Sunday, December 25, 2016

Top 50 Tracks of 2016


It's that time of the year again! The festive season is upon us, and despite what we might think or feel about 2016, we are seeing it off with a selection of some of the best music released in the last 12 months. For starters, we present today our own version of the Festive 50, 50 great tracks representing stand out moments from some of the albums we've enjoyed the most during 2016, plus a few selections taken from stand-alone single or EP releases. As usual, we are including only one track from each artist or band, so that we can fit in as many releases as possible.

The top position of our favorite tracks list belongs to Angel Olsen with her impossible to say no command "Shut Up Kiss Me",  the astonishing, grungy power-pop single off her excellent fourth album "My Woman", one of the best examples of the reinvention of her sound which keeps the delicate melodies of folk music, but adds plentiful rock energy that lets the sparks fly on tracks like this one.

Here is the complete list of our Top 50 Tracks of 2016, which you can also stream on Spotify:

1. Shut Up Kiss Me - ANGEL OLSEN



2. The Wheel - PJ HARVEY



3. Fill in the Blank - CAR SEAT HEADREST



4. Human Performance - PARQUET COURTS


5. Florian Saucer Attack - BLACK MOUNTAIN



6. Under the Sun - DIIV



7. New Song - WARPAINT



8. I Sing in Silence - GOAT


9. Lazarus - DAVID BOWIE



10. Jesus Alone - NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS



11. When Will I Return? - SWANS
12. Bath White - 50 FOOT WAVE
13. Sad Person - SAVAGES
14. Wedding - POLIÇA
15. Burn the Witch - RADIOHEAD
16. No Care - DAUGHTER
17. Chasing The Tail Of A Dream - THE CORAL
18. Tiny - DINOSAUR JR.
19. I’m Done - THE JULIE RUIN
20. Wise Ol’ Man - THE FALL
21. Sun City Creeps - WOODS
22. Were We Once Lovers? - TINDERSTICKS
23. Soma Gone Slapstick - KRISTIN HERSH
24. Sunday Love - BAT FOR LASHES
25. Dial Me In - FACTORY FLOOR
26. I Exhale - UNDERWORLD
27. We the People... - A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
28. Where the Lights Gets In - PRIMAL SCREAM
29. Aviation - THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS
30. I'm In Love - TEENAGE FANCLUB
31. On the Lips - FRANKIE COSMOS
32. Be Apart - PORCHES
33. Brainwasher - AUTOLUX
34. La Distinción - LORELLE MEETS THE OBSOLETE
35. Janie In Love - MARISSA NADLER
36. Sweetest Girl - ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER
37. Let Me Get There - HOPE SANDOVAL AND THE WARM INVENTIONS
38. The Spoils - MASSIVE ATTACK
39. Doing It to Death - THE KILLS
40. The Bridge - SAUNA YOUTH
41. Kiss Me When I Bleed - WHITE LUNG
42. Candy Sam - TY SEGALL
43. Oblivious - THE STROKES
44. Death Note - SPEEDY ORTIZ (mp3)
45. Golden Gal - ANIMAL COLLECTIVE
46. On My Heart - SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS
47. X-Communicate - KRISTIN KONTROL
48. Reichpop - WILD NOTHING
49. Your Best American Girl - MITSKI 
50. Late 20s - BEST COAST


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Listening Habits 10-12.2016

Less than two weeks left on 2016’s calendar and before we get into the business of presenting our favorites for this year, let’s have a look at the albums and tracks that earned the most spins and, of course, our appreciation over the last three months.

At the top of the list of our favorite albums of the last quarter of the year you’ll find Warpaint’s third LP, "Heads Up", their most dance-influenced release so far. The quartet retains the atmospheric, fluent melody that characterizes its post-punk rooted sound, but adds more dub and hip-hop influenced grooves to the rhythm, resulting in some of the brightest, dance-oriented pop songs of their career, like the infectious "New Song" or the exquisite "White Out".

Equally majestic is "Requiem", the third and most accomplished album by the always enigmatic Goat. The Swedish group’s experimental fusion of psychedelic rock and world music is challenging and astonishingly beautiful, resulting in a unique, hour-long listening experience that you must not miss.

Other great releases we’ve enjoyed over the last three months include the return of '90s hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest with their first LP in 18 years "We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service" (as good as anything they released in their heyday), the psych-rock gem "A Weird Exits", one of the best additions into the long and ever-expanding discography of Thee Oh Sees, and, of course, the return of two of C.M.C.’s all-time favorite artists, Kristin Hersh with the double cd and book "Wyatt At The Coyote Palace" and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds with the haunting "Skeleton Tree".

Here are C.M.C.’s 20 favorite albums for October - December 2016 and 20 excellent tracks to add to the year’s "Best Of" playlist:

Top 20 Albums

1.  Heads Up - WARPAINT
2.  Requiem - GOAT
3.  We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service - A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
4.  A Weird Exits - THEE OH SEES
5.  Wyatt At The Coyote Palace - KRISTIN HERSH
6.  Skeleton Tree - NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
7.  Heart Like A Levee - HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER
8.  Case/Lang/Veirs - CASE/LANG/VEIRS
9.  Inner Journey Out - PSYCHIC ILLS
10. Until The Hunter - HOPE SANDOVAL AND THE WARM INVENTIONS
11. Slugger - SAD13
12. Babes Never Die - HONEYBLOOD
13. Here - TEENAGE FANCLUB
14. Head Carrier - PIXIES
15. Meet The Humans - STEVE MASON
16. FLOTUS - LAMBCHOP
17. Balance - LORELLE MEETS THE OBSOLETE
18. Monographic - THE OSCILLATION
19. Malamore - THE LIMIÑANAS
20. Mystère - LA FEMME

Top 20 Tracks

1.  Jesus Alone - NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
2.  Soma Gone Slapstick - KRISTIN HERSH
3.  I Sing in Silence - GOAT
4.  New Song - WARPAINT
5.  We The People.... - A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
6.  Tell Her I'm Just Dancing - HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER
7.  Georgia Stars - CASE/LANG/VEIRS
8.  I'm In Love - TEENAGE FANCLUB
9.  Plastic Plant - THEE OH SEES
10. Mixed Up Mind - PSYCHIC ILLS
11. La Distinción - LORELLE MEETS THE OBSOLETE
12. Let Me Get There - HOPE SANDOVAL AND THE WARM INVENTIONS
13. The Hustle - LAMBCHOP
14. Words In My Head - STEVE MASON
15. Get a Yes - SAD13
16. Sea Hearts - HONEYBLOOD
17. Tenement Song - PIXIES
18. The Dead Are Walking - THE LIMIÑANAS
19. Mycose - LA FEMME
20. Monographic - THE OSCILLATION



Warpaint - New Song

Monday, December 12, 2016

Live: Europavox Festival with The Limiñanas, The Oscillation, The Noise Figures, The Third Sound (Athens, Dec. 10th, 2016)

The Limiñanas, live @ Europavox Festival, Fuzz Club, Athens
Europavox Festival, a project dedicated to the promotion of European musical diversity which started in 2006, opened its doors for the first time in Athens last Saturday, with an event held at Fuzz Club, featuring The Limiñanas from France, The Oscillation from the UK, The Noise Figures from Greece and the Berlin-based The Third Sound, the band formed by Hákon Aðalsteinsson, formerly of Icelandic band Singapore Sling.

The Limiñanas
The Limiñanas, the headliners of this mini festival, played an excellent 70-minute set filled with infectious, '60s-influenced psych and garage pop melodies.


The band from Cabestany, in the south of France, presented tracks from their recent album "Malamore", as well as older material, which showed us how the language-barrier can be easily broken down by the power of good, old rock’n’roll. Their songs, sung in French and English by either Marie or Lio Limiñana, the group’s creative core, are driven by buzzing garage-rock guitar lines and simple, yet highly-effective, drum rhythms. The Limiñanas’ rock energy and good vibes didn’t take too long to spread from the band to the audience, who showed their appreciation to both new and old material; the perfect ending for a fine night of rock music from all corners of the European map!

Marie and Lio Limiñana
Earlier in the evening we also enjoyed The Oscillation’s krautrock-influenced, psychedelic sound, The Noise Figures explosive, garage-blues rooted, guitar & drums workout, and The Third Sound’s mix of psych-rock and post-punk.

The Oscillation, live @ Europavox Festival, Fuzz Club, Athens
The Noise Figures, live @ Europavox Festival, Fuzz Club, Athens
The Third Sound, live @ Europavox Festival, Fuzz Club, Athens
The Oscillation, the band formed by Demian Castellanos almost 10 years ago in Walthamstow, presented their latest album "Monographic", which sounded even better live, with the motorik drum beat adding more drive to their fuzzy guitar sound. The Noise Figures, the representatives of the local rock scene, seem to be getting better and better each time we cross paths, and this was definitely the best show we have witnessed by them so far, while The Third Sound kicked off proceeding by spreading their dark "Gospels of Degeneration".

The Limiñanas

The Oscillation
The Noise Figures
The Third Sound
Check out below The Limiñanas playing "Funeral Baby", as well as highlights from the performances of The Oscillation, The Noise Figures and The Third Sound at the Athens edition of Europavox Festival:

The Limiñanas - Funeral Baby (live in Athens @ Europavox Festival)

The Oscillation - Take Us to the Moon (live in Athens @ Europavox Festival)

The Noise Figures - In The Boneyard (live in Athens @ Europavox Festival)

The Third Sound (live in Athens @ Europavox Festival)

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Live: Plisskën Festival 2016 (Athens, December 2-3, 2016) - Day 2 highlights

Sights and sounds from the second day of the Winter 2016 edition of Plisskën Festival:

La Femme, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016

Saturday, December 3rd


Forest Swords, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
Even more electronic beats with quite a variety of moods and bpm on the festival’s main stage, ranging from the up-tempo party bangers of The Vatican Shadow to the dark, experimental sounds of Death In Vegas. Our favorite electronic performance of the day came from Forest Swords, a journey into atmospheric, dub-influenced sounds created by Matthew Barnes with the help of a bass player.

Forest Swords, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
Death In Vegas, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
However the unexpected protagonists of the festival’s second day were La Femme, the French electropop punks, who played for the first time in Athens and won the audience over with their energetic, fun performance.

La Femme, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
La Femme introduced us to their recently released second album "Mystere", without omitting some of the highlights from their 2013 debut "Psycho Tropical Berlin".


Their sound mixes new wave, synth pop, yé-yé, psychedelic and surf-rock elements, with the synthesizer being their instrument of choice (no less than four were present on stage). They performed their songs with punk rock urgency, sometimes bringing to mind the energy of Plastic Bertrand’s classic pop-punk hit "Ça Plane Pour Moi". The melodic nature of La Femme's music remained intact despite the frenzy of their performance and their contagious fun created a party atmosphere in the venue, earning them quite a lot of new fans in the process.


Check out below La Femme performing "Si Un Jour" and "Sur La Planche 2013" , Forest Swords in "Miarches" and Death In Vegas in "Blood Yawning" from their sets on the main stage of Plisskën Festival 2016:

La Femme - Si Un Jour / Sur La Planche 2013 (live @ Winter Plissken Festival 2016, Athens)

Forest Swords - Miarches (live @ Winter Plissken Festival 2016, Athens)

Death in Vegas - Blood Yawning (live @ Winter Plissken Festival 2016, Athens)

Click here for our coverage of the first day of the festival.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Live: Plisskën Festival 2016 (Athens, December 2-3, 2016) - Day 1 highlights

The Winter 2016 edition of Plisskën Festival offered us two nights of eclectic sounds across four stages, with a line up consisting mostly of artists coming from the left-field of electronic music, mixing it up with a few representatives from the rock and hip hop world. On the open-air Republic stage (a peculiar choice for a winter festival) local artists braved the night chill to present their latest music creations, while two more stages, Aquarium and Tunnel, hosted DJ sets and live electronic and dance music.

Tuxedomoon, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
Cool Music Central was at Piraeus 117 Academy, the club hosting the main stage of the festival, on Friday and Saturday and brings you sights and sounds from our favorite performances. Here's what we saw on the first day of Plisskën 2016:

Friday, December 2nd



Tuxedomoon, the legendary experimental rock band that formed in San Francisco in the late '70s, headlined the first day of the festival and gave one of the best performances we saw on the main stage of Plisskën.


In the first half of their 90-minute set the band presented their 1980 debut album "Half-Mute" in full. The adventurous sound of Tuxedomoon's early work has stood the test of time well and 36 years later their mix of electronic music, jazz and post-punk retains its cutting-edge feel. Next to the songs from "Half-Mute" we also got to listen to a few other classics from the same era including "East" and "Jinx" from their sophomore LP "Desire" (here’s another stellar album that we’d love to see performed live in full), and a few obscure jems like "This Beast", the B-side from their 1983 EP "Short Stories".


Early in the afternoon Psychic Ills was the opening act on Plisskën’s main stage. The psychedelic rock sound of the New York band did not fit in too well with the rest of the first day’s line up and perhaps this was the reason that they didn’t attract a bigger crowd. However the band on its second visit to Athens (check out here our impressions from their live debut) gave a solid hour-long performance, presenting songs mostly from its latest album "Inner Journey Out", plus a few choice cuts from the recent past.

 
Psychic Ills, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
In between Psychic Ills and Tuxedomoon the festival’s main stage was filled with electronic and hip hop beats provided by (in order of appearance) The Four Owls, Zomby and Prefuse 73. A brief visit to the Republic stage gave us also the opportunity to enjoy the idiosyncratic baroque pop of Nalyssa Green and her band.

Prefuse 73, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
Zomby, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
The Four Owls, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
Nalyssa Green, live @ Plisskën Festival 2016
Check out below Tuxedomoon performing "East" and "Jinx", one of our all-time favorite tracks, and Psychic Ills playing "Mixed Up Mind", one of the highlights of their latest album:

Tuxedomoon - East/Jinx (live @ Winter Plissken Festival 2016)

Psychic Ills - Mixed up Mind (live @ Winter Plissken Festival 2016)

Click here for our impressions from the second day of the festival.