Sunday, June 19, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The first news on Foo Fighters releasing a new album this year did not get any decent reaction from me – probably a few new pop-rock tunes to hear from “alternative“ radio stations and surely a nominee for the next MTV awards, but nothing more, thought I, shrugging my shoulders and closing the newsletter. As someone once quite fitly said about the Foo Fighters: seeking a thrill from their album is like trying to find the artistic value of “Desperate Housewives“ – you do not turn it off when it’s playing on the background, as it does not exceed to annoy you; you sometimes, when it’s on and you’re bored to death, even watch an episode or two but you would never imagine yourself dashing to the cinema to see the new movie or be willing to sacrifice hours of standing in line to get the collectors’ DVD. Well, that’s what I thought of FF before „Wasting Light“ as well.
There are numerous true gems on the Foos’ seventh album, ranging from ripping thrash-punk tunes to gloomy ballads which are all neatly delivered to the eager ear. The neatness, perhaps, being usually a turn-off considering mainstream alternative rock groups, seems to be the key element bringing this album to a whole. Despite the lability of style, the guys know how to master their instruments and yet again, less being more, as they carry the album perfectly out by keeping it professional and -- simple.
White Limo, being an absolute favourite of mine, shocks the listener with rampant killer punk-metal riffs and amazing screamo-vocals from Grohl, backed with Hawkins’ blastbeatish pulse and nearly squealing guitar riffs. Not to mention the ingenious video shot up looking like a 90s home video / an over-the-top “Jackass” sketch, where the clearly intoxicated Lemmy from Motörhead drives the band round LA with a white limo.
Offering some serious competition for the best track on the album is the tear-breaker I Should Have Known, a heavyweight confessional piece dedicated to Grohl’s suicidal friend (sidenote: not Cobain!). The murky jam with Krist Novoselic on bass and accordion takes you somewhere cold and damp, into hoplessness and solitude through a magnificent hypnotic play of notes and rythm.
The chart-conquering Rope performs well over expectations as well. There are no signs of a boring 4-chord Foo Fighters’ sample hit, as the track has more to it than the headliners of their previous albums have all together. Rope starts out with a brilliant minimalistic intro (with late downbeat drop-in – something you’d expect from e.g Incubus) and a catchy combo of verse and pre-chorus with a clever funk to it, combining it all to a cute energetic chorus perfectly suitable for a love song as the lyrics tell. Followed by a ravishing drum solo, the song has it all to make waves among an avid Fighters’ fan as well as any other melomaniac.
But then there’s a whole bunch of songs that are kinda a bore. Back And Forth, for instance, succeeds horribly well in mimicking Jon Bon Jovi and highly-praised Alandria brings me the shivers – clearly not the good ones – as the chorus associates to me only with Õllesummer and Jaagup Kreem. But hey, no good without bad, right?
Yet another disappointment strikes when I realise that in addition to the good and the bad that tend to go hand-in-hand there are several other tracks that have received comments such as “typical FF”, “Times Like These vol.2”, “standard crowd-pleaser” and “stadium material”. Counting the pros and cons, it vaguely starts to show that the not-that-pleasant songs drub the gems by far, making them more like the rarities of the album than the overall look to discribe Wasting Light as a whole.
So is it true that I’ve been brainwashed by the media in the most obvious sense? Seems so, for hearing that FF is recording an album with Nirvana’s producer Buch Vig (Nevermind) and guest appearances such as Novoselic and Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü) plus the fact that the whole album is recorded in Grohl’s garage on analog tape got my dribble running and imagination afloat. Nevertheless, the album is definitely a step for the better when keeping the fact that we’re talking about Foo Fighters in mind. Let’s just hope the next LP will keep a similar upwards line and in a few years, Grohl & co will have the label “pop rock” shaken off of them.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
When on a sunny summer day I ended up listening to Bombillaz` concert, I was quite amazed by the performance. I had heard them before - from the radio. It was quite random "reggae stuff" for me and it did not touch my soul in any way.... but in front of the stage I felt somehow connected with the music, lyrics - the general positive vibe they had- and I started to really listen.
In the music of Bombillaz one can find elements of folk, reggae, ska and dub — everything from African tribal styles to Oriental pop. To broaden their musical horizons and obtain new inspiration several of the musicians visit regularly various exotic cultures. The band consists of talented musicians - vocalist Kill Kaare aka Kill Baba (also plays exotic drums) , the master of Indian tablas, the drummer Arno Kalbus aka Ornu Maharaj, vocalist Silver Sepp (also plays mandolin and clarinet) , percussionist Allan Prooso, bassguitarist Tanel „Kass“ Liiberg and guitarist Martin Matt.
The tracks are full of cheerful, entertaining and relaxed mood. The oriental feeling is created with the mandolin, clarinet, exotic drums and of course with the very eastern way of singing.
I really enjoyed the "Vaigust nukk" where slow movement is created by a groovy leading bass line and enjoyable drums. This track also holds a deeper and stronger message if you start to listen. They say "Do not get stuck in things you don`t need because life is too short!". The other track I also love is "Halileela" because of its almost meditative vocal part (at least for me) which gave me a ... feeling.
"Siit mina tulen" is the only track I do not like from the album. Okey, I can listen to it. For a little bit. But too happy, too energetic, too ska for me. This too-happy-sounding tires me out. Although lyrics again carrie a strong positive message which we all can relate to, I think.
All in all I can say that it is nice to hear world music in our estonian language. The rhythms and vibe of this kind of music are great! It is a bit unbelievable to see that some of the Nordic men have the same vibe and rhythm in their blood. A strong side of their music is a deep, a bit hidden and layered message which is accompanied by groovy music. They have made a hole album full of nice, relaxed, professional and positive music. Although I have to say the album in my cd player is good... it is even better when it`s performed live.
Linkin Park is an American rock band from California, USA, which was formed in 1996. The band has released four albums and has had tremendous success with each one of them. The first album went Diamond and multi-platinum in several countries followed by three more albums that all topped the Billboard charts. The last album A Thousand Suns was released in September 2010 and was no exception when it comes to success.
Linkin Park plays alternative rock/metal, mixed with rap and hip-hop and has succeeded to adapt these genres to a radio-friendly style.
A Thousand Suns can be classified among those certain kind of albums that follow a specific theme throughout the album and carry a deep message. Although it received great feedback, many long-time fans were not so eager to listen to it, because the band had done something totally new and less conventional. The theme of the album is strongly political and talks about the human kind’s biggest danger – nuclear war. It is an album that must be listened as a wholesome packet, so to treat every song individually is somewhat pointless. Although, the album does contain tracks that can be listened separately, the full effect still forms when they are listened in the given context.
The lyrics from the first introductory song: "God save us, everyone, we will burn inside the fires of a thousand suns" make a dramatic start. The second song, being only 3 seconds longer (2:01), is an interview with J. Robert Oppenheimer. This pattern of speeches occurs also in Wisdom, Justice, and Love with a speech of Martin Luther King, Jr and in Wretches and Kings where the speech belongs to Mario Savio.
The third song Burning in the Skies is a first full-length song that carries a mellow mood and nice piano sound. Fourth song, Empty Spaces is again a sequel with 18 seconds of chirping grasshoppers, gun shots and distant shouts. Fifth song, When They Come For Me, is the most Linkin-Park-like-song with pristine drum sounds and rap that truly kick-starts the war theme and sets the right mood. It is followed by Robot Boy, with stunning piano intro; and although all these amazing sounds take you instantly somewhere else, one should still not forget that alongside these fearsome tunes, the lyrics are definitely worth listening to for they have truly gone the whole way when writing them.
The sixth song Waiting for the End is probably the most famous one from the album, for it has been played on our radio stations for months and is apparently the most radio-friendly song, with catchy music and lyrics. What distinguishes it from other songs is also this fake impression that it’s a positive song when it actually talks about, as the title itself says, – the end.
However, this positive impression does not last, because the gloomy sounds, combined with speech sequels are back to stay. It’s also nice to hear Chester Bennington’s famous scream in Blackout and see that their old style is still remained. So: “Fuck it Are you listening?”
The culmination of the album is definitely The Catalyst. Here the epic lyrics from the first intro song are heard again, but with the most effective electronic sounds. And just as the emotions are in the highest point the album suddenly ends with the last song The Messenger which light guitar sounds leave you kind of uneasy and...waiting for the end.
A Thousand Suns is definitely not an album full of fa-la-la-fa-la-la songs that you can listen to make your car drive more fun or sleep more peaceful. Linkin Park has made something remarkably different and REAL. This mixture of genres accompanied by deep lyrics may not suit for everyone, but if you want to gain something more from music than just a background sound, than this album is certainly worth listening to.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Their idea was to try and create eight songs in eight hours with the help of prompts from Twitter and to stream the whole creative process online. Thus 8in8 was born. The experiment was prompted by them all agreeing to appear at a conference discussing the impact of internet on the music industry called ReThink Music. Suffice to say, even if they did not reach their goal of eight songs it still is a testament to the major role of networks like Twitter, YouTube and Bandcamp as opposed to labels and high and mighty corporate people like it was a decade go.
Obviously because the whole writing and mixing process took only 12 hours the songs are not perfect but they are all charming in their own simplistic way. With a professional writer aboard, and the god of fantasy at that, you can at least expect a slightly macabre quality to the lyrics and Gaiman does not fail to deliver. Although they have stressed that all the songs were a collaborative effort there is a distinct feel to some songs.
Nighty Night starts with the slightly aggressive Nikola Tesla sung by Amanda Palmer. It is very reminiscent of The Dresden Dolls, carrying the same punk cabaret feel. Making a song about a scientist is always a good move to get into my graces and making it a love song about Tesla, everybody’s favourite mad scientist, that is definitely a winner.
From physics and love the mood moves to the parental ballad Because the Origami. With the release of the album there was a call out to people to make their own music videos for the songs and this track so far has had a video with the most controversial response. I admit the lyrics can be understood in different ways and, as it later turned out even the performers had different visions of the meaning.
Fortunately the whole album is not just full of sad tracks. The up-beat yet slightly macabre Twelve Line Song also known for the theme as The Squirrel Song is rather cheerful for a song that starts I saw a squirrel kill himself, he drowned in my bath. The backing vocals show that they obviously were having fun while recording and it carries, making you at least tap a foot if not manically dance around to room singing along. A bit terrible to say it but that squirrel’s death was definitely not in vain.
I’ll Be My Mirror is something of a black sheep of the album because it is the only track not written with the help of the fans on Twitter. A true story about a Chinese woman who is shouting at her reflection in the mirror, apparently a quite famous person in an area of Boston and at the same time a slight tribute to the Velvet Underground song I’ll Be Your Mirror.
Finishing the album is my personal favourite for several reasons, The Problem With Saints. It is a brilliantly witty and macabre tune sung by Neil Gaiman himself. He seems to be channelling Eric Idle with the recitative singing or perhaps it is just the lyrics giving that impression. Either way, we have to thank his rhyming skills that provided him with the word ‘hols’, forcing him to sing it himself.
Now he has made a record and he is singing for all of us. His album „ Let them talk“ is smooth and simple yet interesting. His vocal is very good and it sounds that he is truly enjoying himself-he should because music suits him.And it's a bit weird that it doesn't feel like Doctor House is singing ,I mean it actually should feel like that to me because I'm not really seen a lot of his other movies or serials but when he sings it is easy to forget who is singing.Just listening some good blues that also suits rainy weather that we have here in Estonia.“Let Them Talk” is the first album to be recorded by Hugh Laurie after signing to Warner Bros Records in 2010. Produced by Joe Henry and recorded in Los Angeles and New Orleans, the album is a celebration of New Orleans blues.
All of his songs have some sort of similarity,some line that goes through them.Hugh himself thinks that it tells a story. Hugh Laurie is probably your best friend when you want a glass of wine. Song called „Buddy Bolden’s Blues“ is mellow and makes you feel like Hugh is singing next to you. Hugh makes you feel like you are not alone. Even though all the songs are covers it made me feel like they are fresh and first.
The album is quite instrumental and a lot of jamming is going on so there is something for friends of improvisation. For example the fifth song „ Battle of Jericho“ where the melody is simple, but what goes on between the lyrics makes you listen to it. Some of the songs are collaborations with well known artists such as Tom Jones, Irma Thomas and Dr. John. Laurie plays piano and guitar on the album in addition to providing lead vocals.
The mournful "The Whale Has Swallowed Me," with its spare acoustic guitar accompaniment, is another chance for Laurie to shine as the lost, frightened narrator. A backdrop of shuddering fiddle and dobro gives the song an even more ominous tone.
Quite dramatical is the song called „Swenee River“ and dramatical in a good way. There is a strong deep start and then the party will begin but it is not the sort of party where you want to dance,it still makes you want to sit down and listen to jolly music.
So Hugh Laurie can relax your mind and take some pressure off and is a good friend from the start. He sings about everything-whales, church, friends, dancing. There is this one song „Police Dog Blues“ that just tells a honest story. It feels like everything is so real and simple so Hugh doesn’t have to make a big effort. Another good song is „Tipitana“ with a little twist that makes you love Hugh. It somehow shows his personality. But the song called“ The’re Red Hot“ is a bit too country for this album.
The last song in this album is a nice ending. It kind a refers to the name of the album and it makes you think:
“ Let them talk I’m just gonna listen to some music“.
Elena Jane Goulding was a student at the University of Kent, who one evening entered the university’s talent contest. Next thing she knows, she becomes the recipient of the Critics’ Choice Award at the BRIT Awards and her debut album Lights is number one in the UK Album Chart. Quite an impressive turn of events, isn’t it?
There are many reasons for Ellie’s sudden rise to fame. First of all, a producer called Starsmith must be named, he is the one responsible for adding infectious electronic beats to Goulding’s music and thereby turning simple acoustic songs into universal hits.
However, the fact that Ellie is a genuine singer-songwriter is equally important. Each and every track on the album was initially an acoustic melody on Ellie’s guitar. Folk music is something very close to her heart, and it is good to see that she has managed to stay true to herself while creating her sound, which has been categorized as ‘folktronic’ by some music critics. What is more, Ellie has said that she is the kind of person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She finds it impossible to sing about something that she does not believe in. Indeed, underneath the dancey beats, nice lyrics can be found. Not the most exceptional examples of poetry, but they definitely strike a chord with their sincerity and authenticity. Another, and perhaps the most distinctive reason why Ellie’s songs have been attracting the attention of the music world, is her unique voice, which is naively innocent, yet has a sense of soulfulness to it. Considering the above, it’s safe to say that Ellie Goulding isn’t your typical manufactured pop princess. She has a lot more substance than that, and Lights does a pretty good job showcasing it.
All ten tracks on Lights similarly consist of a simple yet haunting melody, catchy beats and a mix of subtle nuances. At times, however, the blend seems a bit too mechanical, making the end result sound somewhat artificial. Frankly, some songs would be better in their original acoustic version, without the interference of the producers. That being said, on most tracks the concept works. The opening track of the album, Guns and Horses, kind of epitomizes Ellie’s style: it’s a wonderfully folky song that begins with simple guitar and then gradually unfolds into a classic example of electro-pop. The eclectic Starry Eyed is one of the most captivating tracks, once its echoing harmonies start replaying in your mind, they are bound to stay there for days. Under the Sheets is another standout track in which the combination of infectious beats, a haunting melody and Ellie’s mesmerizing vocals is at its best, creating a distinctively Ellie-esque bittersweet atmosphere. In the lovely ballad The Writer, elements of folk music are strongly noticeable and the dreamy vocals beautifully capture the longing in the lyrics.
Lights is, with a few exceptions, refreshing and enjoyable. Not an album from where to look for a deeply moving musical experience, yet perfect for less refined listeners who allow themselves the simple pleasure of getting carried away by a catchy pop song. It’s definitely worth to give it a go, if nothing more, you might find yourself starry eyed for a while, and when you come to think of it, what’s so bad about that?
Friday, June 10, 2011
Dagö is the name of a band that every Estonian knows or, at least, has heard of. Two and a half years ago they went on a well-deserved break after having released 5 albums and a concert dvd+cd and performed on numerous festivals and summer tours in the past 10 years. But now they are back with new members expect for the backbones of the band - Lauri Saatpalu and Peeter Rebane. The fresh formation has brought with itself a fresh Dagö, which seems well rested and eager to show another side of their music without forgetting their beloved hits. The music seems to differ from the previous Dagö mainly because of different musicians playing it. Although, Saatpalu and Rebane are the same, the changes in the rest of the group have had a great influence on them. There have been constant changes in the members of the band and co-operated with other musicians like Kristiina Piperal from the Superstar Show and actresses Hele Kõrve and Eveling Pang, in the past. But what distinguishes Dagö from the others, is the duo Saatpalu-Rebane and the rest of the band contribute to their talent. Dagö at its best is by themselves doing their own thing and that is what can be found from their latest album Plaan Delta.
The album was released in the spring of 2011 but the new songs were already tested on their audience almost six months before with concerts in Tartu, Tallinn and Viljandi. I was lucky enough to see them in Tallinn, six meters underground in Hell Theatre – a venue of Tallinn City Theatre – and with those few months they have come a long way, as in December it was clear that they had been only in the studio for quite a while and their performance was greatly affected by it, especially when they started to play the older songs. But by April the new members had learned all the necessary pieces and perfected themselves to a point where the performance was complete.
The 12 tracks on Plaan Delta are all separate pieces that have blended into one unity, which makes listening to it a time well spent. I would rather to start with my least favourite track – Migreen – it is just one of those songs I have a hard time relating to. Most probably it is because I do not suffer under horrific migraines and therefore, I do not know if you do feel as if “a punch of guys trample on the attic of my asylum and they shout me into a corner, me inside my own head”. But like many songs by Dagö, this one also ends up focusing on social problems – the migraine of our society where everyone and everything seems sick from certain angles.
The title song of the album captured my attention with the masculine background vocals. It is something I have not noticed about them before, but I guess this is the first time they realised to skilfully use their musicians’ voices. The same is done in a few other songs, such as Klaipeda and Veneetsia. The focus on different geographical places is something new in comparison to the ‘old Dagö’. In addition to connecting their music to Klaipeda and Venice, they introduce Corfu and Estonia in songs Korfu and Minu Eesti. The latter seems to be influenced by the patriotism that has widely spread in the last few years. But all these place-related songs deal actually with the human nature and the different aspects of it. It is something very characteristic of Dagö, but as mentioned before they express it somewhat differently than before. Of course it would not be Dagö if they did not manage to connect the individual to the society and they find that connection by observing other people in their songs.
The most socially critical song seems to be Kultuuripealinn, which clearly refers to Tallinn being the European Capital of Culture for 2011 and it lively describes how the culture is only on the outside so that everyone can see how cultural we are. In my point of view this song justifies itself, as a great deal of this has been blown out of proposition. Festival is another critical song that is approached from a rather sarcastic angle. It is a situation that they have found themselves in for several times and likely will find again. But among all the sarcasm, there is sweetness introduced by a young girl in the front row. She is the one who lightly sways to the music and cannot take her dazzled eyes of the lead singer – a scene I have witnessed during most concerts I have been to.
The most memorable song on the album is Hakkaja as it truly binds together the masterful guitar skills of Rebane and the simple but meaningful lyrics of Saatpalu. At first hearing it at a live concert, it impressed me so much that it stayed with me for months and luckily the studio version did not disappoint at all.
Dagö – an island from where the Sun raises aka Hiiumaa. And truly the Sun has risen again with Dagö and brought new light to them. Although much seems different, it is still quite the same, but it is delivered in a different package. The album Plaan Delta clearly shows that they have not been twiddling their thumbs for the past two years, but have added new values to their renowned quality. It is interesting to see how they will continue from this point on and the first opportunity to compare the new and the old is this July when they go on the tour Plaan D with Bonzo and Tõun.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Accessibility can be both a blessing and a down-grade of its own kind. In fact, the more you have to take a proper plunge in order to get access to certain sounds, lyrics and music in general, the more sweeter the taste will probably be. The phenomenal taste of funk mixed with some ironic grudge, meaning TV on the Radio’s latest release and the most accessible one aswell, blows up all taste buds in a quite orgasmic way. And with a cherry on top.
TV on the Radio is a group of funky Brooklyneers, Tunde Adebimpe, Kyp Malone, Dave Sitek, Jaleel Bunton and Gerard Smith, who pull electronics, indie guitar rock, free jazz, funk, soul and a cappella doo-wop vocals out of their hats. As eclectic as it sounds, one must imagine this to be as synonymous to a melting pot as it can possibly be. And it truly is. No hesitations here, nor any over-wording. Meanings are all at their high at this point.
The newest as well as the fifth album, Nine Types of Light, is the follow-up to the band's overwhelmingly beautiful 2008 release, Dear Science, and proved to be its breakout release. Making a big entrance, it was named album of the year by MTV, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork and the grand old man, if I may, Rolling Stone. And the group touring behind the album sold out a year's worth of live shows across the world. Eat your heart out. This particular album bears a mushy undertone, with different hints to issues concerning the self-exploration of one’s heart. So this may seem odd.
It is odd. Of course it’s odd. Listening at this point is crucial. And VOILA! A pinch of sugar and spice and a cautious amount of chaos. Last of which leads to the realization, that change does not necessarily mean bad. It means it is time for some groove and irony. Future-funk and energy at its peak.
Nine Types of Light has a list of songs, which to an avid listener might at first seem as a contrast of some sort. Referring to the lyrics, of course. [Drum-rolls] : Love? That’s right! Take into consideration that the lyrics have a great deal of avant-garde-like and poetic charm in them. Instruments have a high vibe and are full of energy. The whole mixture of the instruments and melodies have an artistic palette to them, full of colors and simple-chic tones. Female voices raised at this time.
Reaching the point where the play-button is pushed, the songs all have a slightly lighter sound to them than an amount of previously released tracks. “Will do” is the first single off the album. Cutting to the chase – fuzzy and beautiful and…
"I'll be there to take care of you if ever you should decide that you don't want to waste your life in the middle of a lovesick lullaby"
…with a hint of straightforward sarcasm.
At the end of the album, when all is eaten up and given a chance to grow on you in a pleasant and soaking way, it will be felt that there are probably much more than nine types of light here. Fact.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Anyone in search of a good melody need only put on "Poker Face" or "Paparazzi or... Is there any more? A load of choices presents itself on Lady GaGa's 2011 Born This Way.
What is unnerving, however, is the feeling that she is viciously copying every classic pop song ever recorded and this suspicion is only fortified by the mastery of their concealment. Fortunately, the nifty tunes on the album soon make the prejudice and criticism vanish in the sheer beauty of the music. The lyrics are still quite banal and don't leave much for imagination but serve their purpose well to function as vessels for vocal delivery. But hey, Gaga is a socially-conscious pop star and probably understands what people want. Nearly all the songs on the album would sound good on the radio and on the dance floor as well as blasting from an aging rocker's stereo. "Electric Chapel" makes an evident nod towards guitar rock with its driving riff and "The Edge of Glory" effectively manages to fuse club music and classic rock with its anthemic chorus and a sax solo that almost seems to be the perfect extension of "Born to Run". Come to think of it, Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist of Springsteen's The E Street Band performed solos in both songs. The bizarre form of sincerity that GaGa has adopted elevates the album to the status of a statement, which couldn't be reached by her previous releases. A statement that nevertheless remains obscure aside from its obvious message: enjoy.
The heart-warming charm of the album comes from GaGa's soulful performance, leaving an indelible impression that she actually might mean what she is singing. Lady Gaga is a clear sign that pop's glory days are not over but poses a dilemma: what will the other girlies who'll follow suit and start imitating her eventually bring pop to? No worries. Gaga is still young and still very much here.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Come Around Sundown, released in 2010, will probably delight those who liked the band's 2008 Only by the Night and alienate the fans of their early efforts.
When the rolling mass of "The End" starts to sink in you may start to wonder whom KOL are ripping. And then your thoughts might also wander towards the same way during "Pyro". Ah, yes. "Drive" by The cars. A good source indeed if it's done well. And in this case it is. The band members themselves have described their sound as having a beachy groove to it, which is right on, because the fluidity of the tunes and watery instrument textures are as soothing as they are lukewarm and flat at times. The concise rock format the group adopted on its previous release Only by the Night is firmly asserted throughout the record and leaves little trace of their early garage vibes. Lyrical themes remain close to life and refrain from being too vague, which some might call a good thing. Kings of Leon has a generally likable fusion of U2, garage, southern and alt-rock; that is to say that classification is pointless and that the band comes across as honest with all their influences and provides a hopeful change for the ones not too keen on squeaky indie bands.
However, if you don't dig the boys' mix you can always go "Back Down South" and listen to Skynyrd.
Friday, May 20, 2011
One (wo)man band, Molly Nilsson, is a very mysterious artisit. There is very little about her in the Internet. Trying to google her name( or maybe artistic nick nickname?) one will not find much. Only laconic mentions, obsolated tour dates. Nothing... even the myspace adress seems to be out-of-date. But such appearances can be misleading. The fact that she does not care about that does not mean that she is lazy or retired. YouTube is full of Molly Nilsson's music clips. She also gives concerts all time. The strange thing is why such a talented song writer, composer, musican an singer does not seek popularity and fame.
Recording under her own label DARK SKIES ASSOCIATION, Molly Nilsson makes her own music totally indepedent. And that feeling of intimacy, privacy and sincerity makes her first album 'These things take time', recorded in 2008, very special. Some may think that such synthetic art-pop is grandiose. Maybe that it is a little bit kitschy... But I can't imagine anyone saying that this album is commercial. Obviously it was recorded with the urge to express artist's feelings, emotions exacly as she wanted to do so. Involving anyone else in her musical project shows that Molly Nillson doesn't accept compromises. That makes her record completely authorial which doesn't happen very often these days. Born in Sweden, she is now living in Berlin which is a great mix. Sweden's music industry is recently very appreciated even out of Europe. Everyone who tries to be up to date with recent releases is familliar with such names as Lykke Li, El Perro del Mar or Little Dragon. The successes of these music projects is the outcome of great, soft and pleasent female vocals. If so, why did Molly Nilsson decide to make her music in Germany? Maybe she feels better to create in a land of vocalists that have much more in common with electro music, such as Barbara Morgenstern, Miss Kittin, Soffy O... For sure Molly Nilsson fills the gap between these two ways of expression.
'These things take time' starts with opening song ' The lonely' which sounds like an electro- cabaret. The three next songs are also pretty much in this style. While listening to 'The Diamond song', '800 days' or ' Wounds itch when the heal' it is possible to have a film frames from The Cabaret in front of an eyes. The fifth song 'Whiskey sour' is bit different. Only the lyrics and vocal matters, music is just a background. It is a beatiful track about loneliness, night big-city life. Molly sings: „I would have called you if I had some credit on my phone. I always feel so stupid in a bar all alone” with such a sad voice that listener can easily imagine a lonely women getting drunk at the bar while waiting for someone who had never showed up. The seventh track 'Won't somebody take me out tonight' is a great combination of lyrics, vocals and music. Every one of these ingrediants separately would not be so impressive but together they form an outstanding, simple ballad. 'Hey moon!' seems to be the saddest from the whole album, the tune sounds like lullaby but it's cleary about a girl who can't fall asleep because she is thinking of someone while looking at the moon...
Molly Nilsson's debut album shows that simple music may be very touching and extremely good if it is made with heart. Album 'These things take time' also makes me think that massive studio with a bunch of proffesionalists in it is not crucial when we are dealing with one talented person. But it also makes me sad that very often such gifted people have to choose between recording under their own conditions and popularity.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Ewert Sundja, known to Estonians from “Kaks takti ette” and with his involvement in different bands since then (The Provokers, Precious, Thief) has not only established himself as a serious artist but in in doing so, gained recognition both home and abroad.
“Good Man Down” is the Two Dragons’ second studio album and fits into the modern music scene like an old 80s T-shirt on a college hipster. The album mixes folk, pop and indie with effortless grace, evoking a whole spectrum of emotions from “sounds like Radiohead” to “I want THAT playing at my funeral”. The lyrics are a hot mess of country-ish verse, carried by rhythmic tunes and a combination of Ewert’s lazy voice and cowboy pronunciation. The album’s first single, Good Man Down sounds as authentic as ever; and what is more, completely un-Estonian.
But the album is only picking up speed. Good Man Down is followed by Jolene, a reversed love song if you will. It is not the lead singer’s heart that bleeds after a girl, but ’Jolene’ is the one who craves him and, as the lyrics reveal, to no avail. But Jolene is not the only love song on the record – Road to the Hill manages to make a 180 turn from the melancholic folkishness that the whole album seems immersed in and introduces a much more livelier tune with soft-sounding piano and a more positive message. You Had Me at Hello retains some of that inherent sadness and longing, but like Road to the Hill, carries itself through without making the listener nor the singer cry. It is also the longest song on the album – a whopping 7:10 in total – and has the most enjoyable interlude of pure instrumental bliss as the song treads a pace to an almost marching drum that gives the silver lining and a promise of hope to otherwise wistful lyrics. (In the End) There’s Only Love is most like Road to the Hill, in a sense that it is another lively tune and is, in fact, the liveliest on the record. The listener cannot help but grin at the harmony of the backing vocals – you can almost picture the boys huddled up around a microphone, the rims of their hipster glasses almost touching as they try to channel Bono in Elevation. Sailor Man gives mixed signals, toying with emotion. But the progression of the song is close to perfect and the build-up beautifully done.
Panda, however, takes another turn for the melancholic. It is opium for the bruised soul, borderlining despair with lyrics like ’my legs of stone can’t carry me home’ and ’wanting it is tearing a hole in my soul’. It is obviously one of the most personal songs on the album, reflecting both Ewert and the group as a whole. The title Panda seems almost tongue-in-cheek – much like calling New York cheesecake Poo or 9/11 a misfortunate happening. The song is also lengthy, almost as long as You Had Me at Hello, which might be interpreted as another indicator of its personal nature. Burning Bush is the most Radiohead-esque piece on the record and has the potential to almost surpass them if it were not for the overly cryptic lyrics. That said, it is still enjoyable with its muffled vocals and minimal instrumentals, but suffers greatly from being less than three minutes long. All in all, the song feels static, built on an emotion or, rather, an image and therefore lacks progression.
Falling sounds dreadfully like ten other songs that I cannot put my finger on, but the fact that it sounds like other songs already says enough. It suffers the same chronic staticness as Burning Bush and unlike the latter, fails to bring in a personal element, not even a cryptic one. This song is also captivated by the image of, yup, you guessed it, falling and cannot seem to move away from it. Inevitably, this makes Falling the weakest song on the record. The Rabbit is folk personified, with touches of indie and country. The lyrics conjure up images of country bars and smoking pistols, trains and starry nights out. Ewert’s vocals are most lazy in this particular song and he sounds wise beyond his years, cautioning his listeners to live life to the fullest and make the right decisions in doing so.
Even if you are not an adherent of the indie scene or do not particularly enjoy folk elements in music, the Two Dragons still delivers. Melancholy might be the recurring theme, but it does nothing but elevate the album and give it a sense of cohesiveness. With the exception of a few [aforementioned] missteps, the album is nice whole and a most welcome addition to the Estonian music scene. If the Two Dragons were to venture more southwards one day, I know I would be the first in line to procure a ticket, regardless of the price.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
aka a few album suggestions
The following I’m able to provide in hard copy:
Aides “Aides“ (2010) – Intense-rock = a mixture of rock, ambient, punk, indie, metal and jazz sounds. Probably the best Estonian band out there at the moment.
Loits “Ei kahetse midagi” (2001/2005) – Wicked Estonian black metal with a patriotic twist, taking you right back to the battlefields of 1940s
Stem “Marble Men” (2007) – Modern melodical thrash/death metal, as they categorise themselves, straight from Tartu btw
Herbie Hancock “The Best Of/The Hits” (1999) – Some legendary sounds from the grand master of jazzz
Brides In Bloom “Bad and Beautiful” (2011) – Sweet alternative rock (that says a lot), both classic and contemporary. Half best-of, half brand new album but defo worth listening to
And a few names worth downloading:
Erykah Badu “Baduizm (live)” (1997) – Neo soul, r’n’b, funk.. PS Album sometimes entitled only “Live”
Looptroop “The Struggle Continues” (2002) – White hiphop to fight “the long arm of the law” and reveal the dark side of the Swedish super-society
Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders “Red Light Fever” (2010) – Hawkins’ solo project beats FF’s new album by far
So leave a comment if any of these succeeds in provoking interest and needs to be taken to class next week (:
Monday, April 18, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Loving The Alien - Black Science Fiction
The Wire Magazine, Issue #96 (Feb 92) | Essays
By: Mark Sinker | Featuring: Sun Ra/Arkestra
Fear Of A Wet Planet
The Wire Magazine, Issue #167 (Jan 98) | Essays
By: Kodwo Eshun | Featuring: Drexciya
Talking about Kate Bush, it's somehow hard not to think of Cocteau Twins and Portishead, and of course, the Lynch lady, Julee Cruise, though on the other hand, they don't seem to be particularly often mentioned in the same breath. Dream logic? Haunto-logic? And that "Cloudbusting" vid actually recalls this to me more than anything else... Distinctly hauntological.
Then there's all that sub(?)-trend in hauntology of the (long)deceased acts still "releasing" records. Elvis, 2Pac, you name it. Even duets with the dead...
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
By David Keenan
(you need to click "vaata pilti" after the right click to make it better readable)
By k-punk (Mark Fisher)
Estonian hypnagogy new and old
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
a) ..some people really seem to enjoy a simple French TOAST;
b) ..even David Lynch can be compared to THIS level of psychedelism;
c) ..VAMPIRES are not only the hiptrend of the last few years.
Also, if someone volunteers & wants to review
Bizarre - 'Café de Flor'
Badass Yuki - 'Black Apple Trip'
one can leave a comment here & I'd be kindly willing to upload or bring my hard-copy.
Why these albums in particular? They both seem positively gnarley and somewhat unusual to an average listener, like Thai food for an Italian.
My mind was racing in class
but still couldn't think of any music (genres, pieces)
I'd normally never listen.
The thing I just remembered: I don't listen to reggae. Ever.
With no disrespect to Bob Marley et al. -
I consider him as a true phenomenon - but it just isn't
something I would put in my playlist,
maybe the riddims just don't cut it for me..
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
N24.03.2011 / 21.00 / 3€
Tarhun Plazas esilinastumas
EESTI INDIKINO VIIMANE SÕNA
Ekraanil kaks häälekat filmi eesti heitlikust popkultuurist täna ja ajaloos. Ja pärast kino kuulame temaatilist mussi. Ehk soovijatele disko.
HAIGUSTE RAVI (2011)
Lühike mängufilm eesti popkultuuri hämaramast poolest: “Kontori-äng. Virn vanu eesti vinüülplaate pluss palju autoriteetseid, kuid halbu nõuandeid. Metsamaja rabaveerel. Just nendes teatud biol. tingimustes leiad sa, väike kinosõber, tee kurat teab kuhu.”
Rež, stsenaarium: Raul Viitung, Margus Univer
Kaamera: Indrek Kasesalu
Helilooja: Jakob Juhkam
Osades: Roland Laos, Piret Laurimaa, Marco Laimre, Kristy Leek, Igor Maasik, Kristo Sild, Raul Velbaum, Ott Aardam.
KOGU TÕDE ANSAMBLIST KORMORANID (2011)
Skandaalne uurimus ansamblist Kormoranid (1968-1969), mis avaldas lootust murda kõik ühiskondlikud ahelad, ent kaotas au ja koha kullafondis ning millest jookseb kinodes komöödiafilm “Kormoranid – ehk Nahkpükse ei pesta”. Selgitame välja, milline oli levimuusika kuldajastu kultuuriline kliima ja linastuv mängufilm võiks olla olemata. Eesti biit- ja rokkmuusika lapsepõlvele aitavad valgust heita Tõnis Mägi, Ivo Linna, Olav Ehala, Jaanus Nõgisto, Siim Nestor ja Jaanus Raudkats.
Autorid Madis Ligema ja Aleksandr Kheyfets.
Erilised tänud ansamblile Kooma!
Filmidele järgneb eesti levimuusika kullafondi parimate palade diskoõhtu, plaate valivad BERK VAHER & MARTIN JÕELA
Vaata lõustaraamatust: facebook.com/event.php?eid=191445034225156
Monday, March 21, 2011
Harry Smith's Anthology Of American Folk Music Volume 4
The Wire Magazine, Issue #195 (May 00) | Reviews
By: David Keenan | Featuring: Harry Smith
Kitsch of Distinction
The Wire Magazine, Issue #128 (Oct 94) | Essays
By: David Toop
Friday, March 18, 2011
the first tune that pops up in my mind is THIS.
It might just be the video that associates and
always brings a dumb smirk on my face
but the song itself is nonetheless unbelievably catchy & gets stuck in one's
Aside from quirky there's also absurd
and I still haven't figured out what's up with this TONETTA guy --
is he just an Internet troll or a lyrical messiah, can't really tell.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
There'll be some exotica and chilling folk/Americana coming up in the class and a number of tracks/artists mentioned in the next week's texts are also available in YouTube (a most generous back catalogue of Heino, mind you!). But as David Toop called for more Euro-trash and weird novelty stuff, I'll start the topic with something that got a lot of airplay back in my childhood and admittedly did not sound much off the wall at the time. The English seemed plausible and I never really paid much attention to the lyrics. But then as you go on, you're bound to start wondering what a song called "You're My Voodoo" was all about; so I had it retrieved from the radio archives a few years ago and it sure as hell left me bewildered. "Oh God, my dear, you're just in your early teens" - was this actually acceptable in Czechoslovakia'80? As, apparently, was comparing a girl to a puppy... or is it a pup compared to a girl... but then "early teens" would not be "just" (and it would hardly amount to less perversity)?
To top it off, the guy himself, aptly named Jiri Korn, flutters about in this frankly ribald dance routine, looking like the AC/DC singer doing a Michael Jackson impression while gazonked on acid'n'poppers... Flatcaps off, let's get Korny!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Indie's Sacred Cows
By Dr David Thorpe
NME Sacred Cow Blog:
Also, I'm reminding the possibility of suggesting records for others to - those can be uploaded or provided in hard copy.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The Wire Magazine, Issue #135 (May 95) | Interviews
By: Richard Cook | Featuring: Scott Walker
Hype Williams transcript
The Wire Magazine Issue #324 (Feb 11) | In Writing
By: Lisa Blanning | Featuring: Hype Williams
Friday, March 4, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
KALASTAN KAASAUTORIT: kas keegi oskab pakkuda ennast või mõnda sõpra/tuttavat kaasautoriks Areeni muusikakülgede tarvis? Esmajoones oleks vaja inimest a) kes suhtuks hasartselt moodsasse tantsumuusikasse ja b.) kes suhtuks samamoodi surbanisse/souli/hip-hoppi. Võib ka a+b-inimene olla. Pakkuda võib otse aadressile firstname.lastname@example.org - ja siis saab rääkida ka sellest, mida peale hasardi vaja läheb. Aitäh!