Saturday, 16 December 2017

The Finest Vinyl of 2017

Since it has become extremely quiet on this blog lately, you could get the impression that i stopped buying or collecting vinyl records. Well, the contrary. If i count the additions to my collection over the past year, i could've actually posted a daily update for a new (or secondhand) purchase, or some nice older gem from my collection. The sparse blog updates are caused by a big lack of time, and the fact that platforms like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook are simply easier to maintain.

Anyway, it's that time of the year again... time for the 6th edition of The Finest Vinyl, a tradition since 2012.

These are the 17 best new vinyl albums of 2017 according to yours truly:

01. Slowdive - Slowdive [Dead Oceans]
Definitely the best comeback album that's ever been made. Their first after Pygmalion, 22 years ago.
02. Deafcult - Auras [Hobbledehoy Records]
Pure coincidence, but just like last year, an Australian shoegaze band at #2 in this list. Awesome album.
03. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream [DFA]
Best album that James Murphy ever made. Scary Monsters-like guitars all over the place. Love it.
04. Ride - Weather Diaries [Wichita]
Just like Slowdive, it's been 20+ years since the band's last album Tarantula. Weather Diaries is an amazing return to form.
05. Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology [Fire Records]
Great album. Indie-electronic-motorik-psychedelic stuff from an artist i didn't expect this of.
06. Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol.1 [Sacred Bones Records]
The first and the best of the two they released this year. Really a top notch album.
07. Mogwai - Every Country's Sun [Rock Action]
It was a bit of a grower, but it's once again a great Mogwai album. They never disappoint.
08. Secret Shine - There Is Only Now [Saint Marie Records]
They made two albums earlier in the past decade, yet this is definitely the best they released since their debut Untouched in 1993.
09. The Jesus And Mary Chain - Damage And Joy [Artificial Plastic Records]
Just like Ride and Slowdive, JAMC made a superb comeback (first album since Munki in '98).
10. Ulrika Spacek - Modern English Decoration [Tough Love Records]
Their second album, and what a trip it is!
11. Dead Horse One - Season Of Mist [Requiem Pour Un Twister]
Absolutely great second LP from these French psychedelic shoegazers.
12. Black Angels - Death Song [Partisan Records]
A bit poppier than we're used from them, yet still a very solid album.
13. Monster Movie - Keep The Voices Distant [Graveface Records]
Absolutely brilliant new album, and actually their best yet.
14. Brian Jonestown Massacre - Don't Get Lost [A Records]
Quality stuff as always from the very productive mister Newcombe.
15. The Stargazer Lilies - Lost [Graveface Records]
A collection of songs they never released plus some new ones. Dreamy as ever.
16. Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol.2 [Sacred Bones Records]
Volume 1's more mellow companion.
17. Thurston Moore - Rock 'n Roll Consciousness [Caroline]
Signature guitar playing, lengthy songs, simply a great album.

No War On Drugs, The National or Queens Of The Stone Age in my list, as you can see. Boring, boring and mediocre, respectively. One that just didn't make it was the Charlatans - Different Days. That annoying song 'The Same House' ruined it. Also Wire - Silver/Lead almost made it. Furthermore i really like Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rest that just came out, but i'm still waiting for my vinyl copy, and i'm only putting albums in my list that i actually own. So: alas. And Fever Ray - Plunge is only out digitally so far, so that wouldn't count either. Probably it'll be in my 2018 list.

2017 can be descibed as the Year of the Comeback Album. Slowdive, Ride and The Jesus And Mary Chain all hadn't released an album in over (or around) two decades.
Not just Moon Duo is appearing twice in the list. Also Christian Savill is: besides playing guitar in Slowdive, he's a founding member of Monster Movie. And Slowdive's Nick Chaplin plays bass on Keep The Voices Distant.

Of course there were also some really good reissues and compilations released in 2017. These were the best ones:

01. David Bowie - A New Career In A New Town [1977-1982] [Parlophone]
This volume in the boxset series is covering what i personally think is Bowie's best period.
02. Swervedriver - Mezcal Head [Music On Vinyl]
Been looking for an orginal pressing for ages. Impossible mission. Now very happy with this reissue.
03. Lilys - In The Presence Of Nothing [Frontier Records]
Finally this 1992 shoegaze cult classic was reissued again, for the first time since 1998!
04. Catherine Wheel - Chrome [Music On Vinyl]
Another rare one that was still on my wishlist. Now finally well available.
05. The Black Ryder - Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride [Fuzz Club]
Such a great album from 2009. Excellent reissue.
06. Catherine Wheel - Ferment [Music On Vinyl]
Of course i already owned an original pressing, but this coloured version on 180 gram is gorgeous (and sounding better).
07. Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things [Impossible Objects Of Desire]
Their debut album, for the first time ever released on vinyl. That was about time!
08. Soundtrack - Singles [Epic]
Essential grunge compilation / soundtrack.
09. Can - The Singles [Spoon Records]
Really nice 3LP set with all the essential Can songs.
10. New Order presents Be Music [Factory Benelux]
Compilation featuring a.o. Section 25, A Certain Ratio and Fujiya & Miyagi. Produced and/or mixed by New Order members.

2018 is around the corner and i look forward to what it will bring, musicwise. There will finally be some My Bloody Valentine reissues (long due!) and likely even a brand new album, and of course i look forward to a new boxset in the David Bowie series. Covering not his best, but certainly nevertheless an interesting period (Let's Dance, Tonight etc.)

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Jesus And Mary Chain - Damage And Joy [12", 2LP]

2017 has become a memorable music-year now already, and we're not even halfway through. The new albums by Slowdive and Ride made my heart beat just a little bit faster than this one, but DAMAGE AND JOY by THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN is destined to end up in my top 10 list of this year as well. Even though it's 19 years since their last album Munki was released, nothing much changed. Which is not extremely surprising, as some of these songs are actually quite old and have previously been released in other versions, like for solo projects of the Reid brothers. All Things Pass was for example  on the soundtrack for 'Heroes' in 2008, while Song For A Secret and Can't Stop The Rock were on a 7" by Jim Reid and Sister Vanilla in 2005. Sister Vanilla being the artist name of Jim and William's sister Linda, who's also contributing to a few songs on this album, just like Sky Ferreira, Isobel Campbell and Bernadette Denning (William's girlfirend) do. The album's filled with catchy, distorted, noisy, fuzzy tunes with (sometimes a bit too) simple lyrics and rhymes; and showing an attitude that even as men in their late 50s, they still don't give a fuck. In other words: JAMC exactly as we know (and love) them.

Label: Artificial Plastic Records APR001LP
Year of release: 2017

01. Amputation
02. War On Peace
03. All Things Pass
04. Always Sad

01. Song For A Secret
02. The Two Of Us
03. Los Feliz (Blues And Greens)

01. Mood Rider
02. Presidici (Et Chapaquisitch)
03. Get On Home
04. Facing Up The Facts

01. Simian Split
02. Black And Blues
03. Can't Stop The Rock

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Soundtrack - Singles [12", 2LP]

Last week, the 25th anniversary edition of the soundtrack of SINGLES was released, just one day after the tragic death of Chris Cornell. Cornell made two contributions to the soundtrack (Seasons, a solo track, and Birth Ritual with Soundgarden), and included with this vinyl reissue there's also a bonus CD packed with outtakes and other rare material, of which no less than six Cornell solo tracks and a Soundgarden track. Good stuff. Besides the bonus CD, another difference with the original is that this reissue is a double LP while the original was a single one. Which means: better sound!
Singles is one of those essential soundtracks; it captures the sound and atmosphere of Seattle during the grunge heydays perfectly. Except for Nirvana, all the big names are featured (like Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Mother Love Bone and Smashing Pumpkins). The last band being from Chicago and not from Seattle of course, But hey, who cares. Their song Drown is easily one of the best songs they ever made and i'm happy to finally have it on vinyl now. I'm sure i'll be playing this album just as often as i did with the CD when it came out. Trip down memory lane!

Label: Epic 88985315511
Year of release: 2017 (originally 1992)

01. ALICE IN CHAINS - Would?
02. PEARL JAM - Breath
03. CHRIS CORNELL - Seasons

01. PAUL WESTERBERG - Dyslexic Heart
02. THE LOVEMONGERS - Battle Of Evermore
03. MOTHER LOVE BONE - Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns

01. SOUNDGARDEN - Birth Ritual
02. PEARL JAM - State Of Love And Trust
03. MUDHONEY - Overblown
04. PAUL WESTERBERG - Waiting For Somebody

01. JIMI HENDRIX - May This Be Love
02. SCREAMING TREES - Nearly Lost You

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation - Mirage [12", LP]

Only recently discovered JOSEFIN ÖHRN + THE LIBERATION (by a song on a free CD that came with Mojo Magazine) and i was instantly hooked. Psychedelic motorik seductive rock; think of a mixture of Moon Duo, Goat, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Charlotte Gainsbourg. MIRAGE is simply a superb album. Sister Green Eyes, the song that was featured on that CD, is still one of my favourite songs, but Rainbow Lollipop, The State I'm In, Rushing Through My Mind and album closer Imagine You are equally excellent. I'm certain that this album will be making many spins on my record player this year.

Label: Rocket Recordings LAUNCH096
Year of release: 2016

01. The State (I'm In)
02. Sister Green Eyes
03. In Madrid
04. Rainbow Lollipop
05. Endless Ocean

01. Looking For Your
02. Rushing Through My Mind
03. Circular Motion
04. Where I'm Going
05. Imagine You

Swervedriver - Mezcal Head [12", LP]

Being a big SWERVEDRIVER fan, i've been looking for an affordable copy of MEZCAL HEAD for years, but never with any luck. Until recently, when Music On Vinyl reissued the album from 1993 and thus making it finally available again for fans who like their daily dose of shoegaze on vinyl. They've done so in the past with Slowdive (even before the band reunited), and will soon be releasing for example Ferment by Catherine Wheel! Excellent choices. More of that, please!
The first pressing of this reissue consists of 1500 copies on mezcal coloured (clear cloudy) vinyl, and it plays like a charm. Finally i can spin classic tunes like Duel, Blowin'Cool, Last Train To Satansville and You Find It Everywhere on my record player. Hope the albums Raise (although i own an original copy) and especially Ejector Seat Reservation will be reissued as well.

Label: Music On Vinyl MOVLP1851
Year of release: 2017

01. For Seeking Heat
02. Duel
03. Blowin' Cool
04. MM Abduction
05. Last Train To Satansville

01. Harry & Maggie
02. A Change Is Gonna Come
03. Girl On A Motorbike
04. Duress
05. You Find It Everywhere

Monday, 22 May 2017

Slowdive - Slowdive [12", LP]

Wow. They did it.
Three years ago, when SLOWDIVE reunited and i flew to London to see their first ever show since 1994 (read more about that here), i didn't even dare to wish for some brand new recordings. But over the past year or so, you could see updates on social media of the band members being in the studio, jamming and having fun. And this amazing self-titled fourth studio album, the first one in 22 years, is the result of that. It totally captures where the band is now. The album breathes the ambiance of their live shows of the past years. Of course there are songs on this album that will remind you of Just For A Day and Souvlaki, but if you saw/heard for example how they revamped Crazy For You into a danceable tune in their set, you'll understand a song like Star Roving.
Also - funnily enough the album exactly demonstrates how the band has influenced other acts over the past decades. Don't Know Why is the Slowdive that inspired Pinkshinyultrablast; Everyone Knows is the Slowdive that inspired M83. And i could go on and on.
Closing song Falling Ashes deserves some special attention. It is simply the most beautiful song i've heard in many years, in all its vulnerability, that balances between David Sylvian's Forbidden Colours and Nils Frahm.

Today the band announced a club tour in autumn. So after two London shows in May 2014, a festival show at Best Kept Secret in June the same year, and an amazing show at Rewire Fest in Den Haag earlier this year, i can't wait to see them for the fifth time - this time at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. Save the date; October 6th!

Label: Dead Oceans DOC132
Year of release: 2017

01. Slomo
02. Star Roving
03. Don't Know Why
04. Sugar For The Pill

01. Everyone Knows
02. No Longer Making Time
03. Go Get It
04. Falling Ashes

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Flyying Colours - Mindfullness [12", LP]

Right. So i've got some serious, serious catching up to do with this little blog of mine. Didn't feel like writing anything for the past 4 months (except for the obligatory but fun Finest Vinyl of 2016) and the good thing is when you're not getting any income from ads or sponsors, there's no pressure whatsoever anyway - so why bother? But tonight i decided it would be good to make a new start, and what album would be better to write something about than the debut full length by FLYYING COLOURS that came out last year. MINDFULLNESS is amazing album. Exactly like i hoped for, after being completely blown away previously by their two awesome EP's (s/t and Roygbiv). And this album is even better. It's not without reason that it ended up on #2 in my yearlist, after Bowie (who was impossible to beat; let's be honest). First of all i'm really happy that it doesn't contain a song from any of the EP's, even though one of the songs is called ROYGBIV like their 2nd EP. It's all brand new stuff; so that's always a good sign that they're still full of inspiration. And they've perfectioned their sound. It's epic, it's intense, it's almost like a live show. If you've never heard of this band but you're into bands like Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel or Slowdive, you really should check out Flyying Colours. Modern shoegaze at its best.

Label: Club AC30 AC3013061
Year of release: 2016

01. It's Tomorrow Now
02. Long Holiday
03. This Is What You Wanted
04. 1987
05. Morning Stoner

01. Mellow
03. Sun, Hail And Rain
04. Mindfullness
05. When