Saturday, 18 October 2014

Short Attention Span Record Reviews: October 2014

 The Louder Stuff

Lots of “poppier Iron Maiden” moments, less party rock hooks, some filler. (7)

Another chaotic, earth-shaking album true to their Sabbath/Satan/weed fixations. Unfortunately for them, 2014 is probably the best year ever for psychedelic doom metal and some of the competition rates higher. (7)

EXODUS – Blood In Blood Out
“Fabulous Disaster” this ain’t, but it still kicks the ass of all thrash newbies. (7)

FISHBONE – Intrinsically Intertwined
Old-school ska/funk/punk/rock vets party like it’s 1988 on this EP and tear the roof off the sucker. Plus it seems they’ve got Rocky George on guitar nowadays. (7)

GODFLESH – World Lit Only By Fire
I’ve always hated that drum machine sound but I gotta admit, this album is definitely worthy of the Godflesh legacy. If you’re into industrial cataclysmic heaviness then this is a must-have. (8)

KAYO DOT – Coffins On Io
Goodbye metal, hello jazz. This makes “Perdition City”-era Ulver sound like Judas Priest. (8)

MELVINS – Hold It In
Replacing two auxiliary members on loan from Big Business with two members of the Butthole Surfers, the Melvins lose some of the sludginess but gain extra weirdness. (7)

ORANGE GOBLINBack From The Abyss
«Περνάμε καλά και αυτό περνάει στον κόσμο.» (sorry Anglophones, I just couldn’t resist the first thing that sprang to mind while listening to this. It’s a fun cross between Sabbath and Motorhead except when it sounds like Grand Magus.) (8)

PRIMUS WITH THE FUNGI ENSEMBLE – Primus And The Chocolate Factory
For 25 years I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to spot the influences of Primus and suddenly it all becomes clear: Primus sounds exactly like what the movie “Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory” looks like. The original one with Gene Wilder, not the stupid Tim Burton remake. (8)

SANCTUARY – The Year The Sun Died
“The Year The Sun Died” sounds much more like Nevermore than like Sanctuary, but most Nevermore albums are better than this. Still, if it’s real heavy metal you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place. (7)

SLIPKNOT - .5 The Gray Chapter
With #’s 0, 4, 5 and 6 stepping up their game to compensate for the missing #1 and #2, Slipknot’s return is every bit the strong, confident metal album their fans were hoping for. (8)

Moving completely away from the band’s black metal/viking roots towards a bleak, dark, moody rock sound that fans of Katatonia, “Alternative 4”-era Anathema and even Primordial will fall in love with, “Otta” is simply stunning. (9)

THE DEATHTRIP – Deep Drone Master
Classic late 90’s-style Norwegian black metal sound in the Satyricon/Dodheimsgard vein, featuring the lunatic former vocalist of the latter and a much better drum machine than Godflesh’s. (8)

The Other Stuff

ALICE GERRARD – Follow The Music
80-year old bluegrass legend in top form, a voice that sends chills down your spine and the most haunting melodies you’re likely to hear this autumn. (8)

Re-worked older songs, some from her previous albums, some never heard before, this is just Anais and her folky acoustic guitar. Nice, but it’s time for a proper follow-up to the exquisite “Young Man In America”. (7)

Unmistakably Aphex Twin-sounding and pop-friendly but not really danceable without risking a slipped disk or three if you’re over 40, “Syro” is probably this year’s best electronic music album. (8)

C.W. STONEKING – Gon’ Boogaloo
Recorded live with two microphones on 2-track in just two days and replacing his 30’s-style horn section with 30’s-style girl backing singers straight out of a vintage Betty Boop cartoon, the crazy Aussie releases a fun, utterly enjoyable old-fashioned boogie-woogie record. (8)

This is a comprehensive triple-CD collection. In other words it includes both the boring pretentious early Genesis crap and the fucking annoying later Genesis crap, as well as some solo Phil Collins atrocities, Mike & The Mechanics monstrosities, Tony Banks flatulence, Steve Hackett onanisms, and three cool Peter Gabriel tracks. (-)

GERARD WAY – Hesitant Alien
Former My Chemical Romance frontman sounds nothing like his old band on his britpopglamrockshoegaze solo debut. Kudos for sticking his neck out, but I’ll still take the “Black Parade” over this any day. (7)

GRAHAM PARKER & THE RUMOUR – Don’t Ask Me Questions: The Best Of
Semi-forgotten but influential pub rocker who, back in the late 70’s, wrote the manual for guys like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson. Good collection, definitely worth checking out. (8)

If you thought that a 67-year old lady can’t possibly sound threatening and downright dangerous, well, think again. Probably her best album since “Broken English”. (8)

Gothic pop playing to the strength of THAT voice, no major departure from “Blues Funeral”. God I miss the Screaming Trees. (7)

MIKE DOUGHTY – Stellar Motel
Ex-Soul Coughing frontman claims he hates his alt-whatever old band but the fact remains: Even though Doughty is a fantastic lyricist and can always come up with a good tune, the missing Soul Coughing groove was what made the difference. (6)

Not bad but apart from the possibility of the gay community needing a new idol/spokesperson, I fail to see the originality or the appeal: This basically sounds like a homemade demo of Beirut and Antony & The Johnsons jamming on My Morning Jacket cover versions. (7)

Indie folkie “re-imagines” a bunch of traditional songs. Good arrangements, interesting voice, but being on an obsessive folk/bluegrass trip myself lately, I must say I’ve heard more exciting stuff coming from the genre. (7)

The Andreos sisters were, yes, Greek, and they sold 75 million records in America during the swing and boogie-woogie eras from 1938 to 1951. Their pre-rock ‘n’ roll close harmonies still sound fantastic today. (10)

THOM YORKE – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
The perfect soundtrack to listen to while you’re listening to something else. (6)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Short Attention Span Record Reviews – Back To School Version

ACCEPT – Blind Rage
Basically sounds like an above average Accept tribute band. (6)

BRAD PAISLEY – Moonshine In The Trunk
He’s a fantastic guitarist and a talented songwriter but this album, containing every country music cliché imaginable, ends up sounding like a 52-minute long Bud Light commercial. (5)

CORY BRANAN – The No-Hit Wonder
Where Brad Paisley tries too hard and fails, Cory Branan succeeds and makes it look easy: Top-notch country songwriting with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude, an original approach and a sense of humor. (8)

EARTH – Primitive And Deadly
Psychedelic desert blues no more, it’s back to doom and gloom for Carlson & Co. Crushing. (8)

ENUFF Z’NUFF – Covered In Gold
Fun collection of cover versions chosen with impeccable taste (Queen, The Cult, Nirvana, Bowie, assorted Beatles, Smokey Robinson, Prince, Billy Squier!) and played with power pop gusto by a band that was always more Cheap Trick than Kiss. (7)

Sort of like a newwavevoodoobilly Amy Winehouse backed by pre-sellout The Black Keys. Cool and catchy! (8)

JOHN ZORN - Myth And Mythopoeia
After listening to opening track “Pandora’s Box” I’ll never ever again look at a soprano the same way, and after listening to “Babel” I’ll avoid all further interaction with viola players. (7)

LISA GERRARD – Twilight Kingdom
Is it just me or is this too new age-y? Listening to it feels like I’m in a candlelit spa lying on my stomach with a towel covering my ass and someone’s about to give me a massage. (6)

MARK LANEGAN BAND – No Bells On Sunday
A brief set of Odes To Sad Hipsters. (6)

MIREL WAGNER – When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day
People call it things like “hauntingly bleak” and “darkly beautiful”, I just call it “fucking miserable”. (6)

PALLBEARER – Foundations Of Burden
Doom metal purists might dismiss this for reaching beyond the genre. Their loss if they can’t enjoy this great, thick slab of quicksand-like riffage and mindfuckery. (8)

PHIL RUDD – Head Job
Uh-oh, I think he just pulled a Peter Criss. (6)

QUEEN – Live At The Rainbow ‘74
Two full Queen concerts circa “Queen II”/”Sheer Heart Attack”, so it’s got none of the hits and all of the awesome awesomeness. (11)

RIOT V – Unleash The Fire
Am I the only metal fan who has a problem with this? It’s an OK album but a) it’s not nearly as good as anything else by Riot, and b) who cares if it’s good or not anyhow, Mark Reale’s dead. Pretty awful “metal” lyrics too. (–)

ROBERT PLANT – Lullaby And… The Ceaseless Roar
Plant put together an amazing band, the songs are wow and the production is perfect. Call it electrofolkrock or a tranceltic Zeppelin if you wish, by any name it’s simply stunning. (9)

ROY ORBISON – Mystery Girl [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
I could listen to Orbison’s Voice for hours even if he was just reading out the Yellow Pages, but this album also features some fantastic pop/rock songs. A classic. (9)

RYAN ADAMS – Ryan Adams
Finally, Ryan Adams makes a Ryan Adams-ish record and gets back to sounding like Tom Petty’s talented nephew. (7)

Seriously disturbed sounds for seriously disturbed listeners. For maximum results use headphones and play back to back with the John Zorn album. (7)

SLASH – World On Fire
Another solid, soulful hard rock record with well-placed subtle GnR sonic references from the top-hatted one. But at 76 minutes long, filler is inevitable. (7)

SLOAN – Commonwealth
Canadian power pop veterans release double album with each band member getting one album side to write and play his songs, so it’s basically a collection of 4 solo EPs. The drummer goes prog with an 18-minute track, the other three just act out their Beatles obsession (again). (7)

THE ANGELS – 40 Years of Rock Vol. 2 40 Greatest Live Hits
Triple-album companion to the excellent recent triple-album studio greatest hits compilation, this is all live recordings. Meet Australia’s other best band, the one you don’t already know. (9)

THE HAUNTED – Exit Wounds
The Haunted bring the aggression back with some straightforward Swedish thrash, getting rid of all the (presumably) Dolving-led weird shit. Not as good as the first two albums, better than the last three. (7)

TODD SNIDER – Cheatham Street Warehouse
Back in 1994 when he released his rock ‘n’ roll debut, I saw him play live and was convinced he was going to be the next big thing. He never made it and switched to country, but he remains a great storyteller. (7)

YOB – Clearing The Path To Ascend
Alongside the Pallbearer and Earth albums, Yob’s “Clearing The Path To Ascent” completes this month’s unholy trinity of excellent doom metal releases. (8)