Tag Archives: album

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!

Album of weeks 24-26: Möngol Hörde

It’s been some time since I wanted to talk about this album, but truth is that I wasn’t in the mood for writing and it was very difficult to concentrate on posting because I was on holidays last week, besides energy after the festival in Vitoria was too low. I feel some regret though as last week I wasn’t very profitable at all, but on the other hand it was a fact that I needed some rest from everything. Seems that I relaxed too much as I’ve caught a flu again.

Anyway, I’m back in the saddle, back to work, and trying to adjust to my routines again. Honestly I’ve missed them more than in other occasions, perhaps because level of disconnecting hadn’t been so high, and I’m getting less and less used to so many free days at once.

mongol horde

Until last week I hadn’t listened to Frank Turner’s proper stuff, no matter he’s been a highlighted artist at RockZone magazine, and also praised by some friends, I didn’t have the time and like I always reckon is that I can’t cope with everything. After reading some suggestions I listened to England Keep My Bones and liked it much. A couple of weeks earlier for the same  reason I approached Möngol Hörde, in an attempt to get a bit acquainted with the guy, who had been defined as a folk punk writer or something similar. I heard the name of the band which was quite appealing, the name of the artist, and the tip that it was his hardcore project, so I thought some kicking ass stuff would be much better as a start than something deep and possibly moving, considering my current mood. The funniest thing is that I listened to the album once at 2am at a very low volume, so I decided to listen to it properly while walking to my landlord’s new flat, which is 5-6km from my office. The album was so powerful I reached my destination earlier than expected, and I damn sweated like a bitch, as it was one of these sweltering spring evenings in Barcelona, you can only drink beer and pray for a storm to break.

I had already listened and watch the introducing video of ‘Make Way’, with those kids making noise, really killer, and I was quite enthusiastic about what I was to discover next, but to be honest, I didn’t expect I’d enjoy the album so much. It’s an outburst of rage and energy, with lots of attitude and great lyrics, so contagious, I was thinking about few things bothering me up to a point that I reached a very simple but the most convincing  conclusion: “fuck’em!”. Yep, I do believe in the inspirational power of music translated to our thoughts, and Möngol Hörde suggests relief through anger, so that was my exercise at that time.

I’ve been hooked to the album and as you can imagine the effect upon me now it’s not so brutal, but it still works for me. I’m totally hooked to songs such as ‘Staff to the Refund Counter’ or ‘Stillborn Unicorn’.

horde live

I was reading Turner’s comments on Twitter about the shows. Bruises, injuries, pain… and at the same time the guy was so excited and amazed by the audience response every night of their UK tour, I’d love to attend one of the shows and flip with ‘How the Communists Ruined Christmas’, ‘Weighed and Found Wanting’, and put my life at risk with ‘Winky Face the Mark of a Moron’. I dig that organized and calculated mayhem in really well played songs. You feel the insanity but also realize that everything is under control. Probably not being a pro in hardcore punk style causes I’m so impressed by this. I always have the feeling that the bands play with balls and guts, and I like that.

Thus my first approach to Frank Turner’s universe has been absolutely delightful. In fact, I reckon you’ll see this record included in my favorite records of 2014 at the end of the year. Hell of a debut!

Pretty, pretty… pretty good.

Album of week 17: ALICE IN CHAINS

aic aic

There are things I don’t understand, like for instance discovering 10 minutes ago that I hadn’t written yet about the self-titled album of Alice In Chains. Isn’t it silly knowing how much I love this band?

The only explanation I can find for such a terrible mistake is that every time I listen to this wonderful masterpiece, I think of my first pressing vinyl I bought  for just £1 in Edinburgh in 1998 in hands of certain asshole who took it away from me in a moment of confusion and never gave it back. Eventually I will get another copy on vinyl but this shit still gets me angry.

Anyway, FUCK HIM.

In 1995 I was a bit disappointed with the band after the release of the ep Jar of Flies, which I told you, I found very soft when it came out, but now I’m in love with, so when I heard that a new album was coming I decided not to buy it immediately waiting for comments about it. But Christmas time came, and Diana’s mum, Carmen, asked me what I wanted as a present, so I thought it was a good chance to listen to the new album, Alice In Chains, without taking many risks.

You must understand I was 19, always short of money (similar to nowadays but with no responsibilities nor bills, hahaha), thus purchasing a CD meant an investment and a sacrifice, because even though album releases were as expensive as nowadays, our buying power was lower. Thus you had to choose wisely.

The tripod dog album came to my life in Xmas, 1995-1996, and I remember the first time I played it at my studio room at my yaya’s, for I had started living with her full time a couple of years earlier. How evocative! Now that I remember, it was one of these winter dark evenings. I was sitting in the armchair, covered with a wool blanket, with subtle light, handling the booklet with all those sick yet fascinating illustrations, not very convinced about what was gonna happen.

5 seconds of ‘Grind’ and I already knew Alice In Chains was gonna blow my mind. And it did, believe me. Personally speaking, I reckon is the perfect combination of the darkest side of Dirt with the sweet & sour beauty of Jar of Flies. Not being perhaps as hard and insane as its predecessor, truth is that riffs are heavier and more doom metal like, as in ‘Grind’, ‘Sludge Factory’ or ‘God AM’, and on the other hand, the melodic side of the album is more highlighted, with a great work on vocals, and Jerry Cantrell’s role on vocals was more important, leading in ‘Heaven Beside You’ and ‘It’s Over Now’.

Again, songs were the portrait of Cantrell’s struggle with drugs, not being capable to overcome his addiction to heroin, which, at this point, was killing him. Lyrics were related to drugs, isolation and frustration. And death. Apparently the recording was tough issue, with Staley being fucked up most of time or absent, due to heroin. Not that the rest of the band were saints, but the stage Layne was at that time was way beyond his band mates, who constantly frustrated for not being able to help him. Really sad.

alice in chains band

From this point, the self-destruction spiral Staley went through was dragging him down and down. The band never toured to support this album, and one year after they recorded the acoustic unplugged show for MTV, with Layne, so pale and static, everybody knew his days were numbered and the end was getting close for him. But that’s another story.

If I had to choose between Dirt and Alice In Chains it’d take me long time to decide, because both are some great, and are so connected to my mood, that my decision changes every time I listen to any of them . Like heroin, I got hooked to both in an obsessive way. The struggling tone of both, leaving the musical part aside, was what we had in common. When you are a teenager, there’s a part of yourself which is constantly struggling to find its place in the world, and even though there were many good things around, I still had to fight for self-assertiveness.

This was the third and the last studio album of Alice In Chains as I like to think of them, with Layne alive. The art of creating greatness from something totally rotten it’s a skill not everybody can afford, however Alice In Chains masterly sculpted beauty from filth.

I love them.

 

Album of week 16: LA SEXORCISTO: DEVIL MUSIC VOLUME 1.

SEXORCISTO

22 years ago the American band led by that unique character named Rob Zombie, released his best work, La Sexorcisto. With this personal statement fans and not so fans have been served the bait for an argument in a silver plate, and there are reading this text rubbing their hands ready to attack when the time comes. Wish it was like that, but you seem too quiet lately, and this is not a universal assertion, but my humble opinion.

I’m sure many people disagrees on behalf of their following and last work, Astro Creep…, which sounded more industrial, and overproduced, but my favorite, remaking the fact that I’m not a huge fan of Zombie, and even less of his attempts to establish as a horror director (Lords of Salem, motherfucker, what a shitty joke), is La Sexorcisto regardless.

To put you in situation, this album came out in March 1992, through huge Geffen Records, and was produced by Andy Wallace, who had worked with Slayer, The Cult, Sepultura or L7, and was the man behind Nevermind. The odds for succeeding were obviously good, and they had a single. THE single.

Thunder Kiss ’65 could be included in a list of my top 10 most headbanging songs. We used to do it so hard and intensely it wasn’t rare any of us would get dizzy afterwards. Whenever I listen to it nowadays I remember going out was like attending an intensive gym class. Devizio was the venue, beer and calimotxo were running the whole night, and we had such energy we could be dancing for hours. Not to mention one of my teenager specialties: stage diving. I’ve always been very serious about how to have fun, you know?

Days ago I was accompanying someone to run some errands, and he played this album on the car stereo, really loud. My feeling was that it was more rocking than I remembered, very powerful but fresh at the same time. The samples of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Kill!, classic Batman of Plan 9 From Outer Space, was providing La Sexorcisto of a classic sci-fi horror halo, which became a constant feature within Rob Zombie’s universe.  It’s true that at some point I always think it’s too long, and therefore I lose interest after a while. But hey! It’s always great to travel back in time, and songs such as ‘Black Sunshine’ or ‘Grindhouse (A Go-go)’are pretty cool.

Album of week 15: DO TO THE BEAST

do to the beast

It’s funny the way we change our minds with the passing of time. years ago Greg Dulli was denying the possibility of a reunion of The Afghan Whigs. Probably he felt comfortable with his band  The Twilight Singers and other projects such as The Gutter Twins with his friend Mark Lanegan.

According to the singer, it had to be an acoustic concert in Chicago, with his pal John Curley, in 2010, which made him be at peace with the band, the wonderful legacy they’d left behind and those past times. Suddenly he found a extreme pleasure in playing old songs he had written himself, and probably it was a feeling of nostalgia what made him look for the band to play some live shows.

As you know I was lucky to attend their performance at Primavera Sound Festival in 2012, and I was even luckier to enjoy a 5 minutes talk with Dulli when I found him in the middle of a path at the fest. It was a delightful experience, and the dude seemed to be so friendly and attentive, leaving his beautiful blue eyes staring at me aside, I really had a crush on him.

I’ve been following him on different networks, and love the pics he posts on Instagram. He started uploading pictures at a recording studio and I started getting excited. When the band announced their first album to be published in 16 years through Sub Pop records, I was thrilled.

If there was some doubt of the quality of Do To The Beast, when the first single ‘Algiers’ was premiered , I felt some sort of relief mixed with joy, as it’s so brilliant! The vibe brings you to Sergio Leone’s westerns, and you can feel a taste of the dry sand of the desert. Very catchy, very classy.

I was assigned the review of the album for Rockzone, and spent at least 5 days just listening to it exclusively, to get deeply coated by its essence, and I concluded it’s an outstanding record, different from the past works, yet keeping 100% of the essence and sound of the band, but taking advantage of the freshness of a new beginning.

It was funny to discover about the spending opening track ‘Parked Outside’ on a track-by-track analysis written by Dulli himself, defined as a stripper song, because I had this same impression. there’s filth and decadence, and at the same time it’s sexy. I like this combination, I got a taste for the decadent-sensual imagery and music.

AfghanWhigs

I’m not gonna dissect Do To The Beast in depth, but affirm that it’s one of the best comeback albums I’ve recently listened to, and I feel optimistic thinking it will encourage The Afghan Whigs to stay active for a long time.

This band is not easy accessible at a first hearing, but with the time melodies, guitars, piano parts, that perfect imperfection in Dulli’s singing, the elegance and the atmospheres of their albums eventually seduce you, as if it was one of the hardest drugs, until you are completely hooked to them.

Hats off to the gentlemen!

ALBUM OF WEEK 12: TRANSGENDER DYSPHORIA BLUES

Against Me! has burst onto my life intensely. Not only thanks to their last record, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, but also because of the fascinating leader, Laura Jane Grace.

To be honest few I knew about this band, only that they had an album named Reinventing Axl Rose, with, obviously, Mighty Axl on the cover, and a couple of songs heard. You know, sometimes you can’t cope with everything and have to set your priorities. Against Me! Wasn’t one, even though some friends had told me I had to give them a chance.

against me transgender dysphoria blues

With the release of the new album, the right time to start digging arrived. The impression caused by Transgender Dysphoria Blues was very positive. A pretty intense 10-track album, a straight declaration of principles, with lots of released energy, revelations and deep lyrics full of message. Solid composition and compact sound, and very very powerful.

The case of Laura Jane Grace is terrific. She was born Tom Gabel, and ended up leading a quite respected and popular band. After lots of years of inner struggle, having wife and kid, two years ago he discloses his change into HER. Tom is now Laura Jane, and will go on leading Against Me! No matter what it takes.

The more details I got acquainted with, the harder my crush on her was, up to the point that, giving so much thought to the impact of her decision on his/her female fans, I decided my monthly text for Rockzone March issue would talk about her. The thought of his fans in shock after discovering Laura Jane was no longer Tom, and their teenage crush fallen to pieces, was very inspiring. On one hand your concept of someone changes completely, and on the other the fact that he proved great balls going under treatment and making it public. Very brave.

laura jane

Her guts, her story, her suffering…everything in Laura Jane is inspiring, and now I only wish some day I get the chance to talk to her.

Recently  I’ve been dissecting one of the most likely to 5 albums of 2014 (sorry, I cannot tell yet), so obsessed, I’ve been listening to the same record nonstop for 5 days, until Tuesday, when the mailman finally brought me my copy after  long delay. Today I’ve spent my evening with Transgender Dysphoria Blues. 28 minutes of emotional release, passion and rock. This album easily gets under your skin, as if the poison of a mosquito was, getting hooked right away. I’ll have to wait until mid June though to get the chance to enjoy them on stage.

Don’t want to start with forecasts yet, but I got the feeling I will talk about this album again at the end of the year. totally dig it!