Updated: Dec 31, 2019
“Ghosteen” is the new LP from Australia’s Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. It’s the first record to be entirely written following the tragic death of Nick Cave’s 15-year-old son. It not only addresses death, loss, and grief, but also faith hope and healing. Framed gorgeously in piano & strings, the track “Bright Horses” comes-in at #9.
Asheville, North Carolina's Angel Olsen released her fifth, “All Mirrors” back in October and it’s one of my favorites of the year. Initially recorded in a bare-bones acoustic approach all of the songs were re-recorded with a 14-piece orchestra that brought them to life. The title-track “All Mirrors” lands at #8 in the countdown.
At #7 we find Manchester, England musician & producer Sam Sheppard, also known as Floating Points. He’s opened for The XX, has a PHD in Neuroscience, and owns a ton of very fun looking electronic audio equipment. "Crush” is his second full-length LP, out last October.
In delves into several different territories in electronic music and I’m going with a very dance-able track (that I just blast in my Mini Cooper Sport, because I can't dance,) called “LesAplx.” It’s #7 on the Favorite-30 Countdown!
We have a trio of albums turning-30 on the Anniversary-30 Countdown. Boston Alternative Rock legends the Pixies released their second LP, “Doolittle” in April of 1989. I love so many of the songs on this record, but I’m gonna go with the tune that many alt-rock purists and even the band itself tiptoed around. Lead singer Black Francis wrote it around age-14 and it was left off their debut “Surfer Rosa” for being too poppy... But at the insistence of their producer, it made it onto the second album. It’s “Here Comes Your Man” at #10.
Coming-in at #9 we find The Cure’s eighth studio album, “Disintegration.” At age-30 Robert Smith was worried about being pegged as a pop-artist with no proper masterpiece to define his career. He returned to the band’s gloomier goth sound of the past and unwittingly produced a masterpiece? Yes, but also an album that would go Double-Platinum here in the U.S. and produce a #2 hit on the Billboard charts with “Lovesong.” Across the pond it spawned a #5 hit on the British charts with this tune: “Lullaby.”
When I first got involved in college radio at WKKL in West Barnstable in 1988, Alternative Rock and its many sub-genres was still a few years away from making a crossover onto the commercial radio airwaves. The following year, Trent Reznor’s debut album as
Nine Inch Nails, would pave the way for Industrial music to make that journey.
While other bands like Ministry had shunned their synth-pop beginnings (1983’s “With Sympathy,”) Reznor freely mixed synth-pop and sampling with Industrial rock elements to create a highly accessible and downright catchy, yet still angry album. “Pretty Hate Machine” is still one of my favorites… Let’s go with the tune “Down In It.” It’s #8 on the Anniversary-30 Countdown. Happy Listening! -Kristen