30 November 2005

Overlooked Albums from the 90's - #8

Futureworld by Trans Am:

I feel like there's always been a real love/hate thing for this album. Back when it first came out (1999) and I couldn't get enough of it, I played it for people and totally got a varied response. Almost like people maybe liked it but felt like they shouldn't, or actually hated it but acted like they liked it because I was so into it. Talk to actual fans of Trans Am and they're bound to tell you they like The Surveillance or their first album better but not me. So who is right? Why aren't people talking about this record? Six years later is as good a time as any to re-examine.

Futureworld is Trans Am finally giving in fully to their not-so-secret love of Krautrock / Kraftwerk. Back when the world was worrying about the Y2K scare and I had just started a "band" and bought myself a nice used Juno 60...back then...Futureworld was honestly EXACTLY what I wanted to hear. Upon listening to the whole album again last night I can tell you it's lost none of its allure. It's still a driving synthesizer based rock album that veers into experimental territory at times but never loses sight of melody.
Opinion - it's Trans Am's best album.
Fact - it's one of my favorite albums of the 90's.

Read what AllMusic had to say about Futureworld.
Read what Pitchfork had to say about Futureworld - even if Brent's being a little liberal with language here, I happen to agree with this bit:

Opening with distorted blasts of saxophone and droning frequencies, Futureworld flat out smokes. Drums relentlessly pummel away while blasts of incinerating keyboard melt neck- snapping basslines. Synthesizers drench the caustic crunch with melody and hooks. The echo of an infinite yellow on black matrix chimes throughout.
Sample two songs from Futureworld:
"Cocaine Computer"
"Television Eyes"
Watch this video to hear the title song in its entirety:

Previous Overlooked Albums from the 90's:
#1 - Saturnalia by The Wedding Present
#2 - The Inevitable by Squirrel Nut Zippers
#3 - This is Our Music by Galaxie 500
#4 - Dusk by The The
#5 - Fantasma by Cornelius
#6 - New Wave by The Auteurs
#7 - I, Jonathan by Jonathan Richman

if you'd like...
Pitchfork's top albums of the 90's
1st version of their list

Also, it appears another blog is onto this "Overlooked of the 90's" idea:
Top 30 'Other' Albums of the '90s