The Anniversary

The Black Album Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / November 14, 2013 - 9:48 am

How big of a deal was Jay-Z in 2003? Big enough that when he announced The Black Album would be his last, he rightfully drew comparisons to Michael Jordan, Jim Brown, and Barry Sanders, legendary athletes who stepped away from the game at the peak of their powers. Big enough that everyone from the hip-ho… More »

Midnight Marauders Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / November 11, 2013 - 1:35 pm

In a way, it’s cosmically appropriate that Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) came out on the same day as a Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. (R. Kelly’s 12 Play also came out on that day, but I only have so many of these 20th-anniversary posts in me.) In retrospect, Enter TheMore »

Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / November 8, 2013 - 2:37 pm

When you get into comic books as a kid, you don’t start with the origin stories — at least not if you’re doing it right. Instead, you flip through the racks at Walgreen’s or Rite-Aid or Barnes & Noble or maybe even an actual straight-up comic book store (which, nowadays, might actually be the onlyMore »

Pussy Whipped Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / October 28, 2013 - 5:06 pm

It must be weird to be a cause celebre before you’ve put out your first album, but that’s what happened with Bikini Kill. The band was, of course, at the center of riot grrrl, the ground-up feminist punk-rock movement that burned bright and fast, that applied feminist-studies ideas to the often-boneheaded hardcore scene and saw… More »

No Alternative Turns 20

By Michael Nelson / October 28, 2013 - 1:55 pm

Every one of these Anniversary stories is celebrating a bygone moment, of course — that’s the nature of looking back on an album a decade or two after its release — but few if any subjects seem so firmly, inextricably lodged in the past as the 1993 compilation No Alternative, which turned 20 years old… More »

Chutes Too Narrow Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / October 21, 2013 - 3:46 pm

The first Shins album, 2001’s Oh, Inverted World, was a collection of effortlessly punchy pop-rock and warm-blooded balladry, but its frayed nerves and plucky resolve were softened by mid-fi reverb haze. It was a mirage, the New Mexico desert’s best evidence that life is but a dream — and not just that gorgeously cooing, tambourine-tapping,… More »

Vs. Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / October 18, 2013 - 3:17 pm

In October 1993, Eddie Vedder’s contorted face howled from the cover of Time magazine. These were the waning days of the monoculture, but mass culture still existed then, and the cover of Time was as much a window into it as anything. For many thousands of young teenagers, this cover story — a trend-piece about… More »

Heartwork Turns 20

By Justin M. Norton / October 18, 2013 - 12:58 pm

It’s a bit of a challenge to write an anniversary appreciation for Heartwork. Anniversaries often imply that the best is behind (whether it’s a band’s catalog, a relationship or a sports franchise). There’s an unstated assumption that what comes after will never surpass what has come before. Last month, Carcass proved that’s not the case… More »

Gentlemen Turns 20

By Chris DeVille / October 7, 2013 - 11:44 am

You all know the story: Back in the post-Nevermind ’90s, every band in the underground, no matter how strange or anti-commercial, was getting swept up by major labels, branded as grunge, patted on the ass, and sent off to the trenches. The Afghan Whigs were hardly the weirdest band to benefit from that signing spree… More »

Painful Turns 20

By Chris DeVille / October 4, 2013 - 2:06 pm

Technically, Yo La Tengo existed for almost a decade before Painful. But the Yo La Tengo we know and love begins here, with the record that turns 20 years old tomorrow. It was the first to feature the lineup that continues on today, matching married founding members Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley with most excellent… More »

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / September 23, 2013 - 12:47 pm

While visiting my alma mater last week, I spent some time working from the back room of a coffee shop, the same room where I used to drag my acoustic guitar on stage for open mic night when I was in college. That room dredges up lots of memories, but none of them are a… More »

Judgment Night Soundtrack Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / September 16, 2013 - 4:53 pm

There were precedents for this: Run-DMC with Aerosmith, Public Enemy with Anthrax, the Kerry King guitar solo on “No Sleep Til Brooklyn.” Ice-T was already touring and recording with a metal band, Body Count, and they’d already released one song (“Cop Killer”) that turned out to be way more infamous than any rap records he’d… More »

Cure For Pain Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / September 16, 2013 - 11:21 am

On September 14, 1994, two rock trios — both marketed as alternative, both featuring sad and doomed frontmen — would release really great albums, albums that would linger long after their moment had passed, albums that played important roles in indie/mainstream transitions. One of those albums was In Utero, and you already know about that… More »

In Utero Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / September 13, 2013 - 9:31 am

If you were a music-dork kid in 1993, the kind who read music-magazine articles about albums that wouldn’t come out for months, you were basically expecting Nirvana, one of the most popular bands in the world, to release a Wolf Eyes record. If you believed the magazines, which I absolutely did, then Kurt Cobain, so… More »

Echoes Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / September 10, 2013 - 10:43 am

Dance-punk revival, the early-aughts movement headlined by the Rapture around the time Brooklyn “hipster” culture was metastasizing into a national media sensation, is pretty much an historical curiosity at this point. LCD Soundsystem transcended it, Liars left it behind almost as soon as the dust cleared from digging that trench, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs only made it… More »

An Oral History Of The Wrens’ The Meadowlands

By Timothy Bracy And Elizabeth Bracy / September 9, 2013 - 9:56 am

Ten years ago, three grown men approaching middle age lived in a house together in Secaucus, New Jersey. A recently married fourth was living in a Garden State home to the south. Ostensibly the quartet comprised a band, although they rarely played shows and hadn’t had a release of any sort in more than half… More »

Chaos A.D. Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / September 3, 2013 - 12:55 pm

When I was 13, my family moved from Baltimore proper to the suburbs outside town. And in the first few months I lived out there, I made a weird regular habit of riding my bike a couple of miles to this one strip mall, which had the temerity to call itself a proper mall just… More »

Last Splash Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / August 30, 2013 - 10:21 am

The Breeders’ second album Last Splash was an indie rock album that became a hit. That means something else right now. An indie album that becomes a hit — Bon Iver, Bon Iver, say — dominates critics’ list, racks up summer-festival bookings for the band, maybe wins a Grammy or two. A track might appear… More »

Siamese Dream Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / July 26, 2013 - 10:46 am

Billy Corgan was the first star produced in alt-rock’s early-’90s star-producing boom period who could’ve been a rock star in any less civilized time, too. In the ’70s, Corgan’s gift for triumphal melodic excess would’ve almost certainly catapulted him into Camaro stereos, though he probably would’ve had to wail or bellow instead of doing the… More »

Black Sunday Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / July 19, 2013 - 9:26 am

About a year after Cypress Hill released Black Sunday, their second album, I went to see Pulp Fiction. During that scene when Vincent Vega walks into Mia Wallace’s house, when the opening bars of Dusty Springfield’s “Son Of A Preacher Man” chimed out, I muttered “hits from the boooong” to myself, in my teenage versio… More »