#KickingtheCanon

#KickingtheCanon by Greg Cwik Music

PJ Harvey | To Bring You My Love

February 10, 2019
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PJ Harvey had already infiltrated the mainstream by 1995, thanks to two of her early singles (“Sheela Na Gig” and “50ft Queenie”) earning medium rotation on radio stations. Her clanging punk-rock trio were just accessible enough to appease fans of Pearl Jam, but just weird enough to etch out a niche of their own. Harvey’s first two albums, Dry and Rid of Me, rock in a fairly traditional way — Rid of Me even features a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” as…

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#KickingtheCanon by Paul Attard Music

Madonna | Madonna

February 4, 2019
1983 - Vision Quest (5)

A few months after the release of her self-titled debut, a then fresh-faced Madonna went on American Bandstand to perform one of her album’s biggest hits: the six-minute-long, infectiously breezy, post-disco odyssey “Holiday.” Dressed in all black and surrounded by an adoring audience, the “Detroit” native (she’s actually from Rochester Hills, which is located about 20 miles north of the city) gave an energetic performance that marked the first time many Americans got a glimpse of the soon-to-be megastar. In an…

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#KickingtheCanon by Paul Attard Music

Green Day | Dookie

January 27, 2019
Green Day

Before the eye paint, the brain-dead political anthems, and their embrace of radio-friendly sensibilities, Green Day was a raggedy assembled trio of stoner misfits with rockstar ambitions, similar to Hüsker Dü, and a sound in line with the Replacements. (Though lead vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong is more willing to credit Operation Ivy for their inspiration, a decidedly punk move if there ever was one.) Originally named Sweet Children, the group eventually known as Green Day formed when Armstrong and bassist…

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#KickingtheCanon by Greg Cwik Music

Pavement | Slanted and Enchanted

January 20, 2019

Pavement’s debut album, a sui generis cornucopia of fuzz-box riffs and unwonted lyrics, opens with the best song the band ever recorded, maybe the best debut single of the decade: a three-minute, lo-fi emission of buzzsaw guitar and Dadaist lyrics (“My eyes stick to all those shiny robes / You wear on the protein delta strip”), a bold and…

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#KickingtheCanon by Greg Cwik Music

Lust for Life | Iggy Pop

January 13, 2019
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The first of the two albums that Iggy Pop and David Bowie recorded during 1977, The Idiot is, in a sense, a David Bowie album, just one with Pop providing lyrics and vocals: Bowie dominated the production, sort of using the sessions as practice, honing the aesthetic that would later define his Berlin Trilogy. The Idiot almost feels like a proto-Low; each song is impregnated with Bowie’s embryonic, Krautrock-inspired style; the precise, almost mechanical instrumentation; the lacerating, laconic guitars; and the same sordid, insalubrious energy.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Greg Cwik Music

Galaxie 500 | On Fire

January 5, 2019
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Galaxie 500 is often labeled as a “shoegaze” band, which is understandable: their indolent, undeviating style (gently distorted guitars committing to one riff, one obsessive, rhythmic progression, and Dean Wareham’s sui generis singing, that indelible voice pervading each song like an unsound apparition) doesn’t feel like traditional guitar rock.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Greg Cwik Music

Marvin Gaye | Here, My Dear

January 2, 2019
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Despite his sultry, salacious crooning and all that iconic baby-making music (“Let’s get it on / Ah, baby, let’s get it on / Let’s love, baby”), Marvin Gaye was, in real life, not such a romantic. In modern parlance, one might call him problematic. He married Anna Ruby Gordy in 1963, when he was 24 and she was 41; the marriage was, by Gaye’s own admission, an attempt to break into the music industry — a business move. (He opined…

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#KickingtheCanon by Hassan Abbas Music

Sepultura | Chaos A.D.

December 15, 2018
Sepultura-classic

Brazil in the early ’90s, seen in popular imaginaries of the West and as a rich cultural oasis of bustling urbanity and golden, suntanned sexual expression, loses its luster when looked at through the lens of its imperial history. Riddled with almost 400 years of direct colonialist rule, since its independence, the country has witnessed the trademark political…

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#KickingtheCanon by Paul Attard Music

Eminem | The Slim Shady LP

December 1, 2018
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In the winter of 1996, Marshall Mathers put everything on the line. Under the moniker of Eminem, he had been making waves in Detroit’s underground battle rap scene for about half a decade, supporting his family with various odd jobs with the hope his dedication would one day pay off. After signing to independent label Web Entertainment, he was about to finally get his shot with the release of a debut record that was destined to make or break the young MC.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Paul Attard Music

Najma | Qareeb

November 22, 2018
Najma

British-born Najma Akhtar never intended to become a singer; she followed in the footsteps of her parents and graduated with a masters in Chemical Engineering from Aston University. It wasn’t until Najma visited distant relatives in Najibabad, India, and learned Urdu, that she picked up the vocal tradition of spiritual poems (or as their known in the Arab world, ghazals). As the liner notes for 1987’s Qareeb explain, “The ghazal occupies a unique place in the poetry and music of the Indian subcontinent.”…

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#KickingtheCanon by George McCann Music

Bruce Springsteen | Nebraska

September 27, 2018
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When asked why he murdered ten people over an eight-day period, the unnamed narrator of Bruce Springsteen’s epic “Nebraska” replies, “Well, sir, I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.” In many ways, that statement sums up the central theme of Springsteen’s sixth album: 1982’s Nebraska is a a study of people, mainly poor folks, on the…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Mighty Diamonds | Right Time

July 17, 2015
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The 1976 debut album from reggae trio Mighty Diamonds doesn’t usually get lumped in with other roughly contemporary works of Jamaican revolutionary agit-prop, and the reasons why aren’t difficult to comprehend. Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey, the Abyssinians’ Satta Massagana, and Culture’s Two Sevens Clash all spelled out their apocalyptic intentions — even the album titles promised deep dives into sufferation. While Burning Spear’s dense tribute to Jamaica’s Pan-Africanist visionary featured the dignified visage of Garvey himself as artwork, the Diamonds took to Right Time’s cover as a bare-chested trio…

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