Sunday, October 23, 2016

1979 Revisited: Top 40 Albums

Recently BBC Radio 6 celebrated the music of 1979 as part of My Generation, their year-long season of programmes presenting the history of pop music across the decades. Listening to The Sound of 1979 playlist reminded me that several of my all-time favorite albums were released on that year and although over the years I have compiled many "Best of" annual lists (all of which can be found  here), I have never gone on record about my favorites from 1979 (or any other year of the '70s for that matter).

Time to change all that: what follows is a list of 40 excellent albums released in 1979 which I would gladly listen to over and over again today. Most of them have been a huge influence on shaping what we now refer to as the post-punk sound and are indicative of the innovations and  transformations taking place in rock music at the late '70s as a result of the big bang caused by the punk explosion.

This short list, being of course a subjective collection of personal favorites, does not try to include everything that was going on in 1979, but in the near future we will publish in Cool Music Database an expanded and much more wide-ranging version that will cover all bases. But for now, here's our version of The Sound of 1979:

Top 40 Albums of 1979

1.  Entertainment! - GANG OF FOUR
2.  Unknown pleasures - JOY DIVISION
3.  Live at the witch trials - THE FALL
4.  London calling - THE CLASH
5.  Fear of music - TALKING HEADS
6.  Setting sons - THE JAM
8.  Cut - THE SLITS
9.  Second edition - PUBLIC IMAGE LTD.
10. 154 - WIRE
11. Three imaginary boys - THE CURE
12. The B-52's - THE B-52'S
13. The Undertones - THE UNDERTONES
14. Drums and wires - XTC
15. Specials - SPECIALS
16. Secondhand daylight - MAGAZINE
18. Dragnet - THE FALL
19. 20 jazz funk greats - THROBBING GRISTLE
20. Colossal youth - YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS
21. Eat to the beat - BLONDIE
22. Machine gun etiquette - THE DAMNED
23. A different kind of tension - BUZZCOCKS
24. A trip to Marineville - SWELL MAPS
25. Real to real cacophony - SIMPLE MINDS
26. Reproduction - THE HUMAN LEAGUE
27. Reggatta de blanc - POLICE
28. One step beyond... - MADNESS
29. The Raincoats - THE RAINCOATS
30. GI - GERMS
32. New picnic time - PERE UBU
33. Door, door - BOYS NEXT DOOR
34. Rust never sleeps - NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE
36. Tom Verlaine - TOM VERLAINE
37. A can of bees - THE SOFT BOYS
38. Quiet life - JAPAN
39. Life in a day - SIMPLE MINDS
40. Eliptical optimism - SPHERICAL OBJECTS

Monday, October 17, 2016

Live: Lorelle Meets The Obsolete @ Death Disco (Athens, October 14, 2016)

Friday night we were back to Death Disco for our second fix of guitar noise for the week, this time courtesy of Mexico's Lorelle Meets The Obsolete (check out what happened on Monday at Girls Names' gig here).

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete record their music as a duo, with Lorena Quintanilla and Alberto González playing all instruments, but on stage the band presented its latest record, their fourth effort titled "Balance" as a five piece. Lorelle's melodic vocals, following shoegaze tradition, are usually buried in the fuzz of the guitars, keyboards add insistent, psychedelic drones and the distinctive rhythm section often drives the songs towards the paths that krautrock opened.

With so many musical threads to weave together, the band seems to strive to find, as the title of their new album suggests, the right balance that will tie everything together and when this happens, as on the mesmerizing single "La Distinción", the results are truly spectacular.

Their hour-long set was a fine introduction to Lorelle's and The Obsolete's idiosyncratic, psychedelic universe, a journey with many twists and turns that you're never sure where it will lead, but you'll certainly be glad they took you along for the ride!

Check out below two songs from their set, "Music for Dozens" from their 2014 album "Chambers" and the title track from the new LP "Balance":

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete - Music for Dozens, live @ Death Disco

Lorelle Meets the Obsolete - Balance, live @ Death Disco

Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, live @ Death Disco
Cruel Anagrams, live @ Death Disco
The night opened with a half-hour set by local duo Cruel Anagrams, playing electronic-influenced experimental pop. Guitar and synths build the backdrop for Lily Truble's narratives and although the result is at the same time strange and intriguing, I believe their live sound would benefit if they brought on a drummer to flesh out the rhythms. Modern technology makes it easy to record music with just one or two persons, but to get a good result live you still need a full band, something that was proven later on by Lorelle Meets the Obsolete and their live band.