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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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Jun 22, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! Today, Bill and Brian chat about this gem of a 90s tune! While the song doesn't lend itself to too much specific discussion, the boys take a stroll down memory lane as they attempt to decipher the difference between which bullies from what movies were played by Keifer Sutherland and Anthony Michael Hall.

Meanwhile, Brian shares a story of roller rink romance that ends in an all-too-familiar fashion and Bill asks the listeners to help us figure out who went from rock to soft rock between 1997 and 2017 (similar to how Adams, Stewart, and Sting did from the 70s to the 90s). All this and more on this week's Bonus Song Thursday edition of The Great Albums!

Jun 19, 2017

Brian and Bill are joined by musician Kimi Howe (casino sundae.bandcamp.com) to discuss the Police's debut album Outlandos d'Amour (1978, A&M). Kim talks about listening to this album as a part of her uncle's 8 track collection (he made sure to skip  "Be My Girl - Sally" so that it didn't affect her impressionable ears). Then Bill, Brian, and Kim get into talking about the band's musical talent, how they fit in the British punk scene, Sting's ego, Andy Summers' excellent and unique style, just how cool Stewart Copeland and his brother Miles really are, Sting's evolving position on Rod Stewart, and more as we make our through the album track by track!

Jun 15, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! And Bill stops in for a short episode to explain that we had some technical difficulties and lost the episode we actually recorded for this. :( But Bill makes sure to fill you in on the tragic love story that made this Brian's favorite Love song, the results of our informal poll about Wilco's "Via Chicago," and a little bit of promo.

Make sure to go support former guest of the podcast Tyler Plazio and his band Soldiers of Suburbia by donating to their Indie GoGo campaign!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-debut-soldiers-of-suburbia-ep-music-rock#/

Jun 12, 2017

Musician, producer, and label guru Neil Sabatino (mint400.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Love's underrated third album Forever Changes (1967, Elektra). Neil talks about how the band's early garage sound drew him in after a friend pointed Love's first couple albums, but then he was blow away by the maturity of the psychedelic and folk tones produced here. Bill, Brian, and Neil then get into the band's legacy, Bryan MacLean's genius guitar playing, how producer Bruce Botnick deftly motivated the band after bring in some session players from the Wrecking Crew, the band's influence on the Doors, a little on Arthur Lee's influence on Jimi Hendrix, production styles and the technology available for listening, the albums place amongst the other classic albums of the time (such as Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the Piper at the Gates of Dawn), and much more as we make our way through the album track by track!

Jun 8, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday and this week the B-Squad talks about Wilco's title track off their self-titled album! Along the way they talk about how comfortable (in a good way) the band has become in its own skin as well as what the Dad Rock of the 21st century might sound like. Along the way, they discuss their top 5 favorite Beatles albums (in honor of the recent Sgt Pepper 50th Anniversary), modern standards, and the return of Bill's band Small Planet Radio!

Jun 5, 2017

Bill and Brian welcome back podcaster and musician Jim Laczkowski (nowplayingnetwork.net and gardenonatrampoline.com) to discuss Wilco's foray into lush indie pop, Summerteeth (1999, Reprise). Jim talks about checking out the band after reading a favorable review from critic Greg Kot. Then Bill, Brian, and Jim discuss Wilco's evolution within their career, Jay Bennett's influence on the sound of the band, how the album maybe hit at the wrong time - namely, a time when Creed was blowing up the charts, how Jeff Tweedy is 'da bomb,' typical mid-Western Chicago guys shaving their heads and wearing dresses (y'know, like Billy Corgan), a lot about what we think Schmilco should sound like, the obvious influence of Sesame Street, Ken Coomer's welcome contributions as a great drummer, some great-but-extraneous tracks at the end, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!

Jun 1, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! This week, the B-squad revisits Yeah Yeah Yeahs a few years down the road as they continue to evolve their sound and - like Weezer before them - pick up a new generation of fans along the way. We discuss Karen O's pop culture icon status, Canada's hipster Mecca, and whether or not Ryan Adams ruined The Strokes. We also talk about a pair of live podcast events taking place this July and August, as well as the return of Bill's band, Small Planet Radio (http://smallplanetradio.com), this June!

May 29, 2017

Little Dickman Records' Amy Dickman (littledickman.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Yeah Yeah Yeah's debut Fever to Tell (2003, Interscope). 

May 25, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! This week the B's tackle Counting Crows' cover of Big Star's immortal "The Ballad of El Goodo." They talk about how they actually prefer to hear Big Star's music covered fairly straight (as opposed to, say, via an electronica interpretation) and how Counting Crows come eerily close to the original. Along the way, they touch upon possibly the oldest "Great Album," the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and of course, the untimely passing of beloved singer Chris Cornell. All this and more on this week's Bonus Song Thursday edition of The Great Albums.

May 22, 2017

Musician Frank Lettieri (dustofdays.bandcamp.com) joins Bill and Brian as we finally set to tackling Counting Crows' August and Everything After (1993, Geffen). Frank talks about having this album gifted to him as a part of a long tradition of uncles introducing nephews to cool music. Then Bill, Brian, and Frank discuss what one of the engineers on the album shared about the equipment used to record the album, the importance of the band's SNL performance in January of 1994, Adam Duritz's exquisite cafe poetry, how producer T-Bone Burnett influenced the overall sound of the recording, the underrated rhythm section of Steve Bowman and Matt Malley, Charlie Gillingham as a Benmont Tench-esque secret weapon, David Bryson's memorable guitar hooks, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!

May 18, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! This week, the B's talk about Nancy Sinatra's most enduring hit single and how her father Frank signed her to his (at the time) vanity imprint, Reprise. We get into the left-of-center tendencies of under-appreciated songwriter/producer Lee Hazlewood and how there are certain songs that transcend their creators. Along the way, we discuss favorite comeback albums, and Bill answers an email, putting to bed the reason we have yet to tackle OK Computer.

May 15, 2017

Musicians Fred and Richard Fairbrass (aka Right Said Fred) join Bill and Brian to discuss Frank Sinatra's 10th studio album Songs for Swingin' Lovers (1956, Capitol). After getting the requisite conversation about their tour prepping and some of the trappings of being celebrities out of the way, Fred and Richard talk about discovering Sinatra through their parents, especially from the influence of their 'mum.' Bill, Brian, Fred, and Richard then discuss Nelson Riddle's arrangements, Sinatra's feelings about Elvis, the Beatles, and rock'n'roll, a little on Brian's favorite Sinatra album Watertown, how Sinatra found his voice as he matured, and a few of our favorite tracks from the album!

Don't forget that Right Said Fred's latest album, Exactly!, is available in all the places you can find good tunes, including rightsaidfred.com.

May 11, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! This week, Bill and Brian recount a track that, according to Bill, "was in the air" throughout 1998/1999. Pras, formerly of the Fugees, made his solo debut in grand fashion and had a hand from Mya and Wu-Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard. They discuss how - in total ODB fashion - he just kind of showed up one day and was asked to drop a verse (and took to the assignment admirably). Along the way, they talk about how the Fugees operated similarly to Wu-Tang, fostering members' solo careers following the success of a massively-influential group effort. Will Smith enters into the discussion and so too does superior LP side 2s. All this and more on this week's Bonus Song Thursday edition of the Great Albums podcast.

May 8, 2017

Podcaster Patrick from Make Dad Read Comics and Almost Education returns to join Bill and Brian in a discussion about Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return to the 36 Chambers: the Dirty Version (1995, Elektra). Patrick talks about being heshera and a secret Wu Tang Clan fan who fell in love with their pop culture and kung fu movie references. Bill, Brian, and Patrick discuss the lasting influence of ODB's style and humor, RZA's style as a producer, whether or not Brian can name every member of the Wu Tang Clan (spoiler: he can't, stay tuned till the end of the episode for the correct memeber names), how the Wu Tang clan style present on this album is reminiscent of punk rock, the many features on this album, the album's scatological nature, and more as we make our way through the album track by track! 

May 4, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! This week the boys in broadcast are tackling yet another duet: Johnny Cash and Fiona Apple! Bill and Brian discuss how it reminds them of a different Johnny Cash partnership from the early 70s, how singular artists like Fiona and Cash are at their best when they "do their own thing" (even when they're working together), and what qualifies as overkill for posthumous recordings. Additionally, they uncover the origins of the mysterious voices on Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedos album, and Bill lists his most representative artists of each decade.

NOTE: check out our friend Chris Nova's band Ruby Bones (http://rubybones.bandcamp.com) whose album comes out on 5/12. And catch their free-admission album release party at Asbury Park Yacht Club on Friday May 19, 2017.

May 1, 2017

Bill and Brian get to spend a nice lazy Sunday afternoon enjoying each other's company without a guest, chatting about Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine (2005, Epic). Brian talks about discovering Fiona's moody, electric pop sound as a disparate soundtrack to some sunny summer days. Bill notes how he first heard of this album due to the producer and label controversy surrounding its delayed release. Bill and Brian then discuss Jon Brion's original vision, the sound Mike Elizondo and Brian Kehew eventually brought to the final product, Questlove's funky drumming, seeing Fiona live on this tour, a surprising amount of lyrical analysis, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!

Apr 27, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! And the boys only get mildly tangential this week as they talk about the hit single off Bella Donna, Stevie Nicks' hit debut solo LP. They talk about how Stevie was introduced to Tom Petty via her then-boyfriend, mega-producer Jimmy Iovine. Along the way, they also discuss Great vs. Classic, and the difficulty of defining a decade's worth of music with just one artist. All this and then some on this week's Bonus Song Thursday edition of the Great Albums podcast!

Apr 24, 2017

Bill and Brian are joined by musician Chad Stocker (the High Strung, the Mythics) to discuss Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Damn the Torpedoes (1979, Backstreet/MCA). Chad talks about how his love of documentaries turns him into a fan of whatever their subject is - in this case, the 2007 Peter Bogdanovich film Runnin' Down a Dream. Bill, Brian, and Chad discuss Jimmy Iovine taking charge as the producer, his clashes with drummer Stan Lynch, the curse of consistency, Mike Campbell's deceptively amazing guitar leads, Ron Blair's diverse bass playing, Benmont Tench's skill on keys, Petty's battles with his label, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!

Apr 20, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday as Bill and Brian return from Spring Break! On this week's edition, they talk Tina and debate whether or not her version eclipses the Creedence Clearwater Revival original. Along the way, they answer the age-old question: "By the early 90s, was Michael Jackson cool anymore?" as Brian recalls a very specific McDonalds commercial sponsored by the NBA. It's nothing but net on this week's Bonus Song Thursday, so check it out!

Apr 17, 2017

Musician Adam Weiner (lowcutconnie.com) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Creedence Clearwater Revival's Willy and the Poor Boys. Adam talks about the ubiquity of CCR and how it led him to discover some other great music. Then Bill, Brian, and Adam discuss Philly accents, Flannery O'Conner and the Southern Gothic, how a song's overuse can affect how we listen to it, who sung it better (CCR or the Beach Boys?), Lead Belly and his influence on this album, the influence of Chuck Berry and Roy Orbison, Barack Obama's official playlist, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!

Low Cut Connie's Dirty Pictures (part 1) available for pre-order now! https://www.hellomerch.com/collections/low-cut-connie/products/dirty-pictures-part-1-cd

Apr 10, 2017

Bill and Brian continue their Spring Break, doing something a little different and fun, by taking a look at 6 music videos where the visual is just as important as the music. We talk about not being allowed to watch MTV, some gender politics in regard to the acceptance of male sexuality, Louis CK, the present accessibility of music, and more as we discuss videos from Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Chris Isaak, Blind Melon, Seal, and Blur.

Apr 3, 2017

Bill and Brian take a short Springtime respite from our usual release schedule and talk instead about something a little different and kind of fun - a film with a soundtrack as important as its script, Empire Records (1995). Bill talks about how he loved this movie since his teenage years, and Brian reveals that he had never seen it until the very day of this discussion. We get into the differences between the theatrical and Special Fan Edition, our favorite tunes from the soundtrack (including songs from the Gin Blossoms, Edwyn Collins, the Cranberries, Evan Dando, and Dire Straits), how 90s angst may not resonate with viewers todays, and how some of our own love tales mirrored AJ and Cory.

No Bonus Song Thursday this week. We'll be back with another Spring break episode next week!

Mar 30, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian talk about that time Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff and the Wrens' Charles Bissell swapped covers and released a single. They get into how well Sheff did with the indie classic "Ex-Girl Collection" and get excited about the possibility of the impending new release from the Wrens. Also, we read a listener email that highlights some great lyrics from Queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf. Also, we delve into some more #Trypod recommendations including Radiohead podcast the Daily Mail, Steven Hyden's Celebration Rock, and the fantasy epic the Once and Future Nerd.

Also, make sure to stay tuned through the end for a special announcement about our very first live show at the Nashville Rock n Pod Expo! Check out more details and donate to the cause at www.gofundme.com/rocknpodexpo.

Mar 27, 2017

Musician Katie Miller (katedressedup.bandcamp.com) joins Bill and Brian to dive into Okkervil River's the Stand Ins (2008, Jajaguwar). Katie talks about discovering the band via Bon Iver's cover of "Blue Tulip" and how frontman Will Sheff's lyrical acumen drew her in. Bill, Brian, and Katie discuss why we chose this album over others, caring about lyrics, how Sheff's voice is on the fence of the indie-emo and indie-folk movements, Brian Cassidy's contributions as an arranger and multi-intrumentalist, dueting with Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg, Charles Bissell's guest appearance, the narrative on the nature of art and pop music that runs through the album, the option of succeeding, quitting, or dying, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track!

Mar 23, 2017

It's Bonus Song Thursday! This week, Bill and Brian break down Tori Amos' cover of Slayer's "Raining Blood," and wonder whether or not it started the trend of rock songs getting turned into haunting ballads to accompany certain films. Along the way, Bill discusses a new podcasting trend happening in the month of March while Brian shares his first experiences with Tori Amos and other badass female artists via his very first girlfriend. All this and more on this week's Bonus Song Thursday episode of The Great Albums podcast!

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