mandag 30. juni 2014

30062014 - Old Crow Medicine Show "Remedy"

Bluegrass. Well done! There's something extremely cool about songs like "Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer" and "8 Dogs 8 Banjos", the latter of which has a chorus that somehow reminds me of a completely different song... Never mind - this should be the soundtrack to you next booze fueled evening out with the gang instead of whatever you were planning to play loudly, annoying all your neighbors. It's not all hoedown and barnstomping (if that's even a word) though, and even when they get slightly pensive and mellow they are wonderful - after all, we all need a breather sometimes. Great album, and I really want to see them live!

søndag 29. juni 2014

29062014 - Chet Baker "She Was Too Good to Me"

1974 release from the inimitable Mr. Baker, flanked by a team of the best, including Ron Carter, Bob James, Paul Desmond on a couple of tracks and drums split between Steve Gadd and Jack DeJohnette. This is simply Chet the way you want him to sound, and from opener "Autumn Leaves" via the title track to the lovely "The Future Just Passed" this is as cool as it is smooth and lovely, giving everyone in the band room to shine.

lørdag 28. juni 2014

28062014 - Universe "Universe"

Excellent, but somewhat obscure album by Swedish metal merchants Universe, whose most recent claim to fame is being covered by Nocturno Culto's new band Gift of Gods. This is the only album the band released, all the way back in 1985, and although I recall being faintly aware of it at the time I never had the opportunity to check it out. Since then I have heard the odd track here and there, but now that I finally checked out the entire thing I can safely say that it's a damn masterpiece for all of you who are as much into classic 80's Euro Metal as I am! As far as I know none of the band members did anything even remotely metal (or, for that matter, music) related after this band, but with the 30 year anniversary of this gem coming up next year, how about a reunion for, say, Sweden Rock Festival?

fredag 27. juni 2014

27062014 - Reigning Sound "Love and Curses"

Reigning Sound - what a band! This is their newest album until later this summer, and somehow it escaped me when it was released in 2009. No idea why. It's obviously frickin' great, and from opener "Brake It" (previously released as "Break it One More Time" with Mary Weiss) the combination of rough riffs and catchy melodies confirms that it's all good. At first listen this sounds easily as great as "Too Much Guitar", but of course repeated listens will be needed to confirm this. And repeated listens is obviously on the cards! Now, let's see if "Shattered", out in a couple of weeks, can match this...

torsdag 26. juni 2014

26062014 - Mela Koteluk "Spadochron"

Through some of the fine people in my circle I have been introduced to a handful of really good Polish acts, and Mela Koteluk is the latest of these. Her music is the kind of indie pop with a slightly rocking edge that could easily have become cheesy, but her voice is so good that this is just a pleasure to listen to. A little research tells me that she has covered artists as diverse as Massive Attack, Feist, Röyksopp and Chris Isaak live, and this should give you the tiniest of pointers regarding her style. The songs can get slightly ethereal, bur never veer off into pure dream pop. Nor do they bother to become blatant attempts at radio songs. If her lyrics had been in English I'm positive the indie press would have been all over this album, hailing it as a modern classic. In my ears it kinda is anyway.

onsdag 25. juni 2014

25062014 - Juliana Hatfield "Made in China"

Rough and tough Juliana Hatfield on this album, as opposed to the slightly Juliana Cutefield on previous albums - the ones I listened to back in the day. I like this, but I think I prefer the poppier albums from the nineties. At first listen there's more attitude than immediately catchy songs here, but I suspect there's some pretty good tunes hidden beneath the layers of Neil Youngish guitars here. And Hatfield's voice is as endearing as ever, adding that unmistakeable signature to the songs that no amount of fuzz can conceal. This is a Juliana Hatfield that should appeal to those who preferred Liz Phair, PJ Harvey and The Breeders way back when, and I give this album one thumb up, while the other one might also start pointing at the ceiling when I have given this a couple more spins. By the way, if she were to marry James Hetfield - do you think she would take both names? And wouldn't Juliana Hatfield Hetfield be both the coolest and dorkiest name ever?

tirsdag 24. juni 2014

24062014 - Restore to Past "Restore to Past"

Restore to Past are 18 Norwegian musicians who have used 10 years to complete this album. Most of these musicians are known from various other bands, but that shouldn't really be a focus point, nor should it be your main reason to check this album out. What should be a reason is the lovely songs, where references range from Loosegoats, if they had both a male and a female vocalist, on opener "Desert Drive" via both 'Til Tuesday, Velvet Belly, The Tunicates, The Polyphonic Spree and many other lovely bands. There's a beautiful melancholic feel to songs like "Restore to Past" itself, and even though they use horns, strings and keys it's never over-arranged. Funnily enough, for all their combined experience as a whole, the best thing here is the vocals courtesy of Tora and Ragna Engstad - the only involved people here without any prior reference points. And that's saying quite a lot, as this is an album where both songs and musicianship impress from first listen! This album should win prizes when that time comes, and everybody who likes soft pop music with lush hints of Laurel Canyon should own it!

mandag 23. juni 2014

23062014 - Lynyrd Skynyrd "Skynyrd's First: The Complete Muscle Shoals Album"

Why had I not heard this before? Well, I had heard some of these recordings on the box set about a million years ago, but the rest of these recordings, from before the band had a record contract, have escaped me until now. Yup, 78 minutes of Lynyrd Skynyrd recordings showing the band at their rawest and most primitive, but still as soulful and brilliant as you could ever hope! Just the demo version of "Free Bird" alone males this worth owning, and the recordings of "Simple Man", "Wino" and "Trust" are equally great. This is pure love!

søndag 22. juni 2014

22062014 - Styx "Man of Miracles"

Styx' fourth album, before the genius that is Tommy Shaw found his way to the band. Definitely and very recognizable Styx, but ultimately mostly forgettable stuff. Far from bad, but just not quite there yet. I believe the word one would be looking for is "promising", but even though this has more or less all the characteristics one would come to associate with the band, the songs are just the tiniest bit unimpressive, compared to what did lie ahead...

torsdag 19. juni 2014

19062014 - Mother Road "Drive"

I got a tip about this album, and I tip my hat to the tipper! Because these guys play hard and soulful blues rock the way nature intended: with plenty of heart, a whole lotta soul and five people who sing and play like their lives depended on their honesty as performers! And the songs are really great too! In a world where bands usually rely on gimmicks over substance, it's refreshing to hear a band that relies on proper handicraft and real music, knowing that world domination might not be within instant reach, but refusing to sell their souls - souls that they instead put on display in every note played, every word sung and even every beat of the drums! In a perfect world people would actually listen to music, instead of just hearing it in the background, and they would listen to this! If only one percent of everyone who owns an album by The Black Crowes, Bad Company, Whitesnake, Alabama Shakes or Drive-By Truckers would check out Mother Road, I'm positive they would all get a new favorite band. I know I just did!

onsdag 18. juni 2014

18062014 - The Suzan "Golden Week for the Poco Poco Beat"

Too cute! It's probably wrong to laugh, but when I try to decipher what Japanese quartet The Suzan sings here, like on the second song "Ha Ha Ha", every parody in the book smiles and winks at me, but I really don't get it. Not at all. And I have tried! What I do get, however, is the extreme catchiness and charm on display here, because the songs are really good! They mix all kinds of rock, bossa, garage, chanson, cabaret and a whole lot more into the songs, but ultimately what we got here is... Pure pop music! Crazysexycool pop music! GREAT pop music! I guess you can tell that the trick here is to listen to the music and not try to understand the lyrics, because even the most sexy and mysterious moments will give you giggles. Highly recommended, any which way you choose to listen to it, and the combination of tough as rockabilly leather jackets and cute as a baby panda tickling a kitten is just amazing!

tirsdag 17. juni 2014

17062014 - King Bong "PINNG - Or the Underwater Adventures of a Young Cthulu"

This one track album is divided into nine movements", and all fans of heavy and psychedelic instrumental stoner rock need to check out these Italians! There's a lot going on here, and it's all good'n'groovy, like a slightly mellower Ufomammut, if you get my (Continental) drift!

mandag 16. juni 2014

16062014 - Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers "Free for All"

In case you were wondering (you weren't), this has got nothing to do with the Ted Nugent album "Free for All". But that very title is the reason I chose this particular Art Blakey album as my first when today I finally found out that it was time to check him out. The four compositions that make out this album have a lot going on, and the master drummer's band includes Wayne Shorter on the tenor sax and Freddie Hubbard on the trumpet, both of whom get to really shine here! As does the rest of the band, and the last tune, "Pensativa", is an excellent showcase for pianist Cedar Walton. Damn, these cats can wail! Dig?

søndag 15. juni 2014

15062014 - The Bill Evans Trio "Moon Beams"

Time for some vintage jazz! This album from 1962 is classic Bill Evans, with two original compositions and six standards, including chestnuts like "I Fall in Love Too Easily", "Stairway to the Stars" and "It Might as Well Be Spring". This is as pleasant as it is brilliant, and the kind of jazz album that could convert non-believers to the genre. The album cover alone should give you all the clues you need as to how seductive this really is...

lørdag 14. juni 2014

14062014 - Delphine Coutant "Alouette"

I discovered thie while searching for the song "Alouette", which I wanted to play for my infant daughter. What I discovered was a charming singer/songwriter that I will definitely check out a lot more! I guess you could compare her to both Carla Bruni, Emily Loizeau, Martha Velez and several other modern French chanteuses with quirky pop sensibilities and hints of cabaret. Clever, cute, charming and potentially addictive!

fredag 13. juni 2014

13062014 - Jeanne Moreau "Jeanne Chante Jeanne"

Jeanne Moreau: actress since 1949 and sporadically chanteuse, with six albums of her own, four of which were released during the sixties, one in 1981 and one in 2010. This is the last of her 60's albums, and the songs here are as lovely as you could wish, with all les emotions included and all the French charm you could expect en place. Her best song will always be the magical "Le Tourbillon", but hearing her go Greek on "Notre Ile Ton Ile Mon Ile" brings an almost equally big smile to my face!

torsdag 12. juni 2014

12062014 - Brigitte Bardot "BB"

As far as I can gather, Bardot's 3rd album, released in 1964, and commonly known as "BB 64". You know the drill - pure charm and lovely french pop. Sexy, sensual, catchy and ever so mesmerizing! Cuteness is rarely so haunting and profoundness never so drole as in the voice of Mlle Bardot!

onsdag 11. juni 2014

11062014 - Åge Aleksandersen & Sambandet "Sukker og Salt"

Jeg blir glad av dette albumet. Glad over å høre at Åge Aleksandersen på sitt 21. studioalbum fremdeles er, ikke bare en suveren låtskriver og tekstforfatter, men en artist som fortsatt er vesentlig og har noe å melde! Jeg smiler av Henning Kvitnes-duetten "Veien Hjem", som åpner ballet, og det er en nytelse å høre den fantastiske Kari Rueslåtten i duett med mesteren på "Kjæresten Min". Jeg vil påstå at å høre Kari på et Åge-album har gjort meg enda mer glad i begge artister! Det er stort sett hverdagspoesi som gjelder, lunt og vart, men uten at det blir banalt og påtatt sentimentalt - selv når han synger om nettopp det å bli sentimental og dum på "Bestefars Vise / Minas Sang". "Kari og Knut" viser at det går an å synge intelligent om innvandring uten å preke, og fungerer som et greit lite spark til en annen artist fra Trøndelag, som har valgt å dyrke fremmedfrykten på sine gamle dager. Det er fullt av perler her, noen lystige, andre melankolske, og det er bare å ta av seg hatten! Dersom dette virkelig blir mannens siste album, er det en verdig sorti og vel så det!

tirsdag 10. juni 2014

10062014 - Harry Dean Stanton "Partly Fiction"

I haven't seen the documentary "Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction", but I want to. Every role I have seen Stanton in, from "Cool Hand Luke" (Where he also sings) via "Wild at Heart" to "The Straight Story" and beyond, is pure enjoyment, and hearing the octogenarian sing standards like "Blue Bayou", "Everybody's Talkin'" and "She Thinks I Still Care" is as heartwarming as it is total utter coolness! This is apparently the soundtrack to the aforementioned documentary, and includes bits and pieces of monologue between songs that are as spartan and stripped down as a willow in winter, yet as robust as a forest of oaks. Releasing your debut album at the age of 87 is impressive in itself, but releasing one as good as this is simply amazing! As is doing a version of "Danny Boy" that would have had Johnny Cash himself covered in goosebumps!

mandag 9. juni 2014

09062014 - The Black Sorrows "Certified Blue"

It's been a while since I last listened to The Black Sorrows, and I must admit that I had no idea they have been back for ten years. I might give some of the later albums a listen as well, but for now I'm enjoying the first album I have listened to by the Australians since 1990. And although I am indeed enjoying it, I am far from overwhelmed by the Costello-isms on "Certified Blue", which might even be a reference to "Almost Blue"? Now, I remember the good old days of the Kalvøya Festival, when they had the world by the mandolin strings with the genius of an album which is "Hold on to Me". And let's face it, that's most likely the only catalogue album by the band I will give repeated listens unless somebody gives me a good reason to check out any other particular record.

søndag 8. juni 2014

08062014 - Leo Kottke/Peter Lang/John Fahey "Leo Kottke/Peter Lang/John Fahey"

Instrumental acoustic fingerpicking steel string greatness from three masters of the traditional revivalist movement of the late 50's known as American Primitivism. The three players do not play any of these songs together, but do four tracks each, all of which are both very pleasant and instrumentally impressive without either of these guitar virtuosos coming across as showoffs. This works as background music, but it's also brilliant through your headset, and equally recommended for fans of the "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack as lovers of authentic bluegrass.

lørdag 7. juni 2014

07062014 - Dagens Ungdom "Dagens Ungdom"

Norwegian pop band with Norwegian lyrics, inspired by bands like the Go-Betweens, Talking Heads and Teenage Fanclub. Well, this could go either way, so let's begin by stating that the band name is pretty crap. I guess they just don't want to be found on Google (try a picture search!). My first impression is that the music is pretty decent, but I can't quite get into the vocals. It's not that the singer is bad so much as an acquired taste, but by the second song it's getting a bit on my nerves. Like a cheese grinder, bothering my ear drums. Song three brings a different singer, and what do you know - he's annoying as well! They sure know how to pick 'em! And after the softness revelation that is Svømmebasseng, this just falls flat, for all its good intentions. And the DeLillos vibes I am getting do nothing to help their case.

fredag 6. juni 2014

06062014 - Neil Young "Everybody's Rockin'"

Neil Young's legendary rockabilly contractual obligation album. Not entirely crap, due to a couple of gems, but not worth a longer blog post than this either.

torsdag 5. juni 2014

05062014 - Black Flag "Family Man"

No, I don't know Black Flag's entire catalogue by heart. So sue me. This is a strange one, as the first six tracks are spoken word pieces by Henry Rollins. I guess you would have called it slam poetry some years later. What a crap term. The 9 minute song "Armageddon Man" features both band and vocalist - still doing the spoken word thingy! The last four songs are instrumental, and show Black Flag's jazzy side. All in all pretty cool stuff.

onsdag 4. juni 2014

04062014 - fIREHOSE "Flyin' the Flannel"

Still on the list of the 20 most underrated albums ever, and fIREHOSE is another band I never discovered way back when. And this album does not make me want to check them out any further, with its semi-funky punk rock and forced quirkiness. I'm sure they must have been an influence on Sublime. Next!

tirsdag 3. juni 2014

mandag 2. juni 2014

02062014 - Sly & The Family Stone "Small Talk"

Not many albums include the sound of a child crying.  This one does, though. Apparently Sly's own kid, Sylvester Jr, since he's featured on the album cover. So is his then wife, and she's also on that same song on this album. Thankfully she's laughing and not crying, otherwise it would have been just plain creepy… Said crying makes the opening track just a slight bit unsettling, but still nice and warm. If that combination is even possible? Elsewhere on this album, it's Sly-ness as usual, which is always a good thing. There's a song that The Beastie Boys once sampled and a couple of tracks here that I would wager Prince has listened to more than once or twice, and in general I love it all. Laidback, soft, smooth and just silky sweet!

søndag 1. juni 2014

01062014 - The 5th Dimension "Magic Garden"

This album is also on the list I found of the most underrated records ever. Now, the list is set up chronologically, and this is #3, from 1967. Reading a list like this makes me not need to do a whole lot of research, so I already knew before starting to listen that Jimmy Webb wrote most of this, of course not including a version of "Ticket to Ride", which The Carpenters did a whole lot better anyway. I will not go on any longer, as I thing this album is not underrated at all, just not very interesting.