Categories
Classic Albums

CA44 Pearl Jam – Vitalogy (Part 2)

It’s part two of our mammoth deep-dive into the career of Pearl Jam and Remfry’s taking no prisoners, delivering the longest single episode we’ve ever recorded for our Classic Album series. But hey … how often do you get to wax lyrical on your favourite band of all time eh?

Recorded during the most tumultuous part of the band’s career, Vitalogy was a dynamic and sometimes disturbing reflection of a band on the brink of self-destruction. Their reluctant, meteoric rise had forced the band to withdraw from the typical major label promotion machine, despite the music press often dragging them kicking and screaming back into the spotlight. Whilst Vs. marked the beginning of this process (see Part 1), Vitalogy was the antagonistic culmination, a middle-finger to the hysteria and hyperbole that followed them no matter how opposed they were to it.

Pearl Jam faced a myriad of arduous challenges during this time; intra-band relations were strained, particularly with drummer Dave Abbruzzese, who was fired just prior to the release of the record. Guitarist Mike McCready was struggling with addiction, entering a rehab facility during recording sessions and bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard represented the band when the US Justice Department asked for their assistance in an investigation against Ticketmaster. Vocalist Eddie Vedder meanwhile, was desperately trying to shake off the unwanted ‘voice of a generation’ tag that he’d been saddled with, particularly in the wake of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s death. The largely fabricated media feud between the two bands meant that the two frontmen never got to bond in a truly meaningful way, despite their similarities, something that was a source of deep frustration to the empathetic Pearl Jam singer.

As a result, Vitalogy contained some of the most antagonistic material of their career (Not For You, Bugs, Satan’s Bed, Hey Foxymophandlemama That’s Me) but also some of the most enduring and beloved songs in their back catalogue (Nothingman, Corduroy, Better Man, Immortality). Imperfect by design, Vitalogy delighted in testing the bands fanbase and divided opinion like no other Pearl Jam album before or since. Whatever people think of Vitalogynow or then, it’s undoubtedly the most important record in the Pearl Jam canon, allowing them to break free of the shackles of ‘grunge’ (a tag that never really suited them in the first place) and become the band they were always destined to be.

Available over at patreon.com/riotactpodcast

Categories
Classic Albums

CA44 Pearl Jam – Vs. (Part 1)

Given the fact that we subtly named our podcast after one of their albums, it was inevitable that we’d be covering Pearl Jam one day on our Classic Albums strand at some point. In the first of two parts, we cover Vs., the band’s incendiary sophomore album released October 19th 1993.

The runaway success of debut album Ten had thrust Pearl Jam into the spotlight and a level of scrutiny that they were entirely uncomfortable with, particularly frontman Eddie Vedder, who was now being widely identified (alongside Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain) as ‘the voice of a generation’. A largely unsympathetic music press couldn’t understand why sudden mega-stardom was such a chore, with some even hypothesizing that the band’s unorthodox approach to self-promotion (no music videos, no pre-release single) was a calculated move.

Calculated or not, the anti-promotion stance didn’t work – Vs. broke records upon its release selling 950,378 in its first 5 days of release. But Vs. was a record in stark contrast to the classic rock stylings of Ten, capturing the sound of a band on fire and raging against the injustices they saw around them. Songs like Go, Animal, Blood and Leash were ferocious and untamed whilst Vedder’s deeply sympathetic worldview was captured to perfection on the likes of Daughter, written from the perspective of a girl with learning disabilities whose mother was unsympathetic to her condition, and W.M.A, a tortured scree against police racism inspired by an incident that occurred outside the recording studio.

Pearl Jam ramped up the alienation even more for the follow-up Vitalogy, which we will cover in great detail in part two…

Available over at patreon.com/riotactpodcast

Daughter / It’s Ok – Touring Band 2000
https://youtu.be/uNKnFmIIh2k

Categories
Riot Act

86 – Bach Break-core

Remfry and Steve’s enforced bout of self-isolation means that the podcast is being recorded remotely for the first time in Riot Act’s almost two year history … the boys give you the skinny on the latest releases by Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Milk Teeth, Igorrr and Irist all the while grappling with 21st century communication technology. And this week’s Broken Record comes courtesy of Lou Reed’s regular ‘worst album ever’ poll mainstay Metal Machine Music from 1975 

Categories
Riot Act

01 – Romantic Caravans and the 12 Unsung Heroes of 2018

After kicking Riot Act off in style with a podcast filled with some of the biggest names in music in episode 00, this week we cast our net into the furthest reaches of the musical landscape to bring you a dozen of 2018’s most exciting yet unheralded acts. There’s everything from gritty, earnest Americana to mind bogglingly savage tech-metal, and everything in between.

We also chat about our escapades over the last month. We both went to see Pearl Jam, Remfry went to see Palm Reader and Stephen went to a caravan for a few days with his wife. There’s probably a bit too much chat on that if we’re honest…

Categories
Riot Act

00 – The Venn Diagram of Riot Act Music

Welcome to Riot Act. A brand new podcast for fans of alternative music hosted by Stephen Hill and Remfry Dedman. In this four hour plus opening episode we go through numerous sub-genres, from prog rock to hardcore punk and everything in-between, to compile the ultimate guide to alternative music.

If you love passionate, in depth music chat, bizarre sperm metaphors, and podcasts being interrupted by cats then this might just be your new favourite thing on the internet!