Tag Archives: Algiers

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!

ON 12/12/12 HERE IS MY TOP 12 OF 2012

digging-through-vinyl-records-lp

This is the first time I’m publishing a top list of my favorite albums of the year and I’m pretty stoked. Even though I’m passionate for music, for many years I adopted a vey comfy position in which there was someone doing the hard work of pre-listening and filtering new stuff on my behalf, thus only what  he enjoyed reached me. Yeah, I became lazy and detached from current musical updates at that time.

But here I am, posting my top 12 of this weird year, which has been excellent in terms of music, and disastrous in general. I must admit I’m proud for behaving as the good girl I really am, doing my musical homework and paying attention to new album releases.

Of course it’s impossible to cover all of them, especially when I take my time in analyzing the albums, going on them with the intensity required. And it’s a classic that, right after choosing my favorite albums, I discover a new one that blows my mind, but cannot be added to the list. Guess this is the greatness of music, you can enjoy it any time, no matter how much late you are. it will always be there.

Let’s get started, otherwise it will be the 13th and this top 12 won’t make sense anymore.

Most of the albums have been the album of the week at some point this year, or due to the expectations I had, commented as soon as they were available, as an exceptional event, and theres’s one in particular which had to be mentioned apart, because it doesn’t fit into what I usually consume.

I’m very pleased with the variety of styles and sounds in the list, once again confirming it doesn’t matter I’m growing old and relaxing, I can enjoy metal sounds same as folkie one, and I find that quite enriching for both mind, soul and ears.

BestRecords2012

Thus in no particular order I will refer to my top 12 of 2012. There we go!

ABANDON JALOPY – DEATH & JOY

What can I say at this point I haven’t told already? On week 12 I was telling you about my crush on Brad Smith’s project, and one month ago I was telling you my experience enjoying their half acoustic show, and how adorable Blind Melon’s bass player was.

I foresaw this album was being here, because not many albums make my heart pound in such way as Death & Joy does.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/03/27/album-of-week-12-death-joy/

CANCER BATS – DEAD SET ON LIVING

One of the greatest surprise of the year which started when I was assigned the review of this album. On a random Sunday afternoon, in hangover conditions, I receive a wake of punches right in my face in the shape of songs performed by this band. Raw, powerful and overwhelming.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/04/27/albums-of-week-16-1965-dead-set-on-living/

 

LUCERO – WOMEN & WORK

Several friends are devoted fans of this unknown band here in Spain, and I had been told about the charisma of the leader of the band, Ben Nichols. Songs about work, women, broken hearts and booze, and a catchy opening song, On My Way Downtown, which makes you feel the urge of having a beer at a bar.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/03/21/album-of-week-11-women-work/

MARK LANEGAN – BLUES FUNERAL

blues funeral billboard

 Wow! I ADORE this album. Straight to the top 5. Lanegan has gone beyond himself with this album.  I got obsessed about this album for 2 weeks or more, and I still listen to it compulsively. One of these albums that the more you listen the more you love them and discover tiny new elements with each listening. So fuckin’ great!

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/02/13/album-of-weeks-5-6-blues-funeral/

JACK WHITE – BLUNDERBUSS

Finally the genius went solo, after delivering outstanding stuff with his different projects, and released this magnificent album I’ve been enjoying so much. It was the final proof to show the world he’s far from the hype and possesses a great deal of talent. Perfection would be mentioned here if the show he offered with the female band would have been more passionate rather than so “cool” looking.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/05/31/album-of-week-21-blunderbuss/

ORANGE GOBLIN – A EULOGY FOR THE DAMNED

Allow me not to extend much in explanations and check my previous post. Solid, powerful, rockin’, this is the exact dose of music you need for headbanging to the max. Very glad this album has been praised by both critics and people, and proud my “guys” have reached so far. BRAVO

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/12/12/album-of-week-48-a-eulogy-for-the-damned/

THE HANGMEN – EAST OF WESTERN

EAST OF WESTERN

This is one of the exceptions as it hasn’t been included YET in the albums of the week. One of the reasons is because I was encouraged to listen to this album after purchasing Loteria on the record store day and recovering Metallic I.O.U. The truth is that the most New Yorker band in L.A, real street bad asses led by Bryan Small, have again delivered an intense album full of booze, drugs, filth and broken hearts, and Homesick Blues is damn awesome.

LANA DEL REY – BORN TO DIE

I know, this is close to be a dealbreaker, and coulf be named as the guilty pleasure of the year too. I made public I had surrendered to the hype, and I’m still hooked to Born To Die, something which scares me somehow, because I don’t think what Lana del Rey might offer us, can keep the same level.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/08/30/the-day-i-surrendered-to-the-hype/

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM – HANDWRITTEN

 I wrote about this album when the band, days before the worldwide release, allowed the fans to listen to the album online. I literally devoured it and felt in love right away. The guys from New Brunswick are about to jump into the mainstream thanks to this wonderful album, which shows a noticeable evolution and improvement, and personally speaking, I love they are capable of gathering new and older generations at venues for attending the shows. They bring youth to the adults, and transmit old school values to the youngsters. Their story telling is sublime.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/07/18/i-knew-handwritten-wouldnt-fail-me/

CALEXICO – ALGIERS

Thanks to a friend who invited me to attend the show they offered in Barcelona one month ago I discovered a wonderful band which, wrongly following my name instincts, I had completely ignored. After 30 seconds of the opening song, I knew that, what I was about to discover was different and classy. Amazing album and excellent live performance.

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/11/14/album-of-week-43-algiers-calexico-on-stage/

NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE – PSYCHEDELIC PILL

Americana was a bunch of revisited covers after all, it was compulsory uncle Neil and his pals ended jamming eventually, because this is what Psychedelic Pill is about, a reunion of good old friends grabbing their instruments and recovering the spirit of Harvest playing in the barn. Two words must be pronounced which will sum up the concept of the album: RAMADA INN. Greatness!

https://sincemybabyleftme.com/2012/10/17/uncle-neil-and-crazy-horse-are-ready-to-conquer-the-world/

VAN HALEN – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH

a different kind of truth

You just wouldn’t believe what just happened here. I’ve just changed my last album at the very last minute, finally choosing hard rock over power pop, and leaving Redd Kross out of the list.

This is a surprise, even to me, but this is how I feel at 22:52h. It took me ages to listen to this album, in fact I got it less than a month ago, no matter that many friends insisting I’d love it, I felt lazy thinking it wouldn’t be worth it. The insistence of Felix and my soul bro, together with Xavi aka the deal hunter, made me push the button and start moving my ass right away. If there’s a song which drives me crazy, reminding me of wild 1984, VH personal favorite, no doubt is Bullethead. The return of Van Halen with David Lee Roth is one of the greatest #dealmakers of the decade.

Once this list has been done, I have to mention those albums which are following very close and deserve my love, respect and credit. Here they are:

– Redd Kross – Researching the Sun

– Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Magic Door

– Pulled Apart By Horses – Tough Love

– The Avett Brothers – Carpenter

What a year friends! Rough and harsh in many aspects, thanks to the amazing releases I’ve been gifted with, I’ve managed to approach the end better than expected. At the end of the day, same thought comes to mind, and I sigh in relief glad to be aware that music, not only has saved my life, but also has given me the one I’m currently living, and I feel grateful and merry.

Keep on rockin’ dears!

ALBUM OF WEEK 43 – ALGIERS, & CALEXICO ON STAGE

Few weeks ago, Arturo, one of my gig partners in crime I knew thanks to a music forum I regularly visit, told me had a spare ticket for the live show Calexico was offering in November. He had purchased the ticket right after they were available, however he received another ticket for as a birthday present. Instead of putting it for sale and acquainted with my musical tastes, he thought it was a good idea to invite me to the show, a very promising one, convinced I’d likely enjoyed it.

To be honest I had never listened to any single chord of this band till Arturo confirmed the ticket was mine unless I was horrified by their music. Facing such offer I felt immediately pushed to listen to Calexico, and the opening record to start with them was Algiers, their last album, released in September.

It took me half a song to realize Calexico was thousands of miles far from what I expected. I don’t know, I misjudged for their name and thought they were kind of Oi! Reggae ska , or something like that. Guess I mistook them for a band named Dr Calypso. I know…sometimes I think I live in a different planet.

Well, as I was telling, when I started hearing Epic, a super suggestive and atmospheric song, I knew Calexico was something classy and special. In fact, the first word I have in mind when trying to define the band’s style is elegance, and then I’d add their music is a combinations of different sounds, moving from Americana-folkie  to Mexican-border mariachi stuff. Guess my definition is not very helpful to define their style, so you should listen songs such as Puerto or No Te Vayas to undertand what I mean. Brass arrangements and the mighty percussions, adorned with shakers, maracas, in a very old school fashion. Beautiful!

Algiers moves through intense and  relaxing stages, more emotional, as Para or Fortune Teller, more easy going as Algiers or Splitter.  Vocals are carefully taken care of, showing beautiful melodies, supported by work on every single detail. Drums, bass, guitars, trumpets, accordions, lap steels… the amount of instruments used to achieve sound perfection is overwhelming. The work behind this album has been a very dedicated one, no doubt.

Considering some parts are under a strong Latin influence, which I’m not very acquainted with, and usually not interested in, the general impression is that Algiers is probably one of the best albums released this year. PERIOD.

I was so impressed Algiers became the album of the week, as in preparation of what was to come on Sunday.

After Saturday off, meaning free of any scheduled show, I spent writing, baking cookies and chilling out, having rested from this intense week, I was in the mood for enjoying some music for my senses. You know, a show you’re delighted by the music, and admiring the performance on stage, the way the musicians were displayed, they changed instruments, from the point of view of a person who is barely acquainted with the band. I just knew Algiers was fantastic, however I wasn’t too much sure of what was going to happen.

We were 5 of the rock troop eventually, Elena and I were the rookies, while the other three guys were every enthusiastic for seeing this band.

We had been told Apolo theatre was sold out the night The Gaslight Anthem played, however, the audience outnumbered, and the venue was packed. Probably more tickets were on sale, because it was the kind of show bookers know people are not to jump, stage dive, nor get crazy. I thing average age was 40, with people in their 50s and some proud dads with their older children.

The show was very interesting. Epic, the opening song of Algiers, was also chosen for a perfect start. The set list included some tracks of their new album, such as Para, Splitter or Puerto, and there were several in which the Spanish singer Amparo (Amparanoia), who I can’t stand much, was accompanying with some relevant moments. Her voice is powerful and matches perfectly all this Latin sound Calexico is trying to provide their songs with, however as an artist on stage, I loathed her. I know I’m tough. She made a good job, but in my opinion, seeking for extra attention, very noticeable and forced.

 One of the nice suprises they give me was they covered Love’s song Alone Again Or. Been ages since I don’t listen to Forever Changes, and brought me back tons of memories from my teenage days.

With encores, the progression and consequently extension of certain songs, the show lasted almost 2 hours, with all the audience, me included, enthusiastic.

Attending this Calexico show made me think of me becoming more and more open minded, and digesting certain sounds in a very positive manner, something I wouldn’t have thought of 5 years ago. Thus, guess I’m growing up, not only in age and size, but also musically speaking, and have to say I’m proud of it. On the other hand, finishing this last crazy week attending such show made me really happy.

Damn, it was a great week, and I’ve managed to survive.

** Thanks a lot, Arturo. I Owe U