Anarchytecture

Release Date: 15 January 2016

1.Love Someone Else/2. Victim/3.Beauty Is A Curse/4. Death To The Lovers/5. In The Back Room/6.Bullets/7. That Sinking Feeling/8. Without You/9. Suckers!/10.We Are The Flames/11. I’ll Let You Down

Skunk Anansie4 years after ‘Black Traffic’, Skunk Anansie came back roaring, at the beginning of 2016. The announcement of their 6th studio album was one of the reasons we were mentally ‘pushing’ 2015 away. My first impression of this album was influenced by the conceptual strength of its title…‘Anarchytecture‘! A word which encapsulates so many ideas even without lyrics and music. For the band,as it has been stated during interviews, the meaning of the word is symbolic and refers to the demanding task of organizing all the different,chaotic often,parts of their lives in such a way so that they can also dedicate themselves to the creation of a new album. As I listened to the album without a pause twice, I realized how this word gradually started to be filled with ideas, dynamism, notes and dare. I could write a whole essay based on the inspired word ‘anarchytecture’ but the fact is that very few groups could have supported such a strong title and even fewer musicians could have attempted to write music for the concept ‘anarchytecture’. Skunk Anansie is a band that has always used strong words, starting from their name which is a reference to both a superhero (Anansi) and a mammal. The word ‘skunk’ is a slang term for a bad person or even a drug. Dualities and opposite powers seem to fascinate this band as a concept, as one can conclude from almost all of their song titles and their lyrics. I like the way this band channels vindication through rock music following a path that has not been widely explored. With a strong rock feel at its core, the music of Skunk Anansie does not fall short of references to soul and even rap and psychedelic trance music. Skunk Anansie are unapologetic about their disappointment about certain things and the anger that comes with it and have left a strong mark on the rock music scene since the release of their first album in 1994. The titles of some songs tell half of the story and it is actually the live appearances of the band that completes the picture that Skin, Cass, Ace and Mark are sketching.

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Create Christ, Sailor Boy

Release Date: August 26, 2016, House of Mythology

1.Your Eyes in The Skittle Hills/2. Incidentally, Shaitan/3. Christmas With The Channellers/4. The Crow At Play/5.The Sex of Stars/ 6.Magog At The Maypole/7.Sweet Sodom SingSongs/8. Pinocchio’s Handjob/9. The Auras Are Escaping Into The Forest/10.Night Shout, Bird Tongue

“How do men name thee? I asked. Men name me by different names”He said.”Many call me Shaitan,the enemy:my followers call me the Lightbearer. (Then the voice again became railing and scoffing).”We do not go by our right names…Then he said it out loud, with a mocking laugh, that which no mortal has dared to pronounce; and then the voice, becoming tender again, continuedL “My name is-.”.then he uttered another name, also composed entirely of vowels;it was the inversion of the other name, and the last vowel was pronounced with a long wail of agony(extract from FAUST, Count Eric Stanislaus Stenbock, from ‘The Moons at Your Door’)

Ta-5175970-1469746880-9282-pnghere are very few people who can grasp, feel and communicate such subtle and strong emotions and there are even less artists that have embraced the occult, the ‘weird’ with such gentleness, tenderness even and deep understanding, that they are able to communicate axiomatic aspects of darkness in all their glory.
David Tibet is for me, the best storyteller I have ever listened to

There are very few people who can grasp, feel and communicate such subtle and strong emotions and there are even less artists that have embraced the occult, the ‘weird’ with such gentleness, tenderness even and deep understanding, that they are able to communicate axiomatic aspects of darkness in all their glory.

David Tibet is for me, the best storyteller I have ever listened to in this life. He is the only other performer (the first is Lisa Gerrard) that provokes awe and uncontrollable emotions to me when he sings. I guess there is no doubt that when somebody comes across a true individual in life (I think Deleuze has used the word ‘singularity’ to describe best what I want to say). I don’t think that there is another word that can describe in a better way, the impact of such a personality, other than the word respect. In a universe that tends to isolate, often violently, people with true individuality, those moments of discovery of such people and of their work, become precious and create a feeling of fulfilment.

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Release Date: 22 January, 2016

Warner Music

1. When You Are Young/2. Outsiders/3. No Tomorrow/4.Pale Snow/5. I Don’t Know How To Reach You/6. What I’m trying to Tell You/7. Tightrope/8. Learning To Be/9. Like Kids/10. I Can’t Give Her What She Wants/11.When You Were Young/12. The Fur And The Feathers

R-8012187-1455107411-4254.jpegPrior to this gig I had only seen Suede once at an intimate, yet, for me, perfect gig, at the release of their previous album entitled ‘Bloodsports’ at Rough Trade East. In that gig there was another, more approachable element in the performance of the songs as the venue is small but it was a rare opportunity to see a different side of the band.

Having seen in fan videos the show that Suede and Brett Anderson are offering in festivals, I was looking forward to the world premiere of ‘Night Thoughts’ at a big venue as the Roundhouse. Since I have started the somewhat unconventional tradition of attending the live releases of their latest albums, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to be part of this, 2hr long set where ‘Night Thoughts’ was performed at its entirety against the backdrop of the movie!Approaching the venue I saw that a big queue had already formed and even though the doors had already opened at the announced time, only a handful of people had been allowed to enter, leaving the rest of us waiting outside in the cold. People became agitated and asked the security staff about this delay. Without providing an explanation for this, access was granted to all of us after 20’.  We are not used to experiencing such delays in entering Roundhouse, especially since its crowd control policy is one of the best in London. My surprise continued as I entered the venue only to realize that a few people were already feeling unwell. Later I was joined by a doctor friend of mine who also confirmed seeing later a few other fellow members of the audience feeling unwell at the corridors where someone fell unconscious.

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Release Date: January 22, 2015, City Slang

1.Follow Me/2. Second Chance Man/3. Were We Once Lovers?/4. Help Yourself/5.Hey Lucinda/ 6.Fear Of Emptiness/7.How He Entered/8. The Waiting Room/9. Planting Holes/10.We Are Dreamers/11.Like Only Lovers Can

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot others transform a yellow spot into the sun…’ Pablo Picasso

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…in any case, when Mr Staples has something to communicate with us it’s best we pour ourselves our favourite drink, sit down and listen…In some cases we are anxious to listen to the next album of a band, the moment the previous one has been released. Other musicians will only work on something when the time is right for them and the final result is usually worth the wait. Tindersticks only release music when the time is right for them and the result has always been unique. In the same way that few painters rework on finished paintings, Stuart Staples occasionally revisits his own songs thus indulging in a creative self criticism of sorts. On occasions Tindersticks have offered different versions of older songs, responding to a need to give another form to what the lyrics are describing.

 “And that means something to me, because everyone thinks ‘Tindersticks’ and they think ‘melancholy’- that’s us. But making music is never about just one feeling. There’ alsways some ambiguity and that area most interesting area to explore… (Stuart Staples, extract from an interview)

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1. You And Me Should Leave Together Tonight/2. Winter Song/3. Sunny Day/4. Hausmania/5. Running Song/6. (I’ve Been) Bad On Emma/7. Headphones/8. Fugue/9. Edge of a Cloud/10. Your Line is Divine /11. On The Hill 

Release Date: January 22, 2016 Riot Factory

unnamedWhile we were anxious for 2016 to reveal itself, nobody was ready for the news that would shake the music world so much that life seemed to stand still for a few days. Our first album review for 2016 is being written in the aftermath of Ian Fraser Kilmister a.k.a Lemmy and David Jones a.k.a David Bowie’s passings. Yet somehow the debut album ‘Roaring At The Storm’ by Sauropod provided an outlet for all my anger, distress, sadness, disappointment and bitterness caused by these news.

If you find yourselves at the ‘eye of the storm’ would you like a soundtrack to accompany you?

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1. Miseress/2. Un Lugar Ideal/3. Mi Auto/4. El Circulo/5.Espejo En La Nada/6. El Vino de las Orgias/7. Guerrero de la Gloria Negativa/8. La Torre de la Hora/9.Epilog

Release date: November 27,2015 ATP Recordings

folderIndustrial music is a genre that interests me very much ever since Throbbing Gristle made audiences ‘see’ the musicality of found industrial objects, machinery and other equipment that was beginning to lose its usefulness as soon as the de-industrialization of Europe began.To me, industrial music opened the floodgates of creativity just as punk represented the D.I.Y attitude towards art and life in general.
At the same time Germany, Belgium, France and England at the beginning of 1980s were the areas where de-industrialization was more intense and more evident. This in turn seemed to have favoured the appearance of bands inspired by the industrial qualities of machinery that was abundant in the gradually closing manufacturing sites. Audiences in Europe and especially in the aforementioned countries were theoretically more open to this new sound as it alluded to their everyday working and politically charged environments. For many years, industrial music that incorporated lyrics was either in German, English or French languages while the sound has perhaps intentionally, avoided melody and worshipped the rhythmical attraction of metallic sounds!

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1. Relax/2. Replica/3. _/4.Round And Around/5. Pie In The Sky/6. There Is A House/7. My Friend The Scientist/8. And You Changed Your Mind/9. Still Raining/10.Relapse

Release Date: October 9, 2015
Riot Factory

unnamedWe first came across the music of Dråpe in 2013 when this band from Oslo released their first album called ‘Canicular Days’. The band whose name means ‘a drop’ in Norwegian, has defined its music as ‘indieshoegazepostrocknoise’ and has listed Sigur Rós, Slowdive, Flaming Lips and Beach House as their influences. In their debut album there was emphasis on both the hypnotic and the noisy aspect of the music. The instrumental parts in the debut album were loud and experimental thus creating a welcomed antithesis with the ethereal female vocals (i.e. Sister’s Eye, I Wanted You to Stay, Hike). Both the instrumental parts and the vocals had equally important roles to play in the overall atmosphere of ‘Canicular Days’ and at times they blended in such a way (i.e. end of ‘I Wanted You To Stay’) that it seemed impossible to tell where the vocals stopped and where the instruments began.

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1. Sinferno/2. Endless Nights/3. Ikarus/4. Krank/5. Die My phobia/6. Grau im licht/7. SinnFlut/8. HomeSick/9. Schuldig!/10. the Hunted/11. mitGift/12. Schwarz

Release Date: October 16, 2015
Accession Records

…or else an album that will send chills up your spine with every note for 64 minutes

Grau_im_lichtMy personal opinion is that there can be as many music genres as there are people on this planet. There is a myriad of emotions that are generated to each one of us when listening to good music and especially when watching an engaging performer on stage. I have found that, darkwave music has a ‘hard to beat’ empowering effect. Listening to good darkwave music makes me think that the things that are hard to achieve in life, are possible and it makes me remember that the most important thing to have in life is determination. I made this introduction because in short, this is exactly what I feel each time I listen to an album by Diary of Dreams and especially when I listen to ‘Grau Im Licht’. This is the 12th album of the band which, since 1994 (release of first album ‘Cholymelan’) has been synonymous to darkwave music. The heart and soul of the band, takes the form of a strong and engaging performer, Adrian Hates. Throughout the years  Gaun:A is playing powerful melodies on the electric guitar, while various guest musicians usually join the band on stage and provide backing vocals in some of the songs.In this album Dejan Nikolic is behind the drums and Flex at the bass.

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1. The Land Of Holy Joy/2.Isn’t That Just The Life/3. All The Girls Are Wearing Desert Boots Of Pale And Subtle Shade/4. Men Who Display A Different Kind Of Pain/5. Violent Drunken Strangers/6.Discredited Art Form/7. A Good Close Friend/8. A Place Called Home/ 9. I’m Crass Harry

Release Date: September 21, 2015

A Night Of Word And Blood Sparked Under Fire And Stars A Petrol Smear The Concrete Tear Fuck Yeah Brutalism Still Dreaming In The Land Of Holy Joy ( or The Land Of Holy Joy‘for short)

BOHJis the title of the new brainchild of Band Of Holy Joy following ‘the release of ‘Easy Listening in 2014 and the mini album ‘The North Is Another Land before that.I have to admit that one should be extremely cautious when talking about a favourite band as Band Of Holy Joy is to me. I will not start elaborating on how easy it is to be objective in such a case.  I will admit though, that being able to distance oneself from a positive predisposition towards someone or something, is an interesting exercise for the brain. I have seen Band of Holy Joy perform live a few times lately in London, the city which is the base of this band as it is here that they were formed in 1983. That was the year that the band self released the album called Favourite Fairytales For Juvenile Delinquents in cassette format.18 albums and 32  years later Band Of Holy Joy offer  one more memorable album to their loyal audience.If we perceive the music of  Band Of Holy Joy as a giant puzzle with a million pieces, then each album and each performance of this band since 1983 adds one more piece to this puzzle. This is not a puzzle with one central scene but one which only makes sense once it is finished just like the paintings of the Cubists which can only be perceived from a distance and only when they are finished!The band’s split in 1992 and its reformation in 2002 culminated in the release of the album Paramour in 2010 through the band’s own label, Radio Joy. This album marked a radical, conscious and intentional shift in the music of the band and its influences making a homage to the songwriters of New York during the 1960s. However one thing withstood the passage of time. The timely and always socially sensitive nature of the stories that the band is narrating through the songs. In every album since 1983 either by embracing punk either by alluding to the english folk music tradition, Band Of Holy Joy manages to simulate, the feeling of someone who stares at an empty carousel with its lights open and the music still on; a feeling of great hopelessness and endless optimism. Drawing inspiration from and finding similarities between our reality and the stories of William Burroughs, Bertolt Brecht and Guillaume Apollinaire, the Band of Holy Joy manages to stress the lyrical, the violent, the sarcastic, the cynical and the hopeful aspects of our lives and delineate the image of a carefree child who plays with his/her toys oblivious to the complexities and the sadness of life.

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1. Premonition/2. Echoes/3.Four Walls/4. The Reckoning/5.Fade In Time/6.In Your Name/7.Mistakes/ 8. The Condemned Part I/9. The Condemned Part II/10. The Awakening

Release Date: 19 June, 2015, Echozone

identitiesGothic rock music for some, might have been considered as a ‘dead and buried’ genre with everything that it had to offer to have been already delivered to the audiences by Fields of The Nephilim and Sisters of Mercy. Red Sun Revival love the genre so much that they decided to give to it the kiss of life and the new energy it needed so much in order to inspire new and older audiences. There is of course an undeniable gothic revival trend during the last few years but in ‘Identities‘ the second studio album by Red Sun Revival, we hear equally strongly both the gothic (through the vocals and the rhythms) and the rock element (through the character of the electric guitar solos). England is the motherland of the genre and Red Sun Revival have absorbed the tradition of gothic rock in the most creative way without replicating but instead adding noticeable positive elements to the music. The melancholic yet dynamic melodies enriched by the dark aesthetic of the videos swirled in my mind the sound of In The Nursery, Fields of The Nephilim, Mephisto Walz and even Pink Floyd (notice the instrumental part of ‘The Condemned Part I’).

…Within my room
All sorrow seems so far away
And oh so soon
They’re drifting in my wake
And when they’re gone…
‘(lyrics from the song: ‘Four Walls‘)

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