Posted 03 February 2006 - 09:15 AM
share your memories.........
- Ninoattina likes this
Posted 03 February 2006 - 09:28 AM
Formed in 1990, Razorback the band began when two hormonally charged guitarists, Tirso Ripoll and David Aguirre, and drummer Miguel Ortigas decided it was time to get out of their respective locked bedrooms and start making a
racket in public. Joining the young axemen were vocalist Jose Mari Cuervo (no relation to the drink, though his singing had left viewers intoxicated), bass blaster Louie Talan (then and now the most reticent Razorback boy).
Early on, Razorback had a rep*table following, thanks to their dense yet blistering live Performances. There's no escaping the twin-terror dynamics of Tirso and David, whose guitar-duo onslaught may recall the Allman Brothers or
Lynyrd Skynyrd yet remain a peculiar sight in the Pinoy music scene. Still, there's nothing like the intensity of the entire Razorbunch, their torrential noise initially making them do some time as a joint-shaking, in-demand fixture at the
then-thriving but now-defunct Makati club called Kalye.
As with most bands, Razorback at first helped themselves to covering memorabilia by their musical icons, in their case '70s monsters such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, and the Juan Dela Cruz Band. This just when
the so-called alternative music scene was about to explode, Razorback consequently becoming a genuine good-time alternative to the deluge of bands aiming to ape Nirvana.
As the '90s played on, Razorback amassed much experience, much music, much exposure, and much alcohol. Eventually realizing that they weren't a showband, these sonic swine began writing their own songs, their initial
attempts laden with the intensity that would've made their aural forebears proud. Incessant gigging and songwriting became the norm for the band members, resulting in such riff-rich originals as Tabi ng Bulkan, Giyang, and Pepe the Hepe. Yet, somehow mimicking the band's struggle to earn respect among their peers as well as themselves, it took five years for the first Razorback album to escape the slaughterhouse. Hebigat Sounds Volume One was ultimately unleashed, symbolic of a band that, after a long, grueling climb, has finally reached the mountaintop and planted this flag of theirs for all the world--or at least Philippine listeners--to behold.
Of course, as with any ascent, Razorback was not without bruises, damages, or at least changes. For one thing, before Hebigat even got out, Jose Mari had decided to ditch the rock 'n' roll lifestyle and consequently the band. Soon after
Kevin Roy took on the howling chores, Miguel the pounder split in March of '96 as well, opting to take a different musical direction. Razorback regained composure once Brian Velasco took over the skins, his background conform-ing
with the other members' pre-Razorback live experience: as in none. The ensuing years have also seen Tirso going from bemoustached and bearded to horribly beardless and back, Kevin having his head sides shaved for a f**k-it,
cooler-than-Butt-head look, David and Louie having their own tresses surprisingly shortened, and moreover, the whole band coming out of its classic-rock shell by digging what other wealth the world of music has to offer.
Their penchant for epic, can-you-keep-up-with-us performances found a handy outlet in their succeeding album, the more ambitious 1997 album Beggar's Moon. Clearly more confident than ever, the quake-inducing quintet were steadily showcasing their musical and lyrical strengths to the hilt, as well as manifesting a willingness to loosen up their minds and hands. The result was an array of tunes--Payaso, Munting Paraiso, Ikot ng Mundo, Of Hobbits and Pipeweed, and Goldenthroat: The Electric Mistress, among them--that conjure enough visuals to make Beggar's Moon sound like the soundtrack to some long-lost movie.
As the songs kept coming so did the gigs, which by then had taken the band not just all over Metro Manila but all over the country. Everywhere they played, the gang managed to compel viewers to headbang to their heavy grooves, not to
mention get viewers excited enough to pellet the band with a wild array of injurious elements. But while gigging comes naturally with promoting albums and songs, Razorback keep sweating it out onstage as frequently as possible
since a lull in playing would result in rusty hands.
Not only did their punishing perseverance pay off for them, Razorback likewise have also earned a reasonable dose of acclaim. Besides being among the more respected local bands, there's David winning the 1997 NU 107 Rock Award as Guitarist of the Year--an honor he personally shared with Tirso, no less--and Louie earning the Bassist of the Year Rock Award the following year. The mere fact that they remain under contract with Sony Music Philippines, which had released Beggar's Moon, is testament enough of these guys' repute.
Which brings us to their latest set of explosives, the 1998 album simply dubbed "Star". Compared to the tunes on Beggar's Moon, Star's are shorter, more concise and straightforward rowk-un-rowl. As the cover photo would suggest,
the album is full of fresh licks, as well as pummeling rhythms and melodies that alternately eschew the speed limit or tread slowly yet sensuously. From the get-go with the title track, down to "Tunay na Kulay", "Inflatable Love Thing",
"Firefly", et cetera, "Star" shows no mercy to the ears. What's more, the third Star single, "Voodoo, Who Do?" not only has an enjoyably sinister tone to it, it also boasts of the coolest video ever made in the Philippines.
years later, Razorback have indeed become rockstars hovering over the Pinoy musical landscape, though they refuse to think so. They would rather be grateful for still rocking after all these years, counting boys and girls of different ages,
backgrounds, and even tastes for an audience. Instead of being status-conscious, they would much rather amass as large an audience as possible, by playing to as many faces and races in as many places as possible.
Kevin Roy - Vocals
Tirso Ripol - Guitars
David Aguirre - Guitars
Louie Talan - Bass
Brian Velasco - Drums
Posted 03 February 2006 - 09:31 AM
Pag-gising sa umaga
Ang ulo ko'y masakit
Ang bigat ng feeling
At ang baho ng singit
Hindi pa ako makabangon
Umiikot pa ang kuwarto ko
Kailan pa ako matututo
Sumabog na naman ako
Pumutok ang bulkan
Prinito'ng utak ko
Sumobra sa usok
At ako'y nabobo
'Di na ako makabangon
Ang sarap ng tulog ko
Hindi na ako matututo
Sumabog na naman ang bulkan
Ayoko na nang ganito
Magpapakatino na lang ako
Hindi na ako papasok sa ganyang gulo
Hindi na ako kakain ng gulay sa tabi ng bulkan
Hindi na ako matututo
Sumabog na naman ang bulkan
Sumabog na naman ang bulkan...
Posted 03 February 2006 - 01:40 PM
yup, my favorite era, a time when there was club dredd, LA 105,nirvana, the Youth, hiphop vs. Metal,alternative and grunge,RJtV 29 junior jam,Rock n Rhythm music magazine, Eraserheads and others........
share your memories.........
I remember those HIPHOP VS. METAL days.... minsan nauuwi sa suntukan... haha...
Posted 03 February 2006 - 05:54 PM
"Jump Around," an impossibly infectious and catchy single, instantly elevated House of Pain from an unknown white hip-hop group to near-stars when it became a massive crossover hit in 1992. It made the band and it also broke the band, consigning them to the level of one-hit wonders. House of Pain continued to release records after their eponymous 1992 debut and "Jump Around," yet none of them gained much attention, partially because of the band's self-consciously loutish behavior. Led by rapper Everlast, the group celebrated their Irish-American heritage by wearing green, drinking prodigious amounts of beer, and swearing constantly. It certainly earned them attention at the outset, particularly when it was tied to a single like "Jump Around," but the bottom quickly fell out of their career. The group's second album, 1994's Same as It Ever Was, went gold, but it failed to generate a hit single, and by the time of 1996's Truth Crushed to Earth Shall Rise Again, the band had been forgotten.
Everlast (born Erik Schrody, August 18, 1969) became fascinated by hip-hop while he was in high school, eventually becoming part of Ice-T's Rhyme Syndicate. His association with Ice-T led to a contract with Warner Bros., who released his debut album, Forever Everlasting, in 1990. After the record bombed, Everlast formed House of Pain with his high school friend Danny Boy (born Daniel O'Connor) and DJ Lethal (born Leor DiMant), a Latvian immigrant. Released on Tommy Boy Records, the group's eponymous 1992 debut was co-produced by Muggs, who masterminded Cypress Hill's groundbreaking debut. Muggs gave "Jump Around" its distinctive, incessant beat, which merged a deep bass groove with drum loops and Public Enemy-styled sirens. On the back of Kris Kross' spring hit "Jump," "Jump Around" became a huge hit in the summer of 1992, peaking at number three on the pop charts. Both the single's video and the remainder of House of Pain celebrated the group's Irish heritage in a tongue-in-cheek fashion that quickly became shtick. Throughout their 1993 tour, the group ran into trouble with promoters and the law, culminating in Everlast's March arrest for possessing an unregistered, unloaded pistol at Kennedy Airport. He was sentenced to community service, and later that year, the group began work on their second album.
Like its predecessor, 1994's Same as It Ever Was was produced by Muggs. Upon its summer release, the record was greeted with surprisingly strong reviews and sales, debuting at number 12 on the charts. However, the sales quickly slowed as "On Point" failed to become a hit. Most of the next two years were spent in seclusion, and the group returned in the fall of 1996 with Truth Crushed to Earth Shall Rise Again, a record that was ignored by both the press and the public. Everlast returned in 1998 as a solo act, and gained critical acclaim for his debut, Whitey Ford Sings the Blues
Posted 03 February 2006 - 05:56 PM
Coolio was one of the first rappers to balance pop accessibility with gritty, street-level subject matter and language. Yet despite his nods to hardcore, his music was clearly more happy-go-lucky at heart; he shared the West Coast scene's love of laid-back '70s funk, and that attitude translated to his music far more often than Dr. Dre's Death Row/G-funk axis. Most of Coolio's hits were exuberant, good-time party anthems (save for his moody signature song "Gangsta's Paradise"), and he created a goofy, ingratiating persona in the videos that supported them. He was also popular with younger audiences and became a favorite on Nickelodeon comedy shows thanks to the thin, spidery dreadlocks that stuck straight out of his head in all directions. In the process, Coolio took the sound of West Coast hip-hop to wider audiences than ever before, including those put off by -- or too young for -- the rougher aspects of G-funk. A combination of inactivity, legal troubles, and newly emerging rap stars stole Coolio's thunder in the late '90s, but by that point he'd helped lay the groundwork for an explosion of hardcore-themed pop-rap (most notably Puff Daddy's Bad Boy empire), and played an underappreciated role in making hip-hop the mainstream pop music of choice for a new generation.
Coolio was born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. on August 1, 1963, in the South Central L.A. area of Compton. As a young boy, he was small, asthmatic, highly intelligent, and a bookworm, which often made life outside the home difficult. His parents divorced when he was 11, and searching for a way to fit in at school, he started running with the Baby Crips and getting into trouble. Even so, he still wasn't really accepted and was never formally inducted into the gang; he tried to make up for it by creating a menacing, unstable persona and carrying weapons to school, and his once-promising scholastic career wound up falling victim to his violent, poverty-stricken environment. At 17, he spent several months in jail for larceny (apparently after trying to cash a money order that had actually been stolen by one of his friends). After high school, he studied at Compton Community College; he also began taking his high school interest in rap to the stage and took his performing name from a dozen contests in which someone called him "Coolio Iglesias." He became a regular on Los Angeles rap radio station KDAY and cut one of the earlier SoCal rap singles, "Watcha Gonna Do." Unfortunately, he also fell prey to crack cocaine addiction, which derailed his music career. Coolio entered rehab and straightened himself out by taking a job as a firefighter in the forests of northern California. Upon returning to L.A. a year later, he worked various odd jobs -- including security at Los Angeles International Airport -- while getting his rap career back on track.
Coolio cut another single, "You're Gonna Miss Me," that went nowhere. However, he began making connections in the L.A. hip-hop scene, meeting up with WC and the Maad Circle and guesting on their 1991 debut album, Ain't a Damn Thang Changed. He then joined a collective dubbed the 40 Thevz and wound up landing a deal with Tommy Boy. Accompanied by DJ Brian "Wino" Dobbs, Coolio recorded his debut album, It Takes a Thief, which was released in 1994. The lead single, "County Line," was a humorous recounting of the indignities of welfare, but the record really took off when "Fantastic Voyage," a rap remake of the funk classic by Lakeside, was released as a single. Accompanied by a typically playful video, "Fantastic Voyage" rocketed to number three on the pop charts, pushing It Takes a Thief into the Top Ten and past the platinum sales mark. Many critics and listeners welcomed his friendlier, gentler approach to the gangsta-dominated West Coast sound, in spite of the fact that some of his album cuts tackled hardcore themes in a similarly profane manner.
Following up his breakthrough success, Coolio teamed up with gospel-trained singer L.V. on a tune based on Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life cut "Pastime Paradise." "Gangsta's Paradise" was a social statement about ghetto life, and the music was dark, haunting, and spellbindingly atmospheric. In other words, it was nothing like what the public had come to expect from Coolio, and a less than enthusiastic Tommy Boy discouraged him from putting it on an album, instead placing it on the soundtrack to the film Dangerous Minds, which starred Michelle Pfeiffer as a tough inner-city teacher. Released as a single, "Gangsta's Paradise" was a staggeringly huge hit; it became Coolio's first number one pop single and also the first ghetto-centric rap song to hit number one in the U.K. Its chart longevity was such that, even with the Mariah Carey/Boyz II Men duet "One Sweet Day" setting a new record for most weeks at number one that year, "Gangsta's Paradise" still managed to beat it out as the number one single of 1995. It was such a phenomenon that when Weird Al Yankovic recorded the parody "Amish Paradise" (authorized by Tommy Boy but not Coolio, leading to much discord), the accompanying album Bad Hair Day became his biggest-selling record ever. Naturally, "Gangsta's Paradise" was featured on Coolio's next album, released toward the end of 1995, and naturally, it was the title track. It later won a Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance.
The triple-platinum Gangsta's Paradise album kept the hits coming: the bright party anthem "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" hit the Top Ten in 1996, and the safe-sex anthem "Too Hot" was fairly popular as well. Meanwhile, Coolio toured the world, contributed the theme song to the Nickelodeon comedy series Kenan and Kel, and began pursuing an acting career, making his screen debut with a cameo in the 1996 comedy Phat Beach; he would also land a small role in the following year's Batman and Robin. Coolio's third album, My Soul, could well have been expected to be a major event, given his massive success last time out. However, things had changed drastically by the summer of 1997: the specter of the 2Pac/Biggie murders still hung heavily over the hip-hop landscape, and Puff Daddy was rapidly becoming a breakout star with the young audience that had previously belonged to Coolio. My Soul's lead single, the elegiac "C U When U Get There" (which sampled Pachelbel's "Canon in D"), seemed to fit the mood of the times, but the album barely scraped the Top 40 and became one of the lowest-profile platinum hits of the year.
The disappointing performance of My Soul was complicated by various legal difficulties. In late 1997, Coolio and seven members of his entourage were arrested for allegedly shoplifting from a German clothing store and assaulting the owner; he was later convicted on accessory charges and fined. Not long after that incident, German police threatened to charge Coolio with inciting crime after missing the humor behind his in-concert suggestion that listeners steal his album if they couldn't afford it. In the summer of 1998, Coolio was arrested again, this time in Lawndale, CA; he was pulled over and cited for driving on the wrong side of the road with an expired license and was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon (despite having alerted the officer to the presence of the unloaded semiautomatic pistol in the vehicle) and possessing a small amount of marijuana. Things weren't all bad, though; he appeared regularly on the revived Hollywood Squares and set up his own label, Crowbar. In 1999, he played triplets in the film Tyrone, but had to postpone a Crowbar promotional tour after an auto accident. He continued to take a number of small film roles, but his much-delayed fourth album remained only a rumor (though it was confirmed that he had recorded "The Hustler," a rap update of Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" with Rogers himself on vocals, back in 1998). Finally, five years after his last album, El Cool Magnifico appeared on the Dragon Riders label
Posted 03 February 2006 - 05:58 PM
Cypress Hill were notable for being the first Latino hip-hop superstars, but they became notorious for their endorsement of marijuana, which actually isn't a trivial thing. Not only did the group campaign for its legalization, but their slow, rolling bass-and-drum loops pioneered a new, stoned funk that became extraordinary influential in '90s hip-hop -- it could be heard in everything from Dr. Dre's G-funk to the chilly layers of English trip-hop. DJ Muggs crafted the sound, and B Real, with his pinched, nasal voice, was responsible for the rhetoric that made them famous. The propot position became a little ridiculous over time, but there was no denying that the actual music had a strange, eerie power, particularly on the band's first two albums. Although B Real remained an effective lyricist and Muggs' musical skills did not diminish, the group's third album, Temples of Boom, was perceived by many critics as self-parodic, and the group appeared to disintegrate shortly afterward, though Muggs and B Real regrouped toward the end of the '90s to issue more material.
DVX, the original incarnation of Cypress Hill, formed in 1986 when Cuban-born brothers Sen Dog (born Senen Reyes, November 20, 1965) and Mellow Man Ace hooked up with fellow Los Angeles residents Muggs (born Lawrence Muggerud, January 28, 1968) and B Real (born Louis Freese, June 2, 1970). The group began pioneering a fusion of Latin and hip-hop slang, developing their own style by the time Mellow Man Ace left the group in 1988. Renaming themselves Cypress Hill after a local street, the group continued to perform around L.A., eventually signing with Ruffhouse/Columbia in 1991.
With its stoned beats, B Real's exaggerated nasal whine, and cartoonish violence, the group's eponymous debut became a sensation in early 1992, several months after its initial release. The singles "How I Could Just k*ll a Man" and "The Phuncky Feel One" became underground hits, and the group's public promarijuana stance earned them many fans among the alternative rock community. Cypress Hill followed the album with Black Sunday in the summer of 1993, and while it sounded remarkably similar to the debut, it nevertheless became a hit, entering the album charts at number one and spawning the crossover hit "Insane in the Brain." With Black Sunday, Cypress Hill's audience became predominantly white, collegiate suburbanites, which caused them to lose some support in the hip-hop community. The group didn't help matters much in 1995, when they added a new member, drummer Bobo, and toured with the fifth Lollapalooza prior to the release of their third album, Temples of Boom. A darker, gloomier affair than their first two records, Temples of Boom was greeted with mixed reviews upon its fall 1995 release, and while it initially sold well, it failed to generate a genuine hit single. However, it did perform better on the R&B charts than it did on the pop charts.
Instead of capitalizing on their regained hip-hop credibility, Cypress Hill slowly fell apart. Sen Dog left in early 1996 and Muggs spent most of the year working on his solo album. Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews in early 1997, leaving Cypress Hill's future in much doubt until the release of IV in 1998. Sen Dog had come back for the record. He had left because he felt he did not get enough mic time, but after a few years with a rock band he was more than happy to return. Two years later, the group released the double-disc set Skull & Bones, which featured a disc of hip-hop and a disc of their more rock-inspired material. Appropriately, the album also included rock and rap versions of the single "Superstar," bringing Cypress Hill's quest for credibility and crossover hits full circle. The ensuing videos for both versions featured many famous rap and rock musicians talking about their profession, and the song was a smash on MTV because of it. In the winter of 2001, the group came back with Stoned Raiders, another album to heavily incorporate rock music. Three years later, the band issued Till Death Do Us Part, which incorporated several styles of Jamaican music
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:01 PM
Norman "Jack-of-All-Genres" Cook, in addition to his former occupations as bassist for the Housemartins and one-third of acid house hitmakers Pizzaman, is also the man behind one of the most popular of the new flock of English "Brit hop" producers, Fatboy Slim. Releasing his Fatboy material through club staple Skint, Cook's raucous blend of house, acid, funk, hip-hop, electro, and techno has added to his already formidable rep*tation as one of the foremost all-around producers on the U.K. club scene. Born in Bromley on July 13, 1963, Cook joined the Hull-based pop group the Housemartins in 1986, replacing founding member Ted Key. After the group split the following year, Cook became involved with the burgeoning acid house scene, pairing with producers Tim Jeffrey and J.C. Reid toward the end of the decade to form Pizzaman. The trio nailed three Top 40 hits together ("Trippin' on Sunshine," "Sex on the Streets," and "Happiness") before Cook splintered off to record with similarly-styled outfits Freak Power and Beats International in the early '90s. He shut most of his other production activities down in the following years to focus on his latest incarnation, Fatboy Slim, which to date includes a trio of singles and the full-length Better Living Through Chemistry. Cook was also called in to add his remixing skills to Jean-Jacques Perrey's proto-electronica classic "Eva," released as a 12" and CD single in 1997. In addition to his FBS work, Cook also recorded the Skip to My Loops sample CD, a popular studio tool sporting a melange of sample-ready drum loops, analog squelches, and assorted noises. In early 1998, his remix of Cornershop's "Brimful of Asha" spent several weeks at number one in the British charts. Fatboy Slim's eagerly anticipated second LP You've Come a Long Way, Baby followed later that year. The album went platinum in the U.S. and spawned two international hits, "The Rockafeller Skank" and "Praise You," which also boasted a Spike Jonze-directed video that earned three MTV Video Music Awards as well as two Grammy nominations. "The Rockafeller Skank," "Praise You" and other songs from You've Come a Long Way, Baby ended up on countless soundtracks and commercials, cementing Fatboy Slim's unique position as a critically acclaimed and immensely popular act. Cook also recorded several mix albums, including the first disc of the Radio 1 compilation Essential Selection, Vol. 1 and his own On the Floor at the Boutique. The latter was released domestically in the U.S. in early 2000 to help fans withstand the wait for his third album, Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars, which arrived that fall. Two mix albums -- Live on Brighton Beach and Big Beach Boutique II -- appeared in 2002. During 2003, Cook and his wife -- popular British TV presenter Z÷e Ball -- separated for a brief period. They soon patched things up but the split was a heavy influence on 2004's Palookaville, the most laid-back and moody Fatboy Slim album yet. [See Also: Beats International]
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:04 PM
Until he began branching out in 1996 with a barrage of album productions and remix classics (several of which were heard by more people than the originals), Armand Van Helden was one of the best-kept secrets in house music, recording for such labels as Strictly Rhythm, Henry St., Logic and ZYX. Afterwards, he became one of the top names in dance music altogether. As one in the steady progression of top in-house producers for Strictly Rhythm during the early '90s, Van Helden joined such names as Todd Terry, Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, Masters at Work and George Morel to record scores of club hits. By the late '90s, a clutch of crucial remixes and several albums made Van Helden's name as one of the most popular producers around.
Van Helden spent time in Holland, Turkey and Italy while growing up the son of an Air Force man, and listened to music from an early age. He bought a drum machine at the age of 13 and began DJing two years later, mostly hip-hop and freestyle. Based in Boston while attending college, Van Helden proceeded to moonlight as a DJ; though he settled into a legal-review job after graduation, he quit his job in 1991 to begin working on production for the remix service X-Mix Productions (founded by his future manager, Neil Pettricone). Van Helden also owned a residency at Boston's Loft, and soon made it into one of the most popular nightclubs in the city. After playing one of his production demos for the dance A&R guru Gladys Pizarro in 1992, Van Helden released his proper debut single, Deep Creed's "Stay on My Mind," for Nervous Records.
Later that year, Van Helden released "Move It to the Left" by Sultans of Swing, his first single for the premiere American dance label Strictly Rhythm. Though a moderate club hit, the single was eclipsed by another Strictly Rhythm offering, 1994's "Witch Doktor." It became a dancefloor hit around the world and introduced him to a larger club audience. Although he had remixed Deee-Lite, Jimmy Somerville, New Order, Deep Forest and Faithless, a reworked version of Tori Amos' "Professional Widow" hit the clubs with the same impact as his "Witchdoktor" single. During 1996-97, Van Helden became the name for forward-thinking pop artists to recruit for remixing duty from the Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson and Puff Daddy to Sneaker Pimps, C.J. Bolland and Daft Punk. His own-name singles productions continued unabated, with hits like "Cha Cha" and "The Funk Phenomena," plus the release of his first album, Old School Junkies. Following a 1997 Greatest Hits retrospective, Van Helden returned to his old-school rap roots with the party breakbeat album, Sampleslayer...Enter the Meatmarket. The 2 Future 4 U EP followed in 1998, which later came up with another hit "You Don't Know Me" and in mid-2000 Van Helden returned with Killing Puritans.
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:06 PM
i personally love the woodstock 94 album.. coolness!
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:08 PM
On temporary hiatus from injecting the spirit of acid house into the French dance scene as half of Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter crafted one of the catchiest dance anthems of the late '90s, Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You." A warm, breezy, endlessly catchy mid-tempo anthem that launched hundreds of similar filter-disco tracks over the next few years, the single was recorded quickly by Bangalter with co-producer Alan Braxe and released on his own RoulÚ label in June 1998. After ruling the roosts at Ibiza that summer -- along with another Bangalter co-production, Bob Sinclar's "Gym Tonic" -- the track was licensed by Virgin and hit number two on the British charts that fall. Though the label offered Bangalter three million dollars to produce a Stardust LP, he decided instead to make it a one-shot project
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:11 PM
In similar company with new-school French progressive dance artists such as Motorbass, Air, Cassius, and Dimitri From Paris, Parisian duo Daft Punk quickly rose to acclaim by adapting a love for first-wave acid house and techno to their younger roots in pop, indie rock, and hip-hop. The combined talents of DJs Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, the pair's first projects together included Darling, a voiceless indie cover band; their current recording name derives from a review in U.K. music weekly Melody Maker of a compilation tape Darling were featured on, released by Krautrock revivalists Stereolab (their lo-fi D.I.Y. cover of a Beach Boys song was derided as "daft punk"). Subsequently ditching the almost inevitable creative cul-de-sac of rock for the more appealing rush of the dancefloor, the pair released their debut single, "The New Wave," in 1993 on the celebrated Soma label. Instantly hailed by the dance music press as the work of a new breed of house innovators, the single was followed by "Da Funk," the band's first true hit (the record sold 30,000 copies worldwide and saw thorough rinsings by everyone from Kris Needs to the Chemical Brothers).
Although the group had only released a trio of singles ("The New Wave" and "Da Funk," as well as the 1996 limited pressing of "Musique"), in early 1996 Daft Punk were the subject of a minor bidding war. The group eventually signed with Virgin, with their first long-player, Homework, appearing early the following year (a brief preview of the album, "Musique," was also featured on the Virgin compilation Wipeout XL next to tracks from Photek, Future Sound of London, the Chemical Brothers, and Source Direct). As with the earlier singles, the group's sound is a brazen, dancefloor-oriented blend of progressive house, funk, electro, and techno, with sprinklings of hip-hop-styled breakbeats and excessive, crowd-firing samples, similar to other anthemic dance-fusion acts such as the Chemical Brothers and Monkey Mafia. In addition to his role in Daft Punk, Bangalter operates the Roule label and has recorded under his own name (the underground smash "Trax on da Rocks") as well as Stardust (the huge club/commercial hit "Music Sounds Better With You"). After four long years of anxiously awaiting a follow-up to their brilliant debut, Daft Punk finally issued Discovery in March 2001.
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:14 PM
Although some choose to pass off Jamiroquai as a Stevie Wonder-clone, the band has amassed a steady stream of hits in its native U.K. and has experienced chart success in just about every other area of the world with an irresistible blend of house rhythms and '70s-era soul/funk. The band has gone though several lineup changes during their career, but through it all their leader has remained singer/songwriter Jason Kay (aka J.K.). Born on December 30, 1969, in Stretford, Manchester, Kay's mother, Karen, was a jazz singer who regularly performed at nightclubs, and in the '70s had her own TV show. After leaving home at the age of 15, Kay found himself homeless and in trouble with the law (by committing petty crimes to get by). After a near-death experience (where he was attacked and stabbed) and being arrested for a crime he did not commit, Kay decided to return home, where he chose to pursue a legitimate career over crime: music. Kay didn't have a band to back up his compositions, but he quickly came up with his future project's name, Jamiroquai, a name that combined the name of a Native American tribe (the Iroquois) along with the music-based word, jam.
Kay's home demos caught the attention of the record label Acid Jazz, which issued Jamiroquai's debut single "When You Gonna Learn?" in late 1992. With Kay enlisting the help of others (Jamiroquai's best-known lineup included drummer Derrick McKenzie, keyboard player Toby Smith, bassist Stuart Zender, and vibraphonist Wallis Buchanan), the single was a success and was soon followed by a long-term and lucrative recording contract with Sony. Jamiroquai's full-length debut, Emergency on Planet Earth, followed in 1993 and became a major hit in their native England (peaking at number one on the charts), spawning such Top Ten hit singles as "Too Young to Die" and "Blow Your Mind." The band's second release, The Return of the Space Cowboy in 1995, managed to steer Jamiroquai clear of the sophomore jinx that affects so many up-and-coming bands by out-selling its predecessor in Europe and was a sizeable hit in Japan, as well.
With most of the world dancing to Jamiroquai's beat, America was next in line for the band's third effort, 1996's Traveling Without Moving. The album spawned the worldwide hit "Virtual Insanity," for which an award-winning video was filmed and helped the album achieve platinum status in the States by the year's end (as well as a highlighted performance at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards). Despite achieving breakthrough success, bassist Zender opted to leave the group during sessions for its follow-up, which resulted in Kay scraping almost an entire album's worth of new tracks in order to start from scratch with a new bassist (the slot would eventually go to newcomer Nick Fyffe). During the downtime, Jamiroquai contributed a brand-new track, "Deeper Underground," to the soundtrack for the 1998 movie Godzilla.
But the long wait between albums seemed to k*ll Jamiroquai's momentum in the U.S., where a fourth release overall, 1999's Synkronized, was largely ignored (yet back home and across the globe, it was another major commercial success). Subsequently, it appeared as though the majority of Jamiroquai's U.S. media attention focused on non-music related events, such as the band turning down a million-dollar offer to play at a concert on New Year's Eve 1999, and when Kay was accused of assaulting a tabloid photographer (with the charges later being dropped). It didn't take Jamiroquai as long the next time around to issue another album, with A Funk Odyssey hitting the racks two years later in 2001. Kay also helmed a volume in the mix-album series Late Night Tales
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:16 PM
The Prodigy navigated the high-wire, balancing artistic merit and mainstream visibility with more flair than any electronica act of the 1990s. Ably defeating the image-unconscious attitude of most electronic artists in favor of a focus on nominal frontman Keith Flint, the group crossed over to the mainstream of pop music with an incendiary live experience that approximated the original atmosphere of the British rave scene even while leaning uncomfortably close to arena-rock showmanship and punk theatrics. True, Flint's spiky hairstyle and numerous piercings often made for better advertising, but it was producer Liam Howlett whose studio wizardry launched the Prodigy to the top of the charts, spinning a web of hard-hitting breakbeat techno with king-sized hooks and unmissable samples. Despite electronic music's diversity and quick progression during the 1990s -- from rave/hardcore to ambient/downtempo and back again, thanks to the breakbeat/drum'n'bass movement -- Howlett modified the Prodigy's sound only sparingly; swapping the rave-whistle effects and ragga samples for metal chords and chanted vocals proved the only major difference in the band's evolution from their debut to their worldwide breakthrough with their third album The Fat of the Land. Even before the band took its place as the premiere dance act for the alternative masses, the Prodigy had proved a consistent entry in the British charts, with over a dozen consecutive singles in the Top 20.
Howlett, the prodigy behind the group's name, was trained on the piano while growing up in Braintree, Essex. He began listening to hip-hop in the mid-'80s and later DJed with the British rap act Cut to k*ll before moving on to acid house later in the decade. The fledgling hardcore breakbeat sound was perfect for an old hip-hop fan fluent in up-tempo dance music, and Howlett began producing tracks in his bedroom studio during 1988. His first release, the EP What Evil Lurks, became a major mover on the fledgling rave scene in 1990. After Howlett met up with Keith Flint and Leeroy Thornhill (both Essex natives as well) in the growing British rave scene, the trio formed the Prodigy later that year. Howlett's recordings gained the trio a contract with XL Records, which re-released What Evil Lurks in February 1991.
Six months later, Howlett issued his second single "Charly," built around a sample from a children's public-service announcement. It hit number one on the British dance charts, then crossed over to the pop charts, stalling only at number three. (It wasn't long before a copycat craze saw the launch of rave takeoffs on Speed Racer, The Magic Roundabout and Sesame Street) Two additional Prodigy singles, "Everybody in the Place" and "Fire/Jericho," charted in the U.K. during late 1991 and early 1992.
The Prodigy showed they were no one-anthem wonders in late 1992, with the release of The Prodigy Experience, one of the first LPs by a rave act. Mixing chunky breakbeats with vocal samples from dub legend Lee "Scratch" Perry and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, it hit the Top Ten and easily went gold. During 1993, Howlett added a ragga/hip-hop MC named Maxim Reality (Keeti Palmer) and occupied himself with remix work for Front 242, Jesus Jones and Art of Noise. He also released the white-label single "Earthbound" to fool image-conscious DJs who had written off the Prodigy as hopelessly commercial. Late 1993 brought the commercial release of "Earthbound" (as the group's seventh consecutive Top 20 singles entry, "One Love").
After several months of working on tracks, Howlett issued the next Prodigy single, "No Good (Start the Dance)." Despite the fact that the single's hook was a sped-up diva-vocal tag (an early rave staple), the following album Music for the Jilted Generation provided a transition for the group, from piano pieces and rave-signal tracks to more guitar-integrated singles like "Voodoo People." The album also continued Prodigy's allegiance to breakbeat drum'n'bass; though the style had only recently become commercially viable (after a long gestation period in the dance underground), Howlett had been incorporating it from the beginning of his career. Music for the Jilted Generation entered the British charts at number one and went gold in its first week of release. The album was also nominated for a Mercury Music Prize, as one of the best albums of the year.
The Prodigy spent much of 1994 and 1995 touring around the world, and made a splashy appearance at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival, proving that electronica could make it in a live venue. The group had already made a transition from the club/rave circuit to more traditional rock venues, and the Glastonbury show set in stone the fact that they were no longer just a dance group. Flint's newly emerged persona -- the consummate in-your-face punk showman and master of ceremonies for the digital-age crowd -- provided a point of reference for rock critics uncomfortable covering Howlett (whom they saw as a glorified keyboard player).
The Prodigy's incessant road schedule left little time to record, but Howlett managed to bring out the next new Prodigy single in March 1996. "Firestarter" entered the British charts at number one, though the video was almost banned due to complaints about arson fixation; many Top of the Pops viewers also complained that Keith Flint had scared their children. An unmissable guitar hook and Flint's catcall vocal antics -- his first on record -- made it a quick worldwide hit and though "Firestarter" wasn't a major success in the U.S., its high-profile spot in MTV's Buzz Bin introduced the Prodigy to many Americans and helped fuel the major-label push for electronica during the following year (though the Prodigy did reject collaborative offers from David Bowie, U2 and Madonna). In the middle of the electronica buzz, the Prodigy dropped their third album, The Fat of the Land. Despite rather obvious attempts to court mainstream rock fans (including several guest-vocalist spots and an L7 cover), the LP entered both British and American charts at number one, shifting several million units worldwide. The next Prodigy full-length was 1999's The Dirtchamber Sessions, a mix album helmed by Howlett.
The "Baby's Got a Temper" single -- one Howlett would later disown -- appeared in 2002 and soon after Leeroy Thornhill left the band. Maxim and Keith Flint were still in the band but they weren't to be found on 2004's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. Instead the album featured guest spots from Oasis' Liam Gallagher, Kool Keith, Twista, and actress Juliette Lewis. Flint and Maxim did join Howlett for a worldwide tour to support the album that launched in October 2004
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:19 PM
Orbital became one of the biggest names in techno during the mid-'90s by solving the irreconcilable differences previously inherent in the genre: to stay true to the dance underground and, at the same time, force entry into the rock arena, where an album functions as an artistic statement -- not a collection of singles -- and a band's prowess is demonstrated by the actual performance of live music. Though Phil and Paul Hartnoll first charted with a single, the 1990 British Top 20 hit "Chime," the duo later became known for critically praised albums. The LPs sold well with rock fans as well as electronic listeners, thanks to Orbital's busy tour schedule, which included headlining positions at such varied spots as the Glastonbury Festival, the Royal Albert Hall, and Tribal Gathering.
The brothers Hartnoll -- Phil (b. Jan. 9, 1964) and Paul (b. May 19, 1968) -- grew up in Dartford, Kent, listening to early-'80s punk and electro. During the mid-'80s, Phil worked as a bricklayer while Paul played with a local band called Noddy & the Satellites. They began recording together in 1987 with a four-track, keyboards, and a drum machine, and sent their first composition "Chime" (recorded and mastered onto a cassette tape for a total production cost of ú2.50) into Jazzy M's pioneering house mix show Jackin' Zone. By 1989, "Chime" was released as a single, the first on Jazzy M's label, Oh-Zone Records. The following year, ffrr Records re-released the single and signed a contract with the duo -- christened Orbital in honor of the M25, the circular London expressway which speeded thousands of club kids to the hinterlands for raves during the blissed-out Summer of Love. "Chime" hit number 17 on the British charts in March 1990, and led to an appearance on the TV chart show Top of the Pops, where the Hartnolls stared at the audience from behind their synth banks. "Omen" barely missed the Top 40 in September, but "Satan" made number 31 early in 1991, with a sample lifted from the Butthole Surfers.
Orbital's untitled first LP, released in September 1991, consisted of all new material -- that is, if live versions of "Chime" and the fourth single "Midnight" are considered new works. Unlike the Hartnolls' later albums, though, the debut was more of a collection of songs than a true full-length work, its cut-and-paste attitude typical of many techno LPs of the time. During 1992, Orbital continued their chart success with two EPs. The Mutations remix work -- with contributions from Meat Beat Manifesto, Moby, and Joey Beltram -- hit number 24 in February. Orbital returned Meat Beat's favor later that year by remixing "Edge of No Control," and later reworked songs by Queen Latifah, the Shamen, and EMF as well. The second EP, Radiccio, reached the Top 40 in September. It marked the Hartnolls' debut for Internal Records in England, though ffrr retained control of the duo's American contract, beginning with a U.S. release of the debut album in 1992.
The duo entered 1993 ready to free techno from its club restraints, beginning in June with a second LP. Also untitled, but nicknamed the "brown" album as an alternative to the "green" debut, it unified the disjointed feel of its predecessor and hit number 28 on the British charts. The Hartnolls continued the electronic revolution that fall during their first American tour. Phil and Paul had first played live at a pub in Kent in 1989 -- before the release of "Chime" -- and had continued to make concert performance a cornerstone of their appeal during 1991-1993, though the U.S. had remained unaware of the fact. On a tour with Moby and Aphex Twin, Orbital proved to Americans that techno shows could actually be diverting for the undrugged multitudes. With no reliance on DATs (the savior of most live techno acts), Phil and Paul allowed an element of improvisation into the previously sterile field, making their live shows actually sound live. The concerts were just as entertaining to watch as well, with the Hartnolls' constant presence behind the banks -- a pair of flashlights attached to each head, bobbing in time to the music -- underscoring the impressive light shows and visuals. The early 1994 release of the Peel Session EP, recorded live at the BBC's Maida Vale studios, cemented onto wax what concertgoers already knew. That summer proved to be the pinnacle of Orbital's performance ascent; an appearance at Woodstock 2 and a headlining spot at the Glastonbury Festival (both to rave reviews) confirmed the duo's status as one of the premier live acts in the field of popular music, period.
The U.S.-only Diversions EP -- released in March 1994 as a supplement to the second LP -- selected tracks from both the Peel Session and the album's single "Lush." Following in August 1994, Snivilization became Orbital's first named LP. The duo had not left political/social comment completely behind on the previous album -- "Halcyon + On + On" was in fact a response to the drug used for seven years by the Hartnolls' own mother -- but Snivilization pushed Orbital into the much more active world of political protest. It focused on the Criminal Justice Bill of 1994, which gave police greater legal action both to break up raves and prosecute the promoters and participants. The wide variety of styles signalled that this was Orbital's most accomplished work. Snivilization also became the duo's biggest hit, reaching number four in Great Britain's album charts.
During 1995, the brothers concerned themselves with touring, headlining the Glastonbury Festival in addition to the dance extravaganza Tribal Gathering. In May 1996, Orbital set out on quite a different tour altogether; the duo played untraditional, seated venues -- including the prestigious Royal Albert Hall -- and appeared on stage earlier in the night, much like typical rock bands. Two months later, Phil and Paul released "The Box," a 28-minute single of orchestral proportions. It screamed of prog-rock excess -- especially the inclusion of synth harpsichords -- and appeared to be the first misstep in a very studied career. The resulting In Sides, however, became their most acclaimed album, with many excellent reviews in publications that had never covered electronic music. It was over three years before the release of Orbital's next album, 1999's Middle of Nowhere. The Altogether emerged in 2001; The next year Orbital celebrated over a decade together with the release of the Work 1989-2002 retrospective
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:24 PM
The act with the first arena-sized sound in the electronica movement, the Chemical Brothers united such varying influences as Public Enemy, Cabaret Voltaire, and My Bloody Valentine to create a dance-rock-rap fusion which rivalled the best old-school DJs on their own terms -- keeping a crowd of people on the floor by working through any number of groove-oriented styles featuring unmissable samples, from familiar guitar riffs to vocal tags to various sound effects. And when the duo (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons) decided to supplement their DJ careers by turning their bedrooms into recording studios, they pioneered a style of music (later termed big beat) remarkable for its lack of energy loss from the dancefloor to the radio. Chemical Brothers albums were less collections of songs and more hourlong journeys, chock full of deep bomb-studded beats, percussive breakdowns, and effects borrowed from a host of sources. All in all, the duo proved one of the few exceptions to the rule that intelligent dance music could never be bombastic or truly satisfying to the seasoned rock fan; it's hardly surprising that they were one of the few dance acts to enjoy simultaneous success in the British/American mainstream and in critical quarters.
While growing up, both Rowlands and Simons grooved to an eccentric musical diet, ranging from the Smiths and Jesus and Mary Chain to Kraftwerk and Public Enemy. They met while taking the same history course at Manchester University, though neither were native Mancunians -- Rowlands enrolled because of the legendary Hašienda nightclub nearby, while Simons acknowledged the city as birthplace to the Smiths and New Order. The pair began sampling Madchester's vibrant nightclub scene together during 1989 and 1990, just at the peak of Britain's fascination with a DJing style named Balearic. Pioneered at the island hot spot of Ibiza during the mid-'80s, Balearic relied on a blend of early house music, Italian disco, rare-groove jazz and funk, Northern soul, hip-hop, and alternative dance. Original Balearic DJs like Trevor Fung, Paul Oakenfold, and Mike Pickering brought the sound back to indie clubs in London and Manchester, and the style proved very attractive to musical eclectics like Rowlands and Simons.
Though Rowlands was already performing in the alternative dance group Ariel, the pair began DJing together at the Manchester club Naked Under Leather in 1991. Hardly believing that their weekend project would progress, they took the semiserious handle Dust Brothers (a tribute to the American production team responsible for one of their favorite albums, the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique). Despite their doubts, Rowlands and Simons' club night did grow more popular, thanks to the duo's Balearic mix of rare house tracks flavored with hip-hop breakdowns, independent-dance fusions, and ancient secondhand discards. After deciding to try and re-create their unique sound in their tiny bedroom studio, the Dust Brothers emerged with "Song to the Siren," an intriguing example of the new alternative dance scene including sample victims Meat Beat Manifesto and This Mortal Coil.
After the single was pressed up on a limited release of 500 copies, it began getting attention from Britain's top DJs, initially including an old friend named Justin Robertson but later including Andrew Weatherall and Darren Emerson. Weatherall licensed the single to Junior Boy's Own Records, and after the pair had finished university, they moved back to London to work on another EP (14th Century Sky) and a residency at another club. After their third release, "My Mercury Mouth," the duo began to get more high-profile clients for remixing: besides Justin Roberston's Lionrock collective, Primal Scream, the Prodigy, and the Charlatans all received treatments.
When lawyers for the original Dust Brothers came calling in 1995, though, Rowlands and Simons were forced to change to change their name to the Chemical Brothers (the proposed Dust Brothers U.K. was turned down). Word on the street and nightclub scene was so good that it hardly mattered; their new residency at the Heavenly Sunday Social quickly became one of the hottest clubnights in England -- documented on the mix disc Live at the Social, Vol. 1 -- and their debut album, Exit Planet Dust, was heavily praised by critics. Another fan of the record, Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, agreed to lend his vocals to a future single named "Setting Sun," the Chemicals' tribute to one of their own favorites, the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows." The single went to number one in late 1996, and the Chemical Brothers opened up for the giant Oasis concert at Knebworth besides headlining their own shows all over the world.
The Chemical Brothers' second album, Dig Your Own Hole, took charge of the top spot on the album charts upon its release in April 1997, and on the wings of America's growing electronica push, the album sailed to number 14 stateside and went gold, with the carrier single "Block Rockin' Beats". The duo released a mix album in 1998, Brothers Gonna Work It Out, and followed with their third studio LP, Surrender, in 1999. Rather lackluster expectations sparked a return to the underground with the white-label-only single "It Began in Afrika," and the duo's fourth album, Come With Us. It too failed to earn the high notices of the first two albums, although after another three-year gap Rowlands and Simons returned with an improvement, 2005's Push the Button
Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:25 PM
Moby was one of the most controversial figures in techno music, alternately praised for bringing a face to the notoriously anonymous electronic genre, as well as being scorned by hordes of techno artists and fans for diluting and trivializing the form. In either case, Moby was one of the most important dance music figures of the early '90s, helping bring the music to a mainstream audience both in England and in America. Moby fused rapid disco beats with heavy distorted guitars, punk rhythms, and detailed productions that drew equally from pop, dance, and movie soundtracks. Not only did his music differ from both the cool surface textures of ambient music and the hedonistic world of house music, but so did his lifestyle; Moby was infamous for his devout, radical Christian beliefs, as well as his environmental and vegan activism. "Go" became a British Top Ten hit in 1991, establishing him as one of the premier techno producers. By the time he came to the attention of American record critics with 1995's Everything Is Wrong, his following from the early '90s had begun to erode, particularly in Britain. Nevertheless, he remained one of the most recognizable figures within techno; after he abandoned the music for guitar rock with 1996's Animal Rights, he returned to a heavy electronic base with 1997's I Like to Score and 1999's Play, the latter of which made him a genuine breakout pop star.
Born Richard Melville Hall, Moby received his nickname as a child; it derives from the fact that Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, is his great-great grand uncle. Moby was born and raised in Darien, CT, where he played in a hardcore punk band called the Vatican Commandos as a teenager. Later, he briefly sang with Flipper, while their singer was serving time in jail. He briefly attended college, before he moved to New York City, where he began DJing in dance clubs. During the late '80s and 1990, he released a number of singles and EPs for the independent label Instinct. In 1991, he set the theme from David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks to an insistent, house-derived rhythm and titled the result "Go." The single became a surprise British hit single, climbing into the Top Ten. Following its success, Moby was invited to remix a number of mainstream and underground acts, including Michael Jackson, Pet Shop Boys, Brian Eno, Depeche Mode, Erasure, the B-52's, and Orbital.
Moby continued performing at dances and raves throughout 1991 and 1992, culminating in a set at 1992's Mixmag awards where he broke his keyboards at the end of his concert. Moby, his first full-length album, appeared in 1992. In 1993, he released the double A-side single "I Feel It" / "Thousand," which became a moderate U.K. hit. According to the Guinness Book of Records, "Thousand" is the fastest single ever, appropriately clocking in at 1000 beats a minutes. That same year, Moby signed a record contract with Mute and his first release was Ambient, which compiled unissued material recorded between 1988 and 1991. Later that year, The Story So Far, a collection of singles released on Instinct, appeared. In 1994, the single "Hymn" -- one of the first fusions of gospel, techno and ambient music -- was released.
In 1994, Moby signed a major-label contract with Elektra Records in the U.S. Everything Is Wrong, his first album released under the deal, appeared in the spring of 1995 to uniformly excellent reviews, especially in the American press, who had previously ignored him. Despite the promotional push behind the album and his popular sets at the 1995 Lollapalooza, the album wasn't a commercial success. The following year, Moby suddenly abandoned techno to record heavy guitar rock for Animal Rights, which received mixed reviews. A partial return to electronica, 1997's I Like to Score, was followed by 1999's Play. Surpassing everyone's expectations, the album became a platinum hit and reached number one in the U.K., while Play's tracks were licensed by dozens of advertisers and compilers. Likewise, 2002's 18 and the single "We Are All Made of Stars" cemented Moby's popularity as a purveyor of electronica-pop
Posted 04 February 2006 - 01:44 AM
Grunge, Funk, Powerpop, Industrial Rock, Metal :thumbs:
Posted 04 February 2006 - 05:53 PM
A pop-rock group that was formed in the late '90s but was heavily influenced by the rock and soul of the 1970s, the New Radicals are the creation of singer/producer/songwriter Gregg Alexander--a native of Grosse Point, MI (near Detroit). Growing up in Michigan, Alexander started listening to both rock and R&B extensively as a child and was only 12 when he acquired his first electric guitar. After high school, he traveled around the U.S. and lived in both New York and Los Angeles. It was in L.A. that he formed the New Radicals, which signed with MCA in 1997 and soon got to work on Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too--a 1970s-minded CD that came out in October 1998. Alexander did all of the producing and arranging and most of the songwriting on the promising album, which was the group's sole release -- after scoring the hit "You Get What You Give" and "Someday We'll Know," he disbanded the New Radicals to focus on production work. "Someday We'll Know" was later remade by Mandy Moore and Jonathan Foreman for the film "A Walk To Remember" which also starred Mandy Moore.
Posted 04 February 2006 - 05:56 PM
Radiohead was one of the few alternative bands of the early '90s to draw heavily from the grandiose arena rock that characterized U2's early albums. But the band internalized that epic sweep, turning it inside out to tell tortured, twisted tales of angst and alienation. Vocalist Thom Yorke's pained lyrics were brought to life by the group's three-guitar attack, which relied on texture -- borrowing as much from My Bloody Valentine and Pink Floyd as R.E.M. and Pixies -- instead of virtuosity. It took Radiohead awhile to formulate their signature sound. Their 1993 debut, Pablo Honey, only suggested their potential, and one of its songs, "Creep," became an unexpected international hit, its angst-ridden lyrics making it an alternative rock anthem. Many observers pigeonholed Radiohead as a one-hit wonder, but the group's second album, The Bends, was released to terrific reviews in the band's native Britain in early 1995, helping build a more stable fan base. Having demonstrated unexpected staying power, as well as increasing ambition, Radiohead next released OK Computer, a progressive, electronic-tinged masterpiece that became one of the most acclaimed albums of the '90s.
Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar), Ed O'Brien (guitar, vocals), Jonny Greenwood (guitar), Colin Greenwood (bass), and Phil Selway (drums) formed Radiohead as students at Oxford University in 1988. Initially called On a Friday, the band began pursuing a musical career in earnest in the early '90s, releasing the Drill EP in 1992. Shortly afterward, the group signed to EMI/Capitol and released the single "Creep," a fusion of R.E.M. and Nirvana highlighted by a noisy burst of feedback prior to the chorus. "Creep" was a moderate hit, and their next two singles, "Anyone Can Play Guitar" and "Pop Is Dead," built a small following, even as the British music press ignored the group. Pablo Honey, Radiohead's debut album, was released to mixed reviews in the spring of 1993. As the band launched a European supporting tour, "Creep" became a sudden smash hit in America, earning heavy airplay on modern rock radio and MTV. On the back of the single's success, Radiohead toured the U.S. extensively, opening for Belly and Tears for Fears. All the exposure helped Pablo Honey go gold, and "Creep" was re-released in the U.K. at the end of 1993. This time, the single became a Top Ten hit, and the band spent the following summer touring the world.
Although "Creep" made Radiohead a success, it also led many observers to peg the band as a one-hit wonder. Conscious of such thinking, the group entered the studio with producer John Leckie to record its second album, The Bends. Upon its spring 1995 release, The Bends was greeted with overwhelmingly enthusiastic reviews, all of which praised the group's deeper, more mature sound. However, positive reviews didn't sell albums, as Radiohead struggled to be heard during the U.K.'s summer of Britpop and as American radio programmers and MTV ignored the record. The band continued to tour as the opening act on R.E.M.'s prestigious Monster tour. By the end of the year, The Bends began to catch on, thanks not only to the band's constant touring but also to the stark, startling video for "Just." The album made many year-end best-of lists in the U.K., and early in 1996 the record re-entered the British Top Ten and climbed to gold status in the U.S., helped in the latter by the video for "Fake Plastic Trees." During the first half of 1996, Radiohead continued to tour before re-entering the studio that fall to record their third album, OK Computer, which was released in the summer of 1997. A devoted following of fans and a handful of enthusiastic critical supporters immediately embraced the album's majestic blend of unfettered prog rock, post-punk angst, eerie electronic textures, and assured songwriting. Since it skillfully teetered between rock classicism and futurism, it earned near-unanimous critical and popular support over the course of the year, which turned into unrestrained adoration in the final two years of the decade, even though its sales still hadn't climbed above gold status.
Expectations for Radiohead's fourth album were stratospheric, which placed additional pressure on the already perfectionist band, and led to several stumbling blocks along the way. An intense buzz of excitement among the band's still-growing following greeted the prerelease appearance of most of the album's tracks on the Internet in MP3 form; they displayed an all-out fascination with challenging, often minimalist electronica. Titled Kid A, the album was finally released in October 2000 and astonished many observers by debuting at number one on the U.S. album charts. While the band didn't release any singles or embark on a formal tour, the album met with a mixed critical response as the group was accused of creating a distant and radio-unfriendly record; however, it did remain a fan favorite. In June of 2001, Radiohead quickly released an album under the name Amnesiac that consisted of material that was recorded during the Kid A sessions. The band made it very clear, though, that it was not to be considered an outtakes album; rather, they insisted that the two albums were of clear and separate concept. Regardless, Amnesiac debuted at number one in the U.K. and number two on the U.S. chart (behind then-stronghold Staind), while outselling Kid A in week one by 25,000 copies. The singles Pyramid Song and Knives Out were culled from Amnesiac with a subsequent world tour. While planning I Might Be Wrong for a third single, the idea expanded into a live "mini-album" that was released in November of 2001. Making for their third release in 13 months, the tracks were collected from four different shows in Europe and included an unreleased song, "True Love Waits."
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