End Of The Road festival 2018 – Day Four – Sunday 2nd September 2018

..and then we eventually all reached the final day of the 2018 edition of End of the Road. As all great events, there is always a sense of weirdness when one realises that something expected for months is actually going to end soon… 

That was another day of choices and for instance my program did not allow me to make it for Haley Heyderikx, Iceage, Ezra Furman, Idles, Feist or Ariel Pink‘s gigs. Another time, another planet I guess…

No better way to start the day than with the Perpignan garage band The
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from Perpignan, France. They may not be the most radical new band of all times but their music is really excellent, especially in the context of a festival. And being able to hear “c’est bon, on peut y aller” in the middle of Dorset was a real treat!

But this was nothing compared to the next gig I attended. I was not really familiar with the legendary Posies from Seattle, although I had recently heard the latest albums from one of their two leaders Ken Stringfellow, the other one being Jonathan Auer.  The concert was actually a positive shock as their music is an incredible mix of grunge and power-pop, which makes them associated by many with the beautiful Teenage Fanclub from Scotland. I had never seen them in their prime but I read that they are as good now since they reformed as they were in the 90’s. A band not to be missed on stage.

I then attended two nice gigs at the Garden Stage. The first one was from the Velvet Underground influenced British band The Wave Pictures: quite a refreshing gig but with no real sparkle to be honest. The second one from an old acquaintance with Jonathan Wilson, a musician from L.A. and also fantastic producer of our 2017 album of the year with Father John Misty. Jonathan’s musicianship and taste are unchallengeable but I must admit I had been more excited when I first caught him on stage a few years ago in France.

After a final catch-up at the Big Top stage with Michelle Zauner’s interesting band Japanese Breakfast, I came back to the Garden stage, full of hopes for Julia Holter‘s gig. That was quite a disappointment actually as although her challenging music can be very good on record, I felt that a festival was probably not the best place to appreciate it, especially on Day Four… What makes End of the Road so beautiful is that rather than killing time, I then decided to check on rebel grunge country outlaw Jim White at the Tipi Tent, which actually ended as one of my best moments of the festival. In the great tradition of American singers, his songs are very simple but also very often straight to the point and full of a certain desperate emotion. Jim White is also one of the funniest musicians I have ever experienced and his introduction story about his former role as a Jehovah’s Witness was hilarious.

My fate was to finish the festival at my favourite Garden Stage with the final two concerts I attended. Always a pleasure to see rock legend John Cale on stage, for the second time of the year after his March concert at the London Barbican. Of course, John Cale does not sing Coldplay-hymn stadium songs and his music is often a bit difficult to say the least. But taking a step backwards, isn’t it incredible to watch this 76-year old man still eager to experiment? Amazing bunch of musicians as well.

I was also super excited and full of joy to finish it all with White Denim, from my favourite city in the USA, i.e. Austin Texas. I have always enjoyed a lot their records although their music is so diverse and embracing all styles that this is sometimes difficult to remember them as a real singular band. However, they are truly amazing live, playing endlessly super catchy but very complex songs, owing as much to jazz, Americana or power pop styles. Not a hint of weakness during this great concert and the best way to finish the day and the festival full of memories.

Any idea about where I will be next year late August/early September?


November 2018 Album of the month: Jeff Tweedy – “Warm”

We are getting closer and closer to the end of the year…which is sort of mad. Anyway, here is the final busy month of the year before a probably slower December and the grand finale of the best records of 2018! But first things first with November and a bunch of extraordinary records… and no Muse record as to be honest this is a crap one…

Album of the month: Jeff Tweedy“Warm” – Music from a master – Is it an obvious and expected choice from those familiar with this blog? Indeed it is and I really asked myself the question: “do I like this record because I am such an enthusiast about Jeff’s music or could anyone love it if they were to discover this?” The answer is that I do not really know and also who really cares… What is sure is that for me Wilco are the best band of our times and that this is always a threat to find a new project from their leader. In “Warm“, the music gets calmer and simpler than ever but the quality of the melodies and the emotion of the lyrics are something which is rarely found nowadays. In a nutshell, this is the record where Jeff is very straight and honest about this failures, past addictions, doubts but also hopes in life. Another record of the month after Gaz Coombes‘ “World Strongest Man in May in which a non-macho man confesses his difficulties and struggles in today’s world. Count me in baby…

  • Runner-up: Bill Ryder-Jones“Yawn” – Pop Rock – Almost a twin album to the Jeff Tweedy record from one of our current favourite artists, also caught up in the past at End of the Road. A former band member of Liverpool band The Coral, Bill Ryder-Jones has not enjoyed an easy life to say the least but has found a real shelter in his music. The type of LP where one could find comfort, especially in winter time. Another record I am ready to defend tooth and nail against anyone.
  • Also recommended:
    • J Mascis  “Elastic Days” – Pop Rock – Latest solo effort from Dinosaur Jr. frontman and one of his best.
    • Smashing Pumpkins – “Shiny and Oh so Bright” – Pop Rock – The first LP for ages with 3/4 of the original band. Thrashed by Pitchfork but actually a good album with a couple of fantastic tracks.
    • The Good, the Bad & the Queen “Merrie Land” –  Pop Rock – Umpteenth project from Damon Albarn. Not as good as he things this is…but still very interesting.
    • Esben and the Witch “Nowhere” – Pop Rock – This Brighton band has been doing constant great guitar albums and here you go with another one.
    • Raoul Vignal – “Oak Leaf” – Folk Rock – Beautiful slow record from this French musician, not too far to what Kings of Convenience used to do 15 years ago.
  • Lest we forget: album of the previous month Neneh Cherry “Broken Politics”

End Of The Road festival 2018 – Day Three – Saturday 1st September 2018

 

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Saturday is traditionally the most tiresome day of them all. So to fight it and to stay as energy-driven as possible, I spent close to twelve hours on site!

I attended fewer gigs than the previous day (only eight…) but also decided to start the day differently by watching a movie at the beautiful cinema tent built in the Twin Peaks spirit. End of the Road is also a great festival to chill, relax, meditate, get a massage, attend a comedy show …or watch a movie. No better way to start the day actually than seeing one of my favourite director latest movie, namely Wes Anderson‘s Isle of Dogs. I guess he does not need me to say so but his latest opus is as usual funny, entertaining, full of emotion, very creative,…everything one wants to find in movies really.

 

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After this excellent start, it was back to the gigs for me in a day that was under the banner of psychedelic and garage rock music. This was also a difficult day in terms of choice and I missed amongst others bands or artists such as Screaming Females, Julian Baker, Mulatu Astatke, Gruff Rhys, Destroyer or again the festival headliners Vampire Weekend.

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After a nice first gig from Welsh newcomers Boy Azooga , my first thrill came from L.A psychedelic band Flat Worms. Their formula is not revolutionary but one can really feel the vibes and energy of this pure rock’n’roll trio just after one song. Lead by singer and guitarist Will Ivy, I dare anyone not to dance like a maniac after watching a couple of songs. Well I did anyway…

Next stop at the Garden stage was a bit of a disappointment as I was expecting more from Pennsylvania songwriter Alex Giannascoli, better known under his artist name of (Sandy) Alex G. I thought the gig was lacking energy, emotion or both so I went to the Wood stage to be prepared on time for Shame. They are a South London young punk rock band and they released early in the year (in January to be precise) one of the best records of the year. I knew they had the reputation of being wild on stage…and there was no disappointment here neither as wild is probably too soft a word. What is even greater with these guys and in particular with their singer Charlie Steen is that there is not an ounce of cliché. You feel you are watching a potential great band without them being aware of it. Isn’t this what rock’n’roll is about?

Spontaneity is probably not how I would describe Brooklyn’s Sunflower Bean as it looks everything has been studied here, from their influences (The Velvet Underground meets The Cocteau Twins) to their non-look… and moustache for their drummer. What makes this band different and probably one of the best we have today is bass player / singer Julia Cumming. She has a real stage fascinating presence whilst staying very spontaneous. One of the best gigs I attended during the week-end.

My next two gigs were a bit opposite as singer Sophie Allison’s band Soccer Mommy were more exciting on stage than on record with their folk rock music, whereas I thought Hookworms on stage were much less subtle than they are on records with their German repetitive influenced music.

Anyway the real excitement of the day for me was that I would eventually catch John Dwyer on stage with one of his numerous bands and project, namely Oh Sees. With Ty Segall or Jack White, John Dwyer is currently one of the hardest man in show business and his records have regularly been in our best of lists. Wearing his traditional bermuda shorts made out of cut jean trousers, his usual tattoos and his guitar held very high, the great man and his band performed an amazing gig of psychedelic music. John Dwyer is the sole constant member of The Oh Sees (I know, they are currently called Oh Sees…) and musicians come and go depending on the overall ambiance he wants to create. This tour is particularly awesome as there are…two drummers on stage. That was an excellent way to end a very long day.

Oh…and by the way, that was another beautiful sunny day in Dorset!

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October 2018 Album of the month: Neneh Cherry “Broken Politics”

Another busy month with lots of records to listen to, hence the slight delay. Without further due, a great woman gets rewarded this month.

Album of the month: Neneh Cherry“Broken Politics” – Protest soul songs – I am very happy and proud to have Neneh Cherry as my album of the month. First, it shows that you can be a woman in the music industry and not only be judged on your past when you are in the urban and pop music field. Secondly, she is also a fantastic example of someone who is more than a musician: an international citizen (Sweden/USA/UK), a mother but also mainly a human being who has an interest in today’s world. A few faithful collaborators like her partner Cameron McVey, Massive Attack‘s 3D and Four Tet‘s Kieran Hebden, fresh news sounds and angry/sad lyrics about the state of our current world…well, here you go for album of the month. Great cover as well which has been recently taken around Notting Hill., London.

Neneh Cherry - Broken Politics

 

  • Runner-up: Kurt Vile “Bottle It In” – Pop Rock – I guess it would be very easy to get with Kurt Vile what I would call the R.E.M. syndrome, i.e. one could get very much used to great new records from a particular artist every two years. Of course, the excitement is probably not as strong as when I discovered the first records from this Philadelphia musician but I must admit to be impressed by the quality and musicianship of every song…as usual. I went and saw him this week on stage at the sold out Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the feeling was a bit the same. So, let’s all cherish our best long-hair friend in a world where the number of such authentic musicians is getting thinner every day…

 

  • Also recommended:
    • Kristin Hersh “Possible Dust Clouds” – Pop Rock – 10th (!) solo record from the former Throwing Muses singer. One of her best; beware, she is quite angry!
    • Petite Noir – “La Maison Noir / The Black House” – Noisy African Soul – Latest mini LP from the very unique and singular voice of the South African / Belgian Yannick Ilunga.
    • Connan Mockasin “Jassbusters” –  Indie Rock – A rather good album but the opening song “Charlotte’s Thong” is a killer and one of the best of the year.
    • Elvis Costello & The Imposters “Look Now” – Pop Rock – Elvis Costello is always at his best when he plays with Messrs. Nieve and Thomas. A few tracks are on par with his best work.
    • Cloud Nothings – “Last Building Burning” – Rock – A great return to form from Dylan Baldi and his band. To the bone and not one ounce of fat.

September 2018 Album of the month: Spiritualized “And Nothing Hurt”

Metal, Hip Hop, Blues, Jazz, Electro, newcomers, mature artists, men, women, genderless,…well I listened to a lot of music this month, 1,106 tracks to be more precise. The month of September has always been a busy month and with streaming services one wants to listen to all new releases. At the end of the day, my choices were eventually on records in the tradition of well-written melodies…with something different.

Album of the month: Spiritualized“And Nothing Hurt” – Rock – For those not familiar with Spiritualized, this band is the sole project of Jason Pierce, who used to co-lead in the 80’s the excellent Spacemen 3, a band from Rugby, UK, whose records were based on Velvet Underground influenced repetitive and hypnotic songs. One could argue that Spiritualized is an even better band and that their 1997 album “Ladies and Gentlemen…we are floating in space” is quite an incredible record. This new record is his first since 2012 and as usual this is a very ambitious one with classic rock ballads, gospel choirs, horns and strings. The only difference this time is that Jason did everything at home on his studio laptop, showing to the world that making great and ambitious music in the context of a declining music industry remains achievable. Listen to this new classic album from Spiritualized and dig further into their discography.

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  • Runner-up: Flavien Berger “Contre-temps” – French Pop – I did not have the time to listen a lot to this record but as I know the first impressions are very often the right ones I am eager to come back to it. In a month with lots of French artists’ releases, with a few good ones (Murat, Miossec), a few weird ones (Manset!) and those for which I am probably the only human being not getting emotional and excited (Jeanne Added, Christine and the Queens), Flavien Berger has made a very ambitious and simple pop record all the same. An artist to discover.

 

  • Also recommended:
    • Teleman “Family of Aliens” – Pop Rock – Groovy melodies from this London indie-rock band.
    • Paul McCartney – “Egypt Station” – Pop Rock – New record from this young and promising 76-year old artist. I did my research and I have discovered he used to be in band called Wings in the 70’s.
    • Paul Weller “True Meanings” –  Folk Rock – Another record from another great Paul who just turned 60, this time in an acoustic mood.
    • Low “Double Negative” – Pop Rock – Probably the weirdest record of the bunch… A fascinating record which captures the current mood in a Trump-lead country…and no, do not tweak it, your headset is ok!
    • Viagra Boys  “Street Worms” – Rock – From Sweden, a great punk album. A real turn-on if I may…

End Of The Road festival 2018 – Day Two – Friday 31th August 2018

The last day of the month of August is generally a bit depressing at it means the end of summertime, no more sunny weather and back to work/school. The best remedy is to be at End of the Road…and attend 10 gigs as I did! So without further due, here you go for Day Two review.

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My first concert was under a beautiful sun at The Woods Stage with Du Blonde, the avatar name chosen by Beth Jeans Hougton. I had not seen her since 2015 for my first edition of the festival and she was as powerful and subtle as I remember her last time. She is probably not the most smiling person ever and her choice of a Star Trek tee-shirt was too geeky to be true but her music is a real delicacy. One can even feel the spirit of the great David Bowie sometimes. She is working on the finishing touches of her new record which should be released early 2019 so I am quite sure this is not the last time she will be mentioned here.

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I then attended two gigs in a row at my beloved Garden Stage, one of my favourite places on Earth. The first one was from the North Caroline band Hiss Golden Messenger, basically the sole project of M.C. Taylor. I have always enjoyed their records as they mix Americana music with a certain depth. They are a bit different live as they are more in the country rock tradition. In other words, I had a good time but I was expecting a bit more.

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Quite the opposite with This Is The Kit, the band lead by English singer and songwriter Kate Stables. I also discovered this band at End Of The Road 2015 with a fantastic concert at the Tipi tent. Since then, they have been one of my favourite current bands and this was the fourth time I was catching them live. It was again beautiful and probably the best gig of theirs I came to see. Kate was alternating as usual between her banjo and her nice green guitar with a strength and emotion I was not expecting. I also attended a signing session a few hours later in the day at the Rough Trade store tent and we had a nice conversation in English… and French as Kate has been living in Paris for thirteen years now.

Completely different genre of music with Tirzah, a young Londoner female artist, working in the design world by day and singing her great melodies by night. Her music is not that different from Leila, for those who remember this very original female artist who released a few personal kind of trip-hop records at the end of the 90’s and start of the 00’s. Tirzah was on stage in a minimalist configuration with her friend and collaborator Mica Levi and another excellent male musician playing… a bit of everything. Go and discover her debut album, which was part of our August record of the month selection.

Back to the Woods stage for the concert of the legendary Josh T. Pearson, former leader of the cult Texas band Lift To Experience. Josh T. Pearson released in April his second solo record “The Straight Hits!, with all tracks having the word “straight” in their title. I already told the story of this incredible artist and performer as part of my review of his 2011 gig at the Café de la Danse in Paris. With a completely different look and haircut and also a quite different style of songs, Josh T. Pearson looks and sounds like a different artist…but beware the beast is still here, as experienced by this fantastic live performance. He is an artist not to be missed, alternating between very intense numbers…and a few dick jokes as well (I did not get them all I must confess!). I also had a 5-minute conversation with the great man the following day as part of a signing session, once again talking about Paris as he used to live there a couple of years before going back to Texas.

Next step was back at the Tipi tent to see the Polish experimental guitar and clarinet duo of Zimpel & Ziolek. Although their names sound more like a kids’ cartoon, their music is quite fascinating. Exactly the kind of thing I like about this festival: discovering new artists and it looks I was not the only one as the whole audience was delighted. I then attended around thirty minutes of the Brooklyn band Big Thief at the Garden stage but I must say I was quite disappointed. All reviews of their latest records have been so positive that I was expecting to find a life-changing band but I only attended a quite good indie band. Maybe I was not in the mood… On the other side, I was not really expecting anything of The Orielles, a young UK band, but they were really excellent under the Tops stage tent. They are a two-female and one-male trio…and are actually all very young! Their indie rock sound will not start a revolution but I must say they have an impressive musicianship and energy.

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However, the greatest moment of the day and of the festival for me was Jeff Tweedy‘s gig at the Garden Stage. The show of the Wilco leader was not necessarily that different from that I saw at the start of the year at the Barbican but it was probably more intimate. Those reading regularly my reviews probably know how I cherish this amazing artist who has produced or created amongst the most beautiful songs of our recent years, first with his band Wilco but also with other collaborations or solo. He was just playing with his acoustic, which shows how strong these songs are. I also knew he was a very funny person and I must say the concert made it a real fact. When an audience member told him “You’re beautiful”, he replied “I’m beautiful? You’re sick!”. Discover this beautiful man, his beautiful band, his beautiful records and his beautiful songs if not done yet.

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I still had a bit of energy left so I decided to attend Protomartyr‘s concert in the warmth of the Tops Stage. …and I must confess there was not better to end a lovely day than with this Detroit band, lead by the fascinating Joe Casey. You would not believe this man in a cheap suit and with the haircut of an insurance clerk is one of the best current punk rock singers of our current times but he is! Their sound is also very dense and not that different from what a mix of Joy Division with Living Colour would be. Not sure if it means anything to anyone but they are really good on stage!

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So here it is for Day Two. I did not see Daniel Blumberg, The Weather Station, Lucy Dacus, The Low Anthem, Fat White Family or again St. Vincent although they were all on my list but a man has to do difficult choices sometimes. Stay posted for Day Three!

End of the Road festival 2018 – Day One – Thursday 30th August 2018

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That time of the year again… and what a magical and great moment that was. Back for the 4th year in the beautiful scenery of the Larmer Tree Park in Dorset, surrounded by excellent musicians, great audience of people actually here to listen to and enjoy music, birds (peacocks, macaws) but more than anything a friendly and peaceful atmosphere which makes this festival the best of them all (sold out again this year  – 16,000 tickets).

On top of it, the weather was also very enjoyable this year, meaning my traditional rain cape stayed in the bag whereas I was happy listening to awesome bands dressed in a tee-shirt and Converse shoes!

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As initiated in 2016, the festival started on Thursday evening. This was a good warm-up for your beloved reviewer as I started my 30-gig marathon with three excellent concerts that night.

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My first concert of the festival took place under the friendly Tipi Tent stage with a discovery. Laura Misch is a young South-East Londoner female musician who plays on her own…and with her saxophone and machines on stage. It meant sometimes a few software errors but mainly a mixture of beautiful sounds. She is very talented and her music sounds like a very personal R’n’B with an indie rock mindset. Not sure if it makes sense but I personally enjoyed it a lot.
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I then went to the main stage of the festival (the Woods Stage) to catch two very different bands. The first one is called Shopping and can be defined as a queer trio playing post punk music influenced by great names such as ESG or Gang Of Four. I had found their latest Edwyn Collins-produced album “The Official Body” ok but live this London band brings something else. Their drummer has a good sense of humor as well and I was proud to understand both Fanta-sy and Sex Cymbal jokes!

The headliner of the day were my beloved Yo La Tengo. This was my seventh YLT gig and there were as good as earlier in the year when I caught them in London. This American trio could be considered veterans of the indie rock scene but really they get better with age. They are now in a place where they can basically decide which kind of setlist they want to play and which type of concert one could attend. That night was quite focused on their latest quiet sounding “There is a riot going on‘” LP but they also played a few classics, alternating cool Velvet Underground influenced songs, repetitive loops but also ferocious punk rock numbers. Fantastic…as usual.

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Stay posted for Day Two!

August 2018 Album of the month: White Denim “Performance”

A bit late this month but this is mainly due to the amazing quantity and quality of records and also the late release of many of them on the last day of the month (31st of August). Choosing the seven albums below has not been an easy task but I guess these are the rules of the game so without further due, here is our album of the month!

Album of the month: White Denim“Performance” – Rock – This is another great album from the Austin, Texas, band and actually their seventh. If you have never heard of them, this is not too late to do so and this record is probably one of their most melody-oriented ones. In reality, one must say that all their albums are excellent for those who like rock music played with a sense of jazz spirit, i.e. inspiration in a very tight framework. Their records are also basically done to play these songs live. I recently caught them on stage as part of the great End of the Road festival (complete review available soon) and they were amazing. Enjoy a pure rock feeling!

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  • Runner-up: Anna Calvi “Hunter” – Pop Rock – Anna Calvi is probably one of the best guitarists of the current era and she also has an amazing voice. I thought until now that her records were missing…something and it looks she really found what she wanted to say with this new one. Much focused on the gender topic she did not dare to put upfront until now and with a beautiful production, this is her best record. I was lucky to catch her live recently at Rough Trade East and we had a few words…about living in Strasbourg!

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  • Also recommended:
    • The Beths “Future Me Hates Me” – Pop Rock – Great summer pop from this Auckland, New Zealand, band
    • Tirzah – “Devotion” – Lo fi Trip Hop – Beautiful sounds and gorgeous melodies from this young London woman who considers music as a hobby.
    • Oh Sees “Smote Reverser” – Garage Rock – A bit like Ty Segall (cf. July records of the month), John Dwyer is never happier than when he releases records or plays live with his beloved Oh Sees.
    • Interpol “Marauder” – NY gloomy rock – Let’s not forget to cherish these guys who, with The Strokes and The White Stripes, saved rock’n’roll at the start of the 00’s. They are back with their 6th LP and this is one of their best.
    • The Lemon Twigs  “Go To School” – Monkey business – The hugely talented and young D’addario brothers are back with their second proper album. Why makes things simple when you can make a concept record about a monkey boy, really?

July 2018 Album of the month: Bodega “Endless Scroll”

To my millions of readers: the blog is more alive than ever! For those surprised by the lower frequency in recent posts, please note this is mainly due to its editor attending lots of gigs (cf. gigs page), to a very warm London summer…and moreover to the full support shown by the editing team to Les Bleus during the FIFA World Cup!

Back to business then and to the July Album of the month. No real big names this time, which was also great as I discovered many new names and exciting music. For the first time since the start of this review, my album of the month is identical to that of Rough Trade stores.

Album of the month: Bodega – “Endless Scroll” – Garage Rock – I know I can be obsessed and passionate about garage rock and its repetitive mantra sounds where a few may only hear boring repetitive guitar music. I am pretty sure it will not be so this time as Bodega has released a very exciting record, mixing up garage sounds with pure melodically songs. They are a female/male 5-member band from New York and their debut record is produced by Austin Brown of the great Parquet Courts. This is the kind of record one can already dearly love and be excited about after hearing the first thirty seconds of the first track.

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  • Runner-up: Dirty Projectors “Camp Lit Prose” – Pop Rock – David Longstreth and his band Dirty Projectors have always been of the most singular ones, as shown when they collaborated with Björk a few years ago. However, last year’s self titled break-up album was a bit too edgy and difficult to like. It looks David is happy and in love again and the first consequence has been a frenzy energy put in this new buoyant album.
  • Also recommended:
    • 77:78  “Jellies” – Pop Rock – Summer music from former members of The Bees
    • Rayland Baxter – “Wide Awake” – Pop Rock – 70’s sounding pop ; I defy anyone not to have a smile on their face while listening to this record
    • Ty Segall and White Fence “Joy” – Garage Rock – Another collaboration from the hardest working man in garage rock after his brilliant “Freedom’s Goblin” LP earlier in the year
    • Nathan Salsburg “Third” – Acoustic guitar – Beautiful and quiet music from a man amongst animals (cf. this record’s cover)
    • Underworld & Iggy Pop  “Teatime Dub Encounters” – Technoish Spoken words – The title says it all! A 4-track EP collaboration which works better than expected.
  • Lest we forget: album of the previous month – John Coltrane – “Both Directions At Once

June 2018 Album of the month: John Coltrane “Both Directions At Once”

June is traditionally one of the best months of the year in terms of releases and this year was no exception with a bunch of amazing records. Let’s start with the liveliest album of them all from a man who passed away fifty-one years ago…Album of the month: John Coltrane – “Both Directions At Once” – Jazz – Stating that John Coltrane plays jazz music is a bit like saying Roger Federer plays tennis or Zinedine Zidane football; we all know this is more than this. John Coltrane is probably the best musician ever and I can only see Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis or again John Bonham to potentially compete with such an incredible talent…but same thing here, the maestro’s aficionados know that his musical skills were just a means to reach out something greater, for lack of a better word. This “new” album is a lost session from March 1963 at a moment when the jazz master was leading his legendary quartet: Jim Garrison on bass, McToy Tyner on piano and the amazing Elvin Jones on drums. This session had weirdly disappeared for ages and it was actually securely held at John Coltrane’s ex-wife and descendants’ house. I was just expecting another not-very-interesting lost session..but not such a shock and emotion. The quality of the music is incredible and I must say being overwhelmed while listening to it with the headphones. You will not find a more lively album… from a guy who actually died the year before I was born. Buy in vinyl and cherish!Image result for john coltrane both directions at once vinyl

  • Runner-up: Kanye West “Ye” – Hip Hop – Ok, I admit mentioning to a friend of mine that Kanye’s best days were behind him after first listening to this 7-track album. How wrong I was… The more I listened to it, the more I felt the presence of an old-school suffering  man and artist showing his wounds to the world…in a beautiful musical context. I will repeat it again and again for those who like shortcuts: Kanye the public figure does not equal Kanye the artist. A fantastic record which would have been record of the month anytime…but for the month when a new John Coltrane record is released. Kanye West also recently played and/or produced four other mini-albums from Pusha-T, Kid Cudi, Nas and Teyana Taylor. They are all excellent and I suggest you create THE playlist of the summer with all these tracks.
  • Also recommended:
    • Father John Misty  “God’s Favourite Customer” – Pop Rock – Another indispensable album from our favourite bearded American singer. Another album of the year for 2018? Only time will tell…
    • Damso – “Lithopédion” – Belgian Rap – A new step ahead for today’s most talented French-speaking rapper. Crude and tough lyrics but isn’t it what life is today?
    • Nine Inch Nails“Bad Witch” – Pop Rock – Another excellent mini-album from Trent Renznor and associates.
    • Kamasi Washington “Heaven And Earth” – Jazz Odyssey – The title says it all; 2hours 30minutes of space travel.
    • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever  “Hope Downs” – Pop Rock – Debut album from thid young Aussie band, perpetuating musical excellence down under
  • Lest we forget: album of the previous month – Gaz Coombes – “World’s Strongest Man