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)

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, March 2017




THE METAL LOVERS’ STUFF

BLACK SABBATH – The Ultimate Collection

It’s not the “ultimate” collection as it only includes material from the first 8 albums, but it’s a really good summary of the first Ozzy era – six tracks each from the debut and “Paranoid”, five from “Master Of Reality”, and three each from the rest except “Never Say Die” that gets two. (666)

CRYSTAL FAIRY – Crystal Fairy

This is probably the most “pop” (ha!) Melvins-related project ever, and certainly the most fun in a very-very long time: Buzz & Dale team up with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and The Butcherettes’ Teri Gender Bender for an awesome riff-rock extravaganza. (8)

DOOL – Here Now There Then

Featuring a couple of members from The Devil’s Blood but more goth-sounding, not entirely dissimilar to latter-day In Solitude but with female vocals (no, not that The Devil’s Blood member). (8)

KXM – Scatterbrain

Hard rock supergroup power trio featuring Doug Pinnick (Kings X), George Lynch (Dokken) and Ray Luzier (Korn). Second album second dud, great players but no chemistry. (5)

ME AND THAT MAN – Songs Of Love And Death

Behemoth’s Nergal goes country-folk on this project ripping off Nick Cave’s “Murder Ballads”, Johnny Cash’s “American Recordings” and Leonard Cohen’s whole catalog, ends up sounding like Wovenhand. (7)

PALLBEARER – Heartless

Redneck Sabbath/Candlemass disciples at the top of their game. (8)

SOUNDGARDEN – Ultramega OK [Expanded Reissue]

Debut from 1988 reissued with much improved mix and extra tracks. In a different league than their grunge brethren from the beginning, still searching for their sound here and not their best album but it’s Soundgarden so play it on (11).

UNEARTHLY TRANCE – Stalking The Ghost

The usual sludgy doom metal on the New Yorkers’ comeback album after a 7-year hiatus. If you think you’ll enjoy a Crowbar/Neurosis hybrid then check this out. (7)


THE OTHER STUFF

BLANCK MASS – World Eater

Fuck Buttons’ Ben Power is playing like he’s on steroids and bad acid and trying to pummel your cranium into a bloody pulp using Jean-Michel Jarre as a baseball bat. (8)

CORY BRANAN – Adios

Cory writes great, dark and funny songs, punk influenced but country-ish. On certain tracks he even manages to come across as a really cool Tom Petty/Elvis Costello hybrid. Love this! (8)

CRAIG FINN – We All Want The Same Things

The Hold Steady mainman goes solo again, great storytelling as ever but with simpler song structures and I seriously miss his regular band’s E-Street-isms. (7)

EMEL MATHLOUTHI – Ensen

Mathlouthi’s music has been banned in her native Tunisia for corrupting the local youth, so she’s been living in exile between Paris and New York where she continues to create her addictive mix of Western electronic and Eastern organic sounds. Imagine Bjork doing a Fairuz tribute album and you’re halfway there. (8)

GREG GRAFFIN – Millport

Bad Religion frontman is the latest punk rocker to go full-on country, so I guess I’m not the only one getting older. Features a couple of Social Distortion members. (7)

HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF – The Navigator

Alynda Segarra leads her Americana band to explorations of outsider urban life. She’s from the Bronx and of Puerto Rican origin so I guess she knows what’s she’s talking about. (7)

LAURA MARLING – Semper Femina

The title comes from 1st Century BC Roman poet Virgil, the melodies come from a strange and beautiful place where Joni Mitchell meets Nick Drake. (8)

MARC ALMOND – Hits And Pieces: The Best Of Marc Almond And Soft Cell

Yo, how can you possibly put together a compilation like this and NOT include “Memorabilia”? Without that little gem all the best songs here are covers. Still I have to admit that some of them (“Tainted Love”, “I Feel Love”, “Days Of Pearly Spencer”) are masterpieces. (8)

MARIO BATKOVIC – Mario Batkovic

Here’s a phrase I never thought I’d say in my lifetime: This solo accordion avant-garde album rules. (8)

SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY & THE ASBURY JUKES – The Fever: The Remastered Epic Recordings

Southside Johnny’s first four albums (1976-1979) remastered and repackaged on a double CD. A must for all Springsteen/E-Street Band fans – google/wiki the association if you don’t know about it. (8)

VALERIE JUNE – The Order Of Time

June is a strong songwriter who effortlessly blends southern soul, pop and folk to create her own unique niche. (8)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Keb Darge & Cut Chemist Present The Dark Side: 30 Sixties Garage Punk And Psyche Monsters

The title is pretty much self-explanatory – “Nuggets”/”Pebbles” fans will find plenty of stuff to like here. (8)

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, Feb 2017


FRANK TURNER – Sleep Is For The Week (10th Anniversary Edition)
Turner’s debut album, his folkiest, re-released with bonus disc featuring demos and live recordings. (7)

GRAILS – Chalice Hymnal

Progressive in the truest sense of the word and a bit more playful than their masterpiece “Deep Politics”, “Chalice Hymnal” once again sounds like the soundtrack to a great desert road movie. (8)

JESCA HOOP – Memories Are Now

Quirky, weird and wonderful songs that often sound like children’s ditties but with a dark edge, sort of like the aural equivalent of “Alice In Wonderland”. She’s probably sick and tired of people mentioning the fact that she used to work as nanny to Tom Waits’ children instead of talking about her art but, remarkably, she sounds exactly like the nanny to Tom Waits’ children. (8)

LIFT TO EXPERIENCE – The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads (2017 remix)

The very definition of a lost almost-classic, the sole album by this Texan trio was originally released in 2001 and heard by very few. Now remixed (the band was unhappy with the original no-budget mix) and re-released, it will hopefully attract more people to LTE’s majestic, shoegaze-y, psychedelic universe. (9)

MENZINGERS – After The Party

If you like the whole Japandroids/Beach Slang/Titus Andronicus/The Hold Steady punks-who-want-to-be-Bruce-Springsteen thing as much as I do, then this one’s for you. (8)

MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE – Mirrors For Psychic Warfare

Another Neurosis side project, this one coupling Scott Kelly with Sanford Parker (Buried At Sea, Minsk, Nachtmystium, Unearthly Trance and three gazillion other bands), it’s a drone-y electronic/doom hybrid that seriously tests the listener’s attention span but ultimately rewards him. (7)

NECKS – Unfold

This is not post-jazz, this is post-everything. (7)

NIKKI LANE – Highway Queen

Nikki lives on the crossroads between country and rock ‘n’ roll, her husky voice and kick-ass band pumping out some great tunes. She should be a star. (8)

OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW – Best Of

Not really a “best of” as it includes songs from only three studio albums released between 2004-2008 on Nettwerk (they’ve released four more studio albums on other labels), still an enjoyable listen. (7)

OTIS TAYLOR – Fantasizing About Being Black

After 15 albums Taylor has mastered his craft and his “trance blues” is a truly haunting experience, especially on this semi-concept album about the history of racial injustice. If you’ve never heard his stuff, you’re in for a big shock. (8)

RHIANNON GIDDENS – Freedom Highway

After a debut album based mostly on cover versions of songs made famous by other female artists, Giddens now sets out to prove that she’s not just a fantastic singer/interpreter but a talented writer too, with original material covering everything from folk to funk. (8)

ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND – Got Soul

“Sacred steel” is not just the name of a God-awful German heavy metal band, it’s also a steel guitar-based subgenre of gospel music and Randolph is the Yngwie Malmsteen of sacred steel – a virtuoso backed by a smokin’-hot band whose songs are mainly used as vehicles for solos. This is one of his better albums, bringing on some serious funk chops. (7)

SADIES – Northern Passages

As always impossible to pigeonhole, on their 10th album The Sadies keep shifting from garage punk to country to folk rock to psychedelia, sometimes within the same song. (8)

STRAND OF OAKS – Hard Love

Noisy psychedelic folk rock with stadium rock ambitions, like a drugged-out War On Drugs with more facial hair. (6)

THIEVERY CORPORATION – The Temple Of I And I

I’ve somehow ended up owning Thievery Corporation’s entire discography even though I’m not a beach bar DJ. The new album’s a bit heavier on the reggae/dub than previous efforts, somewhat lacking in hooks but still well within their “exclusive nightclub playlist” comfort zone. (6)

TINARIWEN – Elwan

How many artists do you know that have singlehandedly launched an entire music genre from a strange place into the stratosphere? In terms of importance Tinariwen is up there with Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Ravi Shankar, bringing the funky, hypnotic sound of the Sahara to the West. (8)

Sunday, 29 January 2017

10 Λόγοι Που Οι Krokus Είναι Το Πιο Γαμάτο Συγκρότημα Όλων Των Εποχών

Για τους κάτω των 40 το όνομα των Krokus πιθανότατα δεν σημαίνει τίποτα - φαντάζει απίθανο, εν έτει 2017, να σκεφτεί κανείς ότι στις αρχές των 80's οι Ελβετοί, που σήμερα ούτε καν cult δεν μπορούν να θεωρηθούν, ήταν μία από τις μεγαλύτερες heavy metal μπάντες του πλανήτη. Και μία από τις πιο γαμάτες. Ναι ρε, τις πιο γαμάτες. Και θα στηρίξω την παραπάνω δήλωση με επιχειρήματα.

1. Όταν ξεκίνησαν το 1975 οι Krokus έπαιζαν progressive rock, μέχρι που είδαν τους AC/DC live με τον Bon Scott και είπαν, "ΑΥΤΟ!". ΟΚ; Καλά ξεκινάμε ως εδώ;

2. Επέλεξαν το όνομά τους, που στα Γερμανικά σημαίνει κρόκος (το λουλούδι, όχι του αυγού), με βασικό κριτήριο το ότι περιέχει τη λέξη ΡΟΚ. Beat that.

3. Τα μέλη του συγκροτήματος έχουν καταπληκτικά αληθινά ονόματα όπως Chris Von Rohr και Fernando Von Arb. Μέχρι κι εγώ θα είχα κάνει καριέρα ροκ σταρ αν λεγόμουν Chris Von Rohr ή Fernando Von Arb.

4. Έχουν γράψει το καλύτερο reggae/metal υβρίδιο όλων των εποχών. Οι Led Zeppelin έβαλαν τον πήχυ ψηλά με το "D'Yer Maker", οι Scorpions προσπάθησαν φιλότιμα με το "Is There Anybody There", αλλά το "Tokyo Nights" των Krokus τα ξεπερνάει όλα. Όλα, σας λέω. Το οποίο "Tokyo Nights", σημειωτέον, συμπεριλήφθηκε σε άλμπουμ με τίτλο "Metal Rendez-Vous", έτσι για να μην υπάρχουν παρεξηγήσεις.

  
5. Ανακάλυψαν τα ριγέ κολάν παντελόνια πάνω-κάτω την ίδια εποχή με τους Iron Maiden. Τα μεγάλα πνεύματα συναντιούνται.

6. Και μια που λέμε για Maiden, στο κομμάτι των Krokus "I'm On The Run" του 1982 δεύτερα φωνητικά κάνει κάποιος Bruce Dickinson.

7. Έχουν τραγούδι με τίτλο "Long Stick Goes Boom", ηχητικά καρακλεμμένο από AC/DC, το οποίο περιέχει τους εξής ανυπέρβλητους στίχους: "My stick is tight, my blood is hot / let's do it here, right on the spot". Ένα Νόμπελ στον κύριο παρακαλώ. Α, και το τραγούδι σπέρνει, σοβαρά.

8. Τότε στα 80's κάνανε γούτσου-γούτσου με τη Metal Queen, τη Lee Aaron. Αυτό από μόνο του θα αρκούσε για μια θέση στο Πάνθεον.






9. Ο τραγουδιστής της μπάντας Marc Storace εκμεταλλεύθηκε με τον καλύτερο δυνατό τρόπο το γεγονός ότι μοιάζει με neanderthal, αποδεχόμενος να παίξει το ρόλο ενός neanderthal στο ντεμπούτο του ως ηθοποιός το 2006 στην ταινία "Anuk".

10. Αλλά, κυρίως: Το ακατέβατο δεκάρι "Headhunter" του 1983. Χωρίς ένα filler, με θεϊκές τραγουδάρες όπως το ομώνυμο, ή το μυθικό mid-tempo "Screaming In The Night", ή το riff-άτο "Ready To Burn", ή το μεγαλειώδες 'Night Wolf", ή το ΕΠΟΣ "Russian Winter", αυτό το άλμπουμ εκφράζει καλύτερα από οποιοδήποτε άλλο (με μόνες πιθανές εξαιρέσεις τα "Screaming For Vengeance" και "Restless And Wild" τα οποία, πιστέψτε με, κοιτάζει άφοβα στα μάτια) την κατάσταση του metal στη Γηραιά Ήπειρο σε εκείνο το μικρό χρονικά παράθυρο ανάμεσα στην πτώση του NWOBHM και τη γέννηση του thrash.


H Krokus φλασιά μου ήρθε χάρη στη νέα τους κυκλοφορία, ένα αρκετά διασκεδαστικό άλμπουμ διασκευών με τίτλο "BIG ROCKS". Το αυτοκόλλητο στο εξώφυλλο γράφει "No fillers, no ballads, no bullshit" - αν είχαν προσθέσει κι ένα "no irony" θα ήταν ακόμα ακριβέστερο, εδώ δεν υπάρχει χώρος για χιπστεριές, οι τύποι φέρνουν στα μέτρα τους classics των The Who, Neil Young, Animals, Queen κλπ. παίζοντας με αφοπλιστική ειλικρίνεια γιατί μόνο αυτό ξέρουν να κάνουν, κι ας μην αφορούν πλέον σχεδόν κανέναν. Αυτό τους κάνει ακόμα πιο γαμάτους.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, Jan 2017 Vol. II


AMIRA MEDUNJANIN – Damar
On the follow-up to 2015's excellent “Silk And Stone”, Bosnian singer Medunjanin continues to explore and expand her country’s rich musical sevdah tradition by adding jazz elements from pianist/producer Bojan Z and flamenco flourishes from guitarist Bosko Jovic. Beautiful. (8)

BAND OF HEATHENS – Duende

Folky, roots-rock band experiments with poppier formats, sometimes succeeds. (6)

BLACKIE & THE RODEO KINGS – Kings And Kings

Canadian country/roots rock band releases collaborative album featuring guests such as Rodney Crowell, Eric Church, Raul Malo, Nick Lowe etc. Fun! (7)

DONALD NALLY, THE CROSSING, PRISM QUARTET – Gavin Bryars: The Fifth Century

Bryars is better known for his minimalist work, especially the masterpiece “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet”, but this is quite different – haunting choral music written specifically for the wonderful choir heard here and based on a series of mystical poems by Thomas Traherne. By the way, it’s on ECM so you know it has to be good. (8)

HORISONT – About Time

I’ve written a sort of proper review for this in the February issue of Metal Hammer Greece magazine, go out and buy it next week please. (8)

JAPANDROIDS – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

Do you miss Husker Du? These guys do. I do too. (8)

KROKUS – Big Rocks

I decided to listen to this album of covers in the midst of a nostalgia crisis. It could’ve been worse, it’s 100% dated but at least it rocks like a decent backwoods hard rock jukebox. (6)

PRODIGY – Hegelian Dialectic: The Book Of Revelation

Unfortunately this doesn’t start any fires, nor does it smack up any bitches. (6)

QSP – QSP

Supergroup power-trio consisting of glam rock legends Suzi Quatro, Andy Scott (Sweet) and Don Powell (Slade). The three of them added up are 204 years old but they don’t give up, bless ‘em. (6)

SLEAFORD MODS – English Tapas

Sounds like you’re in the pub and a drunk punk asshole is yelling in your face, so it’s a good Sleaford Mods record. (7)

Friday, 13 January 2017

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, Jan 2017


AARON LEE TASJAN – Silver Tears
From the swampy bayou scream of “Ready To Die” to the psychedelic pop gem “Little Movies”, from the nostalgic country rock of “Memphis Rain” to the jokey loser anthem “Hard Life”, Tasjan mixes is up like a glammier, funnier Sturgill Simpson. Love this! (9)

AFI – AFI (The Blood Album)

I successfully managed to avoid any contact whatsoever with AFI for 20 years. A couple of spins of this unspectacular goth-tinged pop-punk by 40-year olds pretending to be teenagers proves I was probably right. (6)

BANGLES – Ladies And Gentlemen... The Bangles!

Vinyl release of compilation initially released in digital format a couple of years ago, includes all the early stuff before the band got signed to Columbia Records and turned pop, when they still were a kick-ass Paisley Underground-associated garage band. (9)

DROPKICK MURPHYS – 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory

Toned down, slower tempos, more real singing rather than the usual beloved “drunks screaming in your face”, lackluster songwriting, overall rather disappointing. At least there’s a fun cover of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. (6)

GONE IS GONE – Echolocation

Metal supergroup featuring members of Mastodon, At The Drive-In, Queens Of The Stone Age and a soundtrack composer (!). Heavy, ambient and well-executed but going nowhere, really. Includes a Portishead cover. (6)

KATE TEMPEST – Let Them Eat Chaos

Tempest’s spoken word is not exactly hip hop, it’s poetry with beats and it perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to be young and angry in London today. (8)

KLEZMATICS – Apikorsim

Klezmer revivalists still going strong after 30 years of Jewish party tunes and gorgeous melancholic ditties. (8)

NINE INCH NAILS – Not The Actual Events

Short but certainly not sweet, this 21-minute EP is gnarly and aggressive and leaves the listener wanting more. Reznor’s got more stuff coming out in 2017, we’re looking forward. (7)

RUN THE JEWELS – Run The Jewels 3

RTJ drops new album unexpectedly on Christmas day and suddenly makes all year-end “best of” lists obsolete. (9)

RYAN ADAMS – Prisoner

I love “Heartbreaker” and “Gold”, I really like a lot of other stuff this guy has done over the years, but “Prisoner” is a bit boring and lacking in the hooks department. (6)

THE DEVIL MAKES THREE – Redemption & Ruin

Fantastic covers album – the band combines bluegrass, country, Delta blues, rockabilly, ragtime and jug music to transform classics by Muddy Waters, Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt etc. Also featuring A-list guests like Emmylou Harris, Duane Eddy, Tim O’Brien and Jerry Douglas. (8)

THE HOLD STEADY – Boys And Girls In America (Deluxe Edition Reissue)

Because this, now with bonus tracks. (10)

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Οι Καλύτεροι Δίσκοι Που Δεν Άκουσες Το 2016

Κάθε χρόνο τα ίδια - επί δώδεκα μήνες ακούς ψυχαναγκαστικά νέες κυκλοφορίες, κρατάς σημειώσεις, κρίνεις, συγκρίνεις και φτιάχνεις την Απόλυτη λίστα με τα καλύτερα της χρονιάς. Και μετά βλέπεις τις λίστες των άλλων και περιλαμβάνουν πράγματα των οποίων την ύπαρξη αγνοούσες, πέρασαν κάτω από το ραντάρ σου, τα ακούς και παθαίνεις πλάκα και αρχίζεις να βλαστημάς.

Αυτό που ακολουθεί λοιπόν είναι μια σύντομη καταγραφή γαμάτων δίσκων του 2016 που ο Music Geek δεν άκουσε εγκαίρως μέσα στο 2016. Οι δίσκοι προέρχονται κυρίως από ιδιώματα στα οποία δεν θεωρώ εαυτόν ειδικό, πράγμα λογικό καθώς εκεί που γνωρίζω περισσότερα είναι πιο δύσκολο να μου ξεφύγουν σημαντικά πράγματα, και η σειρά είναι αλφαβητική γιατί αν προσπαθήσω να μπω σε διαδικασία να τους βάλω σε σειρά αξιολόγησης θα αρχίσω να σκέφτομαι ποιος είναι αρκετά δυνατός για να αξίζει μία θέση στην επίσημη λίστα, και ποια θα ήταν αυτή η θέση, και θα μου στρίψει τελείως. Εξερευνήστε, αξίζει τον κόπο.



AARON LEE TASJAN - Silver Tears
Ώραια, τώρα που μάθατε όλοι τον Sturgill Simpson πάμε να βρούμε το επόμενο next great thing από το χώρο της country. Λέω "great" που υπονοεί ποιότητα και όχι "big" γιατί το δεύτερο εμπεριέχει το στοιχείο της εμπορικής επιτυχίας και δυσκολεύομαι να φανταστώ τον Tasjan στα Grammys με χρυσούς δίσκους - όχι γιατί τα τραγούδια του "Silver Tears" δεν είναι κορυφαία, αλλά διότι το σαρδόνιο χιούμορ, το χασικλίδικο attitude και ο σταρχιδισμός του Tasjan μάλλον δεν θα κάτσουν καλά με αυτούς που μοιράζουν βραβεία. Κατά τα άλλα ο Tasjan είναι εξίσου καλός συνθέτης και τραγουδιστής με τον Simpson, εξίσου "αιρετικός" εμπλουτίζοντας τον ήχο του με στοιχεία από άλλες μουσικές, και πιθανότατα καλύτερος κιθαρίστας. Πραγματική αποκάλυψη.


ADIA VICTORIA - Beyond The Bloodhounds
Ένας φοβερός συνδυασμός garage-punk-blues-folk στο ντεμπούτο μιας πιτσιρίκας από το Nashville που εξερευνά θέματα θρησκετικά και φυλετικά, πανανθρώπινα και ταυτόχρονα βαθιά προσωπικά. Περιμένουμε το επόμενο βήμα της με κομμένη την ανάσα.






 
 

ANDERSON .PAAK - Malibu
Μιλώντας για μουσική το 2016, εκτός από χρονιά που χαρακτηρίστηκε από τον θάνατο και την επίδραση αυτού στη δημιουργικότητα, ήταν και η χρονιά απόλυτης κυριαρχίας της μαύρης μουσικής: Beyonce, Solange, Danny Brown, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, A Tribe Called Quest, Childish Gambino ήταν τα ονόματα (ζωντανών) που συζητήθηκαν περισσότερο, και στη λίστα αυτή θα πρέπει μάλλον να προσθέσουμε και τον Anderson .Paak - ανήκει στην ίδια συνομοταξία με τον Kendrick Lamar αλλά είναι πιο 70's funk και δεν rap-άρει μόνο, αλλά τραγουδάει κιόλας επαρκέστατα. Θυμηθείτε το όνομα.



KATE TEMPEST - Let Them Eat Chaos
To spoken word ως ιδίωμα ελλοχεύει παγίδες, οι στίχοι απογυμνωμένοι από τις πιασάρικες ενορχηστρώσεις και τις διασκεδαστικές ρίμες του hip hop απαιτούν την προσήλωση του ακροατή - βασικά είναι μια πιο "δύσκολη" και λιγότερο δημοφιλής μέθοδος έκφρασης, για τους ίδιους λόγους που η ποίηση είναι πιο "δύσκολη" και λιγότερο δημοφιλής από τη λογοτεχνία. Ελάχιστοι είναι αυτοί που επιδίδονται στο σπορ με επιτυχία, ειδικά στην Ευρωπαϊκή πλευρά του Ατλαντικού, όπου τα πλησιέστερα σημεία αναφοράς για το "Let Them Eat Chaos" θα ήταν το ντεμπούτο των Streets και ίσως η Anne Clark. Όπως και να 'χει το φετεινό πέρασμα της Tempest από την ποίηση στη μουσική υπήρξε συναρπαστικό.


KLEZMATICS - Apikorsim
Klezmer λέγεται η παραδοσιακή μουσική των Εβραίων της Ανατολικής Ευρώπης και οι Klezmatics, με έδρα τη Νέα Υόρκη, αναβιώνουν αυτό τον ήχο εδώ και 30 χρόνια. Στο νέο τους άλμπουμ "Apikorsim" (σημαίνει "Αιρετικοί" στα Εβραϊκά) προσθέτουν και πάλι στο ύφος τους στοιχεία τζαζ και βαλκανικής μουσικής με τραγούδια που κινούνται από uptempo χορευτικούς δυναμίτες σε απόλυτα θλιμμένες μπαλάντες που κουβαλούν μέσα τους τον πόνο αιώνων. Εξαιρετικό.



ROKIA TRAORE - Ne So
Μια υπέροχη κυρία από το Mali, κοσμοπολίτισσα κόρη διπλωμάτη που παντρεύει την Δυτικοαφρικανική μουσική παράδοση με "Ευρωπαϊκές" ποπ αναφορές με εξαιρετικά αποτελέσματα. Σε παραγωγή John Parish (PJ Harvey) και με special guest τον Devendra Banhart για bonus hipster points, το "Ne So" θα μπορούσε κάλλιστα να διεκδικήσει τον τίλο του world music album της χρονιάς.




RUN THE JEWELS - Run The Jewels 3
ΟΚ, εδώ δεν ήταν αμέλεια εκ μέρους μου, δεν είναι ότι μου ξέφυγε αυτό, απλά το κυκλοφόρησαν απροειδοποίητα σε ψηφιακή μορφή ανήμερα παραμονή Χριστουγέννων αφού η κανονική λίστα είχε ήδη δημοσιευθεί. Επιπλέον, καθώς η ημερομηνία κυκλοφορίας σε βινύλιο/CD είναι τον Ιανουάριο, ίσως και να μην έχει θέση εδώ αλλά στις λίστες του 2017. Το καλύτερο rap ντουέτο του πλανήτη στο καλύτερο ίσως άλμπουμ της καριέρας του, με καλεσμένους όπως ο Danny Brown (βλ. Λίστα) και ο Kamasi Washington και με φανταστικά/εθιστικά beats & hooks που θα ενθουσιάσουν ακόμα και όσους δεν ακούνε rap.
Υ.Γ. Αλλά είστε σοβαροί;;; Είναι δυνατόν ένα album να κυκλοφορεί ψηφιακά Δεκέμβριο 2016 και συμβατικά Ιανουάριο 2017;;; Σε ποια χρονιά θα το συμπεριλάβουμε δηλαδή εμείς οι ψυχαναγκαστικοί λιστόβιοι;;; Mindfuck.