January 27, 2009

Peter Gabriel - Secret World Live

Band/artist - Peter Gabriel
Genre(s) - Progressive rock
Origin - United Kingdom
Album - Secret World Live
Year of release - 1994

Peter Gabriel is one of those artists I always thought I'd never be able to like - back when one all-too processed snare drum hit could turn me away from a band forever. Hearing this particular version of Solsbury Hill later made me realize how stupid I'd been... again. This whole album has a wonderful wealth of different sounds and textures from a very large and versatile backing band,
including Tony Levin on bass, you know, King Crimson's very bald, very moustached stick-bass player. I've also really come to appreciate Gabriel as a singer, his voice has a very pleasant, rugged sort of timbre, if that makes sense. He lets the glorious afrobeat-influences come to the fore in a couple of the most beautiful songs on the release, like Come Talk to Me and Shaking the Tree. And again, I have to stress the beauty of Solsbury Hill. What a song! It reminds me very much of when I was fired from the hospital after 14 days of being cooped up on one grey, depressive corridor, and I was waiting for my parents to collect me. My heart going "boom boom boom"... Son, he said, grab your things I've come to take you home.
  1. Come talk to me
  2. Steam
  3. Accross the river
  4. Slow marimbas
  5. Shaking the tree
  6. Red rain
  7. Blood of Eden
  8. Kiss that frog
  9. Washing of the water
  10. Solsbury Hill
  11. Digging in the Dirt
  12. Sledgehammer
  13. Secret world
  14. Don't give up
  15. In your eyes
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January 23, 2009

The Birthday Massacre - Walking with Strangers

Band/artist - The Birthday Massacre
Genre(s) - Gothic rock
Origin - Toronto, Canada
Album - Walking with Strangers
Year of release - 2007

Rabbits, kids' stuff, silhouttes... that must be The Birthday Massacre. TBM are an interesting band that features chunky guitars, old-school synthesiser, frontwoman Chibi's gorgeous vocals and a preoccupation with the colour violet. The idea was to create some sort of anachronistic blend, dubbed "post-retro" by the band, of modern rock and old-fashioned gothic electronic. You'll have to judge for yourself if they succeeded at that, all I can tell you that, and in contrast to the associations that the term gothic calls up, it's not dark or negative at all.
It's refined, catchy, uplifting, quite danceable music. The songs are straightforward verse-chorus units for the most part, and most of the refrains kick plenty of ass. Not unlike the Sisters of Mercy, TBM tracks like Falling Down, Kill the Lights, Looking Glass and the title track fill you up with a hedonistic euphoria more effective than a river of coffee.
  1. Kill the lights
  2. Goodnight
  3. Falling down
  4. Unfamiliar
  5. Red stars
  6. Looking glass
  7. Science
  8. Remember me
  9. To die for
  10. Walking with strangers
  11. Weekend
  12. Movie
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January 22, 2009

Nachtmystium - Eulogy IV

Band/artist - Nachtmystium
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - United States of America
Album - Eulogy IV
Year of release - 2004

Talking of transitional black metal EPs, this one comes to mind as well. Originally a highly decent USBM band, Nachtmystium have gotten quite a bit of fame and notoriety for including influences from 60s and 70s rock on their latest albums. Eulogy IV documents the first cautious forays into the realm of the psychedelic. This results in some fast black metal topped off with some good soloes, spacey keyboard touches and improvised sections. At
times those sound a bit like they were just glued onto a premade black metal song, but these new influences do give the music a new dimension, and of course the band was just getting started. Besides, plenty of it sounds just plain good. The EP gets more orthodox during the second half of its duration, especially the ultra-conservative choice and rendition of the cover tracks. So if you just can't get used to the Pink Floyd noodling, at least you have something to look forward to.
  1. My vengeance
  2. Eulogy IV
  3. Bleed for thee
  4. The wound which cannot heal
  5. You get nothing
  6. Kronet (Ildjarn cover)
  7. Bak to lysende oyne (Ildjarn cover)
  8. Satanic blood (Von cover)
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January 20, 2009

Alcest - Le Secret

Band/artist - Alcest
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - France
Album - Le Secret
Year of release - 2005

Here's the other pre-Souvenirs release by Alcest - I had already uploaded the demo Tristesse Hivernale, here. This two-song, twentyseven-minute EP is clearly a transitional moment for Neige; the move from raw black metal to ethereal/shoegaze with only slight metal undertones was not a sudden one. There's no denying that Le Secret is still deeply black at the core but you will notice more quiet, Souvenirs-worthy influences creeping up on it. This includes nature sounds, acoustic guitar interludes and some clearer melodies, and sporadic appearance of Neige's hazy, drawn-out singing voice. The production job - which on the demo came dangerously close to completely ruining the music - is also a lot better here, giving the riffs the weight to really drag you along. The music is rich in feeling and atmosphere and nearly as satisfying as Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde is... however even if you are a BM puritan and think that Alcest lost all its appeal with the full-length, you'll probably still love this one. It's the perfect blend, really.
  1. Le Secret
  2. Elévation
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January 17, 2009

Reel Big Fish - Our Live Album...

Band/artist - Reel Big Fish
Genre(s) - Ska punk
Origin - United States of America
Album - Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album
Year of release - 2006

Double live albums are the best of albums, only exceeded by three-disc live albums of course but you can't have it all. This one is crammed full of purebred ska punk that's bound to make you skank around. Those responsible, the Reel Big Fish, have something entirely endearing. They don't have much up with politics and focus purely on fun, awesomeness and kicking asses. Retaining much more old school ska influences than for instance Less than Jake or Mad Caddies, their melodies are filled with a huge amount of positive energy, the lyrics are very hilarious and sarcastic and they take the time for some incredibly witty stage banter.
Tracks deal with relationships going horribly wrong, the vagaries of the music industry, picking up chicks, kicking ass, having a good time and other such light subjects, and there are way too many really awesome ones on here to point them out for you. The guys sound like they're really having fun on-stage, and with music like theirs, how couldn't they.

Disc 1 - Load it down (72.81 MB)
  1. Trendy
  2. Everything sucks
  3. The bad guy
  4. Maximum swearing
  5. Ban the tube top
  6. She's famous now
  7. Drinkin'
  8. Boys don't cry
  9. I want your girlfriend to be my girlfriend (too)
  10. Dateless losers
  11. The set up (you need this)
  12. Somebody hates me
  13. Valerie
  14. Talkin' bout a revolution
  15. Beer
  16. Take on me
  17. S.R.
Disc 2 - Load it down (56.15 MB)
  1. Kiss me deadly
  2. So much for rock 'n' roll
  3. The 90s
  4. She has a girlfriend now
  5. The kids don't like it
  6. The fire
  7. A little doubt goes a long way
  8. I'm trying to be funny
  9. Awesome
  10. Turn the radio off
  11. Where have you been?
  12. Good thing
  13. Your guts (I hate 'em)
  14. Nothin'
  15. Best band ever
  16. Don't start a band
  17. A fond adieu
  18. Sell out

January 16, 2009

Kreator - Endless Pain

Band/artist - Kreator
Genre(s) - Thrash metal
Origin - Germany
Album - Endless Pain
Year of release - Early 1985

I bought Endless Pain on a whim when I was 14 and at that time it was the most extreme cd that I had, but it was instant love. Thrash metal is not my type of music - too angular - and t
o this date, Kreator are perhaps the only band that I can really say I like. Endless Pain, their debut, is a darker, cruder, slower affair than the three or four 'classic' albums that followed, in fact there's a lot of early Bathory in here. Texts are mostly about satan and killing people, rather a pity but you must remember it was the spirit of the times and these guys were no more than teens when they wrote this. Most of the songs have excellent riffage and the dank dungeon smell of eighties' old school thrash and proto-black metal makes this one of Kreator's most interesting releases. Tormentor and Flag of Hate, two of the best songs, are still played live today and notice the cool, almost epic bridges in Dying Victims and Son of Evil.
  1. Endless pain
  2. Total death
  3. Storm of the beast
  4. Tormentor
  5. Son of evil
  6. Flag of hate
  7. Cry war
  8. Bonebreaker
  9. Living in fear
  10. Dying victims
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January 11, 2009

Yes, it's Harry Potter

Band/artist - Various
Genre(s) - Wizard rock!!
Origin - Mainly the USA, I believe
Album - Another of my own compilations
Year of release - Never

So I made you a Wizard rock compilation. Wizard rock? Oh yeah. Rock - well it can be any type of music really - with lyrics about the Harry Potter books. Hey, don't laugh, there's hundreds of metal bands who think they're tough because they've got Tolkien-inspired nicknames and lyrics. And that while
Harry Potter books lead children to witchery, satanism and jumping out of windows carrying brooms, while LotR teaches adults to LARP, so which is the grimmest series here? I'm not ashamed to profess my undying love for Joanne K. Rowling and the wonderful, wonderful world that she's made! Anyway, Wizard rock bands obviously consist of mostly obsessed fans turned amateur bedroom musicians, so don't expect much more than simple rock and acoustic popsongs, lovingly crafted as a homage to the series, its characters and settings and events. However, The Fate of Severus Snape is a bit postpunkish and The Sectumsempras are a Wizard darkwave project. Picture above by Dave Roman, who is not me.
  1. The Whomping Willows - Ginny is a punk rocker
  2. The Whomping Willows - Bad case of the voldies
  3. Draco and the Malfoys - Hippogriffs deserve to die
  4. Draco and the Malfoys - My dad is rich
  5. The Parselmouths - It's not half bad
  6. The Hermione Crookshanks Experience - Hey hey Ron
  7. The Hermione Crookshanks Experience - Not the messenger
  8. Ginny and the Heartbreakers - I have red hair
  9. Ginny and the Heartbreakers - Halloween at Hogwarts
  10. Ginny and the Heartbreakers - The happiest day
  11. The Sectumsempras - Judgement
  12. The Remus Lupins - The Order
  13. The Remus Lupins - Fate of Severus Snape
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Stillhet - Domt at Have Sit Liv Forbrudt

Band/artist - Stillhet
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - Norway
Album - Domt at have sit liv forbrudt
Year of release - 2007

Tried this one out because of the seriously grim album art, expecting some equally grim music though not anything mindblowing. And well guess what, that's exactly what I got. It's definitely good stuff, with a solid sound and well put-together songs (especially Rovmord and Vemod og Skam), played with precision and sadistic fervour. But the band hasn't got anything extra to offer that separates them from all other "average" black metal bands - not yet, at any rate. I did also find an earlier demo, Gjemt i Skyggene, showing that with this here EP, Stillhet have considerably improved their skill as songwriters and musicians, since. With this in mind I am curious to see how hey will develop as a band from here, and hope they will find something to set themselves apart from their peers. The potential is definitely there.
  1. Intro
  2. Rovmord (murder-robbery)
  3. Hatets energi (hate's energy)
  4. Vemod og skam (sadness and shame)
  5. Den ugudelige (the ungodly)
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Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails

Band/artist - Quicksilver Messenger Service
Genre(s) - Psychedelic rock
Origin - San Francisco, USA
Album - Happy Trails
Year of release - 1968

A band from the same regional scene as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, but considerably less known. QSM's music is also quite comparable to the aforementioned bands: psychedelic soundscapes, wicked dual lead guitar interplay, and lots of improvisation. However, compared to JA and the GD, Quicksilver keep a bit more firmly to the doped-up blues rock that forms the foundation of their music. Hence Happy Trails is a very chill, not too demanding album that will most likely put you in a comfortable mood no matter what state of mind you're in. I've always thought it's the album that gives the best cross-section of what their music was about, and it captures some if not most of the band's best moments. You could divide it into two halves: the Who Do You Love-suite, which is entirely based on a very much extended live Bo Diddley cover, and the part around the very much "out there" 13-minute track Calvary.
  1. Who do you love (part 1)
  2. When do you love
  3. Where do you love
  4. How do you love
  5. Which do you love
  6. Who do you love (part 2)
  7. Mona
  8. Maiden of the cancer moon
  9. Calvary
  10. Happy trails
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January 6, 2009

Pixies - Surfer Rosa

Band/artist - Pixies
Genre(s) - Alternative rock (back then that term meant something)
Origin - United States of America
Album - Surfer Rosa
Year of release - 1988

Before trying this album out I really only knew the Pixies' track Where Is My Mind?, which I've always found very depressing, so when I tried out this album for the very first time it turned out a bit different than I had in mind. I had always assumed them to be more post-punkish, and still have trouble labelling the band as alternative rock because the term is thrown around rather indiscriminately and "alternative" doesn't mean much anymore since the late nineties. Pixies sound like a gathering of damaged souls and deranged minds and the term rock just doesn't seem to do the results of this gathering justice. In any case, rock or otherwise, Surfer Rosa is a rusty, rickety rollercoaster of emotions - from soaring highs through sharp turns to extreme lows - taking full advantage of its uncompromisingly barren, skeletal production. Favourite songs of mine: the adrenaline-fueled Oh My Golly, spookily endearing Break My Body and of course still the haunting, manic-depressive Where Is My Mind? Which are yours?
  1. Bone machine
  2. Break my body
  3. Something against you
  4. Broken face
  5. Gigantic
  6. River Euphrates
  7. Where is my mind?
  8. Cactus
  9. Tony's theme
  10. Oh my golly!
  11. Vamos
  12. I'm amazed
  13. Brick is red
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January 4, 2009

Once upon a time in Gaza

Band/artist - Various artists
Genre(s) - Arab traditional music
Origin - Palestine, and Palestinian refugees from all over the world
Album - Palestine - Music of the Intifada
Year of release - 1989
  1. Sabaya Al Intifada - Min al mukhayyam toulad al ru'aya
  2. In A'd Rifaki - Al raba'yye
  3. In A'd Rifaki - Al kassam al filistini
  4. Al-amal Ashabi - Jirah lan tamout
  5. Abnaa el-Balad - Ajrass al intisar
  6. Palestinian Student Karmel Group - Al intifada was jabal al thawra
  7. In A'd Rifaki - Kulluna fil tareeq
  8. Palestinian Student Karmel Group - Watani laysa hakiba
  9. Muhiddine Al Bagdadi - Al fajir
  10. Sabaya Al Intifada - Jabal al zaytoun
  11. Al-amal Ashabi - Bism ilhurriya
  12. Sabaya Al Intifada - Ummi al habiba
  13. Muhiddine Al Bagdadi - Al hegran
  14. In A'd Rifaki - In a'd rafiki
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As I am posting this Israel wages a brutal war against the population at large of one of the last free strongholds of an already occupied, strangled land. After a week of bombardments and artillery fire, Israeli forces have entered Gaza in order to cripple the democratically chosen party Hamas whose paramilitary wing has been firing homemade rockets in answer to continuing blockades that brought the Gaza Strip far beyond the brink of a humanitarian crisis. As mounting anger and worry culminated into massive protests around the world, we took to the Amsterdam streets yesterday with nearly 10 000 men and women - Muslims, Christians, Jews, Socialists and everybody else who cares for Palestine, to protest the attack. Mainstream media speak of 1 500 to "several thousands" of protesters but this (sped-up) video by thentythreetv proves these estimates fall short of the truth:

Al-Jazeera has broadcasted the Amsterdam demonstration in the Gaza strip(!) to bring the Palestinians the strength of international solidarity. Obviously, the people in Gaza aren't happy about this either and they will not let themselves be punished for the resistance the Zionist agenda keeps eliciting against itself. Bombings and violent "incursions" will only drive more people to pick up weapons.
No short video can show the Palestinian spirit of resistance better than this one:

If you want you can also download the
mp3 - here.

Until Israel withdraws from Gaza, lifts all the supply line blockades, allows all refugees since the Nakba the inalienable Right of Return and respects the Palestinian borders as laid down at the partition plan in 1948 - giving back all Palestinian territories it occupies since the 1967 war - we must and I will support Palestinian armed struggle. Of course this is only one step. In the end there must be one state,
not a Jewish state or an Arab state, but one state for both. Before this happens there will be no true peace in the Middle East.

Mortuus Infradaemoni - Daemon Qui Fecit Terram

Band/artist - Mortuus Infradaemoni
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - Rosenheim, Germany
Album - Daemon Qui Fecit Terram
Year of release - 2007

This band caught my attention because of the membership of Nathaniel and Profanatitas, two of Lunar Aurora's ever-shortlived drummers. If you're familiar with that band (and you should, whoever you are), you know you can expect quality from Mortuus Infradaemoni. They play fast, chaotic black metal, rather more straightforward than much of the material by Lunar Aurora but with the familiar suffocating density that takes the conscious into unknown territory. Though the music consists mostly of a barrage of blastbeats and rather orthodox melodies - musical variety is nearly-absent here - the murderous rapture that this album breathes is quite infectious. With this debut, Mortuus Infradaemoni proved to be a promising new star on the intelligent German BM firmament. With Lunar Aurora on indefinite hiatus, I hope this band among others can start to fill the hole they left.
  1. Ex ignis orior
  2. Oneris et iactura
  3. Ad facies mortis
  4. Terriblis est locus iste
  5. In nebulae visionis serpentem
  6. Vita somnium breve
  7. Gods of horror and abysmal grief
  8. Metamorphosis
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Will-o-the Wisp - Ceremony of Innocence

Band/artist - Will-o-the Wisp
Genre(s) - Progressive
psychedelic rock
Origin - Greece
Album - Ceremony of Innocence
Year of release - 2004

My interest in psychedelic rock comes and goes and at the moment it's at the bottom of its curve. Doesn't stop me from sharing Ceremony of Innocence with you. This has for some time been one of my favourite modern psychrock albums. Where most bands nowadays easily cross into fuzz-heavy, stonerlike territory, Will-o-the Wisp keep a transparent sound, with open arrangements and not much in the way of heaviness or distortion. They have a bit of a mysterious, fairytale-like atmosphere, with a lot of keyboard (go go Hammond organ!) touches and a clean guitar sound. You may have to get used to singer Angelos Gerakitis' remarkable vocals but I think it nicely fits the music and the lyrics, which in turn also reflect the band's magical sound. Songs like Fairies Waltz and Hew a Dream in the Twilight - and all the others, too - are soothing to listen to in these cold, dark days.
  1. Smoke suspended in the still air
  2. The rabbit under the teardrop's shade
  3. Shadows of daylight
  4. The reaper's paper boat
  5. Hew a dream in the twilight
  6. Haze secrets
  7. A William Blake's song
  8. Fairies waltz
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January 2, 2009

Alanis Morissette - MTV Unplugged

Band/artist - Alanis Morissette
Genre(s) - Singer-songwriter, pop
Origin - Canada
Album - MTV Unplugged
Year of release - 1999

I must confess I love - that is, I used to love Alanis Morissette (sorry, sorry) but MTV Unplugged is still quite dear to me because for me, there's a lot of good memories attached to this release. Her studio albums always have a few great songs but there's always too much filler, and there's usually something in the mix or the production that gets to my nerves too much to enjoy the tracks. This live set was recorded after Jagged Little Pill, which was much too dry, and Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie which had too much going on in the mix, and sees these problems fixed. In a live situation her songs sound more natural and especially Joining You and I Was Hoping, songs that did not especially stand out on SFIJ, are lifted to unpreceded heights. Another great surprise is the exclusive track No Pressure Over Cappuccino. Her old hits off JLP benefit from the production but aren't half so angry anymore which is a shame. Good stuff though!
  1. You learn
  2. Joining you
  3. No pressure over cappuccino
  4. That I would be good
  5. Head over feet
  6. Princess familiar
  7. I was hoping
  8. Ironic
  9. These R the thoughts
  10. King of pain (Sting cover)
  11. You oughta know
  12. Uninvited
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January 1, 2009

Räserbajs - Noppriga Tights och Moonboots

Band/artist - Räserbajs
Genre(s) - Punkrock
Origin - Sweden
- Noppriga Tights och Moonboots
Year of release - 1995

To be honest, I have very little to tell about Räserbajs. They're Swedish and they want you to know it. They play hypermelodic punkrock, not pretending to be a threat to the system or anyone in general. Apparently the lyrics are political at times, but personally I can't really tell. It's quite happy, playful music and always fun to listen to. According to a friend, bajs means shit but räser has no real meaning. Perhaps they mean razor-shit. Catchy!
  1. Alinge Texas
  2. B. Stjärt, C. Tilt, O. Gissa den 3e
  3. Jag legend
  4. I magen på Anette
  5. Kollektiv Avrättring
  6. O-låten
  7. Intelligensreserven
  8. Frihet
  9. Kommandoren
  10. Spriten räddade mig från sporten
  11. Fine flickor
  12. Interna klubben
  13. Kulturfabriken
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