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The Great Albums

Two indie rock musicians, Bill Lambusta and Brian Erickson, dive into the fandom of great rock and pop music and how it connects to their lives through the lens of the medium they care for most, the album. Episodes frequently include guest contributions from musicians, podcasters, and journalists and always culminate in a track by track review.
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Now displaying: March, 2016
Mar 31, 2016

It's Bonus Song Thursday! And Bill regales everyone with a story of listening to Pavement via YouTube and first connecting with this song from their album Terror Twilight (1999, Matador). Additionally, we pulled an unaired excerpt from the episode on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain in which our guest, blogger Jim Appio (cooldadmusic.com), talks with Bill and Brian about success and what means for musicians and their art.

Mar 28, 2016

The cool dad himself, blogger Jim Appio (cooldadmusic.com), joins Brian and Bill to talk about Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994, Matador). The brainchild of singer songwriter Stephen Malkmus, the band grew it's reputation as indie alternative auteurs with a series of EPs before releasing their debut album, Slanted and Enchanted, and becoming a touring band proper. They followed up with this "breakthrough" album that, although it only made a small impression commercially, has gone on to be an influential and critical success. Jim talks about discovering the band shortly after this release and how their noisy alt sound conflicted with his usual love of "tight pop" music. Bill, Brian, and Jim discuss how Pavement fit into the "classic alternative" mold, the band's knowing references, guitar solos and being anti-rock, how sports are like war, where the underdog exists geographically in the US, how Pitchfork forced us to discuss Pavement's place within the pantheon of greatest songs from the 90s, how every song on every album is somebody's favorite song by that band, and of course a track by track review!

Mar 24, 2016

It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian follow up their conversation with Ed and Alice Magdziak from youdontknowjersey.com about the Beastie Boys debut album by cherry picking a huge hit from the middle of the band's career, "Intergalactic" from 1998's Hello Nasty. The gentlemen discuss why Brian isn't particularly a fan of the song, how the Beastie Boys no longer had to prove themselves, why John Fugelsang's VH1 Top 20 Countdown was better than Total Request Live, the song's cool video, and the difference between kaiju, hentai, and yaoi. Also, we read some listener emails in which we find out what song Hozier's "Take Me to Church" interpolated into the pre-chorus and Brian is once again called out for his Long Island bashing!

Mar 21, 2016

Bill and Brian welcome bloggers Ed and Alice Magdziak from youdontknowjersey.com to help us talk about what makes Beastie Boys' License to Ill great. Formed by 3 teenage New Yorkers who held the burgeoning rap scene of the early 80s in the same regard as the hardcore punk they grew up on, the band went on to release a huge cross over hit that was only a hint at the critically acclaimed and influential series of albums they would produce. Alice and Ed discuss their very different experiences discovering the band in middle-of-nowhere Ohio and as a college sophomore who had a chance meeting, respectively. Brian, Bill, Ed, and Alice discuss the Beastie Boys' party dude image, the mysoginistic and sexist content on the album, the influence of happenstance in meeting producer Rick Rubin and label head Russell Simmons, how broad the genre divide is in rap music, the importance of sequencing especially when navigating mediocre tracks, and of course a track by track review!

Mar 17, 2016

It's Bonus Song Thursday! And Bill goes solo to share a little more about his experience with Biggie Smalls' music by covering his nerdy middle school years and (poorly) dancing to this track at his school's monthly dances. Additionally, Bill reads a couple of listener emails where we learn how Billboard incorporates streams into their metrics, what bros do at Dave Matthews Band concerts, and what bros do at Pearl Jam shows!

Mar 14, 2016

A few weeks ago, Adam from the Driving in the Dark podcast kindly sent us an intriguing and convincing email on the virtues of rap music, pointing to The Notorious BIG's Ready to Die (1994, Bad Boy) as a great example of a singular vision executed with precision that would definitely benefit from the Great Albums treatment. So we immediately invited him to join us in a discussion. Adam turned out to be a well of knowledge about rap artists and the history of the genre's development over the last 40 years. On this podcast, we chronicle Adam's first experiences with rap music and this album before recounting how Christopher Wallace (AKA Biggie Smalls) went from teenage hustler to one of rap's most respected icons. Adam spends a lot of time kindly explaining the art of rap to Bill as the latter challenges himself with an album from a genre he doesn't have much experience with. During our track by track review of Ready to Die, we also discuss the function of narrative in rap, the evolution of Biggie's deep, smooth flow, the glorification of violence, literal interpretations of what rappers do on their albums, Brian's taste in rap music, Biggie's humor, his development as a pop songwriter, the unique choice of shout outs, the hypocrisy and contradictions present on the lyrics all throughout the album, juvenile sex skits, Biggie meeting Michael Jackson, and make sure to listen the fatigue we all push through as we have one of our longest conversations ever!

Mar 10, 2016

It's Bonus Song Thursday! Brian and Bill welcome back musician Matt Pischl to discuss more Dave Matthews Band, focusing on the group's 2001 release Everyday and the song "The Space Between." We talk about the change in DMB's sound, Glenn Ballard, using some of these songs to entice a lady friend into making out, and we read a listener email addressing why we play songs and THEN talk about them on the podcast!

Mar 7, 2016

Musician Matt Pischl stops by to help Bill and Brian talk about what makes Dave Matthews Band's Before These Crowded Streets (1998, RCA) great. Formed when a shy songwriter approached the local musicians he admired to collaborate, the band has gone on to become a popular concert attraction and bestselling group. Matt tells us how playing the saxophone all throughout elementary and high school led to his ear taking note of Leroi Moore's contributions to DMB's unique sound and eventually transitioning to guitar as his own main instrument. The guys talk about the band's image as a stoner jam band, the portion of their fanbase that is just bros, Steve Lillywhite's influence on the band's sound and development, the impressive musicianship throughout, cool guest contributions (Bela Fleck, Alanis Morissette, the Cronos Quartet), happy hippie music, cutting songs for the single version, Matthews' carpe diem lyrics, and a track by track review!

Mar 3, 2016

It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian continue talking about the Violent Femmes and analyze their newest release, "Memory" from the forthcoming album We Can Do Anything. The gentlemen discuss how the music is a continuation of their early sound and contrast it with their mid-career sound. We also read a listener email that helps us address why we on't always cover hidden tracks at the end of some of the great albums we've covered. Imogen Poots.

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