Author Archives: Toi Brownstone

Album of weeks 21-26: SOL INVICTUS

And this is my last obsession.

Sol Invictus

Been listening to Sol Invictus in a loop for more than 4 weeks, and now I reckon it’s gonna be one of my top 5 fave albums of this year.

Faith No More has always been a difficult band to connect at the first listening with. Their style gathers plenty of sounds and influences, and Mike Patton, with his unique voice, has always provided this histrionic and unclassifiable mark to the band he leads. It took me long time to surrender to Angel Dust back in the day, and nowadays I’m a passionate fan of that album.

Lately I’ve been encouraging the idea of listening to albums in depth, to spend proper time in digging and catching the essence of the music, rather than consuming in a hurry to approach the next big thing, and it’s really working for myself, no matter that I’m missing many other things. I’m enjoying and tasting they way I’d never done before, and it’s really really pleasant. On the other hand, King for a Day… trapped me quickly, probably because it was an easier album, with simple patterns and straight tunes. You know how this goes, sometimes you’re not ready mentally to certain things.

If I wasn’t giving tries to the albums, I’d probably have left Sol Invictus on a corner after a couple of hearings, because, I insist, it needs an evolution and a slow digestion. The first time I listened to one of the most expected comeback albums left me cold. I was having a beer at the bar round the corner of my house, and, I don’t know, it didn’t fill my expectations at all. it was like a weak ‘yay’, not bad but not amazing either. A couple of tracks caught my interest, ‘Superhero’ and ‘Separation Anxiety’, but those apart, I couldn’t understand the excitement risen around me.

FNM 2015

I guess I was in the mood to give it another try, because I started listening to it every time I had the chance to do so, I started enjoying ‘Cone of Shame’, ‘Matador’ and even ‘Motherfucker’, which I first thought it was terrible, and then I started appreciating the album more and more, to the point I was waking up in the morning whistling different tunes, till I realized I was hooked. My feeling is that his album differs from the rest in its tone, darker and more sinister.

I remember a couple of weeks ago, Jordi was driving me home after a show, and he had the  album on his car stereo and remarked how much he liked the song ‘Sol Invictus’. We were both silent, listening to the amazing chorus, with the piano arrangements, and I felt fascinated immediately.

It is definitely a more than adequate album, even though critics weren’t too positive. When you reach a high peak as Angel Dust, it seems that, in order to get back in the track, you must deliver something of the same quality level at least, and that’s seldom possible. You can choose if you wanna stick by the old stuff, or evolve and grow, as Faith No More has done, conscious or unconsciously. I’ve recovered my faith in them, if it was lost at some point, but I can assure you I feel absolute respect for their current performance and the way they’re getting back in the track.

Now it’s a matter of time some enlightened promoter books some shows in Spain.

Feel the good hit of Summer

Hi friends!

Sorry for being so absent here. In case you are wondering this spring has been one of the craziest and most exciting seasons in the last 5 years. Absolutely insane! Lots of shows, events, affairs, booze and euphoria.

pool

I’ve just come back from a ten day break, during which I’ve attended Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria, my favorite festival ever, and spent a whole week at my parents’ detoxing and chilling out. I could have written something but didn’t bring my computer this time, so I’ve been surfing the net but in very low profile. I’ll try to tell you a bit about the festival, which has been amazing, not only for the great bands I’ve had the chance to see, such as L7, Kvelertak, Red Fang or DGeneration, but also for the tons of fun I’ve shared with my beloved friends. The older I get, the more fun I have. Whenever I think I cannot enjoy more, something happens and everything turns into a wild party. Awesome, really.

I’ve been listening to some new releases but I’m totally hooked to Faith No More last album, Sol Invictus, listening to it obsessively. I’ll tell you about it in my next post.

Summer is here and it’s super hot. In fact, for the first time in ages I’m sort of tanned, and I’ve even been bought a swim suit and have gone to the pool. What’s going on with me? am I crazy? I think the Van Halen’s Panama spirit has invaded my body and soul, and I’m in the mood of fun. Got lots of work waiting for me at the office tomorrow, but, who cares? As long as there’s a cold beer waiting for me somewhere, everything will be alright in the end.

summer

Whatever you do these months I hope you enjoy as much as you can, because, dear friends, there’s only one life, it’s too damn short, and winter is always round the corner.

Cheers!

Album of weeks 16-20: GIVEN TO EMPTINESS

Has it ever happened to you that you love something so much is terribly hard to put it into words? Well, I’m nowadays experiencing that feeling lately whenever I listen to Arenna’s last album Given to Emptiness.

Arenna Given to Emptiness

Arenna is a band from Vitoria I discovered 3 years ago when Las Tetis were invited to DJ at Siberia festival in the same city. I already explained here about the high level of the bands, and if I remember well I already mentioned this band very enthusiastic.

Their first album, Beats of Olarizu, was splendid. Very lysergic but focused on powerful riffs. Their style was quickly labelled as stoner rock. To be honest, it’s a definition I don’t completely agree with, because it’s always used to name both bands featuring heavy riffs, and those trying to recreate the Kyuss sound. Whatever! If I had been told these guys came from Germany or Sweden, I would have bought it, because I hadn’t ever listened to something so good here.  Obviously they started to be known abroad not only because of this album but also because of their amazing live act. Really, both shows I’ve attended in the past were life travelling to another dimension. Amazing!

Due to the closeness of some of the members of the band, after the shows and through social networks, when I heard they were recording a new album I proposed them to write a review for RockZone magazine, and of course they accepted.

When I listened to the first single, ‘Butes’, I was completely overwhelmed. The hypnotism, the power of the bass lines leading, the melodies of Txus Dr. Sax really seduced me. Not being really acquainted on mastering and producing stuff, I reckon it sounds terrific. I thought this effect might have been caused by the fact that I was using headphones at that time, but them I’ve realized the sound is incredible.

Given To Emptiness reminds me of the experience of tripping on acid. Your mood and state of mind must be in certain condition, and you have to take some, not exactly precautions, but advantages, to enjoy the experience to the max. As I advanced, it is very hard to define the concept on an albums whose songs are in constant change and seem to be alive. The more you listen to them the different you realize they’re evolving.

‘Butes’ inspiration was the story written by Pascal Quignard, about a guy who didn’t accept getting unchained with Ulysses, and eventually he was irresistibly seduced by the siren songs. This is somehow, the same effect that Given To Emptiness causes. It’s so attractive you just let yourself be embraced by those hypnotic and dreamy tunes not caring about the consequences. Arenna, instead of focusing on the riffs, have become explorers of sound. They can help you to cross the threshold to a wild dimension, unknown and very evocative.

Arenna-®RhythmAndPhotos_061x2048

It’s taken me a month to start writing about this album, no matter how many times I’ve been listening to it ceaselessly on a daily basis. Sometimes I wake up in the morning with ‘Drums for Sitting Bull’ or ‘Move Through Figurehead Lights’ stuck in my head. I’m starting to reckon it’s become some sort of addiction or obsession.  I might be moved by enthusiasm but I reckon at this point Given To Emptiness will be included in my top 10 of 2015.

Trust me, this is something you cannot miss.

25 years of Goodfellas

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster

With this sentence, Henry Hill starts telling his story of rise and fall inside a mob family. It’s not fictional, Hill was a mobster for real, and passed away not too long ago. As fascinating it is, the responsible for delivering it to the mass on a silver plate was Martin Scorsese, who masterly directed one of his best films, and I dare to say, one of the best films in the history.

godfellas

Believe me if I reckon I’ve watched it more than 20 times, and I still find it awesome. One of those films every time you watch them you discover some details which you didn’t earlier, from actors, to locations, or any tiny detail. I never get tired of Ray Liotta laughing at Joe Pesci at the Bamboo Lounge, and how he scares the shit out of him.

This week it’s been celebrated the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie. It’s nice to see the cast gathering for the celebration of a great project, and it’s sad at the same time because you can see time does not forget anyone.

Is Goodfellas the best Italian mob film? Probably not, if you start thinking of The Godfather or Once Upon a Time in America, but it’s definitely one of the best.

The dynamism of a story told in 146 minutes is brilliant, separating the most remarkable episodes in the life of Hill. How he started being the kid running errands and grabbing an umbrella to protect one of the big bosses, the time he’s a successful young guy “well positioned” and falls in love with Karen, the Lufthansa Heist planned with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito, and the devastating consequences for most of the people involved, the jail time, the drugs…everything supported by amazing performances by Liotta, DeNiro, Lorraine Bracco, Joe Pesci and Paul Sorvino, among many others, a terrific soundtrack, and many other features a good film analyst would be able to list.

I love the way Scorsese introduces the viewer to the family, as if making us one of them, going through all the Bamboo Lounge greeting everybody. The little man repeats this formula several times, one when Henry takes Karen to Copacabana, and instead of using the front door, they get into the restaurant by the kitchen access until a table is immediately set for them right at the moment they reach the lounge. Everything filmed with a steadicam, and the other at their wedding, when Karen tells about how overwhelmed she was with such a large family, so many people and so many envelopes.

Goodfellas was also the seed for David Chase at the time of creating The Sopranos. Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco were considered as candidates to play the roles of Tony and Carmela, but the idea eventually was turn down, although Bracco became Dr Melfi, Tony’s shrink, proving what an amazing actress she is. Also many actors were hired for the series, from Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti to Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo or Tony Sirico, the great Paulie Gualtieri.

I think there’s nothing else to say. If you don’t like Goodfellas you’re missing a hell of a great film.

Chewie, we’re home!

I never wanted Xmas to arrive so badly, but this time THIS TIME it has to be fast, for fuck’s sake!

I’ve just watched the second official trailer of Star Wars episode VII: The Force Awakens six times in a row and now I have two tears about to roll.

I feel so excited about this movie! Very frightened too, to be honest. I’m scared of what Abrams might do, but at the same time that classic sentence “You’re my only hope” is constantly kicking in my head.

The fact that all the ships, the X-Wings, The Tie-Fighters and the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, The Millennium Falcon, or Chewbacca and R2-D2 appear on the trailer really makes my heart bits fast. And Solo, MY MAN! He’s an old rascal, but it doesn’t matter, damn! I’m near 40 but I feel like a kid again, how can this be possible?

How can this fiction be so essential for many? Whenever I start wondering about it I feel overwhelmed. We were kids, innocent and impressible when we watched this saga for the first time. But it’s been almost 40 years since it started, people have grown up, have their families and responsibilities, and still the world stops when a new trailer is released, and the impact on so many people is so unbelievable it makes me think these are the greatest movies ever made. Not in terms of performing nor even the plot, which I reckon it’s a simple and clear way to understand Jung’s theory of the archetypes (child, father, good, evil, the hero, the journey…), but because what George Lucas achieved to recreate on three films with the passing of timehas become something cultural, I’d dare say, historic, and this makes them simply perfect.

chewie and solo

December, 18th is marked in my calendar. Victory and death are on the table. Am I ready to cope with both options? It can be the greatest disaster or something really big. Who knows?

Hope, friends, hope. We can never surrender to fear, cause fear takes you to the dark side.

Toi VS Mess. First Round.

Basically this weekend I’ve spent my free time doing what i like the most: listening to CDs and vinyls and watching movies. I can’t complain, at least I’ve played 15 different albums, old and new, and watched 4 movies. These weeks I’m quite stressed at work, with people on holidays and being in charge for many additional tasks, with lots of incidences and also feel a bit anxious for upcoming changes and new responsibilities, so I really needed a break, and I’ve disconnected from it a lot, which is good, because on Friday I was mentally exhausted.

And I eventually did some cleaning. I hate it. From the ancient times women are supposed to be tidy and clean but to be honest the more I meet single girls the more I realize this is not a true fact. I used to be the tidy and organized one when living in couple, but nowadays I sometimes feel really lazy about it. It’s not my biggest concern. My main problem is not that I’m a pig, I don’t really get the house dirty being on my own, but the fuckin’ dust is my enemy.

I live near a market which has been under restructuring for 4 years, and I open the windows very often, so dust is more welcome than a vampire into a house. Moreover, it’s a mixture of dust and sand particles. On the other hand I have lots of stuff. lots of crap which tend to attract dust: vinyls, CDs, books, toys, figures… any kind of shit you can imagine which is terribly hard to keep completely clean. In fact, I think it’s impossible.

too much stuff

Sometimes I dream of being a minimalist person, with one of those white furniture living rooms with just a couple of things in an attempt to become livid, but that’s an utopia. I love things. I still buy books, even though I don’t read as much as I used to, CDs and vinyls. More or less one year ago I decided not to get more movies, just the essential. I’ve always had lots of stuff with me. when I was at my parents’ I used to have lots of book and magazines. At my granny’s I started having CDs and toys. In London I had to sell and give stuff for free. And I moved to Barcelona with 1 baggage, which means that I still have plenty of things at my parents’ packed in boxes. I even lost all my furniture and lots of CDs and figures when I split with my ex. If I have gathered now all my belongings definitely I would  need a bigger flat.

patrick bateman living room

I need to see things I like around, but sometimes the limit seems a bit blurry for me, so when you visit The Hellhouse the living room is full of all this stuff everywhere.

Been trying to tidy up an area of shelves which was very bad organized. When I started cleaning I realized there was plenty of useless crap I should have got rid of long time ago. And this was just a small part of the living room. No need to say dust was the king too.

This has made me wonder about the Diogenes syndrome. Is it inheritable? Is it only referred to senile people or my mess might mean I’m a potential victim of this disease? At least at the moment I’m not interested in picking up objects from the streets, which makes me feel sort of relieved, but what if?

I don’t know. I’ve been designing a “plan” to have certain things more under control and improve the space for storing, and of course, get rid of useless stuff. I don’t wanna think what a nightmare moving in the future can be, when I have to.

Now that I’m focused on this, it’s time to take the actions. Will I be able to do that? wish me luck, dudes.

Flashback Friday: London 2015

Argh! It’s been two weeks already since I don’t update this site and I feel like shit about it, but honestly I wasn’t in the mood nor didn’t find the right time to do so, and the past days have been so weird my mind was to stressed to write. I hate when I have this shitty writer’s block. One of the reasons I keep this blog alive it’s because it usually works as some sort of funnel.

On this day two weeks ago I was having a veggie burger and a tasty spicy Turkish salad with my friend Veronica near Old Street in London. We came back to this beloved city again to attend a Ryan Adams show at Hammersmith Apollo on Friday 27th and the trip was amazing. Now there’s no point in talking about  the show, which was a blast, nor how great was to meet friends who were also spending the weekend there for the same reason, so instead I’m posting some pix of that wonderful time .

tetis

apollo

foreros

ryan4

setlist ryan adams

ryan5

crobar

vero

pints and postcards

Thanks to all the people who contributed to a weekend of laughs, lots of pints of beer, friendship and happiness. Now it seems to be ages ago, but it was fantastic.I love you! <3