Tag Archives: Death & Joy

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!

FIRST ROUND: JONNY KAPLAN AND ABANDON JALOPY

The hottest gig week in the year started on Monday, with two acoustic sets I knew they weren’t to disappoint me: on one hand good vibes California suntanned hippie rider Jonny Kaplan, and on the other, the portable version of Abandon Jalopy, Brad Smith’s new project aside mighty Blind Melon, with Kevin Haaland. It’d be too obvious to say the show was a blast, but I have to.

You might think I’m crazy, but I was more excited with Abandon Jalopy’s show than with Blind Melon’s…I’ll explain why later.

On Monday, in front of barely 25 people, Jonny opened the evening with the only companion of his acoustic guitar, and sometimes the assistance of his harp. He introduced some songs to be included in his upcoming album, due to unknown date hopefully in 2012. As he put into words, he was looking for a set filled up with mellow tunes, thus, when I suggested Ride Free to be played on the encore, he said precisely that one was totally forbidden, in order not to break the vibe. Still, I couldn’t complain because he played Seasons right after my request, and said thanks to me at the end of the song! Should be ME thanking!

There were two remarkable moments during this show. On one hand a new beautiful song named The Child Is Gone, featuring Kevin and Brad of Abandon Jalopy, which was pretty intense and on the other hand, to realize that the story of Damaged was also my story. Good ol’ Jonny, another storyteller. I never get tired of him, and this time playing solo, was as solid as with a band. Kaplan is a rolling stone for real, so experienced and positive, he doesn’t need support of any sort to attract all our attention and conquer audiences. I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen him playing, probably 7 or 8, he’s always fantastic.

Second part of the show was pretty as short as amazing. Being in Spain prior to Blind Melon tour shows in our country, it was a good opportunity to advance and appetizer of what an Abandon Jalopy full band show might be in the future after the good reception of the beautiful album Death & Joy. Unfortunately those self labeled as Blind Melon diehard fans didn’t make it to the show on Monday, and it’s not acceptable to excuse saying the show was on Monday. It was a shame we were so few. Of course all the attendants were delighted with this set.

I Won’t Be The Same was the starter, with Shannon Hoon’s memory refreshed in our memories as, according to Brad, the song was inspired in his loss. Absolutely thrilling.

Brad Smith’s voice was stunning, and wonderful arrangements made by Haaland on guitar, sometimes including slide, made of this acoustic set something quite unique and special.

Up till Now, Love Has a Way, a cover of I Won’t Get Down, a revised version of Black Cloud, pretty cool actually, and 5 more songs, left us begging for more.

Forgetting an awkward moment caused by “someone” who gave Brad my former Blind Melon’s Soup vinyl for signing, right next to me (shit like that hurts and it’s lame), the aftershow was fantastic with the guys completely easy access. Kaplan is like an old friend you meet from time to time and everything is fun and easy, and I’m really happy after realizing how humble and adorable Brad Smith is. We were meeting at bars and streets for three days and he always spent some time having chats with me. As I said to him, I could get used to having them around. Wonderful people, both Kaplan and the Jalopy-Melons. I can’t wait to see them back in town.

ALBUM OF WEEK 12 – DEATH & JOY

Oh dears, last week was absolutely insane because of the wedding of the year. That’s the reason why I didn’t post much, flew to Madrid on Wednesday and got back in town by Sunday, and in between it was nonstop. Glad to say it’s been one of the most amazing weekends in long time. Guess I’ll write a bit about it.

Despite such active days, last week was marked by the discovery of this little treasure, Death & Joy, by Brad Smith’s solo project named Abandon Jalopy, recently released. Perhaps the name of Brad Smith might not be familiar to you, so here I am to clarify this guy was (is) Blind Melon’s bass player.

I’m not very good at being acquainted with band members’ solo projects, in fact I’m starting to be more aware of what’s going on around, because I’m realizing I’m missing lots of great stuff. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to cover all new releases, bands, tours…and honestly, prefer to narrow my choices, otherwise I’m ending up consuming without really enjoying. In case I’m missing something, I trust enough people close to me who would point me to the right direction.

Thanks to an interview to the artist included in last month issue of Popular 1 Rock magazine, credited to a friend of mine who is a diehard fan of Blind Melon, I heard of Abandon Jalopy for the first time. It’s amazing the influence established press can have over people, as many friends, loyal readers of the magazine, started posting this video on their FB walls.

I had to see, better said, hear it for myself, and judge. And that’s what I did.

Due to late night writing, I’m starting to listen to music with proper headphones. I’m a laptop user for the moment, and don’t have speakers, to tell the truth, it’s my entire fault the precarious conditions I’m working at. Anyway, at certain hours I’m not supposed to play music loud, and I was tired of the awful sound coming directly from the computer speakers, thus some months ago I purchased these terrific Sennheiser headphones I’m delighted with. Probably the direct impact of music right into your ears might not be the healthiest option, and sure headaches can easily bring out if you’re prone to,  but you notice many arrangements and details in songs, it’d take you longer or would never been noticed otherwise.

So, last week I listened to Death & Joy through the mighty headphones and had another musical crush.

To start with, the whole work has the Blind Melon brand clearly stamped, not intending to overshadow though, but just reflecting a style which goes beyond the albums recorded with Shannon Hoon. What is out of question, once you listen to this album, is Brad Smith’s brilliant contribution to the core of Melon’s compositions.

Can’t describe my feelings with songs such as the opening Up Til Now, Black Cloud, Hold Tight, or the one featuring Shannon’s daughter Nico Blue on backing vocals, Love Has a Way, in a very objective way. Just can say I was overwhelmed in first place, and could’t erase Hoon from my mind at all. I can easily imagine him singing Death & Joy and my heart really shrinks… so evoking!

Death & Joy is this little treasure condemned to be ignored by the mass, created just for the pleasure of those where in the right place at the right time. Just hope my call is convincing enough for you to belong to this chosen minority, and enjoy this wonderful piece of cake.