A new sound arrived the last days. It is a collaboration between Japan's Calm and Finish musician Jimi Tenor. Time and Space is a downtempo song over a great bass-line with flutes, the sound of birds in the background and a heavy hypnotic groove. While the song in it's original is great, the remix by Belfast's The Vendetta Suite gives us a superb fusion of ambient and a gentle balearic sound. A new and great sound I listen to the first time. You can find more gems here.
Today's long song arrived a few days ago and I was surprised to listen to something new by Róisin Murphy. To be honest it is not a new song - it is the live version of a collaboration she did with producers Luca C and Brigante 10 years ago. While Flash Of Light was originally was a good dancefloor song in the tradition of Moloko this version is a powerful excursion in house-proved rhythms with jazzy effects on a very solid rhythm base. I was lucky enough to see this version live later this year on a fantastic concert by her band. For me a good start into another working week.
During the last months many artist died away that meant a lot to me. Now I read the sad news that Tom Verlaine passed away last Saturday at the age of 73. I think I don't have to tell much about his musical history with Television and what his music meant for punk rock in New York in the late 70's. For me was Marquee Moon the synonym of how a guitar should be played in the next decades. It was fascinating how he built a new and unique sound from the heritage of the Velvets. This song is from his third album with the same title.
Softcult is a new band by the Canadian twin sisters Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn. They released a few singles and I got aware of her new song on an incoming promotion mail during last week. It is a song with much anger in it. Singing about sexual assaults over a grungy pop background with a dominated electric bass. Lyrics like these were seldom heard these days but certainly necessary.
„My hair, my face, my tongue, my legs / Won’t ever feel the same again / My hands, my hips, my mouth, my lips / I’ll never be the same again“
It was in 1992 when House Of Pain appeared on the scene. Following the Beastie Boys, they presented us with a version of Hip Hop like we never heard before in this way. Like their companions Cypress Hill they showed what this kind of genre could be possible to do. House Of Pain were probably the first white band rapping over a floor of samples with a new attitude and identity. They played with their Celtic roots and created stompers for the dancefloor a lot people I knew at this time agreed very well with them. Fine Malt Lyrics was one of those albums that opened my ears to a very new sound. Listening to this album after longer time I have to admit that it stood the test of time. A very highlight of what was possible in this era. Groundbreaking and full of rhythm and a flow.
During the last days I listened a lot to post-punk sounds of the early 80's like the first albums by PIL and records by On-U-Sound from this era. Listening to them I came back to The Pop Group and Mark Stewart after a long time. The Politics Of Envy was his seventh album and still a milestone in this kind of genre. Together with Primal Scream, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Raincoat's Gina Birch and Clash/PIL guitarist Keith Levene he created a disturbing album with different styles and influences. You can find the anarchic industrial and angry sound of The Pop Group as well as a forgotten post-punk song with Keith Levene on guitar on Stereotype and agitation funk which was recorded with Bobby Gillespie by Primal Scream and focuses on the death of the Anti-G8-Demonstranten Carlo Guilliani in Genoa. It is still not easy to listen to this album but if you sink to it you can enjoy this unique sound experiences.
It is 50 years ago when Van Morrison released his first live album and I bought this double long player. This album accompanied me during decades and I still come back to it from time to time. Always a pleasure to listen to the man when he was at the peak of his musical career. He played with the Caledonia Soul orchestra and many of his songs, even if it was by his former band Them, were played like nothing before or after. On this record he showed all what he was famous for: Being a soul troubadour, living the blues and showing what his soulful voice is able to do. A real milestone in live recordings for me.
Another working week is over and the next one starts again. Of course, nothing has changed since my vacation. The desk is full of work to be done at short notice and one meeting chases the other. And for years I have again had the opportunity to experience a winter with a lot of snow and temperatures below zero. In this respect, everything runs its usual course and I can devote myself to musical excursions again in my time out of duty. I was struggling which song will be the next in this series and I found a song by The Grid on my hard drive that I didn't listen to for a very long time. Swamp Thing was released in 1994 by Richard Norris and David Ball aka The Grid. I liked this song not only because the unthinkable combination of techno and banjo that probably inspired Redneck for their Cotton Eye Joe. A song that still works after nearly 30 years.
I am careful when on many musical sites a new band was featured as the next big thing or a new indie super band because most promises could often not be kept in any way. That was my first thought when I heard about boygenius a three piece female indie-band from California. To be honest I heard about their members Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus but couldn't connect them with any song or genre. So I had many prejudices when I read about that they are going to release their first album and musical press call them the best female indie-band of these days. After listening to a few songs by them I have to say that boygenius are a band that is over the average of many bands of these genre and they are able to create songs like $20 with good guitars, a hooky melody and great vocals. It makes fun listening to them and makes you curious to dig deeper in their musical output. A very good band but not a super group at all.
It was 25 years ago these days when an album was released that stamped the soundtrack of 1998. Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel formed Air, a French electronic duo something between ambient pop and downtempo. Both created a sound that was the legacy of the 60's yéyé-sound from the late 60's. Moon Safari was the album that was far away from anything else that was released in this year. A sound that was played on analog synthesizers with rakish arrangements and cuddly hooklines. An album that is still a trademark in electronic music filled with timeless songs.
Is there anybody out there remembering Austin based musician and journalist Michael Hall? To be frankly I forgot his name and was remembered to him when a couple of friends and me sat together talking about forgotten bands from the Americana era. We agreed that we should name him and his band under the top three. In 2000 he released Death By Dinner his first album with The Woodpeckers a band formed with local Austin musicians. Sadly it is a record that didn't got the critical success that it should. Filled with blues-drenched guitars these songs they all have the spirit that was called Americana.
It was 30 years ago when Dutch indie rock band Bettie Serveert released their debut album Palomine. It was one of the few albums by a Dutch band that became successful in Germany at this time. And I have to admit that I really liked their empathetic guitar sound that sounds like an European version of Dinosaur Jr. and Buffalo Tom. As far as I know this album will be released again as a special edition in a couple of days and it is worth to check them out.
A few days ago I returned from my sabbatical. Several weeks away from all the present issues like war, energy crises and bad weather did me more than good for my soul and I could recharge my battery for the next months. It was dreamlike to be able to take care of nothing but myself again, read several good books and enjoy the country and the people in Sri Lanka. I have to admit that I listened to very little music during this time, which amazes me myself. But obviously it was time to let go of certain habits. All the more I enjoy listening to old and new sounds and reviving my blog. I've been thinking about what to start with for a long time and finally yesterday I came across the new song by Everything But The Girl. Hearing something new from Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn after an absence of 23 years more than surprised me and at the same time I had great expectations of the group, which at the turn of the millennium was one of the best on offer at the time. And I have to say that not too much has changed. Musically, they still remain true to themselves after all these years, but without frantically sticking to the Everything-But-The-Girl interpretation of the noughties. All this is proven by "Nothing Left To Lose", which is a modern variant of exactly that electronic soul-pop with which the band achieved their fame back then. The result is a soundbed of agitated, darkly billowing synths and insistent beats, on which the singer's powerful, dark voice is perfectly underlined. This song shows how sorely Everything But The Girl has been missed, raising anticipation for the album to be released in April.