Category Archives: Rock

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.

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.

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! ❤

The day he quit, the rocket took off.

There are some bands you create such a bond with that, no matter that they almost copy one set to the previous one, every time they come to your city on tour, you’ll attend their performance regardless. For 10 years I’ve never failed to my appointment with Jonny Kaplan since the first time I saw him in Lleida, and last Thursday was not to be an exception. It’s not a problem either that his last albums are not as brilliant as earlier ones, because he never fails, singing and playing with such groove everything is good vibes, and songs such as ‘Damaged’, ‘Seasons’ and ‘Ride Free’, will always be played for us.

There was a remarkable addition to the band, which was quite appealing for many, and that was the presence of Dave Krusen on drums. You might wonder, who the fuck is Krusen? Well, he’s a guy who happened to record all the drum parts of the debut album of Pearl Jam, as he was in the band.

pearl jam early days

The handover of drummers, from Krusen to Abbruzzese (from Dave to David) in the band was something which remained unknown for some time, and it was something weird in the day. Krusen had played the first shows and had recorded the album. He appears on the cover picture, and there were few promo pictures with him as member of the band. In fact the video of their first single, ‘Alive’, features him on the drums. Apparently what happened was that Krusen, right after the Ten recording, checking into rehab, due to personal issues and alcohol abuse.

How could he deal with the success of Pearl Jam as one of the bands able to be on top for more than 25 years knowing he stepped outside right before they rose like a rocket? What would have happened if he hadn’t quit? Perhaps his life would be sorted out by now, not worrying about which band to play with next, financially secure (even though I’m sure he get royalties for Ten, being properly credited). Or he could have been fired after the second album, considering the main problem of Pearl Jam has to do with the drummers all the time.

I try to figure out how is to wake up every day having this constant ‘What if’ in your head. Probably he overcame this issue time ago, but it must be really hard to cope with a past decision which was so meaningful and decisive for the rest of your life.

He’s been playing all the time since then, being involved in several projects as Candlebox or Unified Theory and playing with established artists, but it was really weird to see him in front of 100 people at a tiny club as Rocksound is, with Jonny Kaplan, who’s a terrific artist, but very low profile in the rock scene.

krusen

So right after the show I went to greet him, not to ask him to sign any stuff nor praise him just for being a member of Pearl Jam, but to thank him for his work in one album that really made such a marking point in my life, being a teenager and so, as to be what I am nowadays: a rock freak. Very humble and polite, Krusen received the compliment in the best manner, and thank me back for expressing such feelings to him.

I understand you cannot harass every musician who has made an impact in your life, and we create this respectful and elevated halo around the musicians up to such point we forget they’re also human beings, and have feelings. But I think if approaching the artist in the right way, not bothering nor interrupting or being impatient, and with politeness, is not a bad thing, but the opposite. Musicians appreciate receiving a feedback on their work, not only in terms of charts and record sales, but also in a more personal and emotional field, and probably this side of the recognition is still the most rewarding.  At least I will keep on doing it the same way. Wish I was able to make an emotional impact on people the way that some have made and still are making on me up to day.

krusen toi

 

The first time I listened to Black Sabbath

What a shitty week, ugh! Since my last post I’ve been embraced by a huge attack of flu which has finished off all my energy, forcing me to spend the week sleeping and vegetating basically, not being able to focus nor getting concentrated for long periods of time on reading, listening to music or watching TV. Really I haven’t been so fucked up in years. As if I’ve wasted my life and time this week, being non productive at all. Moreover because this fuckin’ virus was so tough and contagious, you can imagine I haven’t seen anyone these days. All the time on my fuckin’ own. What a horrible penitence. I NEED BEER ASAP!

Seems that I’m feeling better today, Friday 13th (UUUH), and leaving aside the birthday of a legend, Jason Voorhees, there’s something more relevant to celebrate: the 45th anniversary of the debut album of Black Sabbath.

black sabbath vinyl

Just few months ago I recovered this album to talk about the bells in rock, remembering the intro of ‘Black Sabbath’, with the storm and the bells, as one of the most sinister and overwhelming record openings in the history of rock/metal. Those bells make me think of the end of the hippie era, together with Vietnam (Nixon era) and the Manson family crimes. As if all related, all these facts created the portrait of a dark future ahead.

45 years after its release, this album is still mindblowing, with the same intensity as back in the day. I cannot recall of those days, but at least I have fresh in my memory the first time I listened to this album, followed by Paranoid, 20 ½ years ago.

I remember the year and the month, end of June 1994. Any given summer night, sitting in the copilot seat of my boyfriend’s car, actually his parents’, parked anywhere. You could go to a park or wherever, but the car has the stereo and we could listen to tapes. He asked me if I had ever listened to Black Sabbath, and I felt very ashamed when admitting I hadn’t yet, even though I knew it was one of these classic 70’s band I HAD TO listen. You know how things work when you are a teenager. It’s a constant struggle trying to show the world you know things, you’re an adult already, and you’re worthy of respect.  Thus, at this point someone asks you about a band or something you don’t really know, you can cheat assuring you know, putting your status into risk, or you can admit you don’t know, swallowing the shame and trying to recover your status the soonest. I chose the second option, as I knew he could catch me in a lie, especially related to music, very easily.

So more or less, the conversation was as follows:

-Hey Toi! Which band you prefer, Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath? (this is the equivalent question to “are you studying or working?”, huh?)

-Eeeer! I love Led Zeppelin, but I can’t really say about Black Sabbath. Never got the chance to listen to them, and I don’t know anyone who can tape me any stuff. (shit! I’ve fucked it up!)

-Oh, wow! So you haven’t ever listened to BLACK SABBATH!!! (Dude, don’t stare at me as if I was a fuckin’ freak)

-No, man, I haven’t yet. (Toi sinking in shame. SHEEEEEIT!)

-You want to listen to them RIGHT NOW? I got a tape here!

-I’d love to if you feel like, sure. (feeling better?)

– I really feel VERY JEALOUS OF YOU RIGHT NOW. You’re about to listen to BLACK SABBATH!!! for the first time in your life! That is AWESOME!

-Yeah, man. Seem so. (Uuuf! He’s not gonna dump me…yet! Great!)

 

After searching for a tape, the moment of truth arrived. Not only I was to discover Black Sabbath, but also at the same time I was being tested by a guy I liked a lot, and I couldn’t disappoint him. Not that I had to be a yes girl saying the band was absolutely incredible, and blahblahblah, which in some way I had to pretend in case I didn’t like the tape, but the real trick was managing to sound convincing.

The tape started rolling, but no music sounded. He told me to “wait”, so I was staring at nothing focusing all my senses to something it was about to start. And then rain pouring, thunder, a church bell tolling coming closer, to introduce the scariest and most wicked intro I’ve ever listened  to up to date. Fuuuuuck! What the hell was THAT? First lines of the lyrics could perfectly define what I was thinking at that very moment “What is this that stands before me / figure in black which points at me”. Holy shit! I had listened to Megadeth, Iron Maiden or Slayer, but that, that was a way on top different league. Guitar riffs were terrific and threatening, drums and bass super heavy, Ozzy’s voice was that of an evil wizard…I was overwhelmed.

At some point I realized I wasn’t alone inside that car and tried to pull myself together, noticing I had been observed all those 6minutes and something, so when I lifted my head and turn my face to the left to him, my mouth was open in amazement, half smiling, and the only word I could articulate was, of course “FUCK!”. No need to say I passed the test, and brought the cassette home to copy it, with Paranoid on the other side, and a couple of songs of Masters of Reality.

sabbath 1970

This old story works for explaining what this album means to me at all levels. It’s not my favorite Black Sabbath album even though I’d include it in a top 5 list of the band, however I reckon it’s one of the most influential records in my life. I’m not a musician, so I won’t tell you stories about how much it inspired me to write lyrics, and I don’t consider myself a metalhead either, being this album probably the milestone of heavy metal. But listening to those 7 songs, one after the other, ‘The Wizard’, ‘Behind the Wall of Sleep’ (oh man, the drum break at the end, I could listen to it nostop for hours!), ‘N.I.B’, ‘Evil Woman’, ‘Sleeping Village’ and ‘Warning’ blew my mind completely, and opened the gates to another musical dimension, heavier, darker and more powerful, and the word riff came to my life to stay for good. How awesome is that, huh?

45 years since Black Sabbath shocked world, and 20 ½ years since it overwhelmed me, and I reckon there will be lots of other teenagers who will hear this album for the first time in their lives and will get crazy about it in the same way I did, because the power of this masterpiece remains intact, thanks to the timeless magic it was created with.

Satan bless Black Sabbath!

Album of week 4: …And Out Come the Wolves

This week’s been a rough one. Plus it’s been the first one I’ve worked full, and after a terrific weekend in Bibao, it’s been like a punishment. Emotionally weird too.

rancid

To face such low mood I needed some upper and recovering …And Out Come the Wolves has been the perfect choice. And it’s been thanks to my friend Jon who gave me one of his 3 original copies last Saturday. I had lost it during my “divorce” and I had completely forgotten about this masterpiece.

Never been a huge fan of Rancid but I’ve always liked them, and relate them to very good times thanks to a couple of shows I attended at Festimad festival in 1996 introducing this album, and then in 2012. Both of them equally funny and crazy. Rad shows!

When …And Out Come the Wolves Rancid turned our world upside down. It’s impossible to imagine such impact of a punk rock band on teenagers nowadays, but the 1990s were something different, and their style fitted in the bosses interests. Most of us were digging Seattle bands, darker, deeper and inward, but at the same time there was still some room for consuming explosive bands, without being related to any proper scene or style. Thus we had RATM, Biohazard and Body Count, and then we had Greenday and Rancid, which were totally punk orientated, to name few examples. I always preferred Rancid. Hey were wild and nasty, and I used to love dancing with them.

The Festimad show was insane. It was open air, at the main stage, and all I could see was people dancing around, pouring beer on people (yep, I got myself my first proper beer shower), singing and yelling, and overall having a great time. So was I. And then I felt hungry and thought it was the perfect time to have an omelet sandwich. Not very intelligent, I know. At some point of the show I thought my arm had shrunk because I couldn’t give a bite to the sandwich, and the reason was that there were two guys whose arms were woven to mine. Oh, man! I couldn’t stop laughing! And of course I couldn’t finish it because it ended up smashed. What a laugh!

Rancid 1995

…And Out Come the Wolves is a perfect record, a fuckin’ timeless masterpiece. One hit after another. It’s impossible to choose a favorite: ‘Ruby Soho’, ‘Time Bomb’, ‘Lock, Step & Gone’, ‘Roots Radical’ ‘She’s Automatic’, ‘Junkie Man’…These songs are anthems. It’s one of those albums you cannot listen motionless. You end up dancing or headbanging, but you never stop. Good vibes and energy are absolutely contagious.  And that’s exactly what I was looking for this week.

Recently a new Rancid album, named Honor Is All We Know, has been released, and it’s not as great as their third one, but still keeps the essence and the vibe, which is great news, because that means they’re still in shape for more writing, and most important, more touring. If they can play as they did a couple of years ago, that will mean to get another beer shower, sweat like a pig, and leave my guts on the pit, because as much as possible, I’ll be attending their shows without hesitation.

Good things come for those who wait.

I recover this sentence a good pal told me long time ago because it fits perfect.

Oh, yeah! I’ve been waiting patiently and eventually I’ve got my reward. L7 have been confirmed to be part of the lineup for Azkena Rock Festival in June and I couldn’t be more thrilled about this news.

L7 girls

I told you a couple of years the band not only was starting reactivating their Facebook account but also that that they were compiling stuff from fans in order to work on a documentary. I was pretty excited dreaming on a comeback which was never announced.

Less than a couple of months ago L7 created their own army to push promoters to hire them for this possible comeback. Are they doing it for the money? Fuck! I don’t care! First and last time I saw them was in 1999 and I remember their show was awesome. I need more!

Immediately I started thinking of the possibility of L7 playing at Azkena Rock Festival, which has managed to reunite several bands in the past, but at first I thought it was too soon for them to arrange everything. Dreaming awake is a tempting activity I practice much too often though and this time it was not an exception, so I started dealing with the possibility of seeing them alive at this festival. At the end of the day I had nothing to lose.

Therefore you can imagine the rush when I heard this morning their presence was confirmed at the festival. Oh shit! It’s been awesome! My day was basically a piece of chunk but as soon as I’ve read this I’ve started yelling “YES, YES, YES!” at the office and all my colleagues have started laughing because they knew it was a confirmation of a band I love for the festival, no matter they don’t know who the fuck L7 are.

6 months of wait start from now. This is the kind of motivation I need to keep on moving. Hell yeah!

Will I see you in Mendizabala?