Saturday, 23 May 2015

10 Λόγοι που το "Saturation" Είναι ο Καλύτερος Δίσκος του 1993

Καλά εντάξει ρε 90's απολίθωμα, συνέχισε εσύ να προσκυνάς τους ξυλοκόπους από το Seattle, αυτούς με τα καρό πουκάμισα και το τραβάτε-με-κι-ας-κλαίω attitude: "Μπουχουχου, είμαι ένας κακόμοιρος ροκ σταρ αλλά δεν θέλω να είμαι ροκ σταρ, εγώ είμαι πάνκης και είμαι τόσο δυστυχισμένος που έχω εκατομμύρια στην τράπεζα, μπουχουχου". Άμα δεν τους άρεσε ας τράβαγαν πίσω στο diner που έπλεναν πιάτα προ-grunge κι ας άφηναν το ροκσταριλίκι σε αυτούς που ΚΑΙ το γουστάρανε ΚΑΙ το φοράγανε. Enter Urge Overkill.

Διότι ένα χρόνο πριν ο Ταραντίνο τους κάνει διάσημους συμπεριλαμβάνοντας τη διασκευή τους στο "Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon" του Neil Diamond στο soundtrack του Pulp Fiction, οι Urge Overkill ήταν ήδη ροκ σταρ - αν όχι στους τραπεζικούς τους λογαριασμούς, τότε τουλάχιστον στον ήχο τους και στο μυαλό τους. Και το Magnum Opus τους δεν είναι άλλο από το "Saturation", ίσως το καλύτερο, σίγουρα το πιο απενοχοποιημένα fun ροκ άλμπουμ του 1993. Ένα άλμπουμ που πρέπει να αποκτήσεις ΤΩΡΑ, για τους εξής λόγους:

1. Το "Sister Havana", το πρώτο και πιο γνωστό τραγούδι του άλμπουμ, είναι βασικά ένα power pop διαμάντι ισάξιο του "Shake Some Action" ή του "My Sharona" και θα πρέπει να επιβληθεί δια νόμου η παρουσία του στο καθημερινό playlist κάθε μπαρ του Βορείου Ημισφαιρίου.


2. Και αφού λέμε για μπαρ, για προσπάθησε να ακούσεις το "Tequila Sundae" χωρίς να θελήσεις να πιεις μια τεκίλα: Αδύνατον.

3. Ακούς το εισαγωγικό riff από το δεύτερο single του δίσκου, "Positive Bleeding" και λες "εντάξει γάμησε, δεν μπορεί να γίνει καλύτερο", και μετά μπαίνει το μελωδικό κουπλέ με το σιτάρ και λες "εντάξει γάμησε ακόμα περισσότερο, σίγουρα δεν μπορεί να γίνει καλύτερο", και μετά μπαίνει το ρεφρέν με τα "woo woo woo" και πετάς λευκή πετσέτα.


4. Το "Back On Me" είναι το καλύτερο τραγούδι που θα έγραφαν ποτέ οι REM αν ήξεραν στ' αλήθεια να ροκάρουν.

5. Χτυπήσου με το "Woman 2 Woman". Τραγούδα στο "Bottle Of Fur". Παίξε air guitar όταν μπαίνει το riff στο 3:05 του "Crackbabies". Μη ντρέπεσαι, αφού το θέλεις.

6. Αυτοί οι μικροφωνισμοί της κιθάρας στο "The Stalker" είναι ό,τι καλύτερο έχεις ακούσει ποτέ στη ζωή σου.

7. Το "Erika Kane" αναφέρεται σε χαρακτήρα από γνωστή σαπουνόπερα, το "Nite And Grey" ξεκινάει με σαμπλαρισμένο McGarrett από το original τηλεοπτικό Hawaii Five-O", και το "Heaven 90210"... ε δεν χρειάζεται να τα λέμε κι όλα: Για εμάς που στα 90's τρώγαμε την ποπ κουλτούρα με το κουτάλι και σε τεράστιες δοσολογίες, τέτοιες λεπτομέρειες δίνουν έξτρα bonus points στο άλμπουμ.

8. Τους είχα δει live στο Reading Festival το 1992 όταν δούλευαν στο υλικό του συγκεκριμένου άλμπουμ. Ξεχώρισαν σε ένα line-up που περιελάμβανε Beastie Boys, L7, Melvins, Mudhoney, Nick Cave, Nirvana, PJ Harvey, Public Enemy, Rollins Band, Screaming Trees, Smashing Pumpkins, Therapy? και άλλες 60 μπάντες, αν αυτό σας λέει κάτι για τη δαιμονισμένη φόρμα στην οποία βρίσκονταν οι Urge Overkill εκείνη την περίοδο.

9. Κανείς δε ντυνόταν καλύτερα από τους Urge Overkill το 1993. Κανείς.

10. Καλή η μιζέρια και τα μινόρε, αλλά ας μην ξεχνάμε τα βασικά: Το rock 'n' roll είναι μουσική για διασκέδαση, για πάρτυ, για γαμήσι - ακόμα και η ίδια η φράση "rock 'n' roll", προτού χρησιμοποιηθεί για να περιγράψει μουσικό ιδίωμα, είχε ξεκινήσει την καριέρα της πριν από 100 χρόνια ως ευφημισμός για το σεξ. Το 1993 από τη μία υπήρχε η μιζέρια και τα μινόρε, και από την άλλη το "Saturation". Εσύ με ποιον είσαι;

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Short Attention Span Record Reviews May 2015, Volume II




THE LOUDER STUFF

ARCTURUS – Arcturian 
Progmetal pretentiousness, overproduced to the point of suffocation and featuring the most annoying falsetto ever. (5)

ARMORED SAINT – Win Hands Down 
It’s been 30+ years since “Can U Deliver” and these guys still deliver kick-ass, twin-guitar driven heavy metal with another excellent vocal performance by John Bush. (8)

EVERCLEAR – Black Is The New Black 
Art Alexakis & Co always were the most arena-friendly among their 90’s “alternative rock” peers so this one’s got more hooks than a tacklebox, but it’s also their hardest-rawkin’ album to date. (7)

PAT BENATAR & NEIL GIRALDO – 35th Anniversary Tour 
The rare showbiz couple that’s been together on the stage and in the bedroom for 35 years, they manage to come across both as a classy classic rock act and as your favorite cool auntie and uncle. Plus they find a way to sneak snippets of Roky Erikson and White Stripes songs into “Heartbreaker”. (7)

WHITESNAKE – The Purple Album 
Coverdale and his current band play Deep Purple Mk. 3&4 classics. Nostalgic, but sacrilegious: Everything is downtuned because Coverdale can’t hit the higher notes anymore and nobody can hit Hughes’ notes anyway and in any case, how can you play “Burn” without Jon and Ritchie? I mean, Reb fucking Beach and Joel fucking Hoekstra? (–)


THE OTHER STUFF

BANDITOS – Banditos 
They sound like Big Brother & the Holding Co. with a banjo. Interesting debut, but definitely not mind-blowing as some reviewers suggest. (7)

CHRIS STAPLETON – Traveller 
“Driving needs good driving music and that means country” he said to himself as he got into his pickup truck, turned the engine on, slipped Chris Stapleton’s album into the stereo and headed out to the wilderness of the desert, singing along to “Was It 26”. (8)

EMMYLOU HARRIS & RODNEY CROWELL – The Traveling Kind 
Follow-up to 2013’s “Old Yellow Moon” continues on the same old-school country, duet-based motif. (7)

HOME BLITZ – Foremost & Fair 
Powerpop is supposed to be catchy and fun, not fucking annoying. (4)

JOE JACKSON – Steppin’ Out: The Collection, The A&M Years 1979-89 
His “Elvis Costello/Graham Parker-style intelligent angry young punk with skinny tie” phase is my favorite and it’s accurately represented on this collection, along with his “I’m a pop star with jazz asprirations” phase that followed. (8)

KENDRICK LAMAR – To Pimp A Butterfly 
Dropping just a few months after D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah”, “To Pimp A Butterfy” rivals it transcending hip-hop, moving with ease into funk and jazz territory and firmly establishing itself as an important piece of African American protest art. (9)

MUMFORD & SONS – Wilder Mind 
This is like a really bad Kings Of Leon parody. (3)

RYAN ADAMS – Live At Carnegie Hall 
I prefer him rocking out rather than doing this touchy feely solo acoustic stuff, but anyone who does a bit of comedy between songs and then covers “Black Sheets Of Rain” is OK in my book. (7)

SAMANTHA SAVAGE SMITH – Fine Lines 
Jangly sugary indie pop with girlish vocals. Not bad if you like that sort of thing I guess, even though personally it makes me want to play power chords on a distorted Flying-V. (6)

SHARON VAN ETTEN – I Don’t Want To Let You Down 
Much more than a bridge between albums, this EP once again proves that Van Etten is Lana Del Rey for smart people. (8)

THE WORD – Soul Food 
Gospel/blues/southern rock supergroup consisting of the North Mississippi All Stars plus pedal steel guitarist extraordinaire Robert Randolph and Hammond wizard John Medeski, it ends up channeling the Allman Brothers. (8)

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Short Attention Span Record Reviews - May 2015



BLUR – The Magic Whip
“My Terracotta Heart” is admittedly a pretty good song, I find most of the rest of the album a bit boring. But then again I’m prejudiced because I never could stand these fucking Kinks wannabes. (6)

COLIN STETSON & SARAH NEUFELD – Never Were The Way She Was
Stetson and Neufeld have already worked together in Arcade Fire, but on this collaboration they go for some beautiful minimalistic post-classical sax and violins. (8)

FAITH NO MORE – Sol Invictus
Probably closer to “Angel Dust” than to any of their other work, “Sol Invictus” is a fully respectable comeback and a true treat for the fans. (8)

JIMBO MATHUS – Blue Healer
This is a perfect album, combining cranked-up swampy stompin’ southern rockers with soulful country & gospel tearjerkers and REAL songwriting that would make Springsteen, Van Morrison and Tom Waits proud. Most fun I’ve had this year with my clothes on: Jumping around my living room pumping my fist anthemically in the air to the sounds of “Ready To Run”. (9)

LILA DOWNS – Balas Y Chocolate
Her most political album yet, dealing with her troubled country’s political and social issues and combining traditional Mexican rhythms and instrumentation with modern western pop elements. Of course, the main attraction remains THAT voice. (8)

METALLICA – No Life Til Leather (Remastered)
The drummer can’t play, the singer can’t sing and all the riffs are NWOBHM rip-offs. (10)

MY MORNING JACKET – The Waterfall
The reverb is back, the prog leanings are gone, this is straightforward psychedilic-lite roots rock that leaves you with the impression that you’re floating a couple of inches above ground. You won’t ever get the choruses to “Believe (Nobody Knows)” and “Big Decisions” out of your brain without highly specialized surgery. (8)

POISON IDEA – Confuse & Conquer
Hardcore punk veterans, favorites of everyone from Pantera to Nirvana, make a crushing return. I could tell you stories from when I saw them live at the Melkweg in Amsterdam in 1993, but then I’d have to kill you. (7)

RUN THE JEWELS – Record Store Day EP
Sort of patchy effort by the hip-hop duo, definitely not as impressive as last year’s killer album. (6)

SARAH GAYLE MEECH – Tennessee Love Song
Nashville girl who’s got more tattoos on her than Riker’s Island prison, a Hell’s Angels convention and the NBA combined but sings sweet country songs like a cross between Loretta Lynn and Rosanne Cash. (7)

TOM RUSSELL – The Rose Of Roscrae
A two-and-a-half-hour long, 52-track folk-rock opera should at best be a hit-or-miss affair by default, but there are no misses here. Definitely the year’s most epic and ambitious album, if not the flat-out best. (9)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Whatever Nevermind: A Tribute To Nirvana's Nevermind
Some bands (Torche, Kylesa, Cave In) play it safe and stick close to the originals, others (Young Widows, Boris, Nothing) tend to be more adventurous. Either way, U can’t touch this. (-)

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Short Attention Span Record Reviews - April 2015




ANNE McCUE – Blue Sky Thinkin’
Wild and wonderful Aussie girl guitar rocker who has previously also written the best love song ever now goes for a Django Reinhardt gypsy jazz sound with solid results. (7) 

CALEXICO – Edge Of The Sun
I admit it, I can’t be objective with these guys, OK? Their unique brand of americana/mexicana never fails to trigger something weird really deep inside me, and right now I happen to live in the desert so the effect of their new album is doubled. (16) 

DAVID CORLEY – Available Light
Singing drunken poetry scribbled down on beermats like the bastard son of Tom Waits and Lou Reed, Corley’s got our late-night soundtrack covered for a month or two. (8) 

DREAMLONGDEAD – Arise Howling Darkness Of Cyclopean Masonry & Non-Euclidean Geometry
If you’re into doom/death metal then you should hear this album now or else Cthulhu will come and kick your ass. (7) 

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
This album sounds like the end of the world. (8) 

GRATEFUL DEAD – The Best Of
Now I know why deadheads take drugs: This stuff is impossible to listen to while sober. (4) 

J.D. McPHERSON – Let The Good Times Roll
Wow. Just, like, wow. Who is this guy? Where did he come from? How can he play this 50’s Sun Studios-type rockabilly stuff sixty years later and sound so fresh? Party album of the year! (9) 

JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION – Freedom Tower No Wave Dance Party 2015
Nevermind the “2015” in the album title, this is pure 1995 deconstructed rock ‘n’ roll NYC style. (7) 

KATATONIA – Sanctitude
Live, semi-acoustic reworked versions prove beyond all reasonable doubt that these guys are not just about mood and atmosphere but have really written a whole bunch of stunning songs in the course of their career. (8) 

MOTHER’S FINEST – Goody 2 Shoes & The Filthy Beast
Funk metal grandma Baby Jean and grandpa Doc still want to shake some booty, and sometimes they manage. (6) 

PRODIGY – The Day Is My Enemy
It’s loud and abrasive and stupid and immature, just what you’d expect from The Prodigy. (7) 

RED BARAAT – Gaadi Of Truth
Indian brass band party music, NYC-style. Sort of sounds like a Goran Bregovic soundtrack if the dude had been born in New Delhi and was actually talented. (8)

SONICS – This Is The Sonics
Yes, those Sonics, “Psycho”, “Strychnine” etc. etc. Their first album since 1967, and it’s good. (7) 

SUFJAN STEVENS – Carrie And Lowell
I know I’m supposed to really like this album but sorry, it mostly reminds me of that scene in “Animal House” where Belushi smashes the serenading folkie’s guitar to smithereens. (6) 

ZU – Cortar Dodo
Noisy as hell, heavy as fuck, no guitar, practically no vocals, just a killer rhythm section and a screeching saxophone. This rules. (8)