fredag 31. januar 2014

31012014 - Chelsea Wolfe "Pain Is Beauty"

I had literally no idea what to expect when I started listening to this album, mostly based on a recommendation from a certain well known web based shopping site where I have sometimes spent just a tiny amount of time. And money. My curiosity was further aroused by the simplistic mock-goth album cover and title, so let's just say I had a good feeling about this one. From the first song, it's apparent that Ms. Wolfe has spent some time with her PJ Harvey albums, but her self styled doom-drenched electric folk might also appeal to fans of such varied acts as Concrete Blonde, Portishead, True Widow, Cat's Eyes, Devics and Julee Cruise. Apparently she's a huge fan of both black metal and hip-hop, and has shared the stage with Sunn O))), Swans and Boris, but there's not a lot here that reminds me of those acts. This album contains a frail, wavering beauty, but also enough pure rock energy to wipe away any suspicion of weakness or innocence. I believe this might be a grower, and after my first listen I am willing to give this album plenty of opportunities to build on what is already a both intriguing and bewitching first impression.

torsdag 30. januar 2014

30012014 - David Crosby "Croz"

Brand new David Crosby album, you say? Don't mind if I do! Not exactly one to flood the shelves, it's been 24 years since his last solo album and 10 years since his last output altogether, the eponymously titled album by Crosby & Nash. So... What does this 72 year old legend sound like 50 years into his career? Well, upon first listen I have to say that "Croz" sits comfortably next to the three other solo albums of his. His voice is, if anything, less rugged and more - dare I say - angelic than before, and the songs are laid-back, Steely Dan-esquely pleasant and sunny, and would perhaps sit better if listened to from a Californian patio or a Riviera boat deck than Norway in the middle of the winter, but until this can be the soundtrack of the summer - and I have a feeling that it will be - it can at least bring its own sunshine to your day.

onsdag 29. januar 2014

29012014 - Sarah Jaffe "The Body Wins"

Sarah Jaffe is a wonderful bird, and even if you have never heard of her chances are you have heard her absolutely mesmerizing voice on a different, pretty high profiled album from last year. I first became aware of her through Midlake, some of whose members feature in her band on this album. Her previous record had a more conventional singer/songwriter feel to it, albeit with great songs, but "The Body Wins" is a different beast, from time to time bringing to mind artists like Sinéad O'Connor, Fiona Apple, Ane Brun, Rufus Wainwright or the marvellous John Grant, without ever letting go of what is truly her own identity. Some of the songs are as beautiful and pristine as falling snow in an enchanted forest, others pulsate sultrily to the rhythm of Jaffe's pulse. The end result is an album that will enchant you, seduce you and haunt your dreams!

tirsdag 28. januar 2014

28012014 - Wicked Lady "Psychotic Overkill"

Another day, another obscure psych rock revelation! How obscure is this? It's so obscure the band don't even have a Wikipedia entry! There is, however, a Black Sabbath link in here somewhere, but I shall leave it to the archeologists amongst you to look up that one... Apart from a rather unnecessary version of "Voodoo Chile", the tracks on their second and last album are really great and the riffapalooza on the remaining six songs, including the epic 22 minute long album closer "Ship of Ghosts", should please all fans of fuzz and lovers of loudness! Great tunes, brilliant musicianship and enough heaviness for this 1972 release to qualify as proper proto-metal! I am going to check out their first album, "The Axeman Cometh" right away! Oh, did I mention that Wicked Lady was another power trio? Yeah - sometimes you can have it all!

mandag 27. januar 2014

27012014 - Cyndi Lauper "True Colors"

I had a lot of fun checking out a whole Paul Young album recently after needing to hear one of the songs on there, so when the lovely title track to Cyndi Lauper's second album album insisted upon my brain it was time to do the same. Again I knew the singles here, like the brilliant album opener "Change of Heart" plus the song "True Colors" itself, but I had never listened to the entire thing. I have to say that apart from the singles - including her cover versions of "What's Going On" and "Iko Iko" - this album is mostly filler material, albeit reasonably enjoyable filler material. The list of guests on this album is extremely impressive though, and I had no idea that Billy Joel and Aimee Mann appeared here - both of them more or less hidden on some of the more anonymous tracks, though. Shame.

søndag 26. januar 2014

26012014 - Fire "Could you Understand me"

A heavy psych rock power trio from the former Yugoslavia? With a record from the very year of 1973? Yeah, baby, that's what I'm talking about! These crazy Croatian cats had certainly got their Cream, Blue Cheer and Hendrix groove on, and they had the tunes to match the 'tude! Apparently the band were not understood in their native country, and the album cover even had them banned, but they sensibly relocated to Holland to record this, their only album and the rest is cult history!

lørdag 25. januar 2014

25012014 - Tommy Tokyo "We Blister and We Bleed"

Tommy Tokyo is a tender and soft voiced man. Perhaps a bit too tender and soft voiced? I can't seem to decide. The 11 songs that make up this album are indeed beautiful, but if you're not in the mood for extreme mellowness this will not be the droid you're looking for. However, if soulful country-tinged downtempo pop is what you seek, look no further. Tokyo's voice contains a warmth and sadness that at times only slightly lies above a whisper, but can also rise to melodramatic heights on some of the tracks. When he turns the tempo up a bit over halfway throughout, on "Torture Behind the Door", the album picks up a bit, but apart from that and one other song "We Blister and We Bleed" is an orgy of softness. In conclusion - a mellow album for mellow moments.

fredag 24. januar 2014

24012014 - Sam Gopal "Escalator"

Today's album: Sam Gopal's Dream "Escalator". Pretty cool, but not awesome. Lemmy is awesome, though. And he wrote this album. In one evening, on speed! Lemmy! Lemmy rules!

torsdag 23. januar 2014

23012014 - Robert Pehrsson's Humbucker "Robert Pehrsson's Humbucker "

When someone tells you that a band sounds like the perfect combo between The Hellacopters and Thin Lizzy it's time to listen, and listen good! Of course, this is not the first time a Swedish band has mastered this combination, something bands like Dead Lord and, of course, the mighty Imperial State Electric have showed us. This is definitely not better than the latest outputs of those two bands, nor does it quite match last year's Black Star Riders album - not after the first listen anyway, but it's definitely good. I will return to this album, and I would love to check out the band live!

onsdag 22. januar 2014

22012014 - Arctic Monkeys "AM"

This album has been voted one of last year's best releases by the international music press, so it was time to take a listen. Obviously I had heard some of the songs here before, like the enjoyable and heavily Black Keys-influenced album opener "Do I Wanna Know". I have never listened much to this band before, but when track two also resembles the aforementioned Ohio duo more than just a little bit I get curious. Is this pretty damn good or too derivative? Five tracks that are very Keysy listening (see what I did there?) go by - and I'm liking them - before they turn down the tempo with the soulful "No. 1 Party Anthem" - a song title that belongs on a LMFAO album, but a song that reminds me of the classic British bands from the mid-nineties. In a good way! The last half of the album has some forgettable songs, but the last track, "I Wanna Be Yours" is just lovely, and in general I found myself really enjoying this record.

tirsdag 21. januar 2014

21012014 - Wild Rose "Dangerous"

I knew nothing about this band until I stumbled upon on of their songs yesterday through one of the many great AOR groups on Facebook. This is their latest album, released last year, and it wasn't until I had listened through all of it, enjoying their lush classic AOR tunes reminiscent of great melodic rock bands like Survivor, Journey, Toto and Def Leppard that I discovered that these guys hail from Greece and not California. Very enjoyable and highly recommended for fans of melodic rock. I will definitely keep an eye out for Wild Rose in the future!

mandag 20. januar 2014

20012014 - Dirty Looks "Cool from the Wire"

Dirty Looks from Pennsylvania were the hottest AC/DC-copyists around for about a week back in the eighties. They kept it going until 2011, when founding member Henrik Ostergaard (guitar/vocals) died from liver failure, and released a bunch of albums. Some of the songs here are brilliant, and I would like to have been able to catch them live, but there's still not a lot here that make me want to scream and shout about this album as a whole.

søndag 19. januar 2014

19012014 - Fergie Frederiksen "Happiness is the Road"

Today I learned that Fergie Frederiksen succumbed to cancer yesterday. Last year he released the brilliant "Any Given Moment", an album I really enjoyed, so this was a sad, but perfect occasion to check out his previous record, "Happiness is the Road", released in 2011. Like his last release this is a album filled with great AOR tunes that any fan of Frederiksen's previous bands, AngelToto and Survivor, will enjoy. Goodnight, sweet prince!

lørdag 18. januar 2014

18012014 Bobbie Gentry "Local Gentry"

Today is my birthday, so I'm not gonna write much. This album does not include her song "Ode to Billie Joe", which might be one of the coolest, saddest and sexiest songs ever, but it includes some Beatles covers + Bobbie's VOICE! In other words - pure luv!

fredag 17. januar 2014

17012014 - Rosanne Cash "The River & The Thread"

Sometimes you gotta make it easy for yourself. So when I read a review from a journalist I actually trust, saying that the new Rosanne Cash album is one of the first contenders for Album of the Year that was all I needed to check it out. And although it's WAY too early to call anything Album of the Year just yet, there's no doubt that it's absolutely beautiful, full of great songs and a heartwarming, soul soothing album on a cold winter's day.

torsdag 16. januar 2014

16012014 - Cocktail Slippers "People Talk"

Sunshine, lolipops and rainbows plus a bunch of references to bands I like! This and more is what the foxy fivesome that is Oslo Rock City's Cocktail Slippers deliver, and they deliver it good! Softer than Sweden's Tiger Bell, but with plenty of the same influences - only more sugar infused - the Steven Van Zandt sanctioned ladies combine colour, catchiness and class with party rocking pop sensibilities that more than hint at a love for all things Blondie, Bangles and Big Star! Every single track here boosts huge hooks and choruses, and for a band that not so much wear their influences on their sleeves as print them in bold letters all over their cocktail dresses there's an impressive lack of direct tune theft. Me likes!

onsdag 15. januar 2014

15012014 - Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers "Music of Many Colours"

Today has been a sad day for the Norwegian music community, with the news of the passing of two fine men, Mr. Tor Milde, music journalist extraordinaire and Mr. Per Eirik Johansen, one of the Norwegian music industry's most respected people. Both men were genuine music lovers and all over good guys, and I count myself lucky to have known them. Neding some musical relief, I turned to one of Johansen's favorites (and friends), Fela Kuti, here in a collaboration with Roy Ayers. The two tracks that make out this album are both around 18 minutes long, and mix afro-beat, highlife, jazz, funk and r'n'b in wonderful way, bringing a well needed smile back to my face.

tirsdag 14. januar 2014

14012014 - Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings "Give the People What They Want"

My first meeting with The Dap Kings was without the wonderful Ms Jones. They were Amy Winehouse's backing band at the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden, and although this was one of the occasions when the haystack haired one lasted the whole show without falling over or making a total fool of herself - although she was definitely, by her own charming definition, "cunted", the reason why the show didn't fall apart was obvious. Those wonderful Kings of Dap saved the 'House from collapsing like a sand castle under a tidal wave, and actually brought some glimmers of magic to the performance as a whole. And, of course, when Sharon Jones is behind the mic, what you get is warm, authentic soul that only a very bad person could dislike. And I am not a bad person!

mandag 13. januar 2014

13012014 - Bruce Springsteen "High Hopes"

Yes, I'm aware that this is an extremely unimaginative choice, but it's Bruce and it's out today, sow how could I not check it out? I must admit that I had quite high hopes myself, mostly because several tracks feature Tom Morello, and the performance of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" with the two together remains one of the most goose bump inducing live clips I have ever seen. A pretty damn great version of the song, with more or less the same Morello guitar solo, is included here, but where I had wanted more raw rock nerve like that on the album in general this is a very polite and subdued pop album. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but on first listen I can't help but feel a bit disappointed.

søndag 12. januar 2014

12012014 - Paul Young "No Parlez"

What happened here, you say? Well, all of a sudden and completely out of nowhere I wanted to hear "Come Back and Stay" - as you do - and so I thought what the heck? In for a penny, etcetera... After all, the man did have a golden voice (and probably still does), so it couldn't be all that bad? An indeed, what I got was more or less exactly what's to be expected from an album released in 1983; dated production, cheesy synths and some positively cringeworthy "dramatic" backing vocals. Some of the songs still work today though, and I discovered that Noah and the Whale stole their song "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N." from one of the singles here. That aside, Young's cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is totally redundant (you really need something special to get away with doing that song), and calling a song "Ku Ku Kurama" is as ridiculous as trying to be edgy with the song "Sex" (sample line: "Sex - that's where we all come from"), that even dares to sample James Brown! "Come Back and Stay" is still brilliant, though. Listened to that song five times in a row...

lørdag 11. januar 2014

11012014 - West, Bruce & Laing "Whatever Turns You On"

Ah, the mighty power trio! After one of my previous posts, where i sang the praises of this classic band format, I got a tip to check out this gem. And who am I to argue? WBL were formed in 1972 by two parts Mountain and one part Cream, and somehow managed to resist calling themselves Creamy MountainMount Cream or anything equally stupid. They released 3 albums, of which this was the second, released in the great year of 1973 - probably the best year in Rock! A brilliant album all over, with lots of great tunes, and any record with a song titled "Scotch Crotch"is fine by me.

fredag 10. januar 2014

10012014 - Manilla Road "Mysterium"

Remember the other day when I was looking for the new Manilla Road album, but found a completely different band? Well, I finally remembered to check it out, and it only took me a week! Impressed? Well, I am. By "Mysterium", that is. This is classic epic Metal for people who love Metal, and I do love me some METAL! There is nothing modern or contemporary about this, and thank Odin for that! This is just a solid hard rocking Metal album by a great band, and I'm definitely going to listen to it again. And again!

torsdag 9. januar 2014

09012014 - Kal-El "Pakal"

This Norwegian stoner rock band mention the usual suspects as influences; Kyuss, Unida, Nebula, Hermano etc. Oh, and Black Sabbath. And you can definitely tell this from listening to their debut album, where they wear their influences on their sleeves - Not that there's anything wrong with that! Apparently some of the members have a background from gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy, and one can imagine how refreshing it must feel to just groove out instead. Kal-El do nothing new, but what they do is done good. Definitely recommended for fans of the above mentioned bands!

onsdag 8. januar 2014

08012014 - Elvis Presley "Today"

Today is Elvis Day, as The King would have turned 79 years old! What better reason to check out one of his last studio albums? "Today" was released in 1975, and is 70's Elvis at his best! OK, that's not saying much, because you either think all his 70's stuff is wonderful or you're wrong, but even without any H-U-G-E hits on it, this album has everything you need from the man - rockers, ballads and lovely heartfelt schmaltz! Me, I love his semi-originals and his cover songs equally much, and I always will! Fun fact: "Today" reached #11 in the Norwegian album chart - higher than in any other country!

Happy Elvis Day!

tirsdag 7. januar 2014

07012014 - Hate "Anaclasis - A Gospel of Malice and Hatred"

Still slightly pissed off after yesterday's hype-o-rama rant and needing to let off some steam, I needed something loud, fast and furious for today's album. Inspired after research I did for a feature in the upcoming issue of Metal Hammer Norway, I decided to check out the presumably best album by Polish death metal heroes Hate. The album in question, Anaclasis, a Gospel of Malice and Hatred, is their fifth studio album, released in 2005, and a scorcher that had me headbanging and grinning happily. Technically brilliant, aggressive and brutal, yet controlled and complex. Well worth my time, and highly recommended!

mandag 6. januar 2014

06012014 - Fjorden Baby! "Fjordkloden!

This album was voted the best Norwegian album of 2013 by a bunch of music critics, including the entire cast of Norway's biggest daily newspaper, VG, so as a guy who likes to be informed and - equally important - voice my opinions on various subjects, it was time to check it out. And being kind of an asshole, I must admit that I kind of wanted to hate "Fjordkloden" just because of the hype, but I don't. It doesn't suck, and parts of it are actually quite enjoyable. However, Fjorden Baby! are by no means the saviours of Norwegian rock as some people claim, and this is far from the best album of 2013! OK, so they reference a bunch of 80's bands. Whoop-de-bloody-doo, so what? You can tell the band are having fun, I will give them that, but apart from that I am not moved, touched, excited or thrilled by this record. And don't even get me started on their "quirky" lyrics...!

søndag 5. januar 2014

05012014 - Fuzz "Fuzz"

Sometimes the stars align and send music your way without any fuss, and this time they sent the eponymous album by the band Fuzz (See what I did there?. This band is the brainchild of hyperactive prodigy Ty Segall, who last year released a solo album plus several singles and EP's in addition to this psyched out gem! The band name says it all, basically, and the tunes on their debit album are drenched in fuzz pedal stomping & pill popping psychedelia with power chords a plenty and enough attitude to last a lifetime! It's nothing you haven't heard before, but their Stooges meets Sabbath with a hint of Spacemen 3 delivery is convincing enough to make me a fan. Play it loud!

lørdag 4. januar 2014

04012014 - Cirith Ungol "Paradise Lost"

No idea why I haven't checked out Cirith Ungol's fourth and last album before now, but better late than never. "Paradise Lost" was released in 1991, and has apparently been unavailable in physical format for ages. This is of course not an issue in the days of streaming services and YouTube, so unless you absolutely need a hard copy it's easy to find this album. And from opening track "Join the Legion" this is pure hard rocking metal bliss. Fast ones, slow ones, light melodic stuff, slow brooding stuff... Hell, even a cover of Arthur Brown chestnut "Fire" that really works! Yup, it's all good. So guys - how about a reunion?

fredag 3. januar 2014

03012014 - Road "Road"

Yes! This is the kind of randomness my little blog project is designed for! Looking for the new Manilla Road album on WiMP and not finding it (not any other albums by the band either, for that matter), I tried entering just the search word "Manilla", to see if that helped. It didn't. Neither did "Manila". Well - you never know... I guess you can tell where this is heading. Yup, I tried "Road" as well, not really having any hopes of finding what I originally looked for, but perhaps there would be something from the old Norwegian hard rock band Road? Nope, not even a song from any of their albums. What I did find though, was the only album by the American band Road, released in 1972. This band featured none other than the legendary Noel Redding, best known as the bass player in  The Jimi Hendrix Experience. While by no means groundbreaking, the album is a pleasant little thing with plenty of wah wah and a decent groove. Worth checking out? Definitely, if you're a fan of 70's bluesy semi-psychedelic power trios (and who isn't?). Will I check it out again? I really don't know. At least, this is no longer the Road not taken... (Sorry, couldn't resist that one!)

torsdag 2. januar 2014

02012014 - Raga Rockers "Faktor X"

Just before the end of 2013 the most excellent Raga Rockers released their 12. studio album, "Faktor X", and today I finally got my wits together and checked it out. While definitely not a classic album it absolutely has its moments, like album opener "Desperado", "Idol" and "Ånden Som Går". There seems to be some growers here as well, so all in all my conclusion is that this is a decent album, the sound of grown men doing what they want, which is exactly what they want to do, nothing more, nothing less. Good, but not great.

onsdag 1. januar 2014

01012014 - 38 Special "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys"

2014 is a fact, and what better way to start the year than starting a blog. Yup. A blog. Me. No need to expect any deep insights or views on the world, though. This blog is inspired by the great John Dyer Baizley of Baroness whom I once (well, several times) interviewed for Metal Hammer Norway. During  my first chat with him he revealed that he listens to at least one album he has never heard before each day.

An Album a Day.

This inspired me to do the same. After all, during the 24 hours in a day, who doesn't have at least 30 minutes available to listen to new music? Bear in mind - this can be done while working, cooking or surfing the internet. So for the last year or so I have done this, and I will now also try to document my discoveries - day by day, album by album.

An Album a Day.

Don't expect full reviews or anything. I write those for MHN. I will mostly write a couple of sentences, but as I am amongst the privileged few who get music before the official release dates, I will sometimes limit myself to statements along the lines of "Just got the latest Behemoth album. Boy, you are in for a treat!" At least I will attempt to tell you whether I recommend an album or if it's a shit sandwich.

So, without further ado, I present the first album of the year, and the first album in this blog. And it's the 1081 gem "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys" by 38 Special. I have been aware of these guys for ages, but never checked out a full album before now, and I chose this one because of the opening track, "Hold On Loosely", a melodic southern rock gem to match the best of 'em. The rest of the album mostly lives up to the promise of this song, especially vocalist Donnie Van Zant, now also of legends Lynyrd Skynyrd. I will definitely work my way through the rest of the band's back catalogue as well.

So there you have it. Now, let's see if I manage to follow through with one more album every single day.

An Album a Day.