Saturday, January 31, 2015

Killer Tracks: "Pedestrian At Best" by Courtney Barnett

Brand new track by Courtney Barnett taken from her forthcoming album "Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit", released March 23rd:

Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian At Best

The Australian singer-songwriter's previous effort, the album "The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas" which combined her first two EPs, was one of our Top 30 Albums of 2013.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Live: Low @ Fuzz Club (Athens, January 24, 2015)

Photos and videos from Low's first ever live performance in Athens, Greece, at Fuzz Club on January 24th.

The excellent 90-minute set by the Duluth, Minnesota slowcore trio opened and closed with new songs, included several entries from their last album "The Invisible Way" as well as 2005's "The Great Destroyer", but also went as far back as 1994 to include "Words" and "Lullaby" from their debut "I Could Live in Hope". Here's the complete set list:

Check out below one of Low's classics, "Monkey" off "The Great Destroyer", and the brand new "Spanish Translation" from their Athens show:

 Low -  Monkey (live @ Fuzz Club (Athens, Jan. 24, 2015)

Low -  Spanish Translation (live @ Fuzz Club (Athens, Jan. 24, 2015)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Blast From The Past: Babes In Toyland - He's My Thing

Babes In Toyland are back together again and the date of the first live show by Kat Bjelland, Lori Barbero and Maureen Herman since the mid-'90s is getting close (February 12 at The Roxy in Los Angeles). Time to dust off my purple vinyl copy of "Spanking Machine" and give it another spin!

Babes In Toyland - He's My Thing

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Return of Sleater-Kinney: No Cities To Love

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love

This wait is finally over! This week Sleater-Kinney make their comeback with the release of their eighth album "No Cities To Love" ending their 10 year hiatus. The first great album of 2015 is already here! In case you've missed the previous seven, you need to hear this as well:

And here is the track that was my introduction to the band back in 1997 - "Turn It On" from their third album "Dig Me Out", their first masterwork:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

C.M.C. Reloaded: Let's "Begin Again"


New Year and a New Start for Cool Music Central

As we are coming close to the end of our seventh year on Blogger (incredibly enough, our very first post here was on March 6, 2008!), C.M.C. is about to enter Phase III of its online existence.

A little history first: Phase I of Cool Music Central started as a fun experiment sometime in the summer of 1999, a single webpage hosted on Netscape websites which featured our first of many to come "Best Albums of the Month" list. 

We continued with monthly updated lists of favorite albums and tracks accompanied by my rants and raves on new music, while all the years from 1980 and onwards got a "Best of the Year" album list featured on a separate webpage, jokingly titled Cool Music Database (all of which, of course, you can now find here). More pages with festival reviews were added as well, so the original webpage started to look like a proper mini-site.

Fast-forward to 2008: a few months before the shutdown of Netscape websites, our transition to Blogger had started with that first post, which was actually exactly like one of the "rants 'n' raves" I used to post to the old site. Phase II had begun...

January 17, 2015: With an appropriately titled brand new track by Purity Ring, the very fine "Begin Again" from their upcoming sophomore album "Another Eternity" (out early March on 4AD), and a slightly different look, Phase III of Cool Music Central is about to begin!

"What's new?" you will ask, of course. The main difference is that we're going to increase the number of monthly posts but the focus will always be on the music and not the written word. As a famous quote goes, "writing about music is like dancing about architecture" and I fully subscribe to that. You will still be able to find my rants and raves about new music (or my "dances about architecture") in the "Listening Habits" series of posts which will continue on a regular basis, but mostly we'll be featuring the music that gets us excited, whether it's a brand new song like the one we've chosen today or an oldie we'd like to share with you, without much commentary. The music will speak for itself, we will just be the curators of the evolving narrative.

So, let's start creating the soundtrack of 2015... the needle has just dropped on the first track and I do like the way it sounds. How about you?

Purity Ring - Another Eternity

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Top 30 Albums of 2014

Happy New Year from Cool Music Central! 2015 is going to bring changes for this blog as we enter our eighth year on Blogger and I feel that a renewal is long overdue. More details on this subject coming soon...  

For our first post of the New Year though, we are focusing on the best music that 2014 had to offer: the 30 albums we've enjoyed the most over the past 12 months, a carefully selected shortlist of excellent works chosen from a plethora of fine propositions we have had last year, most of which you can check out by going through our 2014 New Releases posts.

The top of our 2014 album list rightfully belongs to Swans and the thirteenth chapter in a truly unique body of work that started three decades ago and continues to evolve, taking rock music to uncharted territories.

"To Be Kind" explores further the vast, creative universe of noise that Michael Gira’s crew entered with "The Seer" in 2012, but this time the balance between order and chaos, rhythm and noise, light and darkness is more effective than ever, creating an astonishing sonic experience that will richly reward those who dare to follow them on their journey.

The fourth, self-titled album by St. Vincent has undoubtedly taken Annie Clark’s music to the next level. Her sound is constantly progressing, absorbing new influences which she uses to shape her own unique style. Clarks's economic guitar playing never tries to steal the show, yet never seizes to offer subtle surprises and throw curve balls that catch you off-guard. The melodies are as strong as ever throughout the record while anxious synth-funk lines keep erupting here and there, keeping you on your toes. Best album cover of the year as well!

"Manipulator", the seventh solo effort in Ty Segall’s impressively prolific career, is his best one yet. Segall really took his time in making this one (14 months for an album is an unusually long period for someone with his work ethic) and the end result is truly exceptional: 17 tracks of non-stop garage rock brilliance, not encountered since the heyday of The White Stripes a decade ago. The timeless quality of "Manipulator" already gives to this record the aura of a 21st century rock classic, the crowning achievement so far in Ty Segall’s rapidly increasing body of work.

Here’s the complete list of our Top 30 Albums of the Year:

Top 30 Albums of 2014

1.   To be kind - SWANS

2.   St. Vincent - ST. VINCENT

3.   Manipulator - TY SEGALL

4.   Nikki nack - TUNE-YARDS

5.   Warpaint - WARPAINT

6.   Sun structures - TEMPLES

7.   They want my soul - SPOON

8.   Do to the beast - THE AFGHAN WHIGS

9.   Sunbathing animal - PARQUET COURTS

10.   Rips - EX HEX

11.   Too true - DUM DUM GIRLS
12.   The best day - THURSTON MOORE
13.   Benji - SUN KIL MOON
14.   Commune - GOAT
15.   Divide and exit - SLEAFORD MODS
16.   Mess - LIARS
17.   Dude incredible - SHELLAC
18.   With light and with love - WOODS
19.   Brill bruisers - THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS
20.   Lazaretto - JACK WHITE
21.   Are we there - SHARON VAN ETTEN
22.   Lost in the dream - THE WAR ON DRUGS
23.   Under color of official right - PROTOMARTYR
24.   Here and nowhere else - CLOUD NOTHINGS
25.   Elpintor - INTERPOL
26.   Phantom radio - MARK LANEGAN BAND
27.   Burn your fire for no witness - ANGEL OLSEN
28.   Atlas - REAL ESTATE
29.   Seeds - TV ON THE RADIO
30.   Run The Jewels 2 - RUN THE JEWELS

Click here for the second part of our Albums of the Year list, from number 31 to 60.

You can also check out our Top 50 Singles of 2014 here and stream all of them here.

Listen to our Albums of the Year playlist on Spotify: