So I found this list of the 20 most underrated albums ever, and the time has come to start checking out those I haven't already heard. Well, at least those I am able to track down. #20 on that list is this little masterpiece by the King of Mambo, Señor Perez Prado. The album starts off with the 23 minute long "Voodoo Suite", a piece that could be the exotica sibling of Miles Davis' "Sketches of Spain"! Dramatic, moody and simply brilliant! The rest of the album is six short tunes, none of which breach the 3 minute mark, but all of them with distinct personalities and a whole lotta sass! You could imagine this music in a dive bar, a strip joint or a Tarantino movie, and you should be drinking tiki cocktails while listening to it! Just check out the latinofied version of the classic "In the Mood", and you'll know what I'm talking about. Love it!
fredag 30. mai 2014
The last album in this week's Buffalo trilogy is by a band that does not have the word "Buffalo" in their name. But the album is called "Buffalo" and their name is awesome, so that's all I crave. And this album is pretty damn rockin' as well! The music is Clutch inspired groovy stoner-ish hard'n'heavy grit rock, with a vocalist who can out-growl a herd of death metal demons! This trio does include some Kyuss-isms here, but they wear them well, and even their silly little "Cotton Fields" cover is unable to ruin the mood. Yeah, crack open a beer, crank the stereo up real loud and climb aboard The Midnight Ghost Train. The final destination is a place called Cool!
torsdag 29. mai 2014
Yes, another band with the word "Buffalo" in the band name! You know those albums where you around halfway through find yourself really enjoying the thing? You know, physically digging it, to the point of nodding your head, tapping your foot or just moving in rhythm with the music, and realising that you have been doing this for a while? This is one of those, and to me that's a sign of an album that might be invited to stay with you for a while, perhaps ending up as a new favorite. The last time this happened to me was when I fell under the spell of Elder's fantastic album "Dead Roots Stirring", and this record has some of the same qualities: the hypnotizing and heavy riffs, the great melodies and that spellbinding je ne sais quoi that makes me want to put this album on repeat for the rest of the year! There are parts here that remind me of vintage Motorpsycho, others that are more classic rock and bits of both desert and swamp. All fans of great hard rock, regardless of labels or tags, should check this album out!
onsdag 28. mai 2014
Buffalo Killers. One of many bands with the word "Buffalo" in the band name. Starting off rocking, noisy and groovy, and following up in the same vein. Like Collective Soul and Raging Slab jamming with Crazy Horse and, perhaps, the tiniest bit of Alabama Shakes thrown in for good measure? As the album progresses, there's less grit and more harmonies and mellowness, bringing to mind a muddier Teenage Fanclub or a more psychedelic Jayhawks. It's definitely good, but the first half of this record - the one with the RAWK - holds my attention a lot more than the second half. And those white reggae things are just pointless. On this album and more or less any other album by more or less any other band.
tirsdag 27. mai 2014
How can you not want to check out a band called Glitter Wizard? The cover might look like another New Wave of Proto Metal band - not that there's anything wrong with that - but these guys are as much glam and psychedelia as they are stoner and heavy metal. There's a flute. There's a song about worshipping the devil with the sentence "Hate the sinner, love the sin". And another called "Mötorider". And is that a saxophone I hear on "Ragdoll (Deux)"? It's pretty corny, but also really cool, like that dude in the schoolyard with a leather waistcoat over a too short Barbie t-shirt. It might be a joke, but you're afraid to ask. There's hints of Hawkwind and Heep in here, but also both Sabbath, Motörhead, Steppenwolf and more. Most of all though, there's the spirit of Diamond Nights - and how I miss them! Whether or not you take Glitter Wizard's image seriously, there's no denying that their songs are great, and that's for real!
mandag 26. mai 2014
This album turned up on a list by some album cover artist of his own favorite album covers. And the cover is great - good enough to make me want to check out the music. With no idea whatsoever what to expect I put this on, and the first song out sounds like somebody who's either very much influenced by Tom Waits or one of Waits' own influences. So which one is it? Well, a quick internet search tells me that Stoneking has released two proper albums, this being the second, in 2005 and 2008 respectively. So the vintage sound is not from the 40's after all, but the yodeling, the balladeering and the soft blues moaning is just as authentic as anything you could ever have dug up from the archives. How Stoneking was still in his thirties when he sang this is beyond me, and so is the fact that he is Australian, and not from the Mississippi Delta or, at least, New Orleans. If anything, this reminds me of Taj Mahal's early records, and that's definitely a compliment! Do yourself a favor and check this out!
søndag 25. mai 2014
I have to admit that "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is the only Iron Butterfly album I have checked out before, but I got a tip to give their debut album a listen, and here we are. Although the album title is a bit of a misnomer, I really enjoy the songs on "Heavy". It's light and simple stuff, very easy to get into, and even though the organ features quite heavily on some of the songs here there is nothing to let on that only half a year later the band would let loose the 17 minute monster that is "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida". With the possible exception of "Iron Butterfly Theme", the blistering instrumental track that finishes the album, that is. Good stuff!
lørdag 24. mai 2014
Yes, it's time yet again for a full album from that dreaded decade - the 80's! This album came back in 1987, and contained three hit singles, the two biggest placed at the very end of this album. Before we get that far, there's a bunch of relatively pleasant pop - uptempo and mid- to low tempo. The third single, "I Saw Him Standing There", is actually one of the weakest tracks on the entire album. The rest has aged surprisingly well, and compared to a lot (most?) of other albums from the same era this sounds a lot less outdated productionwise than you would expect.Of course there are some fillers here as well, but no more than on any regular debut album from any decade. Putting the two #1 singles last on a pop album is a very brave move, but obviously that means ending the record on a high, and even after all these years "I Think We're Alone Now" is a wonderful tune that deserves its place in the Hit Single Hall of Fame! And when "Could've Been" finishes the album, it does so leaving you with a nostalgic smile on your face.
fredag 23. mai 2014
Phew - that was a close call! I was THIS close to choosing the new thing by Røyksopp & Robyn as today's album, just because it was there. I even pressed "play", and was prepared to let the dullness commence. But before I even had time to let out my first yawn, I discovered this saucy looking thing on my streaming player, and was intrigued by both band name, album title and cover! Another press on the "play" button, and softness in pop form washed over me like a cool summer breeze. Or like fresh cream on a bowl of sweet strawberries. This is simply the purest smooth west coast pop you could imagine, but in Norwegian. I'm not sure it should work, but I know it does! The songs hit my ears like a chilled glass of rose wine on a warm summer day, and I'm right there by the swimming pool with them. Could this be THE summer album of the year? Right now it is!
torsdag 22. mai 2014
The first track here has a Doors vibe, but without becoming annoying. Nice one! It's mostly the vocalist, though. The band has a stoner/blues/hillbilly/psych/garage/hard rock vibe that's The Nomads one moment and Danzig the next! On "She Comes to Me" they even manage to bring what sounds like a sitar into the mix and STILL not become annoying! Who are these people? How do they do it? The songs are great, the singer is awesome and the guitarist must come from Planet Cool! This makes The Black Keys sound like Bon Jovi and The Soundtrack of Our Lives sound like Toto (no disrespect to either, but you get my drift), and I just SO wanna see this band live! I will now proceed to check out the rest of their catalogue right away, and if it's half as good as this I might just have a new favorite band!
onsdag 21. mai 2014
The second song on this album, "Thanks for the Birthday Card", is so beautiful and sad that you will be all mushy and teary eyed by the end of it. The contrast to "Your Love Been So Good to Me" is immense, but that song shows the other end of Copeland's spectrum - groovy, soulful and raunchy. "The Music Box" sounds pretty sugary sweet until she starts sobbing towards the end of the song, and... well, the fact that there's sobbing says it all really. "The Silent Boatman" is dramatic and moody, and so it continues - each tune has its own mood, and the vocals are tailor-made for whatever that particular song demands: sad, sentimental, sensual and sugary sweet. And more. Simply brilliant!
tirsdag 20. mai 2014
I had no idea this woman even existed, and all of a sudden - THIS! An album with so much blues, so much soul and so much attitude that I'm equal parts ashamed for missing out all these years and thrilled about finally discovering this gem! How cool is this 1969 album, you ask? It's so cool that her backing band includes Brian Auger, Jack Bruce, Christine McVie, Stan Webb and Paul Kossoff! Plus some guy named Eric Clapton... And they don't even steal the show, no siree! When you have a voice like Veléz, you are the star of that show! I'm not entirely sure about the operatics of "A Very Good Fandango" though, but I guess it's a joke, and it probably seemed like a good idea at the time. The rest is pure groovy blues rock bliss!
mandag 19. mai 2014
German heavy metal from 1989. You know before you push play whether you will like this or not. It's powerful and melodic, but not power metal. They have strong choruses, but it's not post-Helloween happy metal. However, it's also a lot softer than the suspected Manowar leanings you could be led to expect by looking at the cover. All the songs here are instantly hummable, but this is still more than just run of the mill melodic metal. Inventive? No. Efficient? Yes! A classic? Perhaps. Enjoyable? Definitely!
søndag 18. mai 2014
"Blue Smoke" is Dolly Parton's 42nd album. Yes. Dolly Parton has made forty-two records, bitches! How many artists signed by a major label this year do you think will even get to make four albums? Not a lot! And yet, here she is, our Dolly, delivering a collections of new tunes plus a couple of old and borrowed tunes, and even some blue tunes. There's a duet with Kenny Rogers and another with Willie Nelson, both of which are better than they have any business being. And although Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice" has been done - and done well - by others, Dolly's version is gorgeous, even if it is a bit on the happy side. Her cover of Bon Jovi's "Lay Your Hands On Me" is a good candidate for the top spot in this month's "I didn't see that one coming"-category, but it works too. Hell, Dolly, like Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Maria McKee, could sing the phone book and still melt people's hearts! Dolly-tastic!
lørdag 17. mai 2014
The term "proto-metal" is thrown around a lot these days, but on some occasions the term really applies, and this is one of them. This was the second of the two albums released by the band Dust, a trio whose members all went on to bigger things. The drummer, a certain Mr. Marc Bell, garnered fame under the monicker Marky Ramone and bass player Kenny Aaronson played with several other acts, including Blue Öyster Cult, Joan Jett's Blackhearts, HSAS and The New York Dolls. So what is Dust all about? In addition to playing early American heavy metal, there's quite a bit of country music in here, but they manage to blend the two together quite nicely. Everything here is really good, but I particularly enjoy the vocals. Definitely an album to get to know a lot better!
fredag 16. mai 2014
Today marks 4 years since Ronnie James Dio left us for that Rainbow in the Dark, and I celebrate him by checking out what might be the only full album of his that I hadn't already heard. This was Elf's second album, released in 1974, and apart from the guitar player, Steve Edwards, this is the exact same band that would become Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow some years later. Dio's vocals are already unmistakably him, and the songs have more character than on Elf's self titled debut album - although that one also has its highlights. This album actually includes a song called "Rainbow", which, as far as I know, was Ronnie's first musical mention of one of his favorite subjects. Of course it's great, just like anything and everything with his vocals, and I salute him.
To Ronnie - the Man on the Silver Mountain!
torsdag 15. mai 2014
Someone recommended that I should check out the early albums by Donovan, and so I started with the one that had the silliest title. This is his eighth album, originally released in 1969, and does not include any of his major hits. It does, however, have the Jeff Beck Group as Donovan's backing band on several tracks, and a song about how much he loves his shirt. There's also no less than four songs with girls' names in the title, including the title track - what a player, eh? Good songs all over, and no lyrics about bodily functions, makes this a good place to start diving into his discography. I will continue my Donovan-investigation later!
onsdag 14. mai 2014
I have to admit it. I started listening to this album based on the cover, and was momentarily slightly disappointed upon discovering that the alluring Holly on the picture was not the performer here. This disappointment quickly disappeared though, as soon as it became clear that the young Mr. Nick Waterhouse has made an album of simply stunning bluesy R&B, reminiscent of both classics from the 50's and latter day cool cats such as Charles Bradley, The Dap Kings or even a less guitar-heavy Black Keys. His voice, the production and the songs are all top notch, so why don't you just stop reading and do yourself a favour and check this out? It's the right thing to do!
tirsdag 13. mai 2014
You never really check out the full albums by these groups, do you? Well, that's a shame, because there's a lot of gold being missed out on by... basically everybody! We all know "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", one of the most beautiful and tender songs by any girl group from this era, but there's plenty of other gems here. "Lower the Flame" is one, a grooving tune with lyrics about trying not to give in to teenage desire. "You Don't Want My Love" is another, and perhaps the album's highlight. I mean, those vocals! DAMN, there's so much feline soul and raunchy blues contained within the confines of that melody! The best songs are the soulful and sad ones, with "The Dance Is Over" and "Unlucky" towards the end of the album as great examples of this - you can almost feel the heartbreak! Yes, this album was released in 1961 and most people only know one song, perhaps two, but make no mistake - this is a wonderful album.
mandag 12. mai 2014
søndag 11. mai 2014
The follow up to The South's 2013 album "The Further Inside You Go..." opens with the impressive and beautiful 11 minute piece "No Escape/Don't Let Go", a journey in laidback melodic mellowness that is as gentle as a summer breeze and just as pleasant, but with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep you interested. The following "Desert Sounds" is a similarly pretty instrumental that leads up to the westcoast-y "Glimpse of What We Had", a song that should be on the radio all the time this summer (and every other summer from the early seventies until the end of days), blending The Allman Brothers with The Grateful Dead and The Eagles! "We Got Lucky" starts off all horny (because it's got horns on it - get it?), and is another lovely ditty with a choir and everything! "Psb6u-Blues" takes its time to get to the vocals, but grooves along like a steam engine train and sounds like it should be a blast live! Closing this most excellent album is the near 13 minute all but instrumental title track, another exercise in Allman Dead-isms that never stoops to mere plagiarism, but is an impressive sojourn into the place where their musical heroes dwell. The South just did it again!
lørdag 10. mai 2014
I remember back in 1989. Rainbirds had released the charmingly pretentiously titled album "Call Me Easy Say I'm Strong Love Me My Way It Ain't Wrong", featuring the gorgeous 10 minute single "Sea of Time". It also included a bunch of other lovely pop ditties, such as "Not Exactly", "Love Was Aleady There to Be Found" and "Love Is A Better Word (White City of Lights)". The latter two are included in new versions on this brand spanking new album, which I just discovered had been released because I wanted to check out the the original versions of the before mentioned songs. Sadly the new recordings don't get close to doing the originals justice, and the new songs are just plain dull. Sometimes a stayaway is better than a comeback...
fredag 9. mai 2014
The opening track on this record, "High Coin", written by Van Dyke Parks, sounds like The Byrds, but with a saxophone. Further in they combine some lovely vocal harmonies with rampant guitar licks and bluesy tunes that bring Big Brother and the Holding Company to mind. This was their only album, released in 1969, and you can tell how these guys became important in defining the "San Francisco Sound". I'm not too sure what to make of their cover of "Folsom Prison Blues" though, as it's relatively true to the original, thus making it pretty out of place in this setting, but I guess they had their reasons. Most of the songs are pretty cool though, with the frantic "The Blues Ain't Nothin'" as a personal immediate fave!
torsdag 8. mai 2014
I stumbled upon this band by chance. Streets was formed by Kansas vocalist Steve Walsh, and this was the first of two albums in total released by the group. Other members included Billy Greer, who would go on to play bass in Kansas, and Mike Slamer, formerly of City Boy. This is more straight forward hard rock than Kansas, with some lovely tinges of AOR and just a touch of pompous grandiosity here and there. Mostly though, it reminds me a lot of Foreigner, and that's always a good thing!
onsdag 7. mai 2014
Finding any information about this album is not easy, and googling the band name is obviously completely futile. I can only assume that this was the sole output of what looks to have been a short lived combo with a penchant for funky and groovy stuff, musically somewhere at the crossroads of Sly and the Family Stone and Earth Wind & Fire. Not a bad crossroads, I must say! The winner here is obviously the album cover, but the songs are pretty cool as well.
tirsdag 6. mai 2014
This was the second album by the British band Nirvana, released in 1968, and a typical album for its time. It's got all the psychedelic trimmings, from the children's choir all the way to the hurdy gurdy! You have your catchy tunes, your not so catchy tunes and your general silliness (I believe General Silliness was Sergeant Pepper's superior officer in the Psychedelic Army), including the full album title: "The Existence of Chance Is Everything and Nothing While the Greatest Achievement Is the Living of Life, and so Say All of Us". Silly, silly, silly! As a whole the great tunes on this record outnumber the generic, even though those are also found here, and the album is well worth checking out if you're into classic psychedelic rock.
mandag 5. mai 2014
Yes, of course this is Irish Skid Row, with Gary Moore on guitar! "34 Hours" was released in 1971, and includes some pretty long songs. The title refers to how long it took the band to record this album. The material here is quite a bit trippier and jammier (that's got to be a word) than on their debut album, and ranges between nice'n'groovy and just a tad too self indulgent for its own good - sometimes within the same song. It's a breath of fresh air when they go all country on the shorter "Lonesome Still". Not bad, not mindblowingly great.
søndag 4. mai 2014
There doesn't seem to be much information about this band anywhere, so I guess this is one of those extremely obscure heavy/psych gems out there. This album, from 1970, has some great guitar work and I really love the vocals as well. The music is sort of psychedelic, with a lot of blues, and bands like Cream, Blue Cheer, Jimi Hendrix Experience and their likes were obviously huge influences on these guys. Highly recommended if you like any of the above! And in my book they score extra points for both album title and cover, as well as for calling a song "Satan"!
lørdag 3. mai 2014
Oh Stephen McBean and your bunch of scurvy rascals, will you never cease to amaze me? The first song on "Get Back", "Ambulance City", reminds me of the mighty Silverbullit - and if that's not a stamp of approval nothing is! The thing about Pink Mountaintops - McBean's band for doing everything and anything he doesn't feel fits in as a part of Black Mountain - is that you can never feel too sure about what they are gonna sound like from album to album. The first record was pretty psychedelic and trippy, and the previous release, "Outside Love", was a journey in mellowness. This, however, seems like a celebration of British bands like The Alarm and other bands who shall remain nameless. What we have here is songs that are so good that you will forget that bands like The Gaslight Anthem ever existed, and that instantly feel like they are about to become part of your own personal memory book. This is a GREAT album, and if you miss out on these songs you are officially lost!
fredag 2. mai 2014
On Facebook she calls her own music "space cowboy pop noir", and I guess that's as good a description as any. There's certainly no lack of darkness here, so she's got the noir bit covered quite nicely, thank you. The banjo on second track, the saloon singalong "It's Only Chemistry" covers the cowboy part and the whole damn album is pure pop, so that leaves just the space thing. Let me get back to you on that one. Her lyrics are quite clever as well, again in a dark way, and lines like "You said you'd show me the ropes/as you tied me to the tracks" ("Red Ropes") are nothing if not cool! And her desperation on "The Worst Hangover" is very real! Calling this original would be a stretch, but she sure has her own identity, and I would definitely recommend this album to fans of both Nick Cave and Martha Wainwright, to name two.
torsdag 1. mai 2014
Yup, I have heard the new TESLA album! And without giving too much away, since I will probably write a proper review of "Simplicity" in Metal Hammer, this record proves one thing to me: Tesla are unable to produce a bad album.