10 Years On from Justin Vernon’s debut as Bon Iver, the album remains just as influential in hip-hop circles as it does in folk.
by Ed Biggs Following the enormous success of his breakthrough single ‘Loser’ in 1994, Beck Hansen faced the prospect of being pigeonholed as a one-hit wonder, weighed down by an albatross of a song with which he would be associated in the minds of the public, in the mid ‘90s. But just like Radiohead, who had themselves written a huge hit the year before in ‘Creep’ that had also been adopted
by Ed Biggs By 1986, nearly three years of quality singles and equally great albums and compilations had established The Smiths as one of the most consistently brilliant and distinctive guitar bands of the eighties, but they had yet to make an undisputed masterpiece – one of those instant, all-time classics that cement an artist’s place in pop history. 1984’s sepia-tinged, self-titled debut had established their trademark sound – jangly guitar
by Ed Biggs The success story of Tigermilk, the beautiful and understated album by Belle & Sebastian that turned out to be first record of a two-decade long career that the band themselves didn’t expect to last more than a few months, was and still is one of most heartwarming throwbacks in recent pop history. Formed by lead singer and songwriter Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David in Glasgow in 1996 for
by Ed Biggs Any discussion of Smashing Pumpkins’ career tends to get dominated by their twin masterpieces, Siamese Dream (1993) and Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (1995). Which is fair enough, as these are unquestionably two of the greatest alternative rock records of the nineties, testament to Billy Corgan’s unique vision for heavy rock, but crucial in explaining those albums’ successes is the group’s debut Gish.
by Ed Biggs When the Manic Street Preachers began their career on the cusp of the 1990s, they conceived of themselves as a reaction, a contemptible sneer against what they saw as an insular, pretentious music industry that had forgotten to connect with its public. In an era of static, navel-gazing indie and hedonistic, deliberately self-unconscious Madchester rave music, the Manics were gloriously, defiantly out of step with the prevailing trends.
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.