This album has a lot of attitude, which it should given Kesha’s well-publicized legal battles. It’s fundamentally a pop album, with rock and country providing a gritty sheen.
ZZ Top, Afterburner
Eliminator has the bigger hits, but Afterburner is the better album.
Prefab Sprout, Two Wheels Good (a.k.a Steve McQueen)
Prefab Sprout is one of those bands about whom I knew without actually hearing their music. So it was nice to discover they fell somewhere between Yaz and ABC in their pursuit of a jazzy new wave sound.
TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain
I didn’t get TV on the Radio at first. The few excerpts I heard seemed unfocused and tuneless. But I picked up their albums from thrift shop to see if I could eventually understand. By then, I had listened to more hip-hop and R&B and realized the band is Black af. A decade and a half ago, my rockist collection had little room for Black voices.
Aceyalone, All Balls Don’t Bounce
I confess to sacrilege — I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics on this album. The beats are too damn distracting.
The National, Trouble Will Find Me
The National is one of those bands I like, but I would not consider myself a fan. I would seem demographically suited to be one, given the rest of my collection, but I just haven’t been convinced enough to jump in two-footed. But I do like Boxer and this album.
I picked up a Highwaymen album from the thrift shop a while back, and despite Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson all showing up on the same album, the sum of its parts fell short of a whole. The Highwomen do a far better job in that regard.
Paul Moravec, Tempest Fantasy / Mood Swings / B.A.S.S. Variations / Scherzo
My first encounter with Paul Moravec was at an internship for the label Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI). The label reissued some Moravec recordings in its catalog on CD, and I got a free copy. Most of the promos I got during my internship were starkly downtown or uptown — the distinction back in the 90s between the young-ish minimalists and their older dodecacophanists. Moravec stood out because he was tonal af and made no bones about it. I lost that disc over the course of a few moves, but I remembered his name.
The Neptunes, The Neptunes Present … Clones
I bought this compilation when it first came out because I really liked what Pharrell and Chad Hugo were doing in the studio. But I had no clue about hip-hop history, so a lot of it went over my head. I had to sell it for cash during leaner times, but I picked it up again at the thrift shop.