The Joup Friday Album: The Smiths – The Queen is Dead

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We come to the final member of the Holy Trinity, The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead, which along with The Cure’s The Head on the Door and New Order’s Brotherhood, were the three albums I was given for Christmas when I was 13 that went on to influence my musical taste for the rest of my life. The Queen is Dead probably got the least play out of the three back then, but has proven to have the most staying power despite my ever-growing weariness with Morrissey and his… Morrisseyness. The simple truth is that I love the Smiths despite Morrissey, not because of him. Johnny Marr has been my lifelong guitar god and if I have to listen to an obnoxious narcissist bloviate over the top of him, it’s worth it to get those sweetass riffs and jangles.

The Joup Friday Album – Kasabian: For Crying Out Loud

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Music fandom is so much different in the 21st century than it was just 25 years ago. When I fell in love with a band as a teenager, I scoured magazine racks for the tiniest mention of them. Liner notes included addresses where I could write bands (no doubt cringe-worthy) letters telling them how much I liked them, and in return I’d get at least a sticker or newsletter back, and on some rapturous occasions, an actual letter back from a band member! Today, everything is online – you can learn everything you want to know about a band with a quick google search and the most you can hope for by way of interaction is a tweet.

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The Joup Friday Album: Yak – Alas Salvation

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For this review, I desperately wanted to find something new that I would love, rather than taking another walk down memory lane to revisit an old favorite, or finding something new that I was only lukewarm about. Unfortunately, given the cyclical nature of popular music, most of the things I like are deeply out of fashion at the moment. So I put a request out to my facebook friends (many of whom have more free time to discover new music than I do) for something that would land in my wheelhouse, a fairly narrow corridor that runs from melodic garage and punk, edges into shoegaze and psychedelia but only the more sprightly regions, and finishes up on the edgier fringes of power pop.

The Joup Friday Album: Alvin & the Chipmunks – Christmas With the Chipmunks

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For many people, Christmas With the Chipmunks represents fond holiday memories of fun gatherings and familial warmth. But for one artist, this album represents a career filled with emotional abuse by an ill-tempered Svengali, and cries for help that went unheeded. That artist is Alvin, and this album serves as evidence of his systematic abuse and suffering at the hands of David Seville.

The Joup Friday Album: Plague Vendor – Bloodsweat

bloodsweatMonday night, I chose to start working on this review rather than watching the Presidential debate. Why? For the same reason Plague Vendor appeals to me – the world is full of depressing shit with a few glimmers of happiness scattered here and there. When there are so many unavoidable things that suck all around us every day, why choose to intentionally subject yourself to something you know will make you mad or sad when instead you can enjoy something that fills you with joy and energy?

The Joup Friday Album: Sulk – No Illusions

no_illusionsMy musical taste was molded as much by my music-loving elder siblings as it was by Chicago radio station WXRT. The first time I heard most of the bands I love, it was on WXRT. That was especially true in the late 80s and early 90s when WXRT was at its best, wholeheartedly embracing the British alternative music that became my reason for being.

In the meantime, WXRT has stagnated a bit, aging with their listeners and moving away from anything too challenging to focus on inoffensive AOR, you know, like OAR. WXRT never played Pulp. They never played the Libertines. They didn’t even start playing Muse until 2012 or so, once they put out a single mellow enough to fit in.

The Joup Friday Album: New Order – Brotherhood

new-orderAfter my last review of Primal Scream’s Chaosmosis with its handful of songs that reminded me of New Order, it’s only fitting that I take this opportunity to discuss New Order’s place in the Holy Trinity. You may recall I referred to the Holy Trinity in my review of the Cure’s The Head on the Door. These three albums, given as a gift when I was thirteen years old, went on to define my musical taste for the rest of my life.

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