mandag 31. mars 2014

31032014 - Nils Petter Molvær "Switch"

I remember when Nils Petter Molvær released his album "Khmer" in 1997. I really loved that album. It was music to set or enhance the mood, the soundtrack to tropical sunrises, arctic sunsets, rainfalls in the rain forests and similar beautiful moments in nature. You get my drift. Now he has released that album again. An you know what? It's not very exciting. It's very pretty, and you can still see those tropical arctic rain forests and the sunrise sunsets, but it's just empty prettiness. Mood pieces. Wallpaper. The paint drying on a really nice painting. Valium. Buddha Bar Lounge music.

søndag 30. mars 2014

30032014 - Captain Beyond "Sufficiently Breathless"

Captain Beyond's second album, released in 1973, starts off with the laid back and acoustic title track, and a pleasant breeze of a song it is. On the next two songs the American/British band gradually shift gears, and "Drifting in Space" is sort of rocking, in a Santana-ish kind of way. In general this is pretty mellow stuff, and those among you who insist on hearing prog everywhere will find hints of that as well, albeit a very low key and non-intrusive kind. This is mostly pretty and relaxed, with the track "Distant Sun" stirring it up a bit towards the end. There you find hints of both hard rock, psychedelia and jazz. For a lineup featuring two former Iron Butterfly members and Deep Purple's original vocalist, this is pretty light stuff, but that's not all bad I guess.

lørdag 29. mars 2014

29032014 - Andrew Gold "What's Wrong With This Picture?"

Time for some soft rock again! I have only heard one of Gold's songs previously, the wonderful "Lonely Boy", which can be found on this album. And that song is so good it's been covered by both Petula Clark and Foo Fighters! The rest of the album is fairly pleasant, but I'm unsure why such a good songwriter would feel the need to include a relatively pedestrian cover version of the song "Do Wah Diddy". That's nitpicking though, because theres plenty here for lovers of solid 70's pop/soft rock, including the shortest epic ballad I can recall ever hearing, in the form of "Angel Woman", which clocks in at 1:37, but feels a lot longer. Fun fact: There's apparently 32 things wrong in the picture on the album cover. Good luck finding them all! At least there's nothing wrong with this album.

fredag 28. mars 2014

28032014 - Petter Baarli - "You Petter B. Goode"

Don't point your finger at the guitar man, the guitar is my gun! So he sings on the track "Don't Point Your Finger", and if the guitar is his gun, it's fully loaded and he's not firing blanks! This is rock'n'roll at its best! Zero points for originality of course, but that was never the point in the first place. I mean, when you can totally - uh - borrow the riff from "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" and get away with it, then you are a Man, my son! So, I hear you ask, what is the difference between the songs on "You Petter B. Goode" and a Backstreet Girls album? More variation is one thing. More laid-backness is another. Of course there are more similarities than differences, but there are certainly enough differences to justify this as a solo album. And, playing the Devil's advocate, his voice might not be the best in the universe, but then again, it doesn't need to be. Do you criticise Keith Richards for being totally rock'n'roll, but not pitch perfect? I didn't think so. And likewise, there's room for this lesson in total coolness in any rock lover's collection! Don't point your finger at the guitar man, he's only having fun!

torsdag 27. mars 2014

27032014 - The Cheaters "Rites of Spring"

Hello again, The Cheaters! It's been a while. What took you so long? Not writing these songs, I presume? I don't mean that as an insult, because there's nothing wrong whatsoever with the songs, but 10 songs in 7 years is slightly less than what the baying rock hungry hounds of the world expect. Nevermind... This album opens with the brilliantly titled "20 000 Miles an Hour Girl", and although I'm not really sure what that means (is she... fast?) I kind of want to know her. "Start All Over Again" is the album's epic track, clocking in at almost 6 minutes, and songs like "Here Comes the Nighttime" mix rocking out hard with touches of - gasp - intelligence! The album closes with more tales of speed in the form of "Acceleration" (you guessed it - a fast rocker) and "Fast Forward" (not a ballad either), and all of a sudden half an hour has passed. Worth the wait? Sure! But please don't spend another seven years on the next album! As a matter of fact, spend seven months! Less Axl, more grease, please! Meanwhile I will be spinning this lovely album a lot! Oh, and did I mention that "She's a Spider" might be the year's coolest rock'n'roll tune by a Norwegian band so far this year?

onsdag 26. mars 2014

26032014 - Anders Wendin "Dom Ska Få Se Vem Dom Roat Sig Med"

Yes, I am a huge fan of Moneybrother. And yes, I really enjoyed their Swedish language covers album "Pengabrorsan". So did I expect to love 'brother Anders Wendin's first proper solo album, lyrics in Swedish et al? I sure did! And it starts wonderfully soulfully Swede'n'sweet with "Min Kompis Farsa Betalade Svart", a number that contains most of the stuff that I love about Moneybrother, including some lovely horns. The second track is the single "Lämna Lampan På", a song I had already heard a couple of times, which by now has grown to a giant hit in my ears! Dig that bass! Dig those backing vocals! Dig it! I'm not going to go into detail on every single song, but this is a varied album that on first listen has several potential favourite tracks. "Du Måste Kunna Gå Nu" is one of those, a gentle song that starts almost too basic, but has many details underneath the seemingly smooth surface - a simple guitar lick here, a piano there - before building towards a climax with a choir of almost gospel like qualities, and again those horns! There are more acoustic guitars here than on his output as Moneybrother, but there's also a generally stripped down quality to the songs that makes this more than just Moneybrother unplugged. This is an Anders Wendin album because there's more of him in these songs: his heart, his soul and his bare feelings down to the naked honesty that comes with singing in his own language. This album for me has been love at first listen, and I can tell that with the repeated listens this album will get that love will grow into a long and lasting relationship!

tirsdag 25. mars 2014

25032014 - Wolfmother "New Crown"

None of us saw this coming. Just last month I bemoaned the fact that I hadn't checked out Wolfmother's second album at the time it was released, and here they are again with a new album! And without even announcing that they were back together again! Which, of course, they are not. This is Andrew Stockdale with the bass player/keyboardist from "Cosmic Egg" and Andrew's solo album, "Keep Walking", plus the rhythm guitarist from said solo album, now on drums. So, effectively this is Stockdale's solo band performing as Wolfmother, which obviously is what the people want. After seeing his stocks plummet, Stockdale has apparently seen the value of the brand name that is a band name, so Wolfmother it is. But is it any good? The verdict is still out, and it will take a lot more than just this one listen to decide. "Tall Ships" is a standout track, with its brooding dark psychedelia, but most of the album is rawer and more primitive than the first two albums. There's generally more garage rock, and even a Detroit-y punk edge to some of the material here! I really like parts of this album, but I'm not sure that "New Crown" benefits from being a Wolfmother release.

mandag 24. mars 2014

24032014 - Jimmy McGriff "Groove Grease"

I found this album on a list of records that share one particular theme, but with a massive musical span. The title "Groove Grease" seemed promising though, and the album pretty much delivered, in a Booker T kinda way. That's right, Mr. McGriff was indeed a Hammond handler, and according to his discography this is one of five albums released under his name in the year 1971! I wouldn't call this spectacular, but the McGriff groove is definitely pretty cool, in its own funky blaxploitation lounge way.

søndag 23. mars 2014

23032014 - Georges Brassens "Chante Les Chansons Poétiques No1"

Originally released in 1952, this album showcases a selection of songs by this French iconic singer/songwriter and poet. His songs have influenced generations of singers from his home country, but Brassens' lyrics have also been translated into several different languages by various artists such as Cornelis Vreesvijk. This is exactly what you would expect a French artist from this period to sound like, and I'm sure this was all extremely cutting edge at the time, but I must admit that I have not found a new favourite artist here. I'm sure I am missing some of the big picture by not understanding the lyrics and by not putting this in the context of the era when these chansons were written, but I feel great music should be timeless, and j'accuse Monsieur Brassens of not withstanding le test of time.

lørdag 22. mars 2014

22032014 - Daughters "Canada Songs"

Clocking in at just over eleven minutes, calling this an album feels like a stretch before you play the thing. However, the amount of information these extreme grindcore noise terrorists pack into their ten Canada songs is enough for it to qualify and then some! Some of the song titles are longer than the actual tunes (and I use the term loosely) themselves, with "I Slept With the Daughters and All I Got Was This Lousy Song Written About Me" as the perfect case in point. Not for the faint hearted, and for beginners this dose will be more than plenty, but hell, the explosions of energy on display here are as impressive as they are great! Probably not your grand aunt's new favourite band, but Daughters deliver the goods!

torsdag 20. mars 2014

20032014 - Ingrid Steeger "Ingrid Steeger Singt Klimbim"

German comedy actress and pinup model Ingrid Steeger released this album in 1975, and as far as I can tell most of the songs are from or based on the TV show "Klimbim", in which she starred from 1973-1979. It's as hard to take this album seriously as it is not to be charmed and entertained, as Steeger's limited vocal style - more Betty Boop than Marilyn Monroe - never tries to convince anybody that it's more than mere sultry cuteness. The music is mostly cabaret style cocktail jazz, with hints of German Schläger, bossa and faux-funk, giving it an air of bachelor pad friendliness. The lyrics are all in German, and as I'm too lazy to delve too deeply into them I just notice words like "exotisch", "erotisch"  and "wenn ich strippe" in the song "Der Star aus der Paloma Bar", and the rest of the album is littered with mock-sensual gasps and giggles, all in great fun. Das ist Entertainment!

onsdag 19. mars 2014

19032014 - Ejecta "Dominae"

I literally had no idea what to expect as I pressed play on this album, which I discovered in the process of doing research on yesterday's post. The similarities in - uh - cover art esthetics between the two are of course intriguing, but this album is more than mere skin. As album opener "Mistress" whisks by there's a feeling of floating on air on account of the ethereal vocals and the lighter-than-oxygen synth lines. This is dream pop, for sure, and stripped down to the bare necessities of vocals, synths and programmed drums, with nary an organic instrument let loose near this duo. After a while all this airy dreamy fluffy pop gets a bit samey sleepy repeaty, and halfway through I have lost interest in Ejecta's gentle and seductive whispering. This is all very gorgeous and beautiful, but lacking in depth. An album for relaxed meditation, not for staying awake.

tirsdag 18. mars 2014

18032014 - Sky Ferreira "Night Time, My Time"

I really do like the opening track of Sky Ferreira's debut album! It reminds me of the first time I heard Garbage, back when they were fresh and exciting, mixing rock with beats you could dance to. Ms. Ferreira does the same, as this is extremely danceable whilst bringing enough guitars into the mix to please all lovers of the rock. Not all songs manage to keep my attention, and it's not always clear if she wants to rock out or be a slightly edgy popstress. And the title "Heavy Metal Heart" is a total misnomer, but for a debut album this is not bad at all. I will probably not listen to this album all the way through ever again, but there are a handful of really good songs here that deserve to find their way onto the playlists of music fans young and old!

mandag 17. mars 2014

17032014 - Fruupp "Future Legends"

There once was a band called Fruupp. And just knowing that makes the world a slightly better place. These guys existed during the first half of the seventies, and progressive rock is what they delivered unto the world. This particular album was their debut, and released in that most wondrous of years, 1973! After an intro of lush violins, there is found a bounty of neck breaking guitar riffs to please those who love their rock hard, but constantly interspersed with contrasting soft and gentle vocal harmonies and melody lines. Apparently these Northern Irelanders supported both Queen and Genesis during their lifetime, and by the sound of it they would have fit both bills perfectly. There are some really inspired moments here, such as the straight forward blues sections midway through "Lord of the Incubus", and it's easy to imagine that fans of bands like Uriah Heep or Deep Purple would also find plenty to love within these songs. Especially the vocals, courtesy of Vince McCusker, have a David Byronesque quality to them. Their name might not have been the most streamlined of monickers, and apparently was constantly spelled wrong by more or less everybody, but probably seemed like a good idea at the time. And this album is pure greatness!

søndag 16. mars 2014

16032014 - Josefus "Dead Man"

Pretty cool Texan band, who obviously loved to jam. And when I say pretty cool, I mean mostly forgettable. I will give them credit due for being what they were - early forefathers of heavy metal. In Texas. Some tunes, like opener "Crazy Man", are quite good in a Sabbathy way, but most of this material just sounds dated. Also, the title track doesn't do itself any favours by plodding along for over 17 minutes...

lørdag 15. mars 2014

15032014 - Violetta Villas "Nie Ma Miłości Bez Zazdrości"

The album title translates as "There Is No Love Without Jealousy", and this album was released in 1977, a time when apparently this Polish diva, actress and songstress extraordinaire found herself isolated in her native country of Poland where she had returned to her dying mother. Before this she had a career in Las Vegas from 1966, where she was the star at the Dunes Hotel and Casino, singing duets with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Barbara Streisand and Eartha Kitt, to name a few. This is definitely Vegas music, with lyrics all sung in Polish. Her voice is simply amazing, and the songs have all the drama and pathos of her English singing peers, and it's easy to imagine Ms. Villas on stage, dazzling the audience with her performances.

fredag 14. mars 2014

14032014 - D.A.D. "Scare Yourself"

This is easily one of the bands I have partied most to, sung the most along to and laughed and cheered the most to. Yes, Watson, I am indeed talking about their classic albums "No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims" and "Riskin' it All", both with so many classics they could easily base their entire setlist around just those two records and even now, 25 years and at least a bunch of albums later, nobody would complain. I guess you understand that this is not an album I have paid much attention to, not upon release in 2005 and not later, but right now that changes. They have my attention. My complete attention. I am paying attention, and my mind does not wander. Wanda? I wonder... Yeah, you would have thought that the first two or three songs there would be something to keep my mind from - is that a taco sauce stain on the floor? "The opening track, "Lawrence of Suburbia", has a pretty clever title. And the other songs...also have titles. What's that? Uninspired, you say? Well, they started it! Let's just say that out of all their albums this is definitely their ninth! At least I gave it a shot. Now you don't have to.

torsdag 13. mars 2014

13032014 - Barren Womb "The Sun's Not Yellow, It's Chicken"

Okay okay, I'm awake! I didn't intend to make this today's album, I was just checking it out, but all of a sudden I got into it and... Long story short - even though I by no means have a degree in noise punk, there's something to be said for a band within this genre who puts a bar piano in the album opener like it's the most natural thing in the world. And they even get away with it! These Norwegians have listened to Converge, Blood Brothers and At the Drive-In, and they probably eat dynamite sticks for breakfast. There's a lot of information to process here, and I should perhaps have met their aggressive barrage better prepared and fully rested, because this is an all-out attack! The song titles are mostly clever puns along the lines of "Kill Hicks", "Bong Aqua", "Obi-Wan Chernobyl" and "Segway to Heaven", but their candidate for Song Title of the Year goes out to "Will You Be God's Art or Satan's Graffiti?" They should be a whirlwind live, and get heavy kudos for making this work on record as well, even though I'm all worn out after listening through. Now, where's that Sade album...?

onsdag 12. mars 2014

12032014 - Julie & the New Favorites "Recipe"

All of a sudden discovered that I had marked this album as a favourite om my streaming media player, most likely while going through last year's releases for work purposes in November or December. This is a Norwegian quartet, and their low key bluegrass influenced country tinged folk (or the other way around) is simply gorgeous! Vocalist Julie M. Sandø's voice is as crystal clear as a mountain creek in spring, and she carries on in the tradition of Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss as if she were born and raised in the Appalachians! There's even hints of Joni and Emmylou in her singing! Meanwhile the band impresses like hell, and if somebody had played this album for me and claimed that these guys were seasoned American bluegrass veterans I would totally have bought that! This is simply top notch world class stuff!

tirsdag 11. mars 2014

11032014 - The Babys "On the Edge"

This is the fifth album by the John Waite-fronted band The Babys, released in 1980. As with all other releases by this group, we're talking slick melodic rock, tailor-made for radio. Waite is on top form and the band, including keyboard maestro Jonathan Cain (Journey, Bad English) and bassist Ricky Phillips (Styx, Bad English), are tight and inspired. Unfairly, the big breakthrough hit never arrived for The Babys, so this was to be their last studio album. A shame really, as songs like "Sweet 17" and "Rock 'N' Roll Is (Alive And Well)" would have been stadium fodder had there been any justice in the world. Which there isn't. Oh well, if the band had never disbanded we might never have had John Waite's hit "Missing You". Or would we?

mandag 10. mars 2014

10032014 - The Trip "Caronte"

More Italian prog? Sure, but this band was part British as well, and with a name like Arvid Andersen I'm pretty sure their bassist/vocalist had Scandinavian blood. If anybody has any information here, please let me know! The Trip was established in 1966, and briefly featured Ritchie Blackmore before he left and eventually formed Deep Purple. This is The Trip's second album, released in 1971, and they sure did live up to their band name. There's lots of weirdness going on here, but also some more conventional rock tunes, like the lovely Janis Joplin tribute "Little Janie". Jimi Hendrix also gets a nod, in the form of "L'Ultima Ora E Ode A J. Hendrix", a song that, ironically, has a certain Deep Purple vibe to it. A nice trip indeed!

søndag 9. mars 2014

09032014 - The Motels "The Motels"

I remember later singles from The Motels, such as "Suddenly Last Summer" and "Shame", both from the early eighties. But this is where it all started, in 1979. Martha Davis' voice is lovely and the songs are also gorgeous. Mostly. But even Blondie didn't release a flawless debut album, so this is more than good enough, and songs like "Anticipating", "Closets & Bullets" and "Total Control" - the latter even covered by Tina Turner - are small pieces of genius, showing the way to what lay ahead.

lørdag 8. mars 2014

08032014 - Pantera "Projects In The Jungle"

A lot of people talk shit about this album without having even heard it, and that's just unfair. Of course, this is not Pantera sounding like people remember them from their later albums, but so what? Bands change. Deal with it. Of course, one very notable difference is the vocalist, and air raid siren Terry Glaze obviously sounds nothing like his replacement, but he delivered some classic screaming on this power metal album that owed a lot to bands like early Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest. "Like Fire" is a good example of a song that sounds like a cross between the latter two, with a riff lifted straight out of "Shout at the Devil" and a guitar solo reminiscent of something from "Defenders of the Faith", and "Heavy Metal Rules" has both Quiet Riot and Accept in there! The keyboards on "In Over My Head" are just about the furthest you can get from anything most people would associate with Pantera, but a band has to start somewhere, right? And both the title track - with its "Creatures of the Night" meets "Fistful of Metal"-isms - and a couple of other songs hint slightly towards what would come later. All in all this is a record that bears its influences on its sleeves, and, in my book, ends up sounding all the better for it.

fredag 7. mars 2014

07032014 - Paloma Faith "A Perfect Contradiction"

Dear Paloma. I remember your first album. I loved the title, "Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful", and I loved the way you referenced other great artists, but still showed us a personality of your own. Your voice had that little something extra - shall we call it a slightly flawed charm? - that made you stand out, and there were songs - oh, the songs - whose timeless quality made you just a tiny bit unique. I must admit that I never did check out your second album, so I have no idea how it came to this, but I do hope that repeated listens to "A Perfect Contradiction" will make it sound less like someone told you to sound like Adele or Amy W. Because you don't need to sound like them. You should sound like you! Do you want the truth or something beautiful? Because the truth is that although this is far from bad, you can do a whole lot better. And I believe you will again. Actually I don't just believe. I have total Faith!

torsdag 6. mars 2014

06032014 - La Femme "Psycho Tropical Berlin"

This is a strange one, but utterly compelling! Influences range from punk/new wave to electro-disco via surf rock, mambo, psych-funk, kraut synth and several other genres - often within the same song. The opening track takes about 15 seconds to make you want to dance like an epileptic maniac all over the place, and from there on the album showcases all kinds of groove, from the franticly upbeat to the sleek and b-movie mysterious. It's both clever and playful, in a very French way, and throughout the entire album there's plenty of stuff going on, so even after repeated listens "Psycho Tropical Berlin" should have something new to offer the listener. One for both going crazy on the dance floor and chilling at home with the headset on, whatever takes your fancy. La Femme est trés cool!

onsdag 5. mars 2014

05032014 - Tommy Shaw "Girls With Guns"

Has it really been 30 years? Damn, I remember hearing the title track on this album when it first came out. And it's still one of the greatest upbeat pop songs from any AOR artist I can think of from that era. So what about the rest of the album? Because I really only heard that one song back in the day. Well, I am enjoying this - how could I not? After all, this is classic melodic rock with strong rockers, strong ballads and extreme catchiness all over the place. Most of the songs on the first half of the album could have been singles, and almost all of them are instantly hummable. Halfway through the album we are treated to the epic piece "Kiss Me Hello", which with its 7 1/2 minutes demands a bit more of an attention span, but if you can handle it there's more light entertainment directly afterwards. Not all songs are classics, and the second half of the record has the least wonderful songs, but hey - when you have a tune as great as "Girls With Guns" the rest of the songs could have been recordings of nails scraping across a blackboard backed by a tone deaf plumber playing an untuned violin, and as a whole it would still have been pretty great!

tirsdag 4. mars 2014

04032014 - Ingrid "Babylove"

Her name is Ingrid, the album is called "Babylove" and the album cover shows her head, seemingly unaccompanied by her body, under water. So far, so intriguing; let's check it out. The opening track is called "This is Motor Oil Dude" - what's there not to like? Of course it helps that the music is lush, mystical, dark and bewitching. There's shrieking violins, tribal rhythms and a mighty choir. There's haunting harmonies, ghostlike voices that gives you chills and lyrics blacker than pitch, and all this set to songs that Kate Bush might dream up in her most beautiful nightmares. Ingrid Helene Håvik is also the vocalist in Highasakite, but personally I prefer this. Most artists would not get away with a hypnotic oriental inspired song in the middle of an album like this, but "Bomonti Sisli" fits perfectly in between her tales of murderous revenge fantasies and soothing autumn moods. An impressive album!

mandag 3. mars 2014

03032014 - Harlem River Drive "Harlem River Drive"

Village Voice recently published a list of The 50 Most NYC Albums Ever, and this album by Harlem River Drive came in at #6, making it the highest of the fifty that I had not already heard. Released in 1970, it has the first recorded performances of brothers Charlie and Eddie Palmieri as bandleaders, and is a wonderful showcase for the funky latino jazz you associate with the two. On some of the songs you can feel the heat rising from the asphalt, obviously making this very much a summer album. The Puerto Rican and Cuban influences blend perfectly with elements of soul, fusion, big band jazz and experimental funk, and there's such a nerve in every note played and every syllable sung that it's easy to imagine how magical the recording sessions must have been. Definitely a masterpiece!

søndag 2. mars 2014

02032014 - Dedalus "Dedalus"

Once more we have an album chosen because of the album cover, because it's from 1973 and because, why not? And what we have here is part prog, part psychedelia, part jazz and all intriguing weirdness. There's "Meddle" era Pink Floyd in there right next to Hawkwind, Miles Davis, Soft Machine, and more. And these Italians blend everything together seemingly without effort. The instrumentals that make out this album are led by saxophone, guitar, electric piano and cello, and will be enjoyed by all lovers of obscure prog, fusionists and even fans of, say, Ozric Tentacles.

lørdag 1. mars 2014

01032014 - Brainticket "Psychonaut"

A classic example of stumbling upon an album and liking what I see before I hear a single note. Just the band name and album title alone are enough to get my attention, and a description of Brainticket as an obscure experimental Krautrock band from the early 70's with members of Belgian, Swiss, German and French descent make me even more interested. The band was founded by Belgian pianist and mastermind Joel Vandroogenbroeck, a name that probably translates into "drugged out mad genius", in the late 60's and their first album, "Cottonwoodhill" from 1971 got banned in several countries, including the USA, for its association with psychedelic substances. Which is nice. There's nothing in "Psychonaut", their second album, to suggest that the psychedelics had worn off, even though it sounds quite different than its predecessor, with more exotic instruments, such as sitar, flute, slide whistle, tabla and tbilat. I love the mood this album conveys, and it's easy to see how fans of Amon Düül II, Hawkwind and Gong could easily get into this.