success in the eighties they conquered the world in the nineties becoming one of the decade’s most successful bands. The eponymous fifth album, known simply as “the black album” was enormously successful.

Choice Pick: The epic riffery of their successful single “Enter Sandman” is hard to go past.

frusciante

Red Hot Chili Pepper, John Frusciante

John Frusciante’s guitar work became integral to the successful sound of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as is evidenced not only by the success of the seminal nineties album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but also by their renewed success upon his return to the band after a five year hiatus in 1999.

Choice Pick: Absolutely anything off 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Majik or 1999’s Californication

jones

Tool’s Adam Jones

Tool are one of my favourite band’s ever, largely due to the virtuoso skills of drummer Danny Carey and guitarist Adam Jones. The riffs and licks from Jones and the metronomic playing of Carey led to the band being described as math rock in some circles.

Choice Pick: “Forty-Six & 2” from their 1996 album, Ænima

yeomans

Quan Yeomans, front man for Regurgitator

Australian music in the nineties would have been a lot more boring without the Gurge! Quan’s singing, guitar playing and songwriting are all key elements of Regurgitator’s sound and the way they virtually reinvent themselves each album has made their career interesting.

Choice Pick: “! (The Song Formerly Known As)” from the 1997 album, Unit.

greenwood

Radiohead’s inventive guitarist, Jonny Greenwood

Jonny Greenwood’s guitar playing could only be described as inventive and intriguing and as a player he is clearly determined to achieve success on his own terms without compromise. OK Computer is one of the most pivotal albums of the nineties and Jonny’s playing is definitely a contributing factor to its success.

Choice Pick: Check out “Paranoid Android” from OK Computer as a great taste of his unique style

morello

Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello

Tom Morello is yet another guitarist who’s playing could only be described as innovative. He’s been known to even tap the strings with an Allen Key to play slide. What a legend!

Choice Pick: Hard to go past my favourite Rage Against The Machine track, “Killing In The Name”, from their self-titled debut in 1992. If you have not heard this, make sure you track down the uncensored version otherwise you miss the whole point of the song!

reid

Living Colour’s Vernon Reid

Living Colour surprised everyone with the success of their debut album, Vivid, in 1988. But they weren’t one-trick ponies and really showed a diversity of styles on their follow-up, Time’s Up, in 1990. Their sound continued to evolve on 1993’s Stain before breaking up in the mid-nineties only to reform in 2000 and resume their career. A career built largely around Reid’s playing and Corey Glover’s vocal talents.

Choice Pick: The “Love Rears It’s Ugly Head (Soul Power Mix)” single reveals Reid’s mellower, funkier side.

thayil

Kim Thayil, lead guitarist with grunge exponents Soundgarden

Q: Where would Soundgarden be without the guitar talents of Kim Thayil?

A: Nowhere.

Despite the vocal talents of Chris Cornell and the other talented musicians in the band, it is Thayil’s riffery that defines them.

Choice Pick: “Spoonman” from 1994’s mega-successful Superunknown

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Albums Of The Month Part 2

I’m pleased about deciding to continue my “Album of the Month” feature on my radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord. It enables me to play tracks from some of my favourite albums whilst discussing some useless trivia about the album and/or artists. Hopefully it will introduce listeners to something new or let them hear something they haven’t heard for a while. This post covers the second year of the feature.

01 Highway To Hell

AC/DC’s seminal 1979 album – Highway To Hell

I’ve intentionally used the image of  the original Australian pressing of AC/DC’s album Highway To Hell. I think the flames make all the difference in the world to the cover art and find the one used overseas and everywhere today to be rather drab by comparison.

02 Showdown!

The Grammy Award winning album Showdown! featuring Collins, Cray & Copeland

I always advise newcomers to the blues that if they only end up owning one blues album from the 1980s then Showdown! has to be it. The interplay between Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland is just beautiful to hear.

03 Quadrophenia

The ultimate rock opera, the Who’s Quadrophenia

The Who’s album Tommy may be more famous and Who’s Next , comprising of tracks from their abandoned Lifehouse project, may contain some of their finest moments, but for me the quintessential rock opera is Quadrophenia. I love this album from start to finish (the only way to listen to it).

04 face to face

Face To Face, an essential album for fans of Aussie pub rock

Stalwarts of the Australian pub rock scene, the Angels, hit their straps fairly early on with their career-defining sophomore album, Face To Face, released in 1978.

05 mellon collie

The Smashing Pumpkins reached their peak with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Many pundits will tell you that Nirvana’s Nevermind was the album of the 90s decade. Personally, I always found it a toss-up between Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, OK Computer by Radiohead and this masterpiece from the Smashing Pumpkins. To release a double album of this length which remains “all killer no filler” is an amazing achievement.

06 magic box

1967’s Magic Box from The Loved Ones

I was introduced to this album in the late 1980s after hearing two cover versions of their hit, “The Loved One”, by INXS. It’s hard to imagine now how successful these guys really were in their day despite the brevity of their career. The album was also one of Australia’s earliest to be released in stereo.

07 speaking in tongues

Speaking In Tongues, a classic album from Talking Heads

I think I’m showing my age with the amount of 1980s albums creeping in to my album of the month feature. I loved Talking Heads around this time and enjoyed a midnight screening session of their live concert film, Stop Making Sense, only a few years after this album.

08 ok computer

Radiohead’s finest moment, OK Computer

I still listen to this album today despite it now being 20 years old!

09 endless forms most beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful from Finland’s Nightwish

My album of the year for 2015 was Nightwish’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful. If you have a thing for symphonic metal then you need this in your collection.

10 at last

Etta James released At Last! in 1960

Etta James released one the finest debut albums you will ever hear in November 1960. Worth owning if you don’t already!

11 days of innocence

Days Of innocence featuring the mawkish “What About Me?”

I adore this album despite absolutely detesting their hugely successful single from it, “What About Me?”. Proof that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

12 number of the beast

Iron Maiden introduces Bruce Dickinson as their new lead singer on 1982’s Number Of The Beast

I still consider Number Of The Beast one of Iron Maiden’s finest moments.

 

I think anyone who decides to go out and buy these “albums of the month” listed here, and those in my previous post on this topic, will certainly end up with an interesting music collection (in my humble opinion).