by Ed Biggs The story of The Monks would surely have been written for a movie script if it hadn’t actually happened in real life. You can picture it on the big screen: five American GIs stationed in Germany during the ‘60s pop revolution and the outbreak of the Vietnam War, form their own group out of frustration and boredom. Honing their basic garage rock sound into guttural, twisted but undeniably
by Ed Biggs A quarter of a century after the release of Spiderland, the second and final studio album by the short-lived Louisville four-piece Slint, it’s extremely difficult to imagine the state of the modern guitar music scene without it. Released on Corey Rusk’s Chicago-based Touch And Go label, one of the impressive network of indies that made up the 1980s American underground, it sold virtually nothing at the time, and
by Lauren James As The Knife‘s Silent Shout celebrates its 10 year anniversary, it’s necessary to look back on this landmark electronic album, whose aftershocks can still be felt a decade on. As the Swedish duo did most of the album promo wearing masks, the record represents the siblings trying on different identities and shape shifting to expose the grim realities of society. Before the strident politicism and prismatic beats of Shaking
by Ed Biggs Although they’re one of the most iconic and important guitar bands of all time, Ramones sold way more shirts than they ever did records. As Stereogum pointed out in 2015, if everyone who owns a Ramones T-shirt had instead bought one of their albums, they’d be one of the biggest bands in history.
by Ed Biggs Behind the production desk, Steve Albini is one of the most celebrated creative forces in alternative music, with a reputation for helping craft music as harsh and uncompromising as his own attitudes towards what he regards as bullshit, or too mainstream. As a man who has repeatedly turned down major labels and artists unless he shares some kind of artistic simpatico with them, Nirvana’s In Utero and PJ
by Ed Biggs The vast majority of albums need a sort of cooling-off period before being considered as a classic, but for Arctic Monkeys’ debut that status was conferred instantly, and with good justification. Not since Definitely Maybe had so many breathless superlatives been uttered about a British guitar debut album, and neither had such massive sales figures been delivered on the back of such hype. This was a band that
by Ed Biggs Station To Station is noteworthy in Bowie’s discography in as much that it serves to represent a transition between eras, from the Ziggy Stardust… / plastic soul of the early 1970s to the experimental electronica of his so-called ‘Berlin Trilogy’ of 1977-1979. We therefore catch a glimpse of the inner workings of Bowie’s psyche and creative process, and it makes for fascinating listening.
by Ed Biggs Given that their 1970 swansong Bridge Over Troubled Water is one of the biggest selling albums of all time, Simon & Garfunkel’s career started inauspiciously to say the least. Having started life as the squeaky clean teen harmony duo Tom & Jerry, their 1964 debut under their own names, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, disappeared without trace.
by Ed Biggs Though Bob Dylan’s reputation and power is inextricably bound up with the 1960s, the middle of the next decade saw him briefly recapture his peak form with back-to-back classics. 1975’s Blood On The Tracks is regarded by more than a few Dylan fans as his very best album, but that record’s reputation often overshadows that of its successor. While neither as special nor as iconic as …Tracks, Desire
by Ed Biggs 1965 proved to be the making of The Beatles as a long-term artistic force. In an era where careers could be over within months, never mind years, the band had enjoyed a dazzling run of creativity and bagged a shedload of hit singles in the first three years of their career, but by 1965 were at risk of being outflanked by newcomers. The Who and The Rolling Stones