2 new Prince albums out at the same time? Well, why not? This one is with his new band 3RDEYEGIRL, and although I think his caps lock mania is slightly uncalled for it's still Prince, and he can do whatever the hell he likes. Especially as long as the music is good. And this is Prince who wants to rock out with his electric guitar cocked and loaded! I doubt that any of the songs here will become new classics, but what do you really demand from a living legend like Prince? Songs like "WOW" and "BOYTROUBLE" put a huge grin on my face, and they sound as if Prince himself had a just as huge grin on his own face while playing them, and that's the way things should be. As for 3RDEYEGIRL, they are three women, one of whom (Donna Grantis) has been in Prince's band since 2012. Whoever the others are, they sound tight and their vocals fit the music perfectly, sort of in the same way that Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, and even Apollonia Kotero, did way back when. So what we have here is a really good Prince album with rock riffs, splendid vocal harmonies and a sense of fun being had by all involved. Sold!
tirsdag 30. september 2014
mandag 29. september 2014
Light and breezy semi-acoustic pop, part melancholy and part joyful. Yeah, it's been done before, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Eliza Doolittle, Bic Runga, Nina Kinert and Unni Wilhelmsen have all delivered great stuff within those confines. So what about Tini? And, by the way, who the hell is Tini? Google tells me she was a contestant in one of those TV shows. I wouldn't know. Apparently she was one of the losers, and now she has an album. A real pretty album with some fairly decent songs, but there's nothing here that makes me fall in love with her songs or her voice. I would listen to this again if I had trouble sleeping. That's about it.
søndag 28. september 2014
I discovered this band through a web feature on AC/DC, who apparently supported Head East at some point and ended up with a song that included a riff which sounded really similar to one of Head East's own. This was their fourth album, released in 1978, and the music is plain melodic semi-hard rock that neither offends nor excites me. There's parts of both Uriah Heep, Foghat, Boston, Chicago and several other bands to be found here, but nothing I would really call an identity of their own. Not bad, but their old support band beat them completely.
lørdag 27. september 2014
Having seen this album recommended by people I trust I concluded that this was not the R&B singer Rome, and pressed "play" on my streaming media player. As I listened I did some research and discovered that this Rome is Mr Jerome Reuter from Luxembourg, a singer/songwriter who describes his own music as "experimental-industrial-folk" and "chanson noir". The latter description fits rather well, but what on earth is supposed to be experimental or industrial about this I have no idea. It's moody stuff, and I suspect the lyrics are pretty deep, but I have to admit I struggle to give this the attention it probably deserves as the songs drift into each other and they mostly very similar. I suppose you could mention Nick Cave as a reference point, but Reuter lacks the authority and distinct voice of Cave, and basically sounds a bit dull and lifeless. Or rather goth-theatrical. Just check out the almost Bay Laurel-esque "The Ballad of the Red Flame Lily" for some semi-acoustic goth pop, and decide for yourself whether this is your cup of tea or not.
Leave it to Foghat to be totally predictable and utterly brilliant at the same time. This album from 1978 showcases the band doing what they do best, which is delivering hard blues rock, boogie and some hints of country. And although their choices of cover songs (Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago" and Elmore James' "It Hurts Me Too" standing out here) are far from original the Brits deliver them with all the edge and attitude needed to make them sound fresh and justify their inclusion. If you're looking for a reinventioning of the wheel, Foghat was never your band, but as far as rolling steadily goes this is about as good as it gets.
Unlike a lot of people I know I never fell that hard for Muse, and so I have never taken the time to listen through a full album from them. So sue me. And even though four of the songs from their 2009 album became singles the only song I had heard before was album opener "Uprising", a great track that cleverly steals the best bits from two other songs by slightly different acts and melts them into one. It's definitely far from bad, and I really enjoy the blatant Queen-isms of the rather pretentiously titled "United States of Eurasia [+Collateral Damage]", if not so much the equally blatant Radiohead-isms of "Unnatural Selection". So although this is pleasant enough it's not nearly enough to convert me into a Muse fan.
Yes. Believe it or not, but I never listened to this album in its entirety. Before now. And I find this pretty strange myself, considering how I played the follow-up, 1991's "Blood Sugar Sex Magic", completely to death, and the only natural thing to do should have been digging into the catalogue. Today I (like any other sensible person) find RHCP to be one of the most boring and annoying bands on the planet, but how about this 25 year old thing? Fresh? Exciting? Charming? Nope. It's very energetic, I'll give them that. And as this is from the time before Anthony Kiedis - one of the weakest voices in rock ever - fancied himself a soulful crooner there's none of that godawful moaning that seems to be all he ever does these days. However, this is still an album made by the musical equivalent of hackeysack kickers and stick jugglers. If these songs had been park dwellers they would have been white men with dreads and beads. Totally unexciting, and in 25 years, when this album turns 50, I will not have listened to it again.
So after staying almost all week in a wifi-less void it is time to update this blog yet again. New albums have been checked out, but i have not been able to tell the world. Tuesday's album was this absolute gem from the Canadian psychedelic doom duo Zaum. The four songs that make out this album are long (8 to 14 minutes), heavy and have a droning near-hypnotic feel to them. It's easy to understand why they call their own music "Middle Eastern Mantra Doom", as there are definitely an oriental feel to some of the passages. The use of sitars and other instruments from those parts of the world really accentuates this, and so does the band's use of Middle Eastern scales in songs like "The Red Sea". I love this to bits!
mandag 22. september 2014
Brilliant album title from the band who called one of their releases "Quiet Is the New Loud" two years before those horrible almond milk drinkers from Bergen! This 2002 album could probably not be further away from Whitesnake if they tried, with their relatively introvert electronic music that a lot of the time is little more than a lot of pleasant sound, but still somehow not completely disappearing as background hissing. It's even melodic, and not just art museum soundscaping, and when they bring out some acoustic instruments on top of the electronic scratching it's pretty nice. Nothing I would devote a lot of my time to, but still recommended when you want to give your ears some relief.
søndag 21. september 2014
I'm drawing complete blanks trying to find out anything at all about this band! I found the album while looking for The Phantom aka Jerry Lott, but this seems to be a 2011 release (I could be wrong), so it's obviously not that (late) masked rocker. The music is really good, though, mixing classic rock'n'roll with rockabilly bits and country & western pieces. If anybody has any information on this band, please let me know. The rest of you should just check out this album!
lørdag 20. september 2014
I recently discovered these Brits, who have a brilliant third album out through Napalm Records in a couple of weeks, and thought I'd check out their previous output. This is their second album, released in 2012, and it's filled with splendid doom metal with Soph Day doing a particularly good job on the vocals (and guitar). This is slightly more upbeat than their upcoming record, but fans of bands like Subrosa, Windhand, Mount Salem and their like should take notice of Alunah.
fredag 19. september 2014
New to me, but this is some really cool oldschool-ish hip-hop, just the way I like it! Funky as hell and filled with clever samples from several different genres, including late 60's psych pop, sometimes giving off the same kind of vibe as Guru, A Tribe Called Quest, Galactic or New Kingdom. It's intelligent, but heavily danceable at the same time, and should be enjoyed by all those who like hip-hop, but aren't too much into the gangsta stuff or the acts that lean too hard on the r'n'b side of the genre. Perfect for a Friday, I'd say!
torsdag 18. september 2014
onsdag 17. september 2014
What on earth do people see in Leonard Cohen? His voice has got to be the worst ever. He's not even singing! Yup, those were my thoughts about 30 years ago when my mother insisted on playing "Various Positions" all the time. And me? I was 11, and just did not grok it! I did after a while reluctantly admit to enjoying a couple of tracks on "I'm Your Man" four years later though, and I guess that's it - you need to come of age to properly enjoy some artists, Leonard Cohen possibly the ultimate case in point. So how about now? He's 80 bloody years old, and has nothing to prove, as a songwriter or a vocalist - because, let's face it, Leonard Cohen was never a "singer". Still he manages to deliver one of his best albums ever, one that gives me the same kind of vibes I got from Bob Dylan's "Time Out of Mind". This is a great album, and one that I know I will still be listening to in 30 years. Highlighting particular songs is hard, because they are all so damn good, with Cohen's lyrics hitting as hard as his deeper-than-ever voice. I am now older than my mother was back in 1984, and I somehow doubt that my own 11 year old son is likely to get excited by this album just yet, which to me that means all is well in the world. In 30 years he might read these words, give "Popular Problems" a listen and dig what's going on. And how cool would it be if Leonard Cohen had a new album out that year as well!
tirsdag 16. september 2014
Is John Waite the king of AOR? What other solo artist even gets close? Just the fact that he wrote "Missing You" is testament to his greatness, but "Every Step of the Way", the album opener and first single off his 1985 album and follow up to "No Brakes" (the one with "Missing You"), "Mask of Smiles" is almost just as brilliant. Most of these songs are equally glimmering gems, but the one he didn't write himself, a totally redundant version of the soul hit "Ain't That Peculiar", should have been left off completely. Actually, it's worth hearing just for the sniggers you get when you realize the opening bars are identical to "Macarena" by Los Del Rio. Or rather the other way around, since that single came 10 years later. Apart from that hiccup of a song, this is flawless AOR with Waite's vocal delivery constantly filled with all the emotion and honesty you could ask for. Personally I also really enjoy the fact that this album closes with what would have been the title track of the previous album, "No Brakes", especially since it's another excellent track and the perfect way to end this record.
mandag 15. september 2014
It's been 14 years since Ryan Adams released his wonderful debut album "Heartbreaker", and this is his 14th album. There's been highs and lows, but it seems that the general consensus is that he could have used a filter since the feeling people have (myself included) is that he records and releases every single song he writes. Of course going eponymous is a statement in itself, especially at this point in his career, so the question is if this is the ultimate and definitive Ryan Adams record? Probably not, but it's still one of his best releases in years. And opener "Gimme Something Good" is simply stunning! There are some lovely mellow acoustic moments here, but my favorites are the ones where he turns up the volume on that guitar and rocks out. You never went away Ryan, but welcome back anyway!
søndag 14. september 2014
Last day of Høstsabbat, and I'm catching up on Ocean Chief, who released this album last year. It's heavy as a mountain and deliciously sludgy and raw, taking cues from bands like Sleep, Yob, Conan and Ufomammut, without sounding like a copy of either. The four songs that make out this album range from 15 to 20 minutes, making this an album that will keep on growing with repeated spins. It's already monumentally impressive from the first listen, so I'm definitely looking forward to checking them out live tonight!
lørdag 13. september 2014
Another band I'm checking out before seeing them live at Høstsabbat tonight. And may I say WHAT AN ALBUM! I must admit being a tad nonplussed at the opening track "God Is Two", an all-out brutal metal assault, which led me to believe that this was a different kind of beast than I had expected. However, from "Black Magic Metal" the relentless ferocity of the opener was replaced by a no less relentless heaviosity as riffs like molten lead poured over me with the intent to maim and kill. Calling these Swedes the missing link between Kyuss and Sunn O))) is not far off, and if you throw in a little bit of Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath and even Celtic Frost you're not far off. Simply brilliant, pretty addictive and at times nightmarishly eerie!
fredag 12. september 2014
Checking these Norwegians out, because tonight I am seeing them live at Høstsabbat in Oslo. Sounds pretty cool, kind of like a lighter version of Hawkwind. Of course opening with a track called "Space Pirates Return" isn't exactly trying to keep those influences a secret. As long as the songs are this good that's perfectly ok, though.
torsdag 11. september 2014
Yeah yeah yeah, shame on me for not already having heard this album to death and knowing every single song in my sleep. But better late than never, eh? It is, of course, totally brilliant, and sounds every bit as fresh now as it did back in 1982. The one song I did already know is obviously the single "I Keep Forgettin'", an immortal classic if any. What I did not know was that Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had been given songwriting credit for that song due to the similarities between this song and their song called, er, "I Keep Forgettin'" from 20 years previously (as covered by David Bowie!). Oh well, you live and learn I guess. And now that I have heard this album I too can join the ranks of people singing its praises. Because the entire thing is just wonderful!
onsdag 10. september 2014
The original plan was the following two word review: "Pompous shit". But that was before I heard the music on this album. Now I feel the need to tell the world exactly how much this is pompous shit, and why. First of all - yes, I see what you did with the album title. Very clever, now rock souffle guy! So, the music. I need to address those guitars. Trying to sound like a more shrill version of The Edge does not make you edgy, just annoying. At one point I felt they had gone on forever with that thing, until I realized I was still on the second song. Song. Songs. Yes, the songs - there's that, too. They should probably have written some. Because this is mostly some kind of sound and feeling that you're supposed to lose yourself in, and then what? They hope people aren't going to notice a distinct lack of hooks and choruses? Or the fact that the times they are trying to deliver something chorus-y that bloody guitar pops up again and tries to drown out the vocals? By the way, the vocals are incredibly annoying as well, with their "Michael Stipe without emotions" delivery and constant echoes, reverb or other effects making listening to this album the aural version of being stuck in a maze of mirrors with Narcissus himself. By the end of the album my ears are so full of this streamlined anti-rock they want to throw up, and I desperately want to hear something with a little bit of grit. Something with heart and soul. Interpol have made an album for people with extremely expensive stereo equipment and no musical taste.
tirsdag 9. september 2014
How can you not dig a band called The Fat White Family? Not sure what to call their music, but "psycho country psychedelia" and "doom-laden rock'n'roll dirge mongering" are two descriptions found on the internet. And why not? They manage to sound like Sonic Youth and The Stone Roses at once on one song, have moments of Velvet Underground, Butthole Surfers, The Cramps and Iggy without ever sounding contrived. And they have a tune called "Is It Raining in Your Mouth?", which is a strong candidate for song title of the year. Well, last year anyway, but I missed out then. Not an album for the squeamish or those seeking an easy listen, but if you enjoy getting attacked by sound from all sides, and are happy sometimes to ride the attitude and the groove instead of being spoon fed palatable hooks and lowest common denominator choruses then "Champagne Holocaust" is the album for you. I know it is for me…!
mandag 8. september 2014
Very pretty, very ethereal pop, the kind that sounds like the whispers of songs sung by the ghosts of elves in a dream. Japanese-American singer Caroline Lufkin released this album in 2006, and must have stood out as a former J-pop artist with this frail experimental electronica based record that floats by and seems to just graze your eardrums in the passing. Mind you, her voice, although mostly dreamy and soft, can also take angel wings and soar, as on "I'll Leave My Heart Behind". Quirky and semi-strange at times, but an album that somehow keeps my attention, even though many of the songs have a seemingly very similar structure. Just lovely!
søndag 7. september 2014
Softness, sweet softness! Actually it's not all Keyboard City from these sweet Canucks, but the edges are never sharp enough to tear flesh. Still, the two opening tracks have plenty of guitar and the third is pretty rockin' as well. In a totally family friendly and safe way, of course. "What Does It Take" is the Big Ballad, and a song with a chorus so huge that it might have been just a Tom Cruise movie away from making Honeymoon Suite the biggest band in the world back in 1986, if you get my drift. It's relatively standard AOR fare, but thankfully standard high quality AOR fare most of the time. The album sags a bit towards the end, and I don't know what they were hoping to achieve with the flute on "All Along You Knew", but I really wish they hadn't. Of the ten tracks on this album I would say that half are totally brilliant, and the rest are relatively forgettable. "What Does It Take" is still great enough for me to recommend the whole album!
lørdag 6. september 2014
Great band name! Love the album cover as well, and the title is not bad either. And their frontman used to be in the band Midtown, which I seem to recall that i sort of liked some years ago. But what is this? No, seriously, what IS this? Too much all at once, is what it is. Pop, rock, disco, emo, electronica, indie pop, garage rock, punk and more. I'll give them this, it's pretty catchy, so they have got that down. But as a whole? It probably needs more listens, but I'm not certain I'm prepared to give them that. Of course they have the whole too-long-and-WAY-too-clever song title thing going on as well, with the worst offender being "Send My Love to the Dance Floor I'll See You in Hell". And even though this album is from 2006, there has never been a good excuse to use vocoders in rock! I guess I'm not in their target group anyway, so they couldn't care less about the opinion of a guy like me, but on the other side I don't care about that, so here it is: Don't bite over more than the listeners are able to swallow!
fredag 5. september 2014
Yes, this is the one with "Turn Up the Radio"! You know, the one where they sing "Day in, day out, all week long/Things go better with rock"! And ain't that just the truth? What a great song that is, and what a way to start the weekend! So how's the rest of the album? Well, I'm kicking myself for not listening to the whole thing before now, because this is the stuff! Opener "Send Her to Me" was another minor hit, so minor that it didn't register to where I was at the time, but today I'm loving it! And "Night Teen and Non-Stop" has the catchiness of chorus to match its silliness of title! Even the least memorable songs here are pretty damn catchy, and the whole thing is just one giant party! For a 30 year old album, released in that Orwellian year 1984, it sounds just as fresh today, and that's gotta count for something. Now, let's just hope they are able to persuade vocalist Steve Plunkett to take part in the ongoing reunion thing after all, and perhaps play Sweden Rock Festival?
torsdag 4. september 2014
Beautiful musical magic from Thea Hjelmeland (yes, another Thea), an artist I had never heard before, but who I will most certainly follow from now on. Who is she? I don't know. Who does she sound like? Quite a few names spring to mind throughout this adventure of an album, but none so much that you can pinpoint her as a Kate Bush disciple, Anja Garbarek student or Ane Brun follower, although she has a similar vibe to all three artists. I guess the similarity is something as elusive as the fact that Thea, like them, has a distinct voice that is her own, but is not afraid to paint with a broad palette. She borrows from African highlife artists, chilly spartan popsters and more experimental vocalists like Meredith Monk. I don't know, it's just brilliant music, I guess. definitely pop, mostly melodic, but far from mainstream.
onsdag 3. september 2014
This is a 100% sample based album, and one that does exactly what it says on the tin. There's lots of different stuff going on here, and I'm not sure all of this is really for me, but some of this is really cool as well. And with most of the twelve tracks staying safely below the 2 minute mark you don't have the time to get bored either. Even if a lot of the tracks sound like they could accompany an artsy short film of some kind.
tirsdag 2. september 2014
Fresh energetic hard-ish power pop/rock from Stavanger! The four girls in Frk. Fryd have many influences, and wear quite a few of them on their sleeve. Perhaps other Norwegian bands singing in their native tongue, such as Raga Rockers, deserve a mention, but there's also definite hints of both Veruca Salt and Foo Fighters here. Vocalist Caroline Ekeli has a powerful voice that's filled with sunshine and honey, even when she sings about hating an ex lover, which makes a song like "Blod & Honning" even more powerful than if it had been spat out in a punk fashion. The riffs may be hard but they have hearts of the purest pink bubblegum, and therein lies the genius of this band: The charming and alluring smile combined with the punch of a pro boxer make this an irresistible piece of knockout candy!
mandag 1. september 2014
Swedish band Night come on like Manowar on speed with album opener "Fire and Steel", lacking only the Blackwind to be all fighting the world. They keep on sounding like several classic metal bands at once, with particularly Judas Priest, Saxon and "Fistful of Metal"-era Anthrax springing to mind. Their aptly named vocalist, Burning Fire, who also handles the guitars, is a classic screamer who does what he can to yell his lungs out, and he does it well, with just the right amount of grit to make sure they keep most power metal fans at an arm's length. With all the riffs and guitar solos - single and dual - in the right place this is a new wave of traditional heavy metal album worth spending your time on!