Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Short Attention Span Record Reviews - Summer In The City Version


Apocalyptic distorted goth folk for black-clad, pale-skinned angsty post-teens, and I mean that in the best possible way. (7)

COSMIC PSYCHOS – Cum The Raw Prawn

Old Australian punks still sound uglier and funnier than the dozens of grunge bands they inspired 25 years ago. They still look uglier and funnier too. (7)

DISTURBED – Immortalized

With those soaring melodies and a relative scarcity of guitar solos you might be hesitant to call it “heavy metal”, but Disturbed’s unique brand of anthemic loud rock still makes for enjoyable listening. A solid comeback. (7)


American style space rock, sort of like a lo-fi version of Monster Magnet’s version of Hawkwind. Fire up that bong! (7)


Funny how 20 years ago Fear Factory’s ultra-compressed, mega-triggered industrial metal honestly sounded 20 years ahead of its time, and yet 20 years later shows its wrinkles. Still got a soft spot for them though. (7)

GHOST – Meliora

Definitely the catchiest tunes you’ll hear in 2015 from satanic mask-wearing ghouls – this glorious album officially elevates Ghost to the status of Rock ‘n’ Roll Saviours and will someday be regarded as a classic. (9)

KHEMMIS – Absolution

More Candlemass than St. Vitus, this is doom metal of the METAL variety with twin guitar leads and epic vocals and all that. (8)

LAMB OF GOD – VII: Sturm Und Drang

Slayer riffs galore and a venomous Blythe in great form make this the best LOG album since “Ashes Of the Wake”, probably. (8)

PENTAGRAM – Curious Volume

Half-crazed human wreck still sounds like a mud-covered Iggy Pop doing Black Sabbath. (8)

TEENAGE TIME KILLERS – Greatest Hits, Vol. 1

Given the range and sheer number of this hardcore/metal supergroup’s participants and guests (members of C.O.C., Clutch, Lamb Of God, Slipknot, Prong, Fear, Goatsnake, SUNNO)), Sacred Reich, Dead Kennedys, and of course Dave Grohl), the end result is not as exciting as it should be. Either that or I’m getting old. (6)

YEAR OF THE GOAT – The Unspeakable

Occult rockers return as Year Of The Muse or Muse Of The Goat or something, but it’s actually much better than what you’d imagine a satanic version of Muse should sound like. (7)



Pistol Annie #3 releases a great solo album too, just like Miranda and Angaleena did last year. These country girls are on fire! (8)

DANIEL ROMANO – If I’ve Only One Time Askin’

Young Canadian country trobadour, a strong songwriter and storyteller steeped in the classic 70’s pop-country (i.e. non-outlaw) tradition. (7)

DR. DRE – Compton

Dr. Dre’s return (and, quite likely, farewell) is an all-star rap affair featuring Kendrick Lamar, Xzibit, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and others. Not his best, but solid. (7)

ELENI MANDELL – Dark Lights Up

The first words out of Eleni’s mouth on this live-in-the-studio recording are “I’m old fashioned” and it certainly sounds that way, with melodies and instrumentation that wouldn’t feel out of place on the Patsy Cline or Roger Miller catalogues. (7)

FRANK TURNER – Positive Songs For Negative People

Compared to 2013’s excellent “Tape Deck Heart” the folk punk star’s new album is rawer, but somewhat lacking oomph. He can still kick the ass of most singer-songwriters today though. (7)

GALACTIC – Into The Deep

Veteran New Orleans funk party band in top form plus superguests (Macy Gray, Mavis Staples etc.). Shake that booty! (8)

JASON ISBELL – Something More Than Free

My review back in June when I first got hold of a promo, was the following:
Isbell is a top-notch country rock songwriter and storyteller and all his albums are growers – you listen to them at first thinking “this is a solid (7)” but then you find yourself regularly seeking refuge in them years down the road. I’m pretty sure this one won’t be an exception so let’s admit that it’s really an (8+)
Now after the official release and repeated spins, I can confirm I was right. (8+)

JIM CROCE – The Definitive Croce
Comprehensive compilation of this wonderful early 70’s acoustic balladeer’s best work. Croce’s melodies and characters are guaranteed to put a bittersweet smile on your face. (9)

KRISTINE – Kristine

Cheesy 80’s AOR-lite nostalgia is apparently a proper genre now called synthwave and this Greek girl is its Goddess. It’s Berlin not Heart, 1988 Benatar not 1981 Benatar, Don Henley not Bon Jovi – hats off for getting the sound down perfectly but still needs work on the hooks. (6)

LINDI ORTEGA – Faded Gloryville

Lindi, will you marry me? (8)


No Punch Brothers-experimentation or Old Crow Medicine Show-rockisms: The Foghorn Stringband’s version of bluegrass is as orthodox as it gets. (7)

THE LONDON SOULS – Here Come The Girls

Retro rock duo manage to sound surprisingly un-Black Keys/White Stripes-like, rather going for a late Beatles/Led Zep hybrid sound. (7)

THE ORANGE HUMBLE BAND – Depressing Beauty

15 tasty, jangly nuggets by this Australia-based power-pop supergroup led by an ex-Lime Spider and featuring A-list Americans (Big Star’s drummer plus a couple of Posies). (8)


Young Canadian sextet shows great promise – the bluegrass-y folk ballads are great, the garage rock numbers are groovy, and when their voices harmonize the result is delightful. (7)


Keefus Green is a long-time T-Bone Burnett associate with hip recent True Detective credentials. Jade Vincent likes to sing creepy torch song melodies over Green’s dance beats in a sexy, sultry voice that’ll make your knees wobble. The third album of this mysterious, under-the-radar duo sounds like absolutely nothing else you’ll hear in 2015. (8)

VINTAGE TROUBLE – 1 Hopeful Road

Too many soul ballads this time around and the more rocking numbers lack personality – there’s nothing as striking as “Blues Hand Me Down” or “Nancy Lee” on the new album. Disappointed, but I bet they kick major ass live. (6)

WILCO – Star Wars

Wilco gave this album away as a free download, and the least I can say is that it’s definitely value for money. (6)

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