Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.


Tin Machine

A remarkable recording for many reasons, the debut of Tin Machine predates by nearly five years much of the guitar-oriented alternative pop that followed the grunge explosion of 1991-1992. This does not sound like Bowie in a band; missing are the quirkiness and theatrics that characterize much of Bowie's solo work. This is a band with a band attitude, not exactly what the fans were wanting at the time. Stunt guitarist Reeves Gabrels provides much in the way of ambient guitar solos, not unlike Adrian Belew's work. Drummer Hunt Sales provides a sticky tenor vocal similar to Bowie's own voice in a higher register; they blend very well together. The music is hard-edged guitar rock with an intelligence missing from much of the work of that genre at the time. Highlights include the emotional "Prisoner of Love" and the driving "Under the God." The band does a rocking rework of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero," with a killer machine-gun fire-sounding riff that permeated the track. The strongest analogue to Bowie's earlier work is a five-minute number toward the beginning of the record called "I Can't Read"; with its deliberately out-of-tune guitars and half-hearted vocals, it's a nice piece of artistry. This record would have been more popular had it been released five or six years later.

By the end of 1987, David Bowie had been a superstar for 15 years. Mentioned in the same breath as Madonna, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen, Bowie was a very wealthy man with hit albums, movie roles and top-grossing concert tours. However, the sheen of pop stardom faded after the mega-excess of the Glass Spider tour. “Being shoved into the Top 40 scene was an unusual experience,” Bowie admitted during an interview at the time. “It was great I’d become accessible to a huge audience … but not terribly fulfilling.” The tour was financially in the black, but the reviews from critics were harsh, causing Bowie to question the authenticity of his music and the nature of superstardom. He wasn’t interested in being a greatest-hits singer, but was eager to reinvent himself once again.
The creation of Tin Machine, with Bowie as lead singer, would be the path to his reinvention. And although the band released only two studio albums (the first of which was released on May 22, 1989) and one live album in its brief lifespan, Tin Machine became David Bowie’s musical redemption.
The group was created as a way for Bowie to purge his past while making his usual deft assault on the market. The first part of that statement certainly turned out to be accurate. Bowie teamed up with Reeves Gabrels, Hunt Sales and Tony Sales to form a band where every member was equal. Favouring jamming with each other versus having a songwriter bring in lyrics and a demo for the group to learn, Tin Machine were a cathartic experience for all involved.
The Sales brothers were part of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life tour with Bowie, while Gabrels was a relatively recent musical partner Bowie met during the Glass Spider tour. Together, they were ready to create music that weaved in their influences from the ‘60s to the ‘80s. Bands like Cream, the Pixies and Jimi Hendrix were all mentioned as key influences in Tin Machine’s sound. And from the opening track of their record, the bluesy “Heaven’s in Here,” it’s clear that a kind of British interpretation of blues was part of the group’s sound; a sound that was grittier than most rock bands in the music business at the time.
Even the way the album was recorded (live takes, few overdubs, and no finessing the lyrics), was at odds with production standards of the day. It took a certain leap of faith on the part of the engineers to trust in the way they wanted to record.
The band relished its unorthodox approach and the creative freedom this process produced, ignoring the modern rules of recording. The result was an unvarnished, proto-grunge sound that had Gabrels’ screeching, yet melodic, guitar at one end, the Sales brothers adding deep, rhythmic foundations of drums and bass on the other. Bowie remained at the centre, an angry middle-aged man.
Tin Machine’s sound was ahead of its time. As such, when the band made its 1989 debut, the general reaction seemed to be collective confusion. Rolling Stone, MTV and Melody Maker all gave Tin Machine fairly positive press, but the majority of the media simply savaged the group. Many of Bowie’s fans were not pleased with the music, either. Few knew what to make of a bearded Bowie simply serving as a singer in a hard rock band.

Ripped from a dodgy source CD to MP3 @ 320kbps

Tin Machine; Tin Machine

1.     Heaven’s In Here
2.     Tin Machine
3.     Prisoner Of Love
4.     Crack City
5.     I Can’t Read
6.     Under The God
7.     Amazing
8.     Working Class Hero
9.     Bus Stop
10. Pretty Thing
11.Video Crime
13. Sacrifice Yourself
14.Baby Can Dance


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