The Necks – Unfold

the-necks-unfoldBegin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Oh right…, I am not really referring to the court of justice from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland here. The quote stands for how to approach the latest work of The Necks which sooner or later will take to Wonderland. Are you ready to jump into the rabbit hole?   Continue reading

Jameszoo – Fool

Jameszoo - Fool_FRONTEarlier this year I briefly mentioned Jameszoo’s naive, computer jazz record Fool but never got to opportunity to give it a proper review. Nicely enough you’re in luck today, so get ready for a treat. Continue reading

Sounds from the Dark Side top albums of 2016 (until now)

the_dark_side_of_the_moon toplist 2014

As you might have guessed last solstice was reason enough for us to draw up a list with our best albums of 2016 until this day. Here goes!

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hinds-leave me alone_frontHinds – Leave Me Alone

Hinds delivers a stable fundament, a catchy upbeatness and a strong no-nonsense sentiment on their first studio album. A splendid achievement of a group of young friends who again prove that the future belongs to the young (WRM – SftDS review).


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Iron Savior - TitancraftIron Savior – Titancraft

After an excellent, old school comeback, German metal machine Iron Savior shows that lightning can indeed strike twice. An excellent power metal album, with a host of varied and pumping tunes (RP).
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Channel the Spirits - The Comet Is Coming_FRONTChannel the Spirits – The Comet Is Coming

Channel the Spirits breaks through the traditional jazz swing and brings very danceable jazz funk. The ensemble taps into the work of free jazz pioneers such John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and Sun Ra. Highly recommended (WRM). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blood Ceremony - Lord of MisruleBlood Ceremony – Lord of Misrule

Getting slightly less dark and more retro rocking with each new release, this American band is still a standout in the barrage of retro bands kicking about at the moment. Less heavy, but a little more mature than before (RP).
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The Heliocentrics - From The Deep FrontThe Heliocentrics – From The Deep

Finally The Heliocentrics definitely found their niche by bringing together all experience they have gathered around them in recent years. From The Deep is raw and conceptually challenging but moreover. It’s a piece of work to turn inside out over and over again (WRM – SftDS review).  


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Rotting-Christ-Rituals-2016-300x300Rotting Christ – Rituals

The brothers Tolis return with another collection of their own particular brand of ethnic-upped black-ish metal. Which is something you’d not read on the back of the box very soon. Ethnic-upped probably isn’t even a thing. Still, a great album (RP – SftDS review).
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Jameszoo - Fool_FRONTJameszoo – Fool

Dutch musician Jameszoo combines Hip hop, jazz, dubstep, R&B and Brazilian music and also is inspired by the medieval painter Hieronymus Bosch. Jameszoo himself calls his debut album Fool a collection of “naive, computer jazz”. I fully agree, so I pitty the fool who doesn’t pick up on this album soon… (WRM – SftDS review).


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fleshgod-apocalypse-kingFleshgod Apocalypse – King

King is the culmination of years of work for this Italian band, finally marrying classical music and black metal like a Rhapsody of Fire steroids. A triumph for Fleshgod Apocalypse, and an album to keep coming back to (RP).
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thao & the-get-down-stay-down - a man alive_FRONTThao & The Get Down Stay Down – A Man Alive

A Man Alive is an adventurous album and offers listeners a record that is simply full of plain old fun and at the same time is interesting enough to keep playing throughout 2016. Outstanding job Thao (WRM – SftDS review)!  
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David Bowie - BlackstarDavid Bowie – Blackstar

Almost half a year in, Blackstar is still the most intruiging, mysterious and downright fascinating record out there. Bowie’s last album is a masterpiece of jazz fusion and its dark as night itself, both musically as well as lyrically. Unsettling and brilliant (RP – SftDS review).

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Indeed, jazz fusion, free jazz and jazz funk are gaining terrain. How about that!? Perhaps it has something to do with age, who knows. Anyway, have a nice summer and see you on the other side. 

Ralph Plug & Wander Meulemans – 290616

Further surfing:

W’s Sounds from the Dark Side on Spotify

Nadine Shah – Fast Food

Nadine-Shah_Fast Food coverRemember when you were totally pissed off when I didn’t review Deerhunter’s marvellous Monomania in 2013? Well, It’s looks like history is going to repeat itself because I am not reviewing the band’s latest release, Fading Frontier, either. Yes, again it’s a great indie rocker but there is more music around that deserves some attention right? Nadine Shah sophomore album, for example. So take a good look at the femme fatale artwork, count to ten or whatever and read on.
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Kamasi Washington – The Epic

kamasi_FRONTThe tree of life of jazz grew strong from blues, swing, bebop to cool and branched out into various directions like funk, fusion and free jazz. Today it still stands tall. Adding something fresh to this one-hundred-year-plus history isn’t quite an easy task. However what is fresh? Something truly new and innovating or finding your place within this history by means of your own creative terms? Kamasi Washington chose the latter path and released a three-hour sprawl called The Epic which takes you deep into the heart of jazz.
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Sounds from the Dark Side top albums of 2015 (until now)

the_dark_side_of_the_moon toplist 2014

Summer, summer, summertime…‘ Yep, we’re both huge fans of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Especially at this time of the year. For that exact reason these are our best releases of 2015 until today.

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Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red MirrorBlind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror

An absolute triumph of intricate, song-writing makes this the band’s most ambitious record. With two choirs and two orchestras in tow, the Blind Guardian never forgets that it’s a metal band first, and delivers on all promises. A true power metal masterpiece (RP – SftDS review).
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viet-cong-album-cover-300x300Viet Cong – Viet Cong

Viet Cong made this January a month to remember by throwing down the gloves with some sharp edged post-punk. And developing a record in while touring in front of live audiences is kind of experimental though? You better believe the hype. If not, that’s your bad (WRM – SftDS review).
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Therapy – DisquietTherapy? – Disquiet

Ireland’s noisiest trio return to their catchier brand of songwriting on a fun and accessible albums which immediately reminds of their Troublegum heydays. Great fun all in all. (RP).
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little-wings-explains_coverLittle Wings – Explains

An empty living or a stuffy bedroom still is the best place to listen to Little Wings.  Frontman Fields waywardly plays around breaking the conventions of alt-country.  A close listen to Explains therefore is mandatory for everyone who’s enjoys progressive music (WRM – SftDS review).
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Virgin Steele – Nocturnes of Hellfire and DamnationVirgin Steele – Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation

David DeFeis strikes again with a daunting collection of epic songs, once again combining classical influences with the rawness of rock and metal. (RP).
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Alamo-Race-Track-Hawks-300x300

Alamo Race Track – Hawks

For the fourth time now Alamo Race Track changed its sound to a new adagium but without losing their touch for high quality and well thought out indie pop song structuring. Did they found true place in the universe? I’d like to think so (WRM – SftDS review).

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Paradise Lost – The Plague WithinParadise Lost – The Plague Within

Paradise Lost’s much awaited return to their death/doom metal roots pays off on a varied and intensely moody album, which might be their best since their early Icon-days (RP).
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kamasi_FRONTKamasi Washington – The Epic

I didn’t get the chance to review this 172-minute, three-volume jazz set that includes a 32-piece orchestra, a 20-person choir, and 17 songs overlaid with a compositional score. But trust me, I’ll get back to that later. For now you will have settle with my comment that the titles says it al (WRM).
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Battle Beast – Unholy SaviorBattle Beast – Unholy Savior

A keytar-fuelled cheesefest if there ever was one, but Battle Beast third outing hugely profits from the amazing vocals of head-banshee Noora Louhimo and some immensely catchy songs (RP).
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Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just SitCourtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett or Tobias Jesso Jr? That’s a Devil’s choice. I think I’ll go for Courtney. Why? Well, it’s an ideal mix for some good old fashioned spirit lifting and at the same time is nice enough to play as background music (WRM – SftDS review).
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There you go, something for everyone huh. So altough temperatures are rising high at the moment we’re still keen to push things foward for the rest of 2015.

Ralph Plug & Wander Meulemans – 010715

Further surfing:
W’s Sounds from the Dark Side on Spotify

[Live Review] North Sea Jazz 2014, Ahoy Rotterdam

nsj-avatar-2014Summer is here! And that means a new edition of North Sea Jazz is also here once more to pump up the quality of the Dutch festival landscape. Like always the festival lineup is packed with some great names. What to think of Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, Sun Ra Arkestra, Dave Holland, Outkast and Pharoah Sanders, just to name a few. No wonder the festival was sold-out well in advance. Yesterday, around five o’clock, spectators began to pour into thirteen areas of the Ahoy venue, eagerly awaiting an evening filled with jazz, blues, R&B, soul and funk. So, enough chit chat now, let’s kick-off this live review of North Sea Jazz’s friday the 11th of July.
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