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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

BEST MUSIC OF 2017


Album of the Year

MOUNT EERIE "A Crow Looked At Me"

There have been many albums about loss but none like this. Phil Elverum who mostly lives and creates "far from the madding crowd" like a hermit, lost his wife Genevieve to pancreatic cancer.
Instead of describing the pain (like others do) he just recollects vignettes of his life together with Genevieve or sends shivers down the spine when he comes across one of her personal everyday items, like a toothbrush...
The LP lulls you into its world and you are teetering on the thin line between cold reality and perpetual trance-like grief. Plaintive vocals and spare guitar.
Phil is now raising their little daughter and the memory of his partner still lingers in the air, the sunshine, the rain, the fog...

Sweet kid, we were watched and followed and I thought of Genevieve
Sweet kid, I heard you murmur in your sleep
"Crow" you said
"Crow" I asked
"Are you dreaming about a crow?"
And there she was...


EXQUIRLA "Para Quienes Aun Viven"

One of the outstanding european bands, Toundra (Spain) team up with flamenco singer Nino de Elche to form Exquirla, a project that creates a new direction in progressive rock, passionate, modern and yet, primordial at the same time. Exquirla is nothing less than exquisite...






THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES "II"

Heavy Blues Almighty, Amen! Classic heavy rock with flourishes of psychedelia from Norway. On this second album they have tapped on newfound potential which bodes well for the future. Astonishing LP and "These Are Old Hands" is a monster...







SUN KIL MOON "Common As Light And Love Are Red
                                Valleys Of Blood"

Mark Kozelek has definitely found his voice in recent years.
His unique stream-of-consciousness lyrics and rat-tat-tat delivery is unmistakeable an, at times, chilling...






ROGER WATERS "Is This The Life We Really want?"

The question is : "Is this the production to a Waters LP we really want?" What a terrible choice for a producer. Godrich may have worked wonders for Radiohead but this is Roger Waters. Totally different class! Don't get me wrong, Radiohead are good but do not belong in the Pink Floyd stratosphere. Lazy production has turned great songs into merely good ones. Washes of synth strings sound cheap and undeveloped. FX that have already been worked to death in the past. So much for originality Mr Godrich...
Lay Down Jerusalem (If I Had Been God) became Deja Vu and reduced to a dwarf and, if you're familiar with the full poem "Is this
the life we really want?" which is epic in its scope and length...well,
I cringe at it's final duration. I shall refrain from discussing absent
guitar solos. A potentially stunning album reduced to Good LP
status all because (with Waters' consent) the producer "didn't like
his or that bit". Maybe he has a short attention span and can't
follow a 12 minute song. Maybe he don't like guitar solos. Maybe
Mr Godrich doesn't agree with great moments in music history...


REBECCA KARIJORD "Mother Tongue"

This LP is heavily influenced by Rebecca's experiences of pregnancy and the premature birth of her child. Glad to hear that she has moved away from her previous more "pop" direction to make this album which, despite its minimal instrumentation shows a great depth once the listener immerses into this masterful singer/songwriter's world.




ARRAYAN PATH  "Dawn Of Aquarius"

I know the boys in the band personally. This is their 6th album. What I'm trying to say is I could've included any of their previous releases in my year-end list. I did not, I'm not biased (I think)...
There is so much fake passion, overblown posturing, pompous
mediocrity and inane lyrical approach in metal these days. Arrayan Path have progressively reached the pinnacle of their career. They are seasoned musicians making mature music. This album will reveal more with each listening session. Musically it sounds effortless. Lyrically it makes sense storywise but the words are
placed in such a way that they become weapons in frontman's
Nicholas Leptos' armoury. He bites on them, chews them up
and spits them out -dead- on the pavement. One of the greatest
vocalists in metal music today. This album shows that strong
melody is still relevant to power metal. This album has the
character to devour your senses with its haunting melodies.
Nicholas once told me that he would like Arrayan Path to be
remembered by its haunting melodies, well, my friend, I think
you and your cohorts have achieved it!
Kudos to all involved. Bravo! (although I doubt you will be
knighted by her Majesty) Well done Pitch Black Records too...


LARKIN POE "Peach"

The Lovell sisters excel whether it is stunning renditions of blues standards or striking new compositions, all delivered with the urgency of a garage band. Gritty vocals from Rebecca and gripping lapsteel guitar from Megan, these girls are going places...







ROBERT WALKER & THE CENTURY BAND "Year of the Dog"

Walker, a little known blues rocker based in Germany, has been kicking about since the 90's. Accomplished songwriting and stirring musicianship feature in one of the unnoticed gems of the year. I think was only released electronically.






 GRETA VAN FLEET "From The Fires"EP & "Black Smoke          
                                                                            Rising"EP

Young exciting band, sort of like a "baby Zeppelin". They released
two EPs in 2017. They will be massively huge by 2020. If they can keep their feet on the ground...








SONG OF THE YEAR : RAY DAVIES "Poetry"

The legend that is Sir Douglas Raymond Davies (The Kinks), from his 2017 solo LP "Americana".
Great songwriters never fade...they just get better with age.

                                    "Maybe I'm missing something but I'm too blind to see
                                      She settled for someone who isn't too hard to please
                                      Where is the poetry?"





Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BEST MUSIC OF 2016

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

"Sorrow" (COLIN STETSON)

I do have a soft spot for Gorecki's Symphony No3 and this bold and
radical reinterpretation by saxophonist Colin Stetson is a risk well
taken. A piece written for a 60 piece orchestra is tackled by a 12
player ensemble featuring Stetson's sister mezzo soprano Megan
and members of Arcade Fire and Liturgy among others. This remarkable meditation on sorrow and loss is updated by Stetson in an exquisite and RESPECTFUL way.


"The Ghosts of Highway 20" (LUCINDA WILLIAMS)

LW has never made a bad album in her career. Not even a mediocre one. Awash with vivid storytelling and, oh, the best guitar work recorded in 2016. Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz create ghostly soundscapes that invigorate Lucinda's evocative songs.

*Check also LW's song heart wrenching "I'm Crying" on the soundtrack of "Free State of Jones". Not included on the album.




"Folklore"  (BIG BIG TRAIN)

British band's best do far. A work of beauty, prog rock that is soulful, accomplished, mysterious and instantly classic...









"Pearls to Swine" (ADAM TORRES)

Where Torres resurfaces after 11 years in the wilderness and captivates with his songwriting and voice...









"Animam" (GUSTAVO SANTIAGO)

Brazilian wonderkid Gustavo santiago, at 17, composed, arranged,
produced and played on this fascinating prog album in a masterful way that belies his age. Released only electronically it has remained underground and the question, I guess, is, hasn't anybody signed him yet?






"Acid Crusher/Mount Swan" (EARTHLESS/HARSH TOKE)

No one does heavy psych space jams better than EARTHLESS.
Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton have spearheaded the burgeoning heavy psych scene of San Diego which includes exciting bands like Harsh Toke, Joy and Sacri Monti...






"Skeleton Tree" (NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS)

The expression of loss. In the powerful, atmospheric, eloquent and poetic way of Cave...









"III : Trauma" (HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY)

Magnificent, focused, powerful. Offers unusually poetic lyrics for a post black metal album, acute songwriting and fabulous guitar work. Another one born out of pain?








"You Want It Darker" (LEONARD COHEN)

No sentimentality in this choice. As you can see Bowie doesn't make my list. Even to his last album he has managed to remain sexually spiritual. And his eternal search to understand the existence of a God reaches an end. In the past he has been eloquently sarcastic, here he is venomously sarcastic. I think he reached his conclusion before he passed away...





"Sacri Monti" (SACRI MONTI)

Another from the exciting San Diego scene. Solid debut...










"Hoka" (NAKHO & MEDICINE FOR THE PEOPLE)

HOKA is a call to action (I think), Nakho having Puerto Rican, Apache and Filipino blood running through his veins. The music has changed probably to accommodate the band and it's very successful concerts. Politically poetic and upbeat...







"Feathers & Flesh" (AVATAR)

Concept : An Owl takes on the world. One of the most musically inventive bands in Metal...









RE-RELEASE OF THE YEAR
"Pretty...Slow" (FUCK) vinyl

With all the big name re-issues of the year (Pink Floyd etc) this little gem of lo-fi indie americana from 20 years ago deserves to be
discovered by a new generation or the ones who missed it first time around when it was released in a handmade clamshell box with various tidbits thrown in along the CD. A long lost gem...






SONG OF THE YEAR  : "The Eagle Has Landed" (AVATAR)














Thursday, December 8, 2016

ARDA & THE STOLEN MOON

For the past year I've been busy producing and promoting the music of a new singer/songwriter- Arda. We have created an organic, warm, indie folk/rock album with pop overtones. The album
has garnered some very good reviews overseas and international airplay.

Arda & the Stolen Moon will be playing some gigs. You should check them out....

Friday, June 24, 2016

BREXONERATION

You cannot really criticise the Britons for voting the way they did (not just because of the way democracy works). There will be good and bad repercussions. And it is in the hands of dimwit politicians to manage whether the good outweighs the bad.
But with words like: "We have won our independence back", one really wonders whether IQ (as well as EQ) tests should be mandatory for all politicians. Try your luck in a globalised economy and let's see how independent you can be...

Of course, you can't blame them for criticising the EU for the beaurocratic ways and decision making.
Everybody knows they suck big time. For example, in this country, the EU funds cooking TV shows
to promote multiculturalism. As if what lies between me and my fellow human being is a bowl of borscht or a plate of chicken Moo Goo Gai Pan. A fool and his money is soon parted...

Or, for example, the decision to leave out of the EU 2 million migrants (mostly Syrian) but let in 80 million Turks. Nonsensical...

Meanwhile, "the bleeding hearts and artists make their stand" (RW)...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

THE "YOU'RE SO VAIN "LEADERS", YOU PROBABLY THINK THIS BLOG IS ABOUT YOU" BLOG

More than 160 "leaders" and their countries are to sign a historic climate change deal that will SAVE THE PLANET!!!!

Well, well, well...
These half-assed dimwits whose bleeding hearts are dripping GMO blood will save the planet!

No, they don't! The planet doesn't need to be saved. The human race needs to be saved. The planet will be here long after humans have gone. Nature will swallow us and spit out the bits it does not and
cannot use. Then, it will regenerate itself as it has done for millennia, with or without US.

Save the planet, my ass. Herculean humans, show-me-where-to-stand-and-I-shall-move-the-earth-humans.
This planet ain't doomed, humans are...
And then,  maybe another spaceship will crash on this planet and a couple of horny male aliens will survive.
Well, you know they are not going after the giraffe...(climb up and kiss, climb down and f**k, climb up and kiss, climb down and f**k). It's just not practical. They'll go after the monkey...and that is how SOME (not all) monkeys will evolve into humans and f**k it all up again...
History works in cycles, right?



We do not belong here
This planet was a terrarium
Seven billion bastards
Screaming for their Daddy

Darwin tried explaining it
Darwin did the best he could
Evolution, pretty theory
But how could Darwin know

That aliens came and f****d the monkey

                                                                     "No Missing Link"      (DAN BERN)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

THE ALARMING JUXTAPOSITION

The Triumph of the Human Spirit

WOMAN
      is
MOTHER
      is
NATURE
      is
   LIFE









The Spiritual Breakdown of Humans

AM : Herr Sultan 3 billion euros to stop refugees
RTE : 3 billion euros? You drive a hard bargain   
          guzel! How much per head does that come 
          to? Mehmeeeeeet! Tell the slave to bring
          some of our fine turkish coffee. We shall
          enjoy our coffee in golden cups, on the 
          golden coffee table while we sit on the
          golden thrones...eer chairs. So how much 
          per head, guzel?
AM : Need to go to the toilet herr Sultan...
RTE: It's down the corridor guzel Merkel. Don't
         use too much of the golden paper, it's
         expensive...
                                                                                    


Not the executioner will scare me
Nor the hate and torture
Nor the barrels of death's rifles
Nor the shadows on the wall

Nor the night
when the last star of pain is falling down

But the blind indifference
of the merciless world

"Ikke Bødlen"              (Halfdan Rasmussen)          

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

BEST MUSIC OF 2015

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Abyss by Chelsea Wolfe

A quite personal and dark affair, excruciatingly heavy and doomy
at times. Chelsea Wolf said in an interview that she makes her guitar go places where her voice cannot. She also understands music dynamics and her compositions resemble a rudderless vessel at the mercy of tsunami waves. There is a certain hollowness you feel inside when the music's over. Wolfe's unconventional vision has created a masterful album teetering between the avant garde
and accessibility, the best album of 2015!






"Primrose Green" by RYLEY WALKER

Riley's old fashioned finger style acoustic guitar style, although owing plenty to the 60s British masters, is enchantingly and elegantly understated with rich psychedelic harmonic overtones colouring the airwaves that tickle the ears. Seriously unique...








"Psychic Warfare" by CLUTCH

The old headbanger in you will have a tough time keeping up with this one. You will get a sore neck because Clutch have evolved into a mean furious machine. Stoner? Nah, just hard hitting roc n' roll...









"Universal Themes" by SUN KIL MOON

Mark Kozelek is genius! "Benji" may have gotten better reviews but I find this one more intriguing. It's cool to experiment but it's cooler to experiment and get results. It is immeasurably difficult to deliver this stream-of-consciousness lyrical style with such confident and exhilarating storytelling. Amazing vocal delivery as he shifts from shouty to spoken effortlessly. A work of avant art...






"Tomorrow Is My Turn" by RHIANNON GIDDENS

Take a super talented member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and put her in a studio with supreme producer T Bone Burnett and you will get a timeless, knowledgeable masterpiece that reaches out to the blues, jazz, country and gospel. Giddens has impeccable knowledge (let alone taste) of the roots of American music. Hauntingly graceful she may be the most talented of her generation...




"Below The Belt" by JAMES LEG

James Leg (John Wesley Myers) is like a man possessed as he continues to preach his hyper garage punk blues (like he did with Black Diamond Heavies). Really, who needs a guitar when a distorted Fender Rhodes sounds so devilish! His Tom Waitsian voice adds more to the shambolic nature. A close listen will reveal just how excellent an instrumentalist he is. Check out the infectious southern rock/mariachi Casa de Fuego. It will make you hit the repeat button until you run out of fingerprints!




"Love, Fear And The Time Machine" by RIVERSIDE

Marius Duda has perfected the Gilmour-ish side of Floyd. The elegance, the eloquence, the majestic gentleness that emanates from this work is unparalleled...if only David Gilmour was playing the guitar on this...








"Children Of The Night" by TRIBULATION

Swedish death metal. But wait, there are some goth undertones. And it has some proggy bits. Hey, there is some black metal feel about it, too. And what am I hearing? Is that old skool riffs?
It all blends together immaculately without holding back the forcefulness of this metal masterpiece...







"Hey Joe Opus Red Meat" by OTIS TAYLOR

Fancy a different take (or two) on Hey Joe?
It gets the atmospheric trance blues Otis Taylor treatment...










"Ashes & Dust" by WARREN HAYNES & RAILROAD EARTH

Does Warren ever take a break to rest? He definitely has the Midas Touch and can probably play anything. He can be as heavy as Metallica with Gov't Mule, reggae, southern rock jams...
Here he plays more acoustic than electric guitar with the much underrated Railroad Earth and the results are exceptional...







"Kyrr " by KONTINUUM

Paying tribute to fellow Icelanders Solstafir, Kontinuum switch direction to a more atmospheric and melancholic post goth metal. The sound of cold isolation.
There must be something in the water there in Iceland...








"Blue Room" ANA & MILTON POPOVIC

A pretty straightforward covers album but made with a bucketful of affection towards these songs....










RE-RELEASE OF THE YEAR
"Amused To Death" by ROGER WATERS


The best Pink Floyd album after The Wall...












SONG OF THE YEAR
"Long Strange Golden Road" by THE WATERBOYS

Mike Scott is the Bob Dylan of the UK. There are many autobiographical songs out there. "Alive" (PEARL JAM), "At Seventeen" (JANIS IAN), "Tangled Up In Blue" (BOB DYLAN), "Bedsitter Images" (AL STEWART), "The Loner" (NEIL YOUNG), "Coal Miner's Daughter" (LORETTA LYNN) to name a few. This eclipses most of them! Stunning delivery by Mike Scott backed by seasoned Nashville session men. And a hammond organ to die for...





Long Strange Golden Road