Aug 072015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

ramones-end-of-the-century

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Phil Spector was supposed to be the gateway to getting the Ramones the airwaves they wanted so badly. Why, with his Wall of Sound production technique and their love of ’60s AM pop covers, theirs was going to be a meeting of the minds that would bear the most amazing fruit. He’d make his great comeback, and they’d make their great breakthrough. So it was written, and so it should have been.

But his perfectionist technique clashed with their one-and-done standards, and his bringing guns to the studio didn’t assure anybody. The sound pulled the Ramones further away from their punk roots, and their songs were weaker (Dee Dee: “Some of the worst crap I ever wrote went on that album”). They’d been reduced to writing sequels to songs on their debut, a sure sign the well had started running dry. When End of the Century was released in February 1980, punk fans the world over learned the sad truth; the Ramones that had left home on a rocket to Russia had come back to earth and landed on a road to ruin. They would spend the rest of their existence as an uneasy combination of working musicians and rock icons, with their days of breaking new ground forever behind them.
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Aug 062015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

road-to-ruin

The Ramones knew they were playing some of the best rock ‘n’ roll in the world, and by 1978, they were starting to grow aggravated about how few shared that knowledge. So, taking the if-Mohammad-won’t-come-to-the-mountain approach, they started making small concessions, in the hopes that these little changes would be the all they needed to get radio airplay. Road to Ruin, their fourth album, featured an occasional guitar solo here, an acoustic ballad there, even a couple of songs that lasted longer than three minutes. But the strain of being something other than their true selves was evident, and the record failed in its play for fame, charting outside the top 100. It shouldn’t have been a surprise – the Ramones’ reach was doomed to exceed the mainstream’s grasp – but it was a frustrating letdown all the same.

So what are we left with today when we listen to Road to Ruin? Well, it was a beat away from the first three albums – literally, as Marky Ramone had just taken over Tommy’s drum stool – and a little less cartoony. It was evident when da brudders were trying, but it was evident when they were succeeding as well. And in “I Wanna Be Sedated,” they came up with a song that has worked its way deep into popular culture. Final result: an album that can justifiably be called the fourth straight Ramones classic.
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Aug 052015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

rocket-to-russia

Now, this’ll be a straight walk-off, old school rules. First model walks; second model duplicates, then elaborates. – David Bowie, Zoolander

If Ramones was the Ramones setting the pace, and Leave Home was them duplicating it, then Rocket to Russia was the moment where the Ramones refined their musical approach to an absolute peak. They had perfected their loud fast rules, and were able to expand on them without abandoning them. They varied their tempos, landing hooks with their slow songs just as easily as with their fast ones. They sounded better than ever, with a production budget nearly twice as much as that of their first two albums combined. And they did two cover songs instead of their usual one.
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Aug 042015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

ramones_leave_home

The Ramones‘ second album, Leave Home, didn’t have the element of surprise that their first had, but that’s about the only difference between the two. Once again, fourteen songs accounted for a half hour of humor, menace, and sweetness, a surprising combination that worked perfectly well when delivered at full force.

Leave Home was loaded with songs that would become classics, and sounded like nothing else in the musical world – but therein lay the problem. Joey later explained that “we thought since our music was doin’ something unique that everyone would pick up on that. What really happened was we were so alien that no one wanted to touch us. And so we wouldn’t get played.” They would spend the next few years fighting to change that perception, a fight that would eventually drain them of much of their energy.
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Aug 032015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

ramones

Nineteen years ago this week – on August 6, 1996, to be precise – the Ramones played their 2,263rd and final concert. Today, while both the band and all its founding members are no more, their music not only survives, but thrives, both in the musicians it’s influenced and in its original form.

This week we’re celebrating the Ramones with a Full Albums post on each of their first five albums – Ramones, Leave Home, Rocket to Russia, Road to Ruin, and End of the Century. Look for covers of songs both immortal and forgotten, by the famous and the obscure – 66 of them altogether. We’re starting off with their self-titled debut, the result of certainly the best $6400 ever spent in music history.
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Aug 032015
 
LANKS-610x406

So it’s the day of that concert you’re looking forward to. Naturally, your first instinct is to improvise a cover song of the artist you’re about to go see. Not the case? Perhaps Will Cuming is one-of-a-kind – a claim few would refute after listening to his impromptu acoustic rendition of MØ’s “Waste of Time.”

The Melbourne musician, operating under the moniker LANKS, effortlessly jams to the tune, offering a gentle guitar take on the Danish singer-songwriter’s 2013 single. Soothing plucking in the form of rain drop mimicry patter down while Cuming’s ethereal Bon Iver-esque vocals float in the foreground, resulting in a hauntingly calm cover of “Waste of Time.” Continue reading »

Jul 312015
 

In Defense takes a second look at a much maligned cover artist or album and asks, “Was it really as bad as all that?”

babyheadphones

When it comes to parenting, there are really only two rules you need to follow:

1) Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.

2) Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to listen to bad music.

I’m sure there’s something else in there about head injuries and not touching the stove, but I don’t have kids so that’s not really my area of expertise.
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Jul 312015
 
deltaspiritpromo002

The release of the deluxe edition of indie quintet Delta Spirit‘s Into The Wide (2014) last month came with a pleasant surprise: a cover of Cream‘s psychedelic rock staple “I Feel Free.”

The Californian five-piece seamlessly work their way through the tune, opting to step up the tempo with frantic drum lines, rowdy guitar phrases and pumping handclaps –  ultimately culminating in a raucous and adrenaline-inducing rendition of the ’60s classic. Continue reading »