© 2002-2006
the matthew show

Whatcha Hearin'?

Rudimentary ratings are included, to satisfy my own vanity (Great, Excellent, Good, Fair):

2005's Hearin's:

William S. Burroughs, Dead City Radio: Good (a bit rambling at times, but the good bits are really good, dry and witty as hell)

Cake, Pressure Chief: Great (I keep thinking that McCrea and crew can't continue making great albums indefinitely, and they keep proving me wrong)

Ben Folds, Sunny 16 EP: Excellent (this EP is worth the purchase price for All You Can Eat alone...Folds keeps up the good work)

Ben Folds, Super D EP: Excellent (great as this third EP is, it does end up tickling my desire to hear Folds' next long-player...but I'm glad he shared Rent A Cop with us in the meantime)

Genesis, Seconds Out: Excellent (a tremendously tight live album featuring tunes from one of my favorite Genesis eras, the late '70s)

Hank Dogs, Bareback: Good, occasionally Excellent (a lot of the album meanders, but the bits where they hit the ghostly harmonies and spooky lyrics spot on are certainly worth the wait)

Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians, Queen Elvis: Good (I'm not a big Hitchcock fan, but this has moments of genius like The Devil's Coachman and immensely entertaining liner notes)

Interpol, Antics: Excellent (I'm attracted to their guitar arrangements like a moth to fire, but dangit, I wish Paul Banks was a better lyricist)

Doug Kwartler, Halfway House: Good (Americana in the best sense, twang without the hokey, good stuff all around)

Doug Kwartler, Silver Meteor: Good (a fine follow-up, particularly the title track)

Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti: Great (for my money, the best Zeppelin album ever, showcasing the arrangement skills and heart that made this group great)

Wynton Marsalis, In Gabriel's Garden: Good (gets a bit monotonous after a while, but for the first half of this baroque collection, it's nice to hear a modern player approaching these classics)

Mutual Admiration Society, Mutual Admiration Society: Excellent (takes a while to grow on you, but this album by Glen Phillips and Nickel Creek has a relaxed feel to it that's irresistable)

Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here: Great (a great moment for the Floyd boys, still holds up after 30 years)

The Police, Outlandos D'Amour: Great (people who disrespect Sting these days should revisit these old classics...these boys tore it up way back when)

The Police, Synchronicity: Great (yes, it's got that song on it, but it's also one of pop's most adventurous albums)

Portishead, Dummy: Good (wears me out at the midpoint, but good mood music for the most part)

Portishead, Portishead: Fair (if you have the first one, you don't really need this one...still, if you don't have the first one, this one will work)

A.J. Roach, Dogwood Winter: Good (a heartfelt, rootsy batch of tunes that are excellently presented by this talented singer/songwriter)

Simon & Garfunkel, Greatest Hits: Great (includes several acoustic versions of classic tunes that I personally prefer to the originals)

The Sundays, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic: Good (mostly rambles the way that little-girl-voiced bands do, but the couple of hyper-catchy singles on this album make up for it)

Tom Waits, Closing Time: Good, occasionally Excellent (more of a curiosity for Waits fans than a solid album, however it does contain the excellent Grapefruit Moon, making it worth the purchase)

Tom Waits, Nighthawks at the Diner: Excellent (though not his best tunes, this live album spotlights the Waits wit and vibe most spiffily)

Tom Waits, Rain Dogs: Great (the complete range of Waits' talents are explored here, from grungy rock to dark blues to cryptic cabaret to affecting ballads, plus the experimentation that is his hallmark...a truly great listen)

Various Artists, O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack: Great (a great primer for those who wish to know what's so great about country music...REAL country music, that is)

2004's Hearin's:

Belle and Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress: Great ('60s pop, self-aware but still naive...how do they do it?)

Cake, Comfort Eagle: Great (I know they've been making the same album for a decade, but it's such a great album)

Collective Soul, Dosage: Fair (moments when you know they were just aching to prog out...sometimes they do, but mostly they don't)

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chronicle: Great (I know you can get CCR anytime you want on classic rock radio, but hearing all of their best tunes in one place really brings home how incredible this band was)

Eels, Shootenanny!: Excellent (tremendous wry pop with attention to lyricism)

Ben Folds, Speed Graphic EP: Excellent (a few good tunes to tide fans like me over until the new record comes out...and it's got a Cure cover on it!)

The Gourds, Dem's Good Beeble: Excellent (for people who don't think anyone's making real country music anymore)

Guster, Keep It Together: Excellent (these boys are quickly becoming the masters of breezy, harmonic acoustic pop)

Don Henley, Actual Miles: Good (Don had a good solo run in the '80s, more hit than miss, though this contains both)

Huckleberry, Tragicomic: Excellent (I've never, ever been able to find any mention of this band anywhere, but I dig the shit out of this Uncle-Tupelo-meets-U2 record...if anyone knows anything, drop me a line)

Jump Rope Girls, Eight Track Demos: Good (if you like some rock with your electronic experimentation, this is a good bet...a bit hard to find, but worth it)

Las Rubias del Norte, Rumba Internationale: Excellent (reviewed upside your head)

Lyle Lovett, My Baby Don't Tolerate: Excellent (not up to the genius level of Joshua Judges Ruth, but a fine record all the same)

Aimee Mann, Whatever: Great (her first solo album, chock full of great tunes...it seems to mark the moment she switched from youthful energy to wise cynicism, since it's got elements of both...which is why I dig it)

Alanis Morrissette, Jagged Little Pill: Excellent (now that the '90s have settled, it's a good time to revisit old classics and see if they hold up, which this definitely does)

Ronnie Milsap, Greatest Hits, Volume 2: Good (Ronnie got a raw deal because of his atrocious production, but in his prime he chose some great material)

Pink Floyd, The Wall: Great (this bears revisiting every now & then, and it's always worth it...I still catch things I didn't the first 800 times)

R.E.M., Document: Great (Out of Time and Automatic for the People are R.E.M. as pop compositional geniuses, this is R.E.M. as fucking great rock band)

Shivaree, I Oughta Give You A Shot In The Head For Making Me Live In This Dump: Good (rather moody and experimental, great vocals)

10,000 Maniacs, Campfire Songs: Great (a fabulous career retrospective for those like me who didn't catch 'em until they were done)

Rufus Wainwright, Want One: Good (not as big a fan of this as I am of Poses, but if you want more opera in your pop, this is a good way to get it)

Ween, The Mollusk: Great (I'd describe it, but it's totally impossible...infinitely singable pop from guys who are joking but aren't)

2003's Hearin's:

Air, Moon Safari: Excellent (zey are French, and zey are all spacey-like...mon dieu!)

BE, Thistupidream: Excellent (one of the best pop releases of this century thus far...dig it here)

The Beatles, 1963-1966: Great (does this need description?)

The Beatles, 1967-1970: Great (or this?)

Beck, Odelay: Good (I love Beck, but I do wish he'd write more than one song per album)

Beck, Sea Change: Good (see comments above)

Belle and Sebastian, If You're Feeling Sinister: Great (rather twee and English, but fabulous songcraft)

Belle and Sebastian, The Boy With The Arab Strap: Great (I'm a big-shirted English boy...)

Blanche Fury, Blurfly: Excellent (sleeping now, but the ghost lingers...)

Cake, Fashion Nugget: Great (still holds up years later as a perfectly crafted jam-pop record)

Cake, Prolonging the Magic: Great (basically Fashion Nugget, but still awesome as hell)

The Cars, The Cars Greatest Hits: Excellent (just try writing this many consistently great pop songs; go on, try it)

Ray Charles, Anthology: Great (Ray doing his thing, 'nuff said)

Counting Crows, August and Everything After: Great (dunno what happened after this, but thanks to the miracle of recording, we have this to keep)

Sheryl Crow, The Globe Sessions: Excellent (not her most famous, but one of her most adventurous)

Crowded House, Temple of Low Men: Excellent (peel back the '80s production, and you've got yourself a songbook from hell)

Crowded House, Together Alone: Great (their best, and sadly, their last)

Dada, Puzzle: Excellent (sadly the only one of its kind, but a fine rockin' experience it is)

Dag, A Guide to Groovy Lovin': Good (does what it does, which is good party funk)

Depeche Mode, Music for the Masses: Excellent (prime stuff here...I really am a big-shirted English boy)

Depeche Mode, Violator: Great (dark, well-written, AND danceable...weeeird)

Dido, No Angel: Excellent (one hell of a gorgeous album, this)

Dido, Life for Rent: Excellent (check the review)

Domestic Science Club, Domestic Science Club: Excellent (Sara Hickman, Patty Lege, and an ORIGINAL Dixie Chick, Robin Macy, making with the jazzy three-part harmonies and wry humor)

Fiction Plane, Everything Will Never Be OK: Excellent (had this for a few months, but it only just now broke through into my consciousness; good stuff from Sting's kid. Dig the review here)

Ben Folds, Rockin' the Suburbs: Great (if all pop records were this great, I wouldn't spend half of my life yelling at the radio)

Peter Gabriel, So: Great (art-pop at its finest...screw David Byrne)

Peter Gabriel, Up: Great (dig the review, monkey boy)

Genesis, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway: Excellent (the last Genesis album that hipsters will admit to liking...and it is a fine album, if a bit overlong)

Genesis, Duke: Great (way overlooked, a melodic prog masterpiece)

Gin Blossoms, New Miserable Experience: Excellent (you shan't find a better straight-ahead rock record anywhere)

Guster, Lost and Gone Forever: Excellent (damned fine pop record, friend...fuck Matchbox 20)

Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights: Excellent (just a fine, fine rock-n-roll album)

Chris Isaak, Heart Shaped World: Good (this album SOUNDS great, but it might be nice if there were something there)

Led Zeppelin, How the West Was Won: Excellent (quite a revelation for those of us who, under the influence of The Song Remains the Same, thought that Zeppelin sucked ass live)

Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks, On the Blank Generation: Great (a neo-cabaret manifesto par excellence; check out my interview with Jack here)

Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks, World of Fireworks: Great (the top left-field release of the '90s, so say I; again, check the interview)

Tim Locke, Love Songs for the Very Low (EP): Excellent (good countryish psychedelicish stuff from the former frontman of my beloved Grand Street Cryers)

Sinead Lohan, No Mermaid: Excellent (this other Sinead is a bit quieter, though not quite as original...still, foreign chicks in minor keys...)

Lyle Lovett, The Road to Ensenada: Great (probably his most poppy record, but very much in the wry Lovett tradition)

the matthew show, texas: Pop From the Nerd Lunchtable (it's here, so buy your own copy)

Aimee Mann, I'm With Stupid: Great (rocks your arse and your brain off, it does)

Aimee Mann, Bachelor No. 2: Great (welcome Aimee Mann, Mark III)

Aimee Mann, Lost In Space: Great (dig the review)

Sarah McLachlan, Surfacing: Great (precious pop, floating through your brain like kind bud...or something)

Sarah McLachlan, Afterglow: Good (not up to Surfacing level, but...ah, check out the review)

Natalie Merchant, Tigerlily: Great (free of incessant jangle, her songs begin to shine)

Natalie Merchant, Motherland: Great (gritty as hell, courtesy of T-Bone Burnett and the ravages of time)

Shawn Mullins, Soul's Core: Excellent (comfy as hell, like an old pair of plaid slippers)

Peter Murphy, Deep: Excellent (yes, a bit pretentious, but not nearly so much as Bauhaus; damned original stuff)

Sinead O'Connor, Universal Mother: Great (very low-key, very compelling)

Sinead O'Connor, So Far...The Best of Sinead O'Connor: Great (a perfect introduction to this tremendous talent)

Sinead O'Connor, She Who Dwells...: Great (a fine parting gift...check the review)

Dolly Parton, Hungry Again: Excellent (Lord, forgive Dolly her cheese-covered sins of the '80s, and kindly look upon one of the finest bluegrass singers of all time)

Glen Phillips, Abulum: Great (fabulous, personal stuff from the former Toad the Wet Sprocket frontispiece; he's got a great website, too)

Pink Floyd, Animals: Great (often overlooked, always awesome)

Pink Floyd, The Final Cut: Great (for the record, my FAVORITE album by any artist EVER)

Pink Floyd, The Division Bell: Excellent (not up to prime period, but quite enjoyable regardless)

Jerry Reed, The Essential Jerry Reed: Excellent (hits & misses, but mostly hits...steer clear of the ballads, but you probably suspected that)

R.E.M., Eponymous: Great (R.E.M.'s FIRST greatest hits, culling from sometimes dubious pre-Green albumry)

R.E.M., Green: Great (a gauntlet thrown down for watered-down popmakers everywhere, particularly in nineteen-eighty-fucking-eight)

R.E.M., Out of Time: Great (for my money, R.E.M.'s peak, and sadly, a road not taken by pop music thereafter)

R.E.M., Automatic for the People: Great (juuust a hair short of its predecessor, but not much)

R.E.M., Up: Excellent (not prime, but contains many moments of definite genius)

Seal, Seal (I): Excellent (it's synth-pop, but organic somehow...weeird)

Seal, Seal (II): Excellent (even more synth-pop, but even more organic somehow...weeeeird)

Simon & Garfunkel, Live From New York City, 1967: Excellent (a fine representation of a unique period in pop music)

Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water: Great

Sting, The Soul Cages: Great (the lyrics are enough by themselves, but then he goes and kicks your musical ass as well)

Sting, Mercury Falling: Excellent (a grown-up's album, to be sure)

They Might Be Giants, Flood: Great (I dare you not to sing along...I fucking DARE you)

The Thorns, The Thorns: Excellent (Shawn Mullins, Pete Droge, and Matthew Sweet, kicking the three-part harmony like it was 1969)

Toad the Wet Sprocket, Dulcinea: Great (everything there is to love about Toad can be found here in all its bizarre variety)

Toad the Wet Sprocket, In Light Syrup: Great (even their B-sides kick ass)

U2, Wide Awake In America: Great (the live version of Bad is to stab for)

U2, The Joshua Tree: Great (well, it's the fucking Joshua Tree, isn't it?)

U2, Pop: Excellent (slap me with a fish if you must, but I think this one got a bum rap...okay, apart from Miami)

U2, All That You Can't Leave Behind: Excellent (sure, it ain't The Joshua Tree, but what is?)

Rufus Wainwright, Poses: Great (easily one of the best pop albums of the new century)

Tom Waits, Small Change: Great (one of the only reasons I'm sorry that I missed the mid-'70s)

Tom Waits, Mule Variations: Great (for my money, the best Waits album ever)

Roger Waters, Amused to Death: Great (Roger's still got it, even without Dave; Jeff Beck definitely fills the holes, though)

Stevie Wonder, Talking Book: Great (and God said, "let there be soul...")

Various Artists, Dementia 2000 - Dr. Demento's 30th Anniversary Collection: Excellent (dig the review here)

Various Artists, I Am Sam soundtrack: Excellent (I tend to cringe when I spot a Beatles tribute album, but this one actually hit the mark, with minor exceptions)

(sorry this page has stagnated of late; for a better idea of what I'm listening to, visit the matthew show radio or the forum)

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