Friday, August 13, 2010

Top 10 Albums of 1996

It's been four months since the last new Top 10 - four months!! What happened?

O well, 1996 is next up on the rotating-decade randomized tour through history. Much like the previous year, I was seriously poor at the time. So most of these I've picked up sometime since the original releases. But not the local Texan stuff, nor the Ween...

#10 None So Vile - Cryptopsy

None So Vile
"Phobophile" from None So Vile (1996)

Genre - Brutal Death Metal
Official/Myspace -
Location - Montreal, Quebec

Review - Stylus Magazine
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Amazon

Kickin' it off with some extreme metal, natch. Many, if not most (or none), of you were probably expecting me to feature "Slit Your Guts," right? A landmark of technical death, according to some. Pretty relentless, with a few slowdowns to gasp for breath. The singer is called Lord Worm.

#9 Through Silver In Blood - Neurosis

Through Silver In Blood
"Through Silver In Blood" [part 2] from Through Silver In Blood (1996)

Genre - Post-Metal
Official -
Myspace -
Location – Oakland, CA

Review - Prog Archives
Download - iTunes, Amazon
Purchase - Relapse Records

I've never been as big a Neurosis fan as it seems I should be. I always prefer Tribes of Neurot. This one's really good, though... One of the guitarists became Harvestman (#5 of 2009 and #2 Drone 2005), which is also really different. Neurosis is more downtuned, super-heavy, progressive with long tunes and tribal drumming. Thus influential in those underground metal circles that matter.

#8 Harmony of the Spheres - V/A

Harmony of the Spheres
"Fantasia on a Theme by Sandy Bull" [part 2] by Roy Montgomery, different version from Harmony of the Spheres (1996)

Genre - Longform Drone Compilation
Official - kinda...
Location - various

Review - Fake Jazz
Download - Amazon (same price as purchase)
Purchase - Forced Exposure

Three LP's, six bands, one track per side. It's psych-folk-drone experimentation gone wild! Charalambides (more soon), Bardo Pond, Flying Saucer Attack, Loren Mazzacane, Roy Montgomery. The 2-part videos for his tune is actually from a recent split 12" with Grouper, rather than this old-schooler comp.

#7 Take It From The Man! - The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Take It From The Man!
"Vacuum Boots" from Take It From The Man! (1996)

Genre - Retro Beat Music
Official -
Myspace -
Location – San Francisco, CA

Review - Psychedelic Music
Download - Shock Hound, iTunes
Purchase - The Committee to Keep Music Evil

O, Anton, your rock and roll necrophilia never gets old...

#6 Odelay - Beck

"Novacane" from Odelay (1996)

Genre - Major/Indie Hipster
Official -
Myspace -
Location – Los Angeles, California, USA

Review - Pitchfork Media
Download - iTunes, Amazon
Purchase - Amazon

I don't crank this one out too often anymore. But every time I do, it proves to be a surprisingly stong album. It's nice to forget, and be occasionally reminded. If I remember correctly, I bought this one based on the Dust Brothers and my deep abiding love for Paul's Boutique (1989).

#5 Historic 6th Ward - Charalambides

Historic 6th Ward
"Gypsy Woman" from Historic 6th Ward (1996)

Genre - Freak Folk
Official -
Location – Houston, TX

Review - New Grange Media
Purchase - Amazon

I only have a few from Charalambides. When they were coming up, I was still missing The Mike Gunn (#5, 1993). And then they were out of Houston, then out of Texas... and then a trio, and then Tom and (Rant On) Christina split up. What a long, strange tale.

#4 Lying Down - Project Grimm

Lying Down
"Through The Day" from Lying Down (1996)

Genre - Indie Metal
Official/Myspace -
Location – Houston, TX

Review - Houston Press article
Purchase - Greatest Hits Mail Order

While Tom ('s in the bathroom) formed Charalambides, John Cramer formed this band. Short-lived, they only put out two cd's - this being the debut. Their live shows were loose and jammy... and they did a sweet "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" with a great noise outro. Shoulda been bigger.

#3 Filosofem - Burzum

"Dunkelheit" from Filosofem (1996)

Genre - Ambient Black Metal
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Norge

Review - Metal Storm
Download - iTunes, Amazon
Purchase - Amazon

C'mon... Seriously! Iconic next-step Black Metal record from iconic Black Metal icon. Dunkelheit is the more common, German-release title for that song - but its actual title is "Burzum." Burzum is a word from the text engraved on The One Ring. Really...

#2 Emperor Tomato Ketchup - Stereolab

Emperor Tomato Ketchup
"The Noise of Carpet" from Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1996)

Genre - Krauty Synth-Pop Exotica
Official -
Myspace -
Location – London, England

Review - Music by Day
Download - iTunes, Amazon
Purchase - Amazon

It took me a long time to get into Stereolab. Your mileage may vary, depending on your tolerance for preciousness. But this album has hooks, tunes, experimental bits, and goes precisely all over the place. Lots to like, and lots and lots to dig deeper.

#1 12 Golden Country Greats - Ween

12 Golden Country Greats
"I Don't Wanna Leave You on the Farm" from 12 Golden Country Greats (1996)

Genre - Neo-Classic Country
Official -
Myspace -
Location – New Hope, PA

Review - Sputnik Music
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Chocodog Merch

What can I say? I'm a really big fan of Ween, going way back to a certain mix tape from Arizona. My own cd is a prized possession because I snagged a copy before the recall, to remove a Muhammad Ali recording from this version of "Powder Blue." A few terrific Ween songs, some really great country playing, and a surprisingly effective (and uninterrupted) theme. Get it!!

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