Music

The Genius Of… Different Class by Pulp

After two decades on the indie fringes, Pulp struck gold in 1995 with a No.1 album that’s a vital collection of songs about love, class and leaving an important part of your brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire. Their charismatic misfit frontman wasn’t a bad guitar player either.

The Big Listen: Matt Berninger – Serpentine Prison

The National’s famously morose frontman finds freedom and space away from the day job on his debut solo album with Memphis studio veteran Booker T Jones.

The Genius Of… Super Session by Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Stephen Stills

In 1968, two Dylan collaborators and a future Laurel Canyon superstar were at a loose end, so they booked some studio time in LA and improvised a freewheeling blues-jazz blueprint for the supergroup-on-record concept.

The Big Listen: Beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers

Bea Kristi’s star has been rising since her fragile bedroom acoustic confessionals set the internet aflame, but her debut album pulls together myriad 90s college rock touchstones to propel her into the stratosphere.

The Genius Of… Paranoid by Black Sabbath

With a 50th anniversary deluxe boxset about to hit the shelves, we look back at the dystopian visions, bludgeoning riffs and satanic myths behind one of the most influential rock albums ever made.

The Big Listen: Brent Cobb – Keep ‘Em On They Toes

Inspired by moving back to Georgia, the country troubadour’s fourth album feels like having a conversation with an old friend. There’s no place like home.

The Genius Of… Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter

Deerhunter’s fourth album is a lo-fi meditation on memory and nostalgia with fragile and beautiful songs coalescing out of effects-littered soundscapes.

The Big Listen: IDLES – Ultra Mono

A third album in four years sees IDLES sharpen both their sound and their knives for an uncompromising attack on austerity, political incompetence and the patriarchy. There’s a lot more resistance than joy here.

​The Big Listen: Thurston Moore – By The Fire

The former Sonic Youth man blends the accessible and the experimental as he celebrates “the glory of the three- or four-minute rock song” and much more besides.

The Genius Of… Automatic For The People by REM

REM’s eighth album may not have been the strident mainstream rock record many expected as a follow-up to 1991’s breakthrough Out Of Time, but it’s a refined, multifaceted masterwork that pointed the way for a generation of alternative guitar bands.
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