Two indie rock musicians, Bill Lambusta and Brian Erickson, dive into the fandom of great rock and pop music and how it connects to their lives through the lens of the medium they care for most, the album. Episodes frequently include guest contributions from musicians, podcasters, and journalists and always culminate in a track by track review.
In our final episode that'll be part of a regular release schedule, we take a look back at the first album we ever discussed, the Replacements' Let It Be (1984, Twin/Tone). Bill and Brian use the skills they've honed during their years of podcasting experience to see what a conversation revisiting the first album would sound like. Enjoy!
It's finally happening! As we reach the penultimate episode to be part of our weekly releases, Bill and Brian take the time to talk about what's great about Radiohead's OK Computer (1997, Parlophone/Capitol). Bill spends a little time talking about what happens when fans say things like they can't get into an artist or album and how it can be perceived. Then we get to the track by track review, focusing on what we enjoy in the tunes!
Writer, blogger, and vlogger Maureen Zahn joins Bill and Brian to discuss the Police's Synchronicity (1983, A&M). *There's a part in the show where we reference Synchronicity and Thriller being out in the same year. Thriller was actually released in November 1982 with this following in June 1983. However, it's worth noting that in that time period they were both eligible for the same Grammy awards ceremony in 1984.
We're back from a month long break from the podcast with a Liner Notes episode. Bill and Brian discuss what they've been up to in their time off - check out Brian's new band the Extensions, and check out Bill's band Fake Pockets' entry into the Tiny Desk contest! Also, we've got a special announcement regarding the future of the podcast. Jump to 32:25 if you want to just get the bad news out of the way...
On another exciting episode of the Great Albums...Bill and Brian are joined by Matt Warren, Digital Content Manager for filmindependent.org, to discuss the Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002, Warner Bros.).
Bill and Brian are joined by musician Nikki Karwacki (Finding Feebas, Triage, Batting a Thousand) to discuss Superchunk's unique brand of punk/power pop/alternative music on the album Here's Where the Strings Come In (1995, Merge).
Bill and Brian are joined by radio-film-book-trivia guy (really unsure how else to define him!) Vincent Onorati to discuss Depeche Mode's Violator (1990, Mute). Vinny discusses finding his people when he discovered new wave radio and Depeche Mode's output. Then he explains how he got to experience the band's breakout success while interning at his favorite radio station. Then we get into a bunch of detail about loving this album with the track by track review!
Podcaster and journalist Cassidy Robinson (Jabber and the Drone) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Sunny Day Real Estate's debut album Diary (1994, Sub Pop). Cassidy talks about his journey of first discovering the mainstream emo of the early 2000s, not enjoying it much, then finding his way back to the genre's hardcore roots, and discovering this Sunny Day Real Estate thanks to the recommendation of a record store clerk. Plus we talk about much more as we make our way through album track by track!
Bill and Brian are joined by writer-director-producer-manager KL Martin (kaleidosightfilms.com and 3143mgmt.com) to discuss Jay-Z's debut album Reasonable Doubt (1996, Roc-A-Fella). KL talks about "stealing" this album from his cousin and being fascinated by the world it depicted. We discuss how Jay-Z fits into the 90s rap world with the Notorious BIG, Tupac, and the East Coast/West Coast dichotomy. Then we get into a whole bunch of stuff about each song!
Bill and Brian are joined by musician Justin Pope to discuss Belle and Sebastian's sophomore album If You're Feeling Sinister (1996, Jeepster). Justin tells an appropriately "twee" story about hearing Belle and Sebastian on late night radio, being unable to find the band that sang the "beautiful" tune, and then finally discovering band when his crush made him a mixtape filled with Belle and Sebastian songs. Then Bill, Brian, and Justin get into the band's sound and what "twee" means, how they evolved to the point to be sharing a stage with the bombastic New Pornographers, Douglas Coupland, Stuart Murdoch vs. Morrissey, and more as we make our through the album track by track!
Bill and Brian are joined by thegreatalbums.com blogger Jeff Fiedler to discuss his favorite albums of 2018! It's all new, all different this week, so check out where Jeff ranked albums by: Leon Bridges, Gorillaz, Albert Hammond Jr., Lake Street Dive, Paul McCartney, Kacey Musgraves, Panic! At the Disco, Natalie Press, Charlie Puth, and Richard Thompson! Check out this week's sponsor: Robinhood!
Brian tells Bill about his favorite albums of 2018! Learn a little about Brian's process and the trends he saw happening in music this year before we dive into a discussion on 10 albums from artists like: Caroline Rose, The Carters, Father John Misty, Kamasi Washington, Mitski, Pusha T, Serpentwithfeet, Soccer Mommy, Superchunk, and U.S. Girls (alphabetized to mask Brian's actual order, listen to find out who's #1!). Check out this week's sponsor: Skylight Frame! Use the code ALBUMS!
Bill and Brian open up the email inbox, check the tweets, and have some discussions about Rolling Stone, Weezer, Batman, Spiderman, and Stan Lee. Also, Bill takes a little time to update everyone on his recent health issues (it's looking pretty okay, now). Check out this week's sponsor: Skylight Frame! Use promo code ALBUMS! Also, if you're enjoying the tunes in this week's episode, that's courtesy of the Paper Jets' new album. Check it out at thepaperjets.com!
Musician Mick Chorba (thesuccessfulfailures.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss the iconic White Album (Apple, 1968) by the Beatles. It's our first episode dedicated to a single Beatles album! Yeah, it's taken us awhile to get there, but we did.
Massive Album November week 3 has arrived! Bill and Brian sit down with thegreatalbums.com blogger and Aqualung Records head, Jeff Fiedler, to discuss Supertramp's Breakfast in America (1979, A&M). Check out this week's sponsor: Robinhood!
Massive Album November week 1 is here! And Bill and Brian dive into Sheryl Crow's huge debut Tuesday Night Music Club (1993, A&M) with podcaster James Kittle. *At one point in the podcast, we debate the sales for this album because we came across a few different numbers in different places. Per RIAA.org, Tuesday Night Music Club is certified 7x platinum on 7 million units shipped in the US. Check out this week's sponsor: Audible!
Bill and Brian are joined by podcaster and author Brian Wagner (businesslifelessons.com and storybookempire.com)to discuss a-ha's debut album Hunting High and Low (1985, Warner Bros.). Brian helps us explain how a-ha is so much more than just an 80s one hit wonder (especially to the rest of the world). Then we get into Morten Harket's awesome voice, how Pal Waaktaar was the driving force behind the band's songwriting, Mags Furuholmen's distinctive keys, and more as we make our way through the album track by track! Also, check out this week's sponsor: Robinhood!
Bill and Brian discuss the almost lost masterpiece from Ryan Adams, Love Is Hell (2004, Lost Highway). Without a guest, we explore our own origin stories of listening to Ryan Adams before getting into the allure of a tortured artist, Ryan Adams' signature reverb/echo, which songs Ricky Fataar may or may not play on, the significance of the Hotel Chelsea, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Bill and Brian hang out with musician Nick Palmer (normally, we'd link to the band's website here, but Brian and I were discussing how awesome "Generation Gap" by WAX WAV is, so click this link and go watch the kickass video for it: https://youtu.be/kWNgGz9FPic) and discuss Fugazi's Repeater (1990, Dischord). All the prerequisite talk about punk and what it means to punk happens, but we also discuss Ian MacKaye and Guy Piccioto's politically/emotionally charged lyrics that are still relevant today and the awesome musicianship of the rhythm section, Joe Lally and Brendan Canty. This and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Bill and Brian couldn't pick just a single album from Harvey Danger. With 3 excellently crafted LPs, we had no idea where to start, so we decided to discuss all 3 at the same time! Bill and Brian each pick a favorite song from Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone (1997, Arena Rock/London/Slash) King James Version (2000, London/Sire), and Little by Little... (2005, Phonographic/Kill Rock Stars) and talk about what makes each song great! And check out this week's sponsors: ZipRecruiter and Audible!
Singer-songwriter and piano rocker Matt Cook (mattcookmusic.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Sufjan Stevens' The Age of Adz (2010, Asthmatic Kitty). Matt shares his story about discovering this album as he recovered from a coma (yes, seriously, it's a wild story!) and how he was won over despite not enjoying it at first. We get into Royal Robertson's influence on the album, whether or not to tag Sufjan with the 'genius' label, reevaluating our lives when faced with our own mortality, just what synth makes those sounds, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Bill and Brian get into the indie-pop bliss that is Nada Surf's The Weight Is a Gift (2005, Barsuk)! Bill talks about this album accompanying him on long drives home in NJ, and Brian breaks down his new knowledge about guitar effect pedals. And of course we have a track by track review, discussing this work by Matthew Caws, Daniel Lorca, Ira Elliot, Louie Lino, and Chris Walla.
Musician and podcaster Chris Tull (Weekend Quality) joins Bill and Brian for one final episode in the old studio to discuss XTC's landmark album, Skylarking. We talk about the contentious relationship between main songwriter Andy Partridge and producer Todd Rundgren, the album's overarching theme of birth, life, and death, Colin Moulding's generous songwriting contributions, and Dave Gregory's idiosyncratic guitar-playing all while going through the album track-by-track. This episode sponsored by Songfinch and Zip Recruiter.
While Bill is vacationing with his wife and celebrating their wedding anniversary, Brian has decided to gaze shoe-ward with longtime friend Dan Drago of the 25 O'Clock Podcast, and producer, engineer, studio owner Alex Santilli of Spice House Sound. Together, we unpack My Bloody Valentine's 1991 opus Loveless. Alex offers insight into how an album that is technically incorrect can still sound wonderful, while Dan makes us believe that soulmates may actually exist! This weeks sponsor: ForHims
Musician, producer, author, podcaster (what doesn't this guy excel at?) Jesse Cannon lends his experience and knowledge to Bill and Brian to help us discuss Refused's (apparent at the time) swan song The Shape of Punk to Come (1998, Burning Heart/Epitaph). Check out all things Jesse Cannon at jessecannon.com!
Bill and Brian discuss Paul McCartney & Wing's Band on the Run (1973, Apple). Brian talks about listening to this album while driving around the American Southwest. Then we get into the criticisms of this album (that we disagree with), the band recording in Nigeria, Linda McCartney's musicianship, Denny Laine's contributions, Tony Visconti's arrangements, Macca's craftsmanship and our own songwriting, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Bill and Brian have a little fun by resurrecting the format of Bill's old podcast, High Fives, and count down their top 5 songs sung by the other person in the band. We make sure to not repeat any past songs already covered on the show (no "39" by Queen, no Dan Bejar, no Ringo, etc.), but we think we've got some pretty good tunes featured in their stead. Check it out!
One of Bill and Brian's favorite musicians and storytellers Jim McGee returns to the podcast to take us on a journey through 10(-ish) great songs from one of his favorite bands, Aerosmith. We start at the beginning with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry writing songs on a water bed, make our way through the drug fueled 70s and their initial success into Perry and Brad Whitford's leaving the band, and then back in the saddle. Jim talks about his inability to play like Joe Perry, showcases his vocal skills as a Steven Tyler sound-alike, and shares the story about how he had to buy Just Push Play 3 times. That and more as Jim shares his favorite Aerosmith songs! This week's sponsor: ZipRecruiter!
Bill and Brian are joined by musician Tom Losito (www.thevaughns.info) to discuss the Posies' Frosting on the Beater (1993, DGC). Tom tells the gents about discovering the band via a LastFM deep dive. Then Bill, Brian, and Tom discuss what "power pop" means to Tom, the Posies' lack of a signature sound and evolution through the years, Jon Auer's cool guitar tones, Ken Stringfellow's pop sensibility, the band's signature harmonies, Mike Musburger's killer drums, and more as we make our way through the album track by track! This week's sponsor is the very lovely Blind Tiger Record Club. Check'em out!
Musician Jack Linden (Rose Boulevard, Karma Gambit) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Big Star's second album Radio City (1974, Ardent). Jack talks about his "power pop" phase and how influential this sound has been on him as he starts his new project, Karma Gambit.Then Bill, Brian, and Jack discuss the absence of Chris Bell and that influence on Alex Chilton and the band, Andy Hummel's songwriting chops, Jody Stephen's underrated drum skills, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track! And support this week's sponsor: Blind Tiger Record Club!
Podcaster Jesse Jackson (Set Lusting Bruce, Next Stop Everywhere) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Paul Simon's Graceland (1986, Warner Bros.). Bill, Brian, and Jesse talk about the world-spanning influences on the music like zydeco, isicathamiya, and mbaqanga, the political difficulties and possible faux pas Simon faced with apartheid South Africa, Ray Phiri's take on that and his great guitar riffs, that bass fill Bakithi Kumalo knocked out of the park, the King of the Bayou Clifton Chenier, maybe a few name drops for the Boss himself, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track! And, of course, check out this week's sponsor: Blind Tiger Record Club!
Podcaster and musician Dan Drago (www.25oclockpod.com and themunrowesrock.bandcamp.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Phish's Billy Breathes (1996, Elektra). Dan talks about a buddy introducing him to Phish amidst all the grunge and punk he was listening to in the 90s. Then Bill, Brian, and Dan discuss the time Brian met Tom Marshall, carpe diem vs stop and smell the roses, not comparing Phish with the Grateful Dead by comparing them with the Grateful Dead, the strengths and weaknesses of Phish live vs. album recordings, Trey Anastasio's great guitar tone, Steve Lillywhite's impressive production, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track! Make sure to support this week's sponsor, Blind Tiger Record Club!
Bill and Brian watched Once (2007), the magical indie musical directed by John Carney and starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, and talk about our favorite scenes, favorite tunes, and breakdown some romantic entanglements presented in the film.
Music/entertainment reporter for nj.com and The Star Ledger joins Bill and Brian to discuss Fugees' second and final album the Score (1996, Ruffhouse/Columbia). Bobby talks about how a deep dive into this album while preparing a retrospective celebrating its 20th anniversary helped him learn to fully appreciate this work. Then Bill, Brian, and Bobby discuss Bobby's interview with Wyclef Jean, the themes on this- as Lauryn Hill describes it - "audio film," pass-the-mic style posse cuts and pop singles, the Boogah Basement, what Pras Michel is up to nowadays, the production of Jerry Duplessis, John Forte, Salaam Remi, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track! Make sure to support our sponsors for this week's episode: Learn from the best in the world at MasterClass.com/great! Blind Tiger Record Club...Your vinyl. Your choice.
Bill hangs out at Brian's pad for a change as we talk about Martin Shkreli's conviction and what it means for that one of a kind Wu-Tang Album, read some listener emails about definitive live versions of songs, and visit Facebook to debate the best guitar solos of the 90s! Make sure to check out Lowlight's latest single, "Can't Stop now, available on Spotify, and see the band on tour with the Pretenders this Spring! Visit www.lowlightnj.com for details!
Musician Dave Mooney (davemooneymusic.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Joni Mitchell's influential relationship album Blue (1971, Reprise). Dave talks about Spotify algorithms doing him a solid and making sure Joni's music crossed his plate. Then Bill, Brian, and Dave talk about the album's sparse production, the value of speculating on an artist's biographical info, Graham Nash and James Taylor's influence on the lyrical content, Stephen Stills lending his talents, accidental Christmas songs, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Podcaster BJ Kahuna (Rock and/or Roll, Cheap Talk with Trick Chat) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Cheap Trick's In Color (1977, Epic). And for all your hiring needs, check out this week's sponsor ZipRecruiter. Our listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free by visiting ziprecruiter.com/album!
Bill and Brian are joined by musician Jaime Parker (alpharabbit.bandcamp.com and meekobrando.bandcamp.com) to talk about indie artist Kevin Devine's sophomore effort Make the Clocks Move (2003, Triple Crown Records). And make sure to check out this week's sponsor, MasterClass! Learn from the best in the world at masterclass.com/great!
Bill and Brian pick up the digital phone to have a relaxed conversation about Brian preparing for a show at the Stone Pony, Quincy Jones' epic rants, and some listener emails that touch on Boston, Elliott Smith, Ben Folds Five, and the Eagles!
Author and professor Jonathyne Briggs joins Bill and Brian to discuss Blondie's breakthrough third album Parallel Lines (1978, Chrysalis). Jonathyne talks about underestimating the band as a singles band in his youth before really digging into their catalog after they reformed in the late 90s. Then Bill, Brian, and Jonathyne discuss sexism in the NYC punk scene, Mike Chapman's dictatorial production, Debbie Harry's voice, the excellent rhythm section - Clem Burke and Nigel Harrison, Robert Fripp's guest spot, disco and racism, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Musician Nick Palmer joins Bill to talk about iconic, landmark "punk" album London Calling (CBS/Epic, 1979) by the Clash. Nick describes working his way back from Green Day to picking up Combat Rock and not understanding how anyone could call it punk. Then Bill and Nick talk about Nick's fandom forming fully, the important dichotomy of Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, Paul Simonon's surprisingly good bass despite his own self-deprecating description of it, Topper Headon's killer drums, some left wing politics, the Spanish Civil war, Guy Stevens throwing chairs, and much more as we make our way through the album (mostly) track by track!
Podcaster Matt Kelly (hmnpodcast.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Norah Jones' massive breakout debut Come Away with Me (2002, Blue Note). Matt shares how Jones' blend of melancholy jazz and country helped him process the death of an important family member who passed shortly before this album was released. Then Bill, Brian, and Matt discuss the possible influence of Willie Nelson, Starbucks albums, how Jesse Harris may be the luckiest guy, Lee Alexander's soft country style, Jones' own songwriting, a genius idea for a dramedy film starring Paul Rudd and featuring these songs, summer romances, a bit about Ryan Adams, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Bill takes the weekend off, leaving the program in Brian's questionable hands. But he recruits solo artist, bandleader, and Yarnspinners Podcast maestro Brian Rothenbeck (http://rothenbeck.com) to be the guest co-host. Together, the two Brians and special guest Jay Gogel (of The Adventuring Party) dig deep into Ben Folds Five's final album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (1999, 550 Music). Brian recalls a sad breakup that echoes "Don't Change Your Plans," while Rothenbeck recounts his futile attempts to turn his old Sam Goody customers on to the music of The Promise Ring. Gogel breaks down the level of difficulty of some of Ben Folds' music while all three marvel at the writing contributions of drummer Darren Jessee and Moog-playing of bassist Robert Sledge. All this and more as we break this lost classic down track by track!
Multi-instrumentalist Mike Noordzy of psychedelic afro-cuban surf jazz band El Noordzo (nachtrecords.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss the eponymous album The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967, Verve). Mike talks about falling in love with a Velvets' best of he found at a random used record shop, before we get into talking about Nico's contributions as a vocalist, Tom Wilson punching up the sound, the effect Andy Warhol had on the band, John Cale vs. Sterling Morrison on bass, Lou Reed's version of a Manhattan Bohemian, Mo Tucker's primal rhythms, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Welcome to the first ever Liner Notes edition of the Great Albums podcast, a semi-monthly version of the show where Bill and Brian get to relax a little, read some listener emails, make corrections, and possibly chat about some new topics. In this episode we read some listener emails about loving Boston as a kid, giving the podcast a second chance, some top songs of 2017, guests helping the podcast get some context, and some cool local bands from other parts of the world. Check these out: www.thedaydreamers.ca www.goodnightgolddust.com janetleekim.bandcamp.com
Bill and Brian dive into Heatmiser, a band that might be familiar to some as "Elliott Smith's band," and their final album Mic City Sons (1996, Caroline). Bill and Brian discuss picking this album up from the Princeton Record Exchange used section, Elliott Smith's value as a band member, co-songwriter Neil Gust going song for song in quality alongside Elliott, Tony Lash's contributions to the Pacific Northwest sound as a producer, Sam Coomes subtle arrangements on bass and keys, beets, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Bill and Brian are joined by guitarist and certified luthier Mike Virok (bordentownguitarrescue.com) to discuss Boston's self titled debut album (1976, Epic). Mike talks about discovering this music while his dad played side one on the tape deck while driving to his bowling league. Then Bill, Brian, and Mike get into near one-man-band Tom Scholz production, Brad Delp's important contributions as vocalist, the band's status as "corporate rock," the Real World Boston, rocking out to these songs on Guitar Hero, an elaborate scheme that resulted in a new Taylor acoustic for Delp, and more as we make our way through the album track by track! And for all your hiring needs, check out this week's sponsor ZipRecruiter. Our listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free by visiting ziprecruiter.com/album!
Bill and Brian close out the year by discussing an all time classic song, "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys (1966, Capitol). We get into Brian Wilson's arrangements and composition style, Mike Love's lyrical contributions, Dennis Wilson's musicianship, whether it's Carol Kaye or possibly Carl Wilson on bass, where the song belongs amongst other great songs from the 60s and 70s, just how many song parts there are, a little music theory [listener, be warned], and a listener email about struggling to become a fan of the Beach Boys.
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian are again joined by .com blogger Jeff Fiedler to discuss some musical Christmas memories. We chat about some odd albums we've received as gifts, some of our favorite gifts, and a little about Jeff's favorite Christmas tune!
Bill and Brian are joined by thegreatalbums.com blogger and resident bin-diver Jeff Fiedler to count down his top 10 albums of 2017. Listeners are in for a treat as we get into an all new, all different list of great albums that were released in the 2017 calendar year! *Note: there is an early discussion about this year's hit of the summer "Despacito," and it being attributed to Justin Bieber. It's worth pointing out that, although the remix version that featured the Biebs as a guest vocalist helped it gain traction as a hit, the song is actually by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and features rapper Daddy Yankee.
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian continue talking about our favorite albums of 2017 by highlighting a release from a local NJ band, Ruby Bones! We talk about what a great guy band leader Chris Nova is and his dedication to the scene and how Brian obtained an early copy of the album through some underhanded means. Then we read some listener emails about Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper and Jules Shear, and some possible changes coming to the Great Albums in 2018.
Bill and Brian count down their top 10 albums of 2017. As has become our custom, Bill defers to Brian to give us a list of 10 hip, cool albums that came out in the past calendar year. Stay tuned for next week's episode in which we'll have another all new, all different top 10!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian get a little tangential, finally bringing one of the all time greats to the podcast, as we discuss Phil Collins' very 90s-tastic cover of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors." We talk a little about Phil, Genesis in the 80s, and uilleann pipes before we then read some listener emails in appreciation of horn parts, which leads to a great metaphor comparing song arrangements to cheeseburgers, and a poll of Billy Joel vs. Elton John.
Massive Albums November comes to a close as Bill and Brian chat about Cyndi Lauper's smash debut She's So Unusual (1983, Portrait). Bill and Brian talk about learning to appreciate pop albums, the contributions of the Hooters' Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian, how Lauper made this album of cowrites and voters her own, the influence of ska, reggae, and new wave on the album, Brian not saying "motored," Betty Boop, and more as we make out way through the album track by track!
It's Bonus Song Thanksgiving! Bill and Brian break out the their Ocean Pacific gear as they remember the 90s and their early experiences hearing Billy Joel's "The River of Dreams." Brian tells a heartbreaking tale of a young man who didn't get to sing the solo at school but redeemed himself at the county fair. Then we get into some listener emails about 90s rap and our plans for April Fool's Day. Make sure to check out Speak Into My Good Eye's 24 hour songwriting challenge to hear new tunes from past guests like Lowlight, James Harold, Beta Rat, Brian Rothenbeck, and even Brian Erickson. All proceeds benefit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. https://speakimge.bandcamp.com/
Massive Albums November rolls (and rocks) on into week 3 as Bill and Brian welcome multi-talented multi-instrumentalist Matt Fernicola (Foes of Fern, Avery Mandeville and the Man Devils, the Burns, and many more) to talk about Billy Joel's the Stranger (1977, Columbia). Listener be warned: much to our delight Fern, a Berklee College of Music alum, really dives deep into music theory when describing how Joel's classical training help define his unique pop sound. Also, we compare and contrast the lyrical styles of Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, talk about Brian's priest singing some Billy Joel mid-mass, Liberty Devitto's timely (and possibly apocryphal) stick throwing, Phil Ramone getting the producer nod over George Martin, and much more are we make our way through the album track by track!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! And Bill and Brian are joined by special guest cohost - our resident bin diver and .com blogger Jeff Fiedler - to discuss one of his favorite late period Michael Jackson tunes "Butterflies." Jeff talks about how the warmer sounds and throwback vibe of the song are to his liking. Then we take a comparative look at MJ's 90s output before we get to some listener (and reader) emails about top 5 Led Zeppelin songs, Jeff's rating system for Discog Fever pieces, and Prince.
Thegreatalbums.com blogger Jeff Fiedler joins Bill and Brian as special guest cohost along with this week's guest Andrew Kolbenschlag (of indie rockers Small Planet Radio) as get into week 2 of Massive Albums November with Michael Jackson's "other" multiplatinum album Bad (1987, Epic).
It's Bonus Song Thursday! And Bill and Brian talk about one of the rock songs of all time. Bill shares how this was his first Zeppelin album gifted to him on an Easter in the late 90s. We talk about how III had hipster appeal and has started to take its place alongside the other great albums in recent years. Then we get into some emails about Jellyfish, "He's My Best Friend" being about masturbation, Jesus' fan club, and klezmer music!
In our first installment of Massive Albums November 2017, Rock on Radio's Danny Coleman (coaradio.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Led Zeppelin IV (1971, Atlantic). Danny talks about his cool older cousin gifting him this album on his 12th birthday and his life being forever changed. Bill, Brian, and Danny then get into John Bonham's influence on Danny as a drummer, Zep vs. the Who, polyrhythms, John Paul Jones' bass keeping the band together, AM/FM radio and music fandom, how Led Zeppelin kind of does in fact have a great live album, Robert Plant's lyricism (and nerdiness), how Jimmy Page is often overlooked as a great producer, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian are feeling the sting of Jellyfish (it's a good thing) as we chat about their cover of Harry Nilsson's "Think About Your Troubles." Brian tells the tale of Nilsson's The Point! Then we get into which pop artists have had cartoons, 90s power pop, listener appreciation, a Smashing Pumpkins tale, experiencing the release of new albums, World Party, and the possibility Jeff January.
Bill and Brian go sans guest (not by choice) to talk about Jellyfish's unique blend of Baroque arrangements and power pop hooks on the band's sophomore and final album Spilt Milk (1993, Charisma). Bill and Brian discuss the band's place amongst other 90s rock bands, how the band has started to carve out its own niche in the canon of great bands, the influence of classic Disney films, where fan clubs fit in with the modern music industry, the confluence of harmony styles from both the Beach Boys and Queen, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Andy Sturmer's vocal styles, playing drums while standing, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian keep the Ted Leo train rolling by talking about the time that he and the Pharmacists stopped by the AV Club to cover Tears for Fears "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." We chat about when 80s pop went from being admonished to admired, the Val Kilmer vehicle Real Genius, how we don't know much Silicon Valley trivia (for either the place or the TV show), and even Dennis Miller. Then we read some listener emails filling us in on some facts and opinions on the Smashing Pumpkins.
Bill and Brian are joined by WXPN's Mike Vasilikos to talk about Ted Leo & the Pharmacists' Shake the Sheets (2004, Lookout!). Mike explains how working in Baltimore radio lead to his discovery of the band and scoring tickets to a great live show. Then Bill, Brian, and Mike discuss Pitchfork and AllMusic's middling reviews, the band's place in the indie and punk scenes, comparing Leo to the likes of Billy Bragg and Elvis Costello, obliquely political themes, the influence of the Strokes, people being bad a geography, the 2004 presidential election, and more as we make our way through the albums track by track!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! And Bill and Brian would do anything to make sure you're enjoying the listening experience as dive into Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman's epic tune that cemented their legacy through the 90s and into today. We chat about how to make cool guitar sounds, Todd Rundgren's contributions (or lack thereof), Eddie Martinez's killer guitars, the possibility of Brian's band the Paper Jets covering some Loaf tunes, and the meaning of the lyrics. Then we get into some listener emails (but not really) that lead Brian to fill in some thoughts on the Smashing Pumpkins that didn't make it into the Siamese Dream episode, and we talk about how you can we some kick ass records and memorabilia from our pals at Vinyl Emergency while simultaneously helping hurricane relief. Make sure to head to www.vinylemergency.com/donate for more info.
Bill and Brian are joined by podcaster Steve Fiorillo (inthemixpod.libsyn.com) to talk about Meat Loaf's legendary album Bat Out of Hell - Songs by Jim Steinman (1977, Cleveland International/Epic). Steve talks about inheriting his love of Mr. Loaf from his mother and how "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" is one of his earliest memories of music. We get into comparing and contrasting Springsteen with Meat Loaf and the timelessness of the albums production. Then Bill, Brian, and Steve chat about how this whole album is about sex, Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg (temporarily) defecting from the E Street Band, Todd Rundgren being coerced into some of the best guitar playing of his career, more about how this album is pretty much just about getting laid, Edgar Winter's sick sax solo, Phil Rizzuto's naivete, that the album is seriously all about Steinman's intercourse related dark humor, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! And Bill is joined by special guest, musician and songwriter Tyler Plazio (soldiersofsuburbiaband.com), as we get really tangential to discuss that time that Billy Corgan teamed up with David Bowie to perform "All the Young Dudes" at Madison Square Garden. We end up with our longest BST yet as we talk about the importance of going to college, the best age and era to listen to the Smashing Pumpkins, vinyl vs. Spotify, How Tyler got into Bowie, the Mott the Hoople version of the song, how awful Warped Tour is nowadays, how Bill missed out on seeing Green Day in a small venue, how Tyler got to live that dream, Soldiers of Suburbia's new EP Eating Cigarettes, the stigma of "creative differences," a listener email about punk music being almost completely informed by its fans, how that relates to rap, and the unlikely revival of guitar music.
Bill and Brian are joined by podcaster James Anderson of Unabashedly Obsessed (unabashedlyobsessed.com) to talk about the Smashing Pumpkins breakthrough album Siamese Dream (1993, Virgin). James tells the story of playing N64 in a friend's basement, being blown away hearing the Pumpkins for first time, and how it led to purchasing the album at Walmart, a circumstance that forever shaped how he listened to the album. Bill, Brian, and James then get into the band's evolution through the years, how Billy Corgan wishes he could resequence the album, D'Arcy Wretzky and James Iha's lack of involvement in the recording, Jimmy Chamberlain's kick ass drumming and natural tones, Butch Vig's big guitar sounds and love of acoustic tracks, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian quickly derail their own conversation about Saves the Day and their growth on their Stay What You Are follow up In Reverie by espousing the coolness of Nada Surf and their own transformation into indie power pop kings worthy of all the respect. Then they read some emails about how cool the Genuine Imitation Life Gazette is, Frankie Valli's involvement with the Watertown demos, and "songs that belong to the dance floor."
Musician and songwriter Matt Koerner (feenynj.com) joins Bill and Brian to talk about early aughts pop punk innovators Saves the Day and their breakthrough album Stay What You Are (2001, Vagrant). Matt shares his experience discovering the band as a teen pop punk devotee. Then we get into what it's like listening to a band from your hometown, Weezer's interactions with the band, Chris Conley's evolution and maturation as a songwriter and artist, Rob Schnapf's influence as producer, how this isn't Say Anything, Eben D'Amico's groovy bass, Bryan Newman's ability to make Matt air drum, the Muppets, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Bill and Brian are joined by podcaster Mike Derrico (rockunderfire.com) to chat about Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons' often overlooked, pop psychedelic masterpiece the Genuine Imitation Life Gazette (1969, Philips).
It's Bonus Song Thursday! It's slim pickings for some interesting options of Nick Drake covers, but we hit the jackpot with Robyn Hitchcock's version of "Parasite." Bill and Brian discuss Sebadoh's cover of "Pink Moon" and Joe Boyd's arrangement, before getting into some listener emails about Metallica's "Master of Puppets" and teenage Luther Dickinson's contributions to the Replacements' "Shootin' Dirty Pool" (both odor and guitar).
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian follow up our Replacements' conversation with Tommy Stinson's follow up band, Perfect, and their tune "Miss Self-Esteem." We talk about how this band remained under the radar, especially in comparison to Tommy's other post-'Mats effort Bash & Pop. Then we get into some listener emails about bands naming themselves after songs, Paul Westerberg's counting abilities (or lack thereof), and in defense of "Nightclub Jitters."
In a special crossover episode, Bill and Brian welcome Randy and Dan from That Dandy Classic Music Hour (thatdandyclassicmusichour.com) to finally return to covering a Replacements album with their 1987 classic Pleased to Meet Me (Sire). Bill and Brian discuss the band's history and their newfound hi fi sound before cutting to our conversation with the Dandy Classic guys where we delve into Paul Westerberg showing off his lead guitar skills, Jim Dickinson's contributions, Chris Mars' art career, Tommy Stinson's post-'Mats bands Bash & Pop and Perfect, and of course everyone's favorite teen comedy Can't Hardly Wait (the film) as we make our way through the album track by track! For more of our conversation with Dan and Randy, including how we discovered the band and our top 5 songs from the album, make sure to take a listen to the Dandy Classic episodes for the next two weeks!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian discuss Pearl Jam's surprise hit "Last Kiss," the band's staying power, a listener email about second chances, and an indie rock version of the Traveling Wilburys.
Bill and Brian take the stage at the Nashville Rock n Pod Music Expo to chat about what makes Pearl Jam's Backspacer (2009, Monkeywrench) a great album. Featuring some special guests culled from the convention floor!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian dive into the deep waters with Modest Mouse (get it?) to discuss a favorite of theirs "Dashboard." We get into the contribution of Johnny Marr and the influence of disco. Then we read some listener emails letting us know some good songs covered by the Modest Mouse and a little appreciation for Frightened Rabbit.