Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday's Playlist: Children of Sabbath

This Friday's playlist was inspired by the Saint Vitus concert we attended last week, a beer-fuelled heavy blinder of a gig that rekindled our love for everything Doom.

Fifty years since its inception, Heavy Metal has gone in a myriad of directions. Some bands play fast. Some bands play melodic. Some bands are experimental. The bands in this playlist have kept it close to the original formula designed by Black Sabbath all these years ago: heavy and slow, with lyrics about doom, drugs, religion and mental illness.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Album Review: Bad Religion - Age of Unreason

No one expected Bad Religion to release their best album 40 years into they career, probably because punk rock and its inherent urgency aren't usually associated with educated, bespectacled musicians pushing sixty... Yet Age Of Unreason is undoubtedly one of, if not the best record into their long discography. Then again punk rock isn't about catering to expectations and conforming to people's preconceived ideas and Bad Religion surely can't be accused of that. We're talking about a band whose sophomore album was a keyboard-heavy, almost progressive rock statement, closer to Rush or Yes than to the Ramones. Thankfully Age Of Unreason isn't in that vein, and clocking in at just over thirty minutes, this set of 14 songs won’t alienate fans of their brand of energetic, melodic  Californian punk rock.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Saint Vitus @ Petit Bain, Paris - April 21st, 2019

Black Sabbath have sowed their seed quite extensively and they have quite a number of bastard children that can competently carry the flag of doom-laden, lysergic Metal now that the genre's venerable genitors have thrown in the towel. But out of all of the orphans of Sabbath, perhaps none is more legitimate than California's Saint Vitus, who are celebrating their anniversary with an upcoming self-titled record and a tour poetically christened 40 Fuckin' Years.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Stanley Clarke @ l'Auditorium de la Seine Musicale, Boulogne-Billancourt - April 20th, 2019

Nearly three years after his last Paris date, Stanley Clarke is back in a slightly different format. The nucleus of the band is still roughly the same: Stanley on bass, Beka Gochiaschvili on piano, Cameron Graves on keyboards and new drummer "Forever Young" Shariq Tucker. The new elements are Evan Garr on violin and Salar Nader on tablas. The reason they've re-shaped the membership was to accommodate tonight's venue: a new concert hall geared toward classical music and acoustic jazz.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday's Playlist: Hair Farmers, Sleaze Bags and Butt Rockers

OK. I'm sorry. I've tried. Up until now I really, really tried to keep it somewhat tasteful and dignified. Well, it ends now. This is the bottom of the barrel. The ultimate guilty pleasure, emphasis on the guilt. Very few of the songs in this playlist are actually recommendable. In fact a lot of it is shit. But it's good shit. The kind of shit that makes you want to rock and roll all night and party every day. In honor of the Mötley Crüe movie being such a success, here is your playlist about the 80's Hollywood Glam Metal scene.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Album Review: Trixie Whitley - Lacuna

Lacuna is Trixie Whitley's third record. Her debut album Fourth Corner was and remains one of my favorite records of the last decade and I was expecting, hoping that this new LP would be more of the same: a dark, sweeping piece of lynchian modern soul. Lacuna is all that and more: she goes even further into modernism and the production has traces of hip-hop, Rn'B and electronica.

Album Review: The Quireboys - Amazing Disgrace

The Quireboys' new record shares a title with a 1996 LP by the Posies, but apart from the quality of the release there is no further ressemblance. This record is pure hard driving, shambolic blooze rock that conjures up the ghosts of acts like The Faces, Nikki Sudden or the Dogs d'Amour.

Album Review: Sigur Rós - 22° Lunar Halo

22° Lunar Halo finds Sigur Rós in an even more ethereal and abstract mood than ever before. The record is the soundtrack to a taiwanese ballet and as such shouldn't be judged by the same standards as a pop LP. Some will bemoan the lack of typical songs, but fans of the Icelandic post-rockers will be happy to hear their trademark ambient crescendos and cinematic soundscapes. Aside from some poignant motifs and melodies that emerge from the dense but delicate aural waves, this is a mostly a textural affair and probably best appreciated in conjunction with the show it was made to accompany.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Album Review: Bruce Hornsby - Absolute Zero

Even though Bruce Hornsby's sound has undeniably evolved over the past thirty-something years, and anyone who's followed his career know he is no stranger to stylistic changes, nothing could quite prepare us for the sonic deviations of Absolute Zero.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Bob Dylan @ Grand Rex, Paris - April 13th, 2019

Almost exactly two years after his last Paris dates, Bob Dylan is back in Paris for three nights at the venerable Grand Rex Theatre. Bob Dylan has gone through many permutations: beat poet, hippy, protest singer, bard, rocker, circus ringleader, cowboy, preacher, junky... His most recent iteration is that of a Lynchian barroom crooner, subverting Americana with his tales of apocalyptic love and everyday disasters and mundane tragedies.

Grand Opening @ Alabama Bar, Paris - April 12th, 2019

Mikkey Dee spent a quarter of a century drumming for one of the most famous (and infamous) heavy rock bands of all time: Motörhead. He is now the drummer for another legendary band: Scorpions. Before that, the Swedish musician played with Danish black metal originator King Diamond as well as Don Dokken.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Album Review: T Bone Burnett, Jay Bellerose, Keefus Ciancia - The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space

The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space is an inviting, intriguing record. If the title evokes a light, breezy affair, it is anything but. It's dark and moody, even bitter at times and although not unpleasant, it is not an easy listening experience. Nor should it be. But anyone expecting gently strummed acoustic guitars and traditional Americana will be in for a shock.

Friday's Playlist: Founding Fathers & Pioneers

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the recording of Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley & the Comets. The song is a cover, but it's this recording that is credited for making rock and roll popular across the globe.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

John Mayall @ Bataclan, Paris - April 11th, 2019

Last time I saw John Mayall was about a quarter century ago. Back then, he was still playing with a version of the Bluesbreakers that included Texan guitarist Buddy Whittington. More tellingly, this was an era when Blues originators BB King, John Lee Hooker or Otis Rush were still alive and active on the live circuit.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Album Review: Lee Fields & the Expressions - It Rains Love

You should know by now that Big Crown Records can do no wrong: all of their releases are consistently excellent. And of course, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a Lee Fields record would be fantastic: ever since his late-career resurgence, he has never failed to put out quality old-school soul music albums and this one is no exception.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Friday's Playlist: Goatees & Flannel Shirts - 90's Alternative & Grunge

This Friday's Playlist theme is a little morbid since it was prompted by the anniversary of the deaths of two of the defining artists of their generation: Kurt Cobain, who killed hiself 25 years ago today and Layne Staley, who was found dead of a drug overdose 17 years ago today.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Tedeschi/Trucks Band @ Olympia, Paris - April 2nd, 2019

It's only April but the new album by Tedeschi/trucks band is already shaping up to be one of the best releases of the year and unsurprisingly, last night's concert at the venerable Olympia theatre in Paris is already high in the running for gig of the year. In fact, I fail to see how anyone will be able to top the Tedeschi/Trucks Band's authentic blend of soul, Southern rock, blues and jazz and the impressive musicianship on display on that stage.

Album Review: Burning Rain - Face The Music

Face The Music is Burning Rain's fourth album in 20 years, which is understandable when you look at the resumé of the players: guitarist Doug Aldrich has kept himself busy with Revolution Saints, the Dead Daisies, Dio, Whitesnake or Glenn Hughes while vocalist Keith Nelson was fronting the legendary Montrose and worked with Lynch Mob and Quiet Riot among others. Joining them on that album is bass player Brad Lang from Y&T and drummer Blas Elias of Slaughter. Enough credentials for you?

The Rolling Stones cancel their American tour...

The Rolling Stones have cancelled their upcoming tour because Mick Jagger is getting heart surgery.