Album of the Year
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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.
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?"