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Posts Tagged ‘jefferson airplane’
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE — TODAY (1967)
DONOVAN — MUSEUM (1966)
EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS — HOME (RAC MIX) (2010)
THE WHO — CIRCLES (INSTANT PARTY) (1965)
THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS — SPLASH 1 (1966)
The second album is always the most challenging for any musician. For as long as recorded modern music has been available, artists have either soared to greater heights with innovation and experimentation, or sunk into oblivion or shame for blandness and repetitiveness on their sophomore effort.
In the latter category we could place a copious amount of recent indie bands from the past decade, starting from those who innovated the whole genre in 2001, The Strokes.
“Is This It?”, the band’s debut sparked a whole new trend in an otherwise stagnant rock panorama that ranged from nu-metal to cheesy pop punk. Inspired by seminal New York bands such as The Velvet Underground and Television, “Is This It?” was a breath of fresh air in rock music. Unfortunately, their second album, “Room on Fire” lacked the innovation of its predecessor, resulting in an album which itself is very good, but not up to the standards set by “Is This It?”
The same unfortunate fate has followed Bloc Party, who in 2005, with “Silent Alarm” contributed to what The Strokes had started by adding more angular guitar riffs and more dancey basslines reminiscent of Gang of Four to their indie rock; but then released a weak second album in 2007 which played on the same sound that they had started with, but failed to excite as the previous one did.
The same thing can be said for a myriad of bands, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Futureheads, and going a little further back even the Strokes’ ”muses” themselves, Television.
Luckily, many others have had the luck to reverse the process and go from a mundane debut to a glorious sophomore album.
This phenomenon has happened since rock music has existed, starting all the way back to when it was in its teenage years.
Jefferson Airplane had released a good debut album, 1966′s “Takes Off” but it would be eclipsed by to the psychedelic breakthrough which ushered a generation into the summer of love; the following year’s seminal “Surrealistic Pillow”.
Nirvana released their lo-fi debut in 1989, “Bleach” which itself is also a good record but not quite 1991′s “Nevermind” which saw them catapulted into the mainstream and made them the voice of the grunge generation.
In the last year, several bands have made stunning second album comebacks which have set them apart from the rest of their peers, such as the Maccabees, Jamie T and more importantly the Horrors.
The Horrors, a band started almost as a joke, having only had two rehearsals before their live debut, but came a long way from the garage punk of their first album to the shoegazy krautrock of their latest release “Primary Colours”.
This trend is fortunately continuing in 2010 with the year’s first musical surprise, Foals’ new single.
Foals formed in Oxford in 2007, and backed by a fair amount of media hype released their first album, “Antidotes” in 2008- as with Jefferson Airplane and Nirvana, this was a good effort. The math-rock influences from singer/guitarist Yannis’ former band The Edmund Fitzgerald combined with the dance/funk/punk rhythms of the rest of the band resulted in a catchy and jumpy album, fronted by single “Mathletics”.
After a year of absence from the airwaves, Foals returned to the public eye on March 1st 2010 when their new single “Spanish Sahara” was played on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show.
A total departure from their previous sound, “Spanish Sahara” is a four minute emotional crescendo of ambient sounds at first more disperse, then consolidating into an enrapturing chorus in which Yannis sings “I’m the fury in your head/ I’m the fury in your bed/ I’m the ghost in the back of your head” as the keyboards and guitars form an intricate and intertwining pattern.
The song, accompanied by a stunning video shot in Inverness is a clear sign of maturity and departure from the languish second album fate that a few could have expected from Foals. “Spanish Sahara” is a predecessor of what we are to expect from Foals’ new album “Total Life Forever” that will be released on May 10th 2010.
It looks set NOT to be a sloppy second!