Album: Hi-Fi Sci-Fi
I think one of the things I loved most about Hi-Fi Sci-Fi was that while most of the songs were uptempo rockers, the words were about people going through totally fucked up things: homelessness, drug addiction, insomnia and just feeling worthless as a human being.
The grand exception is the beautiful power ballad, “Incredible,” in which one of the fuckups from the rest of the record is going through a good patch for once.
Album: Hi-Fi Sci-Fi
I don’t know how rare it is for a band’s fifth album to be their best album.
I don’t know how rare it is for a band to make their best album after getting a new drummer.
But somehow, my suspicion is that a band making their best album after combining the two is pretty rare.
Always too clever by half, New Jersey’s Dramarama always seemed to be on the verge of making it big, but never quite doing so.
It’s weird: they had a great look and a great sound (though not a great name), but their timing was always a bit off. For example, their biggest song, the demented raver “Anything Anything (I’ll Give You)” was a huge hit on KROQ (and probably still gets played daily, 30 years later) but never really broke nationally all at once.
That said, all of their albums are worthwhile — including the reunion one — and while I’m not writing about songs from their first three albums like “Worse Than Being By Myself,” “Last Cigarette” (Similar Animals used to do a great cover of this one) or the aforementioned song that KROQ made me sick of, I considered it.
Album: The Downsiders
After 28th Day — who will have at least two songs on this list — broke up, Barbara Manning became a minor indie star on the basis of her quirky solo albums and Cole Marquis disappeared into The Downsiders, who kept some of the psychedelic sound of 28th Day, but didn’t quite have the same tunes.
And so the songs that got by on the Downsiders self-titled 1987 tended to be the ones that sounded the best, like the gigantic “Mudslide.”
Album: The Last Broadcast
Doves are a band that could have only happened in the late 1990s: they started as a dance band called Sub-Sub and decided to become an anthemic alternative rock band. Kinda like Arcade Fire in reverse.
They were a huge huge deal in the U.K. for their entire existence, but even their big U2-style anthems never really made much of a dent here in the Colonies, not even the biggest, most U2-ist, 2002’s humongous “Caught By The River.”