Sunday, 13 August 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews Aug 2017 - Summer Vacation Edition


THE AMERICANS – I’ll Be Yours
Spiritual children of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the original roots rock/americana band. (7)

ARCADE FIRE – Everything Now

Transition from overrated indie rock brats to bad disco clowns successfully completed. (5)

DALE CROVER – The Fickle Finger Of Fate

Melvins drummer on solo album has some fun experimenting and fooling around in the studio. Non-essential. (6)

DEAD CROSS – Dead Cross

Dave Lombardo and Mike Patton play hardcore. What more do you need to know? (8)

DREAM MACHINE – The Illusion

Great occult/psych-rock revivalist album, organ-driven, sounds like an Iron Butterfly/Atomic Rooster/Doors/Electric Prunes hybrid. But they make a big fuss about tuning to A=432hz instead of A=440hz so they should cut the pretentious crap. (8)

ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN – The Killing Moon: The Singles 1980-1990

Hated them since I was a teen.  Decided to give them another chance now that I’m older, wiser and with a wider music taste palette. Still hate them. (-)

GEORGE THOROGOOD – Party Of One

Solo, mostly acoustic blues record. I prefer him when he’s rockin’ backed by the Destroyers. (7)

HACRIDE – Chapter I: Inconsolabilis

Solid EP by underrated French band, Gojira contemporaries who have also moved way beyond their death metal/Meshuggah roots. Fun fact: Half the band are touring members of Carpenter Brut. (8)

HARD WORKING AMERICANS – We’re All In This Together

Not to be confused with The Americans (see above) but, yeah, spiritual children of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the original jam band. This is a live album, if you liked last year’s “Rest In Chaos” then you should definitely check this out. (7)

LANA DEL REY – Lust For Life

Now that everyone has realized Lana Del Rey is just a persona/character like Alice Cooper, can we all agree that Lizzy Grant writes pretty decent pop songs and releases great singles? Too bad about the album filler though – like her previous works, “Lust For Life” would greatly benefit from being 3-4 songs shorter. (7)

MARGO PRICE – Weakness EP

Jack White-endorsed country singer-songwriter drops surprise EP. Good stuff, firmly in the Loretta/Dolly vein. (8)

MELVINS – A Walk With Love & Death

If you’re not already a Melvins fan then don’t bother with this one. If you are a fan then you know the only real surprise on a Melvins album is who’s playing bass, and this time it’s Steven McDonald from Redd Kross. This is a 2-disc set, album 1 (“Death”) sounds like a Melvins album, album 2 (“Love”) is the soundtrack to an experimental film directed by Jesse Nieminen and it sounds like the soundtrack to an experimental film (i.e. pretty much unlistenable). (7 Death/4 Love)

NINE INCH NAILS – Add Violence

This EP features Reznor’s most “commercial”/accessible material in ages, except when it features his noisiest. (8)

RANDY NEWMAN – Dark Matter

If you only know Newman’s music from the Pixar movies he scores then you’re missing out on a great, weird songwriter and a master of irony and satire who can also pull your heartstrings: Before you’ve stopped LOLing over a song like “Putin”, here comes another one like “Wondering Boy” to make you cry. (8)

SHABAZZ PALACES – Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star / Quazarz Vs. The Jealous Machines

Is this art-rap? Is it prog-hop? Dunno how to label them, but they definitely sound like no one else on their two new albums released simultaneously. (7)

SHEER MAG – Need To Feel Your Love

Thin Lizzy-influenced classic hard rock with lo-fi production and hi-fi ambitions. What I don’t get is why everyone talks about Tina Halladay’s voice, this reviewer finds her delivery rather grating. (6)

STEVEN WILSON – To The Bone

The vibe of this one goes back to the more commercial, “Stupid Dream”/”Lightbulb Sun” Porcupine Tree era (1999-2000), and that’s fine. (7)

THIS IS THE KIT – Moonshine Freeze

Interesting song structures, charming melodies and rich instrumentation make for a delightful little pop-folk record. (8)

TOM JONES – Live On Soundstage

CD/DVD package from a recent show in Chicago, featuring special guest Alison Krauss. A mix of tracks from his 3 excellent most recent albums and re-imagined older classic hits, with the psychedelic latin-rock version of “Delilah” an obvious highlight. (9)

TYLER CHILDERS – Purgatory

Sturgill Simpson protégé but more traditional-sounding, this is pure old-school country music with the exception of “Universal Sound”, the closest Childers gets to Simpson’s cosmic meditations and coincidentally (?) the album’s best track. (7)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Late Night Tales: BADBADNOTGOOD

In case you’re not familiar with the concept – “Late Night Tales” is a series of artist-curated compilations, with curators being asked to put together the ultimate late night mix. BADBADNOTGOOD do a decent job but this is not as great as the Cinematic Orchestra and Nils Frahm ones. (7)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Soul of a Nation: Afro-Centric Visions in the Age of Black Power (Underground Jazz, Street Funk & the Roots of Rap 1968-79)

Of course this compilation opens with Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and includes mind-blowing tracks by Roy Ayers Ubiquity, Oneness Of Juju etc., but it’s certainly incomplete without The Last Poets. Great stuff anyway. (8)

Monday, 3 July 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, July 2017


ARCADEA – Arcadea
Mastodon’s Brann Dailor on drums and vocals plus two guys playing synthesizers. No guitars, no bass, yet this is METAL. Dailor goes crazy here, this is his best drum performance since “Blood Mountain”. (7)

CIRCLE – Terminal

Mad Finnish kraut-psych-heavyrockers release their 52nd (!) album and it’s a glorious mess that sounds like their previous 51 albums all played simultaneously. (8)

DANIEL O’SULLIVAN – Veld

O’Sullivan is definitely someone to follow – either with his own bands (Grumbling Fur, Mothlite) or his collaborations (SunnO))), Ulver) he always creates some otherworldly sounds. This solo album is pastoral yet abstract, experimental but pop in an Eno-y kind of way. (7)

EX EYE – Ex Eye

Avant-garde saxophonist Colin Stetson goes METAL, puts together awesome band featuring Greg Fox from Liturgy on drums, blows you away. (8)

FIVE HORSE JOHNSON – Jake Leg Boogie

As I’ve said before listening to Five Horse Johnson makes me want to give up everything, buy a blues harp, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a cheap second-hand black suit, move to the Arizona desert and start a band singing Steppenwolf, Black Oak Arkansas and Dr. Feelgood covers in the only bar within a 100-mile radius (sawdust on the floor, only draught beer, WC without any toilet paper, redneck clientele always ready for a good fight). (8)

FLOGGING MOLLY – Life Is Good

Just like their East Coast Celtic punk counterparts the Dropkick Murphys it’s impossible not to like Flogging Molly, even when they tone it down a notch. (7)

HERE LIES MAN – Here Lies Man

Marcos Garcia from Antibalas put together this band to address the question “what if Black Sabbath played afrobeat?” Judging from the results I guess the answer would be “Funkadelic”. (7)

IFRIQIYYA ELECTRIQUE – Ruwahine

Tunisian ritual music supercharged with distorted guitars and industrial noise, this is basically Sufi trance music on steroids. (8)

JESSICA HERNANDEZ & THE DELTAS – Telephone/Telefono

Hernandez, a tough broad from Detroit’s Hispanic ghetto, releases her sophomore album in two different versions, an English one and a Spanish one. A highly danceable rock/latin/soul/new wave brew featuring eclectic guest friends like Phil Durr (Big Chief, Five Horse Johnson). (7)

LEE BAINS III & THE GLORY FIRES – Youth Detention

They label themselves “pure Alabama rock ‘n’ roll”, apparently what this means is that they add the Who’s class, the Rolling Stones’ swagger and Husker Du’s sense of urgency/melody to a swampy southern rock/garage/soul brew. I’m in love. (9)

LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS – After You’ve Gone

J.D. Wilkes & gang return with another slice of rockabilly/southern gothic/carnival music/swamp rock madness. (7)

RADIOHEAD – Ok Computer Oknotok 1997-2017

Not a lot to be said about the anniversary reissue of what is arguably the best album since 1997, perhaps even since 1977. We just have to note that this edition includes three (good!) unreleased tracks and eight b-sides. (10)

ROCQAWALI – Sufi Spirit
Based in Denmark but with members of Pakistani and Iranian origin Rocqawali blend, well, rock and qawali (Sufi devotional music from Asia, made internationally known by the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) and they’re battling it out with Ifriqyya Electrique for world music album of the month. (8)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Glory Days Of Aussie Pub Rock Vol. 2
Second part of an excellent compilation, a must-buy for everyone interested in Australian rock ‘n’ roll beyond AC/DC. 4 CDs, 90 tracks -  Cold Chisel, The Angels, Divinyls, Split Enz, Rose Tattoo, Baby Animals, Screaming Jets, Noiseworks, The Saints, Church, Hoodoo Gurus, Bon Scott’s Fraternity, Little River Band, Men At Work etc. etc. (8)

Saturday, 1 July 2017

It Ain't What You Do (It's How You Do It)

Τον περασμένο Απρίλιο όταν πέθανε ο J. Geils δεν έγραψα κάτι - αφενός έπηζα εκείνες τις μέρες και δεν είχα χρόνο, αφετέρου τα έχει ήδη γράψει όλα για τους J. Geils Band ο Nick Hornby στο "31 Songs", αφετρίτου με είχε κυριεύσει μια παγωμάρα γιατί η συγκεκριμένη μπάντα πάντα είχε μια ξεχωριστή θέση στην καρδιά μου.

Διαβάζω τώρα όμως στο περιοδικό Classic Rock συνέντευξη των Aerosmith -των Aerosmith, οι οποίοι έχουν πουλήσει πάνω από 200 εκατομμύρια δίσκους στην καριέρα τους- και ο Joe Perry αναφέρεται στους J. Geils χωρίς να ερωτηθεί όχι μία, αλλά δύο φορές: Μία για να πει ότι αποτέλεσαν την έμπνευσή του για να γίνει μουσικός όταν τους είδε live ως έφηβος, και μία για να εξηγήσει τη μακροημέρευση των Aerosmith λέγοντας "νομίζω πως, επειδή είμαστε από τη Βοστώνη, ήμασταν μονίμως στη σκιά των J. Geils κι έτσι πάντα προσπαθούσαμε να αποδείξουμε την αξία μας, και αυτό το μάθημα ζωής μας ακολουθεί ως σήμερα."


Υποψιάζομαι ότι η συνέντευξη έλαβε χώρα μερικές μέρες μετά το θάνατο του Geils και γι' αυτό οι J. Geils Band ήταν top of mind για τον Perry -67 ετών, μη ξεχνιόμαστε- αυτό όμως δε μειώνει στο ελάχιστο το γεγονός ότι επρόκειτο για μια από τις κορυφαίες μπάντες της γενιάς τους και σίγουρα η καλύτερη μπάντα που έβγαλε ποτέ η Βοστώνη.


Τι ήταν όμως αυτό που τους έκανε τόσο σπουδαίους; Οι περισσότεροι γνωρίζουν τους J. Geils Band από την εμπορική στροφή/επιτυχία του 1981 με το άλμπουμ "Freeze Frame" και το single "Centerfold", η μπάντα όμως από το 1970 ως το 1980 είχε κυκλοφορήσει άλλα 9 καυτά studio άλμπουμ καθώς και 2 από τα καλύτερα live άλμπουμ όλων των εποχών (το "Live Full House" του '72 και το "Blow Your Face Out" του '76 - αμφότερα προτείνονται ανεπιφύλακτα). Παίρνοντας τα καλύτερα στοιχεία της μαύρης μουσικής παράδοσης, τα blues, τη Motown, το doo-wop, και πασαλείβοντάς τα με δύο δάχτυλα παχιάς ροκ γλίτσας, έφτιαξαν ένα καθαρά δικό τους μουσικό χαρμάνι. Τα υλικά ήταν παλιά και δεδομένα, οι J. Geils Band στα χαρτιά δεν έκαναν κάτι καινούργιο, το έκαναν όμως με ανυπέρβλητο στυλ, ειδικά στο σανίδι όπου ήταν άρχοντες πραγματικοί, και δικαιολογημένα μετέτρεπαν άτομα όπως ο Joe Perry σε fanboys: Μόνο οι Rolling Stones μπορούσαν να κοντράρουν τους J.Geils στα 70's, και από την άλλη πλευρά του Ατλαντικού κανείς. Γιατί όπως έχουν πει και οι ίδιοι it ain't what you do, it's how you do it.
 


Friday, 16 June 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, June 2017


CAPTAIN BEYOND – Lost And Found 1972-1973
The demos for their debut (a serious contender for 1973’s Album of the Year) plus a previously unreleased song from the same era, a treat for fans, nerds and archivists who won’t mind the four-track recording hiss. (-)

CHEAP TRICK – We’re All Alright!

The four uptempo tracks opening the album are the best 12 minutes of rock ‘n’ roll you’re likely to hear in 2017. Much better than just Alright. (8)

JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNIT – The Nashville Sound

Have you seen that pic of Isbell with Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton? It’s not that he’s in good company, it’s the other two guys who are in good company. (8)

LILA DOWNS– Salón Lágrimas Y Deseo

Downs delivers her feminist manifesto whilst the sonic background behind her shifts between different Mexican music subgenres such as mariachi, cumbia, danzon, rancheras, son, even rock. And, That Voice! (8)

RICHARD DAWSON – Peasant

Probably the strangest, most unsettling music you’ll hear this month, from a VERY English folk musician who sounds medieval and postmodern at the same time, sort of like a Geordie Captain Beefheart leading the Incredible String Band. (8)

SIKTH – The Future In Whose Eyes

They’re described as progressive metal or as the forefathers of djent, but they’re basically Korn with a hint of Dillinger Escape Plan. (7)

SONGHOY BLUES – Resistance

Damon Albarn-endorsed refugees from North Mali record fantastic album, infusing their Sahara blues with James Brown funk, Fela Kuti afrobeat, even a couple of Queens Of The Stone Age riffs and an Iggy Pop cameo. (8)

STEEL WOODS – Straw In The Wind

Exciting debut album by southern rockers in the Blackberry Smoke mold – and league. They also cover Black Sabbath and invite Lindi Ortega 💙 for a guest vocal slot. (8)

STEVE EARLE & THE DUKES – So You Wanna Be An Outlaw

Earle has been there, done it, smoked it, drank it. He’s done time in prison, got married 7 times, won Grammies, shot heroin, kicked the habit. He’s got people like Willie Nelson and Miranda Lambert guesting on this album and he does a great redneck Led Zep impression on “Fixin’ To Die”. If you think you won’t like this album because it’s “country” just listen to the thing, OK? (8)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Glory Days Of Aussie Pub Rock Vol. 1

They’re all here (except AC/DC due to licencing rights difficulties, but you will hear unknown Vanda/Young-produced bands with very young Young brothers as session guitarists). Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil, The Angels, Divinyls, Men At Work, Sunnyboys, Boys Next Door, The Saints, Split Enz, Icehouse, Church, Lime Spiders, Baby Animals, Screaming Tribesmen, Rose Tattoo... 4 CDs, 91 tracks, fantastic liner notes. Buy! (9)

WILLIE NILE – Positively Bob

Ten jangly, rocking covers of Bob Dylan songs. If you always thought that “The Times They Are-A-Changin’”, “Blowin’ In The Wind” etc. are great compositions but could use an electric kick in the butt, well, Willie delivers. (8)

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, May 2017 Vol.II


THE HARD STUFF

DANZIG – Black Laden Crown

His once mighty voice has been reduced to a pathetic croak and all the songs sound the same but he’s our Glenn, we love him. (7)

DOG FASHION DISCO – Erotic Massage

Mr. Bungle from Lidl. (6)

FATES WARNING – Awaken The Guardian Live

Two complete festival appearances with John Arch on vocals to celebrate that album’s 30th anniversary on CD and DVD and if you’re a fan of progressive metal you know what that means. The playing’s a bit sloppier than that of the current line-up but who the fuck cares. (10)

FUCKED UP – Year Of The Snake EP

Epic 24-minute main track starts out psychedelic, then goes all-out Rush. Also includes a totally mental instrumental that a high-on-peyote Pete Townshend would’ve been proud of. (9)

LINKIN PARK – One More Light

Where the fuck did the guitars go? (5)

MUTOID MAN – War Moans

Supergroup featuring members of Cave In and Converge gets dangerously close to The Metal and IT OWNS. This one will melt your face, seriously. (8)

NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA – Amber Galactic

After the Deep Purple-isms of the sophomore album they’re back to retrofuturistic AOR on this one, channeling everyone from Toto to Boston. (8)

SOLSTAFIR – Berdreyminn

Berdreyminn is to Otta what One Second was to Draconian Times and what Alternative 4 was to Eternity. If you didn’t understand that sentence please move on to the next review. (8)

 

THE OTHER STUFF

ALGIERS – The Underside Of Power

2015’s debut left a mark with its post-punk/gospel hybrid. On this year’s follow-up they go political and crank up the industrial noise. (8)

DANIEL ROMANO – Modern Pressure

I keep waiting for this guy to create the masterpiece I know he has inside of him, a perfect marriage of power-pop and countrypolitan, but he falls short every time, probably because the sound in his head is much bigger than the cheapo production he can afford. (7)

FLEET FOXES – Crack-Up

A folkier Mercury Rev meets My Morning Jacket, but in a somewhat boring way. (6)

JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNIT – Live From Welcome To 1979

“Welcome To 1979” is an analogue recording studio in Nashville and Isbell definitely sounds very analogue on this vinyl-only EP covering the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, John Prine and Candi Staton. (8)

SECRET SISTERS – You Don’t Own Me Anymore

Real-life sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers sing close harmony like real-life brothers Everly, offering up a beautiful slice of Americana. (8)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Gibble Gobble & Sadaba: Exotic Blues & Rhythm Vol. 5 & 6

Originally issued on 10” vinyl, first time on CD, a crazy collection of tittyshakers from the late 50’s/early 60’s. Fun fun fun, put this on = instant party! (10)

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, May 2017


AFGHAN WHIGS – In Spades
90’s alt-rock heroes release second album after reforming, this time heavier on the soul influences. (8)

ANGALEENA PRESLEY – Wrangled

Pistol Annie #3 stays true to the gang’s mission to save country music from the baseball cap-wearing, pickup truck-driving bros. Miranda and Ashley should be proud. (8)

AT THE DRIVE-IN – in•ter a•li•a

Overflowing with frantic punk energy, this comeback album is better than what we sceptics thought it would be. (8)

BEE GEES – Timeless: The All-Time Greatest Hits

I was never fond of Barry Gibb’s falsetto singing style and of course growing up as a rocker in the post-disco era I wasn’t allowed to like the Bee Gees anyway, but objectively speaking this is an absolutely perfect set of pop songs. (10)

BRAD PAISLEY – Love And War

A true guitar hero with solid songwriting skills, a sense of humor and A-list guests like Mick Jagger, John Fogerty and Timbaland on another set of arena-sized anthems and power ballads, once again proves that country is the new AOR. Great stuff if you enjoy holding your lighter up in the air. (7)

CHRIS STAPLETON – From A Room: Volume 1

Country music’s latest breakout star returns with the follow-up to his 2015 award-winning, chart-topping debut "Traveler" and this time, knowing that people will listen anyway, he takes risks with a more raw approach, presumably his true sound. And that voice will give you the chills. (8)

COLIN STETSON – All This I Do For Glory

This guy does to the saxophone what Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen COMBINED did to the electric guitar. (8)

FEIST – Pleasure

Weird Canadian lo-fi folkie recorded this while fighting depression and that’s what she more or less sounds like, but in a good way. Fun fact: Google the Mastodon connection. (7)

FERAL OHMS – Feral Ohms

Feral Ohms is the full-on rawk assault vehicle of Ethan Miller (Comets On Fire) – think MC5 played with Black Flag ferocity. (8)

GALLEY BEGGAR – Heathen Hymns

UK electric acid-folk band in the Fairport Convention mold but late by half a century, I honestly can’t see the point but Lee Dorrian likes this hippy shit so maybe you want to give them a chance. (6)

HAYSEED DIXIE – Free Your Mind And Your Grass Will Follow

It looks like they’ve finally ran out of heavy metal and classic rock songs to cover in a bluegrass style, as this time they also play tunes by Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Elvis Costello, The Temptations, Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke and The O’Jays. (6)

JOAN SHELLEY – Joan Shelley

Galley Beggar could learn a thing or two from Shelley about the difference between being a nostalgia act and being simply timeless. This is a fantastic folk record, with excellent minimalistic production by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. (8)

JOHN MELLENCAMP– Sad Clowns & Hillbillies

Mellencamp’s rootsy new album features quite a few duets with country royalty Carlene Carter and an impressive list of other guests, including Izzy Stradlin’ on the album’s rockiest track. And his voice is starting to sound like Tom Waits, that’s a plus in my book. (8)

JOHN MORELAND – Big Bad Luv

Another ex-punk embracing country who ends up sounding “Springsteen-esque”. But he’s one of the better ones. (8)

KENDRICK LAMAR – DAMN.

It’s hard to imagine anyone coming up with a better hip hop album in 2017, even if the strong jazz flavor of “To Pimp A Butterfly” has been replaced with Rihanna and U2 guest slots this time around. (9)

LIFE OF AGONY – A Place Where There’s No More Pain

Can’t be objective about LOA, they mean too much to me since my New York days and “River Runs Red”. Just as a point of reference, this one’s closer to “Ugly” and should appeal to everyone with ears. Criminally underrated band. (11)

MARK LANEGAN BAND – Gargoyle

Husky baritone Lanegan goes even deeper into electronica compared to 2014’s “Phantom Radio”, with notable exceptions like “Emperor” – a surefire rock hit if any Lanegan song ever deserved to be one. (8)

MAXIMO PARK – Risk To Exist

God I miss Maximo Park of “A Certain Trigger”, the best Britpop album you’ve never heard. They’re still a good band (check out the awesome track “Get High”!) but never been able to match that one. (7)

OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW – 50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde

Live tribute recording to Bob Dylan’s iconic album by top bluegrass/country band with deep connections to Dylan’s work. (7)

PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND – So It Is

This is the kind of jazz that makes people who think they don’t like jazz like jazz. (8)

RAW SILK – The Borders Of Light

Fans of Raw Silk’s cult classic 1990 melodic hard rock debut will be surprised, and possibly disappointed, when they realize this much belated follow-up sounds nothing like it – “The Borders Of Light” clearly leans towards prog/pomp and could definitely use a few more hooks. (6)

SHERYL CROW – Be Myself

After 2013’s country experiment Sheryl goes back to doing what she does best mixing rock with pop and Southern-fried Memphis soul, i.e. being herself. (7)

THE MOVE – Magnetic Waves of Sound: The Best Of

Great compilation chronicling Roy Woods’ development between 1966 and 1972 from Beatles copycat to the proto-metal of “Brontosaurus” and the band’s eventual transition into the Electric Light Orchestra. (8)

ULVER – The Assassination Of Julius Caesar

So, exactly how was Julius Caesar assassinated? Did someone play this album for him on repeat until he died of boredom? (5)

WOLF EYES – Undertow

Don’t get sold on the “trip metal” label, “ugly and uncomfortable free jazz noisecore” is a much more accurate description. (6)

ZU – Jhator

Baritone sax/drums/bass power trio creates very meta- album featuring virtually no recognizable baritone sax, drums or bass sounds until the 17-minute mark. Great for getting stoned to though. (7)

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, April 2017




THE METAL LOVERS’ STUFF

BODY COUNT – Bloodlust

Ice-T’s metal project sounds tighter than ever. (8)

CREEPER – Eternity In Your Arms

UK horror-punk hopefuls with stadium rock ambitions, combining the Misfits and Meat Loaf to come up with a sound that ultimately comes closer to the epic epicness of “Black Parade”-era My Chemical Romance than to anything else. This is perfect teenage music. (8)

DOOMOCRACY – Visions & Creatures Of Imagination

Epic doom a-la Candlemass the way it’s supposed to be. (8)

DREAD SOVEREIGN – For Doom The Bell Tolls

A different kind of doom, less epic than Doomocracy and certainly more evil, the kind of stuff that’ll turn your children into Satanists. From Primordial’s Nemtheanga. (7)

MASTODON – Emperor Of Sand

It’s Mastodon so of course it’s good, however the band seems to have lost some of its sense of adventure, occasionally settling on autopilot. But in any case I don't think I'm even allowed to ever give them anything less than an (8).

MOTHER’S FINEST – Love Changes: The Anthology 1972-1983

Anthology for coed, biracial pioneers of the funk/hard rock hybrid and one of the greatest live acts ever, the only band to ever kick ass supporting Parliament/Funkadelic AND Aerosmith on consecutive evenings in the 70’s with the same set. Great stuff up to 1981, but most the 1983 “lost” album included here in its entirety is disco crap. (7)

THE OBSESSED – Sacred

Wino’s cult doom metal outfit is back with a kick-ass album you can accurately call heavy as fuck. Of course he’s changed the line-up 3 times already in the last 12 months so don’t expect this to be long-term, but enjoy it while it lasts. (8)

TROUBLED HORSE – Revolution On Repeat

Swedish psych-rock band featuring Witchcraft & Spiders alumni. Good stuff and also includes a Warren Zevon song but I’ve always wondered, what can a horse possibly be troubled about? It’s a fucking horse. (7)


THE OTHER STUFF

AIMEE MANN – Mental Illness

Probably the most underrated female singer-songwriter of the 90’s pens another set of great character sketches disguised as perfect pop songs. (8)

DIAMANDA GALAS – At St. Thomas The Apostle Harlem / All The Way

The power of her voice is scary and on these two albums she proves to be quite a formidable piano accompanist as well. But still it’s hard to derive any real pleasure from listening to this stuff, no matter how much you admire the accomplishment. (?)

FATHER JOHN MISTY – Pure Comedy

I really can’t stand the guy’s whole “poster boy for hipsterism” status and attitude but I have to admit, this is a magnificent album that Harry Nilsson or a 25-year old Elton John would’ve been proud to call their own. (8)

JAKE XERXES FUSSELL – What In The Natural World

Southern folk blues released in 2017 but sounding eternal. Beautiful. (8)

JULIA HOLTER – In The Same Room

A collection of songs from her past albums re-arranged and recorded live in the studio over two days. An interesting experiment that shouldn’t normally work this well as it’s chamber pop we’re talking about. (7)

THE MAVERICKS – Brand New Day

The band’s signature huge sound, a hybrid between Roy Orbison-style ballads and wild Tex-Mex rave-ups with a good measure of Cuban flavoring, makes “Brand New Day” a really fun album. (7)

NELLY FURTADO – The Ride

Look, I love Nelly, OK? I’ve loved her ever since I came across “Sh*t On the Radio” on Australian MTV upon arriving in Melbourne in 2002, immediately heading out into an unknown city in search of a record store because of her despite the worst jetlag in history. And I’ll always love her because she’s a big pop star who’s not afraid to reinvent herself with every album. (7)

RODNEY CROWELL – Close Ties

Late-career highlight by country music’s low-profile hero and former son-in-law of Johnny Cash. (8)

WILKO JOHNSON – I Keep It To Myself: The Best Of Wilko Johnson

A collection of tracks recorded between 2008 and 2012 before the world rediscovered Wilko thanks to the #1 hit album with The Who’s Roger Daltrey and the amazing cancer survival story, including unnecessary reworkings of several Dr. Feelgood classics. Great guitar work, terrible singing, non-essential listening really. (6)