Daily Classic: The Prodigy “Breathe” (VIDEO)

This week’s Daily Classics are all about the UK electronic music revolution of 1995-1997 and today’s artist is The Prodigy and their #1 hit, Breathe.

The Prodigy have proved to be one of the most frustrating acts in the music industry over the last 10 or so years. After releasing their monster of an album, The Fat Of The Land, back in 1997, they went into hiding and have never really been able to top that album’s barrage of quality songs on any kind of consistent basis.

I remember when The Fat Of The Land first came out and thought that, from a visual perspective, The Prodigy reminded me of an electronic version of Marilyn Manson between the unsettling appearance of singer Keith Flint and their creeptastic music videos. But, in the end, the things that turned people off about The Prodigy are the things that drew me towards them. And nowhere was that more evident than in the video for their single Breathe.

Breathe encompassed everything that 1997 was about musically for me and looks like it may end up being the pinnacle of a career that may end with unfulliled promise in the eyes of the casual music fan. But, truth be told, I’ve been a big fan of the two albums they’ve released since The Fat Of The Land. However, like most Prodigy fans, I wish Keith Flint would come back as lead vocalist.

Check out their creepy video for Breathe below.


Daily Classic: Letters To Cleo ‘Here And Now’

This week Fred Hystere will be dedicating the entire week of Daily Classics to the women of the mid-90s Boston music scene and today’s artist is Letters To Cleo.

Kay Hanley was the lead singer of Letters To Cleo and her knack for writing killer pop-rock hooks is somewhat legendary these days, as she’s had lots of success scoring several well-known films. But it was her time with Letters To Cleo that was such a huge part of my early high school days. Listening to them always made me feel cool because they were always one of those bands that never really had a big hit, but enjoyed a huge cult following.

One of my fondest memories of Letters To Cleo was probably sometime in 1996 when my good friend, Jim Sykes (drummer for Brooklyn-based indie rockers, Grooms) and I were driving in my Peugeot station wagon to go hang out with some friends. He was home for winter break from college and was very aware of my Letters To Cleo obsession. So much so, that the first thing he said to be upon getting in my car (after not having seen me in months) was ‘NO Letters To Cleo!’ (So, naturally, I blasted their album for the entire car ride).

Here and Now was one of those songs that nobody knew the lyrics to, but (most people) loved, and it was a minor hit over at Modern Rock radio back in the mid-90s. The band would go on to release 2 more critically acclaimed albums before calling it quits in 1999. They really deserved a few hit songs, for sure..but something tells me that Kay is doing just fine while currently fronting her new band, Palmdale.

Check out the video for Here and Now and if you like it, purchase their last two albums ‘Wholesale Meats & Fish’, and ‘Go!’

*Side note: Out of the four Boston music-scene pioneers I’ve written about this week, three of them had hit songs on soundtracks: Juliana Hatfield ‘Spin The Bottle’ (from Reality Bites), Aimee Mann ‘That’s Just What You Are’ (from Melrose Place), and Letters To Cleo ‘Here And Now’ (from Melrose Place).



Daily Classic: Juliana Hatfield ‘Universal Heartbeat’

This week Fred Hystere will be dedicating the entire week of Daily Classics to the women of the mid-90s Boston music scene and today’s artist is alt-rock darling, Juliana Hatfield.

Juliana Hatfield is one of those artists that never really ended up getting the notoriety that she deserved. Along with Aimee Mann, the two of them pretty much ruled the roost when it came to Boston-based female artists in the 90s. However, out of the two of them, Juliana’s music probably was more likely than Aimee’s to have become a ‘hit’, specifically during that era.

While Aimee’s music tended to drift towards folk a little bit more, Juliana’s straddled the fence between modern rock/alternative rock and even grunge with her first 3 albums. But for all of the great songs Hatfield wrote, she was never able to write that one killer hook to propel her towards the stratospheres of fame that she should’ve enjoyed.

I could probably have chosen a few different songs of hers to use, but I decided to go against the no-brainer decision of posting Spin The Bottle (which many of you will remember from the Reality Bites Soundtrack). Instead, I’ve chosen Universal Heartbeat because I remember it being one of maybe about 10 songs that got so much airplay on my Walkman, that I had to repurchase the single (on tape) more than 3 times. The song and video was a favorite on 120 Minutes, and got consistent airplay on that show back in the day.

Take a look at the video below and if you like what you hear, purchase Gold Stars 1992-2002: The Juliana Hatfield Collection, and the following gorgeous collaborations between Aimee Mann and Juliana Hatfield: Deathly, You Could Make A Killing, and Amateur. Keep an eye out for a new album from Juliana Hatfield in 2011.



Juliana Hatfield – Universal Heartbeat by jesus_lizard

Daily Classic: Tracy Bonham ‘Mother Mother’

This week Fred Hystere will be dedicating the entire week of Daily Classics to the women of the mid-90s Boston music scene and today’s artist is violin-wielding goddess, Tracy Bonham.

Back in 1995, Tracy Bonham sort-of came out of nowhere with her #1 Modern Rock hit, Mother Mother, and it was all over MTV and even pop radio. The music video was reportedly shot using only one take and will be extremely memorable to those of you that were glued to MTV back in the mid-90s.

Mother Mother was the lead single off her Grammy nominated full-length debut album, The Burdens of Being Upright, which was a very much ‘of that time’ angst-filled barrage of alternative rock and violin madness. I loved that album and hoped that Tracy would really begin a career full of notoriety but, sadly, record labels never really promoted her as she should’ve been, and her star faded. (However she did have a few headlining gigs at Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair back in 1997).

Tracy still makes music and has released quite a few albums in the last 10 or so years, including 2010’s Masts of Manhatta. (Yes, that’s spelled correctly). But, it will always be her car-speaker-blowing hit, Mother Mother, for which she’ll be fondly remembered. Check out the video below.


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