søndag 31. august 2014

31082014 - Thea & The Wild "Strangers and Lovers"

Thea Glenton Raknes from Norma Sass debuts as a solo artist with an album of great ambition and variation. It's all pop, but the references range from light to darkness and it's possible to hear hints of both The Cure, Joy Division, (early) The Knife and Florence + The Machine here. All eleven songs are impressively and shamelessly catchy, but still with a depth and finesse that makes them stand out, both from each other and from everything else out there. Thea's voice is an instrument in itself and she displays a rare versatility that gives each song its own identity. Whether fast or slow, sad or full of joy, these songs captivate and thrill so by the end of the record I have fallen in love eleven times - one for each track!

lørdag 30. august 2014

30082014 - Troyka "Troyka"

Brilliant semi-psychedelic and -progressive hard rock from Canada! This album was released in 1970, and has definitely withstood the test of time! They blend the classic power trio (hence the band name) sound of bands like Cream with Slavic elements as a tribute to their Ukrainian heritage. The vocals, courtesy of drummer Michael Richards, really make them stand out from other bands of their ilk, sounding unlike most others from that era and at times almost bordering on the deranged. A really cool album that deserves attention from fans of 70's rock as well as proto-metal archeologists!

fredag 29. august 2014

29082014 - Kirsty Hawkshaw "Meta Message"

Relatively new album from the former Opus III vocalist. This is in general very nice and mellow, and the songs drift by in a cloud of pleasantness. Hawkshaw's often whispery voice is simply beautiful, and fits the electronic pop music on this record perfectly. The album is relatively varied, but most of the songs are of the downtempo and ethereal kind. At her best she veers over into Julee Cruise territory, and on the other side of the spectrum there's stuff that borders on eurodance. Thankfully those moments are few. Not necessarily an album I would play again, but nice enough while it lasts, in its own airy way.

torsdag 28. august 2014

28082014 - Theatre of Tragedy "Velvet Darkness They Fear"

A gothic metal classic, I guess. Not entirely my cup of deep red wine, I must admit. I did enjoy the early efforts of their peers in The 3rd and the Mortal and The Gathering, but this is far too - dare I say it? - theatrical for me. I do enjoy their use of Vincent Price dialogue in "And When He Falleth", though!

onsdag 27. august 2014

27082014 - Silver Apples "The Garden"

Über-psychedelic pop music, recorded in 1970, but apparently not released until 1998. By that time the band, who had been inactive since Pan Am sued their collective asses of over the band's second album cover in 1969, had gotten back together. Well, sort of anyway, as the band were really a duo and the 90's version only featured one of the original two. Adding to the quirkiness of this release is the fact that about half of the tracks have the word "noodle" in the song title. So that's "Tabouli Noodle", "Cannonball Noodle", "Cockroach Noodle", "Swamp Noodle", "Anasazi Noodle", "Starlight Noodle", "Straight Noodle" and "Fire Ant Noodle". It's mostly just plain nonsense, but their version of "Mustang Sally" is worth a spin.

tirsdag 26. august 2014

26082014 - April Wine "Nature of the Beast"

This album was always just there, but I neglected to check it out. Until now. And I bow my head in shame for waiting so long, because this is wonderful hard rock, just the way daddy likes it! Phrases like "basic", "no frills" and "straight forward" spring to mind, and so do "catchy", "jammin'" and "classic". Over half of the songs are instant favorites, and I'm sure the other half will grow with just a couple more spins. More Wine, please!

mandag 25. august 2014

25082014 - Tommy Shaw "The Great Divide"

Bluegrass from the Styx guitarist who in my book will always remain a hero for writing the song "Girls With Guns". And he's got both Dwight Yoakam and Alison Krauss guesting on the album! Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that the album is good. The fact that all the songs are really good means that the album is good. Not exceptional, but good.

søndag 24. august 2014

lørdag 23. august 2014

23082014 - Hvitmalt Gjerde "Ville Venner"

I decided to give this one a listen before I even realized that they are from Bergen. I just wanted to see what the hype was all about. Now, the last time I checked out a hyped band from Bergen I wasn't too impressed. And this time? Well, the music itself is… charming enough in its own jingly-jangly way, I guess. At first, at least. But the vocals are extremely annoying. I guess the "barely-hanging-together"-sound is what they are going for in the first place, but there's a difference between sounding loose and nearly falling apart completely. The further into the album I get, the more annoying it all is, and halfway through I want to strangle the singer with his own microphone chord, pour battery acid on his vocal chords and force the guitar player to learn a power chord! I really don't see the point in this album, and I will never listen to it again. I'm sure the reviews are great, just because people won't admit that this is just utter shite, but are afraid not to be part of the hype. Well again the emperor has no clothes, and Bergen's indie scene (or whatever, just don't call this rock!) has proven its worthlessness. Why can't they all just be like Audrey Horne?

fredag 22. august 2014

22082014 - The Last Internationale "We Will Reign"

Who are The Last Internationale? Where the hell did they come from all of a sudden? Most importantly, where has vocalist Delila Paz been, and how come she's not the biggest star on the planet already? With a voice so full of blues, soul and pure rock that she makes Chrissie Hynde sound like a whimpering kitten in comparison, she leads the band through a collection of songs that hit EVERY. GODDAMN. NERVE! in my body, fill me with joy, make me want to pump both fists in the air whilst playing air guitar (do you know how difficult that is?) and just generally is the soundtrack to being the coolest cat walking down the street in a black leather jacket and blue jeans! As for covering Burt Bacharach's "Baby It's You", it's like the guy said - if you're gonna do it, do it right! And they do. Boy, do they ever! Mentioning highlights amongst their own songs would almost just be writing a list of all album tracks, but opener "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Indian Blood" is a total exercise in coolness, "Devil's Dust" is a gorgeous semi-ballad and closer "1968" is a raunchy stomp, leaving you wanting more like a lover in heat! I could list twice as many, but why don't you just stop reading and start checking out the album yourself? Oh, and did I mention that their drummer has been around for a little while? Yup, it's Mr. Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave and Black Sabbath fame. Delila is still the star, though! No, wait a minute - the entire band is the star, and they will definitely reign!

torsdag 21. august 2014

21082014 - Toad "Toad"

There is a slight chance that Swiss rockers Toad had heard of a band called Deep Purple before making this album. And perhaps another band called Uriah Heep. Let's face it, the "Ooooh ooooh" bit in opener "Cotton Wood Hill" is pure "Child in Time", and the middle section of "Life Goes On" nods pretty clearly to Heep. In general this is a veritable reference fest, but a good one! There's plenty of Free here, particularly in the bass department, and if that's not a good thing this world has run out of good things! Released in 1971, this Martin Birch produced (no wonder they sound like Deep Purple!) album - their debut - is thoroughly enjoyable for all fans of great blues based 70's rock!

onsdag 20. august 2014

20082014 - Billy Ocean "Suddenly"

1984, eh? Dammit, you just gotta love those sound effects in "Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)"! The heavy breathing, the ray gun blasts, the whatever else that is supposed to signify "electric eyes" and whatnot. Oh, and the song is still great, 30 years later. "Mystery Lady" also holds up nicely, and I'm pretty sure there are still people getting seduced to that song. Yes, I'm gonna go through every song on this album, both the familiar and the ones I'm hearing for the first time right now! "Syncopation" is a big meh, and Billy's version of "The Long and Winding Road" is pretty redundant. Now "Loverboy" is another beast entirely. Again with the sound effects plus a bitchin' riff - one that has been used a million times before and just as many since, but who cares? When Billy tells you his "finger's on the trigger" you know he means business! "Lucky Man" floats by like the shadow of a shrug, but "Dancefloor" is kinda cool and again something that could still work. It's actually pretty impressive how little of this album sounds outdated! "If I Should Lose You" is also pleasant enough. Now, let's take a moment to consider this: Did you know that Billy Ocean's real name is Leslie Sebastian Charles? Me neither. So, that's basically three first names, and not one of them is William. Oh, well. The title track finishes the album, and boy what a ballad that still is! Never mind the fact that it's slightly similar to another song from the previous year, it's still great. Yes, I have enjoyed this album and there ain't a goddamn thing anybody can do about it!

tirsdag 19. august 2014

19082014 - Wildest Dreams "Wildest Dreams"

Wildest Dreams is apparently DJ Harvey, which perhaps should mean something to me. It doesn't, and a quick internet search tells me why. The man is best known as a DJ at Ministry of Sound, and that, I guess, was never going to be a big selling point for me. This, however, is pretty cool and very organic, as Harvey Bassett (his proper name) and his band play psychedelic and tripped-out garage rock, reminding of former great ones like Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, The Doors, Steely Dan, Santana and even Neu! as well as newer acts like Ozric Tentacles, The Horrors and Mike Wexler. I really like this spaced and rocking space rock, and the fact that this is made by a DJ from house music's biggest bastion just amazes me! But then again, this is a man who has once said that "You can't understand the blues until you've had your heart broken by a woman. And you can't understand my music until you've had group sex on ecstasy". Right.

mandag 18. august 2014

18082014 - The Interrupters "The Interrupters"

If you're on Hellcat Records you're bound to get compared to Rancid, and if you also have a female vocalist The Distillers will pop up as well. The Interrupters compare favorably in both cases. More ska than either, but with an equal amount of punk attitude plus a whole lot of great songs! Sneering front gal Aimee Allen has a voice that can strip the paint off a fleet of police cars at a mile's distance, but still has both warmth and just a little bit of soul. Bring in the fourth (?) Wave of ska!

søndag 17. august 2014

17082014 - Jenny Lewis "The Voyager"

I probably should have listened more to Jenny Lewis, but somehow she's always struck me as a lesser version of Neko Case. How wrong have I been! Yes, there are definitely similarities, but the songs on "The Voyager" are strong enough to hold their own. Lewis is a fine storyteller with a captivating voice and an acute sense of songs that are simple and catchy, yet intelligent and ever so slightly innovative and original. Her lyrics are funny, simple, yet profound and at times deeply sensual, adding that extra dimension to songs that already have your attention, with references to "Kill 'Em All", Slash and more. Light, but great pop music!

lørdag 16. august 2014

16082014 - The Dwarves "The Dwarves Invented Rock & Roll"

New album by The Dwarves, you say? Pure fun, as always, I say! As always, all the right ingredients are there: pop, punk, punch, hooks, uppercuts and knockouts! This time they have included two extreme epics that close in on the 3 minute mark, but most of the tracks clock safely in between 1-2 minutes. You can sing along to tunes like "Trailer Trash" and "Sluts of the USA" from the first time you hear them and the lyrics are mostly based around the same old themes: fun, drugs, sex and violence - often at the same time. After one listen it's already irresistible, and although Gentleman Blag and company might never surpass the pure genius of "Come Clean" they definitely come close on this album (as they did on the previous one). As they say, more fun than a barrel of monkeys on cocaine mudwrestling with a bunch of naked chicks!

fredag 15. august 2014

15082014 - Rachael Gordon "The Coming of Spring"

I probably never would have heard about Ms Gordon if not for the fact that she's Ace Frehley's current fiancée and has co-written a couple of songs on his latest album, "Space Invader". And although I wouldn't say that this is bad I wouldn't say it's impressive either. The songwriting is ok, and on the best of the songs here kind of Bangles-ish, but in general it's all pretty generic, with the bland performance to match. This album was released back in 2004, and her contributions on Ace's album are quite good, so I will check out a new album from her if she makes a new one. This album, however, is the musical equivalent to a paper plane that has been left out in the rain. Kind of sodden and not about to take flight.

torsdag 14. august 2014

14082014 - Dead Sara "Dead Sara"

Dead Sara. Dead who, you say? I must admit that this is the first time I hear the band, so I really couldn't tell. But it's rock. Hard and bluesy rock with a really great vocalist in Ms. Emily Armstrong. She lifts even the most generic songs on their 2012 debut album, and there are a couple, and makes them soar where a lesser vocalist - especially a male one - would have made the same song just embarrassing and more soulless with each piercing scream. And believe me, she can scream with the best of them, but she never gets annoying or dumb. And on songs like the single "Weatherman" everything falls into place, including the generally great guitars courtesy of Ms. Siouxie Medley, and both chorus, groove and all other details seem perfect. All in all a flawed, but generally pretty cool album. Now let's hope the next doesn't veer off into American Radio territory, but dares to explore the blues and the harder rock bits even more!

onsdag 13. august 2014

13082014 - Rose Windows "The Sun Dogs"

I had only registered the name of this band until recently, but as their singer, Ms. Rabia Shaheen Qazi, lends her haunting voice to one of the tracks on the brilliant upcoming Earth album I thought this would be a good opportunity to check out her band. This is kind of schizophrenic musically, with some slow psychedelic rockers, some stuff that reminds me of early Sinéad O'Connor and some spartan folky stuff, with acoustic guitars, strings and flute. Her voice is really good, though, and very versatile too. lending each song its own identity, without making it feel like this album tries too many things at once. I can tell that this will grow with repeated listens, but already some of the songs grab me and get a pretty firm hold. I must say that the weakest songs are placed at on the first part of the album, but that only means the songs grow better the longer you listen.

tirsdag 12. august 2014

12082014 - At War "Ordered to Kill"

Classic thrash/speed metal from 1986! This trio hails from Virginia (I use the present tense, as they are back after about two decades on hiatus), but their sound owes more to Brit bands like Venom and Motörhead or even Euro bands such as Sodom and Celtic Frost. It's fairly straight forward stuff, almost bordering on monotonous, but that's not meant in a negative sense, as this gives it an added punk attitude. I can see how world domination would elude this band in a time where those of their peers who gained a broader audience had an ever so slightly more crowd pleasing appeal, but today this sounds rough and tough as rusty nails! Through your eardrums!! Eight times!!!

mandag 11. august 2014

11082014 - Whitey Morgan and the 78's "Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels"

LA Weekly recently dubbed Whitey Morgan and the 78's the #1 country band people should be listening to, and who am I to argue? Morgan hails from Flint, Michigan, one of the american cities with the highest murder rates, and also the birthplace of Michael Moore. Which has nothing at all to do with anything, I just felt like mentioning it. This 2008 record is the band's debut and showcases some mighty fine country music, including a couple of really good instrumentals. Song titles like "Honky Tonk Angel" and "Goodbye Dixie" tells you all you need to know; this is no frills country music just like it's supposed to sound, but hey - if it ain't broke, right? Also, the cover version of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" is pretty durn cool.

søndag 10. august 2014

10082014 - Fejat Sejdić "Guardian Angel and Lost Lamb"

Going back to the list of the 20 most underrated albums of all time that I once came across, here is another gem. This album probably doesn't really belong on the list because I would guess that to most people it's too unknown to be underrated and those who are into music from the Balkan area probably rate this highly. Anyway, Mr. Sejdić and his orchestra delivers some fine music, including an interpretation of "Amazing Grace" that adds some spring to the song, and several other trumpet led tunes that would not seem too out of place on a Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass record. They also do a track, "Condor's Flight", that emulates "El Condor Pasa", while "Nightingale Chicken" goes all Mexican disco on us. An entertaining listen whether your preferred tipple is tequila or plum hooch.

lørdag 9. august 2014

09082014 - The Beach Boys "Sunflower"

I have never claimed to be a Beach Boys expert. I know their hits plus some of their better known sixties albums, but I never did dive into their deep catalogue. The reason I chose to check out this 1970 album in particular, was the fact that it has "Tears in the Morning" on it, a song I only recently learned was a Beach Boys tune, having loved the Thulsa Doom version for years. There you go, you learn something every day! So let me first of all say that while the original version of said track is undoubtably pretty good I believe I will always prefer Thulsa Doom's recording. Sacrilege? Whatever. As for the rest of the album, there's definitely some nice enough songs on here, but calling it a classic would be a stretch. Kudos for posing with their kids in Dean Martin's garden for the cover photo, though.

fredag 8. august 2014

08082014 - Howard Tate "Howard Tate"

Sweet soul music from this obscure artist who released three albums between 1966-72, this being the last of those, and then disappeared until he was rediscovered in 2001. Three more studio albums followed before his death from leukemia in 2011.

torsdag 7. august 2014

07082014 - Zombies! Organize!! "Before It's Too Late"

A weird one for sure, and I'm not sure if I even like it, but with a band name like Zombies! Organize!! and song titles like "I Like Turtles" and "Happy Zombies"they at least have my attention. Their electro-rap with plenty of cleverly used samples has a slight indie tinge to it, and reminds me ever so slightly of bands like Le Tigre, Beastie Boys and The Knife, but then again not. As far as I can tell this 2008 album is their only release, which, I guess, is quite ok.

onsdag 6. august 2014

06082014 - Fear "More Beer"

Excellent punk rock from the time when punks could get drunk and PC meant Punk's Cool.

tirsdag 5. august 2014

05082014 - Can "Ege Bamyasi"

However much I so want to grok this, I have come to the conclusion than this band might not be for me. I have tried "Tago Mago" before, but try as I may, this is not an album I will ever become infatuated with. I do like "Sing Swan Song", "One More Night" and "Spoon" (the song the band took their name from), but a) liking is not loving and b) the other songs leave me either indifferent or, in the case of opening track "Pinch", annoyed. I might try to open up this Can again later on to check for worms, but right now I Can't.

mandag 4. august 2014

04082014 - Angus & Julia Stone "Angus & Julia Stone"

I don't believe I have ever heard anything by these Australian siblings before, but I really like what I'm hearing here. This duo delivers music with roots in folk and blues, but with a semi-dark indie heart, giving them an edge that those who have enjoyed the soft and low key sounds of both Mazzy Star and Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan should enjoy. Never intrusive, but somehow still able to creep under your skin and settling somewhere near the part of you that produces those tingling sensations in your inner organs, these songs seem bound to grow on you upon repeated listens. I'm also pretty sure that this Rick Rubin produced record will seem even better as the evenings grow just a little bit darker and summer gives in to… late summer. Beautiful!

søndag 3. august 2014

03082014 - Blackfeather "At the Mountains of Madness"

More obscure prog/psych rock, this time from Australia. Quite good, if not groundbreaking, and the 8 minute song "Mango's Theme Part 2" (there is no part 1) is really nice, with plenty of classy guitar work and soulful vocals. Apparently Blackfeather ended up as something completely different, but this 1971 album is highly recommended to all lovers of guitar driven rock in the vein of Mountain, Cream or Black Sabbath.

lørdag 2. august 2014

02082014 - Zior "Zior"

It's been a while since I did one of these. Some might even have thought that I got tired of finding obscure psych/prog/hard rock/blues/proto metal bands, but fear not! Zior apparently had a serious fascination with the occult, but this 1972 record is no satanic feast in the Coven vein. Instead the music lies safely somewhere between Cream, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, to name a few, with plenty of classic Brit-R'n'B making up the foundation. A true classic from the greatest undiscovered band in the history of recorded music this is not, but it's definitely pleasant enough, and worth a spin or two, if not ten.

fredag 1. august 2014

01082014 - Tages "Tages"

Swedish music history. Cute and easy to like, but I guess you need to have been there to truly appreciate this. I'm not saying it's bad, far from it, but for someone born the decade after this was released it's hard to get extremely excited when, after all, there is the catalogue of both The Beatles and The Stones to listen to instead. Both the highlights and low points for me are cover songs. Their version of "Everybody Loves A Lover" (Doris Day) is pretty cool and "I Got My Mojo Working" (Ann Cole/Muddy Waters) is part brilliant and part hilarious, the latter bit caused by the pronunciation of the word "Mojo". On the other end of the scale are the completely redundant versions of "Cathy's Clown" and "Stand By Me", where nothing is added so all is lost. Oh well, I guess I better prepare to get bashed by every single Swede who might be reading this…