donderdag 31 december 2020

WoNoBlog's best read posts of 2020

In the late winter of 2019 some trolls, entering the Internet through the TOR network or by some other way making it impossible for Google to ascertain the geolocation of readers, started clicking on posts on the blog, inflating reading numbers beyond the believable. This results in a deflated list because there's no real value any longer in showing the list. In the summer of 2019, coincidentally or not with my holiday in Eastern Europe, they left for several weeks. Soon after my return the trolls returned and kept up their shady business until late January of this year. Since then they are gone. Dismantled? Moved on to pester other blogs? I don't know. Neither do I know what the concept or business model behind the thousands upon thousands of clicks is.

As it is a tradition, I put the list to you any way on the last day of the year; for what it's worth. As you will notice not one post after mid-January is mentioned. Just like you will not find a single post from 2020 in the overall list of the almost nine years this blog exists. The 2020 trolling stopped days short of making that possible. So here they are. And should you have read one of these post at the time, then at least we of WoNoBlog have the consolation that you are hidden within these numbers as well.

10. Beat Hotel. Beat Hotel (15-1)

http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/beat-hotel-beat-hotel.html

 

9. .NoWordsNeeded, 15-1-2020 (13-1)

https://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/nowordsneeded-15-01-2020.html

 

8. How To Live. Modern Nature (7-1)

https://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/how-to-live-modern-nature.html

 

7. The best read posts on WoNoBlog ever, 2012-2019 (4-1)

http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-read-posts-on-wonoblog-ever.html

 

6. Picking A Fight. Justine and the Unclean (12-1)

http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/picking-fight-justine-and-unclean.html

 

5. Memory. Vivian Girls (4-1)

https://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/memory-vivian-girls.html

 

4. Wo.'s Top 10 Live Shows 2019 (3-1)

https://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/wos-top-10-live-shows-of-2019.html

 

3. Good Deads And Dirty Rags. Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie (10-1)

https://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/good-deeds-and-dirty-rags-goodbye-mr.html

 

2. Wo.'s Top 10 Albums of 2019 (2-1)

https://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/wos-top-10-albums-of-2019.html

 

1. The Best Read Posts on WoNoBlog 2019 (1-1)

https://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-read-posts-on-wonoblog-2019.html

 

I know, this list looks horrible with all the Wo.'s and one .No in the title. Let's hope that at the end of 2021 we are able to present a more normal looking list once again.

Wo.

 

 

 



woensdag 30 december 2020

Erwin Zijlemans' plaat van 2020: On My Own. Lera Lynn

Lera Lynn maakte (overigens voor de corona pandemie) volledig in haar uppie een nieuw album en het is in alle opzichten een prachtalbum geworden van deze zeer getalenteerde muzikante.

Sinds het bekijken van het tweede seizoen van de aardedonkere tv-serie True Detective ben ik fan van Lera Lynn en sindsdien verrast ze me met geweldige albums. Het zijn albums die in alle opzichten worden overtroffen door het weergaloze On My Own, dat in oktober is verschenen. Lera Lynn nam haar nieuwe album volledig in haar eentje op en tekende ook zelf voor de opname en productie. Het resultaat mag er zijn, want On My Own is een hoogstaand album. De instrumentatie en productie zijn bijzonder fraai en ook de songs op het album ontstijgen de middelmaat ruimschoots. De bijzonder mooie stem van Lera Lynn maakt er vervolgens prachtsongs van. Ik lees er vooralsnog weinig over, maar dit is er een voor de jaarlijstjes.

Mijn eerste kennismaking met de muziek van Lera Lynn stamt uit 2015 toen ze als melancholische nachtclub zangeres opdook in de duistere en beklemmende tv-serie True Detective. Nu zie ik wel vaker zangeressen in tv-series, maar Lera Lynn maakte direct een onuitwisbare indruk en maakte misschien nog wel meer indruk dan de overigens geweldige tv-serie zelf deed. Het verhaal ben ik al weer grotendeels vergeten, maar songs van de True Detective soundtrack als het fraaie Lately en het aardedonkere My Least Favourite Life zijn bij mij nog steeds goed voor kippenvel. 

Lera Lynn bleek in 2015 al een tweetal albums op haar naam te hebben staan en bracht vervolgens in 2016 het uitstekende Resistor uit, waarop de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter liet horen dat ze ook buiten het folky repertoire uit de voeten kon. Resistor werd twee jaar geleden gevolgd door het fraaie tussendoortje Plays Well With Others, waarop Lera Lynn tekende voor een aantal fraaie duetten met bevriende muzikanten. 

In oktober verscheen een nieuw album van Lera Lynn en het is een album dat in Nederland vooralsnog nauwelijks aandacht krijgt. Het is doodzonde, want On My Own is een prachtig album, dat het talent van Lera Lynn nog eens stevig onderstreept en dat bovendien klassen beter is dan zijn al heel behoorlijke voorgangers. 

Lera Lynn maakte On My Own in haar eentje. De muzikante uit Nashville, Tennessee, tekende niet alleen voor de vocalen en alle instrumenten, maar nam het album ook zelf op en was ook verantwoordelijk voor de productie. Dat klinkt als een album van de corona pandemie die ons sinds het voorjaar zo hard raakt, maar On My Own werd gemaakt voordat de pandemie ook in Nashville toesloeg. 

Je hoort goed dat Lera Lynn het album alleen heeft gemaakt. Het album straalt rust uit en klinkt bovendien intiemer dan het goed ontvangen Resistor. Lera Lynn kiest op On My Own vooral voor ingetogen songs en het zijn songs waarin melancholie meestal in overvloed voorradig is. De instrumentatie is mooi maar sober en vaak wat donker getint. Het kleurt prachtig bij de fluisterzachte zang van Lera Lynn, die nog net zo weemoedig klinkt als ze deed in die desolate bar in True Detective. 

Het mooist op On My Own zijn wat mij betreft de zich langzaam voortslepende songs met ingetogen en wat broeierige klanken en de prachtige stem van Lera Lynn, die laat horen dat ze in vocaal opzicht met de besten mee kan. 

Waar Lera Lynn op Resistor nog meerdere kanten op schoot, is On My Own een consistent klinkend album waarop schoonheid en melancholie hand in hand gaan. Dat betekent niet dat On My Own een eenvormig album is, wat ook dit keer durft Lera Lynn te variëren en vertrouwt ze net zo makkelijk op donkere gitaarlijnen als op elektronica (inclusief een ritmebox). Het zorgt ervoor dat On My Own je nog lang blijft verbazen en ondertussen steeds een beetje beter wordt. 

Lera Lynn krijgt met haar nieuwe album vooralsnog niet overdreven veel aandacht en hier in Nederland wordt het album vooralsnog zelfs doodgezwegen, maar wat is dit een goed en veelzijdig album. Dat de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter On My Own helemaal in haar eentje maakte, geeft dit fraaie album alleen maar meer glans.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt het album hier kopen (en nog veel meer):

https://lera-lynn.merchmadeeasy.com/



of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:

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

 

dinsdag 29 december 2020

The Torment Suite. Julian Shah - Tayler

Julian Shah-Tayler's name and music popped up a few times over the past year in my inbox. With the release of his EP The Torment Suite, last month, it is time to give the  Leeds born, L.A. resident some attention.

Shah-Tayler has a decades long history in music, including writing music for TV series and movies. Listening to The Torment Suite I'm not surprised to read in his bio that he plays in a David Bowie tribute band (as well as a Depeche Mode and a The Cure one). The Band That Fell To Earth is a clever name for a Bowie band. 'Loving The Alien' gets a Shah-Taylor version on the EP. The song is totally recognisable but listen closely and you'll hear some small changes, making the song a clever cover. It is almost possible thinking it's Bowie with the slightly less nasal singing of the original track.

In singing Julian Shah-Tayler without a doubt has no trouble finding his inner-Bowie. This results in hearing music that sounds faintly familiar, without being so. The 80s are where the music ought to be pinpointed in general. Synths are a favourite instrument for this EP. In music and in musical effects the decade finds its place in the music.

This is only half of the story as where melodies are concerned The Torment Suite is nicely endowed. In 'Eyes Of Orion', a cover of a song by Weird Wolves, Ava Gore sings the lead vocals why co-author Raf Colantonio sings as well.

'Beautiful World', the final track is a mild dance track. It is a remix of the second track. A part of the music comes by in patches of synths. All delicate but also estranging in some parts, before the beats are finally released and dancing is truly allowed. When the release comes it is as surprise, no longer expected.

Promo photo: Brian Ziff
The end invites to listen to the EP again. 'Good Soldiers' is a Bowie track, like he could have written after his electro outings of the late 90s, on an album like 'hours ...'. The song would have fitted very nicely on it. It is a subtle song, with a keen ear for some fine details. As an opening song it is so inviting to continue listening and placed exactly right. This song explodes when a truckload of guitars set in and a totally distorted solo flies overhead. One that will have been earsplitting when recorded, on record nicely mixed away.

The same goes more or less for the original 'Beautiful World', the second track on the EP. It is a guitar driven song, containing a lot of power through the assistance of GMT on guitar and David J on bass. It is hard to say which of the songs is my favourite but it does seem this one has the best chances.

Wo.

You can listen to and order The Torment Suite here:

https://bandcamp.com/thesingularitymusic


or 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 28 december 2020

Odd Seeds. I Am Oak

I Am Oak releases no less than a double album as proof of his activities during the pandemic. Even though all songs are solo interpretations of older work recorded as part of online activities during the first part of the Covid crisis, there's a lot to enjoy on Odd Seeds. The album shows the even softer side of the artist Thijs Kuijken, who is the songwriter and singer behind I Am Oak.

All albums contain extremely delicate songs that deserve total dedication while listening. Add the dreamy way of singing by Kuijken and you have a clear picture of his music. (Mind, there are exceptions!) In an odd way this makes Odd Seeds an extremely present album. Because of the fact that in many songs, there's only an acoustic guitar, the instrument is extremely clear and in my face. This results in a presence that is noteworthy and different from the regular songs and albums.

This is different when a keyboard is the instrument of choice, like in the first single 'Furrows'. It lies under the voice, creating a far more dreamy atmosphere. It is only Kuijken and me left in the world. The third category is when an electronic beat accompanies the playing. So now you know the three flavours of Odd Seeds. Sorry, four, I forgot about the banjo in 'On Oxen'.

All in all there's 26 songs on Odd Seeds and I'll admit that listening to the 26 songs in one go is a bit of a challenge. Start the album at any point though and I do not have a single doubt about its quality and the quality of I Am Oak's songs as a whole. There are so many songs on it that are special that it makes Odd Seeds an album to cherish.

Kuijken may have recorded the songs in a period two months, the album is a whole. The sound is connected to the whole. A main reason is Thijs Kuijken's delicate high voice. His voice does rise above a whisper, but manages to give the impression of whispering. He does not need a single moment to exert himself or put loads of emphasis on a lyric to make an impression. Thijs Kuijken fits in an ages long tradition of bards and troubadours with modern means.

And then to think that there are 24 other songs. Thijs Kuijken recorded 50 songs in 50 days to be uploaded to the www, as a way to perform anyway, what had been the intention for 2021 following that beautiful album 'Osmosis' of 2019.

Not a single artist (and any other person for that matter) will be happy with the Covid pandemic, but some have taken the opportunity to create something special. Would we ever have heard Odd Seeds otherwise? Most likely no, so, be grateful for that (and hope that in 2021 we can see I Am Oak perform live in a venue nearby once again).

Wo.

You can listen to and order Odd Seeds here:

https://snowstar.bandcamp.com/album/odd-seeds


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

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

zondag 27 december 2020

McCartney III. Paul McCartney

When did Paul McCartney enter my life? I have no way of knowing, but it will have been when someone in the family played a single by The Beatles and here I have to include the family that I stayed with regularly being a merchant mariner's son. The two girls both had The Beatles singles and albums as well. So, if one can be a fan of a band before being conscious of what a band is, I certainly was. Soon after, I became aware that was a thing called a "new single" and a little later again "a hit single". In the fall of 1968 I bought my first and last The Beatles single, while it was in the charts, 'Hey Jude'. Of course, it's still my favourite The Beatles song. As a young teen I really was introduced to The Beatles through the two giants under the compilation albums, '1962-1966' and '1967-1970'. In the winter of 1978 the album trip started with buying the big albums and older ones second hand and the solo albums.

Somewhere late in the 80s The Beatles slowly left my life. Solo albums became less and less interesting on average. I always loved hearing one of the hits, but never put it on at home any more. I loved playing and singing The Beatles songs with the bands I was in through the years, right up to this day. The playing at home only changed because of The Analogues. That cover band among cover bands had the same influence on me as the family members I started this post with.

And Paul McCartney you may ask? After 'Venus And Mars' his albums became less interesting to me. 'Flaming Pie' and to a lesser extend 'Figure Of Eight' were the exception. Even the lauded last album did not do much for me. So to put it mildly McCartney III was not a highly anticipated album. Of course I took a listen and was slowly but surely in a mild way swept of my feet. At 78 Sir Paul cannot surprise me any more after a trip now lasting well over 50 years? And yet he did.

To think that McCartney III in all likelihood would never have been here had 2020 been the year that was plan. Paul McCartney was about to go on another world tour and then the world closed in on itself and Sir Paul found himself in isolation, with lots of instruments and recording equipment. And what does an artist with a drive like McCartney do but write songs and records them. Like the first two albums with only his family name as title, he made the album all by himself. Everything you hear is Paul McCartney.

The result is an elementary album that is as raw as it is pure. This is Paul McCartney at 78 and it shows where his voice in concerned. I had to get over the sound of his voice to be honest. What it results in, is a deep respect. There's no concealing on the one hand. On the other there's no hiding, simply because McCartney has no intention to do so. He let's his voice be heard in all sorts of shades. What suits the song best is what we get.

Musically the album is all over the place. From small acoustic songs to stark rockers and a long outing in the centre position on the album. 'Deep Deep Feeling' has several sides to it, including some beautiful guitar work. The song shows that also at 78 McCartney is still exploring what he can do with a song and what a song can do with him. This is a characteristic that is not given to many at that age. Whatever he may listen to privately when alone in his room, when he's in the studio something wild like 'Slidin'' still can come out. "I know I can die trying", he sings. That does not hinder him nor holds him back to come up with a deep, dark riff and singing with a lot of tension on his throat and head.

Perhaps it is the diversity that surprises me most on McCartney III. That and the relative rawness of the album. Even the acoustic outings have a little edge to them. Simply because nothing's been cleaned up in the process. The result is a collection of songs that are very pleasant to listen to. Is III equal to McCartney's best work? My favourite will remain 'Band On The Run', but after that? At this point in time, three days after the release, III is certainly contending. And it has, let's face it, an incredibly cool cover.

When all is said and done, there are two comments left. The first is, this will be the first McCartney album I'm buying since 'Flaming Pie', but that comes up to the second comment. What to buy? What is the logic about all the different version and bonus tracks in Japan only? Except to be clobbering some extra cash out of the pockets of the most loyal fans. Sir Paul, it doesn't befit you. Your loyal fans deserve a better treatment than that.

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


donderdag 24 december 2020

Bowie for Dummies #24

Again there are items added to that giant archive of clips, news items, cover versions, etc., etc., on David Bowie to be found somewhere on the World Wide Web. They are collated in an overview on this blog by Tineke, who by the way also created the logo of this blog, we so proudly sport.

Today we present the link to the 24th edition since 8 January 2017, and, we can add, one of most popular posts on this blog. When we started this post we had no idea it would be so popular nor that it would keep expanding as it does.

Thank you Tineke for your dedication. Here's the link to the adapted original post, so you, dear reader, can emerge in all things Bowie:

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

Wo.

 

We've added some Bowie to our Spotify playlist as well:

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