Monday, November 28, 2011

Oldies but Goodies: Five Albums You (Might) Have Missed The First Time

While I've been preening my list and checking it twice getting ready for this year's installment of Higher Ed Music Critics, I can honestly say I've spent more of 2011 listening to stuff released well before it than any other year in the past. There's no real rhyme or reason for this, it's just worked out that way.

I've decided to whet the thistle of your playlist appetite by digging into my virtual vault to pull out a few notable pieces that have gotten some playing time in the past year or so.

Black Tambourine (2010)

Black Tambourine were a twee-pop act that hailed from Maryland of all places, at a time when most indie pop acts were coming over from the UK. Slumberland Records released a compilation of their complete records with six more songs last year (hence the 2010) but these guys were a blip on the screen in the early 90s. Despite having a very short lifespan, they're considered one of the major influencers of a dozen or so major indie rock acts that you can hear today ranging from Vivian Girls to Frankie Rose & The Outs and one of my favorites of this year, Crystal Stilts.  

If you like indie pop, there are no words for me to describe how great this LP is. Just play it and it'll fill in the blanks for you.

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)

I have a wistful memory of "oldies" music, because it reminds me of fishing trips with my grandfather growing up. He always had the oldies station playing and a few songs stayed in my memory over the years, most notable among these The Beach Boys tracks. I had no idea how good this album was or how "ahead of its time" it was when it released. Pet Sounds holds up extremely well over forty-five years later.

Madrugada - Industrial Silence (1999)

I don't know when I first ran into Madrugada, but I have to say they've lept to the top of my favorite bands list after spending some quality time over the past year with their catalog. Their debut LP, Industrial Silence is what I like to call "the best alternative album no one's ever heard." A band from Norway, these guys slipped under the radar in the pre-MP3 era and faded into obscurity before they could develop anything other than a underground fan base. But their sound is a kind of proto-grunge that sounds great.

Blacktop - I've Got A Baaad Feeling About This (The Complete Records) (2003)

Mick Collins is a Detroit scenester who has been putting out music for well over two decades with a bevy of bands most notably The Dirtbombs. Blacktop is one of his many short-lived side projects, but in my opinion is the absolute best. It's garage rock at its finest, recorded from 1994-96 during the band's short lifespan. It's upbeat, shake the sand out of your feet from the beach rock and roll that you don't hear people making much anymore. Much less from fifteen years ago never to be heard from. This stuff is the goods, no doubt.

Ultimate Spinach (1967)

I like contemporary psychedelic bands like Dead Meadow, The Black Angels, Tame Impala and Dungen, so it made sense at some point to go back and listen to older bands that I might have enjoyed from the actual era. I'm pretty sure that Ultimate Spinach was recommended to me by sometime last year and I dove in head first. It's not my favorite band of that era and it's a real headtrip, but it's pretty good stuff anyway.

So there you go. None of these were released in 2011, but they're all worth adding to your musical buffet of delights. Enjoy!

Ron Bronson has been in a perpetual state of redesign. He is currently the webmaster at Eastern Wyoming College. He blogs less frequently these days at


  1. Wow - more musical goodies from the past to mine. The only one I've ever listened to is Pet Sounds, so as usual, Ron, you are once again a trend-setting taste-maker. We're fortunate to have you on this blog.

  2. Thanks Andy. And thanks for those consistent nods to dig through the virtual tubs of old music. I've seriously been impressed at how much I've missed and I'm still scratching the surface...but it's been a lot of fun.