Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dälek & Fulton Lights - Live @ An Club (Nov. 15, 2008)

Dälek, live @ An Club (Athens, November 15th, 2008)
If you have ever wondered what kind of sound you could create if you mixed My Bloody Valentine's noise soundscapes with Public Enemy's hard rhymes and hip hop beats then New Jersey's Dälek is the group for you. And if you happened to be in Athens on November 15th, then An Club was the place to be, where the experimental rap trio launched their sonic assault. No time for hello and thank you between the songs, or any kind of pause for that matter, just relentless, ominous beats supporting the rap flow trying to penetrate the thick wall of noise. In last year's "Abandoned Language" LP, the group turned down the noise levels that were prominent in 2005's breakthrough album "Absence", their best effort yet for my money, and took a more straight (although, still, way far from the beaten path) hip hop approach. However their live sound on this night was all about the take-no-prisoners noise-hop attack of "Absence". Perhaps an indication of the direction of the forthcoming new album "Gutter Tactics"? We'll find out in January.

Dälek, live @ An Club (Athens, November 15th, 2008)
Meanwhile, the night opened quite peacefully by Andrew Spencer's one-man-show Fulton Lights. Minimal, experimental, lo-fi americana sounds created with just a guitar, some effects pedals and a laptop, from the recently released, atmospheric "The Way We Ride" LP. The album is definitely worth checking out (the title track is one of my current favorites) and you can do so by visiting, where you can download it for free in high quality mp3 - take that Radiohead!
Fulton Lights, live @ An Club (Athens, November 15th, 2008)

Dälek, live @ An Club (Athens, November 15th, 2008)

Fulton Lights

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blast From The Past Vol.3: 1985-1989

It's been a long time coming and, finally, the third edition of the "Blast From The Past" series is here! This time we take a look at the second half of the '80s and choose our 50 (plus 10) favorite albums released between 1985 and 1989, keeping in mind the rule of including only one album from each artist or band. The common perception is that the first half of the decade in question was richer in innovative, groundbreaking music and produced more classic albums that defined the indie-rock world and continue to be highly influential today. However it would be wrong to downplay the importance of the music that came out in the late '80s, since, one one hand, we had the continuous rise of the underground experimental guitar sound that culminated with the release, in 1988, of arguably the best album of the decade, Sonic Youth's "Daydream Nation", and, on the other, this was the golden era of the hip-hop culture. Run DMC took the beat of the underground to the top of the charts and Public Enemy spearheaded politicized hardcore-rap, taking the rap game to another level. And let's not forget that at the tail-end of this period, a little known band called Nirvana released its debut album, recorded for about $600, on a hip new Seattle label called Sub Pop. And the rest is '90s history, coming in the form of a nice little list in the forthcoming "Blast From The Past, Vol.4".

Top 50 Albums of 1985 - 1989

1. Daydream nation - SONIC YOUTH
2. Surfer Rosa - PIXIES
3. This nation’s saving grace - THE FALL
4. It takes a nation of millions to hold us back - PUBLIC ENEMY
5. Songs about fucking - BIG BLACK
7. Meat is murder - THE SMITHS
8. Document - R.E.M.
10. Warehouse: Songs and stories - HUSKER DU
11. Mirage - MEAT PUPPETS
12. House tornado - THROWING MUSES
13. Life’s too good - THE SUGARCUBES
15. Gas, food, lodging - GREEN ON RED
16. Valley of rain - GIANT SAND
17. My invisible lantern - SCREAMING TREES
18. In the Spanish cave - THIN WHITE ROPE
19. The firstborn is dead - NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
20. Isn’t anything - MY BLOODY VALENTINE
21. I - A.R. KANE
22. The Stone Roses - THE STONE ROSES
23. Bummed - HAPPY MONDAYS
24. Raising hell - RUN DMC
25. Criminal minded - BOOGIE DOWN PRODUCTIONS
26. The House of Love - THE HOUSE OF LOVE
27. Tallulah - THE GO-BETWEENS
28. Calenture - THE TRIFFIDS
29. Wild weed - JEFFREY LEE PIERCE
30. Charm world - YO
31. Bedtime for democracy - DEAD KENNEDYS
32. Mudhoney - MUDHONEY
33. Bleach - NIRVANA
34. Byram lake blues - 13 ENGINES
36. Paid in full - ERIC B & RAKIM
37. 3 feet high and rising - DE LA SOUL
38. Straight outta Compton - N.W.A.
39. Saturday night! The album - SCHOOLY D
40. Our favourite shop - THE STYLE COUNCIL
42. The eight legged groove machine - THE WONDER STUFF
43. Desperate fires - THE JET BLACK BERRIES
44. Hope against hope - BAND OF SUSANS
45. Frequency and urgency - SALEM 66
46. Lysergic emanations - THE FUZZTONES
47. First and last and always - THE SISTERS OF MERCY
48. Low life - NEW ORDER
49. Around the world in a day - PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION
50. Our beloved revolutionary sweetheart - CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN

And here is the "plus 10" part of the list; a selection of ten more albums that are equally worthy of inclusion, but will have to sit on the substitutes' bench for now: Mother Juno - THE GUN CLUB, Inky bloaters - DANIELLE DAX, Lick - THE LEMONHEADS, Buffalo Tom - BUFFALO TOM, The world by storm - THE THREE JOHNS, Let’s play domination - WORLD DOMINATION ENTERPRISES, Power - ICE T, Locust abortion technician - BUTTHOLE SURFERS, Land of the lost - WIPERS, The Young Gods - THE YOUNG GODS.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Best of the Month - 10.2008

Not long to go now for the end credits of 2008 and the traditional "Best Of" lists are starting to take shape. The latest addition to the shortlist for "Album of the Year" comes from TV On The Radio, one of the finest bands of this decade. It was just 5 years ago when they made their presence felt with the promising soulful indie-meets-doo wop sounds of "Young Liars" EP, a promise that was soon fulfilled with 2004's mesmerizing debut "Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes". The supposedly difficult second album, where most new bands with a great start usually lose momentum by repeating themselves, was also a triumph. "Return to Cookie Mountain", Cool Music Central's Album of the Year for 2006, turned up the volume and cemented their maverick status by managing to improve on perfection. And now, with album number three, TV On The Radio continue their meteoric rise. The feat of "Dear Science" is that it manages to be the band's most accessible effort to date without sacrificing its experimental edge. Electro-new wave beats mix with afro-melodies, funky bass-lines and soulful singing creating an unapologetically euphoric dance-rock amalgam that reassures us for the coming of a golden age despite all today's troubles.
There is also a
TV On The Radio connection regarding the band with this month's top single. Brooklyn's Telepathe recently recorded their soon to come debut album "Dance Mother" with TV On The Radio's member and producer extraordinaire David Sitek. On the evidence of the hypnotizing charm of "Chrome's on it", along with the eery beauty of earlier single "Devil's trident", it seems likely that we have already discovered one of the best albums of 2009.

Top 15 Albums
1. Dear Science - TV ON THE RADIO
2. Conor Oberst - CONOR OBERST
3. Only By The Night - KINGS OF LEON
4. The Chemistry Of Common Life - FUCKED UP
5. The Bake Sale - THE COOL KIDS
6. Lightbulbs - FUJIYA & MIYAGI
7. Chemical Chords - STEREOLAB
8. Microcastle/Weird Era Continued - DEERHUNTER
9. Nouns - NO AGE
12. Carried To Dust - CALEXICO
13. Tha Carter III - LIL WAYNE

Top 20 Tracks
1. Chrome's on it - TELEPATHE
2. Red dress - TV ON THE RADIO
3. Knickerbocker - FUJIYA & MIYAGI
4. Nothing ever happened - DEERHUNTER
5. Down the line - THE GUTTER TWINS
6. I don’t want to die (in the hospital) - CONOR OBERST
7. Sex on fire - KINGS OF LEON
8. Victor Jara’s hands - CALEXICO
9. Cacophony - TILLY AND THE WALL
10. Electric arc - OXFORD COLLAPSE
11. Black albino bones - FUCKED UP
12. Here should be my home - NO AGE
13. Our bipolar friends - JOHNNY FOREIGNER
14. Tell the world - VIVIAN GIRLS
17. Valley hi! - STEREOLAB
18. Poison dart - THE BUG featuring WARRIOR QUEEN
19. Bassment party - THE COOL KIDS
20. 3 Peat - LIL WAYNE

Telepathe - Chrome's on it (live)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Trans AM Live @ Gagarin 205 (Oct. 28, 2008)

First of all, I have to admit that although Trans AM have been recording for the esteemed Thrill Jockey label since the mid-90s, I had only listened to just a few of their songs before this gig. After seeing their first ever performance in Athens and listening to 2007's "Sex change", their eighth album, my theory is that the sound of the band is the result of trying to imagine Kraftwerk as a punk band. Vocoder vocals and synthesized melodies are propelled by furiously pounded drums and occasional guitar-noise outbursts. Coming from Washington D.C. must have something to do with the band's punk dynamics, but there's also some unexpected prog-rock influences in there that keep the listener guessing as to what to expect next. The punk-rock element of their sound prevailed on this night's fine performance which you can sample below, by watching a clip of the space-rocking "Conspiracy of the Gods", from their latest album, as performed at the Gagarin 205 gig.

Trans AM - Conspiracy of the Gods (live@Gagarin 205, Athens, Oct.28, 2008)
Trans AM live@Gagarin 205, Athens (Oct. 28, 2008)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Introducing Cool Music Database

On October 31 AOL closed down the websites and journals hosted over there, a fact that, unfortunately, meant curtains for the original Cool Music Central website, the place where I first started posting my rants and raves about the music I'm into, way back in the summer of 1999. Putting aside my emotional attachment to the old site, the truth is that after I started blogging here in March 2008, the AOL hosted C.M.C. website had run its course and the only part of it that was still useful was Cool Music Database, the portal to all my "Best Of" lists with my favorite albums and singles from 1980 to the present day. To make up for that loss, I just started the Cool Music Database blog on Blogger and during the next few weeks all the lists will be restored there. Actually, since these lists are quite old, I' m taking this opportunity to update them with albums that I have discovered more recently and make new ones with favorite singles from the '80s and '90s that were not included in the original C.M.D. Also the Blast From The Past lists that I started posting here will be a part of the new C.M.D. and, if you have a look now, the first couple of posts are all about the '70s: my current Top 30 Albums from 1975 - 1979 (first posted here in September) and a brand new list with 70 favorite tracks from the '70s (the rule this time was no more than 2 songs per band/solo artist). To enhance this '70s fest, you can also stream a hand-picked playlist with punk rock classics from that era. Next stop - The '80s ... coming soon in Cool Music Database - now with added Blogger power!