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Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!

What would Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, - who has produced albums for bands as big as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, and Black Keys - get out of producing punk band Parquet Courts’ new record Wide Awake! (Rough Trade, 18 May)?   The answer seems to be a strong candidate for album of the year.     Some...

The Rolling Stones - Some Girls (1978)

By the end of the seventies, the Stones had become - in the eyes of a young, untapped and futureless youth - the maximum example of a dinosaur group. Punk splashed like spit in the face of the great rock and roll bands. Mick Jagger wanted to respond with one of the rawest records of the band, Some girls. Another fundamental fact of the album...

Ry Cooder - The Prodigal Son (2018)

It was always going to be interesting to see where Ry Cooder would head next, following his 2012 explicitly politically-oriented album, Election Special.     At first sight it might seem that Cooder has ‘been reborn’ in true Bob Dylan style, as he references Jesus, wrote and sings the title track, The Prodigal Son,...

Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968)

The 1960s USA were a tumultuous time of civil rights marches, women’s liberation, anti-war movements against the raging conflict in Vietnam, ‘flower power’ and the ‘summer of love’ in 1967 was when hippies (hair grown to the hips) denounced consumerism, protested the capitalistic system, and turned to “mary jane” (pot) and acid (LSD)...

Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005)

This album might have perhaps been called Chaos and Creation in the Recording Studio if some of the stories behind it are to be believed.   McCartney seemed to be looking for something fresh and new by hiring Nigel Godrich – of Radiohead and Beck fame – to produce his latest record, and he got precisely that when the producer...

Lenny Kravitz - Mama Said (1991)

Lenny Kravitz is something of a chameleon but not in the creative sense like Bowie, but rather in how he likes to camouflage into what he likes. At the start he wanted to be Prince, calling himself Romeo Blue and dressing like the author of Purple Rain, for his record debut he became John Lennon of the Plastic Ono Band, and for his second record he...

Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (2018)

Nothing remains in Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino of the band that released the excellent Whatever People Say That's What I'm Not 12 years ago. And that's fine, because 12 years ago Alex Turner was a post teenager who just wanted to be one of the Strokes and is now a star with more than 30 years behind him. His world is no longer the...

The Who - Who's Next (1971)

Who's Next is usually considered to be the best Who record of their career but the circumstances in which it was created were quite difficult. At first, Pete Townshend was planning a new rock opera for the group after the success of Tommy, called Lifehouse, a gigantic project with which the leader of the band wanted to find the connection...

Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells (1973)

Tubular Bells, the mesmerising masterpiece by Mike Oldfield was released 45 years ago (May 25, 1973), and was indeed ahead of its time and still stands as a monumental opus of progressive rock. In fact the album was meant to be called Opus 1, but was later reconsidered. It was recorded at the Manor Studios in Shipton-on-Cherwell, Oxfordshire, an...

Neil Young - Roxy: Tonight's The Night Live (1973-2018)

“The first topless girl we get up here gets one of these boots, ladies and gentlemen” Neil Young says in his introductory words to the concert; something which seems somewhat inappropriate, particularly in the context of today’s #MeToo movement.        But in some mitigation, both the place and the time...

Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison (1968)

Johnny Cash always had in mind to play his 1955 classic Folsom Prison Blues in front of the inmates crammed inside its walls. On January 13, 1968, his dream came true. There couldn’t have been a better audience for his collection of songs about guys who shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, a who murdered his woman after snorting cocaine,...

Willie Nelson - Last Man Standing (2018)

The passing of time is a central theme on Willie Nelson’s latest album, Last Man Standing; and that is barely surprising as the wily old country singer-songwriter is now 85 years old. On the cover he stares warmly at his legendary ‘Trigger’, which looks nearly as old as he his. As lovers of Nelson’s life and music well know, it certainly...

EELS - The Deconstruction (2018)

For over 20 years Mark Oliver Everett, or simply ‘E’ has been fronting his California band The EELS, and has produced 11 albums with several different players, including contributions from Tom Waits, John Sebastian, Peter Buck and T-Bone Burnett, to mention a few, but this new 12th release in April 2018 has a lineup comprising: on guitars, John...

Judas Priest - Firepower (2018)

British heavy metal band Judas Priest has been banging it out for 48 years and now have released their 18th album Firepower to their innovative and creative body of work. Here at Guitars Exchange we would like to explore this new effort and point out the pros and cons of these old pros who codified heavy metal so long ago. The band has had...

The Cure - Disintegration (1989)

Have you ever really, really, wanted something but when you finally achieved it, suddenly found that you were not so sure? This is in some ways the situation Robert Smith (born 21 April 1959) found himself in with Disintegration (released May 1989). He wanted The Cure to make a legendary record – ‘a grand...

Manic Street Preachers - Resistance Is Futile (2018)

Martin Luther King, who was assassinated 50 years ago this month, spoke of ‘hewing a stone of hope from a mountain of despair’, and in some ways the Manics feel like they have gone through a similar exercise with Resistance is Futile, released 13 April 2018 by Columbia Records.       The title of their...

Radiohead - The Bends (1995)

If Radiohead had only released Pablo Honey, their first album, today they would only be remembered as a ‘one hit wonder' band that emerged from the huge shadow created by Nirvana. In Creep Thom Yorke sang that he would like to be special, but it was with The Bends that he really achieved it. This was the first masterpiece of the most...

Merle Haggard - Mama Tried (1968)

Recorded between February and June 1968, Mama Tried was the seventh album by Merle Haggard in three years; but such an abundance of material was totally justified, as it became the best work of his ‘golden age’. Without being a conceptual album it has a recurring theme: prison, from the iconic cover to the wonderful song...

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite - No Mercy In This Land (2018)

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite follow up their 2014 grammy award winning album Get Up! with another gem for blues lovers - and potentially another grammy - No Mercy in this Land, released 30 March.    Harper wrote or co-authored all ten tracks on the album, as well as co-producing, singing and...