Monthly playlist-Favourite albums January 2024

Posted: 25th February 2024 by blaue-rosen in Music News,press releases
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logo playlistUnlike others, we love winter and its darkness, and we look forward to the releases of the season. The soundtrack of the first long month of the year had everything from post-folk, to metal and heavy psych. We enjoyed impressive debut releases and promising self-released music and once again we were amazed by the paths that sonic experimentation is able to open in our consciousness.

But let’s take things from the beginning, a year that begins with a new release by New Model Army, must prove to be quite the memorable one. Never mind the band’s well established socio-political criticism of the state of affairs around the world through their lyrics. Their latest album ‘unbroken‘ manages to incorporate Cretan lyra rhythms, typically found in traditional dances of Crete within their sound that also includes (in other parts of the album) metal/heavy guitar riffs. Those who follow the band will know that there are albums when New Model Army embrace melody and fantasy in their sound and visuals and other years when these are set aside. This latest album belongs to the second category and as with every verse that comes out of Justin Sullivan’s mouth, it awakens a fighting spirit that every other part of life seems to want to keep dormant!

The new album by Data Fragments is a true post-punk revelation, and the reason is that it manages to create an osmosis between sounds that fans of the dark alternative scene since the 80s would be very familiar with. What is worth mentioning here is not as much that this band has great influences, but that they treat them creatively in a fascinating way that creates a result which is truly unique without repeating or copying riffs and styles of the past. Their influences cover the 80s Belgian coldwave scene, the modern post-punk revival, Greece’s rich punk music tradition and the way it manifested in the 90s, as well as the more obscure, new wave/dreamy sound that came out of labels like the legendary Sarah Records. I think in the white noise that is created by the abundance of independent/underground releases, the album ‘Total Absence Of Light‘ deserves your attention as well as a place in your collection.

Now brace yourselves for SLIFT‘s new album ‘ILION‘ full of heavy psych and metal elements, slow rhythms and a ceremonial attitude to all of the above. Listening to this album on repeat made one thing clear – SLIFT are bearers of some important message and this is the sound they created in order to communicate it with us.

Empusae is a favourite project for the last 10 years and their sound develops and explores new dimensions every time. ‘Pilgrimage to Ganriki‘ is exactly what the title suggests…Empusae’s sonification of his own experience approaching Ganriki-San Shrine in Japan. In his own words: “What started as an insignificant walk to reach the shrine of Ganriki-san, a Shinto deity giving blessing for eye diseases, gradually evolved into an intense journey through a swarm of mental and physical confrontation…There was no option to turn back, only the will to continue. I never felt so strong while being confronted by my eye demon in years, with my guiding light taking by hand. After more than 2 hours, we finally reached the shrine. The tension exploded, the emotions bursted, the tears followed the dripping water of the purifying fountain. I cracked. We prayed.
My guiding light lit a candle for me. She bestowed my a spell. The epiphany took over. She wrote down a spell on a wooden relic, which was to be read by a priest before burning it, later that day.”
This latest release has strong meditative, ceremonial elements with a hidden power that works as a reminder of something much larger than our own existence and everyday problems.

The debut albums of this month were just incredibly powerful! SPRINTS and Island Apes, released two of the best debut albums of the year and they both have very different energies. With feisty and poetic verses that reveal a music maturity beyond their age, SPRINTS are a punk force that cannot be mistaken for immaturity. Island Apes on the other hand, bring a combination of heavy 60s inspired psych, hardcore, deathrock and garage sonic stories, where distortion, pulsating guitar riffs coexists with trippy feelings.

Finally, a special mention is due to the dark folk releases of the month as the albums by Jozef van Wissem, Kinit Her and Conhúr White left their mark in this year’s releases. While both Jozef van Wissem and Kinit Her explore the ceremonial sides of dark/apocalyptic folk, and do it in a poetic way with an abundance of symbols in their verses and visuals, Conhúr White are less dramatic in their approach, with strong dreamy/ethereal elements.

We are sure you will find much more elements to these releases than the one we already mentioned, just have a listen to the releases and make sure you have your favourite poison next to you!




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