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Classic Albums

CA23 Jane’s Addiction – Ritual de lo Habitual

The influence of Jane’s Addiction on the alternative music scene and subculture can not be underestimated. On a surface level, the band appeared to have much in common with their hair metal, spandex-clad LA contemporaries, but chip away at the surface and it was obvious that Jane’s Addiction were a much more subversive, cerebral act who encompassed a diverse range of influences. Metal, goth, funk, psychedelia, reggae and punk were all crucial elements that made up their kaleidoscopic sound and acted as a bridge 80s excess and 90s integrity.  


The success of Ritual de lo Habitual, the band’s second studio album (and third album overall; 1987’s self-titled debut is a live album) was instrumental in forging the path for a gigantic wave of rock bands to take over the mainstream throughout the best part of the 90s. Would Geffen have gone to the trouble of signing Nirvana had Ritual de lo Habitual not sold half a million copies just one month after it’s release? Doubtful, especially considering that Nirvana’s debut Bleach had sold just 40,000 copies in North America prior to Nevermind’s release. 

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Classic Albums

CA22 The Beatles – The White Album (Part 2)

In the second and final part of our look at The Beatles 1968 masterpiece The White Album Steve and Remfry start by examining if the record marks the first genuine example of a double album, before going through each one of the 30 tracks present and giving our verdict on them. We look into conspiracy theories surrounding Paul McCartney’s supposed death, accusations of everything from being class traitors to Communist sympathisers, the invention of heavy metal, bringing the avant garde into the mainstream and the link between The Beatles and Charles Manson and his crimes. We also look at the backlash The Beatles received critically in the aftermath of the record’s release and the long lasting influence that it continues to have on contemporary music to this day. All before we end by trying to somehow surmise the legacy of one of the most beguiling, bewildering, unique and inspiring albums to have ever been recorded. 

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Classic Albums

CA22 The Beatles – The White Album (Part 1)

It’s another Classic Albums series podcast. And in our most in depth look at an record to date we present a two part episode dedicated to The Beatles 1968 self-titled double album, commonly known as The White Album. In part one Steve and Remfry discuss The Beatles cultural significance, the daunting prospect of having to dissect the most revered and examined back catalogue in the history of popular music, the state of the world back in 1968, one of the most traumatic and politically charged years in modern history, before they get into the place that The Beatles found themselves in during that time. Looking into the shock death of the band’s manager Brian Epstein, the ever growing influence of Yoko Ono, their ill fated but prosperous trip to India and the studio sessions and the tense atmosphere that accompanied them, we set the scene before looking at the results of it all in part 2.

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Classic Albums

CA21 Foo Fighters – The Colour and the Shape (Part 2)

In this second part of our Foo Fighters Classic Albums double, Remfry and Steve dive deep into The Colour and The Shape, the sophomore album released 20th May 1997.

The Colour and The Shape marks the first recording Foo Fighters made as a band rather than Dave Grohl solo. The recording was fraught with difficulty however, with initial sessions being scrapped almost entirely. When the band re-convened, there were even more problems which led to drummer William Goldsmith leaving the band disgruntled.

Despite these difficulties, The Colour and the Shape has become the band’s most enduring album, with mega songs My Hero, Monkeywrench and Everlong still integral parts of their set today. Remfry and Steve dive deep into the album track by track and we discover that Steve doesn’t really like Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street (bonkers!)

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Classic Albums

CA21 Foo Fighters – Self-Titled (Part 1)

For the first part of this double Classic Albums series we take a look at the humble beginnings of Foo Fighters and how Dave Grohl went from ‘the goofy kid that played drums for Nirvana’ to frontman of one of the biggest bands in modern rock.

There were tempered expectations for the 1995 self-titled album, written and recorded (almost) entirely by Grohl. Many critics seemed downright offended that a drummer (A DRUMMER!!!) would have the NERVE to step out from behind the drum stool and play guitar … AND SING!! AT THE SAME TIME!! MADNESS!

It didn’t take long for Grohl to make those critics look rather silly and 25 years on, the songs on Foo Fighters’ debut album (This is a Call, I’ll Stick Around, For All the Cows, Alone + Easy Target, Exhausted) still sound brilliant, despite (or maybe even because of) their raw, ragged production. The self-titled album served as a reminder that fuzzed-up guitars, a sweet melody and above all else, great songwriting is really all you need to deliver an album that will endure for many years to come.

Remfry leads the chat and covers the Pocketwatch demo, how Eddie Vedder gave Grohl his first big break post-Nirvana, the Robert Lang Studio sessions that would result in the self-titled record, track-by-track analysis, the chaotic Reading ‘95 show and the critical reaction; the good, the bad and the Christgau.

If you want to listen to Part 2 on 1997’s The Colour and The Shape, then head over to patreon.com/riotactpocast and sign up to our £5 a month tier to get access to that and all our other bonus content.

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Classic Albums

CA20 System of a Down – Self-Titled (Part 1)

It’s another double Classic Album Series podcast, and this week we go in on one of the weirdest multi-platinum selling bands in history; Armenian/American metal oddities System Of A Down. In part one we look at the band’s self-titled debut album from 1998. Starting with the formation of the band, and their various and wide ranging musical inspirations, we look at the nascent nu-metal scene that was building in LA around the time, their relationship with super producer Rick Rubin and the impact the band made when the record was released. Steve talks about his various experiences seeing the band around the time, and we touch on what happened in the scene when they vanished completely for 18 months after the record, which sets us up nicely for part 2!

If you want to listen to us go in on the follow up, 2001’s Toxicity, then head over to patreon.com/riotactpocast and sign up to our £5 a month tier to get access to all of our various bonus content.

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Classic Albums

CA20 System of a Down – Toxicity (Part 2)

In the second part of our 2 part look at nu-metal megastars System Of A Down we concentrate on their breakthrough second album, and legitimate and time genre classic, Toxicity. We start by looking at what had happened in the scene during SOAD’s absence, the pop-punk and nu-metal boom now at its absolute commercial peak, and how System were seen as yesterday’s men before their glorious return. We speak about the recording of the record, how 30 plus songs needed to be trimmed down to fit one singular album, and the release and incredible success the band achieved. Success that gave them their first number one album, on the week of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, and turned them from cult metal band into festival headlining superstars. We close up by looking at the band’s legacy, where they went from here, and just how unlikely it was that System Of A Down became one of the biggest band of their generation without compromising their sound at all. 

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Classic Albums

CA19 Pixies – Doolittle (Part 2)

In part 2 of our Classic Album series on Pixies, Remfry delves into the 1989 sophomore album Doolittle. Released just 13 months after debut Surfer Rosa, Doolittle ushered in a clearer, cleaner production job by Gil Norton which lifted the songwriting of Black Francis to hitherto unknown heights. Debaser, Monkey Gone to Heaven, Here Comes Your Man, No.13 Baby, Hey, Gouge Away … the album is chock full of incredible classic songs and Doolittle was the record that married the extraordinary synthesis of bland and surrealism that was unique to Pixies.

Go to patreon.com/riotactpodcast and sign up for out £5 a month tier to get two exclusive classic albums every month. 

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Classic Albums

CA19 Pixies – Surfer Rosa (Part 1)

It’s Remfry’s pick for the Classic Albums series and we’re back to doubles due to lockdown, so Remfry’s decided to cover alt. rock Gods Pixies. The Boston indie legends recorded Surfer Rosa in November 1987, just 11 months after Black Francis and Joey Santiago dropped out of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to form the band. Bone Machine, River Euphrates, Gigantic and Where is my Mind? are all still beloved songs from the band’s back catalogue. Steve and Remfry dive into the making of the record and the band’s tumultuous relationship with producer Steve Albini. 

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Classic Albums

CA18 Beastie Boys – Ill Communication

For this week’s Classic Album Series podcast Steve and Remfry are joined by Good As Gold PR group’s Matt Hughes, PR to some of our very favourite bands and a Beastie Boys superfan to talk about the New York hip-hop legends 4th studio album Ill Communication.

We start by looking at the early years of the band, from the huge success of debut album License To Ill and then subsequent drop off that left the band searching for a new label and an entirely new approach to songwriting and a stark change in attitude. From the sample heavy masterpiece Paul’s Boutique in 1989, to the Beasties picking up their own instruments again for 1992’s Check Your Head, it all culminates in the production of Ill Communication, the most eclectic, diverse and confident album of their career. We look at the hip-hop scene in 1994, how the band were adopted by the rock press, and, of course, the stunning success of lead single Sabotage. We then look at what happened next, where the band went, discuss just what makes this album a classic and pay tribute to the late Adam Yauch, AKA MCA, who tragically passed away in 2012.

Go to patreon.com/riotactpodcast and sign up for out £5 a month tier to get two exclusive classic albums every month. 

Scroll down to check out Matt’s ‘Smells Like B Boy Spirit’ playlist…