söndag 14 april 2013

Glen Hansard and the Swell Season

Dubliner Glen Hansard calls himself either Glen Hansard, The Swell Season if with Markéta Irglová in a duo or The Frames if based on the emerald isle. Glen has something to say with his songs, from the Swell Season album Strict Joy we find the eerie erie Drown Out. Some nice female vocals in If you want me otherwise Glen dominates the album, see All the Way down. Don't miss the shower video of Low Rising - probably the best duet accomplished on the album with a nice piano in the background.

The solo album of Glenny came out last year, under the name of Rhythm and Repose with more emotions then ever before, as in Bird of Sorrow - try keeping the goose flesh under control, I dare you. Proof of talent in Philander with a video too - and musical diversity in organ-accompanied Races. The unsung singer Glen has something to say for sure.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club 2013

Frisco-rockers BRMC are back with the seventh album Specter at the Feast - an excellent compendium of noise-rock mixed with influences from modern pop without ever gliding into the grimy mainstream scene. Not yet. Heads up for songs very similar to Oasis. And, I have to apologize for the links, but these guys managed somehow to evade having their songs on YouTube, so live version will suffice.

In no particular order, the top tracks are Returning (only live versions on YouTube), the sadder contribution to the album. Then, the amazing Oasis-esque Lose Yourself (live) and Let the Day Begin. The live-version does not do it justice, but don't miss Lullaby that brings some light to the eternal Finsternis of the Specter. You wanna rock? Pump Teenage Disease into your inferior colliculus and see if associations to Motörhead are evident. And be sure to get the album and not rely on the live versions. I promise.

Seattle cave singers and Naomi

The peculiar voice of Pete Quirk has not changed since the fantastic No Witch from early 2011. Sadly, neither has the musical repertoire. As seen so often before with bands after a few albums, it appears they have niched themselves into a corner of sparse diversity. Still, some magnificent tracks remain - Shine starts like so many other tracks but opens in a harmonica after about three minutes, followed by lyrics out of this world. My fave was the happy When The World and the tablatures of Week To Week. Finally, Northern Lights with an intro reminiscent of Ein Kompliment by Sportfreunde Stiller. Expect more from the next album. Everyone gets a Mulligan.

söndag 24 mars 2013

Optical loud shouting, in outward direction

Swedish Indie-poppers Shout Out Louds have their newest (and fourth) album Optica out. The moment of truth - can the Stockholmers deliver again? Strongest track is by all means, Walking in Your Footsteps clearly inspired by MGMT and their song Electric Feel. I mean, come on! But it is still an ace track. As in the MGMT album Congratulations, the band here has also chosen to diversify each track to sounding like many in a single track, just see Glasgow. Still, we like diversity in music. As usual, most of their albums consist of excellent sad tracks like 14th of July, the emo-noise-indie Destroy and chilly Blue Ice. But there is also the happy song Sugar or Illusions, and funny sounds are heard in Circles. An extra plus for the mezmerizing female vocals in Hermila by Bebban Stenborg. All in all, the guys deliver without coloring outside of the lines of Lagom when it comes to timeless Swedish pop music. Basically background music for any occasion.

Vincent Kavinsky Belorgey running out

80'ies style eletrographer Kavinsky made it big with his Nightcall in the crap movie Drive two years back. Although this is the strongest track on the album Outrun (name from epic SEGA video game) from last month, some others are worth mentioning. But be ware, if you do not like cars, you might be put off by the album. Like the first track Prelude, about the creation of Deadcruiser, is a superb track if not for the talking all the time about soul splicing and vehicular hybridization. Track Protovision smells strongly of the excellent track Illmerica by Wolfgang Gartner, be sure to see the video of the latter. For some hip-hop techno, do not miss Suburbia (No YouTube video!) with Havoc or First Blood (only in crappy Live version, much better on the album), or for some more retro techno, try Roadgame. Coolest track is Testarossa Autodrive with clear associations to going fast down Autobahn in a red car presumably, and is already 6 years old, with a remix from fellow Frenchie SebastiAn here. Finally, a really nice one to leave off with is Odd Look (let's try SoundCloud then), with similar flirtation with Wolfgang Gartner. Give it a go.

Django "no-chainz" Soundtrack

The latest Quentin Tarantootie blood bath came with a western twist, naturally including Italian falsetto scores. Not to mention the best of the best scenes from the movie according to the creator himself, including Five-Thousand-Dollar Nigga's and Gummy Mouth Bitches and In That Case Django, After You.... What I am talking about is the Django Unchained Soundtrack with 24 diverse tracks with various scenes from the movie in them. Strongest oldschool track would be  Unchained with Tupac and James Brown, keeping it real as usual. Strongest old-oldschool track is Nicaragua by Goldsmith, for sure. For all Italians, the Ancora Qui should put you in your place. 

Still, this might be a bit difficult for most of the sponge-head mainstreamers out there, so to level the playing field, try Too old to die young, which is easy-listening for the most. Personal favo is 100 Black Coffins with Rick Ro$$, while the most soul-ful is Who did that to you? by John Legend. Optimal if you like wailings. The smooth Trinity by Franco Micalizzi & Annibale, known for their spaghetti western tracks from way back when. Finally, probably the best track if not for the distrotions in the background Ode To Django by the baddest man alive, 43-year old, Robert Fitzgerald Diggs or RZA, the leader of the Wu-Tang clan. Seen to the right. Something for all of us, then.

onsdag 20 mars 2013

The Denver Lumineers

Wesley Schultz (birthdate unknown) and his gang of Colorado cornholers released their debut album in late 2012, self-entitled as The Lumineers. Originally Wesley and his buddy Jeremiah Fraites cruised around New York/Jersey before they settled in the South Park State. The album is an amazing folk compilation that only Band of Horses and Cave Singers ever came close to. My prediction is one or two more excellent albums by The Lumineers and then crappy ones. All-time favorite track is Hey Ho - we need more happy folks on this planet. Indeed, Big Parade is a nice contribution to joviality.
     Then there are the love songs - the sad one Slow It Down, the happy one Flapper Girl and the neutral one Dead Sea. Don't miss the reborn The Killers in Flapper girl. Finally, Submarines will be etched in your auditory cortex - with lyrics that make perfect sense again.

Definitively Cave Singers inspired track include Stubborn Love, but the important point is that a novel album like this still remains diverse and not niched. So let's enjoy it while it lasts, before they get too good at one thing in particular and forget how to excel in all other areas. Sad, but true - and the natural course of melodic events.

tisdag 19 mars 2013

TImberlake and the 20/20 experience

32-year old Memphibian and former Britney Spears/Cameron Diaz/Scarlet Johansson-boytoy Justin Timberlake (currently with Jessica Biel) came out 4 days ago with the album The 20/20 Experience. The name comes from the Visual acuity scale, meaning normal vision - in metric terms 6/6 - because apparently, people claim to be able to see the songs (according to JT himself). And that is about as interesting as it gets. If you expected the sexy to return once again, you will be disappointed gravely. Largely a luke-warm blanket that will dissipate sooner rather than later into nothingness, The 20/20 Experience offers little but falsetto and timid beats. A plus for the Ratatat-flirtatous riffs appearing every now and then through-out the songs, check out Blue Ocean Floor.
     Fave track Tunnel Vision with frikkuh-frikkuh-Timberland might be replayed a few times, sounding like the classic post-N'SYNC-de novo Timberlake we knew when I was not even in puberty. If that, for some reason, tickled your fancy, then be sure to click Mirrors for some beat boxing and melodic hissing and mouth farts. Finally, J_H_V_A on Suit & Tie with morphed voices in the background, which is the latest craze these days, confer to A$AP Rocky's latest album. Fanboys, try to keep it in your pants until November, when the second part of this album comes out.

måndag 18 mars 2013

The Heaviest Heavy

British Bath rockers The Heavy with Kevin Swaby (seen sweating to the right) singing in American English for some reason. The lyrics actually convey a meaning, something lacking in the music of this day & age. We all know them for their track How You Like Me Now? form their second album The House That Dirt Built, released in '09. Their first album from 2007, Great Vengeance and Furious Fire featured their strongest track Dignity with convincing electric guitar riffs already from the get go. Also, some real actual bona fide Brit-style dialecting in Girl, something Mr Swaby should go for more often. Don't miss Colleen with wailing and trumpets, likely with a sweaty Kevin too. On a happier note, In the Morning - juxtaposed to the melancholic Who needs the Sunshine. Not a bad start for the band.

After that, came The House that Dirt built, with the aforementioned big track. On a steady heavy note, the album delivered without much surprise. Another class track being Short Change Hero. Other than what, patient fans awaited more audible tracks.
     Three years later, in 2012, the The Glorious Dead sprouted with Same Ol' bringing home that long-sought-after soul bacon right next to the indie pop sunny-side ups. If you were impressed by that then do not miss What makes a good man, that would fit perfectly to a James Bond flick any day of the year. Fully taking over all what Amy Winehouse created before celebrity-ing herself to death, the Heavy created Blood Dirt Love Stop - seen here in the Sucker Punch video. Whatever that is. A bit funnier, with a nice (official) video, is Can't Play Dead that has that nice live-music sound to it. Finally, a mention of The Big Bad Wolf is in order. If for nothing else, then at least for the trumpets in the intro and the howling of Kev. Patiently we wait for another 2-3 years for the next attempt.

söndag 17 mars 2013

Canadian Crystal Castles third attempt

(III) came out last year straight out of the brains of Ethan Kath and Alice Glass, reaffirming Canadia as the new nexus of electronic music, together with Grimes. That is, at least until Shaking the Habitual is released on the 8th of April and the gold arch is returned to Sweden. This third album does not surpass what the second had already played out, featuring more white noise than actual melodic concoctions. Top three tracks of III are, firstly, Wraith of God with scary and melancholic undertones. Then, the more disco-flirtatious and tempo-beating Sad Eyes. Finally, the amazing Child I will hurt you, the most pleasant track probably ever produced by the duo.
     If you were not put off by these tracks, try out Transgender, with a creepier picture to stare at during your auditory hypnosis.

2 chainz and true stories

Tauheed "Tity Boi" Epps is a 36 year old Georgian that sometimes refers to himself as 2, douce or 2 Chainz because he thought Tity Boi is derogatory towards women. This has not stopped him from eating cake in the shape of a lady's derriere as in Birthday Song at 0.40 (or in the pic to your right). This track is furthermore the strongest on his first studio album Based on a T.R.U. Story, with Ye making an appearance on a bicycle with breasts on top.
     Although mindless rhyming (sometimes not even actually rhyming) is standard in today's post-gangsta-rap hip-hop scene, the sense of self-irony that shines through albums like these is a pleasant relief from grimacing tough guys who make songs about what tough guys they are. In this respect, the vocal style of 2 is similar to that of Jay-Z but to a lesser degree predictable (and understandable overall) - just listen to I feel good.

On second place of hottest tracks, I Luv Dem Strippers with seriously self-ironic and blond pink-lips Nicki Minaj with a hundred thousand dollar engine. Do not miss the track Wut We Doin with 2 making sounds in the background. Not bad. Finally, Crack about cr'nack and his biography. 

måndag 18 februari 2013

Step away from the keyboard. Nothing to see here...

... but for the largest judicial farce in Swedish history. 6 months ago I wrote the article (one of my most abysmal creations so far) about Peter Sunde and his strifes with the Swedish "law". On February eight this year two-thousand-and-thirteen, the movie TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard came out so that you, thankfully, no longer have to read anything I write. I have enclosed the YouTube link below, so that you can watch it in its entireness. Do share, do spread and do contemplate over the situation at hand.

And for heaven's sake, do not miss the epic fail of corrupt District Court Judge Tomas Norström at 46 minutes into the video. His precarious situation is explained very well by the IT expert and Swedish Security Service Agent André Rickardsson at 47 minutes. My take on the matter - if you, as a judge, are incapable of determining whether you acted correctly or not by withholding information about your obvious bias - then you are cataclysmically inept as a judge. Anyone disagrees? Do not miss that highlight.

Long live Rocky as soon as possible

24-year old Harlem cat Rakim Mayers, is better known as A$AP Rocky, ASAP standing for "Always Strive and Prosper", "Assassinating Snitches and Police" and "Acronym Symbolizing Any Purpose" the latter being,  according to Wikipedia, his favourite meaning of the acronym. The style of this album "Long Live A$AP" of 2013, not to be confused with "Long Live A$AP" of 2011 that I downl... I mean heard only today, is that of dark and mystical Hip Hop blended with the hardest of electro.
    The 2011 album featured acceptable tracks like Palace, giving us a taste of what was to come this January. Experimental tracks like Bass, albeit being convincingly old school, remained prototypic of a young and inexperienced talent. Also, Peso made a reappearance in the 2013 compilation. For some reason. However, moving on to more monumental tracks, we land on the 2013 album.
     Heaviest beat is brought in the climactic Wild For The Night with professional electrician/musician Skrillex and professional French people Birdy Nam Nam. More relaxed than that is Fashion Killa - FYI: the first words in this song is "Her pistol go" and not "Herpes-to-go". Taking over the throne of perpetually hella-faded Lil' Wayne as the greatest rapper alive in Ghetto Symphony. The beats extend in F**kin' Problems to that of a crazy twist juxtaposed to the intro. With excellent beat and rap despite both Drake and 2 Chainz being on it. I wonder what A$AP thought when Drake insisted on talking in the song. However, likely the beat belongs to Drake, being typically fantastic (especially compared to the lyrical contribution). Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, aka K-Dot, also makes an appearance, sounding a tad strange but perfect for the tune. Epic track Hell with Santigold shows all non-believer the spectrum that Rakim A$AP Mayers has mastered as his own home turf. Probably the most important Hip Hop album in many years, from that good side of Hip Hop where A$AP and Wiz Khalifa reside for the moment. Under supervision of Kanye and JAY-HOVA and his witnesses, naturally. Can't wait for the A$AP-Khalifa collaboration track.

söndag 17 februari 2013

Dropkick Murphys Signed and Sealed in Blood

Celtic juggernaut rockers Dropkick Murphys who I recently missed in Zürich had their eight album out recently after seventeen years in the business and fourteen members of the band. Allegedly Irish band with a few misfits; lead singer Al Barr - and he is not even Irish, but Scottish and German. And also, according to Wikipedia on the 17th February 2013, also Seth Cohen who we all know from the OC. Their album signed and sealed in blood features the strongest track with Rose Tattoo where we dive into the Irish instruments and accents reeking with sheer four-leaf-clovers. Typical speedy rock Out of Our Heads shows what the civilized savages are capable of when given banjos, pipes and whistles. Count on Ken Casey screaming until red (redder) in the face in Burn. If you cannot get enough of that Irish rock sound, check out Prisoner's Song, with patriotism and history intermingled with hoarse brawling. Hilarious Christmas song released in December, The Season's Upon Us, is essentially a four minute therapy session embodying the season spirits. If you like it more easy, don't miss End of The Night, likely what comes closest to a chilled out Irish rock song.

Claire Boucher's visions

Grimes, pictured to the left is not a 14 year old girl, but a 24 year old Canadian musician who released the hit album Visions last year. The sounds features electronics and shrill voices (I am assuming hers), pioneered by Swedish siblings of The Knife a decade ago, and brought beyond to mysterious lands by this Canuckian lass. Nightmusic does what The Knife were never able to do, framing the sound in classical violins among the heavy bass, more closely resembling that of M83 but inducing hypnosis all through the song. The new-age, alternative, indie, whatever-you-call-it love song Skin (with a messed up unofficial video) deserves recognition for entering spheres that most people of electronics recoil in horror from at the mere thought. Don't miss Symphonia IX (My wait is u) that for some reason got me thinking of Spank by Naked and Famous from New Zealand. Be a body is worth a mention, with the 侘寂 symbols denoting Wabi-sabi - the acceptance of imperfections. Finally, the most massive track Oblivion should not pass unheard, but rather round off the whole sound experience.

Santigold and becoming the master of our make believe

Santi White is a Philly chick that previously called herself Santogold before changing the first "o" for an "i". She is a singer of that great genre known as undefinable music, sometimes referred to as indie or alternative or nu-"something", depending on the reviewer at hand. Master of My Make Believe features a plethora of strong tracks, starting with Fame, that really kicks in at 43 seconds, as a surprise for those patient enough. Ratatatian This isn't our Parade blends the various instruments with the clarity of the deep vocals of Santi. Likely most known Disparate Youth (for obvious reasons) also comes in a Disparate Youth remix by 2 Bears who bring in a dimension of bass that previously was unaccounted for. I correctly identified the presence of Karen Lee Orzolek (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) in Go amidst vocals and composition otherwise reminiscent of MIA. Best video track is for sure The Keepers depicting the crap-ification of America with toxins in the artificial foodstuffs and fashionable chemo-therapy wigs for the collective dying breed. The Riots Gone shows a more mellow side of Santi, for those who like to relax from time to time. Finally, Pirate In The Water with all kinds of crazy sounds - I could swear I heard someone playing Super Mario 64 in the background. This album exemplifies what happens when unabridged imagination meets talent. Check it out.

Local and Native Hummingbirds

The Los Angeles indie rockers Local Natives, also known as Cavil and Rest (cavil means raising a trivial objection) - consist of Taylor Rice, Kelsey Ayer, Ryan Hahn and Matt Frazier - none of which being actual local natives.Most of them are likely to be found in the instagrammed photo to the right.  Their Deluxe album version of Hummingbird has already been reviewed by Jacob Rob AJ Here. This latest album have placed them on the map already dominated by Fleet Foxes, MGMT and King's of Leon - but this has not deterred them entirely from making music. If this is not your cup of music I suggest you blast some Breakers into your ears and try again. All fans of Fleet Foxes, hear ye, and press the link to You And I and tell me there are no influences there. Most tracks have a similar sound to them, but among the hear-worthy sparse variety is Columbia, fighting for the first place in this album, with a clear King's of Leon in them. If you like continuity, then listen to the other tracks but don't expect any surprises or Wow! moments.

Boys and girls and Alabama Shakes

The Athens, Alabama band with singer Brittany Howard and her machine (Fogg, Cockrell and Johnson) released a much appreciated album last year that made it to first place on the UK Record Store and to the birthday of David Letterman in April. Their album Boys & Girls has four tracks making a lasting impression, being the soulful Rise to the Sun that is the resounding favourite of yours truly. Brittany has a nice scream in this song. Then, the equally emotional I Found You with a nice build through-out the song with vocals bringing you back to the 70's without even knowing it. In Heartbreaker we get to experience the potential of Brittany once again. Finally, the more mellow and melancholic You Ain't Alone that strikes those heartstrings you never thought you had. The royal We certainly look forward to hearing more screaming from Howard, accompanied by fine-tuned instruments and timed percussions. Would be great.

Unchaining Django

Eric Marlon Bishop, more commonly known as Jamie Foxx, portraits the hero together with Viennese Christoph Waltz in Quentin's most recent masterpiece/gore fest. You will also see Quentin in this movie, I may add without spoiler tags. Strap yourself in for two and a half hours of great actors with funny lines and, while sometimes ludicrous, still believable plot twists and turns. The movie is brought to higher levels by the all-in performance of 64-year old Samuel Leroy Jackson playing head-slaver for Candy Land manager Calvin played by going-on-forty Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio. You will find the usual Quentinesque touches in the movie such as randomly appearing text over the screen and blood spraying by the bucket-full. Do not miss Jamie's pro-gun stance at 59.51 minutes in to the movie (Link). Should settle today's argument I gather?

lördag 16 februari 2013

Wiz Khalifa is apparently the O.N.I.F.C.

Cameron Jibril Thomaz from North Dakota also goes by the name of Wiz Khalifa and had the album O.N.I.F.C. out last december, which stands for Only Nigga (or Night) In First Class. We all recall him from the massive track Black and Yellow with Juicy J, Snoop (dawgy) Dogg and T-pain equipped with face jewellery hurting the game badly. Now Wiz is back with various collaborations to prove to the world that Hip-Hop-Rap can still sound good despite all of the work of Drake and 2 Chainz to establish the opposite. Strongest track is definitely Medicated, featuring Chevy Woods and Juicy J with Wiz serenading dat reefer yo, whilst wearing tight black and yellow clothes.  Chilled out track The Plan with Juicy J also works, carrying smooth psychedelic touches without ever leaving the gansta-rap arena. Although the lyrics are about the same themes; alcohol, Mary Juana amidst derogatory terms for black people, there is still something to be said for the originality of tracks like Fall Asleep. Furthermore, the Let it Go track with Akon indicates the standard expected already established and washed up collaborators. Finally, be sure to get your hands on the bonus tracks, especially Mary 3x (on the topic of fidelity to cannabis) and Stackin with Juicy J again, about his bank account - and also habits of smoking weed and drinking alcohol. And for future reference, hella faded means being high and drunk and Taylor Gang is his record company from Pittsburgh. In closing, let us hope for more tracks with self-proclaimed bumble-bee Juicy J in the future.