The Bargain Buy

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THE BARGAIN BUY: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall and Thriller (Sony)

7 Nov 2010  |  1 min read  |  2

Michael Jackson has been dead for over a year now -- almost 18 months in fact -- and the marketing rolls on: there will be a new album (entitled Michael) on December 14 2010 and you can read the details here. But while we now expect such posthumous things from our dead musicians, there's also a place for simply looking back at what once was and taking it for what it meant at the time, the... > Read more

Michael Jackson: Don't Stop 'Til You get Enough

THE BARGAIN BUY: Toy Love: Cuts (Flying Nun)

31 Oct 2010  |  2 min read  |  2

Funny that people say how wild the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks album was. Heard it lately? They sound like a pop band, albeit an angry one, and musically didn't move too far from verse-chorus, like the young Beatles and the Monkees. Something similar applies with New Zealand's now legendary Toy Love, the Chris Knox-fronted band which, for almost two years on the cusp of... > Read more

Toy Love: Pull Down the Shades

THE BARGAIN BUY: Radiohead; OK Computer (EMI)

12 Sep 2010  |  1 min read

Just as Achtung Baby and Zooropa represented a watershed period for U2, so The Bends of '95 and especially OK Computer of two years later marked a turning point in Radiohead's still-young career. On reflection it is hard to believe that on just their second album (The Bends) that a band could make such a daring, sideways career move -- and then to confirm their direction by the even more... > Read more

Radiohead: Karma Police

THE BARGAIN BUY: Eric Clapton; Journeyman (Reprise)

4 Sep 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

By the time he got to the end of the Eighties, the title of this album must have been greatly appealing to Eric Clapton: he was in his mid 40s, had been a solo artist for almost two decades and had been playing for a living for 25 years. He'd been putting out a studio record about every 20 months on average, and this was released on the back of his expansive Crossroads retrospective. He was... > Read more

Eric Clapton: Running on Faith

THE BARGAIN BUY: Miles Davis; Tutu (Warners)

29 Aug 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

For Davis' most pure jazz followers who had forgiven him the street corner funk of the late Sixties/early Seventies, the trumpter was a lost cause on his return in '81 after almost a decade without any new studio material. From Man with the Horn to Your Under Arrest ('85) he was widely criticised for simply failing to play trumpet in any meaningful way. The live We Want Miles also handed a... > Read more

Miles Davis: Tomaas

THE BARGAIN BUY: Todd Rundgren; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

1 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

With the ever-evolving Rundgren scheduled to play in New Zealand see interview here) here was a five CD collection of some of his albums from 1970-83 which skip over his double album Something/Anything, the glorious A Wizard/A True Star and the double Todd. But here are Runt (Rundgren with the Sales brothers who later worked with Bowie); The Ballad of Todd Rundgren (on which he played... > Read more

Todd Rundgren: Rain

THE BARGAIN BUY: The J. Geils Band; Original Album Series (Rhino)

20 Jun 2010  |  1 min read

Way before their mainstream commercial success with songs like Centrefold, the J Geils Band were a highly successful blues-rock outfit with the harmonica of Magic Dick front'n'centre. In the early to mid Seventies they peeled off great and likable slices of boogie rock, and would cover material by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, and Otis Rush. They also wrote material in that... > Read more

J Geils Band: Whammer Jammer (live)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Black Sabbath; Paranoid

13 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

Always good to see an Essential Elsewhere album turn up as a Bargain Buy, and this being a classic hard rock album it should be in any sensible collection -- even just for its ear cleansing abiity. There is an extensive review of it here so we needn't go over that ground, just to point out that it is currently available for $12.99 at JB Hi-Fi stores here. That is a bargain. > Read more

Black Sabbath: Electric Funeral

THE BARGAIN BUY: The White Stripes; Elephant

1 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

For many people Elephant from '03 was the White Stripes' "break-out" album, the one which took them well out of cult status and into their living room. With material as strong as Seven Nation Army, There Is No Home For You Here, Ball and Biscuit and the killer cover of Dusty Springfield/Bacharach-David's I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, suddenly Jack and Meg White were... > Read more

The White Stripes: There's No Home For You Here

THE BARGAIN BUY: Jeff Buckley; Mystery White Boy (Sony)

23 May 2010  |  1 min read

Jeff Buckley -- who died in '97 -- didn't have much time to make an impression, but the scant recorded evidence in his lifetime was enormously impressive. And of course posthumous releases like the So Real album, and these live tracks taken from shows on his world tour in '95 and '96 confirmed the feeling that we had lost a wonderful, if possibly still unfocussed, talent. Buckley was trying... > Read more

Jeff Buckley: The Man That Got Away

THE BARGAIN BUY: James Taylor; Sweet Baby James (Warners)

9 May 2010  |  1 min read

After his brief signing to the Beatles label Apple and his self-titled debut in '69 (which included a song entitled Soemthing in the Way She Moves which Harrison also used), Taylor moved over to Warners as Apple broke up and delivered this album which really launched his career -- and gave impetus to the whole sensitive singer-songwriter movement out of LA in the Seventies. Part folk, part... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Aerosmith; Toys in the Attic (Sony)

26 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

There's a fairly lazy shorthand about Aerosmith, they are the band that so wanted to be the Rolling Stones that over time frontman Steve Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry started to look like Mick and Keith. That is sort of true, but --  especially in their early days -- they had a rock momentum and sound of their own. They did however draw from the Stones template which means that they... > Read more

Aerosmith: You See Me Crying

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Jesus and Mary Chain: Original Album Series (Rhino)

19 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

The Jesus and Mary Chain out of Glasgow certainly alienated audiences when they first appeared: not the least for performances which barely stretched past the 15 or 20 minute mark. But it was their noise-drenched guitar sonics and distant, droning vocals on their debut album Psychocandy in '85 -- which took aspects of the Velvet Underground one step removed and distilled them to essentials... > Read more

Jesus and Mary Chain: April Skies (from Darklands)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Wilco, Wilco (the Album)

12 Apr 2010  |  2 min read

Although widely regarded one of the great rock bands Wilco -- the vehicle for singer-songwriter Jeff Tweedy -- had its origins in the Illinois-based band Uncle Tupelo which drew from post-punk rock and music equally. High school friends Tweedy and Jay Farrar steered Uncle Tupelo from the late 80s up to the acrimonious break-up in ‘94. They ticked off four critically... > Read more

Wilco: I'll Fight

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

29 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

Elsewhere has already made the case for Bruce Springsteen's 1982 Nebraska as an Essential Elsewhere album. It was not only a great album but a turning point in his career: it allowed him to step away from the bombast and hype and become a singer of depth and longevity outside of rock's over-hyped expectation. That he followed it up with Born in the USA was another matter. But by going... > Read more

Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost of Tom Joad

THE BARGAIN BUY: Joy Division; Unknown Pleasures

22 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

Joy Division's debut album, for the sound of Martin Hannett's production alone, changed the way people thought about music in the post-punk era. Here was glacially smooth and dark music with theatrical intent and a poetic sensibility. It sounded astonishingly gloomy (lines like "where will it end" and "she's lost control again" leap out at you) but Hannett's spacious... > Read more

Joy Division: New Dawn Fades

THE BARGAIN BUY: Boz Scaggs; Silk Degrees

14 Mar 2010  |  2 min read

These days singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs is more of a jazzman -- as witnessed by his album Speak Low of 2008. But in the mid Seventies, in those days just before disco started turning into a formula and a cliche, he made some beautifully soulful dance-pop which was not only radio-friendly but was subtle, understated and tasteful. He'd come a long way from the folk album he recorded in... > Read more

Boz Scaggs: We're All Alone

THE BARGAIN BUY - David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger

15 Feb 2010  |  1 min read

David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger (EMI) While there's an easy case to make for Bowie's Low and Heroes albums to be in any Essential Elsewhere collection, Lodger from '79 -- his more difficult third album in "the Berlin trilogy" which he made with Brian Eno -- has always been overlooked or dismissed. Certainly it lacks that sudden directional change which its predecessors had (from... > Read more

David Bowie: Move On (from Lodger)