Must Have CD's
by Scott Thill
Sure, it might not rock as hard as past efforts like Tonight's
the Night, Mirror Ball and even his recent environmentalist epic Greendale,
but cut the Canadian legend some slack, will you? The guy just survived
a brain aneurysm earlier this year, for Pete's sake. He's not feeling
the distortion just now. In other words, Prairie Wind finds Young during
some of his more quiet moments, once with guest Emmylou Harris; but don't
be fooled: He still knows which way we're headed. Even if he's not screaming
about it or turning the stacks of amplifiers up to 11, to paraphrase Spinal
Tap. Give this one a spin and put yourself in the mind of a bracingly
honest artist watching his world go to war, and wondering what his well-decorated
life has come to.
If you think dance and punk don't really go together, then think again.
Not that I'm comfortable with calling what Milemarker does, but I've seen
that distinction lobbed their way to excess, so maybe it's the way they
use synths. It's true, they sound weird atop the churning drums and relentless
rock that Milemarker doles out with skill and ease. But they can sometimes
brush up strangely against the band's powerhouse politics, one that's
as progressive as it's informed. Plus, these guys deliver rugged poetry
comparable to Fugazi and Pearl Jam alike. They're the real deal, and Ominosity
is one of their most compelling releases to date. But if you're hankering
for a serious Milemarker mindtrip, try the track "Ant Architect"
from their effort Anaesthetic. It's simply astounding.
While we're on the subject of rock and politics, perhaps it's apropos
that we set aside this, the desert-island keeper part of the column, for
Pink Floyd's most underrated album ever. Yes, Roger Waters dominated the
proceedings here, but we should all be so lucky to have a guy who can
mash Orwell's Animal Farm with the stylings of Floyd's atmospheric classic
Wish You Were Here without a miss. Like that album, as well as Dark Side
of the Moon, The Wall and The Final Cut, Animals is indeed a concept album,
albeit one that drags capitalism, fascism and pretty much every other
ism there is through the trenches. But it also is one of their sonic triumphs:
David Gilmour's eardrum-shredding solo for the album finest track "Pigs"
is one of his most emotional -- and that's saying something, considering
this is the guy who shredded "Cormfortably Numb" -- but the
trenchant "Sheep" is also on of Water's lyrical masterpieces.
All told, the disc only features about five tunes, but it's more jam-packed
with meaning that almost everything being released today. Do your friends
a favor and buy them a copy of this classic now.