Friday, 27 February 2015

Short Attention Span Record Reviews - March 2015

BLACKBERRY SMOKE – Holding All The Roses
The metamorphosis from rock-tinged country band to southern rock juggernaut has now been completed. This is truly enjoyable “meat and potatoes” stuff, albeit a bit weaker and more polished than their magnificent previous album. (8)


This is some seriously weird evil shit: Deeply rooted in black metal but boldly moving into progressive rock, avant garde, even jazz territory, “A Umbra Omega” sort of sounds like a John Zorn-produced satanic version of Voivod and will blow the minds of those brave enough to dive in. (9)

FRANZ NIKOLAI – To Us, The Beautiful!

Former The Hold Steady keyboard player manages to come across like an inverted cross between Meatloaf and Gogol Bordello. (7)


Gretchen wrote “Independence Day” for Martina McBride which is one of the 20 best country songs of all time, so I gotta love her. On her own latest album she gives as a bunch of fantastic, delicate, dark songs about mortality and I gotta love her even more. (9)

J. GEILS BAND – House Party Live In Germany

Everything you need to know about the J. Geils Band being the greatest live band in the known universe has already been written by Nick Hornby in his book “31 Songs”, and this concert DVD/CD package recorded in 1979 is the first visual proof ever commercially released so go get it now. (10)

LITURGY – The Ark Work

Pretty sure this is going to be the most divisive album of the year with 70% saying it’s a pile of shit, 20% swearing it’s a masterpiece and 10% thinking Hunter Hunt-Hendrix is just trolling everyone, and after the third listen I still haven’t made up up my mind about where I stand. But it’s definitely not black metal and it definitely has nothing to do with “Aesthetica”. (?)


Imagine a carnival in Florida. A band’s on stage playing a wild country/rockabilly/tex-mex/ska hybrid while big-haired gorgeous girls in sundresses and cowboy boots dance about, laughing. Then the band plays a touching ballad and a redneck gets on one knee and proposes to his sweetheart while the full moon above shines on the happy, smiling crowd. The Mavericks are THAT band. (8)

PELICAN – The Cliff

Three different remixes of a song off their last album, plus an outtake. Meh. (5)

RHIANNON GIDDENS – Tomorrow Is My Turn

If you’re wondering who’s the best breakout vocalist of 2015, just play Giddens’ cover of Odetta’s “Waterboy” from this excellent folk-blues album and be prepared to pick your jaw up from the floor. (8)

SONGHOY BLUES – Music In Exile

Tinariwen started it but now “desert blues” is a full-blown genre, and these guys from Mali deservedly are its latest stars. (8)

STEVEN WILSON – Hand. Cannot. Erase.

I’ve heard pretty much everything that Wilson has ever released and can safely say that this album is the one I enjoyed the most since Procupine Tree’s “Stupid Dream” in 1999. (9)

SUMAC – The Deal

It’s Aaron Turner from Isis with his mates, so if you’re a Hydraheadhead you’ll piss your pants listening to this sludgy post-metal rifforama. (8)

TORCHE – Restarter

High On Fire meets Jane’s Addiction. (7)

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