Otis Redding - Otis Blue
Otis Redding - Otis Blue

Otis Redding - Otis Blue

Otis Redding’s Otis Blue in its 32 minutes and 11 songs actually represents the true essence of soul music. Southern, Northern, whichever. Nothing more (do you need more?), nothing less. It is not only the representation of one of the greatest soul singers at his best but also the showcase of one of the strongest musical hotbeds epitomized in the Memphis Stax label and its in-house players, particularly Booker T. and The MG’s.

Ljubinko Zivkovic
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

When the opportunity presented itself to review what many consider to be the best rock album of all time, The Beatles’ ”Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” a mere fifty one and a half years after its initial release, I have to admit to a bit of hesitation. After all, what can further be written about an album that set the world on fire during 1967’s “Summer of Love” that hasn’t already found its way into print? If all the words written about this album were collected in one place, it would make Tolstoy’s epic “War and Peace” look like a pamphlet in comparison.

Howard Scott
Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts
Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

Less than two weeks ago from this writing (December 2, 2018), the body of longtime progressive radio host Ray Taliaferro was discovered in the woods near Paducah, Kentucky.  Taliaferro was a pioneering black broadcaster and community leader in San Francisco starting in the late 60s.  Sadly, he suffered from dementia in his later years and mysteriously went missing several weeks before his body was found. 

Mark Moody
Genesis - Selling England by the Pound
Genesis - Selling England by the Pound

Genesis - Selling England by the Pound

Sadly, this album is yet another example of some ex-girlfriend asking, “Exactly how many copies of that record do you really need?”

That said, well, as everyone knows, it was Helen of Troy, whose face launched a thousand ships. And it was this album that launched a thousand (and perhaps many more) nerdy guys toward the nearest dictionary in our own noble quest to find the meaning of the word, undinal.

Bill Golembeski
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One

Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One

As I have mentioned on this site before, some of my best live music memories come from a few too brief years in Washington, D.C., in the early nineties.  I caught a lot of great bands in their formative stages back then, but one night, in particular, stands out.  Yo La Tengo’s Painful was already one of my favorite albums (and still to this day my go-to for an hour-long late night drive), but catching them in the tiny 9:30 Club was life-altering. 

Mark Moody
The Cure - Disintegration
The Cure - Disintegration

The Cure - Disintegration

They say the way to tell if a book is well written and holds the reader’s interest is that it is impossible to put down once picked up. The Cure’s eighth studio album, "Disintegration”, is the musical equivalent of that good read. Once the opening wind chimes of “Plainsong” ring in your ears, you are hooked.

Howard Scott
Sweet - Desolation Boulevard
Sweet - Desolation Boulevard

Sweet - Desolation Boulevard

Jeff Penczak
Sleater-Kinney - All Hands On the Bad One
Sleater-Kinney - All Hands On the Bad One

Sleater-Kinney - All Hands On the Bad One

For some time, I found myself believing that Sleater-Kinney was a country band, so I avoided them until their return in late 2014. “Bury Our Friends” was a gut punch and I immediately explored their back catalog. Today, SK is one of the few bands with an immaculate record in my book. Not a single bad album and their midway point is All Hands on the Bad One, their first record for the 21st century, and a bold step towards mainstream rock.

Tim Sentz
The Kinks - Arthur
The Kinks - Arthur

The Kinks - Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)

Bill Golembeski
The Mothers of Invention - Freak Out!
The Mothers of Invention - Freak Out!

The Mothers of Invention - Freak Out!

Many would debate whether Freak Out!, the first official Frank Zappa release with his Mothers of Invention belongs among the classics based on its musical merits, but there are other elements of this release that undeniably put it among the classics.

Ljubinko Zivkovic
The Stranglers - IV Rattus Norvegicus
The Stranglers - IV Rattus Norvegicus

The Stranglers - IV Rattus Norvegicus

The Stranglers’ debut was going to be called, Dead On Arrival. Yet, it was anything but. In terms of the Punk era, it was a best seller. Not that the band were really “Punk”. Sure, they were pissed off, but they owed far more to The Doors and Garage and Pub Rock than safety pins and spiky hair. While Dead On Arrival might have been a better album title, IV Rattus Norvegicus was closer to their spirit. Rather than self-righteous social anger, they were scrappy scavengers looking for their take of the pie. Frontman, Hugh Cornwell established himself as the Dark Lord of Punk while Jean Jacques Burnel has cut some of the greatest bass lines in Rock and Roll history (‘Peaches’ and ‘Nice-N-Sleazy’).

Kevin Orton
The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee
The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee

The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee

Brian Thompson