This is a Random Album Generator.
One album a day.
From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

California

American Music Club

1988

California
Album Summary

California is the third studio album by American indie rock band American Music Club. It was released on November 10, 1988 on Frontier Records. The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In the album's article in the book, reviewer Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen, from Iceland's daily newspaper Morgunblaðið, describes the album as the band's "definitive statement."

Wikipedia

Rating

2.62

Votes

9587

Genres

  • Rock

Reviews

Like a review? Give it a thumb up to help us display relevant reviews!
Sort by: Top Date
View Author
Sun Apr 07 2024
3

I can't believe this needs to be said, but "this isn't on Spotify" isn't remotely a legitimate criticism of an album. Spotify is a cancer on music (even more so than the rest of the industry) and is for soccer moms and other "I like to have something on in the background" casuals. If you have such limited resources that your only place to listen to music is Spotify and YouTube ("o noes, there are ads, whatever will I do!??"), that's your problem. In fact, reviews that mention Spotify should be discarded outright. If that includes this review, then fine. OK now that we've gotten that out of the way, this is not a bad album. I'd never heard of it before; while it didn't really grab me, the songwriting is solid and it does anticipate, by a few years, one of the dominating radio sounds of the early 90s.

👍
View Author
Sat Oct 14 2023
3

3.2 - Most of us have had that one co-worker who's always inviting the office to see his band perform. He's a nice guy and does good work. So, finally, a group of you decide some Wednesday evening to go see him perform. The gig's fairly close to the office and it's on the early side so it's not such a huge commitment. Plus, what else are you going to do on a Wednesday night? After the show, you offer him hearty pats on the back. "Good work, man! Didn't know we had a rockstar in our midst," you quip as you wave goodbye.

👍
View Author
Sun Sep 03 2023
2

You can find this album on YouTube, but I don’t recommend you waste your time.

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 08 2024
5

If Bruce Springsteen wasnt for dads, but for alcoholic sad dads.

👍
View Author
Fri Aug 25 2023
5

underrated; should be on spotify

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 09 2023
4

This album was not on available on spotify.

👍
View Author
Mon Nov 06 2023
1

Harddd pass on this one. Another one of the "why is this album on the list" albums. Not sure what is redeemable about it. I guess it sounds sincere, but it doesnt sound good. I cant sing, and neither can the vocalist of the band.

👍
View Author
Mon Oct 02 2023
4

Never heard of American Music Club before, and that seems to be a mistake. California is a great showcase of songwriting and blending of americana, indie and post-punk with a great highlight in 'Pale and Skinny Girl'.

👍
View Author
Sat Jan 06 2024
5

I have listened to one song from American Music Club - a cover of The Carpenters’ Goodbye To Love that appeared on a tribute album in 1994. It was a fantastic cover that I have loved ever since. I never looked into the artist. What took me so long?! These guys are fantastic. I love the music. The steel guitar. The rock guitar. The acoustic guitar. The deep lead singer’s voice that cracks at all the right moments. The songcraft. Everything about this album is fantastic. It took a bit of effort to find somewhere to listen to this album. My first listen was to a YouTube playlist a friend found. I loved it so much that after that first listen, preparing to listen again, I decided to go use the Bandcamp link said friend provided and pay £10 + tax to be able to download MP3s to my Music app. A fantastic keeper! So many great songs, picking a favorite is tough. But Western Sky just keeps haunting me…

👍
View Author
Sat Jan 27 2024
5

Incredible album which sounds well ahead of its time (I'm starting to realise that my favourite 80s albums are ones that don't sound like they were released in the 80s). Seems like they've had far reaching and significant influence on everyone from Elbow to Brand New and Slint. Even a bit of REM (see Western Sky) but I suppose they lean more toward contemporaries. Strong blues attack mid album breakdown in Bad Liquor demonstrates solid range. Outstanding song writing goes without saying.

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 01 2024
5

This isn't on Spotify, so I had to buy it via Bandcamp (you can also listen to the album there): https://americanmusicclub1.bandcamp.com/album/california-digi-only-release And it was worth it! Reminds me of Radiohead and Talk Talk, and a little Elliot Smith. Digging those chord progressions.

👍
View Author
Mon Oct 02 2023
4

This came completely out of nowhere. Never even came close to hear about American Music Club. Beautiful, varied and never hiding even an ounce of emotion. This is not the last time, I have visited their discography.

👍
View Author
Tue Oct 10 2023
2

Not worth enduring the YouTube ads for.

👍
View Author
Thu Oct 19 2023
2

Feels extremely dated, like a band trying to play Toad The Wet Sprocket. I'd read a review suggesting this was like slowcore. It is not, and it it's Not for me.

👍
View Author
Tue Oct 10 2023
1

Couldnt listen on spotify found on you tube and fell off my chair... 30 minutes later when i came round youtube was playing a video about replacing a broken motor on a washing machine. Why? My washing machine was fine, washing better than ever, in that moment there with the warm dribble working its way down my chin i realised i was still on the floor. Moments later upright, alert I made my self a nice cup of tea and relaxed.

👍
View Author
Sat Aug 05 2023
5

AMC bring back so many memories. Western Sky is a perfect song. I don’t hear too many references to them any more, so I’m glad they’re represented here.

👍
View Author
Tue Aug 08 2023
4

"California" is the third studio album by San Francisco indie rock band American Music Club. This music is an early example of Americana and alt country combining rock, punk, folk and country. All songs were written by vocalist and guitarist Mark Eitzel. The album opens with "Firefly." Slide guitar. Easy rock and you definitely get that alt country vibe you'd hear a few years later. He's losing a girl as she slips through. "Somewhere" is more rockin.' A great vocal chorus and a searing guitar solo to end the song. Eitzel delivers more sad, lonely songs in "Blue and Grey Shirt" and "Western Sky." More slide and acoustic guitars with the music creating a yearning atmosphere. They change it up a bit and go pyschedelic in "Highway 5." At this point, they needed to open it up and they did with some hard feedback guitar closing the final minute. I knew some Neil Young would show up at some point. This is a really good album. A lot of songs build slowly. It reminded me a lot of the Red House Painters and Silver Jews in that respect with the slowcore approach to songs. Very earnest, heartfelt lyrics and music. Maybe, they were a few years ahead of the Americana curve. But, who knows if this would have ever gained a widespread audience. Anyway, an album most everyone, I think, would like to some extent.

👍
View Author
Sun Aug 20 2023
4

Their alt-rock is more obvious and less valuable than the song architecture that stretches, emerging from words unstately laconic. So the songs get big and slow. American Music Club marks a thin and gritty lane for the record, which falls apart in the middle to be reconstituted. Home state advantage does work in the retrospective.

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 30 2023
4

Couldn’t find this on streaming but it was easily available on YouTube If you’re looking for great songwriting, this album is a great example of it The slow and dense instrumentation also adds to the depressive atmosphere Favourite tracks: Laughingstock, Lonely, Pale and Skinny Girl, Western Sky, Highway 5

👍
View Author
Thu Aug 31 2023
4

Pretty solid americana adjacent music. Weird mix of 80s style vocals and more countrified vocals. Like this alot. Reminds me of Counting Crows.

👍
View Author
Mon Oct 02 2023
4

Hard to find, but I found most of it on YouTube. I had never heard of these guys, but this was a nice surprise. Really nice!

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 06 2023
4

This album sounds like a lot of other things (Elliot Smith comes to mind at certain points on the album because of the lead vocalist's voice), but it certainly doesn't sound like it came out in 1988. I would have put it at least 5 years later than that. I liked the album, but didn't love it, but it deserves a lot of credit for doing the folky alt-country thing much earlier than a lot of the other bands that ended up sounding like them in the decade after this 4/5

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 20 2023
4

Anachronistically evocative, this sure as sugar doesn’t sound like 1988. Slow/sadcore pioneers, eh? Maybe that’s why this sounds like the logical stepping stone between Husker Dū and Elliott Smith. Some of these tracks gave me goosebumps. That’s good, right? How have I never heard of them??

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 20 2023
4

It was difficult to hear all of it as it's not on any streaming services, which is a shame because this is one of those rare finds that I think I would like a lot. I might download it and listen properly.

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 10 2023
4

Spotify does not have this album, I hate that. Had to listen on Youtube which cut up the flow with stupid ads every so often. Despite that, I quite liked this album! It felt like a perfect blend of indie/alternative with little splashes of country and blues throughout. It did not feel like an album from 1988, that's for damn sure. This could have very well been released in 2010 or 2014 instead and it would have fit right in. They were either lightyears ahead of their time or genuine time travellers who decided to go back to the 80's to enjoy life again at a simpler time and just chill, making music. And if that's the case, please SHARE YOUR BACK TO THE 80'S TIME MACHINE WITH ME!!! I wanna go too.

👍
View Author
Sat Nov 11 2023
4

Un clàssic perdut entre les obres de culte del rock alternatiu nordamericà. Va ser publicat al 1988, però no pot sonar menys associat al seu contexte. De fet, sona totalment atemporal, una petita joia a conservar fruit del geni de Mark Eitzel, probablement en un moment personal força obscur, però a la vegada en el seu moment artístic més brillant

👍
View Author
Sat Nov 18 2023
4

This one is really special, I can feel that It's bot on spotify sadly, but it is at least a strong 4

👍
View Author
Sun Dec 03 2023
4

This album wasn't on Apple Music which is a shame. I did find it on YouTube music but it was a fan playlist. I did really like this album and wished I could find it easier.

👍
View Author
Sun Dec 10 2023
4

This album was great but oh my god it was so annoying to find

👍
View Author
Wed Dec 13 2023
4

Reminds me of the Trashcan Sinatras. This isn't a bad thing.

👍
View Author
Mon Dec 18 2023
4

Genre: Indie rock, slow-core Americana 1988 Standouts: Jenny, Laughingstock, Pale Skinny Girl, Firefly, Somewhere, Blue and Grey Shirt, Now You're Defeated Really need to hear more of this! 3.5

👍
View Author
Wed Dec 27 2023
4

Solid indie-rock from Mark Eitzel and his band. An easy listen that is straightforward and low key, though not terribly exciting, has some fine moments with above average songwriting. This style of music isn't something I would normally rate high, but it's so much more satisfying that a majority of the albums that made this list. Nice to see it recognized.

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 04 2024
4

Beautiful in many different ways. Definitely a slow burn, but satisfying when you warm up to it

👍
View Author
Sun Jan 14 2024
4

Sadly not on the streams where I am (at least not any more). AMC feel like a band that time forgot. They're so good, but never got their due credit. First time listening to this album and it's really good.

👍
View Author
Tue Jan 23 2024
4

Not on Spotify, had to find on YouTube.

👍
View Author
Sun Jan 28 2024
4

Good enough that I should have heard of it before, but never heard of them before.... 5/5: Blue & Grey Shirt, Jenny, 4/5: Firefly, Somewhere, Laughingstock, Lonely, Pale Skinny Girl, Now You're Defeated, Rating: 4/5

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 01 2024
4

It was hard to track this one down -- it's not on Spotify so I ended up streaming it from random YouTube uploads, not exactly the best way to listen to something new. I was impressed! I liked the tunes, found them reminiscent of Wilco, and then looked at the year, and wowzers, this was way ahead of its time. Definitely a great inclusion on the 1001 and a band I'm going to have to check out more thoroughly.

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 22 2024
4

Couldn't load on spotify, but listened to it on youtube and thoroughly liked it

👍
View Author
Mon Mar 04 2024
4

being hard to get made it better?

👍
View Author
Sat Apr 06 2024
4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Lonely, Jenny

👍
View Author
Thu Apr 11 2024
4

I had no idea what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

👍
View Author
Wed May 01 2024
4

I liked this album. Good early-mid 90's softer type rock. The guitar strum is so recognizable to the era along with the intentional lyrics that speak of times and people gone by. Best song is Western Sky. Honorable Mention: Jenny

👍
View Author
Sun May 05 2024
4

Enjoyed this one a lot, I'm a sucker for folky Americana and pedal steel guitars.

👍
View Author
Wed May 22 2024
4

I like the lyrical themes, and kind of like the overall sound as well, but I just find the playing and singing style a bit boring and repetitive for my taste. I like more variation within the form of a song. A few songs, like Highway 5, do have a bit more going on instrumentally, if not in form. I was going to give this a 3, but I liked the last few songs, and I have a feeling it might grow on me and work well if I'm in a bit more of a laidback, meditative mood, so I'll bump it up to a 4.

👍
View Author
Mon Aug 07 2023
3

Full thing wasn't on Spotify, managed to find 4-5 songs on YouTube. Sounded pretty good, nice cruisy vibe. Vaguely Mark Lanegan sounding. 3/5 bc I couldn't hear the whole thing.

👍
View Author
Tue Aug 08 2023
3

average length. average album 2.5

👍
View Author
Tue Aug 08 2023
3

The most average album I’ve heard here. The only song I actually disliked was Bad Liquor. The first and last song I’d say are the best. Xtra half star for not being terrible.

👍
View Author
Fri Aug 11 2023
3

A pretty diverse indie offering that was nice to listen to while it was on but was ultimately quite forgettable

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 16 2023
3

Modt of the album was extremely nothing, even starting to get annoying and bad near the 75% mark, but the last four songs were all really nice and bleak yet beautiful. Nothing crazy good, but earns a three for its troubles.

👍
View Author
Mon Aug 21 2023
3

This album was hard to find. I was able to stream it on Bandcamp. So, not off to a great start, but hey, streaming this album is technically free, which is nice. To be honest, this album wasn't all that bad. I'm not a huge country music fan, and this is not country at all, but the steel pedal guitar added an extra layer of complexity. Was neat to hear that instrument in a non-country atmosphere. Other than that, the album wasn't all that original and at points I was a little bored, but there are WAY worse albums in this book than this. Lyrics are actually very very good, but the average music, combined with a good, but forgettable voice, leads to an album that is lost to obscurity. Probably forgotten to time if not included in this list. Fun fact, the lead singer was at some point in a band called "Toiling Midgets", so at least he has that going for him. 2.5, but rounding up to 3 because of quality, poetic lyrics.

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 23 2023
3

It's not on Spotify so i''m not gonna listen to it. It's probably a 3 tho

👍
View Author
Mon Aug 28 2023
3

Never heard of these guys. A pretty okay slice of 80s indie, some nice vocals, pretty sounds. If you'd told me they were a MOR Aussie act from the time, I'd have believed you (excepting the band and album names)

👍
View Author
Mon Aug 28 2023
3

Another 1001 I'd never heard of and probably wouldn't have otherwise.

👍
View Author
Mon Sep 04 2023
3

A nice enough listen on a Sunday morning after Psychfest but I wasn't that upset it's not on Spotify because I probably won't listen again. Nothing stood out particularly, maybe the grey and blue shirt.

👍
View Author
Wed Sep 06 2023
3

It was okay. With the first few songs I thought it would be another same country album. But it wasn't. It's chill.

👍
View Author
Sat Sep 09 2023
3

I really liked the songwriting, but only a couple of the songs really grabbed me. Best track: Firefly

👍
View Author
Tue Sep 12 2023
3

Massa mas nada pra ligar pra mae contar. Tive que ouvir no YT porque provavelmente eles tem birra com Spotify

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 14 2023
3

I'd never heard of this band before. Amateur-esque roots rock only available on YouTube via user-submitted playlists. I don't mind a bit of roots/Americana style but this album was just kind of meh. I did like "Bad Liquor" which was a clear departure from the rest of the album.

👍
View Author
Tue Sep 19 2023
3

Pretty good stuff maynard. 3 stars.

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 21 2023
3

Je ne pouvais pas rêver pire pour mon retour de vacances

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 21 2023
3

Robert nous offre un festival de chialeurs en ce moment, il va très certainement mal mais tant pis pour lui.

👍
View Author
Tue Oct 10 2023
3

не всё поняла (особенно слушая с ютуба), но вроде норм

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 11 2023
3

Some guy told me to not bother listening to it.

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 11 2023
3

Tears for fears gone country? For track one at least. Very interesting, not sure how i feel.

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 11 2023
3

I guess the lyrics on this are supposed to be good? How come the only person with anything to say about this album is an Icelandic dude? 5/10

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 11 2023
3

5/10. If this list doesn't have enough Neil Young for you, don't worry, this is basically the same thing with a different singer.

👍
View Author
Thu Oct 12 2023
3

Ni una sola de las canciones disponible en Spotify

👍
View Author
Tue Oct 17 2023
3

Ok but unremarkable alt country rock. Tried many times to get into it but it just slips away like sand in the desert…

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 18 2023
3

pretty! minus one star for being hard to get on spotify so... 3?

👍
View Author
Sun Oct 22 2023
3

A lovely indie record. Sounds like lots of other things. A little bit country, a little bit folky, a little bit The Smiths, a little bit The National. Really nice. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Western Sky Date listened: 21/10/23

👍
View Author
Tue Oct 24 2023
3

C'est assez Atmosphérique. J'ai des vibes the rock alternatif. 3.5

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 25 2023
3

This is not bad and representative of a particular movement. Dimery must have had an off day. It’s not the best Americana but far from the worst. It’s just sort of there. I’d rather listen to Steve Earle or Lyle Lovatt or even Fleet foxes. But in a pinch this is ok. 2.5 rounded up.

👍
View Author
Thu Oct 26 2023
3

Not available on Spotify, so rated on expectation only.

👍
View Author
Thu Oct 26 2023
3

I’m to understand this is a master stroke in indie rock but for me it’s simply another piece of the genre. There are some good songs here but nothing truly blew me away. It’s good indie rock just not revolutionary.

👍
View Author
Thu Oct 26 2023
3

There are 1000 bands that sound just like this

👍
View Author
Sun Oct 29 2023
3

Ok, wasn't on Canadian Spotify so had to youtibe

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 08 2023
3

Perfectly serviceable countrified alt-rock with occasional glimmers of psychedelia, yacht, what have you. Not sure it stands out particularly.

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 08 2023
3

It's pretty good. There's nothing I can point out not to like about it, but for some reason it didn't connect with me that much. Something about his voice - it just kind of drifts past me without making much of an impact. I could see growing to like this, maybe just need to listen some more, but for now it's 3 stars.

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 10 2023
3

I'm a little uncertain whether or not I heard the whole album on YouTube, but what I heard was melodic and pretty characteristic of a classic Indie album. Small production, not a lot of frills. Lyric heavy and harmonious.

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 10 2023
3

Да неплохо. Не потрясает воображение, некоторые песни даже чуть раздражают, но в остальном слушать было приятно. Спокойно.

👍
View Author
Mon Nov 13 2023
3

Pleasant Americana - but not much more than that for me.

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 15 2023
3

3/5 I liked the range of the different styles.

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 17 2023
3

Just some dudes in a band singing some songs.

👍
View Author
Sun Nov 19 2023
3

Once again, took a long time to finish the album via youtube and it not be all together stellar. its ok for me.

👍
View Author
Tue Nov 21 2023
3

I listened once and decided I wouldn’t listen again, however, I relented and did give it another go and is was better than I thought, 3*

👍
View Author
Mon Nov 27 2023
3

Ik kende dit nog niet en vond het erg aardig.

👍
View Author
Mon Nov 27 2023
3

Hier had ik nog nooit van gehoord maar beviel me heel aardig. Flinke Lemonheads vibe, zelfs qua stemgeluid. Ga nog eens wat meer van deze band luisteren.

👍
Load more reviews