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Alternative & Indie - Released July 26, 2019 | Soundgarden - Artists Den

Soundgarden as if you were in the front row. That's the promise for this 2013 live performance, recorded at the Wiltern, L.A for the TV show "Live From The Artist's Den". Over two hours of music during which Chris Cornell and his band played the best of their three-decade discoraphy: from Ultramega OK, their first record from October 1988, to King Animal, which would be their last before Cornell's tragic suicide in 2017. The singer/rhythm guitarist from Seattle threw in a few jokes and anecdotes between songs, most notably for the first live performance of Blind Dogs in the history of the band. Live at the Artist's den sees him at the top of his vocal form, navigating his extensive four-octave range with ease. On Incessant Mace, the dark and foreboding opener, he is mercurial and detached, and on other tracks such as the elephantesque sludge of Slaves & Bulldozers he lets rip some of the most impressive high notes in the history of rock. A five star performance from one end to the other, this record is without a doubt Soundgarden's best live performance to have been captured on tape. It's a mythical performance, and a mythical band as well. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 19, 2018 | Sub Pop Records

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The best expression of Soundgarden's early, Stooges/MC5-meets-Zeppelin/Sabbath sound, Ultramega OK is a dark, murky, buzzing record that simultaneously subverts and pays tribute to heavy metal. At times, the band and its recasting of over-the-top '70s hard rock seem smirky (Hiro Yamamoto's ridiculous vocal on "Circle of Power"; a "cover" of John Lennon's "One Minute of Silence"); a few, like the cover of "Smokestack Lightning," really do sink into turgid metal silliness. But the best moments are startling fusions of classic metal, punk rock, and psychedelia of the fuzz guitar variety, plus the local flavor of Green River and the Melvins. The difference is, Soundgarden are better songwriters, and their feel for memorable riffs and hooks lend greater power to both the rockers and the creepy, dirge-like slow numbers. It's a shame the album as a whole isn't more fully realized, because when separated out from the filler, the numerous highlights show why Soundgarden had such an enormous impact on the development of grunge. It may not be quite as complex or consistent as some of Soundgarden's later albums, but Ultramega OK is easily the best document of grunge's early, pre-Nirvana days. ~ Steve Huey
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 19, 2018 | Sub Pop Records

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Rock - Released October 8, 1991 | A&M

Bidding for a popular breakthrough with their second major-label album, Soundgarden suddenly developed a sense of craft, with the result that Badmotorfinger became far and away their most fully realized album to that point. Pretty much everything about Badmotorfinger is a step up from its predecessors -- the production is sharper and the music more ambitious, while the songwriting takes a quantum leap in focus and consistency. In so doing, the band abolishes the murky meandering that had often plagued them in the past, turning in a lean, muscular set that signaled their arrival in rock's big leagues. Conventional wisdom has it that despite platinum sales, Badmotorfinger got lost amid the blockbuster success of Nevermind and Ten (all were released around the same time). But the fact is that, though they're all great records, Badmotorfinger is much less accessible by comparison. Not that it isn't melodic, but it also sounds twisted and gnarled, full of dissonant riffing, impossible time signatures, howling textural solos, and weird, droning tonalities. It's surprisingly cerebral and arty music for a band courting mainstream metal audiences, but it attacks with scientific precision. Part of that is due to the presence of new bassist Ben Shepherd, who gives the band its thickest rhythmic foundation yet -- and, moreover, immediately shoulders the departed Hiro Yamamoto's share of songwriting duties. But it's apparent that the whole band has greatly expanded the scope of its ambitions. And Badmotorfinger fulfills them, pulling all the different threads of the band's sound together into a mature, confident, well-written record. This is heavy, challenging hard rock full of intellectual sensibility and complex band interplay. And with their next album, Soundgarden would learn how to make it fully accessible to mainstream audiences as well. ~ Steve Huey
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Rock - Released November 18, 2016 | Geffen

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Rock - Released May 21, 1996 | A&M

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Rock - Released September 5, 1989 | A&M

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Rock - Released May 21, 1996 | A&M

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Superunknown was a breakthrough in many ways. Not only did the album bring Soundgarden a new audience, it dramatically expanded their vision, as well as their accomplishments. If Down on the Upside initially seems a retreat from the grand, layered textures of Superunknown, let it sink in. The sound of Down on the Upside is certainly more immediate, but the band hasn't returned to the monstrous, unfocused wailing of Louder Than Love. Instead, they've retained their ambitious song structures, neo-psychedelic guitar textures, and winding melodies but haven't dressed them up with detailed production. Consequently, Down on the Upside is visceral as well as cerebral -- "Rhinosaur" goes for the gut, while "Pretty Noose" is updated, muscular prog rock. Down on the Upside is a deceptive album -- it might seem like nothing more than heavy metal, but a closer listen reveals that Soundgarden haven't tempered their ambitions at all. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released September 5, 1989 | A&M

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Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Geffen

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Rock - Released October 21, 2016 | Soundgarden

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Rock - Released October 7, 2016 | Geffen

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Punk / New Wave - Released September 13, 2016 | Hobo

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Electronic - Released August 8, 2016 | A&M Records

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Miscellaneous - Released | Coqueiro Verde Records

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House - Released May 25, 2015 | Get Futuristic

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Rap - Released May 23, 2015 | Trap Gold Records

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Rock - Released May 18, 2015 | FM In Concert

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Rock - Released November 24, 2014 | Geffen

Mere months after Superunknown received an extravagant super deluxe box came Echo of Miles: Scattered Across the Path, a triple-disc collection of rarities from Soundgarden's prime. Divided into three thematic sets -- "Originals," containing stray songs and B-sides; "Covers," including B-sides, Peel Sessions, various live performances, and, strangely, things that popped up on Ultramega OK, and "Oddities," which contains more B-sides, remixes, and previously unreleased cuts -- Echo of Miles nevertheless plays like a clearinghouse, where it's imperative that the listener sorts out the gems from the dross. It is worth taking time to find the keepers, many of which do arrive on the first disc where the band not only indulge in thick, crawling sludge but don't hide their perverse sense of humor, a trait they often suppressed on their full-length records. That's one of the nice things about Echo of Miles: like many rarities collections, it gets to the heart of the group's character through its mess, through how it sets their impishness alongside their muscle. Originals is the best of the batch, particularly in how it illustrates their growth from malicious underground rockers into arena titans, but Covers has many of the same strengths: this is a band that pummeled funk into a paste ("Thank You [Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin]), tapped into the Satanic strut of the Stones' "Stray Cat Blues," tightened up "Search and Destroy," and then played "Big Bottom" and "Earache My Eye" without a smirk. If Oddities slows a bit -- the remixes in the back half meander and a lot of the earlier cuts are either instrumental or unformed (or sometimes both) -- the ragged ends nevertheless capture the restlessness that made Soundgarden a continually fascinating band. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released November 24, 2014 | Geffen

Mere months after Superunknown received an extravagant, super deluxe box came Echo of Miles: Scattered Across the Path, a triple-disc collection of rarities from Soundgarden's prime. Divided into three thematic sets -- "Originals," containing stray songs and B-sides; "Covers," including B-sides, Peel Sessions, various live performances, and, strangely, things that popped up on Ultramega OK, and "Oddities," which contains more B-sides, remixes, and previously unreleased cuts -- Echo of Miles nevertheless plays like a clearinghouse, where it's imperative for the listener to sort out the gems from the dross. It is worth taking time to find the keepers, many of which do arrive on the first disc where the band not only indulge in thick, crawling sludge but don't hide their perverse sense of humor, a trait they often suppressed on their full-length records. That's one of the nice things about Echo of Miles: like many rarities collections, it gets to the heart of the group's character through its mess, through how it sets their impishness alongside their muscle. Originals is the best of the batch, particularly in how it illustrates their growth from malicious underground rockers into arena titans, and it contains such highlights as "Heretic" and "Birth Ritual," their contribution to the Singles soundtrack. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine