Category Archives: Albums

My 14 of 2014

December 25th. I think the time for me to write my list of 2014 albums has finally arrived, even though I’ve been delaying this moment to the max.

I feel a bit frustrated because I’ve been so busy I haven’t been updated my album of the week section much, perhaps because I always like to develop the post a bit, add some story behind or develop my enthusiasm so I can sell the product in the best way, so to speak.

2014 in terms of album releases has been fabulous, and I’ve discovered many bands and discographies I had never been into before, which now I follow passionately. The two main reasons for a very eclectic list have been RockZone Magazine, which has placed names I wasn’t acquainted with right in front of my eyes, and since I’m more involved in the mag I felt the curiosity to dig into that stuff, and of course my beloved forum and the awesome people I have the luck to discuss about music and lots of other funny shit on almost a daily basis.

The problem here is that in a month I’ve written down a couple of lists and I’ve changed orders and modified/added records, because there’s so much stuff I haven’t managed to listen to I’m still discovering awesome things, which means that list could change in a month, but this list defines what I like the most lately.

Hope you find it interesting enough as to dig into the albums.

RYAN ADAMS / BEAUTY & RUIN

Sharing the throne like father and son, it couldn’t be any other way.

ryan adams ryan adams

 My fave messy hair boy has turned the screw magnificently and has delivered one of his most remarkable works up to date. I was a huge fan of The Cardinals era, and the last works left me a bit cold, but with Ryan Adams, breathing the essence of Tom Petty, has truly jumped to an upper level. More rock, more groove, and more livid. I think of ‘Trouble’, ‘Kim’, ‘am I Safe’ to start with, but I should mention all the songs as they are all absolutely terrific. As a complement, Adams previously issued a 16 minute ep named 1984, which was an excellent homage paid to 80’s American punk. 2014 has meant the rise of Ryan Adams at all levels, as he’s constantly playing life, issuing different singles and nonstop creating.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/09/09/ryan-adams-is-finally-here/

bob mould

Bob Mould is one of the biggest discoveries this year. I had barely listened to Hüsker Dü in the past, and this guy, thanks to Beauty & Ruin, has opened the doors to his universe. Another workaholic and singular character, very close to Ryan Adams nowadays, and with an immense talent. Songs such as ‘Low Season’, ‘I don’t know you anymore’ or ‘The War’ really make me vibe.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/10/19/album-of-week-42-beauty-ruin/

ANTEMASQUE

antemasque album

Cedric and Omar are back in track and this time they’ve got rid of lots of ornaments and progressive style to deliver straight and energetic songs so easy to assimilate, you get hooked in a nick of time.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/11/08/album-of-weeks-44-45-antemasque/

DO TO THE BEAST

do to the beast

The Afghan Whigs have assured their comeback releasing and impressive album which is not the continuity to their previous work but the starting point to a new promising future. Elegance and uniqueness are their trademark and once again they’ve proved they should be among the greatest bands on earth.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/04/10/album-of-week-15-do-to-the-beast/

INTO THE MAELSTROM

bigelf

Not being into prog, Into the Maelstrom is so expressive and grandiloquent, the result is a record with overwhelming songs. It’s like an intense trip to the vast corners of the land of the future, it opens your mind to a different experience and the ride is magnificent.

TILL MIDNIGHT

chuck ragan

Strong folkie tunes full of passion and intensity. Not the typical mild songs but rough ones as if it was a shot of bourbon you had. Harsh, hot, painful and glorious. Absolutely delightful, the more you listen to it, the more you love it, the more you want to fall in love with someone with Till Midnight as the most suitable soundtrack to live that with.

MÖNGOL HÖRDE

mongol horde

Frank Turner is not just a folkie boy. He’s got balls and he loves hardcore, and this project seems to be the perfect outlet for anger, rage and frustration. not many people around me are aware of this treasure, which contains absolute anthems.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/06/30/album-of-weeks-24-26-mongol-horde/

GREAT WESTERN VALKYRIE

rival sons

If Rival Sons had kept on tryinf emulate Led Zepp I wouldn’t be talking about this record, but these guys seem to have found a marking point to find their own style and sound and have delivered an outstanding album.

EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT IN THE END

weezer

First Weezer album which hooked me immediately. Very teenager melodies mixed with brilliant guitars, great structures with wonderful chorus, have this time caught my attention.

TRANSGENDER DYSPHORIA BLUES

against me transgender dysphoria blues

Emotionally speaking probably this album should be on top for all what Laura Jane Grace and Against Me! have meant to me this year. I’ve learnt about dysforia, I got the chance to interview Laura, and attend one of the greatest live shows this year. I have nothing but great words and it’s awesome to find such a great confession and statement on this album.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2014/03/20/album-of-week-12-transgender-dysphoria-blues/

WASTED YEARS

off

Punk and mayhem. What else do you need sometimes? OFF! deliver that shot of energy and rage you need which prevents you from blowing this world.

BACK FROM THE ABYSS

back from the abyss

My boys made it good again. Excellent album which confirms years of hard work have been worth the effort. There are outstanding anthems and songs are well built and developed. They seem comfortable with what they’re doing and it’s finally reflected on this album.

III

mariachi el bronx

If I had been told I’d be listening to mariachi few years ago I’d still be laughing but I’m currently doing it and the punk guys from California dressed in killing suits have stolen my heart. Viva Mariachi El Bronx!

*** Please don’t judge by the cover.

GIGANTOID

gigantoid

It’s true there are not anthems in this albums in the way Fu Manchu used to do, but the riffs are incredible, heavier songs and this road spirit will always be present, and the trio does never fail me.

***

There are many other albums I’m discovering which probably would deserve to be included, but at this poin this is my list and the way I feel right now.

Still, I made this playlist with a selection of songs of my personal soundtrack of this year, which might be of your interest.

Album of weeks 44 & 45: ANTEMASQUE

Sometimes I reckon I should share with you a list of those artists I worship as genius for their creative talent, in order to inspire some sort of discussion, get acquainted with your point of view, and discover other musicians worth following for this reason.

antemasque album

It’s already time to talk about Antemasque, the last project of Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala. I’ve already written about some of their albums as The Mars Volta and At the Drive-In.

 I started to dig into their stuff a bit late for my taste, so I’ve missed the chances to see both bands in action on stage, even though I could attend Omar’s performance a couple of years ago and I thought it was brilliant even though at that moment I wasn’t so involved in his universe. But this time, and since The Mars Volta got me hooked gradually, I won’t miss any of their movements.

On 9th of April, a couple of tweets announced this new project named Antemasque introduced by a new single, ‘4 AM’. It sounded so straight and fresh, it was impossible not to surrender to the piece. Flea was said to be on payroll, but quickly it was confirmed this was only a collaboration, as he let the bass parts recorded at his studio to be used for the album. Several singles followed and the full album was digitally released in July.

In the time we’re currently living it’s curious the huge demand of a physical format from the fans. We all want to have Antemasque on vinyl or CD. Last month it was confirmed the date of release, set for November 10th, this is, on Monday, for CD, and on the 25th for vinyl. It’s definitely worth the wait.

Omar and Cedric have dumped sound density ballast, delivering ten absolutely fresh and straight 3 minute sounds, very easy to listen and to get hooked to, getting back to basics in terms of song structures, with very simple structures and repeated chorus.

In Antemasque you can find punk with ‘I Got No Remorse’ or ‘In the Lurch’, more power pop oriented tracks as ’50,000 kilowatts’, and some acid drops of their taste for psychedelia on ‘Drown All Your Witches’ y ‘Providence’. It’s the simplicity of the songs what makes it huge.

I’m very glad tensions between these two brains were overcome and left aside, and they started focusing on working together to deliver more interesting stuff. I can’t erase from my head the idea that perhaps these are the people who need a breaking point and a new start from time to time to keep their talent alive and dynamic, and the more time passes and the older I get, the more I believe that all chapters must have a beginning and an end for the individuals can improve and evolve at all levels. At The Drive-In wouldn’t be so great if they had continued, the same as The Mars Volta wouldn’t exist in such case consequently. Thus if nothing lasts forever, it’s ok that there are many chapters which occupy the timeline.

antemasque on stage

Let’s see what this Antemasque chapter surprises us with. I’m optimistic.

Album of week 42: BEAUTY & RUIN

Can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my last post. Not very happy, honestly, but it’s been a weird period with lots of events which have kept me from writing, among them my birthday celebration, a good bunch of shows, and why not? I couldn’t find the proper moment or subject to talk about. Writer’s block again? Maybe, dear friends, since I do this for pleasure, and I got plenty of responsibilities in the real world, I rather write whenever I feel like than feeling I’m obliged to, posting not very interesting shit. Not that what I tell here is gonna change the world, by all means, but at least I wanna feel comfortable with the stuff I pour here. Hope you understand my point.

This been said, I’ve been listening to lots of good stuff lately, new and old, but I reckon I’ve discovered my top album of the year: Beauty & Ruin.

bob mould

I’ve never been into Hüsker Dü, in fact I got my first copy of one of their albums, Candy Apple Grey, a couple of months ago, and it was ok, but not as brilliant as Bob Mould’s last work. There isn’t any specific reason for that, I just didn’t get acquainted with the band back in the day, and to be honest I thought their stuff was more prog or hippier. You know, the same old shit, you can never judge a book by its cover, or at least you shouldn’t.

I always pay attention to inspiring musical heroes and their comments on other artists’ work, and this time Ryan Adams  seemed to be very enthusiastic about this album, and Off! Last release, Wasted Years. I tried both and didn’t get disappointed but the opposite. Likely I’d write about OFF! Later. Moreover, Adams appears on the video of Mould’s song ‘The War’, and there’s a very symbolic scene in which Mould seems to release the baton (two medals) of this alternative punk rock movement, as his direct inheritor. I did like the concept, especially after listening to Adams’ punk ep 1984 and his last album, and made me feel that something good is gonna take place, musically speaking.

Beauty & Ruin is basically a compilation of vitality and energy. Straight punk rock, solid guitars, songs with catchy chorus, wonderful melodies, and quite revealing lyrics. Seems that Mould had a bad time struggling with his homosexuality on one hand, and has been trying hard to overcome the legacy of his former band  Hüsker Dü aiming to show the world his talent as one individual. It must be hard to live under the shadow of a legendary band which split up almost 30 years ago, don’t you think?

Anyway, since the moment you put the needle on the vinyl and the hypnotic and atmospheric ‘Low Season’ starts, you enter into a world of pleasure, simple, easy and beautiful, and you fall deep into it. Curiously what happened to me the first time I listened to Beauty & Ruin was that I was invaded by some warm familiar feeling, not as if it was a copy of something, but a summary of the sounds I’m currently looking for nowadays. Energy and melody, easy to listen, easy to like, and easy to memorize.  I love walking on the streets on my way to the office singing these songs. They give me enough strength and good vibes to face one of those days.

Some say his previous album Silver Age is even better. I haven’t had the chance to check it out yet but since I’m so enthusiastic with this last release, of course I will dig. If only it’s a good as this one I might start considering to dedicate some time to this prolific and talented artist.

Ryan Adams is finally here.

The drought and the break have finally come to an end. After 3 years without entering a studio for recording a new album, even though the word says that he actually had a record in hands but it was so sad and devastating Adams didn’t endure the idea of publishing it, the king of the pinballs is releasing his 14th album today.

ryan adams ryan adams

With a simple noisy shot of his face with long messy hair on the cover (a selfie, perhaps?) and his name as the title of the album, Ryan Adams hit the street, and after listening to it compulsively in streaming, everybody knows he’s made it again. Can we call him genius and give him the credit he’s been working on all these years? I think it’s time to accept him as one of the most prolific and talented artists in the century, recalling his past, not as a curse anymore, but  as a step necessary for him to find his right path, not only in the artistic sense but also in the personal field.

Adams has always made us aware of his age. ‘1974’, the album 29, and constant references, as something he takes very serious. In 2 months he’ll be 40, the starting point for the middle-age in mankind, being the artist fully aware of that. He’s trying to keep his stability under control, and to manage to balance his personal life with his work and passions.

The creation of Pax-Am goes beyond his own analogical recording studio. It’s the accomplishment of a lifetime dream, and the sheltering space where he can develop everything’s inside his head, keeping things under control, and feeling safe.

Ryan Adams recovers the pain of the heartbroken, but this time leaves the gloomy and emotional sounds we were so used to when he was playing with The Cardinals aside, to feature rough and constricted guitars, and a toughened sound, which constantly makes you think of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in their first years. the greatness here is that he’s truly inspired by this band, together with Bruce Springsteen or even The Replacements, but he manages to go through this successfully without the listener thinking he might be copying.

ryan adams 2014

The more I’m listening to this album the more I’m having a crush on it, no doubt you’ll read about this album by the end of this year because at this moment I can’t get out of my head songs like ‘Gimme Something Good’, ‘Trouble’, ‘Shadows’ or ‘Tired of Giving Up’. Catchy chorus, simple structures, and a straight and harder sound. Adams has finally made a classic rock album without pretending to be something he’s not, nor trying to amuse or impress but his fans and himself. And he’s succeeded.

Is this the beginning of a new era? Will he keep working on this style? At least it seems that he’s very proactive and in the mood for doing stuff and releasing singles. We’ll see…

If you got time and mood for reading about this workaholic nowadays I strongly recommend you to read At home, kinda , with Ryan Adams, an article written by Bob Mehr  for Buzzfeed music I’ve read today. It gets you a good picture of what Adams has gone through in the last 20 years, helps you to get closer to both the person and the artist, and encourages you to forget his messy and rebellious past. I’m positive it’s one of the best pieces I’ve read on this musician.

Aaah! Can’t wait for my vinyl ❤

Album of week 34: Born a Lion

Except at the office, where I’m not allowed to, I love playing music most of my spare time. perhaps it’s to exhausting for many, but I love performing activities with a little support from an album. When I have guests at the Hellhouse I usually pass the choice of the soundtrack to them, of course if I trust their taste in music, feeling very curious about what they will select. Sometimes it can be very predictable, but in many cases I feel really amused and pleased when they removed the dust from one of my old CDs or records I haven’t listened to in years, and all of a sudden lots of memories, melodies and lyrics come back to my head and I recover some sort of excitement remembering how great that album and that certain band was back in the day.

Last Saturday, Tani, Jaume and I were recovering from the funny night before, and I was in the mood for cooking if Jaume to be in charge of music. He accepted the challenge and also bough beer. His first choice was Kick of INXS and it was great to listen to so many hits at once. Eventually I’ll talk about that album, because it’s pretty good. He completely changed the style with his second choice, which was Born a Lion.

born a lion

I’ve been so pissed off lately with Danko Jones due to his terrible and boring shows, with too much talking and quite few music, I had forgotten how great he used to be. Well, not that his late albums are crap, because you can always find a bunch of great songs, but the groove, power and sexuality in his early stuff was unbeatable.

I had vaguely heard of this trio from Canada formed by Danko, John Calabrese and Damon Richardson, the former drummer who played on the best albums of the band, until I saw them opening for Backyard Babies in 2001 I think. Basically they ate the Swedish band with a steamroller act which turned the audience crazy. The recipient for the success of their act was powerful and sticky rock n’roll songs, mixed with blues and garage, sexual lyrics and Danko’s speeches to heat people. The magnetism of the frontman was irresistible and everybody ended surrendered to his knees. He was a sort of preacher of rock.

The Mango Kid used to be the king on stage when performing sets of 45 minutes, but at some point, when the band became more popular and started headlining 85 minute shows, his speeches became repetitive, the rhythm of the performance was losing tempo all the time because between songs there was too much spoken word, and of course, the albums weren’t as brilliant and fresh as the first ones. It is a pity because the band has its own identity regardless of their influences, but Danko squeezed the lemon too much, and the band is a bit stuck in its old formula.

Thus recovering Born a Lion the other day was as exciting as to time travel 12-13 years back, remember all the funny lyrics, Danko’s tongue and mean attitude on stage, and we getting crazy with their songs. ‘Love is Unkind’, ‘Lovercall’, ‘Sound of Love’, ‘Papa’, ‘Play the Blues’…one hit after another. I used to love this album, and for me, the concept of power trio was expressed in these 3 guys to its maximum level.

I still hope The Mango Kid forgets about horchata and comes back to the right path to give us a lesson.

Album of week 32: AMORICA

Right now if you were seeing me on a webcam or some other face to face device, not only i’d look a bit ugly and exhausted thanks to the heat of the summer and the fuckin’ peak season at work, with lots of incidences and shit putting my patience and professionalism into a test, but leaving my physical state, my face would reflect some astonishment as a consequence of being surfing my own blog looking for albums of The Black Crowes commented, to realize only Three Snakes and One Charm and Shake your Money Maker had been cited. Not that I’m a Crowemaniac but I’ve been following the Robinson bros’ career quite close.

amorica

This time I feel like talking about Amorica, an album that, due to some factors and events , has turned into a very deared piece. I’ve been listening to it very often these past days as I find that any record of the Crowes has some elements which make them perfect for summer. They are warm yet fresh, with lots of groove, and they always give the good vibes. Honestly, I feel happy whenever I listen to them and my mood gets excellent.

I’ve always thought Amorica marked a change from the previous albums and it also meant the definition of what The Black Crowes were, and what they were looking for. The way songs were written, with their structures, their extended length and the way they were played, one had the feeling of being listening to a live album. They were able to create that wonderful hippie atmosphere for people to break free, get loose, and experiment the joy of music. Rock wasn’t a pose anymore for them, and they were committed to spread music as the perfect medicine for all.

You might be thinking I’m on acid, but it’s been almost 18 years since the last (light) trip. Ha!

If you had attended their Amorica tour show in Zaragoza in July 1995 at the main park in an open air “amphitheatre”, you’d understand what I’m saying. That show was as if the band was in the living room, including lots of jam parts in the set. They didn’t even play ‘Conspiracy’. Most of the audience expected something different, song oriented, and those jams had a different impact on people. I particularly enjoyed the show even though I was flipping a bit observing Chris Robinson playing percussion thinking the guy was high in the sky, as his smile never abandoned his face. I guess we weren’t yet prepared nor educated to face a show like that one, moreover, since then their shows are more focused in recovering their classic hits rather than experimenting or improvising.

The Black Crowes

I bought a Japanese digipack copy of this album when I visited Japan. He (urgh) had his copy and was all the time complaining and wondering where his digipack copy bought in Paris was, and when I found mine he told me not to buy it, as he had his own CD and at that time we were meant to share everything. But I was determined to have my own copy, so I got it. unfortunately at some point during our divorce my CD remained with his stuff and I lost it, like lots of stuff I never recovered. I thought at some point we would behave like adults so I would recovered my things, but some time ago I came to the conclusion that after 4 years there was no point in claiming anything, plus I don’t need to approach him at all.

The wonders of friendship made I told this last story to Arantza and Paula, my favorite sisters and old friends since high school, reckoning I would eventually have a new copy of Amorica. I love giving them music as presents, or suggesting bands and albums, because they usually apply themselves seriously and are very appreciative, and it’s great to introduce good friends to music you’re fond of. But it was their time to give me something back, so being really busy at work, Mr Postman came to my office and asked for me. I wasn’t expecting anything, especially because these months I’m quite short of dough after festivals and summer social life. whn I opened the envelop and saw Amorica was inside, and there was a pink note from my friends, I got really moved and dropped a little tear, feeling the luckiest person on Earth for having such great people by my side.

So now I got my Amorica to play anytime I want, and this has been the album of the week. Some people regard it as a minor work, but considering it includes ‘Wiser Time’ and ‘Gone’, I can tell you this is one of their greatest works.

Every time I listen to The Black Crowes I have the same thought:  the world would be much worse if they didn’t exist. God bless!

20 years of WELCOME TO SKY VALLEY

sky valley

Last Saturday I was reminded of the 20th anniversary of Welcome to Sky Valley, the third album of the Palm Desert band Kyuss, and this time it’s made me give it a lot of thought, and listen to it again. I’m not one of those who worships this band as if there isn’t anything better in the world and I’m not looking forward to witnessing a reunion between John Garcia and Josh Homme because I don’t regard it necessary. I don’t criticize Homme for forming QOTSA working hard to rise to stardom, but I do get upset with Garcia for not managing to keep a single project steady for long time. There was a time and a place for Kyuss, and for that reason this band probably achieved the status of underground legend, and if its members decided to split ways, I’m sure there was a good reason for that, so there’s no point in insisting on a reunion. Believe me, I learnt the lesson with GN’R some time ago.

I love Kyuss records though I hate the diehard fans of the band, no offence. In my PERSONAL opinion, they are often too narrow minded musically speaking.

I’d say Welcome to Sky Valley is not my favorite album of the band, however every time I recover it and listen to ‘Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop’, ‘Whitewater’ and ‘Demon Cleaner’  I must surrender and admit it’s a masterpiece. Thinking of the first time I approached it and Blues for the Red Sun in cassette, I reckon the experience was totally mindblowing. Kyuss opened the gates to another musical dimension for me, and I learnt to listen to music in a different way, tasting and enjoying the different instruments, both separately and together, feeling the different vibes and atmospheres created thanks to the changes in rhythm, the guitar effects, and the distortions, and I also discovered my favorite instrument was drums. Kyuss could make me travel in my mind (no acid involved), and I think it didn’t happen again until I discovered Monster Magnet’s Dopes to Infinity.

Moreover, it was the first band that I reckon I felt passionate for which wasn’t mainstream, highlighting the fact that in that day even Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam were popular on a global scale, broadcast on MTV and any radio station. In the past it was more difficult to get acquainted with cult bands, due to the complexity of spreading the word, and getting to discover overseas bands in first place, mainly caused by a period of isolation our country was forced to go through for too many years. Also the fact that not many people around shared the same interest in music as me made things a bit worse. Whatever, the point I really intend to make here is that Kyuss was an unknown band for the majority of people here. I was introduced to the band through my friend Pablo, and he heard of, or better said, read about the band on a magazine, so we didn’t know the actual impact and popularity of the band in the States and abroad. As far as we were concerned they were some sort of gurus, with all the Palm Desert scene, playing in the middle of nowhere, just surrounded by cacti, and enlightened by the creative and magical power of weed…or something like that.

I think the cult towards this band had to do with this mysterious halo they were involved, at least we perceived it as such, and the evocative music combined with wonderful hard guitar riffs.

scott reeder

I was talking about Welcome to Sky Valley, huh? Getting back to it, there’s one more thing. I’d like to give the credit to one of the most remarkable bass players in rock/metal scene, Scott Reeder, who joined Kyuss at this point, but I think he earned by far enough credit to be recognized  as THE bass player in the band. His style, his rough way to play, and his attitude just made it. We always focus on the roles of John Garcia and Josh Homme, comparing them to another rock couples such as Plant and Page, Slash and Axl, or Tyler and Perry, as they’re more remarkable and easy to identify and analyze, and after all, their current bad relationship with suing involved makes us all wonder what happened between them, forgetting the rest of the members in the band and their contributions. I couldn’t affirm which is the main Kyuss drummer though, Bjork or Hernandez, no matter their influence on other musicians after their contribution to the band, however, regardless the fact that Nick Oliveri was there first on the 4 strings, Reeder won his place in rock history.