dinsdag 31 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 1

And here we are, folks. Ten days into this adventure. Today all will be revealed. Have you gathered, knowing Wo.'s faves from all these years on the blog, what to expect today? Let's not keep you in suspense for too long.

The 10s come to an end today. Another decade gone. Tomorrow this blog, including the magazine years, goes into its third. In 2021 it is 20 years ago the first issue was published, more as a joke than anything else. To tease the editors of our internal OPTA magazine as they did not allow us one musical article per issue. Well, the results of that are known. You are still bothered by us and in different ways, as I discovered a knack for writing about music and really truly enjoying formulating my thoughts and feelings that come with listening to music. Each day you can find something on these pages. In February it is eight years ago the blog started and this Christmas it was three years ago the magazine ended. I do not know how long .No has his radio show 'Kairos' on Concertzender, but it could well be close to 10 years. All from a joke that became so much more; and of course a deep love for music. We both found our different ways into the world of music.

What kind of decade was the 10s musically? For me a great one. No, I am almost never impressed like I used to be when I was so much younger. It is also impossible, simply because there is so much baggage in front of that new stuff. References, memories, albums and songs that will always remain my absolute favourites until I either die or can't remember anymore. Having said that, I am privileged to have gotten to know so many great albums and at times the artists behind that music because of this blog. To receive their music, to be able to form my thoughts and turn them into words on this blog, for being invited to their shows and shake hands afterwards. In some cases have them perform in my living room for friends, family and neighbours. To be amazed that at times I find a quote from this blog actively used by an artist or label. Even on the back cover of a cd.

And so, yes, there are a few bands that have impressed me in deep and profound ways. Bands that the average person has never heard of, yet ought to have. Ideally right here and now. You will find several of them in this final part of the list and some come from The Low Countries as well. Like one of the members of one of these bands once said to me: "but we touched you on a very special level" and that is exactly what happened with several of the albums here. There's hope for everyone, just as long as you open yourself to it, to allowing yourself to be surprised, to the new, to the beauty of being alive, like I am privileged to undergo every once in a while still.

All thanks to the love, dedication and hard work of musicians that have a drive to produce new music. Against the digital tide, against trends, against all odds, simply because they have to. It is all this and my inner self I try to capture in writing. When truly inspired it has become so easy and so much fun to reach for.

Enough said, let's go.

10. Suck It And See. Arctic Monkeys (2011)
The most important new band of this century as far as I am concerned. The final album of this decade did not make it here. In the end I was somewhat disappointed after all. Suck It And See still has that touch of brilliance that I heard  at the time of release. After the slightly disappointing 'Humbug' Suck It And See delivered with great singles and album tracks.

9. Supermoon. Sophie Hunger (2015)
Thank you again, Erwin. Sophie Hunger is another artist that I discovered early this decade and enjoy so much following since. 'Molecules', her last album to date may not have made it to this list, it is a daring move again. Supermoon holds it all. There are so many extremely strong songs on it. Guided by super guitarist Geoffrey Burton who makes sounds as if by magic escaping his guitar and amp, this album is mystical, beautiful, large, small, somehow all in one. Simply one of my favourites of the 10s.

8. Tim Christensen & the Damn Crystals. Tim Christensen & the Damn Crystals (2011)
The only album by Tim Christensen in this decade but what an album this is. The 10 minute opening song is a mini rock opera of giant proportions and from there the adventure only continues. This should have been the album opening the world to this Danish ballad rocker but it turned out the album after which he seems to have decided that his solo career was over. Such a shame. Also for the Damn Crystals as they were a great backing band, supporting the talent of Tim Christensen fully. One impressive album indeed. (In 2011 it would have been my #1 record, but it is not in that list. Somehow I left it out while scoring and did not notice that until I saw the magazine in print, ahum.)

7. Always Ascending. Franz Ferdinand (2018)
Yes, my favourite band bar one of the 00s hold their own. Both albums of the 10s have found their way into this list, with the last album as the highest. Franz Ferdinand with a new line up seems to have regained that little bit of playfulness that had seemed to have gone missing. As if the band took itself just a little bit too serious. Always Ascending simply sparkles and the title track is simply mindboglingly good.

6. This Is All Yours. Alt-J (2014)
Everyone votes for the debut album. I still can't do very much with 'An Awsome Wave'. The coin dropped with This Is All Yours. Probably the most played LP in my newly added collection. There is so much adventure on this album. The band wasn't content until everything was explored and mapped. A song wasn't ready until it all was investigated. That is what I hear and appreciate so much. That weird voice as if on helium the whole time is added over it all and the result is simply striking.

5.Veggie Patch In The Desert. Elenne May (2016)
Late in 2015 an email dropped into my mailbox. If I was interested to listen to a new EP by a then totally unknown band to me. Something that was still an exception at the time. Thus Sheep For Fibre came into my life, after two more EP releases morphing into the album with this name. The stately, intense, pure and beautiful world of Elenne May unfolded for me a little bit more every few months into 2016. This is such a beautiful album and ought to be part of the Dutch pantheon of pop albums. And despite all these raving words, The Netherlands is not down to its final contribution.

4. . David Bowie (2016)
I had bought this album on a whim on David Bowie's birthday. I had read the reviews and really, truly thought this is not for me. Let's call it a deep rooted Bowie sentiment or instinct that I bought it anyway. In the evening I kept playing it, deeply impressed and kept doing so on the 9th. In the evening I started writing and had a review ready for the following morning. The radio was on as my girlfriend had stayed over. She likes the radio on in the morning. After she left, I opened my laptop to check the text before posting on the blog. Giel Beelen was talking to the singer of Tringerfinger and said hey, wait a moment, this is something I need to check. Beelen fell silent and the singer, after what seemed ages (for live radio) asked what's a matter? "It says here David Bowie has died", answered Beelen. And here I was checking the final words and had to start my review sort of over.

Blackstar was a well orchestrated goodbye album, Lazarus his farewell gift to the world. Almost four years later Blackstar still stands like monuments do. The hectic rhythms, the weird songs, none of it has lost anything of its power. the album is up there with Bowie's very best albums. What a way to say goodbye, to paraphrase Leonard Cohen.

3. Another Place. Maggie Brown (2017)
Talking about albums that touched me deeply. This one sort of resonated within me and sang itself into my core and fibres. The beautiful pop music of Maggie Brown reaches fantastic levels on this album. Soft toned, harmonically so well worked out and with a song like 'Hail To The Rain' it holds a single that goes with the absolute best and then I'm talking The Beatles. Luckily not all albums are this good, because I would not have a life left.

2. Rivers & Coastlines: The Ride. TMGS (2013)
And so Belgium defeats The Netherlands musically in the end. Erwin's highest doted tip in this list. When I heard 'Tell Everyone' for the first time I almost fell off my chair. The mariachi trumpets that come in several times during the song like an instrumental chorus. Each time the tingles run down my spine. Peter Lodiers soft, highish voice leads the album in and just listen what happens from then on. A Hammond organ, a pedal steel, harmonies, a great guitar part and then the trumpets kick in. This is musical heaven. When the album easily keeps this level of music going, you have a winner. Are you paying attention, folks? But why is this album #2 then? Because,

1. AM. Arctic Monkeys (2013)
Those paying attention already would have noticed that I labelled Arctic Monkeys the most important band of the past two decades. The album opens with that great single 'Do I Wanna Know?' That strong, riff-driven song is the baseline of AM. A baseline the band easily holds up to the end. The rough and wildness of the first album was gone, total style came in return, with great riffs and melodies with more than enough excitement to go around.

I had truly expected that the band would take that next step within a few years and make that album that would have been as great as 'Revolver' and 'Sgt.' Pepper's', making Arctic Monkeys, perhaps not as great, but certainly musically as important as The Beatles once were. Perhaps that is impossible in this decade, for a rock band a least. Arctic Monkeys took a step back and waited five years before coming with a new album, that in the end is too much style and not enough brilliance. For now AM is the culmination of a fascinating musical ride that for certain will continue with some great records to come.

Fin 2010 - 2019.

Wo.

maandag 30 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 2

Today things really get exciting. Wo. is counting down towards the top 10 of his decade spanning list. There's 20 records left to go. Still we wonder what are your faves of the 10s? Share them with us in the comment section below because there's always enough time to get to know one of those records that past us by.



20. Ghosteen. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (2019)
Whether this truly is the best album made by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds ever, is something time will have to tell, but at this point in time for me it is. Somehow everything seems to be coming together on this album. His personal loss and sorrow, the power it seems to be giving him creatively, while his loyal sidekick Warren Ellis seems to have pushed all other band members aside and can work nearly exclusively with his band leader. The result is an extremely sad yet so powerful album. Ghosteen is speaking to his dad in volumes it seems, spurring him on.

19. Righteous Kind. Morgan Mecaskey (2012)
In the mid 10s I visited a website regularly I can't even remember the name of as I drifted away from it also. It contained free music from obscure artists, for free. I tried out some regularly and wrote about them. One of the earliest I found there was Morgan Mecaskey, a singer-songwriter from Cleveland, Ohio. Her Righteous Kind EP impressed me so much. And it never took off. In fact I haven't heard new music from her for years. Which is a shame hearing how talented she is. Dear reader, this is one of the must-hear albums on this list, because bands like Muse or Nick Cave find their respective ways to your ears anyhow. Artists like Ms. Mecaskey do not, but should. So go, now!

18. Ultraviolence. Lana Del Rey (2014)
The second album, the one after the big breakthrough, produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. Two worlds came together and blended like they do not often do. The darkness surrounding Ms. Del Rey connected to the rock world of Mr. Auerbach, without him taking her of her chosen path. They totally seemed to respect each other and morphed, leading to the surprisingly good Ultraviolence.

17. Violeta, Violeta Volume III. Kaizers Orchestra (2012)
And here is the final album. Allow me to be honest here. I haven't got a clue which album is which. All three are so good. If it had been bundled as a three volume album, like in the old days of the 70s or The Clash in 1980 with 'Sandinista', it would have stood even higher probably. Kaizers Orchestra is a band that is sorely missed by me and probably many, many others. But, we have the music. If anything, my feeling tells me Volume 3 is the biggest in sound, the most impressive one.

16. Love Songs For Robots. Patrick Watson (2015)
I never had much going with the music of this Canadian band with the name of its singer. Until this one was released in 2015 and I bought the LP almost immediately. The music is so fleeting, so ethereal. No one can grasp music but if it could this is the kind of music that would be like the proverbial eel in that bucket full of snot. Music that seems meant to escape, music that only touches a person ever so lightly. Music that contains the essence of beauty, eel notwithstanding.

15. Fast Forward. Joe Jackson (2015)
And this is that album by Joe Jackson that brought me back into his fold. When it was released I didn't even bother to listen to it. I left it for what it was, until being polite, as someone sent me the music to listen to, I did early in 2016. The result was a double album entering the home that is being played right up to this day. An album I have a relationship with just like I have with 'Night And Day' and 'Body And Soul'. I do not rank Fast Forward that high, but certainly just below them. Welcome back, Mr. Jackson and what a great show this winter in Paradiso. That is another list though for early next year.

14. I, II, III. Sunday Sun (2012)
Another album that was released as three EPs and then bundled into one release of three cds. Sunday Sun seemed to come out of nowhere and released three EPs in a few months time in 2012. The one containing even more beautiful songs than the other. Full of bright popsongs that sparkle, filled with delightful harmony singing. That breakthrough eluded the band, despite being in the right places and having airplay. On the brink of 2020 Sunday Sun at best is an inactive, at worst an ex-band. Time will tell.

13. Anaani. Cari Cari (2018)
An album from Austria. The only one on this list I can tell you, but what an album it is. Cari Cari is a duo that explores music without acknowledging conventions and barriers. The result is a fresh alternative pop album where the male-female voices bounce off on and the didgeridoo is the mystery instrument of choice. A really and totally unexpected, great album.

12. Remedies. Soup (2017)
The highest listing for an act from Norway. Again thanks to Erwin Zijleman Soup entered my life and made a fantastic impression on me. The well worked out alternative rock, with progrock leanings brings the listener in all sort of states of ecstasy. A lot is going on, themes return, long instrumental interludes, Soup is not afraid to stretch the imagination of its listener. All packaged in one of the most beautiful pieces of artwork as well. Artwork that doesn't stop until the b side of the single accompanying this album has revealed itself. Remedies is a great, imposing and impressive album in more than one way.

11. Uut De Bron. Broeder Dieleman (2015)
Uut De Bron is not your average album. First it is sung in a dialect of the Dutch language I do not hear every day, Zeeuws-Flemish. The music on the album veers from alternative folk, to field recordings of people, nature, the sea and back. As such it makes Uut De Bron a total work of art including oral history about times gone by, when people were still having apparitions inspiring them to give their lives to the church. Broeder Dieleman convinced me totally with this album. An album for those times when you can afford to do nothing else but listen to it all, excluding the world. Just me and my headphones. Uut De Bron indeed.

TBC

Wo.

Blood. Allison Moorer. Erwin Zijleman's plaat van 2019

Gisteren telden we met Erwin af in zijn top 10 van 2019, vandaag volgt zijn nummer 1 album. Wie zijn recensie, eerder dit jaar gepubliceerd op zijn eigen blog 'Krenten Uit De Pop', eerder gelezen heeft, had kunnen voorspellen wat inmiddels waarheid is.

Allison Moorer heeft een album gemaakt bij haar autobiografie en het is een indrukwekkend album dat dwars door de ziel snijdt.

Dat Allison Moorer een onmenselijk zware jeugd heeft gehad was al bekend, maar het stond nog niet eerder zo centraal in haar muziek. Blood is de titel van de autobiografie van Allison Moorer, maar ook de titel van een album waarop ze de gebeurtenissen uit haar jeugd een plek geeft. In tekstueel opzicht is het keer op keer goed voor kippenvel, maar ook in muzikaal en vocaal opzicht raakt ze iedere keer de juiste snaar. Allison Moorer was altijd al een groot zangeres, maar de emotie en doorleving van Blood maakt het nog wat intenser en indringender. Het levert een album af dat diep onder de huid kruipt en behoort tot de meest indrukwekkende albums van het jaar. 

Allison Moorer voerde in 2015 mijn jaarlijst aan met het prachtige en emotionele Down To Believing, waarop het einde van haar huwelijk met Steve Earle centraal stond. Het was niet de eerste keer dat ze me zo wist te overtuigen, want ook Miss Fortune uit 2002 en The Duel uit 2004 wisten ooit de toppositie van mijn jaarlijst te bereiken.
 
Het zal duidelijk zijn dat ik een enorm zwak heb voor Allison Moorer, waardoor ik al ruim vier jaar uit kijk naar de opvolger van Down To Believing. Twee jaar geleden was er het aardige maar zeker niet opzienbarende album dat ze samen met haar zus Shelby Lynne maakte (Not Dark Yet), maar zo langzamerhand werd het wel weer eens tijd voor een nieuw soloalbum van Allison Moorer. Aan deze wens wordt deze week voldaan met Blood.
 
De release van het nieuwe album van Allison Moorer valt samen met de release van haar gelijknamige autobiografie. Hierin kan Allison Moorer uiteraard niet voorbij gaan aan haar jeugd. Allison Moorer had door armoede, alcoholisme, misbruik en verwaarlozing zeker geen makkelijke jeugd in het zuiden van Alabama, maar haar jeugd kreeg een gitzwarte wending toen haar vader haar moeder vermoordde en vervolgens de hand aan zichzelf sloeg. Allison en haar zus Shelby stonden er alleen voor en bouwden in de jaren die volgden een bijzondere, maar zeker niet altijd makkelijke relatie op.
 
Down To Believing was vier jaar geleden al een donkere plaat, maar Blood is nog een paar tinten donkerder, wat gezien de thematiek ook niet zo gek is. Het album opent prachtig met het meeslepende Bad Weather, dat begint met atmosferische klanken, waarna Allison Moorer met veel gevoel invalt en direct zorgt voor kippenvel. Het is kippenvel dat bij de verdere beluistering van Blood niet meer verdwijnt.
 
Blood is direct vanaf de eerste noten het meest persoonlijke album dat Allison Moorer tot dusver heeft gemaakt en is hierdoor ook het meest intense album van de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter. Het meest emotionele moment is zonder enige twijfel de uiterst sobere vertolking van I’m The One To Blame, gebaseerd op een tekst die haar vader naliet, maar het album bevat meer uiterst ingetogen songs die van alles met je doen.
 
Blood staat vol met emotionele momenten, die subtiel worden ingekleurd door de muzikanten die Allison Moorer hebben begeleid, maar die worden gedragen door haar prachtige en emotievolle stem, die wederom aan kracht en diepte heeft gewonnen. Ik kan niet zonder kippenvel luisteren en hoor steeds meer moois op het album, dat zich niet beperkt tot country, maar ook invloeden uit de folk en de blues verwerkt.
 
Het is nog even wachten op de gelijknamige autobiografie, maar ik ga er van uit dat het boek van Allison Moorer haar album gaat voorzien van nog wat meer diepgang en intensiteit. Wanneer je je probeert voor te stellen wat een jonge Allison Moorer heeft meegemaakt, valt het niet mee om naar Blood te luisteren, al hoor je ook een sterke vrouw die alle ellende in haar jeugd een plekje heeft gegeven, maar uiteraard niet voorbij kan gaan aan de intense pijn.
 
Ik ben zoals gezegd een groot liefhebber van het bijzondere oeuvre van Allison Moorer, maar Blood maakt zo mogelijk nog meer indruk dan de geweldige voorganger. De Amerikaanse singer-songwriter schreef voor dit zeer persoonlijke album een serie geweldige songs en ze vertolkt ze met heel veel gevoel, wat weer prachtig wordt geaccentueerd door de fraaie en over het algemeen subtiele instrumentatie op het album en de trefzekere productie van Kenny Greenberg, met wie Allison al vaker samenwerkte. Op Blood geeft Allison Moorer haar donkere jeugd een plekje en ze doet dit op indrukwekkende wijze. Bijzonder indrukwekkende wijze.

Erwin Zijleman



Luister naar onze Spotify Playlist en ontdek waar we over schrijven:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

zondag 29 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 3

Welcome back for part 3. We will be counting down from number 30 downwards today. Continuing on the theme of what a list of favourite albums really is. Every week loads and loads of records are released. It is impossible to keep up with. Luckily not every record company sends its releases. The result for a blog like this would be that most would go by totally unnoticed. It makes us aware that a list like Wo. is producing is only the result of a) what he has heard; b) what caught his interest at the right moment in time and mood and c) what he remembered from the past years. Sometimes more a feeling than a true recollection of the music. On the other hand a memory is a strong indication. Often it simply works. So let's continue.

30. Violeta, Voileta Volume II. Kaizers Orchestra (2011)
It was in the winter of the 2012. I had bought tickets to the umptieth show of Kaizers Orchestra in Amsterdam for my son and me. Like we had been doing for several years. I was not feeling well so gave the ticket away to a friend of my son. He came home with the message that this would be the band's last show in The Netherlands ever. If I had known that .....

29. Fool. Joe Jackson (2019)
Somewhere in the late 80s I had heard enough of Joe Jackson where new music was concerned. Each album sounded a bit less interesting from 'Big World' onwards. The reunion album with his Band was nice but done before. On come the 10s. With Fool from early 2019 Jackson comes with his second great album in a row. The format, the music may all sound familiar, the quality however is so extremely fantastic that I am fully, completely a fan again. Live in Paradiso the man and his band were so good this year. And there's more to come.

28. How To Solve Our Human Problems. Belle and Sebastian (2018)
Originally released as three EPs and then as one cd. Belle and Sebastian can be listened to in its full glory. The soft spells are mixed with modest but undeniable spikes. The band plays superbly with the options it has in the lead singing and songwriting. All together it leads to my favourite album of the band as the different components come together in a fantastic way.

27. In Time To Voices. Blood Red Shoes (2012)
The second contribution of the band to this list. The final song on this album is about as close to heaven as I can possibly come musically. Laura-May Carter's voice says it all here. The rest of the album is simply fine. The band rocks out in superfine ways, leading to a melodically strong alternative rock album with the alternating lead vocals between Carter and drummer Steven Ansell. Yeah, just so nice.

26. Cluster Funk. Death Goldbloom (2014)
Tim and Tomek's duo record that explores all the high and byways of dark electric blues and stoner rock. The devil seems to live on every single intersection of down town Vancouver, British Columbia. (And just this week a grill shop blew up in Coevorden, the town Vancouver was named after, to.) Master guitarist Tim Claridge shows in many ways of what he is capable of and that is a lot. Modern blues seldom sounded this good.

25. The Tower. Motorpsycho (2017)
With The Tower the Norwegian band was back on my radar for sure. With the great show in Victoria in Alkmaar still fairly fresh in my memory, the record gets regularly out of its beautiful artwork. The inspiration simply surges from my speakers. The band explores all the different forms of music it truly loves, experiments and jams a lot and comes up with a few beautiful, small songs as well. The Tower seems bigger, better, huger than what came before. A new album like they should be.

24. Push The Sky Away. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (2013)
Guitarists keep leaving the band and, in the words of Nick Cave at the time, this led to more space in the music that was not filled up. The results is that I owned my first Nick Cave album, not having been impressed ever before by him or better formulated impressed negatively. Push The Sky Away is another record that was not in my top 10 of the year but simply kept growing with this spot as a result. Album of the decade in 'Oor'. Not bad right here contemplating where Nick Cave et al came from.

23. European Heartbreak. Amber Arcades (2018)
Another Dutch act and not the final one. Amber Arcades can count me in as a fan from fairly early on in her career. With European Heartbreak the bar was raised once again. An album containing beautiful songs, prickly songs, pop songs, alternative rockers but above all its holds a deep longing that comes through in each and every song. And it doesn't even contain my two absolute favourites by Amber Arcades, 'Fading Lines' and 'It Changes'. All together it beats all its other releases easily though.

22. Violeta, Violeta Volume I. Kaizers Orchestra (2011)
The second album of the trilogy the Kaizers Orchestra ended its career with. Three albums in about a year. A tour de force that paid off totally. Let's give it our best and then depart. That is what the band did. The music is even more serious than on the albums preceding it. The ambition level is also so much higher. The name rock opera is probably justified, let alone the term concept album. Jan Ove Otterson and his oil drum battering, crowbar swaying, car wheel smashing mates score again.

21. Drones. Muse (2015)
The album on which Muse went over the toppest of tops and found itself, as far as really necessary, back in full attention of the world, and certainly mine. I decided to buy a Muse record again and play it regularly. Drones is extremely in your face and confrontational. Something Muse's music can easily be of course. On Drones it all comes together, the force, the melodies and the execution of the whole. This makes Drones an urgent album and that was exactly what the band needed in my opinion.

TBC

Wo.

As I wrote, I was bound to run into albums I forgot about. Here's another one that might have wound up around #30.

Blue & Lonesome. The Rolling Stones
The 10s did not bring the world an album with original Stones songs. The sessions in 2015 did not go anywhere we were told. Instead in three days the band did something it had never done before: record 10 blues songs, mostly fairly unknown, and made a great blues album. The Rolling Stones went back to its roots but made an album it had never made before. And all was good.

Erwins Top 10 van 2019

Erwin Zijleman herpubliceerd met regelmaat recensies van platen op zijn blog 'Krenten Uit De Pop' op dit blog. Dat is zo meegegroeid uit de tijd dat hij meeschreef aan de PDF versie van WoNo Magazine (2001 - 2016). Vaak platen die wij zelf niet kennen. Dat maakt het aanbod op dit blog aanmerkelijk gevarieerder en breder. Vandaar dat wij dit jaar zijn favoriete platen van 2019 presenteren. In twee delen. Morgen volgt nummer 1, met een post geheel voor zichzelf alleen.

De top 10

10. Big Thief - U.F.O.F.

Big Thief kiest op haar derde album voor een meer ingetogen, loom en folky geluid dat uiteindelijk nog meer indruk maakt dan het geluid op de terecht geprezen voorgangers
Na twee geweldige albums koos Big Thief frontvrouw Adrianne Lenker vorig jaar op haar soloalbum voor een meer ingetogen geluid. Het is een geluid dat zijn weg heeft gevonden naar het nieuwe album van Big Thief. U.F.O.F. klinkt loom, dromerig en folky en verrast met een subtiele instrumentatie en buitengewoon trefzekere fluisterzang van Adrianne Lenker, die op ieder album beter gaat zingen. Ook de songs op het nieuwe album zijn prachtig en zitten vol verrassende lagen en wendingen. Het levert een album op dat wordt overladen met superlatieven en daar valt niets op af te dingen.



 
9. Michael Kiwanuka - Kiwanuka

 
Michael Kiwanuka gaat samen met Danger Mouse verder waar het geweldige Love & Hate drie jaar geleden ophield maar vergeet niet om een volgende stap te zetten
Ik ben normaal gesproken niet zo gek op het woord luistertrip, maar Kiwanuka van Michael Kiwanuka is er zeker een. De Britse muzikant laat zich op zijn nieuwe album nadrukkelijk beïnvloeden door de soul en psychedelica uit de jaren 60 en 70, maar slaat ook een brug naar het heden. Waar Love & Hate zich liet beluisteren als een vergeten klassieker uit de 60s en 70s soul, is Kiwanuka een eigentijdse soulklassieker vol invloeden uit het verleden. Het een van de meest aansprekende producties van Danger Mouse tot dusver, waardoor je maar nieuwe dingen blijft ontdekken bij beluistering van dit fascinerende album, maar ook in vocaal opzicht is het smullen.





8. Sunn O))) - Life Metal

De drones van Sunn O))) denderen weer over je heen, maar wat is er dit keer veel moois verstopt in al het geweld
Sunn O))) maakt al jaren muziek die vooral bestaat uit door elektrische gitaren gegenereerde drones. Dat is over het algemeen genomen zware kost en uitsluitend geschikt voor de echte liefhebber, maar het onlangs verschenen Life Metal klinkt net wat minder duister dan de vorige albums van de band. Het album werd prachtig opgenomen door topproducer Steve Albini, die ieder detail wist te vangen, en verder verrijkt door een aantal gastmuzikanten. Geef je over aan de drones van Sunn O))) en de muziek van de Amerikaanse band neemt bezit van je, om je vervolgens pas na 70 minuten weer los te laten. Het levert een luisterervaring op die zijn weerga niet kent.




 7. Rozi Plain - What A Boost

Rozi Plain maakt al een paar jaar albums, maar overtreft zichzelf op het sfeervolle, spannende en met grote regelmaat wonderschone What A Boost
In Engeland kan Rozi Plain, het alter ego van de jonge Britse singer-songwriter Rosalind Leyden, al een paar jaar rekenen op zeer lovende recensies, maar met What A Boost moet ook Nederland aan de zegekar worden gebonden. Rozi Plain verrast op haar nieuwe album met een bloedstollend mooie en spannende instrumentatie, waarin prachtige gitaarlijnen gezelschap krijgen van avontuurlijke percussie en uiteenlopende maar altijd fraaie accenten. Het past allemaal prachtig bij de mooie stem van Rosalind Leyden, die laat horen dat ze zowel in folk, jazz, pop als rock uit de voeten kan.




 6. Eleni Mandell - Wake Up Again

Eleni Mandell maakt tot dusver alleen maar bescheiden klassiekers en ook haar nieuwe album is er weer een om intens te koesteren
20 jaar geleden ontdekte ik bij toeval de muziek van Eleni Mandell en sindsdien weet ze me met ieder nieuw album te verrassen. Ook haar nieuwe album is er weer een van een bijzondere schoonheid. Wake Up Again is een wat donker klinkend en opvallend intens album, waarop prachtige gitaarlijnen samenvloeien met de bijzondere stem van de singer-songwriter uit Los Angeles. Eleni Mandell klinkt ook op haar nieuwe album weer net wat anders dan op haar vorige albums, maar de kwaliteit spat er ook dit keer van af. Het is een album dat zich niet in een hokje laat duwen maar meerdere genres laat samenvloeien in een geluid dat intrigeert en betovert. Topalbum nummer 11 van deze helaas zeer onderschatte muzikante.




 5. Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars

Een nieuw Springsteen album is lang niet altijd een garantie op succes, maar op Western Stars verkeert de Amerikaanse muzikant in een grootse vorm en levert hij zijn beste album in vele, vele jaren af
Na een aantal matige albums was ik er zeker niet gerust op, maar na vele malen beluisteren durf ik wel te beweren dat Bruce Springsteen eindelijk weer eens een groots album heeft afgeleverd. Western Stars wisselt fraai ingetogen momenten af met zwaar georkestreerde passages, maar alles op het nieuwe album draagt bij aan de schoonheid en de verbeeldingskracht van de songs die Springsteen heeft geschreven. Western Stars zit vol echo’s uit het rijke oeuvre van Bruce Springsteen, maar laat toch ook een nieuw geluid horen. Het is het geluid van een muzikant die dit jaar 70 wordt, maar nog lang niet versleten is. Of Western Stars uiteindelijk een Springsteen klassieker wordt laat zich lastig voorspellen, maar dat het zijn beste album is in heel veel jaren is voor mij zeker.




4. Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell!

Lana Del Rey maakte al een aantal prima albums, maar Norman Fucking Rockwell! is wat mij betreft nog een paar klassen beter
Lana Del Rey betoverde acht jaar geleden met Video Games en sindsdien heb ik een zwak voor met name haar zwoele, nostalgische en melancholische songs. De Amerikaanse singer-songwriter maakte een aantal prima albums, maar deze albums moeten het stuk voor stuk afleggen tegen het geweldige Norman Fucking Rockwell!. Lana Del Rey wentelde zich tot dusver in de hitgevoelige pop, maar heeft met NFR! een tijdloos singer-songwriter album gemaakt. Samen met producer Jack Antonoff bezweert, betovert en hypnotiseert Lana Del Rey ruim een uur lang met ingetogen songs, maar ook met songs die durven te experimenteren. NFR! is door de uit duizenden herkenbare vocalen onmiskenbaar een Lana Del Rey album, maar het is ook een album dat flink anders klinkt dan zijn voorgangers.




 3. Big Thief - Two Hands

Na het prachtig dromerige U.F.O.F. levert Big Thief met het stekelige, aardse en intieme Two Hands haar tweede en misschien nog wel indrukwekkendere jaarlijstjesplaat van 2019 af 
Big Thief dook drie jaar geleden op met het geweldige Masterpiece, dat ik goed genoeg vond voor mijn jaarlijstje. Opvolger Capacity was niets minder en ook het vorig jaar verschenen soloalbum van Adrienne Lenker was uitstekend. Dit jaar zet de band uit Brooklyn, New York, echter reuzenstappen. Eerder dit jaar was er het dromerige en wonderschone U.F.O.F. en nu is er het vrijwel direct erna opgenomen Two Hands. Het is een totaal ander album geworden. Two Hands is sober, intiem, broeierig en ruw, maar is net als zijn voorganger van een unieke schoonheid. Het is een album dat je meesleept in de bijzondere wereld van Big Thief, waarna je Two Hands voorgoed wilt koesteren.




2. The Lumineers - III
The Lumineers worden vaak versleten als eendagsvlieg, maar maken nu diepe indruk met een gedurfd en bloedmooi album van jaarlijstjesniveau Denk aan The Lumineers en vrijwel iedereen zal op de proppen komen met het niemendalletje Ho Hey. Je zou bijna vergeten dat de Amerikaanse band al twee uitstekende albums maakte en deze twee albums worden nu op alle fronten overtroffen door het prachtige III. III vertelt een aantal prachtige verhalen, maar maakt vooral indruk met een uiterst sobere instrumentatie en met zang waar de emotie en melancholie van af spat. III is een introspectief album zonder enige opsmuk, maar het is ook een album met songs die stuk voor stuk onder de huid kruipen en die je na één keer horen alleen maar wilt koesteren. Voor mij een van de mooiste en meest indrukwekkende albums van 2019 tot dusver.

Erwin Zijleman

Wordt vervolgd ....

zaterdag 28 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 4

And here is the seventh instalment, slowing we are moving into the regions that really matter but still a long way from that most coveted position of all. Music isn't a competition and I fully know that this list may look different tomorrow, next week, let alone next month, year. And what is the meaning of this list really? Just me showing off a little when all is said and done, isn't it? Let's continue anyway and not get side railed because of philosophical musings, shall we?

40. Skeleton Tree. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (2016)
The first of three Nick Cave albums in this list. The one released after the death of one of his teenage son, making the album even bleaker, sadder and darker than he had already envisioned it. Most of it was already finished before that most unfortunate of events, so darkness must have been what Cave intended to share with the world. Since then he is on a large healing his soul tour resulting into what may prove to be his most impressive album. Only time can tell whether that is true.

39. Misleadingly Soft. Elenne May (2012)
The album before I discovered this band from Amsterdam. The album I always heard songs from live but always forgot to buy. Until somewhere in 2017. Since then it has not often left my attention. Hence the rather high position in this list. The mysterious atmosphere Elenne May is able to create live and on record is in full spin here. A beautiful album deserving discovery by a huge audience.

38. El Camino. The Black Keys (2011)
The second and final album by the band in this list. You won't find any solo cavorting though. They are all sub par to the band itself. El Camino contains some of the best singles of this decade. 'Lonely Boy', 'Gold On The Ceiling' and 'Little Black Submarines' can be heard on the radio regularly still and quite rightly so. They take away a little of the attention of the album as a whole even, that of course is more than alright. (Dan Auerbach in a way does return later ...)

37. Shangri La. Jake Bugg (2013)
The youngster that came like a storm and has already petered out it seems before reaching 25. His second album cooked up that storm a little more and is still great fun to listen to. Jake Bugg captured a tremendous lot of positive energy in his music and literally throws it at his listeners. You better catch or be crushed. The riffs fly around in superb ways. I simply love several of the songs on this album.

36. Is This The Life We Really Want? Roger Waters (2017)
And all of a sudden Roger Waters released a new album out of nowhere, 25 years after 'Amused To Death'. Everything has been done before of course and better in the mid 70 when Pink Floyd peaked. The fact that this album comes close to albums like 'Meddle' and 'Animals' is telling for the inspiration that hit Waters. There is only one criticism possible. This should have been a new Pink Floyd album. With David Gilmore's guitar and Nick Mason's soft, yet powerful drumming it would have been a perfect album.

35. Demo 4. Bongely Dead (2014)
The second album by this Italian band in the list. The Bongley what? I thought when I received that email some years ago. The alternative rock of the Italian trio is simply catchy. The powerful rhythm section and the melodic prowess of the guitar and singing. All songs recorded in the band's studio in the Italian country side west of Florence. All the lyrics written from a band of English books, starting with Shakespeare, on a shelf in that studio. The music is all on the band's homepage, so check it out.

34. Songs Of Praise. Shame (2018)
Some prefer Idles, others Fontaines DC or The Murder Capital, I prefer Shame. The level of snottiness in the singing is just this little more convincing, the music just a little more melodic and the overall songs better. To me there's no comparison, with The Murder Capital as a good second. But not (yet?) top 100 material. Songs Of Praise is. This album was played so much over the past nearly two years and still lies within reach, just to be sure.

33. When The Dust Settles. The Parlor Soldiers (2011)
The album, thank you Erwin, once again, that brought Karen Jonas into my life. The way this album opens her collaboration with Alex Culbraith, is without compare. 'Shallow Grave' is a harsh yet beautiful statement. Unfortunately the duo never continued its collaboration as I would have loved to hear more from them. Karen Jonas went her own way and Alex continued his solo career. Both producing some fine records. This one remains my favourite though. Bare, stripped of many possible instruments, full focus spot on the two voices that go for it totally.

32. Brik. De Kift (2011)
Was it the Brik show, where De Kift marched to the stage in the old LVC Leiden behind a self-created contraption, bike and percussion apparatus in one, peddled forward by drummer Wim van Weele? I think it was. Again an album where De Kift showed how it was growing musically. Something they left behind in the more conceptual album cum show around 'Bidonville' that came next (2014). Brik is another fine album by the band and the final contribution of De Kift to this list.

31. Flying Colors. Flying Colors (2012)
Yes, finally a progrock album in this list. But then, people following this blog and solely loving prog or symphonic rock either love my writing skills or have left long ago. Flying Colors, a sort of super group with two albums to its name, fully surprised me with this album. It is melodically strong and most songs have fairly normal lengths. Hence I found my way into it and enjoyed it a lot at the time. In 2019 it's been a while since I played it.

TBC

Wo.

In the forgotten section.

No Sound From The Outside. Saybia should have been found around here.


vrijdag 27 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 5

We are half way. 50 Albums into the list we are getting closer to the final instalment. Yet you have four more days to go after this one. Let's continue the countdown. On the radio the Top 2000 is slowly continuing its countdown. For the first time Wo. voted for the #1, instead of 'Somebody To Love' by the same band. Everyone wants to be a winner sometimes....


50. Mannequins. Monster Cat (2011)
An EP from a band could be downloaded for free on a Dutch website that has disappeared into history long ago. A band from Singapore nonetheless. The five song EP was mysterious, yet so melodic and adventurous. Sometimes I simply get totally surprised and listening to Mannequins was one of those times. There is an interview with the band somewhere on this blog in the very early days. Go and find it.

49. Maggie Brown. Maggie Brown (2014)
Erwin Zijleman republishes posts from his own blog 'Krenten Uit De Pop' on WoNoBlog, having moved with the PDF magazine to the blog. Thus I regularly make some discoveries. Somehow I just know when I have to listen because of what he writes. Maggie Brown was one of those times. Again an album by a band that ought to be in loads of households, but is not for reasons I can't begin to fathom. Pop and alternative rock meet in a perfect mix. And this is only the first album. Stick around, folks.

48. Rammstein. Rammstein (2019)
Ten years of silence proved worthwhile in the end. Rammstein returned, all the live shows aside, with a video that shocked and surprised the world. It encompassed the whole history of Germany it seemed. The album is everything Rammstein should be and then this little bit more. Better comeback albums have seldom been made.

47. Jen Cloher. Jen Cloher (2017)
Mrs. Courtney Barnett released a new album a few years ago that, to me, was better than any of Courtney's. It is so much more focussed, more direct and melodically often stronger. So what is the difference in popularity? Image and panache on stage? The faint Grace Slick association I have with Courtney? It may well be. On record I am a bigger fan of Jen Cloher as you can see on this list.

46. Rest. Charlotte Gainsbourg (2017)
One of the albums that kept growing after its release. Rest simply is a very pleasing album. It has a high pop feel, yet different enough to stay away from the mainstream and has a few songs in the top category. The surprising ending, with the third Gainsbourg generation joining in, is a gem of a song. All together I think Rest is a feast for the ears.

45. Marble Skies. Django Django (2018)
The first album did not keep its position with me. The second album became better and better through the years and only just did not make this list, with 'Giants' as one of my favourite songs of this decade. On Marble Skies it all came together it seemed. The disco, 80s synthesizer, alternative pop feel blended perfectly making Marble Skies a great and fun album to listen to.

44. Simulation Theory. Muse (2018)
The album after which I finally got to see Muse, in Cologne this year. Again the band fully delivers on its new album. Yes, it all is becoming a little more formalistic, but at such a high level that I can't complain in any way. The band still manages to rock out in all the right places and hold back in time as well. A formula it was trying to find in the 00s and not always succeeded in. In the 10s there is no need to experiment any longer. This simply is it.

43. Soliloquy. Lou Doillon (2019)
With her third album Lou Doillon reached for the sky and went beyond what she may have expected ever to reach for. Soliloquy is a beautiful and great album all in one. She manages to play in between genres and styles yet be totally one. Her voice is fantastic and so is the music she made with a host of writers and producers. Quite the album.

42. Heavy Flowers. Blaudzun (2012)
The oldest album and highest spot for Blaudzun in this list. The album I got to know him by is still my favourite. To my ears everything seems just this little more lighter and spontaneous making it, ever so little, more pleasant to listen to. Five albums in this list is an extremely good score, I'd say.

41. 1974. Mountaineer (2015)
Mountaineer is the name singer and songwriter Marcel Hulst of Maggie Brown recorded a solo album under. Again an album filled with these beautiful songs. From beginning to end Hulst presents us pop songs that are pure gems. Lighter in sound than with his band he shows another side of himself. It seems that the two sides come together in the most perfect of ways on the final contribution in this list. Again your patience is called for ....

TBC

Wo.

Like I already wrote, I was bound to forget some records. Here's another two:

Everything Now. Arcade Fire. It could have ended up circa #47.

Perhaps Downhearted Blues. Eilen Jewell could have found a place among the last albums, ca #96.

donderdag 26 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 6

And the saga continues. Already we are at the fifth instalment of Wo.'s top 100 of the 10s. He confided in us that the intention was to make a top 50 and not bother you too much, but it proved too difficult and time consuming for him to select stricter. To save time he just made it a top 100. Perhaps it brings you some good memories or even ideas? and share your faves with us, will you?


60. Sun Leads Me On. Half Moon Run (2015)
Yes, it exist, an album that was not in my list in the year of release but in the overview of the whole decade. This is one of them. I liked the album but only really started to appreciate it when I found the LP at a nice discount and it did not leave my record player for quite some time. The band has certainly become more popular in this home in 2019 as well.

59. Ain't No Place. TMGS (2018)
The first of two albums by this band from Kalmthout in Belgium. Five years in the making but worth the wait every single second. Peter Lodiers has written another bunch of great songs that his band mates play so extremely well. It is a mystery that hardly anyone catches up on this band. They do come better, but not that much in this decade as you are bound to find out later this week.

58. Norman Fucking Rockwell! Lana Del Rey (2019)
This fairly recent album was made album of the year 2019 in 'Oor'. It seems I'm not going that far. In fact there is an album by Ms Del Rey I like considerably more than NFR! That said, it is clear that with this album Lana del Rey has made a giant step in her career and is taken completely seriously as an artist. And rightly so.

57. Springlevend. The Kik (2012)
The debut album of The Kik was a huge surprise. Springlevend is full of beautifully adorned cover versions of other people's songs. It did not bring the band as far as I had expected. Band leader Dave von Raven is everywhere all the time but it does not reflect as much on his band as one would hope. The more as it would have been more than deserved. Third album 'Stad En Land' fell just outside of this list.

56. Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action. Franz Ferdinand (2013)
'Take Me Out' was a canonshot of a single and still the best known one of the band from Glasgow. The albums followed slowly after the second one but when they came they always delivered. At least seven songs on this album are absolute top, with 'Bullet' as my absolute favourite.

55. A Blemish In The Great Light. Half Moon Run (2019)
As I admitted 2019 has it easier than older years. Yet, this album is so good. Half Moon Run reaches for a level of perfection that is not given to many bands. Not every song is as good, I think, but the way they are executed by this band full of multi instrumentalists is close to flawless. Some songs could have been just this little more free flowing, one melodic catch extra, but that is the only thing I can possibly argue in the face of perfection.

54. Komma. Broeder Dieleman (2018)
A double album, artwork, photo's, maps, this enormous piece of art released as a record deserves a place in a museum for more than one reason. Broeder Dieleman devides the musical part of this piece of art in two halves. Songs on the one and collages on the other album. That makes his album less intriguing than 'Uut De Bron, but hardly less beautiful. The impact of the first work was so much higher on me that you have to keep your patience.

53. Somos. Jarabe de Palo (2013)
And it is remaining silent ever since this album was released six years ago. An album I have not been able to buy. Not a store had it in Spain, I found on two different visits there. So I haven't listened as often to Somos as I would have otherwise. At the time I thought it to be so strong and a great fiesta. (Radiohead has stopped playing. So let me turn to Spotify for Somos.) No matter what, Jarabe de Palo is my favourite Spanish artist, ever since hearing 'La Flaca' for the first time in Salamanca in the summer of 1997. (And yes, the album is still so good.)

52. Bal. De Kift (2017)
One of the best Dutch language (punk) rock songs of The Netherlands is 'Bal', the song that opens Bal. The latest album by De Kift is a joy to listen to. How many bands exist for 30 years and still manage to show growth? De Kift is such a band. Not in approach and touch but certainly in melodies and harmonies. There's no comparing the band I got to know in the mid 90s and the band 20 years onwards. By now I've seen so many shows of the band and each one is a ball.

51. Stay Around. J.J. Cale (2019)
And so there is a posthumous album in this list. J.J. Cale passed away in 2013. His widow released an album with songs that were left behind here and there and is his strongest album in two decades. It is not an album with one mood, as J.J. Cale's albums of the past often were. There is more variance in the approach making the album better. J.J. Cale was a great, modest artist.

TBC

Wo.

Merry Christmas

We would like to wish all our readers, followers, and even all the mysterious clickers from unknown origins harassing this blog, all the musicians providing us with all this beautiful and intriguing music, all the people from record companies big and Tiny sharing beautiful music with us that finds its spot on this blog and even radio show Kairos on Concertzender, and our colleague writers who regularly contribute to this blog a




and a great start into 2020 with good health, happiness and fantastic music.

.No and Wo.

woensdag 25 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 7

Another day a contribution to the list of the 10s. Wo. starts at #70 and counts down to 61. Is one of your favourite albums among these? Let us know and share your faves.






70. Heartaches And Hot Problems. Justine and the Unclean (2018)
One of the many Rum Bar Records releases that found its way to this blog in the last year. This mini album deserves a spot in this list as it is so deliciously dirty. These ladies and gentlemen of a certain age punk rock on like there's no tomorrow and why should there be one when punk rock comes around this good?

69. Places. Lou Doillon (2012)
The first of three albums by Ms. Doillon in this list. With each release she has become better. This album almost passed me by in the year of release and was forgotten by me until I bought it together with the album 'Rest' of her half sister Charlotte Gainsbourg, also to be found in this list. Ever since it plays regularly in my home and straight into this list.

68. Bookmark. Beth Wimmer (2017)
The latest album by U.S. born, Swiss resident Beth Wimmer is a beauty. The previous album 'Ghosts And Men' came close, this one made it totally. With her beautiful voice, songwriting talent and great backing band the album is a joy to listen to, just like Ms. Wimmer is live.

67. Bang The Drum. The Maureens (2015)
The second The Maureens album in this list. This album is so extremely melodically strong. Beatlesque is the word one is supposed to use in such circumstances and I can only say that it is correct in this case. The Maureens has found several perfect melodies on this album. And then there is the eponymous debut album that only just did not make to this list.

66. Wilderness Heart. Black Mountain (2010)
This is an album from the beginning of this decade. More feeling than recollection. So I turned it on and found myself immediately in Led Zeppelin territory and rocked on after the first song. The feeling was fully justified and I should be playing this album more often. Note to self made.

65. Jupiter II. Blaudzun (2017)
My favourite of the trilogy. The bass saxophone is left behind and that gives these songs the light they need. Blaudzun is at the top of game on part II. From beginning to end this album convinces me. I skipped this tour to go and look again with 'Up'. You can't see everything.

64. Bubble Gum. De Staat (2019)
The first of two from this band from Nijmegen. After 'O' I wondered where the band could still go without stopping to be true to itself. Bubble Gum is the answer. The metal, hip hop, rock and pop mix just a little bit better again, with even a few new vantage points. Bubble Gum is as solid as brick, frivolously painted in the colours of the rainbow.

63. Lay Low. Lou Doillon (2015)
Ms. Doillon's second album and the first one I bought on LP. I used to play it regularly until the last one was released in 2019. Together with the guy from Timber Timbre she plays with different moods and settings, without losing the unity of the album for a second. With her unique voice she ties it all together.

62. O. De Staat (2016)
Close together the two albums stand in this list. 'O' is marginally better, perhaps because I know it the longest. There are so many good songs on the album, the development from 'I-Con' was so huge. In that way this is the stronger album of the two. 'Bubble Gum' simply could no longer surprise me in that sense.

61. Heartbreak Hi. The LVE (2018)
The second The LVE album in this list. I had the honour to receive the first cd right after the band members themselves. A quote from this blog is on the back of the cd. Talking about feeling honoured. That is all nice, but without the quality of the songs it would never have made it to this list. 'Sad Song' is a great song and should have been a huge hit, in any universe. The other five songs on this mini album are not that good but all so extremely nice.

TBC

Wo.

P.S. Reaching the top 20 I realised I had forgotten an album. That may happen again over the coming days. It is too herculean to do it all over, so I repent in this way.

Circa # 65. The Take Off And Landing Of Everything. Elbow
Simply my favourite Elbow album.

Merry Christmas

We would like to wish all our readers, followers, and even all the mysterious clickers from unknown origins harassing this blog, all the musicians providing us with all this beautiful and intriguing music, all the people from record companies big and Tiny sharing beautiful music with us that finds its spot on this blog and even radio show Kairos on Concertzender, and our colleague writers who regularly contribute to this blog a




and a great start into 2020 with good health, happiness and fantastic music.

.No and Wo.

dinsdag 24 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 8

Today we continue with Wo's list of favourite albums of the 10s. We move towards the 70s, slowly counting down.






80. A Moon Shaped Pool. Radiohead (2016)
I have a sort of love hate relationship with a lot of Radiohead's albums. You will never find them among my top top albums and yet they sort of deserve a spot. I have been to one show in the 00s and had the same experience. Where all around me stood enthralled, I had mixed feelings. Radiohead does impress me regularly but does not reach me emotionally. So here A Moon Shaped Pool finds itself.

79. Oh, Mayhem! Bettie Serveert (2013)
The colourful album (cover) of The Netherlands' longest lasting and best alternative rock band. Every few years they come with a new good to great album, 'Damaged Good' only just fell of the 100 position. Oh, Mayhem! is no different. With drummer Joppe kicking the band forward in the most powerful of ways, there is a great second life in Bettie Serveert, something more people should appreciate, instead of moping over days gone by. Something to do with an album with a little dog on it. The band has really, truly become better since.

78. Open Water. The Fire Harvest (2019)
The wobbly album is one I keep returning to. Hesitating, halting, stop, starting, it holds a lot to discover and enjoy. Alternative rock, country rock, indie, folk, The Fire Harvest incorporates lots influences into its mix of fairly unique music. Unfortunately the band and I do not seem to be able to meet live. Perhaps in the 20s we'll fare better.

77. Tell Me How You Really Feel. Courtney Barnett (2018)
The third album of Australia's indie darling is the one I like best to date. Courtney Barnett is more direct than on the albums before this one and I simply like her better this way. Perhaps collaborating with Kurt Vile and Jen Cloher have opened new roads to explore musically and led to this fine album.

76. Visions Of A Life. Wolf Alice (2017)
One of the most impressive shows I was present at over the last years was at a packed Paradiso with Wolf Alice. Speaking of a band that is ready for great things. The album stands in the shadow of what the band can do on stage. Still, the place in this list is fully and totally deserved. This is one of the bands that I can't wait to hear what the next step will be. I simply hope for as much growth as it has shown so far.

75. Help Us Stranger. The Raconteurs (2019)
No nothing new, yet the cooperation between Mrss. Benson and White in 2019 produced The Raconteurs' best album to date, bar that fantastic, first single. That simply is too good. On several of the songs I hear the fun the two had singing and playing together again. The start of all good to great albums.

74.Up. Jupiter III. Blaudzun (2018)
Yes, the third Jupiter, that was not called Jupiter any more for some reason, is in the list as well. Although I have the idea this album could have been even better had Blaudzun taken a little more time (it had taken already from the originally outset tempo), Up shows that the concept of working on three albums in fast concession paid off in full. Three good albums in the space of one and a half year is a treat.

73. Something In The Air. The Maureens (2019)
The Utrecht band's third album is a treat to listen to. The search for the perfect pop song is never over with this band. Even when they have found it, the quest starts all over again. The addition of the Rickenbacker in the sound sets the album apart from the previous two.

72. Promises Of No Man's Land. Blaudzun (2014)
An album where Blaudzun flexed its muscles a bit more. The album contains a little more power and is the ideal in between album between what came before and the Jupiter trilogy. Containing several live staples, Blaudzun produced another fine album.

71. Oklahoma Lottery. Karen Jonas (2014)
The album containing the (title) song that made me write Karen Jonas deserved a statue in central Fredericksburg, Va., her home town. On her first solo album Karen Jonas set herself on a career that keeps promising more and better in the future. She will return one more time in this list, though not as a solo artist.

TBC.

Wo.

Deep End. Indian Askin

Recently I wrote on the full live show of Indian Askin I was present at in Haarlem. Today its the turn of the new six song mini album Deep End.

Indian Askin makes its music on an interesting intersection where rock, psychedelia, experiment, and a certain level of grossness come together and either of the ingredients can win out any time.

The firmness of rock is always present, simply because drummer Ferry Kunst likes to use his skins and cymbals any old time. That only says something of what goes on in the background (well, o.k. that background is debatable when pounding away like Kunst can). Over the drumming anything can happen. Chino Ayala has an inventive mind and is not afraid to show all the different things that go on in there.

So on the one hand there is an alternative hitsingle like 'Deep End' on Deep End, a song that is easy to sing along with, with a slap happy rhythm with a little The Cure like guitar work and semi-happy cavorting by the rest of the band. On the other there are darker pieces that are more experimental but even there it is impossible for the band to hide that it is able to write a good song. The reason why I was attracted to them in the first place with the release of the first EP a few years ago.

'Deep End' shows how much further the band is in its development. The time to please first, in an indie, alternative way, is over. This is Indian Askin in all its raw purity. In 'Baby' and the instrumental 'Psycho Mind' the power goes off and the songs drift in their own little world. There is nothing to prove at this point in time. Indian Askin is simply showing the world what it is capable of and this leads to a six song mini album adventure.

That Deep End ends rough and wild is just another side of the band. The melody is in there, again. Beginning the album again with 'Smiles' I notice the contrast with the subtle start of the album, but full of anticipation for the tumult to burst loose. The aggression is in the playing and the singing, a restlessness waiting to be released. And yes, loose it goes in 'Smiles'.

Deep End is a varied inventory and testimony of where Indian Askin stands late in 2019. Like the band showed live in Patronaat and here on record that place is one of extreme interest as the band is growing and growing. A step by step growth like De Staat managed over the past decade should be within reach. With a great record in about a year's time the next step should be guaranteed, if the stories about mayonnaise on stage are dropped. Not that I care, it was in a way quite amusing. A manifestation of the fourth element on the intersection.

Wo.


Listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

maandag 23 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 9

Yesterday we started Wo's albums list of the 10s, slowly counting down to the number 1 spot. Today we continue with number 90.






90. Boudewijn de Groot's Voor De Overlevenden & Picknick Live. The Kik (2019)
This is a show I did not go to see. Despite the fact I have seen the band at least five times this decade, I thought that listening to this cover album was enough. It is impressive at it is and I like it better even than the original albums. The Kik does what I had hoped them to do and will do more in the coming decade, recreate something that the original artists cannot do or do not want to do anymore. An impressive feat this.

89. Butter. Karen Jonas (2018)
Mother cooks with butter and drinks straight whiskey. And writes and records great records and plays all over the U.S. east coast, but alas still never over here. Butter is an album where she flexes her muscles some more and comes up with a much broader range of songs without ever straying from her beloved country music. And, yes, she will return in this list (just like The Kik).

88. Blood Red Shoes. Blood Red Shoes (2014)
The duo, guitar - drums, that is so dynamic, so melodic. I will confess once again that I always prefer U.K. pop and rock just this little bit more to U.S., so will always count Blood Red Shoes above The White Stripes or The Black Keys e.g. The band's eponymous album kicks off relentlessly but effortlessly gets to the level I have come to expect through the years.

87. Americana. Ray Davies (2017)
So after silence of a decade Ray Davies returns with a formidable record showing that he hasn't lost anything of his power of songwriting nor his keen observational eye and ear. His relationship with the U.S. is explored in much following his latest biography, from the landing in the mid 60s to his getting stabbed in New Orleans.

86. Parable. The Stangs (2017)
An EP from a bunch of youngsters I have never heard from again after running into them in a support slot of The Kik? The Stangs' psychedelic pop songs belie the members' age by several decades. Except for the sound quality the album could have been made in 1967-68, thanks to the production of The Kik's Dave von Raven.

85. Demo 3. Bongley Dead (2014)
A vague email looking more like a phishing mail than anything else came to me after a review of, I do not know any more. After verifying it turned out that it was a band member of an Italian band reaching out to this blog. The result was a great album in my mailbox and a few years later a personal meeting in the band's rehearsal studio.

84. Coexist. The xx (2012)
That almost mystical album with all these silences in between the beats that never truly are finds its way into this list. The xx captures mystery into its music in a convincing way.

83. The Crucible. Motorpsycho (2019)
Motorpsycho left my span of attention somewhere around the turn of this decade. It all started to sound a bit more of the same to me, but just a little less good by the album. And then 'The Tower' was released, patience, patience, followed by the also towering 'The Crucible'. Yes, also more of the same but so devastatingly strong that a place here is well deserved.

82. The Beauty Of Our Youth. Soup (2013)
A double album at 45 RPM filled with beautiful songs. Soup was only flexing its muscles on this album working towards 'Remedies', the best read post on this blog to this day (without bots from Eastern Europe at that). This album was totally unknown to me at the time of release. Something I was fortunate to change after the Zoetermeer show of the band.

81. Why Me? Why Not. Liam Gallagher (2019)
Perhaps a bit opportunistic to put in this album already but I just find myself playing the album regularly. And yes, albums from 2019 have it easier than those from 2010. For now the album deserves this spot. The songs are strong and varied. Liam, with his team of writers trumps his older brother at the end of the decade. 'Chasing Yesterdays' only just did not make the top 100 though.

TBC

Wo.

Bowie for Dummies #20

23 December 2019, nearly three years ago Tineke shared her first version of of links to David Bowie's presence on the World Wide Web with us all.

Today we release her twentieth iteration of this long, long list filled with clips, news, cover versions, etc., etc., all for you to peruse and enjoy. It's the holiday season so go ahead. Here's the link:



https://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2017/01/bowie-for-dummies.html

zondag 22 december 2019

The Top 100 of the 10s, part 10

Somehow it is hard to believe, but another decade is nearly over. Soon we will be talking about the 20s. "The roaring twenties" people called that decade in the 20th century. The highlight of the Interbellum period leading into chaos, violence, dictatorships and finally war in 1939. Again the world seems to be drawn to a fascination with violence and chaos.

Let's put all that doom and gloom aside for a while. It is time to look back on a decade that brought me loads of fantastic music, great shows, introduced me to the phenomenon of living rooms shows and a new band where making music myself is concerned. The 10s have produced great new bands and several fantastic albums. Some by bands no one seems to be interested in, yet everyone I introduce them to seems to be impressed when they hear the music.

The way people listen to music has changed totally. Why download (illegally) when there is Spotify? Of course this is not a sustainable business model for artists, except the biggest perhaps. Spotify and You Tube are everywhere and most youngsters and youth hear their music this way and through games it seems.

Where I am concerned, I have started to buy LPs once again. Not many as the prices do not really allow that. Not many is totally relative of course compared to the giant majority that never buys an album. Low and behold! For the first time in a decade I have started to develop a relationship with albums again. When I buy an album now, it is a conscious decision. It costs considerable money, so I really listen to albums once again. Starting with 'This Is All Yours', Alt-J's second album that I bought on a whim and did not stop playing for months early in 2015. You will find it in this list. Patrick Watson's 'Wave' is the last, an album you will not find, yet? It is too early to tell how good it really is, but I am still exploring. Something I never do with an mp3 compilation album.

So having shared with you once again my state of play musically late into 2019, it is time to share my favourite 100 albums of the 10s.

100. End Of Suffering. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes (2019)

The punker tamed. The hurricane has spent itself and continues as a tropical storm. Musically the album is totally interesting. Frank Carter is older, wiser and develops in all the right ways.

99. Stranger In A Stranger Land. Steve Waitt (2016)

Steve Waitt, the New York City soulful pianist and singer-songwriter. Part time hotel pianist but a great songwriter in his own right. The two shows in the Q-Bus in Leiden I was present at over the past two decades, convinced totally and so do his two records.

98. Pull Up. Johan (2018)

The comeback after over 10 years of Johanless no man's land can be called a minor triumph. The album perhaps is a little too underwelming in the sense that a lot of songs hold back. Over all it scores in many right places. Live the band delivered totally. It is great that the band's back and let's hope that four years is a nice lull this time.

97. Oohoohoo. Moon Moon Moon (2017)
Bedroom lo fi from the north of the Netherlands. Beautiful little pieces of self-made songs. A room, a laptop and some instruments. It can be all one needs to make a memorable album.

96. The LVE. The LVE (2015)
The album containing one of the most beautiful songs made in this decade, the previous and probably the next. 'Love, When You Don't Want It' itself deserves a spot in this list. Add the other songs and voila a beautiful album from the Antwerp based band.

95. 'Let's Rock'. The Black Keys (2019)
The first of two albums by the band in this list. After six years of silence (as a band) The Black Keys return with an album that contains everything it is good at. So nothing new but extremely welcome. Many songs surprise as they sort of begin average and somewhere along the way touch pieces of brilliance. A just listing in other words.

94. Jupiter I. Blaudzun (2016)
The first of many Blaudzun records in this list and the darkest. Looking at it as a whole, it appears Blaudzun is my artist of this decade. That is not the case, but he comes close. Probably something like five live shows over the years and all his records since 'Heavy Flowers' are as LP in the home. It does tell me something, right? Three Jupiter's and the one even more beautiful than the other.

93. Collapse Into Now. R.E.M. (2011)
R.E.M.'s swan song and a nice one at that. The reviewer in 'Oor' wrote something like "if this was to be R.E.M.'s final album, things would be alright". It proved to be the final album and no, I do not agree. If a band can come up with a strong album like this after 30 years, it can come up with more quality filled albums. Alas, things are what they are.

92. The Monsanto Years. Neil Young and the Promise of the Real (2015)
Dinosaur St. is angry and lets the world and Monsanto have it. Together with his new backing band he kicks the topic hard and like many of Neil Young's albums of the past decade it simply is alright. No not alright like 'On The Beach', but I have that album already. The 2016 show in Ziggo Dome was just as good.

91. Oondert. Ries de Vuyst (2015)
An album I had all but forgotten about, I have to admit to my shame. I listened again to the almost incomprehensible mix of Zeelands and Flemish singing and the beautiful music accompanying Ries de Vuyst's creaky voice and knew: this album deserves a spot in the list.

TBC

Wo.