Grand Slams

Grand Slams in Music & Opinions on Protomartyr

As baseball fans turn their attention to the World Series, Jim and Greg are eager to step up to the plate. They share their favorite examples of musical Grand Slams: four knockout albums in a row. Then they review the new record from Detroit post-punk band Protomartyr.

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Musical Grand Slams

With Chicago baseball trying to keep their heads up during this World Series, we thought we'd inject a little joyous noise into this baseball season. Jim and Greg team up with Len Kasper, TV voice of the Chicago Cubs, to pay homage to their version of a Grand Slam. We all know how this works in baseball (though sports-phobe Jim DeRogatis is still getting the hang of the rules). A batter hits a home run with bases loaded, sending four players to home plate. In music, Jim and Greg define a grand slam as four masterpiece albums in a row. Which artists have achieved this rarest of rock feats? Jim and Greg sit down to compare stats.

reviewThe Agent IntellectThe Agent Intellect available on iTunes

Protomartyr The Agent Intellect

Detroit post-punk band and former Sound Opinions guests Protomartyr earned a lot of notice for its second album Under Color of Official Right. It also placed high on Greg's Best of 2014 list. Now they've returned with a new record titled The Agent Intellect. Jim lauds vocalist Joe Casey's ability to write very smart yet moving lyrics, powerfully exploring his mother's battle with Alzheimer's. The band's musical approach, which reflects both the bleakness and the pride of contemporary Detroit, places them among the all-time great bands of the Motor City. Jim particularly points toward the propulsive yet sleek drumming of Alex Leonard. Greg agrees, saying that against expectations, Protomartyr improves with each album. Casey's lyrics fall in the literary tradition of a Nelson Algren or Charles Bukowski, but are filled with emotion rather than pretention. The band doesn't waste any notes, instead delivering precise jabs. Greg even goes so far as to call Protomartyr one of the“Great American Bands”who are resurrecting the entire art form. Both critics give The Agent Intellect an enthusiastic Buy It.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. Chance Halliday, Home Run, Slow … Boogie … Rockin', Collector, 2012
  2. Stevie Wonder, Jesus Children of America, Innervisions, Tamla, 1973
  3. Stevie Wonder, Living for the City, Innervisions, Tamla, 1973
  4. Led Zeppelin, When the Levee Breaks, Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV), Atlantic, 1971
  5. Led Zeppelin, Thank You, Led Zeppelin II, Atlantic, 1969
  6. Sleater-Kinney, Call the Doctor, Call the Doctor, Chainsaw Records, 1996
  7. Sleater-Kinney, All Hands on the Bad One, All Hands on the Bad One, Kill Rock Stars, 2000
  8. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out, Dig Me Out, Kill Rock Stars, 1997
  9. The Baseball Project, Past Time, Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails, Yep Rock, 2008
  10. Blur, Chemical World, Modern Life is Rubbish, Parlophone UK, 1993
  11. Blur, Song 2, Blur, Parlophone UK, 1998
  12. Blur, Tracy Jacks, Parklife, Food, 1994
  13. Kanye West, Jesus Walks, The College Dropout, Roc-A-Fella, 2004
  14. Kanye West, Heartless, 808s and Heartbreak, Roc-A-Fella, 2008
  15. Kanye West, Roses, Late Registration, Roc-A-Fella, 2005
  16. XTC, Dear God, Skylarking, Geffen, 1985
  17. XTC, Generals and Majors, Black Sea, Geffen, 1980
  18. Husker Du, Sorry Somehow, Candy Apple Grey, Warner Bros., 1986
  19. Husker Du, The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill, New Day Rising, SST, 1985
  20. The Velvet Underground, The Black Angel's Death Song, The Velvet Underground & Nico, Polydor, 1967
  21. The Velvet Underground, I Heard Her Call My Name, White Light/White Heat, Polydor, 1968
  22. Billy Bragg and Wilco, Joe DiMaggio Done It Again, Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2, Elektra, 2000
  23. Protomartyr, Ellen, The Agent Intellect, Hardly Art, 2015
  24. Protomartyr, The Devil in His Youth, The Agent Intellect, Hardly Art, 2015
  25. Count Basie and His Orchestra, Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?, Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball? (single), RCA Victor, 1949
  26. The Vaughan Brothers, Telephone Song, Family Style, Epic, 1990
  27. Brian Eno & David Byrne, The Jezebel Spirit, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Sire, 1981
  28. Dio, Holy Diver, Holy Diver, Warner Bros., 1983
  29. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Up Jumped the Devil, Tender Prey, Mute, 1988

Footnotes

steviewonder.net Stevie Wonder sleater-kinney.com Sleater-Kinney kanyewest.com Kanye West ledzeppelin.com Led Zeppelin blur.co.uk Blur protomartyrband.com Protomartyr soundopinions.org Protomartyr on Sound Opinions soundopinions.org Best Albums of 2014 chicagotribune.com Greg's“Agent Intellect”review chicagotribune.com Greg's Joe Casey interview