Jack's Picks Vol. 5
In more ways than one, I am particularly excited about this week's picks! The LPs this week are hand-plucked from one of my favorite eras, the 1970s. What's more, I'll be embedding my favorite track from each album right here in the article -- a little "try before you buy" for everyone at home. That goes for future articles as well.
Mick Ronson - Slaughter on 10th Avenue
Again, Spotify Premium for the win. I'm almost ashamed of how much a robotic algorithm has been able to project and successfully cast the fate of my current listening experience. Slaughter on 10th Avenue is the 1974 release from Mick Ronson. Mick Ronson is a spider from Mars.
No, really. Mick Ronson is the wondrous guitarist-producer from David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust era. Ronson is actually credited with many of the guitar arrangements on Bowie's albums from the early 1970s, particularly The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. For that reason, and many more, Slaughter on 10th Avenue is a great album from flip-to-flop.
Both the guitar and vocals are highly reminiscent of David Bowie's work from the early 1970s, and that's probably because he co-produced and sings a couple of the songs on the album. I'm harping too much on the connection to David Bowie, because honestly, the album stands well off on its own. The tone of this album is sort of dark and brooding, with the piano giving off a mixture of sarcastic jazz and sardonic harpsichord. I say, "dark," but only in the same way that Ziggy Stardust relays the story of a prophetic alien.
The guitar is obviously amazing, but I'm actually a huge fan of Ronson's voice. "Only After Dark" used to be my favorite song, but I'd be hard-pressed to actually pick one now. I've listened to the album well over ten times, and I think "Growing Up and I'm Fine" has grown on me the most. It's just super catchy, and the backing guitar is so rhythmically in-tune with the rest of the song. At certain points, the vocals take sort of a muffled backseat, with the piano sitting front and center. The entire album, really, was mixed so strangely.
Do I dare recommend this album? Yes, I venture to dare and to recommend wholeheartedly. Give it a listen, and keep an eye out at your local record store. My copy was purchased at an attractive $9.99.
Rakotomalala, Yves - Ce Matin Encore
Truth be told, I'm not sure how to talk about this album. Ce Matin Encore is a French, psychedelic folk album, originally released in 1981. The LP I own is a re-issue, re-released by a Portuguese label in 2010. When I go to the store, I usually pick up one "I have no idea what this is" album.
A lot of people think this album sounds a lot like Neil Young. I haven't listened to a lot of Neil Young, so I guess I agree. Interestingly, the entirety of Side A is sung in English, but Side B is in French. it's kind of a cool duality and really caught me by surprise when I first gave it a spin. I'm not really giving a clear review of this album, but I do like it. I've listened to it a couple of times, and really enjoy it. To me, it sounds a lot like Crosby, Stills, and Nash or even Bob Weir.
I don't know, if i was at the record store with you, I'd tell you to buy it. I think my copy was $8.99. This particular re-release was pressed in sort of a rouge-y, rose-colored orange. Kind of a steal when you think about it.
The Who - Who Are You
Really, you're going to recommend The Who? Yes, I am. Not because you haven't heard of them, but just to gently remind you to stop picking up Beatles records and start looking in the "W's." I think a lot of people forget about the Who! Kind of a shame.
I'm not sure where Who Are You lies in the chronology of awesomeness, as told by a true Who fan. I've only ever listened to The Who by extension of greatest hits and their 1975 rock opera, Tommy. I do know that this album is the last Who album with Keith Moon, The Who's notoriously bombastic and TV-chucking drummer.
Songs I really like on this album include "905," "Who Are You," and my favorite, "Sister Disco." There's probably not as many "hits" on this album as there are on Who's Next, but it's still pretty good. This might be sacrilege, but some Who songs don't sound particularly prolific to me. Some of the songs just sound like "Rock from the 1970s, as sung by Roger Daltry." But what do I know.
The verdict: pick it up! Why not, it was $7.99.
And that wraps up this week's picks. If you have any comments, lay it down in the comments below and let’s start talkin’. I’d also be curious to see what you picked up this weekend, or what you’re planning on playing first on your Floating Record when it arrives. Until next time.