In December of 1979 “Throbbing Gristle” released their “Industrial” classic 20 Jazz Funk Greats. Don’t let the name fool you, you won’t hear Jazz or Funk on this record, instead you’ll hear 11 tracks of uncompromising Industrial that incorporates various elements of Synth-Pop, Post-Punk, and Disco, but these genres are mutilated and drenched in the band’s anti-music style. The lyrical content consists of erotic themes and taboo subject matter, because, well….. it’s Throbbing Gristle. About the misleading and quite humorous album cover, member Cosey Fanni Tutti has stated “We did the cover so it was a pastiche of something you would find in a Woolworth’s bargain bin. We took the photograph at the most famous suicide spot in England, called Beachy Head. So, the picture is not what it seems, it is not so nicey nicey at all, and neither is the music once you take it home and buy it. We had this idea in mind that someone quite innocently would come along to a record store and see the record and think they would be getting 20 really good Jazz/Funk greats, and then they would put it on at home and they would just get decimated.” This album is regarded by many as the band’s best work, and it’s hard to argue with that. This was some of the most unique and innovative music unlike anything that came out of the 70’s, and is still a tough and incredibly disturbing listen today, and let’s not forget the massive influence the band had on all of the Industrial artists that followed. Happy Anniversary.
On this day in 1979 “Pink Floyd” released their legendary Rock opera The Wall. Though this was the point where member Roger Waters took it upon himself to take complete control of the band, which slowly diminished the rest of the band’s creative input, (he even fired pivotal member Richard Wright) this album still came out to be one of music’s most iconic concept albums. This album is an extensive cinematic experience that tells the story of a burnt out Rock star named Pink who begins to isolate himself from society which leads to his descent into madness. The character of Pink was based on Roger Waters himself and former member Syd Barrett. The album can be a bit pretentious, but the narrative of Pink’s mental downfall is captivating. The instrumentation was a lot more stripped back, which made room for the album’s narrative, but the theatrical and climactic moments added to the intensity of the album. In my opinion this was the band’s final masterpiece, but it also was the point where the band slowly began to fall apart, regardless of the creative differences and egos that plagued the band, their discography is the stuff of innovative legends, and The Wall is one of the best concept albums ever recorded. Happy Anniversary.
On this day in 1979 Public Image Ltd. (PiL) released their second album Second Edition. The album was originally released as Metal Box, taking it’s name from the metal canister that contained pressings of the record. A standard version was later released as Second Edition which featured the same tracklist. On this album lead singer John Lydon pushed his ambition to shed the restrictions of Punk Rock, which became too commercialized and one-dimensional even further by incorporating elements of Dub, Post-Punk, and Krautrock, all of which were no-go territory for Punk Rock purists. This was the last album to feature original bassist Jah Wobble, and though the band still thrived following his departure, Wobble’s input is irreplaceable on this album with his Dub/Funk inspired bass grooves which complimented Keith Levene’s wall of disjointed guitar sounds and John Lydon’s wailing vocals perfectly. Second Edition is an essential album in the Post-Punk world. Happy Anniversary.
There’s just something about Maryze’s music that will put you in a meditative state. A meditative state of self-realization and self-acceptance. Anyone can listen to her smooth, sensual, and thought-provoking sound and find solace regardless of what background you come from, so it’s no surprise that her single “B.O.Y.” resonates greatly. Off her latest E.P. Like Moons, an E.P. that displays her eclectic talent with mood-shifting “R&B” with an experimental side, “B.O.Y” (because of you) is described by Maryze as “reclaiming control from whatever toxic pattern is holding you back, whether it’s within yourself, or with another person.” Produced by BrotherNature, the track carries a 90’s R&B/Hip Hop feel, but manages to stand on it’s own while Maryze’s vocals carry a balance of melancholy and upliftment guiding the listener to liberation. The music video, directed by Mexican-Canadian artist Malaika Astorga is wonderfully shot with an earthly look displaying the spiritual beauty of mother nature. You can watch the music video for “B.O.Y.” below:
And the award for song title of the year goes to….. Seriously, there’s nothing like listening to Street Sects’ music and brutally screaming out your existential pain. They’re truly a genuine band who pour everything they have onto their music, and it’s captivating. The band will release their new E.P. Gentrification IV: Suspended from Gallery Rails this Friday via “The Flenser,” and today they have shared a music video for the opening track “If Life is a Gift, It’s in Very Poor Taste.” You can watch the music video below:
On this day in 1999 “Korn” released their fourth album Issues. At the height of the “Nu-Metal” craze of the late 90’s, the music world became saturated with copy after copy of bands jumping on the band wagon creating trendy music devoid of originality. Though 1999 was when “Nu-Metal” was at it’s peak with bands like “Limp Bizkit” climbing the charts, (kinda laughable now isn’t it?) the genre at the same time was on it’s way out, but the pioneers of “Nu-Metal,” as is the case of most pioneering bands, “Korn” weren’t interested in repeating the “Nu-Metal” tropes they helped create, instead they experimented even further with their album Issues, but this time stripped back their sound reducing it to a simplistic heaviness, a heaviness that was immensely polished and had a new strict sense of focus thanks to producer Brendan O’Brien who didn’t allow the band to party and fool around. Issues was heavy no doubt, but this album found lead singer Jonathan Davis delivering his best and most melodic vocal work. It’s almost as if this is Korn’s Pop album, well, whatever tortured, incredibly dark, and unsettling Pop world this album can belong to. Of course “Korn” are still active today with a large devoted following of passionate fans, but Issues marked the end of an era, and displayed the band’s refusal to succumb to trends. Happy Anniversary.
On this day in 2009 Underground Hip Hop supergroup “Felt” released their third album Felt 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez. The group consisted of rappers Murs and Slug, working with a different producer for each album. Felt 3 is arguably the group’s best album, once again switching their style up thanks to Aesop Rock’s unique production. This album signified the end of an era for Underground Hip Hop. The go to scene for Hip Hop heads who wanted to hear substance, flow, and lyricism as opposed to hearing the mindless stuff that was being played on the radio reigned supreme all throughout the 2000’s, and Felt 3 was almost like an unintentional last hurrah, because let’s face it, the majority of artists in the underground scene didn’t really make anything essential in the next decade, but they made their staple in time and influenced a myriad of younger artists taking the D.I.Y. route. What better way to represent the underground than to feature 3 artists representing 3 essential crews in the scene? Slug represented “Rhymesayers” from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Murs represented “Living Legends” from California, and Aesop Rock represented the now defunct “Definitive Jux” label from New York. 3 different styles colliding but working perfectly together with innovative and at times odd as Hell production and an impeccable back and fourth between Murs and Slug as they range from boastful flow and mature themes, to vivid storytelling. I can’t think of a better album to end an era. Happy Anniversary.