Music Index


Granite and Tumble

Subtitled: 1997 a review of music


Recorded Music

Prior to commenting on my favorite releases of this year, I must discuss my philosophy on album reviews.   I firmly believe favorite album compilations should lag by two years for two primary time constraining reasons:  to address the staying power of the album and to acquire a suitable number of fine albums.  Finally, I must also add in order to be considered for top album awards, I must own the album. 

Now with the philosophy behind us, let's go back to 1995.  My favorite ten albums from 1995 (out of 45).   All of these albums are excellent additions to any music loverís album collection, and fortunately can be bought at the premier online music store.

Buy it at Insound!  


1    Guided By Voice's Alien Lanes (Matador)
2 Palace's Viva Lost Blues (Drag City)
3 Old 97's Wreck Your Life (Bloodshot) 
4 Smog's Wild Love (Drag City)
5 Neutral Milk Hotel's On Avery Island (Merge)
6 Sea and Cake's The Biz (Thrill Jockey)
7 Son Volt's Trace (Warner)
8 Wilco's AM (Sire)
9 Pavement's Wowee Zowee (Matador)
10 Blue Mountain's Dog Days (Touch and Go)



Despite my earlier comments about music needing age to properly evaluate, I will still offer my best guess at my favorite releases from the current year (1997).    

As Seen From Above

 (Ohio Gold)

Folk Implosionís 
Take a Look Inside

Old 97ís 
Too Far To Care

Will Oldhamís  
(Drag City)

Jim O'Rourkeís 
Bad Timing
(Drag City)

Sea and Cakeís  
The Fawn
(Thrill Jockey)

Red Apple Falls
(Drag City)

Tobin Sproutís
Moonflower Plastic


Live Music

1997 was a stellar year for concerts.   I saw 54 concerts at 19 different venues filled with some old favorites and some promising new acts.    Here were my ten favorite, to check out the full list click here.


1. Bad Livers, Moonshine Willy
    at the Lounge Ax

The most amazing set Moonshine Willy has ever put on was over shadowed by some of the best banjo picking ever witnessed.   Danny Barnes of the Bad Livers is simply the best banjo player alive today.  They are a must see live act.  This was an utterly amazing show. 
2. Parasol, Glow, Brainiac
     at the Lounge Ax

One of the most amazingly intense shows ever witnessed.   At one point, someone from the audience threw a bottle on stage that hit Tim Taylor in the face.   The lead singer whose face was now covered in blood did not miss a beat.  Brainiac is not for the faint of heart, but for those that can they consistently deliver an intense and interesting show. 
3. Blue Mountain 
    at the Schubas  

Blue mountain played two sets: one acoustical and one electrical and both were spectacular.   They played many traditional songs as well as almost all songs of their first two albums.   The highlight may have been an amazing closer, an acoustic "Amazing Grace."
4. Dinosaur Jr, Smoking Popes, Lotus Crown 
    at the Vic

J may be getting old, but he still can put on a damn good show.   He did one guitar solo that was a bit over-the-top, but things like that are quickly forgiven when he performs so many classics with grace and fire. 
5. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Doo Rag, Blue Rag
    at the Vic  

A country act, blue rag; an experimental blues act, doo rag; and a rock and roll infused blues act, jsbx - all led to an interesting and musically diverse show.
6. Bottle Rockets, Sister Soleil, Silver Jet
    at the House of Blues

Sister Soleil provided an intriguing set of electronica and dance songs.   An odd opening act for the bottle rockets, but enjoyable if for shock value only.  The bottle rockets played their typical great acoustic and electric set, filled with comedic tales.   
7. Folk Implosion
    at the Schubas  

Its odd that the top concerts of the year feature not only both halves of the original dinosaur jr, but also a blues explosion and a folk implosion.    Lou and John were on fire, they played all the early classics as well as some new stuff.  Definitely a great show.
8. Old 97s, Rollover, Mystery Driver 
     at the

The Old 97s are simply one of the more energetic live sets going.   Their pop sensibilities with witty lyrics delivered through rock with country and punk influences is simply outstanding.
9.  Pritchard, Pulsar, Handsome Family
the Fireside Bowl  

The distorted violin in Pritchard proved to be one of the more rocking and interesting shows of the year.   The handsome family also delivered an amazing alternative country set, with eccentric lyrics and musical instruments.
10. 60 Feet Dolls, Hummer 
      at the

A welsh punk bad playing in Chicago.   Loud and fast with an accent, a modern day sex pistols perhaps.   



Music combined with love will surely pave the road to paradise.


Your self-proclaimed music critic  

  W. C. HUB

January 22, 1998

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