Thursday, January 25, 2018

R.I.P. Mark E. Smith, Hip Priest of The Fall group

It's a very strange feeling to suddenly find myself in a world where there is not going to be another new LP by The Fall, a constant source of pleasure for me for the last three and a half decades. I bet, though, that the group's 25th Peel Session is being organized as we speak in some other dimension, with a brand new line up...

Here are a few highlights selected from the 27 posts we did about The Fall in the 10 years of Cool Music Central's existence on Blogger, just a small tribute to the musical genius of the one and only Mark Edward Smith:

The Fall, live @ Gagarin 205 (Athens, February 1st, 2014) - Review of the group's last ever Athens gig

The Fall, live @ Gagarin 205 (Athens, February 10, 2012) - Their second to last Athens gig was one of their best live performances ever!

Primavera Sound ’10: Day One Review (May 27, 2010) - The Fall were one of the highlights of 2010's Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona

2010 Review: Top 30 Albums of the Year - The Fall at the top of the 2010 list of our favorite albums of the year with "Your Future Our Clutter"

Listening Habits 04.2010 - "Your Future Our Clutter" review

Listening Habits 11-12.11 - "Ersatz GB" review

The Top 20 Albums of the '00s: Number 9 - 2000's "The Unutterable" gets its place in our Top 10 Albums of the Noughties list

And finally, just a few nods to the group's 20th century insanely prolific and hugely influential output:

Fall Week: Bend Sinister

Fall Week: Lie Dream of a Casino Soul

Vintage Tracks 1: The Fall - Impression Of J Temperance

R.I.P. Mark, the wonderful and frightening world of The Fall will be a source of inspiration forever...

The Fall - Blindness, live @ Gagarin 205 Club, February 10, 2012

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Return of The Breeders

It's been ten years since The Breeders' last album, 2008's "Mountain Battles", but as we found out earlier this week, the wait for the next one is almost over. The title of the band's fifth album is "All Nerve" and it will be out on March 2nd via 4AD.

It will be the first album to feature the line up that recorded the band's most successful album to date, the 1993 classic "Last Splash", which means that Kim Deal is joining forces once again with sister Kelley, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson. If single "Wait in the Car" and new track "All Nerve" are an indication of what to expect from the new album, then we're certainly in for a special treat!

To celebrate the good news let's have another listen to "Wait in the Car" and then go back 28 years for "Doe", one of the best tracks on the album that started the ball rolling for The Breeders back in 1990, the wonderful "Pod".

 Good Morning


Of course the band's first line-up included also Tanya Donelly from Throwing Muses who left The Breeders after the 1992 "Safari" EP to form Belly. Interestingly enough Belly are also making their comeback in April 2018 with their first new album in 23 years, titled "Dove". This is a story for a different post, but it certainly looks like that the alternative rock of the '90s will play an important role in shaping up the sound of 2018!

Monday, January 01, 2018

Top 50 Albums of 2017

2018 is here already and along with our warmest wishes for the New Year, we are presenting today our 50 favorite albums of 2017 and the perfect soundtrack to start Cool Music Central's tenth year on Blogger!

It seems unbelievable that we've gotten this far, especially since our beloved rock 'n' roll seems to be losing favor these days, a fact that becomes obvious when you check out the majority of year-end lists out there. We will press on however because I do believe that things will turn around for guitar music. Even in a year where the media's attention was focused elsewhere, there were plenty of excellent rock records around and some of them you'll find in the Top 50 we are presenting today.

It is true that in 2017 we didn't have any albums that felt like game changers, so selecting the Album of the Year was trickier business than usual, as no release stood clearly above the others. In the end we were able to narrow it down to three possible candidates and the honor was finally bestowed upon LCD Soundsystem's "American Dream", a record that managed to find a place in several year-end lists and to even reach the Number One spot in a few of them.

In a year where we had a plethora of impressive comebacks and reunions, some of them even after several decades (The Jesus And Mary Chain, Slowdive, Ride, The Dream Syndicate are some of the bands that immediately come to mind), it is fitting that a returning act would end up claiming the Album of the Year honor. James Murphy has been worrying about losing his edge ever since LCD Soundsystem started, and this uneasiness has always been the source of great music for them. Their return to action after almost seven years has proven that the period spent in limbo was actually beneficiary for the band as they have managed to make a record that feels every bit as important as their first two LPs that helped to define the musical identity of the noughties. Who would have thought that getting older and (perhaps) wiser could be just as valuable a source of inspiration for excellent dance rock music as being young and out of your mind!

The other two records that effectively share the honor of being our Top Albums of the Year along with LCD Soundystem's return, were St. Vincent's "Masseduction" and Algiers' "The Underside of Power".

St. Vincent continued her impressive, ever changing and always innovative trajectory that make her one of the most inspiring music creators of this decade. The sound of "Masseduction" openly flirted with today's dance pop music, but in reality this was a chameleon's camouflage hiding its idiosyncrasies and deeply personal confessions in plain sight, somewhere in the crowded dance floor.

Algiers made one of the strongest protest records of 2017, in a year where getting political became more and more a necessity. The strong views and feelings expressed in their songs were accompanied by a potent mixture of gospel, soul, hip hop, garage and punk rock music that always felt on the brink of explosion without sacrificing any of its tunefulness. The dance-rock revolution begins here!

Here's our selection of the best albums of 2017 based, of course, on what we were able to listen to so far. We are always on the lookout for records that may have slipped under our radar and an updated, final version of this list will appear in Cool Music Database sometime in the next few months. For now though, this is our Top 50:

Top 50 Albums of 2017

1.   American Dream - LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
2.   Masseduction - ST. VINCENT
3.   The Underside of Power - ALGIERS
4.   Holiday Destination - NADINE SHAH
5.   Plunge - FEVER RAY
6.   Run The Jewels 3 - RUN THE JEWELS
7.   Hot Thoughts - SPOON
8.   Modern Kosmology - JANE WEAVER
9.   Relatives in Descent - PROTOMARTYR
10. Rock n Roll Consciousness - THURSTON MOORE
11. Damage and Joy - THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN
12. Antisocialites - ALVVAYS
13. Out in the Storm - WAXAHATCHEE
14. Whiteout Conditions - THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS
15. A Deeper Understanding - THE WAR ON DRUGS
17. Sleep Well Beast - THE NATIONAL
18. In Spades - THE AFGHAN WHIGS
19. Gargoyle - MARK LANEGAN
20. Slowdive - SLOWDIVE
21. Death Song - THE BLACK ANGELS
22. How Did I Find Myself Here? - THE DREAM SYNDICATE
23. Hey Mr Ferryman - MARK EITZEL
24. Painted Ruins - GRIZZLY BEAR
26. Moonshine Freeze - THIS IS THE KIT
27. Semper Femina - LAURA MARLING
28. Soft Sounds From Another Planet - JAPANESE BREAKFAST
29. Nothing Feels Natural - PRIESTS
30. Hug of Thunder - BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
31. Cry, Cry, Cry - WOLF PARADE
32. Weather Diaries - RIDE
33. Brood X - BOSS HOG
34. Flying Microtonal Banana - KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD
35. Ty Segall - TY SEGALL
36. Cost of Living - DOWNTOWN BOYS
37. Apocalipstick - CHERRY GLAZERR
38. ken - DESTROYER
39. Exile in the Outer Ring - EMA
40. Electric Trim - LEE RANALDO
41. In Between - THE FEELIES
42. Last Place - GRANDADDY
43. Everything Now - ARCADE FIRE
44. Visions of a Life - WOLF ALICE
45. Near to the Wild Heart of Life - JAPANDROIDS
46. Life Without Sound - CLOUD NOTHINGS
47. Occult Architecture Vol. 1 - MOON DUO
48. New Facts Emerge - THE FALL
49. Silver / Lead - WIRE
50. Strange Peace - METZ

Also recommended:

TFCF - LIARS, English Tapas - SLEAFORD MODS, Every Valley - PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING, Fujiya & Miyagi - FUJIYA & MIYAGI, Offering - CULTS, Powerplant - GIRLPOOL, In Mind - REAL ESTATE, Heartworms - THE SHINS, Love in the 4th Dimension - THE BIG MOON, Future Politics - AUSTRA, The French Press - ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER, in•ter a•li•a - AT THE DRIVE-IN, Villains - QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, The Tourist - CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH, Polygondwanaland - KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD, Volcano - TEMPLES, Humanz - GORILLAZ, I See You - THE XX, Oczy Mlody - THE FLAMING LIPS, Occult Architecture Vol. 2 - MOON DUO, Losing - BULLY, The Witch - PUMAROSA, Hang - FOXYGEN, Low in High School - MORRISSEY, Okovi - ZOLA JESUS, Hiss Spun - CHELSEA WOLFE, V - THE HORRORS, Flat Worms - FLAT WORMS, Choir of the Mind - EMILY HAINES & THE SOFT SKELETON, Tourist in This Town - ALLISON CRUTCHFIELD, Everybody Works - JAY SOM, Love is Love - WOODS, Phases - ANGEL OLSEN