Category Archives: Music

Tame Impala – Innerspeaker

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And now to something completely different: psychedelic rock.

This is about another of my favourite albums of 2010, which is already a lie, because I only discovered this band in 2011. It became my personal soundtrack of the summer, and the story behind this band is an exceptional one, considering the business that rules nowadays. Although the style and the sound of Tame Impala is everything but not suitable for mainstream listeners, they managed to be top of the Australian indie-charts with their first EP in 2008. This is a modern fairy tale regarding that there was almost no marketing machinery to contribute to this success. It would be like recording a few songs of your garage band with a semi-professional recorder and finish up by being played in the national radio all damn day.

Innerspeaker is their first full-length album. I must say, psych-rock never used to be one of my preferred genres. I guess this is mainly because it sometimes is kind of boring listening to endless and moony songs. Strangely this is not the case when listening to Tame Impale. Although the first song turns out to be just one of those musical smoked trees I just described, Desire Be Desire Go kills the cliché and reveals the true flair of this band, which the boys themselves described perfectly when defining their band as “a steady flowing psychedelic groove rock band that emphasizes dream-like melody.” For me, it is all about the psychedelic groove rock part that makes this work so adorable.

Lots of people compare them to the Beatles due to the front man’s voice. There is however one main difference: the songs on Innerspeaker actually have a climax (I like the Beatles nevertheless, don’t panic). Another point I’d like to highlight is the grooving bass play, whose interaction with the drums shape the soul of the songs. The blurred guitar play and the resounding vocals round it all over. Not to forget the electronic features, which appear from time to time.

Songs like Solitude is Bliss show how tranquil and talented these young guys already are, which, on the contrary, doesn’t mean that you can’t hear any passion to experimentalise anymore. Expectation starts as a light, fresh-faced track which grows into an epic giant when you expect it to be already over. The riff in The Bold Arrow Of Time could have been from Kyuss themselves. I Really Don’t Mind washes you away from this world with a sudden electronic blast before the drumming wakes you up again.

All in one this is an album which may cast a spell over you, or which you will not like at all. I think there is no third possibility.

Coming back to the cliché mentioned in the beginning: I actually was at a Tame Impala concert this summer, and yes, the location unfortunately was full of green smoke. However, what remained in mind far more stronger was their cover version of Massive Attack’s Angel. Lots of kudos for that one!

Recommendations: Desire Be Desire Go, Lucidity, Solitude Is Bliss.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxvf7gR4-2M]

Midnight – Farewell To Hell

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Midnight‘s “Farewell to Hell” is a unique, true, authentic, raw, primitive, Venom/Hellhammer-esque 1st wave Black Metal Ep with Motörhead, dirty rock and roll and oldschool Punk influences!

This is pure evil and really cool!

Buy the record!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvENCRNKCQo]
P.s. Be prepared for their first full-lenght record: Satanic Royalty. Click me for more information

Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972 & Dropped Pianos

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For the last months I unfolded a passion for a music genre that I’d like to call abstract music. Most people tend to define this genre as ambient / drone / whatever, but I prefer to rely on my own definitions of music instead of blindly following trends and assuming new tags on last.fm as my own, for instance.

Montreal based musician and producer Tim Hecker suits the definition of abstract music very well. He’s been the first artist who introduced me to the ambient / drone genre apart from Southern Lord’s finest; Sunn o))).

I remember the time I first listened to his album “Harmony In Ultraviolet” and I was stunned, in a pleasant way. Never had I heard something like that before and it was a thrilling experience to me.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUpA8R01d50?rel=0]

Ravedeath, 1972 follows his “classical” songwriting, if this can be called so. Multilayered soundscapes chased through all possible effects giving enough room to the listener to sink in an imaginary dream world and cancel contact with the here and now. Hecker lifts the sound of conventional instruments to a whole new level and to me he is one of the big players in the ambient league. Pianos, organs, guitars; all mixed and modified to a pleasant yet challenging listening experience; where you do not know if it is a violin or perhaps a saxophone you’re hearing. And you just couldn’t care less, because you’re already sucked into the whirl of this work of art. And that’s what makes this album so special. The songs can wrap you like a warm veil and in another instant hit you on the forehead and make you feel miserably for what you are.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K33Ka4yauQ?rel=0]

Dropped Pianos is the complete opposite of Ravedeath, 1972. I could interpret this album as an homage to the piano, but it’s more. There’s more to it than just a few chords randomly hitten with a lot of hall. It’s the saddening, melancholic undertone of the so called “sketches” which makes this album worth listening to. The ethereal acoustic of the piano gives this album a more organic note, a more conventional approach to “ordinary” music than Ravedeath does, so I can fully recommend Dropped Pianos to all the people who have never heard of ambient / drone music before. It’s easier to digest but at the same time a challenge, because Dropped Pianos could also be described as the soundtrack of the apocalypse. Burning bridges and the metal twisting towards the fiery skyline, people desperately running for shelter and looking for their beloved ones; everything’s held with the eye of a voyeuristic camera in slow-motion. Dropped Pianos is a slow paced listening experience in unsurpassable intimate beauty.

In a society in which musical trends wither within the blink of an eye, new bands having a raison d’être for their hip moment and old bands losing credibility for not evolving during their careers, Tim Hecker is some sort of hero to me. His music does not follow any conventions and is the antithesis to trends and hipsterism.

Who needs arpeggio-laden synths, time signatures, people with fancy Hitler hairdos and trend whores when there’s one man with a laptop who unleashes the fury with minimalism as a big fuck you to the (trends) establishment?

Conclusion: The soundtrack for this autumn, most definitely! Thank you for everything Tim.

Death From Above 1979 – You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine

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2004. Two men. One on bass guitar. One on drums. Result: pure insanity. In case you don’t own this album yet then it’s about time! A legal drug you can purchase in every record shop that has the guts to sell this. Or the internet, source of information, stupidity and craziness.

Turn It Out, threatening sounds, and before you realize it You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine has you in the headlock and will throw you through the whole room for the next 35 minutes. And you know what? You like it! You want it to happen! You don’t want it to stop! Inhuman bass guitar violation, aggressive lyrics, no pause, Romantic Rights, “I DON’T NEED YOU, I WANT YOU”, obey! No pause, Going Steady, your head bangs despite the headlock, torture, that bass, pure pleasure, that chorus!

The energy that Jesse Keeler and Sebastien Grainger are able to produce, being just two guys, is just enormous. This is like the danceable kick-ass rock music that makes you sweat and dance in a small cave, undergoing more sweaty and stinky bodily contact than you’ve ever had in your life, and you wouldn’t think of any better place to be, not at all! The album is already in its middle part but your mouth is still wide open. Death From Above 1979 are no computer band, they aren’t clean, and thank god for that. They feel pure and honest when they come around to vandalize your home. Always brutal, full of pressure and sexy.

It sometimes feels like someone paired the filthy Motörhead sound with sexy rock’n’roll à la Eagles of Death Metal. Bass ravishment at its best, you hear it, you feel pity for it, but you certainly don’t want it to be released, au contraire. In case you’ve enjoyed Little Girl as some kind of breathing spell, Cold War will bring you back to reality before the title song knocks you out of your boots. Forget about them. This monster will be in bed right next to you when you wake up, smoking your underpants during Sexy Results, which sounds like pure rock disco. You will beg for the next round.

If there won’t be any more doping substances in this world, then this will be the new stuff!

Recommendations: Tracks 1 to 11.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4siXlLOSW0]

Mayhem – Life Eternal

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First things first. I have been listening to Black Metal for a couple of years now, but I don’t give a damn about any kind of scene or about being trve, kvlt, frostbitten or whatever else there is. I do not care about Varg Vikernes’ political views or his world outlook. I do not support fucking church burnings (even though I think that religions are brainwashing institutions which detain people from free-thinking) or stupid murders. I am not a close-minded idiot who rejects everything but Black Metal but damn I love this crazy shit from the early 90ies.

Let’s switch over to the record now. Life Eternal is an EP which contains rough mixes of 5 songs from the great De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas record, which was released back in 1994. After Euronymous was killed, Attila lost all contact with Mayhem and De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas became a bestseller. The only “souvenir” the vocalist had from these times were the 5 rough songs he recorded for himself in the studio. Attila claims that these songs, even nowadays, always bring back strong and dark emotions and that he wants to share his feelings with the fans. After years of fighting for the rights of the record, he released this 3,000-copy limited A5 digipack EP in 2009, in co-operation with Season of Mist and his own label.

What makes this EP so special? There are a few things. First of all it’s the whole getup. The record doesn’t only come in a nice A5 format, it also includes 10 stickers, very rare or even unreleased pictures, letters and lyric sheets. The most interesting about the album are Attila’s vocal performances. He probably already had an idea of how the vocals should sound, nevertheless he tried out different styles and singing techniques in order to decide which one suited best for the different songs and overall atmosphere. It is not always that easy to hear differences between the songs from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and the “original” but if you sit down and listen carefully you make clear distinctions.

Talking about differences you notice that Hellhammer’s drums on the Life Eternal EP are much more passive and in the background. I personally don’t like drums which are too present. This record also contains a Funeral Fog drum intro, which was cut out later on the “official” release. Looking at the guitars, I come to a similar conclusion. I like the guitars on the EP more, they are grungier and harsher, which support and underline and even perfect the extreme dark and dissonant atmosphere of Mayhem‘s sound and music.

People often tend to say that the fact of being a legend is larger than Mayhem’s musical accomplishments. With albums like De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Mayhem – Live In Leipzig and Life Eternal, they easily convince us of the opposite. This record is pure evil and I don’t care if this release has been put out to profit from the band’s popularity or not. I personally think that Life Eternal is one of the best and most interesting records in the history of the band.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY9zhTlaMW0]

Crippled Black Phoenix – I, Vigilante

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No new fresh food on my desk, so let’s talk a little bit about one of my favourite albums of 2010. Be ready for a laudation because I haven’t found much to criticize until this day. Started as a project of a collection of many well or less known post-rock musicians, Crippled Black Phoenix seems to have established itself as a truly independent supergroup with their latest album.

So what’s so special about this work? To be short and figurative: you actually can see the snow falling in the Ardennes in 1944 while the world goes down around you when listening to I, Vigilante. Epic probably is the most overused term these days, but excuse me to use it anyway. It is a post-rock concept album which doesn’t continue the line that has characterized post-rock for the last couple of years. Some may call the development boring, or overplayed. It doesn’t really matter.

Crippled Black Phoenix combines post-rock with elements like vocals and speed changes, which sometimes result in a short rock part, making it more receptive. Moreover they created that sound of Armageddon that keeps floating in your head especially during the cold seasons of the year. The more you listen to it, the more you will discover. Be it strings, wind instruments or piano, or be it the lyrics of the songs, turning each track into a little piece of literature in itself. Lots of people have compared this to Pink Floyd, in my eyes this is just one of many influences to find. The warm and melodious vocals (actually way too rare to find in this genre) top this album off. The front singer, Joe Volk, really amplifies the atmosphere, being rigorous, being sad, sometimes being nothing but wonderful.

The intro of track no. 4, Bastogne Blues, just makes you tremble. What comes afterwards is a great and pessimistic song that represents the whole idea of a grand album, although two songs still follow. Personally, I like to end the listening after Bastogne Blues because it is a perfect closure of this musical doomsday. But let’s be complete: Of a Lifetime, the second to last song, surprises with 80s guitars and a female singer, Daisy Chapman. Although it doesn’t really fit, it sticks in your mind and seems to try to deal with the whole story called life.

Let’s conclude with the last track, a hidden one, called Burning Bridges. It is bizarre, humorously, sad and happy. The song is a cover version (originally performed by The Mike Curb Congregation) of the title song of a 70’s comedy/war movie with Clint Eastwood. Compared to Bastogne Blues this certainly is the ironic end of the story. You decide which one to chose.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHCxKy2xWHs]
Recommendations: Troublemaker, Bastogne Blues.

The Jacob Conspiracy – Colourful Crime

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I’m pretty sure that the boys from the Jacob Conspiracy don’t want to hear it anymore (maybe they do, I actually haven’t talked to them), but let’s call a spade a spade: this album sounds like a Foo Fighters album. Is that a bad thing? Not at all!

However, there are two differences between the Foos and The Jacob Conspiracy: I’m quite convinced that Ken Brandenburger is a better singer than Dave Grohl (brownnosing no.1) and that in contrast to most Foo albums this one seems to grow stronger as time goes by (brownnosing no.2). Well then, let’s fill the Josy Barthel stadium! Alright, back to earth, not even the national football team does it. The opening song already gives the direction: sound, refreshing and often catchy rock and pop-rock.

The more I’ve listened to this album, the more I also had the feeling that Danko Jones had his finger in the pie. My personal highlight certainly is track number 4, Desire. A very bright and cheerful song that could have been your soundtrack of the summer if this had been released a bit earlier this year.

At the end of Colourful Crime you can find a handsome ballad and two entertaining acoustic songs. It was a good idea to put those in the end because the rocking flow of the main part of the album won’t be disturbed and the rock’n’roll train can roll on. Emily, the ballad, is perfectly suitable for radio, and guess what, I ejected the CD from my car radio yesterday during Emily to hear that she was played on Eldoradio the very same moment.

Negative points (to get the brown nose a bit cleaned off): the album surely has no downs, but one reason for this is a certain monotony in the refrains, especially during the middle of the album. The other thing is, and that surely is very subjective, that the sound often appears way too clean, too “gracious” in terms of rock’n’roll. I am nevertheless pretty sure that those songs are made to be performed live and that there will be way more dirty energy in the air. Note to myself: get to see them live a.s.a.p.!

At the end of the day, this is a well done rock album from a Luxembourgish band, that surely hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but that still has potential to do some more steps. Thumbs up.

Recommendations: Desire, Emily, Turn the Page (Acoustic).

Dirty Crows – Live at KuFa

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Imagine a small bunch of youngsters being at a point in life where lots of things are changing. They are in their mid or end of their twenties, they’re about to start their own lives, maybe they already have started it a few years ago. Also, they all have played in several bands during the years, being grungy, being alternative, being post rock. Now imagine them founding a new band, what will it be? More Post Rock? Pop Rock? I mean, they’re about to grow up, and adults have to play adult music. They could have done some sort of midlife-crisis-let’s-all-go-to-bed-and-have-some-rest-at-10pm-pop-rock-band.

Thank satan, they didn’t! The name of the band is Dirty Crows and that already is the way to describe their musical credo. Listening to them means tasting sand in your mouth, dry, crunchy, dirty. They call it desert rock, in fact it is some sort in between dirty rock’n’roll and stoner rock. To be short: Lemmy would be proud of ’em. Lyrics? Damn, you’re sitting on a motorcycle hitting the road in direction of nowhere and you couldn’t feel any better. Anyone who doesn’t sometimes dream of it? Don’t lie!

Screw perfect rock. People started buying vinyls again because they wanted their favourite music to have that scratchy sound again. So whenever you feel like listening to something which is perfectly imperfect then really go and try to get a copy of their live demo recorded during their first concert in the KUFA/Esch-Alzette. The bass guitar sounds like an electric mower trying to cut a whole tree, the lyrics sometimes interrupt, the entries miss, just the way I like it! Someone has just killed his girlfriend with a Kalashnikov. While trying to get away with his mustang he has to drive through a god damn hurricane. Oh really? Why the hell? Doesn’t matter, the journey is the reward!

Looking forward to their first real album they’re going to record during the next months. And you should too. Be dirty. Life’s too short not to have some fun with simple music. As long as your hips move and your head nods it can’t be too wrong.