Saturday, November 14, 2009

One of Carole's seminal albums (not the AOTW)

I've been thinking about this one for ages and the "Desperation" topic on RR reminded me to post about it.

It isn't just a list thing, although those Mojo or Rolling Stone lists seem to be part of the idea.

Anyway, it is really all about albums that are capital letter "I" important, the ones that have an influence that not only lasts but that we can hear lasting in our own collections.

I have a few in my mind here, ones I think that a lot of people probably own.

Here is one though that I (along with nearly everyone else, let it be said) really believe is a massive milestone. Without this, you wouldn't have most of punk, no art rock, no Goth and no JAMC (to be specific).

On its release, the album was a massive failure; hardly anyone bought it and the critical reception, where there was one, was mainly negative.

The album lost money too. It had an expensive cover (the banana peeled off and the cover was made by a special process) and sales were poor. It didn't get much airplay because of the subject matter of most of the tracks and the music itself wasn't exactly radio-friendly in the Summer of Love.

It is one of those albums that has become a classic in hindsight.

Sunday Morning

Waiting For The Man

Femme Fatale

Venus In Furs

Run Run Run

All Tomorrow's Parties


There She Goes Again

I'll Be Your Mirror

Death Song

European Son

So, that is one of my seminal albums. How about some noms from other 'Spillers?


Chris said...

The first VU album I got was White Light/White Heat, which blew me away, way back in 1968. When I then heard the banana album I was less than impressed, as the sound quality was crap (i.e. what we later referred to as lo-fi) and the songs were short and fairly crude. It seemed like a much safer, normal album and I've never played it that much. But, I suppose, it's become a sort of Aoxomoxoa: most of the songs are actually damn fine but I'd rather hear other versions of them. Does that make sense?
As for seminal albums, Nico (and Cale)'s The Marble Index is probably mine. Not one to listen to very often but an absolute mindf*ck when you do. Is it a 'classic'? I think so.

Btw, I've put the Moe Tucker IWFTM in my public folder. This is its address:

Makinavaja said...

Seminal for me - bearing in mind I was 15 in '77 would have to be the Clash's first. A lot of albums from that year would be on my list. Like many of my age I got into the Doors because of the Stranglers and checked out a lot of the VU, Lou Reed, Iggy and the Stooges and New York Dolls because of what they had inspired. This album is a case in point. I would have had to be damn precocious to appreciate it when it came out, but now love it!
The first album I remember hearing, and listening to as an album, rather than just knowing some of the songs, was Aladdin Sane. Not a bad start, methinks.

sourpus said...

The Velvet Underground and Nico certainly does qualify as one of those holy-of-holies albums, in that it was both seminal and completely excellent at the same time. Some albums being simply influencial, without actually being that much cop, and some being utterly mesmerisingly timelessly superb, but touching almost no one even to this day. It is impossible for me to say quite how influencial it was on me, as a person and as a musician.

In this respect, I would also have to mention 'Marquee Moon' which sits (I think) fairly alongside TVUAN as another holy record. To this list, I would add Forever Changes, Hunky Dory and Sticky Fingers. I only recently took the time to properly investigate Trout Mask Replica and am now convinced that this belongs to the list as well.

CaroleBristol said...

Chris - thanks for the Moe Tucker, it's a nice version.

Loving the seminal album shouts too.

All classics, albums that I own and love, except Trout Mask Replica, which I really need to try to get into again. I've tried in the past and found it a tough one. I do like the Good Captain though.

Makinavaja said...

Carole. did you hear the Bowie stuff?

Blimpy said...

this record is in my top ten all time lps, so it must be good!!

i once bought this for my old flatmate cos he wouldn;t stop playing the first Strokes record, and it was bugging me. Needless to say, he didn't sop playing the Strokes for this, but hey!

Venus In Furs is also one of the best songs ever written too, but this LP really is stuffed full of hits - and its influence is indeed HUGE as I have realised, bit by bit (the penny will suddenly drop, like listening to Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box" one day, and then thinking "Oh....")

CaroleBristol said...

Not yet, Maki.

I am working from home tomorrow so I will listen then, a chance to catch up on the various playlists.

I have a boring report to write, so I have been saving the music up to keep me going.

saneshane said...

I love this LP too,

got for a pound in the early '80s.. at the same time I got:

The Dream Syndicate 'Days of Wine and Roses' which was new.. I really didn't know VU and Nic was 15 years earlier..

'Days of Wine and Roses' is one of my seminal albums BUT you know exactly where they got it from.

gremlinfc said...

Yes this album is a class-ic , which should really be in everyone's collection.
My own seminal album...
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures.

John said...

I bought TVUAN in a reduced records box at WH Smith on the Finchley Road, Hampstead, when a student at Westfield College. I think the records were 3 for £1. But the copy I got is mono, and has a photo of the band on the front, not the banana cover.
Can anyone shed any light on this version?
But certainly one of my top ten records, probably!

CaroleBristol said...

"Unknown Pleasures"

Oh yes! The album that launched a million disassociated teenagers.

While wearing grey overcoats.

A great one.

Blimpy said...

@John - was it just the insert?

CaroleBristol said...

The picture of the band is on the back.

DarceysDad said...

I've just said to ToffeeBoy that both James Taylor and the Velvet Underground are artists that . . .

. . . how can I put this . . .

If someone mentions VU, my brain seems to have a default setting of: Of course we know about them, but there's nothing interesting for us to see here, so let's move along, shall we?

But if I consciously put myself on the spot with the challenge: OK, exactly what DO we know of them? Repeat it for the class ..., then I actually find myself standing in silence, embarrassingly staring at my shuffling feet! The only thing I would be able to say with any certainty about this album in particular is that I have never had the patience to find what lies beneath that scuzzy, muddy surface sound.

But I promise I will give it another listen (for probably the first time in over twenty years, would you believe?!), although that won't be tonight.

Blimpy said...

Days Of Wine & Roses is indeed an ace record.

I think that Ride's "Nowhere" is now getting to the point where you could call it seminal - not quite at "Loveless" levels, but not so far behind.

Chris said...

DsD: you should really listen to the first three VU albums: the first raw but with Nico's haunting voice; the second harsh (with Here She Comes Now a surprise exception) with real-life venom between Cale and Reed; and the third, without Cale and simpler (apart from the opaque horror of Murder Mystery).
But they all have an intelligent darkness at their core.

I say 'you should' but I doubt I could prove it in a court of law.

DarceysDad said...

The plaintiff accepts the out-of-court offer, m'lud, and will respond in due course.


G'night all.

Japanther said...

i can't add much more to what's already been said, but it is indeed a great album and a favourite of mine too. Have we at last found a nearly (with the notable exception of DsD) unifying 'Spill album??

@Blimpy - i'd never heard MBV, but spent some birthday money on a secondhand copy of "Loveless" yesterday.....I need to give albums at least 3 spins before I can form a decent opinion, so i'll let you know...

CaroleBristol said...

Loveless is another of my seminal albums. I was planning an occasional series.

Not sure I need to include that one now.

tincanman said...

The first album I bought that ended up being a classic is Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed. More a collection of songs than some of the above, but it was a turning point for me away from top 40 radio at a tender young age.

barbryn said...

No arguments here - a classic album that I actually want to listen to.

From my own musical lifetime, "Screamadelica" is perhaps as seminal as it gets (1991, my year zero, was an amazing year - that, and Loveless, and Nevermind, and Fox Base Alpha, and Out of Time). Another record that has really grown in influence and stature since its release is Jeff Buckley's "Grace".

treefrogdemon said...

The Guardian had a special offer a couple of years ago (I believe voucher-collecting was involved) to get free copies of 4 'seminal' albums - there was this, and ones by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and REM.

'Fraid the REM was the only one I liked.

Shoegazer said...

If John is still reading, Discogs is a great resource for finding different versions of releases.

Initial seminals included: Rattus, Bollocks, Clash, Mod Cons, Inflammable Material, Low, Scream.

Lead to: Y, Cut, Metal Box, Rum, Sodomy & the Lash, everything touched by Sherwood, Junkyard.

Lead Backwards to. Can, Doors, Reed & the Velvets, Perry, Eno.

Everything kind of mushroomed from there I think.

Exodus said...

Love this to death of course. Didn't Eno say something like 'Only about 100 people bought this album when it came out but they all formed bands'?

As to other seminal albums, that might need some thinking about. I suppose two that I bought when they were released (round 79/80) that have had a pretty long lasting influence, and still seem to be referenced are Talking Heads 'Fear of Music & Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures'

.... said...

Love that album. Sunday morning and Femme Fatale are two of my favourite songs. Eva. Seminal albums. Steve McQueen - Prefab Sprout, Substance - New Order (I know it's a compilation - does that count or is it like Alan Partridge saying that his favourite Beatles album is 'The Best of the Beatles?) Kate Bush - Hounds of Love, Nico -The Marble Index, Cocteau Twins - Heaven or las Vegaaaaaaaaaas, Lloyd Cole - Mainstream.. Hard to limit this...... FP

.... said...

Oh and ABBA - The Veesitorrrs.
Not kidding.

Catcher said...

Much as I love this album, I freely admit to skipping 'Sunday Morning' every time I ever listened to it. To me, it gives a wholly misleading impression of what's to follow, and I plain and simple just don't like it. After that though, every song is still amazing, however many times I listen to it, though familiarity has meant that I haven't listened to it in years, and probably won't for another long time.

My seminal album is 'Loveless'. Shock horror to those who've read any of my posts here or there. It redefined music for me, and I still listen to it regularly. Others would be Big Star's 'Third/Sister Lovers' and P.J. Harvey's 'Rid Of Me'. I hate the whole 'tortured artist' thing, but they would be among my Desert Island Discs, definitely.