Discussion Sunday, October 3 at 4:00 pm EST

Stack of vinyl long playing records with Willie Nelson’s ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ lying on top of a Hi-Fi System record deck in a music room

Jessica Lee McMillan presented The Riff’s Album of the Month Club, Gorillaz ‘Demon Days’, to a jury of her peers on Sunday 12 September. And what a fine job she made of it.

Album of the Month reminds me of the 1960s UK 30 minute TV pop-music show called Juke Box Jury (a concept stolen from a 1950s American TV show of the same name). A panel made up of celebrities — actors, sports personalities, and singers — listened to the latest record releases. They discussed the merits of the song and voted it either a Hit or a Miss…


From Iceland to Vaporwave

Last year my daughter introduced an instant hit to our home. If I look back into the history of the commands sent to our Google Home, I am sure over fifty percent was “Play Think about Things”. The other half, by the way, is not 50 (per)cent.

Think About Things was the Icelandic entry for the Eurovision Contest that never happened. The song was wildly appropriate for Eurovision. Iceland had already won before the 2020 contest was held.

Daði & Gagnamagnið are likely to have produced a one-hit-wonder with…


Just because we aren’t a band doesn’t mean we stop making music

Today is the last day of my System Month series, and I want to go out with a bang by examining the solo work of System of a Down’s four members.

The quartet made contributions to society that need to be mentioned. From their countless solo albums to producing, writing, and activism, the band doesn’t shy away from leaving an imprint on humanity. I’ll break down each member, and share the many creative projects they produced.

Let’s discuss these gentlemen and the remarkable work they established.

Serj Tankian

When Serj Tankian was part of System of a Down, he created a record…

What were they thinking? (Part 1)

Recently, Rolling Stone released its latest list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In brief, they fucked up. Massively.

It’s a terrible list that they should be ashamed of publishing. Most of that is down to their methodology, which — to say the least — is flawed.

Instead of revising their prior lists (Rolling Stone published The 500 Greatest Songs version 1.0 in 2004 and a minor revision in 2010), the magazine opted to start from scratch.

This led to more than half the songs from 2004 getting the boot. That, of course, is far too many. …

For all those years that you didn’t feel good enough. When you doubted your decisions and were sure of nothing. For the long nights that turned to early mornings. Its soft warmth is frustrating; because you knew that another day was about to be wasted. This is the playlist for you, so keep it on full volume.

What is alternative about alternative music?

Alternative to me is more of a stylistic choice of sounds and songwriting. I wouldn’t say it’s experimental or art music, but defiantly isn’t conformist. It proposes worthwhile ideas and themes to explore, not just because they are quirky or different…

Name the tunes vol. 2

If you would like to read last week’s riddles before seeing the answers at the bottom of this story:

If you read last week’s riddles and you’re dying to know the answers before racking your brain on two more, scroll to the bottom of this story.

If you’re ready for the next two riddles, let’s rock!

Ah, the 80s, when everything was sticky-sweet.

Part Two of the Worst best Album series

Subjectively speaking

First, I want to clarify that the Best Album of the year list I’m using — found here — compiles sales figures taken from Cash Box and Billboard magazines, among others, so that this Best List is actually according to sales and not critics.

This isn’t exactly The People’s Choice Awards, but it’s also not The Village Voice’s old Pazz and Jop Poll, either.

And again, this is all in fun, totally arbitrary and subjective, just as if I tried to argue with you that not only is Santana 3 a better record than Santana Abraxas, but that you should…


Where 1991 all started

Like many cities in the midwest, Madison Wisconsin is undetgong something of a metamorphosis.

Abandoned factories and other artifacts of a bygone manufacturing era are giving way to formulaic — if aesthetically pleasing- “mixed-use” buildings. And nowhere in the city is this upheaval more prevalent than on East Washington Avenue (“East Wash” to locals).

An arterial that once had used car lots, appliance repair places, and glass factories running most of its length, the area now features higher-end restaurants, a grocery store, and even a beautifully refurnished soccer stadium.

In the midst of this push for modernity sits a reminder…

On August 10th and 11th, 1996, Oasis played to 250,000 people at Knebworth Park. As an iconic, definitive moment of the ’90s, the show was absolutely deserving of its own full-length film. Previous Oasis documentaries have touched on Knebworth in the past, but it always seemed like there was more to tell and this one promised to deliver the full story:

“The landmark concerts sold out in under a day with over 2% of the UK population attempting to buy tickets. This was a time when the UK was slowly recovering from a decade of recession. …

It was far more than raw talent

The Beatles and a turntable

The first moon landing, the Sept 11th attack, and the fall of the Berlin Wall; some historic moments stay with you forever and you remember exactly what you were doing when they happened.

The Beatles provided many historic moments. For Americans, it was their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. In the UK, that first major Beatles historical event happened on 4th November 1963. The Beatles were appearing live on the Royal Variety Performance in London in front of the Queen Mother. They weren’t even top of the bill.

Just before launching into the final song of their…

The Riff

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