As 2019 comes to a close, so does the decade, and that means everybody’s not only looking back at the past year but the past ten. Contrarian as we are, we’re not going to do that here and just concentrate on what 2019 brought us in music. Also because ten years seems like a lot of work. So here we go, here’s what we enjoyed most this year.
We’re six months in and this is the best we heard so far. In random order that is.
Is Bill Callahan going in circles nowadays? Continue reading
I always thought that building walls between places with a shared cultural history was a thing of the past. Guess I was wrong because new divides are rising up high again in for example the southern states of the US. Here the cultural exchange between north and south goes back for a long time and strongly echoes through in today’s society. A fine musical example of all of this comes from Austin based latin group Grupo Fantasma who in their turn laid the foundations for The Echocentrics that are under review right now. Continue reading
Once in a while I try to listen through the proceedings of everyday hoping to discovering some new music. Alas, the daily bustle heavily distorts such a process so I’ve come to accept that discovering new music for me is all about trusting my subconscious to preselect the average from the great, simply by neglecting what’s playing at the background. About a week ago, after an unknown number of background plays of Burn Your Fire For No Witness, my subconscious finally shook me up, telling me it was time for a proper listen to Angel Olsen. And then it hit me: Olsen’s second full release is probably my first true highlight of the year. Continue reading
Earlier this week I fell asleep to the soothing voice of Bill Callahan… BUT WOKE UP TO THE AGGRESSIVE BEATS FROM THE NOISE POP BAND SLEIGH BELLS the next morning… I sighed deeply for a moment yet quickly was reminded of the fact that I still enjoy the debut of Sleigh Bells, Treats (2010). What I love about Treats is its intensive rawness, coming from mind blowing disordered riffs, hardcore beats and electro, and the interweaved feminine cuteness. I mean, ´Straight A´s´, ´Run To The Heart´ and the Diplo remix of ´Demons´ are just top-notch. At the time Sleigh Bells seemed to be a sort of wildcard in the indie scene, defying all kinds of conventions and taking the freedom to stir up some trouble. The simple and direct pounding continued on their sophomore album Reign of Terror in 2012. Vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Edward Miller described the latter as “the sonic equivalent of a beautiful shotgun to the head”. Thats not a bad comparison, apart from the fact that Reign of Terror was also groomed to attract a larger audience. Whilst the album did reach a number 12 spot in the Billboard 200 in its opening week, it plummeted to number 78 in the second week and was completely forgotten in the weeks that followed. Maybe people just don’t like to buy music with shotguns to their heads, hmm? Continue reading
In ‘96 I was first confronted with the tormented voice of Bill Callahan, who was at that time still known as Smog. Indeed The Doctor Came at Dawn (1996) was a very nice lo-fi album, yet it wasn’t memorable either. What was memorable to me was Smog’s ’second single, ´Cold Blooded Old Times´ that came with the album Knock Knock (1999). Cold Blooded Old Times caused a vicarious sort of heartache to take over one’s mood. This was strengthened when the song appeared on soundtrack of High Fidelity (2000) that is all about heartaches, from a male’s perspective that is. Continue reading