Top 5 2016 Albums.

Another year passed by and many interesting works were released. This year, more than others, will be more remembered for very important music artists lost…David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince and yesterday George Michael. Personally i don’t feel very affected because their music don’t represent my style but they made history so respect for them and for what they achieved in their lives. By the way, music industry -as well as life- doesn’t stop and we have to move forward instead of crying about the past.

In this (almost) past year i appreciated many works, but, choosing only 5, my favorite ones are:

5. The Orb – COW/Chill Out World (Electronic, Ambient)

Not an usual work for the english duo, but following the line of previous work Moonbuilding 2703 AD. This work seems a ‘new age’ work, very relaxing and peaceful, perfect as a background while you are doing something else.

4. M.I.A. – AIM (Alternative Dance, Alternative Rap)

I really like this artist, one of the most influent artists nowadays. I love her style of music made of many contaminations (never forgetting her indian origins) plus her way to give ‘take home messages’ to our generation. It’s not casual the award she has got from her video ‘Borders’ dedicated to Syria refugees crisis.

3. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (Alternative/Indie Rock)

Amazing work after 5 years of silence. I wouldn’t say they did something ‘really new’ from their previous works, but always a pleasant work, pure Radiohead style. As usual they also did very nice music videos directed by famous directors and visual artists.

2. Swans – The Glowing Man (Noise Rock, Experimental Rock)

Listening to Swans is always an ‘experience’. They started to play in the early 80’s and they still are amazing on stage. You have to be ready to long songs (some around 10 minutes), deep vocals and a lot of noise (many instruments)! In some songs it seems there are 3 different ones inside, starts in a way and ends in another one. This last work is a masterpiece.

1. Death in Vegas – Transmission (Electronic)

Like Radiohead, we had to wait 5 years to listen another work from them. Fortunately Richard Fearless didn’t leave us alone and we had the chance to listen many dj-sets and remixes. You will probably remember them for their famous Levi’s advertising song called Dirge. Despite their beginning (more guitars but always with an electric touch), over the years they became more and more electronic but -as well- more charming. Few songs were written (obviously by Richard Fearless) with ex pornstar Sasha Grey who also sings in ‘You disco i freak’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-nlvSKFLs8). Highly recommended. I’m gonna share my two favorite songs of this work.

 

 

November Best Releases

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It’s almost the end of the year and time to think about the best LPs of the year (i will make as usual in a different post), but this autumn is being great so better to enjoy it.

Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways (Post Grunge, Indie Rock)

Recalling a TV show with the same, one of the most popular rock bands come back and it’s not a surprise since alla the media announced it since months ago. They are in the mainstream so it’s part of the game.  I personally prefer when the band is not SO popular worldwide because every time it happens, often the result is being more commercial (big record companies want that obviously). Also this work is very good, i like it, but over the years they probably have lost something, even if Dave Grohl’s determination and work dedication are always up. Energy while you drive.

Pink Floyd – The Endless River (Progressive Rock)

What i have to add more for one of the most influent rock bands in the music history? Not much obviously. Roger Waters is not there but still a pleasant and interesting work. When outside is raining.

Fugazi – First Demo (Alternative Rock)

Talking about legends, but surely less famous than previous ones, Fugazi were one of the most influent bands in the late 80’s rock scene. This work is a compilation of their previous demos never published (except one song). For the nostalgic fans of that amazing time. Nostalgic of rough guitars.

Royksopp – The Inevitable End (Electronic, Downtempo)

Lately this amazing norwegian duo is being very active. Lately they made several collaborations with the singer Robyn (last mini LP was published few months ago) and she also appears of this work (her voice fits very good between their notes). Their last official LP was 4 years ago (in between the LateNightTales compilation). Dreaming of other places.

Groove Armada – LateNighTales presents Automatic Soul (Electronica, House-Funk)

Talking about LateNightTales compilations, new chapter cured by this amazing british duo. Compilations of songs running fast for relaxing and very enjoyable listening. Fun in the club.

Mouse on Mars – 21 Again: Collaborations (Electronica, Indie Electronic)

As the title say this new double work is a collection of songs featuring many artists, including Prefuse 73, Junior Boys, Matthew Herbert, Modeselektor, dressed with MoM sauce. Very interesting salad.

Temples – Sun Restructured (Alternative/Indie Rock)

The original work of this amazing british band -Sun Structures- is already a great LP so remixing it could have been tricky. Despite the risk, Erol Alkan and Richard Norris (duo known as Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve) decided to accept the challenge making it even more interesting! Lost in the desert.

Clark – Clark (Electronic, Ambient Techno)

English composer and producer, a column in the Warp records family (7th record published with them), Christopher Clark comes back after 2 years of his last album (he published a good EP in between). Always great quality in his works. Snowing outside, techno inside.

Here it is the playlist!

September Best Releases

September

Wake me up when September ends, a famous Green Day song says. Now that we all are woken up from the end of vacations and the beginning of crazy hours at works, let’s see which were the best music releases. Fantastic month!

Aphex Twin – Syro (Ambient Techno, Experimental Electronic)

Difficult to describe such a genius like Aphex Twin, an ‘anti-star’ who doesn’t use social networks to promote his stuff but ALL the best music magazines talked about him when rumors of a new work came out. Of course they were curious after a long waiting (13 years!), but his art (in music, design, videos, some of them flilmed by Chris Cunningham) was and is worldwide recognized. His new work is exactly like his previous ones, classic but original at the same time! Complex.

ALT-J – This is All Yours (Alternative/Indie Rock)

Make a second LP after the debut worldwide success is not easy, but this english band were able to do a very pleasant album, on the false line of the previous work. It will guarantees the same success? In the meanwhile listen to it and tell me what you think about, i personally liked. Refined.

Interpol – El Pintor (New Wave, Post Punk, Indie Rock)

After four years from their previous self-titled album (after the masterpiece Our Love To Admire), they go back with another amazing work. In my opinion not at the same level of their debut album and the one mentioned above, but still a powerful LP. Self-Conscious.

Tricky – Adrian Thaws (Trip Hop, Indie Electronic)

I didn’t expect another work only one year after False Idols. Apparently he is being very creative lately. Anyway, i love him, some work more, some less but i will always recommend something coming out from him (and the wonderful voice of Frnacesca Belmonte). Visceral.

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz – Tyranny (Indie Rock, New Wave)

Second ‘kinda-solo’ work (it’s actually a collaboration with The Voidz band) for the lead singer of The Strokes. It can be an album coming from his most famous band, short songs (except one that is 11 minutes long), straight til the end (you only need 1 hour to listen it all). Bittersweet.

Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World (Alternative/Indie Rock)

Well well when did we see each other before? Something like that happened to this cool canadian duo who reunited again after 10 years from their boom with ‘You’re a woman, i’m a machine’. They went through other projects but -fortunately for us- decided to collaborate again and go back with a very intense (and short) work! Volatile.

Simian Mobile Disco – Whorl (Ambient Techno, Electronic)

A bit different from their usual style, this work is collection of remixes made during their DJing around the world. I like when musicians try new stuff, even if different from their genres and it could possibly make them lose audience. Life without risks is boring! Technical.

Erol Alkan – Fabriclive 77 (Electro-House, House-Tech)

Another chapter of the compilation Fabriclive this time cured by the talented british/turkish DJ. Twenty songs, remixes and collaborations that make this compilation very enjoyable. Energetic.

Karen O – Crush Songs (Indie Rock)

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s singer (for the ones who sadly don’t know her), published her second solo project with a collection of lo-fi songs. They can be normal songs but her voice (one of the most enchanting ones) make them great! Far from YYY’s style, much more relaxed. Intimate.

June Best Releases

In the best month of the year (because it’s my birthday) very interesting works came out.

JACK WHITE – Lazaretto (Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk Blues)

Second solo work for one of the best rock artists nowadays! After The White Stripes, Raconteurs, Dead Weather projects, he seems to continue by himself (and in an amazing way like everything he has done). The style is pretty much the same, but always pleasant to listen. Confident.

DEADMAU5 – While (1<2) (Electronic, House, EDM)

Very cool double LP for the canadian author/producer Joel Thomas Zimmermann (more appeal as deadmau5, right?). Comparing to official works, he remixes songs from other artists like, for example, Nine Inch Nails or How to Destroy Angels. Definitely a different and interesting way to love more the mouse (who i highly recommend to see live). Freewheeling.

KLAXONS Love Frequency (Alternative/Indie Rock)

Four years after ‘Surfing the Void’ that personally didn’t rnjoy much, UK band Klaxons came back with an interesting LP, mixed also with some electronic. It seems that they didn’t want to reply ‘Myths of the Near Future’ like the following work, but they want to go forward and, in my opinion, is a good choice. Playful.

THE KNIFE –Shaken Up Versions (Indie Electronic, IDM)

Following the masterpiece Shaking the Habitual, they made an album with remixes of songs from the last work but also from previous ones. Sparkling.

RADIO MOSCOW – Magical Dirt (Blues Rock, Indie Rock)

Coming from Iowa, this interesting trio come back after 2 years with this very enjoyable work. Their style didn’t change much over the years so you won’t be shocked listening this last release. But they always make good works. Boisterous.

 

In our lives we all are Liars!

liars

Nowadays is difficult, in my opinion, to find a band who is creative in all the albums that they published, even more changing their style over the years.

They started to play in 2000 (seems recent but it’s already 14 years ago) in NYC (but originally they are from LA and Nebraska) invading post punk music scene with “They threw us all in a trench and stuck a monument on top”, a very ‘fast’ -in term of short and intense songs- and captivating LP.

Second work -“They were wrong so we drowned”- was more experimental (due also to musicians changes in the band), with some more electronic influences. The fact the LA guys were originally art students is clear when you see their creative videos (check the one below).

They moved to Berlin before their next work and, you know, when you go to Berlin something interesting happens in creativity. They published “Drum’s not dead”, an experimental work combined with short films made by the band and other filmmakers (like in the following video). You can find mellow songs ‘Beck-like’ or more noisy and instrumental ‘Sonic Youth-like’.

After only 1 year (we are in 2007 at this point, the album is called “Liars” itself) they get back to their original style made of scratching guitar riffs like the opening ‘Plaster casts of everything’ (the amazing video below) until the sweet notes of ‘Protection’. Very enjoyable but more commercial work.

Three years after they came back ‘home’ and created the double LP ‘Sisterworld’ in California. More atmospheric sounds but typical Liars changeable style, basically summarized by the song “Scissor”, quite mellow beginning followed by noisy and involving guitars (again also nice music video).

In 2012’s “WIXIW” (read as wish you) Liars turns into electronic sounds more constantly than before.

And now we -finally (especially for you who read)- arrive to their last work “Mess”, an intense work following (permanently?) electro beats and sounds from the previous WIXIW. Nice artworks (pics) and videos announced this last LP (2 trailers in the links below), it was one the few times i was really thrilled for a forthcoming album.

Some songs make it like a disco-electro work, beats are insistent and you cannot be calm without moving a little part of your body. In a certain way it can be a 2Manydj’s work.

I personally like all the styles they are performing over the years. Some people who liked their first noisy rock works can be disappointed but i think that every time some people will like your work, some others won’t.

It’s life and then you can’t believe to Liars.

January-February Best Releases

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Winter is almost over! We are going towards outdoor concerts and festivals, pretty excited about that! Winter in Rome, musically speaking, is not memorable and this last one wasn’t an exception. Many new works from California these months, good weather is inspiring apparently.

BECK – Morning Phase (Indie Rock)

We had to wait six long years for a new work and finally we can join! One page is not enough to describe this superb -eclectic- artist, poet, song and music writer. Every little book u can find in his CDs is very well made and it’s worth buying it.  Freewheeling.

MOGWAI – Rave Tapes (Indie Rock, Post Rock)

12th LP for this amazing scottish band! I personally admire who is able to be so creative with instruments only, very difficult (the song i’m posting have words actually). They always are able to make great works (at least for me!). Also in this album you can find mellow songs mixed with more noisy ones and ballads. Visceral.

XIU XIU – Angel Guts: Red Classroom (Experimental Rock, Synth-Pop, Indie Electronic)

Very particular band coming from California formed around 10 years ago. This last work have some more dark influences that, mixed with Jamie Stewart’s (particular) voice, make an interesting combination. Theatrical.

THE NOTWIST – Close To the Glass (Indie Rock, Indie Electronic)

German post-hardcore band originally, they shifted toward electronic influences during their career. Also this work, after 5 years of silence, shows that they have consolidated into electronic. Detached. 

CIBO MATTO – Hotel Valentine (Indie Rock)

How i can describe a japanese band relocated in NYC with an italian name? Well, not easy especially because their style is not easy to define. After their last work, 8 years passed by but the long waiting didn’t affect their talent. Organic.

PLANNINGTOROCK – All Love’s Legal (Indie Electronic)

Interesting work from this extrovert artist (Janine Rostron is also programmer and videographer) coming from UK but musically formed in Berlin. Glam rock mixed with electronic influences. Playful.

WARPAINT – Warpaint (Indie Rock, New Wave)

Not a long career (yet) as the previous artists above, but promising perspectives for this band coming from LA. This self titled work comes after their debut LP in 2010 and is very pleasant (reminding me of Blonde Redhead). Artwork LP is cared by Chris Cunningham. Ethereal.

November-December Best Releases

Chilly end of 2013 in terms of new releases, but, among them, one of the best album of the year (i will publish my favourite 2013 LPs in another post).

M.I.A.- Matangi (Alternative Dance)

It’s difficult to categorize M.I.A. music style in one or two categories since she is able to mix electronic, dancehall, with indian influences in a Pandora’s box. That’s why she’s pretty unique. I personally like all the works she published cuz she’s able to have a common style, slightly changing it in every work. Energetic.

Sebastien Tellier – Confection (Ambient Pop)

Talking about music style difficult to categorize, Tellier comes out with his ’80 style melted in a modern expression. His last work is much more melancholic than the previous ones, where you are able to find some electro influence. Still an amazing work but, who like his previous works, probably won’t be completely satisfied by this one. In my opinion he’s a poet (musically speaking). Elegant.

Booka Shade Eve (Club Dance)

Music artists usually go to Germany to improve their skills, this german duo went to the opposite direction and moved to UK many years ago. This work is made of 2 LPs, first one is more like an album, second one more as DJ set. Nocturnal.

The Fall – The Remainderer EP (Punk, Post Punk, Indie Rock)

What to add more to a band that contributed to the british punk history and that published their first album in 1979? Not much. I just recommend this EP if you like their style made of distorsions and apparently non-sense sounds. I am always amazed when a band still having creativity over decades.  Irreverent.

Gap Dream – Shine Your Light (Alternative/Indie Rock, New Wave)

A new discover for me, i confess i was attracted by their cover LP! It’s their second work and in my opinion a very good and solid work. Highly recommended. Exuberant.