Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews We listen to the lousy records so you won't have to.

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Why Don't You Review...?

We often get mail asking us why we haven't reviewed this, that or the other artist. There are a lot of reasons involving time, money, and pretending to our friends and loved ones that there are actually other things in life we care about besides this site.

But most artists we haven't reviewed fall into one of three classes: artists we have no interest in reviewing, usually because we already know and dislike them; artists we're in the process of reviewing; and artists we wish we were reviewing, but we're not because their records are impossible to find at decent prices. If you send us copies of records by any of the artists listed, we'll review 'em, but artists in the third category are by far the most welcome. Please check the following list before e-mailing us with questions.

Over Our Dead Bodies

The Ace of Base of the 70s - sure they had a lot of hits, but so did Pat Boone. Plus, I already have a CD of Wing singing all their hits. (DBW)

The Carpenters
I know Kim Gordon loves Karen Carpenter, but that doesn't mean I have to. Plus, I already have a CD of Wing singing all their hits. (DBW)

The Cranberries
I thought their one huge hit single was catchy and kind of innovative. But after sitting through a whole album's worth while waiting for a movie to start, I concluded that they have less talent than, say, Joni Mitchell's left elbow. (JA)
Plus, I already have.... oh, never mind. (DBW)

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Probably the most successful 60s rock band we haven't reviewed. Problem is, I find them incredibly boring and derivative; no interesting experimentation, no virtuoso performances, no sophisticated songwriting. They're 100% attitude - and I've had my fill of that kind of thing. (JA)
They had an attitude? (DBW)

The Cure
I really can't stand their singer, and I've suffered enough for 80s mope rock by trying to force myself to review New Order (see). (JA)

Eagles solo records
I like Joe Walsh so much I've done a whole page on him, and J. D. Souther may have talent, but Frey, Henley, and company can all go to hell for all I care. Actually, it should come as a relief to all those foul-mouthed Eagles fans that I won't continue slamming their heroes any more than I already have. (JA)

Electric Light Orchestra
Jeff Lynne has ruined enough careers to make him the Mickey Most of the 80s and 90s. The very idea of him working on his own projects is downright terrifying. (JA)

Melissa Etheridge
The female Bruce Springsteen. (DBW)

Gangsta Rappers
N.W.A., Snoop, Notorious B.I.G., etc... I've reviewed an Ice Cube record, and I would review Ice-T and Tupac if the price was right, but as for the rest of these creeps and poseurs, I'll review them the same time I review the 80s hair bands - as in, never. By the way, I'm familiar with the argument that I'm not supposed to use the term "gangsta rap" even though that's how the artists refer to themselves and their work - I don't buy it.
Note: I just found a copy of Dr. Dre's The Chronic in my price range - free - and it's even weaker than I remembered, just an endless string of slow P-Funk samples with Snoop Doggy Dogg padding out his lines by stretching his second-favorite word "bitch" into two syllables ("beeyotch"), and inserting the nonsense syllable "izz" whenever his lines don't scan (often). These techniques led straight to the worst in current hip hop, e.g. Jay-Z's "H To The Izzo." Even Dre's high squeaky synth isn't an innovation: it comes straight from Bernie Worrell's work on Mothership Connection. (DBW)

The Osmonds of the 90s... no thanks. The little kid's a surprisingly solid drummer, though. (DBW)
A band like this should appeal mainly to pedophiles, but I suppose that teenage girls go for this kind of thing too. (JA)

We already covered the real Stevie Wonder. (DBW)
I heard one of their records and I can almost see reviewing them some decade. (JA)

Billy Joel
I don't care how many records he's sold, or that he's influenced artists from Debbie Gibson to Garth Brooks: who needs a third-rate Paul McCartney (with a Long Island accent, yet)? (DBW)
I literally cringe when I hear this guy's sappy hits on the radio. What a loser. (JA)
You think the sap is bad? Try listening to the self-righteous uptempo stuff ("Angry Young Man," "We Didn't Start The Fire") without throwing up. (DBW)

R. Kelly
Jesus, this guy's annoying. I worry that his obsession with the Isley Brothers has actually hurt them. [This was written before the whole sex-tape thing.] (DBW)

The Knack
Smug misogyny, smutty lyrics, a self-important attitude and obvious tunes - what's not to like? (DBW)

Lenny Kravitz
Enough with the fucking retro thing already. (DBW)

Late 90s Pop Tarts
We haven't covered Britney, Christina, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, or the more recent generation of same (Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift). Sorry: you'll have to try to dig up some information on them somewhere else. (DBW)

No Doubt
I have no strong opinion about these guys, but they strike me as just another flavor-of-the-month MTV act. (JA)
They may be trivial but they can be entertaining - I heard Return Of Saturn and it was solid pop/ska/rock. But there's definitely more bad than good. (DBW)

Lynyrd Skynyrd
I got into enough trouble with my page on the Allman Brothers, who actually do have talent. (JA)

The Ramones
I suffered through Patti Smith. Enough is enough. (JA)

Linda Ronstadt
At her peak, Ronstadt was a huge commercial force, and she does have a powerful voice, but there's no way I'm going to listen to all that pap like "Hurts So Bad" again. Not to mention those Welkian Nelson Riddle discs. (DBW)
Well, technically speaking I did review a Linda Rondstadt record; it's on our Eagles page. (JA)

I keep thinking about reviewing these guys, and then I remember their nausea-inducing hits and come to my senses. (JA)
I held out for a while, but ultimately I did review them. (DBW)

Bruce Springsteen
The male Melissa Etheridge. If he's the Boss, you can call us the Disgruntled Employees. (DBW)

Smashing Pumpkins
I know they're a big deal commercially, but from what I've heard their music has no substance whatsoever. (JA)
I have Adore (1998), which is just about the most boring record I've ever heard, and Siamese Dream (1993) which is no great shakes either, just arena rock with lots of distortion. (DBW)

Steely Dan
Wilson hates these guys so much you'd think they were Nazis or something. Me, I just think they're really, really boring... (JA)
Wilson's Steely Dan Bedtime Story
Once upon a time, there was a little boy named David who listened to a lot of "classic rock radio." He got to know all of Steely Dan's hits without knowing who they were, or that they were all by the same band, and he found all of them deadly dull ("Hey Nineteen"), annoying ("Boddhisatva") or both ("Reelin' In The Years"). One fine day, he was sitting in a restaurant with Alroy, and what did he hear but their greatest hits CD - David was stunned to realize that just one band had recorded so many songs he hated! And he lived unhappily ever after.

David continued to be exposed to the band over time - just the other week, he sat through a CD of theirs at a social gathering - but his opinion of them never changes. He often finds their production too slick, but mainly he just can't stand the compositions, and has no idea why people are so impressed by their "jazzy" chord progressions.

PS David hates Nazis way more. (DBW)

Tears For Fears
One of many 80s bands that we never, ever will cover. Sorry. (JA)
Proof that being an Art Janov fan does not guarantee your music is any good (John Lennon notwithstanding). (DBW)

We're Working On It

Brian Auger
I have his 1970 disc Oblivion Express, which is transitional between 60s prog rock and early 70s fusion. Unfortunately, it's kind of dull and the musicianship isn't at the highest level. (JA)

Bad Brains
Super-loud, virtuosic reggae punk band - they tend to alternate between the two styles instead of blending them. I have their live record and it just doesn't capture the creativity that I've heard from them in concert, so I'm not sure what to say. (JA)

I screwed up and got their 1984 debut album, which is so square and unimaginative it amazes me that they had a string of hit singles soon afterwards - I guess I should hold off reviewing them until I've heard that later stuff. I do have a Susannah Hoffs solo record, for whatever that's worth. (JA)
You might want to hold off longer than that. Though I'll confess I like their Simon & Garfunkel cover. (DBW)

Bettie Serveert
A remarkably conventional Dutch alt rock band that sounds a bunch of New Jersey teenagers who want to be the next Pavement but don't have a sense of humor. My brother turned me on to them and I've got three of their relatively easy-to-find records, which are okay but never really exciting (although "Ray Ray Rain" is quite a song). (JA)

Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Extremely dull early 90s mid-tempo jam band. They've got a gruff singer/songwriter who's a pretty good guitarist but tries way too hard to sound like (yuck) Mark Knopfler. (JA)

Big Star
A 70s band with a big cult following that gets credited with kicking off the whole 80s alt rock thing. I have their first two albums on a twofer CD and I'm starting to see why everyone from the Replacements to the Posies worships these guys; the songwriting is very sharp and the production is engaging but authentic. I also have a couple of relatively recent Alex Chilton records, but they're so musically trivial they're hardly worth discussing. (JA)

Another Britpop band that's been hyped to me by numerous readers. I have one of their early discs and it's a monotonous bore, not really any better than contemporary Ride or Charlatans discs. (JA)

The Breeders
I have the one widely available record by this Pixies spinoff, fronted by Pixies bassist Kim Deal, and I think it's head-banging alt rock fun, with really loud guitars, really basic riffs, really flat vocals, and really amusing surf-rock influences. (JA)

I've heard them a couple of times and just didn't have much of a reaction to them, but I somehow landed with their 2001 disc anyway. (JA)

Somewhere between Rick James and Devo. Full page slowly coming along. (DBW)

Neneh Cherry
I have her 1988 Raw Like Sushi, which is dance-pop along the lines of Madonna's Like A Prayer, but with laughably "serious" lyrics and no good melodies. I might just lose the cassette and pretend I never intended to review it. (DBW)

Circle Jerks
I have their absolutely atrocious 1995 comeback album Oddites, Abnormalities & Curiosities - stay away! However, I also have a couple of their original discs from the early 80s and I can almost get into their entirely formulaic, two-minute, shout-and-thrash punk thing. (JA)

Ireland's second-most famous band, responsible for foisting massively commercial goo-pop singer Enya on the world. I have their 1982 record and I think it's nothing more than dull soft rock that verges on Muzak, with none of the fabulous energy of Irish folk music and no particular resemblance at all to U2. (JA)

Bruce Cockburn
Canadian folk singer who's been around forever, bears an uncanny physical resemblance to bassists Adam Clayton of U2 and Jack Casady of the Jefferson Airplane, and is a bit of a minor-league Thompson, with sophisticated lyrics and far less interesting but still respectable acoustic guitar chops. I have an ever-increasing stack of his late 70s, 80s, and 90s records and hardly know where to start with him, because his sound hardly varies at all, and the quality of his songwriting hardly ever flags. (JA)

Con Funk Shun
I have their 1977 Secrets, and it's terrible: imitation Earth, Wind & Fire without the conviction or flair. (DBW)

Cowboy Junkies
Very, very, very boring Canadian country-western with an accent on the western part - they also like to do super-slowed down country-blues numbers. I've never heard any act that moves so sluggishly and has such completely monotonous dynamics, but if you're into the desolate mournful folk-blues-alt-country thing this is your ticket. Four reviews on the way. (JA)

Culture Club
First two LPs are in my dreaded "to review" stack. (DBW)

Marcella Detroit
I have her widely-available 1994 disc Jewel, the one where she duets with Elton John on "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing." It's harmless, over-produced pop fun. (JA)

The Dictators
Bronx garage rock band whose 1975 debut record Go Girl Crazy! was influential in the early punk movement - the founders of Punk magazine were big fans. I managed to find a cheap copy, and it's a goof, with grinding, garage-y roots rock guitars and campy humor that tries to one-up the New York Dolls. (JA)

Dixie Chicks
I saw them on Austin City Limits and they were great: lead singer Natalie Maines had a lovely voice, acerbic wit and a sincere (but not hidebound) approach to country & Western; Emily Erwin and Martie Seidel provided moving harmonies on the slow tunes and rousing musicianship (banjo and fiddle respectively) on the fast ones. But Wide Open Spaces is a different story: formulaic Nashville crossover with hardly any personality. I have their first three records (though not the 2006 Grammy winner) and will get to them at some point. (DBW)

I have three discs by this New Jersey hard rock band and I think they're okay but nothing special. They often try way to hard, but they get a great guest performance out of Mick Taylor on one record, and at least they have a sense of humor (sometimes) and try to experiment (sometimes). (JA)

Dream Syndicate/Steve Wynn
I have two discs by this 80s L.A. alt-country band, and also burdened myself with a pile of 90s solo records by super-drab singer/ex-band leader Steve Wynn. (JA)

Bryan Ferry
I have his solo debut album and I think it's got serious one-star potential: painfully campy covers of really obvious 50's and 60s pop-rock tunes that make David Bowie's Pin Ups sound like the voice of God by comparison. (JA)

I'm in the process of reviewing their "masterpiece" 4. (DBW)

Gang Of Four
I have one of their early 80s discs and it just kicks butt all over the place; they've got a very funky but harsh bass player who holds down everything while the rest of the band cranks out angry political lyrics and edgy, minimalistic New Wave affectations, vaguely like Wire or XTC at its darkest and most basic. (JA)

Gin Blossoms
I have their 1992 record and think it's remarkably tasteful and pleasant - at least considering the band's working class, tough guy image - but it's also unbelievably bland and derivative, falling somewhere between, say, REM and Material Issue. (JA)

I have a disc of demos and early singles from the late 70s by this Australian alt-pop band, and Wilson has their recent reunion record, where they are backed by Sleater-Kinney. (JA)
Have to admit, I find the reunion record incredibly dull, so don't expect a review any time soon. (DBW)

Al Green
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to get through an album of his without falling asleep - who says that sex is better on Quaaludes? But in all seriousness, there's a lot to be said for Green's subtle, ethereal falsetto and his backing band's sparse Memphis soul sound - I can see why he's considered the most important soul singer of the 70s. (JA)

Hall & Oates
I have their 1972 debut album Whole Oats, which is a pleasant, breezy soft rock album loosely in the style of Carole King. That's enough to convince me there might be some real substance to their mid-70s collaborations with producer Todd Rundgren, although I'm planning to avoid their massively commercial 80s output. (JA)
Well, I have the silver record and Voices, so I might as well review them someday. (DBW)

Ben Harper
I'm not making this up: without any warning, an anonymous fan from Cleveland mailed me a complete collection of Harper's CDs. I've spun them all, and so far I'm impressed with Harper's consistent good taste and authenticity, but I'm bored by his early records (where he sticks with gospel and Delta blues stylings), and not bowled over by his later stuff (which is stylistically broader, but more conventional). (JA)

Emmylou Harris
I have her debut and several of her 90s albums, including her recent duo collaboration with Linda Ronstadt and her very entertaining and commercially successful Spyboy live album. I like her, but not being very familiar with country music I'm not completely sure how to put her in context. (JA)

I have a mid-90s disc of theirs and find them baffling: mostly they do thudding, angry heavy metal a la Soundgarden, but then they'll suddenly switch into wild alt rock experimentation. And I don't think much of their tunes. (JA)

The Hives
Have one record. Another one of these early 00s rock bands that's been hyped as The Next Big Thing even though they're doing 70s-style rock music that doesn't push any boundaries at all. (JA)

The Lemonheads
A very generic late 80s/early 90s rock band from Boston that veers between REM-influenced alt-rock and proto-grunge style heavy metal. I picked up two of their early discs and one of the commonly available ones thinking they might sound like Juliana Hatfield, but I was wrong... (JA)

David Lindley and El Rayo-X
Well-known 70s L.A. studio guitarist; I have a couple of his 80s solo records, which are basically good-time party albums stuffed with quirky cover tunes. (JA)

Manfred Mann
I have their first two albums from the mid-60s, and insults fail me. A third and final listen is going to be really painful. (JA)

Kate and Anna McGarrigle
Piano-playing Canadian folk-rock sister act, vaguely connected with the Fairport Convention crowd. I have their 1982 and 1996 records and think they're brilliant; they don't have big-time vocal or instrumental chops, but their songwriting and harmonizing is sophisticated and creative. (JA)

Midnight Star
Gimmicky early 80s synth-funk act; I have their insufferable 1982 Victory, which I may write up in a decade or so. (DBW)

They're heroes to Metallica and the Lunachicks, but based on the live record I have, their sloppy, sludgy take on heavy metal is just a pain in the ears. (DBW)

Bob Mould/Sugar
I've seen him live, and I have all of this Sugar discs (even Beaster and Besides), plus his debut solo album and his more recent Last Dog And Pony Show. I think he's a major talent despite his extremely limited vocal and stylistic range and tendency to overamplify everything into smithereens; on a bad record you can't tell any of the tunes apart, on a good one he's a massive hit of adrenalin. (JA)

I have a 1993 extended EP by these Seattle grunge rockers, and I think they're just plain terrible, with no lyrical, instrumental, or production interest at all. (JA)

Os Mutantes
This Brazilian psychedelic rock band has a big rep, but I have their 1968 debut and it's ludicrous, self-consciously "heavy" kitsch. I think I know what Alroy is getting for his birthday... (DBW)

New Order
I have a couple of their records, and I think they're okay, but deadly boring. Same jangly guitar-plus-danceable synth beats formula on every damn track, kind of like the Smiths without the slightest trace of humanity. (JA)

Pere Ubu
An avant garde American art rock band that was contemporary with the punk movement but really had nothing to do with it. I have their last LP before they split for the first time in 1982, and I find it almost unlistenable because of the tuneless, yelping, whiny vocals by band leader David Thomas. (JA)

Pink Floyd
We really will review them someday. I promise. Scout's honor. (DBW)

The Pixes
I have one of their slick major-label early 90s records and I just don't hear what made a slew of friends and readers insist that I cover them. But I do enjoy the Breeders, so maybe I'll change my tune. (JA)

Pretty Things
Another London band that had a string of hit singles in the 60s but never had any impact in the U.S. I now have three of their acid rock records from the late 60s and a weak prog/glam record from 1974, and I can't hear any talent anywhere: third-rate vocals, instrumentation, lyrics, tunes, you name it, with a lot of desperate, low-budget faux-Beatles studio trickery on their 60s records that makes them seem like Spirit's inbred English cousins. Bleah. (JA)

Presidents Of The U.S.A.
I have all three of their original discs plus their artistically unsuccessful reunion record, and I think they're the best thing that ever happened to Seattle grunge, which might not be saying a lot but is something. Really funny, juvenile lyrics and instantly engaging hooks. (JA)

Red Hot Chili Peppers
I have their 1995 record. I basically like it - solid musicianship, stylistic variety, substantial creativity - but I'd rather get my hands on something less recent before passing judgment on them. (JA)
And I did review their 1985 disc. (DBW)

Scritti Politti
I have one late 80s disc by this British synth-pop band, and I hate it; it's utterly insincere, so much so that the vocalist even sounds like Phil Collins (who's far more talented). (JA)

The Sex Pistols
A classic is a classic, but Never Mind The Bullocks is so goddamn loud and humorless that I hardly ever feel like hearing it, much less reviewing it. (JA)

Jules Shear
I have several of his discs, including one with his original late 70s band the Polar Bears and most of his 90s solo records, and I think they're really quite boring. The 90s stuff is so bland and over-calculated I swear it sounds like Jackson Browne. (JA)

I have their last record, 1988's Go Bang!, and unfortunately it's really dull synth pop that doesn't even begin to emulate leader Barry Andrews' original work with XTC. (JA)

Frank Sinatra
Seriously. His catalog is so big and erratic it's hard to make a dent in it, but I have seven of the key discs from the mid-50's to the mid-60s, and I'll be trying to make sense of them over time. (DBW)
Wilson's such a trouper... (JA)

70s funk band that's just like the Ohio Players, only without the talent. I have their debut and I'll review it some day. (DBW)

I have one of their records from the late 80s, and it's blaring, unimaginative too-cool-for-the-suburbs metal, complete with with childish, potty-mouthed lyrics. But their guitarist can really play. (JA)

Stone Temple Pilots
I have Core, and I think it's just incredibly boring: the same ear-busting power chords with factory-issue heavy metal distortion on track after track, with meaninglessly metaphorical lyrics and smarmy, insincerely angsty baritone vocals by Scott Weiland. The only points of interest are their entirely derivative 70s AOR anthem "Plush" and their dreary power ballad "Creep," a blatant REM ripoff that goes on way too long, like many of the songs. (JA)

See Bob Mould. (JA)

10,000 Maniacs
I saw them live when I was in college and liked them, but after hearing several of their albums I find them just too damned boring to want to discuss. I did, however, review a Natalie Merchant solo album. (JA)

Terence Trent D'Arby
Alroy has all his records. Look for that page soon. (DBW)
Unfortunately, "soon" in the Alroy sense means "it could happen any year now." (JA)

They Might Be Giants
I have their 1986 record and I think it's bizarre and fascinating; four-track quality recordings with wacked-out lyrics, grating electronic percussion, primitive synth, and lots of incongruous accordion parts. I also have a couple of their later albums, and although the increasing production slickness makes it all seem like a dumb, exploitative joke, they do come up with some catchy tunes. (JA)

Suzanne Vega
I have almost all her records; the problem is, I always fall asleep when I try to listen to them. (DBW)

I have two of their discs, of which I very much like the earlier one. It was produced by Bob Mould and sounds much like him, except that they have a cellist, and their vocalist is much more conventional. (JA)

The Vines
< I have one of their records and it's pretty eclectic old-fashioned rock, nothing really special. (JA)

I have one of their records from a couple of years ago and think it's the best alt-country I've ever heard, with just the right blend of sincerity and attitude. Singer/writer Ryan Adams works with pretty basic chord progressions, but he has an intimate, engaging sound, and when I saw him do a solo acoustic set while opening for another band a while back, his raw talent was startling. (JA)

The White Stripes
I have one of their records and I like the band's lo-fi, strippped-down punk-folk-blues sound, but I see them as a really good old-style rock band instead of an earth-shattering revelation. (JA)

Lucinda Williams
I have her critics' fave Car Wheels On A Gravel Road and can't figure out what the big deal is about her sedate, depressive country-rock. (DBW)

On Our Wish List

Note: we are perfectly willing to review anything on this list that is sent to us on CD. However, Alroy currently has no listenable LP or tape player, so if that's what you want to send us then send it to Wilson.

Yet more grunge bands
Jane's Addiction, Pearl Jam... well, somebody has to cover them. I'm specifically looking for Pearl Jam's debut disc. (JA)
I did review Jane's Addiction's debut. (DBW)

Major commercial success and an alt rock superstar lineup including Butch Vig. Hmmm. (JA)

Dave Matthews Band
These guys are very hyped and very popular, so I suppose we should find out why. (JA)
Ack. A cross between Pearl Jam and Sting (post-Police Adult Contemporary edition). (DBW)
If that's true, it's a shame to note that Steve Lillywhite produced their first few major label albums. (JA)

The Meters
I'm not crazy about New Orleans funk, but I've got to give it a shot. (DBW)

I've heard his huge 2000 hit record Play several times, like it, and was totally wowed when I saw him on tour that year. Coming from me that's extremely high praise, because normally I can't stand electronic dance music. (JA)

Recommended to me by numerous readers, although I'm a bit burned out from listening to groovy jam bands. (JA)

The Pretenders
A pretty big-deal 80s rock band, not really corporate but not really alt rock either. Their first few records have a big rep with critics. I'll get around to them sometime. (JA)

I know that they're not supposed to be as good as contemporaries like the dB's and REM, but I'm curious. Unfortunately, their early records are almost impossible to find used. (JA)

This could be a disaster, but I'll give them exactly one chance once I steel myself for the challenge. (JA)

Roxy Music
With such a frivolous image I never thought to waste any time on them, but their ties to the whole Eno-Bowie scene have made me curious. On the other hand, Bryan Ferry's solo debut album is so god-awful it really makes me wonder if they're worth worrying about. (JA)

Several of my friends are heavily into this lightweight lounge act, and I'm starting to get into them despite the breathless, narrowly-ranging female vocals and minimalistic instrumentation. (JA)

The Strokes
Wilson thinks these 2001 flavor-of-the-month alt rockers are just a bunch of cruddy, overhyped Velvet Underground imitators, and I've heard enough to basically agree with him. But I am a VU nutcase, after all. (JA)

Veruca Salt
I saw these babes live before they made the big time and thought they were total sell-outs, but I suppose I would review them if I could find one of their records really, really cheap. (JA)
Which translated from Alroyese means "fifty cents max." I have a question, though: if they were lousy before they made the big time, how can you consider them sell-outs? I mean, what did they have to sell out? (DBW)

Yo La Tengo
I've heard one of their records, seen them live, and like their tunefulness and avant garde attitude. Sonic Youth meets Miles Davis, as my brother says. (JA)

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