Muse – Showbiz (Epic 2017 #181)

The Epic 2017 Project #181: 170630

Muse – Showbiz (1999)

Muse released their debut – Showbiz – in the UK on 7 September 1999 through Mushroom Records and Taste Media and by Maverick Records in the US. Recorded between April and May at RAK Studios and Sawmills Studio, respectively, the album was produced by John Leckie and Paul Reeve in conjunction with the band. Showbiz was a moderate commercial success, reaching number 29 on the UK Albums Chart.

The album was released in various regions around the world through the band’s different regional labels: Naïve in France; Motor in Germany, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine; Maverick in the United States; Play It Again Sam (PIAS) in Benelux; and Avex Trax in Japan. It was also released earlier by some labels; in France it was released on 7 September, the Motor edition was sold from 20 September and the album entered American stores on 28 September. A bonus CD was released in Benelux, which contained the same content as the Random 1-8 extended play, without the hidden remixes of “Sunburn.

Mountain – Avalanche (Epic 2017 #180)

The Epic 2017 Project #180: 170629

Mountain – Avalanche (1974)

Mountain formed on Long Island, New York in 1969 and originally comprised vocalist and guitarist Leslie West, bassist/vocalist Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight and drummer N. D. Smart, the band broke up in 1972 but reformed in 1973 and has frequently reunited ever since.

Best known for their cowbell-tinged song “Mississippi Queen”, as well as for their performance at the famous Woodstock Festival in 1969, Mountain is one of many bands to be commonly credited as having influenced the development of heavy metal music in the 1970s.

Avalanche was the band’s 4th studio album and the first after the 1973 reformation. It featured the return of drummer Corky Laing, was the band’s only recording with guitarist David Perry, and the final album to feature bassist/producer Felix Pappalardi.

‘Last of the sunshine days’ is the final track on the album and, to this day, remains one of my favourite R&B (12 bar) tunes of all time; it’s certainly up there in the top 10 (where it’s always been and probably always will be). To my mind, this is everything a 12-bar stomper should be; right down to the closing simper from Leslie West…

….mmmmm. That’s for John. For the doctor; for the doctor…

Moby – Play (Epic 2017 #179)

The Epic 2017 Project #179: 170628

Moby – Play (1999)

Play is the fifth studio album by American electronica musician Moby. It was first released on May 17, 1999 by Mute and V2. Recording of the album began in 1998, following the release of his fourth album, Animal Rights in 1996, which deviated from Moby’s electronica style; his goal for Play was to return to this style of music. Originally intended to be his final record, the recording of the album took place at Moby’s home studio in Manhattan, New York.

While some of Moby’s earlier work garnered critical and commercial success within the electronic dance music scene, Play was both a critical success and a commercial phenomenon. The album introduced Moby to a worldwide mainstream audience, not only through a large number of hit singles that helped the album to dominate worldwide charts for two years, but also through unprecedented licensing of his music in films, television, and commercial advertisements. It eventually became the biggest-selling electronica album of all-time, with over 12 million copies sold worldwide.

In 2003 and 2012, the album was ranked number 341 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was nominated for both a Grammy Award and Brit Award, was the UK’s biggest-selling independent album of 2000, and certified platinum status in more than 20 countries.

Steve Miller – The Joker (Epic 2017 #178)

The Epic 2017 Project #178: 170627

Steve Miller – The Joker (1973)

The Joker is the eighth album by Steve Miller Band, released in 1973. It marked a period of significant change for the group as the band abandoned their psychedelic oriented music for a more melodic, smooth rock/blues sound. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also their first solid commercial success due to the strong radio-play of the title track. The title track took 19 days to record.

The album’s artwork is also considered amongst the greatest; Rolling Stone magazine would later rank it as one of the “Top 100 Album Covers Of All Time”

Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion (Epic 2017 #177)

The Epic 2017 Project #177: 170626

Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion (2007)

Life in Cartoon Motion is the debut album released by British singer/songwriter Mika. The album was produced by Greg Wells and Mika himself, mixed by Wells, with co-production on two songs by Jodi Marr and John Merchant. It was released via Island Records on 5 February 2007 in the United Kingdom, and via Casablanca Records on 27 March 2007 in the United States. The album’s lead single, “Grace Kelly”, stayed at number one on the UK Singles Chart for five weeks straight and became a number-one hit in many countries.

The album debuted at number 1 in the United Kingdom, selling 7.8 million copies worldwide since its release.The Life in Cartoon Motion album cover has since been used in a commercial for the iPod Touch. It was the fifth-best-selling album in the world during 2007

Metallica – And justice for all (Epic 2017 #176)

The Epic 2017 Project #176: 170625

Metallica – And justice for all (1988)

Metallica released their 4th studio album “…And Justice for All” on Elektra Records in August 1988. It was the band’s first studio album to feature bassist Jason Newsted after the death of Cliff Burton in 1986. The album is musically progressive, with long and complex songs, fast tempos, and few verse-chorus structures The lyrics feature themes of political and legal injustice seen through the prisms of censorship, war, and nuclear brinkmanship.

The album’s front cover, designed by Stephen Gorman on a scheme by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, features a representation of Lady Justice, bound by ropes, with one breast bare and its scales tipping toward one plate filled with money. The phrase “…And Justice for All” appears spray-painted in the lower right corner. The album title is derived from the American Pledge of Allegiance. Three songs from the album were released as singles: “Harvester of Sorrow”, “Eye of the Beholder”, and “One”, while the title track was released as a promotional single.

…And Justice for All was acclaimed by music critics. It was included in The Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop critics’ poll of the year’s best albums, and the single “One” earned Metallica its first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1990. The group’s best-selling album at the time, it was the first underground metal album to achieve chart success in the United States.

John Cougar Mellencamp – The Lonesome Jubilee (Epic 2017 #175)

The Epic 2017 Project #175: 170624

John Cougar Mellencamp – The Lonesome Jubilee (1987)

The Lonesome Jubilee is the ninth studio album released by Mercury Records on August 24, 1987 .Four singles were released from it, the first two in 1987 and the last two in 1988.

The album was one of Mellencamp’s most successful worldwide, charting in ten countries. It was most successful in Canada where it topped RPM magazine’s Top Albums chart and became the artist’s highest certified album by Music Canada (formerly the Canadian Recording Industry Association) becoming 6x platinum.

We were on the road for a long time after Scarecrow, so we were together a lot as a band. For the first time ever, we talked about the record before we started. We had a very distinct vision of what should be happening here. At one point, The Lonesome Jubilee was supposed to be a double album, but at least 10 of the songs I’d written just didn’t stick together with the idea and the sound we had in mind. So I just put those songs on a shelf, and cut it back down to a single record. Now, in the past, it was always ‘Let’s make it up as we go along’ – and we did make some of The Lonesome Jubilee up as we went along. But we had a very clear idea of what we wanted it to sound like, even before it was written, right through to the day it was mastered

John Mellencamp (1987 Cream Magazine feature)