I’ve said before on this blog that I sometimes think European bands should sing in their own language rather than write and sing in non-native English. Seemingly taking that criticism and owning it are Russian punk/hip-hop crossover band Moscow Death Brigade on this second album Bad Accent Anthems.
After a couple of very decent LPs last year, I’ve been looking forward to the debut album from zany and funky indie-rockers Pottery. Here it is, and it somehow feels like the perfect soundtrack to being in the midst of both a heatwave and a pandemic. It’s exuberant and danceable, yet surreal and nonsensical at the same time.
I’ve been sitting on this debut LP from the dreamy, glitchy duo Drab City. Its eerie, intriguing and I’m still not totally sure whether I like it.
Yet another surprise of the world grinding to a halt is country rock legend Neil Young bestowing an album upon the world that he’d kept to himself for over 45 years, even if technically its release was announced late last year.
I don’t know whether it’s down to the inertia of global lockdown, but the last few months have seen a few artists who have been dormant for ages suddenly drop new albums out of the blue. The X comeback album Alphabetland has been the nice surprise of the year for me so far, and I’ll soon be reviewing Neil Young’s Homegrown, an album written and recorded in the mid-1970s that he’d kept to himself until releasing it last Friday.
Catching up with this second LP from synth-drenched indie-poppers Choir Boy, which was released in early May. It’s another one I missed at the time, and that I can’t even remember how I found it since.
Finnish five-piece Oranssi Pazazu are widely described as ‘psychedelic black metal’, which I find an intriguing oxymoron. The bright, whimsical, hallucinatory elements of psychedelia intertwined with the dark, brutal repetition of dark metal? How does that work?
In possibly the only time I’ve ever taken any notice of a sponsored Facebook ad, I had a listen to the new second album by Italian noise-rockers ELM after seeing it pop up on my feed.
New Found Glory are one of the first bands I can remember seeing, in about 2001 in Liverpool. Me and my mates would have been 17 or 18 at the oldest, but even then it felt like we were the oldest people in the venue.
I feel a bit hopeless about the fact that I know nothing about Phoebe Bridgers, or at least I didn’t until a few days ago. It turns out she’s pretty big news, being described by The Telegraph as “the songwriter of the moment”, among other gushing praise.
You can tell I’m especially pushed for time when I start reviewing stuff like this! My only previous experience of Minutemen is their 1984 album Double Nickels on the Dime, often cited as a classic although I’ve never really managed to get into it.
As a Brit with Irish roots, I always get a bit narked when people use the terms ‘Ulster’ and ‘Northern Ireland’ interchangeably. Hailing from Cavan, one of the three Ulster counties there are not part of the UK, Sons of Southern Ulster seem to be making a point of this distinction in their very name.
Shed Seven are one of those bands who were a bit unfortunate with the timing of their peak. They had some fantastic singles, but there were so many other great and popular British bands around in 1996, they basically just formed a part of that scene rather than spearheading it.
Ian Mackaye is just not capable of making crap music, is he? Whether it’s his early years as Minor Threat frontman, his legendary band Fugazi, the wonderful if short-lived Embrace or his most recent work with The Evens, none of it is even iffy or mediocre, let alone poor.
I’ll be honest, metal has never been my thing. Most of the big names you’d associate with the genre – Metallica, Iron Maiden, Guns ‘n Roses etc. – I just can’t be doing with them.
I had a couple of new albums on my list for Friday, but I’ll come to them later. I spend most of the day listening to this debut from indie-poppers Beach Bunny, released back in February.
Recent worldwide focus on racial equality has made me think about my own music collection and what I’m writing about on this blog. I dread to think what percentage of the artists I’ve covered on here are white, and probably mostly male, so am I prejudiced myself? Am I turned off music made by people who don’t look like me?
When I first heard the Muzz single ‘Knuckleduster’ a couple of weeks ago, I had a strange reaction to it. I didn’t really like it, but I had a strong feeling that with a few more listens, I would do.
Former Spacemen 3 frontman Peter Kember released his second solo album under the name Sonic Boom last Friday, a full 30 years on from his first.
I’ve wondered before how Hinds will deal with getting older. Their music is so youthful, they just come across as four friends having a laugh together. How will their music mature? Moreover, do we want it to?
As soon as I put opening track ‘Blurred Visions’ on, I knew I was in for a pretty weird 36 minutes. Chemtrails’ second album The Peculiar Smell of the Inevitable is bonkers, and as such, highly enjoyable.
It might not seem like it, but I do put a small degree of planning into this blog. Every time I see a future album release that interests me, I make a not of it. Some Fridays it’s just one or two, but last Friday there were six.
It’s a great day for new albums – or rather it was, since I’m typing this after midnight. I’ve listened to no fewer than six releases from yesterday, all of which sounded pretty decent on first listen. This fifth album from noise-rock duo No Age was the first on my list, and the only one I’ve played more than once so far.
Is shoegaze not cool anymore? I was wasting time on the Album of the Year website the other day and thought I’d look up the best shoegaze albums of 2020. So far, there’s only one listed!
I don’t know why it’s taken me over a month to listen to this debut album. It’s like I’d forgotten how much I liked what I’d heard previously from Pip Blom. I’m also not sure whether Pip Blom is an ‘is’ or an ‘are’ – it’s the lead singer’s name but they seem to be referred to intermittently as a band.
I first heard a track by IST IST a couple of years ago, but had kind of forgotten about them. It wasn’t that it was a bad song, but the song sounded (and the video looked) a lot like an Interpol tribute, to the point of being forgettable.
I sometimes worry that I’m going against the spirit of this project by sticking largely to music that I would have listened to anyway – punk, post-punk, shoegaze, noise rock and general indie. Often, I start to listening to an album and quickly think “this isn’t for me”, and turn it off. Really, I should listen to it all the way through and give an honest review, whether I liked it or not.
I’ve never been too sure how much I like noise rock veterans Deerhoof. I admire their experimentation and refusal to play by the rules. I’m not certain I find their stuff easy to sit down and listen to though.
Released: 2020 Origin: San Francisco, California, USA Label: DFA Best Track: Prism
This amusingly named project is a continuation of the partnership doom metal singer Chelsea Wolfe formed with drummer Jess Gowrie on her last album.
Amazingly, I’ve done 137 albums without coming across anything from Liverpool, let alone my native borough of the Wirral. It’s about time that changed and I’ve been meaning to explore the Boo Radleys’ back catalogue for some time anyway.
Sad as it might be, I’ve been keeping track of all the locations of bands and artists I’ve been reviewing in this project. To my surprise, Glasgow is currently second only to London as my most blogged about city.
Blimey! Do the Airborne Toxic Event always sound like this? They’re one of those bands where I thought I had a vague idea of what they sounded like, and I think I might even have seen them at a festival, but I had them down as a straight-up rock or at a push post-rock band. They’ve either changed dramatically or, more likely, they’ve always been a bit like this and I’m just babbling and confused.
The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess has made a bit of a name for himself during lockdown with his Twitter Listening Parties, where he encourages music fans to listen to a chosen album live and share their experiences and questions on it. What better time than now to release his fifth solo album then?
When reading a blog post from Rough Trade the other day about the best debut albums ever, I didn’t recognise the last one on the list at all, but it sounded like I should have done.
My daughter has taken a liking to the new Cbeebies programme Nick Cope’s Popcast, where the affable, bespectacled presenter quickly comes up with an acoustic song based on a theme given to him by a young viewer. If she’s enjoying a man playing a guitar, it’s a step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned. I had no idea who Nick Cope was though, so I thought I’d look him up.
Looks like there was quite a lot I missed in April, including this soaring debut from an exciting Chicago post-punk band.
There’s a huge gap in my Badly Drawn Boy chronology. In fact, it pretty much jumps straight from his 2000 debut The Hour of Bewilderbeast to today, although I’ve heard bits of his 2002 releases Have You Fed the Fish? and the About A Boy soundtrack.
The late Haçienda founder Tony Wilson said and did some odd things at times, but he did also come out with some wonderful quotes where I get exactly what he’s talking about. I remember hearing him discuss The Fall once, saying that he wasn’t sure he liked their music, but he was sure he liked the band.
Seemingly without any prior announcement at all, punk rocker Jeff Rosenstock decided to drop his fourth album yesterday. We shouldn’t be surprised really as he has a history of bringing them out whenever he wants and not adhering to New Music Friday. His last one, POST, was released on New Year’s Day of 2018, of all days.
Here’s an album I found completely by mistake while looking for something else. I read up on the band, and with their Wikipedia page saying they’ve been compared to the likes of Pixies and Mudhoney, plus the fact that the album was only released last month, I though it was worth a shot.
In 2017, I played the hell out of Airiel’s second album Molten Young Lovers. I’ve never got round to listening to their debut though, released a full decade earlier.
I’m not at all familiar with the work of Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius, but with his Wikipedia profile saying his music “explores topics including sexuality, his personal struggle with Crohn’s disease, domestic abuse, and the dangers faced by gay men in contemporary society”, I thought his new fifth album (released last Friday) sounded interesting enough to merit a listen.
I’ve mentioned a few times that since starting this project, I’ve developed perhaps not a love, but certainly a partiality towards country rock. I suppose I’ve always appreciated the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young, but I thought they were mainstream enough to be liked by anyone.
Sheffield has been a hell of a city for music over the years, and yet its contribution is not really celebrated in the same way as that of Manchester, Liverpool or even Bristol. Perhaps unlike those three cities, it hasn’t really developed a sound synonymous with the place, but has instead simply churned out a succession of high quality artists, from Joe Cocker, to the Human League, to Pulp, to the Arctic Monkeys.
I’d say I’ve had two major learnings from this project so far. One is that I don’t hate country rock, and the other is that I’m way too ignorant about German electronic music.
Another album released back in January that I’m only discovering now, from the musical hotbed that is Estonia. I’m always keen to listen to artists from the lesser-covered parts of the world, even if it is pretty safe shoegaze/dream-pop.
It’s not hard to see why critics fawn over Car Seat Headrest. They do exactly what bands are supposed to by “developing” their sound and doing something new on every album. Plus they constantly have one out – this is their twelfth studio album in a decade.
For reasons unbeknown to me, I’ve had New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ in my head for much of yesterday. As I mentioned when reviewing Kraftwerk’s debut recently, I struggle to settle on an album sometimes, and I need to listen to more New Order albums anyway. At least it’s a better excuse than a musician’s death.
Going back to mid-March for this release, Empty Country is the new solo project from Cymbals Eat Guitars’ Joseph D’Agostino.
I don’t know why I’ve never listened to I Break Horses before. There are all sorts of reasons why I should have. They’re gazy. They’re a bit depressing. They’re Scandanavian, which is always a selling point for me!
What a lineup Fake Names is! Initially formed by Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Bad Religion) and Michael Hampton (Embrace, S.O.A.), they’ve since recruited Girls Against Boys bassist Johnny Temple and none other than Refused frontman Dennis Lyxzén.
A somewhat morbid feature of this project is that I keep listening to and reviewing albums straight after one of their creators dies. I’m not really trying to do this out of any sort of mawkish tribute, but simply because there are far, far more albums out there that I haven’t heard than ones I have, so finding a reason to settle on a particular one isn’t always easy. If they’re in the news, I suppose that’s as good a reason as any.
I own this album on vinyl but, for shame, have never listened to it properly. My turntable is wonky at the moment and is playing everything at the wrong speed, so the digital version will have to do.
It’s quite depressing realising how many albums I missed last year. I wonder what’s going on right under my nose that I’m missing right now and won’t discover until 2022 or later?
There’s no doubt that Deacon Blue have written some of the best pop songs ever. I’m mentioned before about my habit of watching the Friday night BBC Four re-runs of Top of the Pops on this blog. As they were working their way through late 1988 when ‘Real Gone Kid’ was in the charts, the excitement around that song was palpable. It’s almost like the presenters were saying “now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…”
I’m not sure whether I’ve heard Austra before or not. I thought I had, but I don’t remember them sounding like this. Then again, vocalist and only permanent member of the band Katie Stelmanis does say she wants every album to be an answer to the one before.
I’ve never quite made my mind up about Diet Cig. I feel like I should like them more than I do. Their songs are catchy, fun and fast – exactly what I normally take an instant liking to.
Well, well – a new X album! Where did this come from? Though the legendary LA punk band have never officially split up since forming in 1977 – largely keeping the same lineup in fact – it’s been 27 years since they last put out an album and though there was talk of them heading back into the studio, it was largely met with a “yeah, right!” reaction.
I discovered Jilk through the website Every Noise at Once, which is a map of genres within genres within genres that lets you discover bands similar to ones you like. I’m not sure what I was looking for when I found them, but I think I just liked the name and snippet of music I heard.
For something completely different to what I normally hear, I thought I’d have a listen to the debut album from Ifriqiyya Electrique, a band with a world of influences.
A week or so ago, someone from Good Eye Records shared a handful of free download codes for this album. A kind gesture indeed, and since I took advantage of it, I thought the least I could do was give it a quick review.
I didn’t think that less than a third of the way through this project I would be writing about a second Argentine band. This is actually one I meant to listen to last year but never got round to.
Thank you to the amazing Irish webzine Overblown for bringing this release to my attention. The site probably even more amazing now, since I haven’t written for them for ages!
Like the week before, yesterday wasn’t the most attractive of Fridays for new albums for me, but I was keen to hear this fifth studio album (I think – their back catalogue is full of EPs and live albums) from the prog-rock, doom-metal, whatever-you-want-to-call them four-piece Elder.
Out of boredom earlier this week, I was looking at lists of albums that had an insane number of tracks. The legendary punk compilation Short Music for Short People was on the list and was one I was already familiar with, with its 101 tracks of around 30 seconds each. But a new one on me was this intriguing work by Lull, a side project of Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris.
I often wonder what I was doing musically in the early 2010s. I was in a phase where I’d stopped buying CDs, but hadn’t really taken to streaming or collecting vinyl, with the result being that my listening experiences stagnated somewhat.
After pledging to get into a habit of writing one review a day last week, I’ve found myself very short of free time over the last two days. So, a 17-minute thrash punk album it is!
Woo-hoo – 100 albums! Alright, I’m a bit behind where I should be with today being the 110th day of the year, but not drastically so. Keep doing one a day, and I should be able to find 10 days between now and December 31st when I can bash out a second.
A few Fridays ago, I had nine or ten albums on my list to listen to. Yesterday was a bit of a damp squib by comparison. The new Ed O’Brien (EOB) and Enter Shikari releases were at the top of my list, but I’m not really feeling it for either on first listen. I may come back to them, but for now I’m moving on to something different.
I’ve been a bit hesitant to listen to this new album, let alone review it. I’ve never been that big on Pearl Jam, and for a band that have influenced so much of what I like, I feel like I’m a bit ignorant of their back catalogue. Plus I understand that even their most avid fans haven’t been too enthusiastic about their output of the last 10-15 years.
Listening to the new Flat Worms LP the other day prompted me to explore more albums produced (or ‘engineered’ as he prefers) by Steve Albini. It’s interesting that for every Surfer Rosa, In Utero and Rid of Me on the list, there are about five or six albums on Albini’s list that are from little-known bands of artists.
I’ve become intrigued recently by the nation of Belarus. Probably the most oppressive country in Europe, not to mention the most bonkers, their response to the COVID-19 has really highlighted how oddly they do things in this secretive former Soviet state. Not only are they one of the only countries in the world still running their football season, but their president insists nobody has died of the coronavirus in the nation, and nobody will!
Lost albums of the ’90s seem to crop up quite a lot on this blog. With the decade offering such a rich scene of indie and alternative music, bands that might have been a sensation at another time often found themselves a little off the radar and rarely talked about today – think Hum, Gene and the Longpigs.
I don’t know whether Flat Worms qualify as a ‘supergroup’. All three members are in other bands, with bassist Tim Hellman probably the highest-profile since joining Oh Sees. Their second album, Antarctica, came out on Friday, and this marks my first experience of the band.
I first heard Warm Digits about two years supporting someone (think it was Pinkshinyultrablast) at the Shipping Forecast in Liverpool. It wasn’t really the kind of music I’d ever seen live before, being very dancy and supported by visual projections. And people were actually dancing rather than moshing. Call me sheltered but it wasn’t my usual gig!
Not sure how I missed a Lovely Eggs LP coming out the Friday before last, but Britain’s coolest husband and wife intergalactic-sounding punk duo are back with their sixth studio album.
As I alluded to in my Strokes review, the break-up of At the Drive-In, and the fallout from it in the years since, has been a source of frustration for me throughout adulthood. The magical quintet of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Jim Ward, Omar Rodriguez-López, Paul Hinojos and Tony Hajjar that produced In/Casino/Out (1998) and Relationship of Command (2000) have never fully reunited, aside from for a few shows during 2012. And in the various ways they’ve gone since, I feel none of the members have quite managed to recapture the energy, innovation and control ATDI exerted in their music.
Following on from my review of the debut album by And Also the Trees, where I was saying I’m not familiar with many albums from the year I was born, here’s a look at one I’m amazed I’ve never bothered with yet.
Does this count as an album? Dan Hyndman from Mush, who released one of my favourite records of 2020 so far, has kept himself occupied during the lockdown by writing and recording a collection of tracks from home and uploading them to Bandcamp, under the name Asbestos Guitars.
I’ve never really ‘got’ The Strokes. I certainly don’t dislike them; in fact Is This It was a pretty good album, and I really like ‘Hard to Explain’ – a song that now carries a sense of nostalgia for me.
The debut album from synthy shoegazer Matthew Doty, aka Deserta, came out all the way back on January 17th. It’s a shame I didn’t spot it then, as I was scratching around trying to find new stuff to listen to for much of January.
A post popped up on my Facebook news feed recently that asked you to list your favourite albums from the year you were born. It made me realise that I have a bit of a 1984 blind spot.
Ellis is the alias of Canadian singer-songwriter Linnea Siggelkow. Her first full-length album, Born Again, came out last Friday and is a heartfelt journey of her battle against anxiety.
I’m rather pleased that less than a quarter of the way through my project, I’ve now covered at least one album from all six inhabited continents. It’s happened pretty naturally as well – alright, I sought out Los Suziox from Colombia because I wanted to hear some South American punk, but I found myself reviewing an Argentine band yesterday, and that was just something I stumbled upon.
Using the same tactic as when I reviewed The Dwarves, I discovered Argentine punk band Fun People by searching for very short albums that might help me get somewhere close to catching up.
Surprisingly, I think this is the first Welsh album I’ve covered in this blog. I fancied something a bit hypnotic, so thought I’d give the latest from Cardiff psychedelic pop quartet Islet a listen.
From arguably the coolest-named band around at the moment comes this fifth album, cementing a unique concoction of punk, sludge metal and (sort of) psychedelia. I’ve seen them described as ‘Black Flag/Sabbath’, such is their marriage of hardcore punk and heavy metal.
Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee, is an interesting artist. From what I’ve heard (and to her credit) she sounds pretty different from one album to the next. I liked her last album, 2017’s Out in the Storm, which had a bit of an ’80s synth vibe in parts. ‘Hear You’ was a great song in particular, that stayed in my head for weeks.
Canadian electronic pop duo Purity Ring came into mainstream attention here in the UK when their song ‘Fineshrine’ was featured on an advert for Very. It’s a great song that deserves to be heard as a bit more than a soundtrack to the sale of middle-market clothing, although the album it came from, their debut ‘Shrines’, didn’t really win me over that track aside.
Another Friday has been and gone, but I’m still working my way through releases from the Friday before. I can’t believe it’s taken me over a week to get round to this one!
“My uncle Pete, he’s complaining ’bout the greenies. He says that they have gone too far, I say Pete, they don’t go far enough.” It sounds like a familiar cross-generational dinner table discussion, but among the opening lines of an album, it’s striking and tone-setting.
I like The Orb. I think more so than their music, I like what they represent – the antidote to rave and the soundtrack of the comedown. I also love their offbeat behaviour, such as playing chess live on Top of the Pops while a segment of ‘Blue Room’ played in 1992.
I always think when one of Ringo Deathstarr first suggested the name, they probably laughed and said “yeah, we’ll go with that!” By the third or fourth time, they had probably stopped laughing, and now they must just go “oh God, why did we call ourselves that?”
What a day for album releases yesterday was! I have no fewer than nine on my list to get through (whether I will is another matter), but let’s start with this debut from the young Australian brats themselves.
I heard the track ‘Kebabträume’ on 6 Music the other night, after which it was revealed that Gabi Delgado, singer and founding member of German electropunk outfit Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF), had passed away on Sunday. I’m not familiar with him or his band, so it seems an apt time to listen to the album that track comes from.
It’s the 86th day of the year and I’m only doing album #72. I figured the best tactic to get somewhere close to being on track might be to blast on some hardcore punk albums that can be listened to, and summed up, pretty quickly.
I don’t know a lot about Galaxie 500. Being a big fan of the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, the name crops up a fair bit on some of the shoegaze/dream pop Facebook groups I’m in, so I have an inkling as to what they sound like.
I missed this one when it came out a few weeks ago, but it was recommended to me by a friend at the weekend (via Messenger – I’m not one of those clowns who went to a barbecue or house party).
Catching up with another one I missed last year now, it’s the debut album from post-punk, ska-tinged Scottish six-piece Kaputt.