Ten gigs to remember…

I will not give you a figure (although I have it!) but I already spent a huge portion of my time on Earth attending gigs. It also means money spent on tickets, travels, tens of merchandising and gallons of beer! Jim & Greg from Sound Opinions recently did one of their shows on the concerts which made them what they are. I thought it would be a cool idea for this blog. You will find below a selection of ten concerts. A few massive live bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, U2 or again Bruce Springsteen could have been there for sure but these next ten are really special to me.

  • Prince – Paris, Bercy – 14th June 1987 – Setlist

Difficult not to select Prince in this list. I was lucky enough to catch him live three times but the first concert was definitely the best. He was at the peak of his career and had released his first post-Revolution LP “Sign O’ The Times” a few months earlier. I remember the stage was amazing while retaining a very natural feel. And Mr Prince Roger Nelson was also playing his beautiful peach harp-shaped guitar…

  • Happy Mondays / My Bloody Valentine – Paris, New Morning – 22nd March 1989 – Setlist

I must admit I am not sure which band was supporting which but I remember sweat was literally pouring on the walls of the tiny New Morning theatre, which was more a jazz location than a Madchester / Noisy Pop one! I also remember experiencing Happy Monday’s Bez dancing like hell with MBV on stage as if his life were depending on it!

  • Neil Young – Paris, Zenith – 7th July 1993 – Setlist

Neil Young is one of the best performers of all times and I guess you do not need to read this blog to discover this as a fact. I have attended six gigs of his and they have all been gorgeous. In my mind, the first time I caught him live on stage with the immense Booker T and the MG’s gave me shivers down my spine throughout all the concert and for good reasons probably. I saw him last year in 2019 at Hyde Park and he was playing like a guy in his twenties.

  • Jeff Buckley – Paris, Olympia – 6th July 1995 – Setlist

Jeff Buckley… The saddest history of them all… He gave us one hell of an album with “Grace” and was destined to be one of the greatest… It was unfortunately not meant to be but that night was one of the most moving moments I experienced in my life. This was an extraordinary performance by a beautiful human being. Pretty awesome setlist as well from acapella opener “Dream Brother” to final Big Star cover song “Kanga Roo“.

  • Radiohead – Paris, Cigale – 16th April 1996 – Setlist

Radiohead is probably my favourite band of the last 25 years and when I am asked which style of music I listen to, I generally reply that I like every genre but with a specific love of bands such as The Velvet Underground or Radiohead. I went to seven Radiohead gigs in my life and I must say their initiative of releasing one new video concert every week during this lockdown period was a real sign of class. In 1996, they were far from releasing their next to come masterpieces but that night they way the played tracks from “The Bends” with so much passion was the start of a love story between me and the band.

  • Tom Waits – Paris, Grand Rex – 24th July 2008 – Setlist

…and here we go, twelve years later, back in Paris as if living in Brazil or Strasbourg never happened… Catching Tom Waits on stage is quite difficult to say the least as the great man very rarely tours (no sign of him in Europe since then). What made this concert standing up above the rest was probably the musicianship and atmosphere the audience had that night and the feeling we were all in a different and fairy world.

  • Arcade Fire – Austin City Limits festival, Texas – 18th September 2011 – Setlist

Is there a better band than Canadians Arcade Fire on stage in terms of intensity, passion and dedication? Probably not. Is there a cooler musical city in the world than Austin, Texas? Probably not either… Attending Austin City Limits festival was a dream come true for this blog’s main shareholder and his Paulistano buddy. No ticket picture this time and no way to find the original wristband…

  • Iggy Pop – London, Royal Albert Hall – 13th May 2016 – Setlist

Finally, a concert happening in my favourite city in the world! Was it the best concert I have ever seen? Difficult to answer such a question but the way Iggy Pop performed that night was probably as good as in his years with The Stooges but with more experience and life troubles behind him. Based mainly on his three best albums, i.e. “The Idiot” and “Lust for Life” from his Bowie Berlin years and recent “Post Pop Depression“, what made this show so special was also his backing band…which basically was Queens Of The Stone Age on this tour. Spotting Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream), Mani (The Stone Roses) and Kate Moss while leaving the Hall probably added up to the excitement that night.

  • Moses Sumney – End of the Road festival, Dorset – 2nd September 2017

Another obvious choice as End of the Road has probably been my favourite time of the year since I have discovered it. No edition this year for the same obvious reasons which have made 2020 such a weird year so far but memories from past editions as still there. Moses Sumney’s gig that year was a shocker to me as I had no clue whatsoever about who he was and what kind of music he was playing. I am not sure being able to better characterize his art today but I know for sure he is one of my favourite current artists following the emotional encounter I had that day at the beautiful Garden Stage.

  • David Byrne – London, Eventim Apollo – 19th June 2018 – Setlist / New York, Hudson Theatre – 25th January 2020 – Setlist

Last but not least to end up this list of concerts, let me introduce you to Mr. David Byrne, originally from Scotland but better known as the singer of New York band Talking Heads. I went to his London concert just because his new album was quite good and also because I had good memories about the previous gigs I had seen. However, nothing was preparing me for such a beautiful conceptual thing. Surrounded by eleven musicians from all over the world, each of them wearing an elegant grey suit, free of their moves and barefoot, David Byrne had never sung so well. The setlist was extraordinary with songs from all periods of his musical career. If you add up a beautiful stage, lots of fund and energy plus a pinch of political conscience, you will get a recipe of a fantastic gig. The good news is that this tour had a continuity on Broadway in late 2019 and early 2020. I must admit I loved it so much that I succeeded in seeing it again in New York at the start of the year.

So ten nights out of hundreds of great performances may look like a difficult choice to make but I guess it was done quite naturally. Regrets, I had a few (how did I do not to see Nirvana live?…) but overall I would like to thank all these artists for the 1,304 concerts I have been to (indeed, here is the number!).

Best albums of 2019 – Top 25

A year when very good records by Wilco, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Bill Callahan, Aldous Harding, Neil Young, Bon Iver, Metronomy or again Elbow are not in my Top 25 must be quite something, right? Well, be your own judge by discovering the list below. Listen to them all and give feedback! What was your record of the year?

#1 Iggy Pop – “Free”. Released in: September 2019 – . It may not look very cool to choose one of my old heroes as album of the year but as every year, my main question was to find out which artist and record gave me the highest emotion. The answer was pretty clear as I found this album overwhelming either through the quality of the musical partners who helped Iggy this time or through his voice which sounds more amazing than ever. Having Iggy Pop at such a level of excellence for the second time in three years (after the gorgeous and completely different ‘Post Pop Depression‘ in 2016) is close to a miracle actually when one thinks about the quite poor albums he did in the previous ten years (hello bad French covers). I guess all the greats still got the sparkle when we are in need of a fire… I recently saw him live on the beautiful stage of the Barbican in London in what was supposed to be a jazz festival…but which ended with Iggy singing apocalyptic Stooges numbers as if he were in his twenties. The man is incredible and we are lucky to have him. RECORD OF THE YEAR!

  #2 Little Simz – “Grey Area”. Released in: March 2019. You will not find a more inventive urban album than Little Simz’s 2019 effort. In a year which confirmed the creativity of plenty of young British artists in different fields such as indie rock, jazz or again urban music in all its diversity, this young woman was above her colleagues. An extreme sense of melody could be found in this record while keeping a sense of adventure. I often told people that I found similarities with Prince in this record, not in terms of sounds but in attitude. To be discovered at any cost. For those Netflix aficionados, you may also have recognized her acting in ‘Top Boy’.

 #3 The Young Gods – “Data Mirage Tangram”. Released in: February 2019. Switzerland’s greatest ever band were back in 2019 with probably one of the best albums in a already extraordinary career. Their music is closer now to sound structures than real melodies and to what a sculptor could do while still keeping their industrial touch here and there. I must confess that every time I played this record, I immediately had a sense of well being so I hope you will feel the same!

 #4 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Ghosteen”. Released in: October 2019. I have been following Nick Cave since 1985 and I recently found home his 1990 book ‘And The Ass Saw The Angel‘ signed by the great man after meeting him in a bookstore in Covent Garden. I do report this anecdote just to mention I would never thought at the time that he would still be with us today and in such a prolific way. I was lucky to attend the Q&A night he did at the Barbican and I realised how hard-working he was…also there must be something of a genius mind as well. A very calm and moving record done with his usual Bad Seeds and in particular the great Warren Ellis.

 #5 Sharon Van Etten – “Remind Me Tomorrow”. Released in: January 2019. Similarly to Little Simz, Sharon Van Etten is a very talented woman as she also appeared in a great Netflix series (‘The OA’). The similarities stop there as her music is quite unique and not easy to categorize. To make it short, she comes originally from a songwriter-with-acoustic background but her music has evolved a lot in the past five years. This album is probably her most ambitious yet but also the easiest one to have access to with a bunch of fantastic songs and melodies.

 #6 black midi  “Schlagenheim”. Released in: June 2019. These young British lads come from one of the most prestigious music schools in the UK. However, rather than putting their extremely gifted skills in a specific kind of music, they went to the ‘let’s try and experiment as much as we can whilst keeping the structure of a song’. I know this is a lazy approach but to me they are the Public Image Ltd. of our times. Probably the best gig I have seen at the End of the Road Festival 2019 edition as well…

 #7 Big Thief – “Two Hands”. Released in: October 2019. 2019 was the year when I finally understood what Big Thief were about and the beauty & mystery of their music. To thank me for this, they released two awesome records (‘UFOF‘ and then ‘Two Hands‘). These two records could easily have been part of my best of but I chose ‘Two Hands‘ for the simple reason it contains the song of the year with ‘Not’. A bit like when Jimi Hendix played live The Beatles‘ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘ a couple of days after its release, The National covered ‘Not‘ on stage less than a week after the record was out.

 #8 Thom Yorke  “Anima”. Released in: June 2019. All the record with which Radiohead members are associated are of interest…but sometimes I must confess my interest was relative and not very long over time. Thom Yorke’s solo records have always been challenging and adventurous but with ‘Anima’, he found the magic formula, i.e. he used his usual weird electro sounds but this time not only for the sake of it. You will not find a more relaxed and simultaneously worrying music than on this record, reflecting the troubled times we live in…

 #9 Cass McCombs  “Tip of the Sphere”. Released in: February 2019. Cass McCombs is a regular fellow in this blog and one can easily recommend all his records. ‘Tip of the Sphere’ was above what he has been doing in the last ten years as one could feel a sense of urgency which had disappeared from his latest releases. Another great gig at the 2019 End of the Road Festival by the way.

 #10 Lana Del Rey  “Norman Fucking Rockwell!”. Out in: August 2019. ..and here she is, well positioned in our Top 10! I had difficulties to feel anything more than a polite listening to Lana Del Rey’s earliest records as to me they were lacking authenticity and emotion. To put it differently, I thought she was playing the David Lynch style without understanding the dark side behind it. However, I must recognize that each of her records has been better than the previous one and the latter is extraordinary, especially as far as the words are concerned. I may be cynical but to me this is perfect music for our times, i.e. we are doomed but let’s face it with a smile and nice melodies.

  • 11. Strand of Oaks“Eraserland”
  • 12. Ride“This is not a Safe Place”
  • 13. Mikal Cronin“Seeker”
  • 14. Michael Kiwanuka “Kiwanuka”
  • 15. Nérija“Blume”
  • 16. Loyle Carner – “Not Waving, but Drowning”
  • 17. Lloyd Cole – “Guesswork”
  • 18. Drugdealer – “Raw Honey”
  • 19. Steve Gunn – “The Unseen in Between”
  • 20. Purple Mountains – “Purple Mountains”
  • 21. Marika Hackman – “Any Human Friend”
  • 22. Sunn O))) – “Life Metal”
  • 23. FKA Twigs – “Magdalene”
  • 24. Fontaines D.C. – “Dogrel”
  • 25. The National – “I am Easy to Find”

Other voices’ (websites, magazines, records stores, etc…) Top 10.

You will find below a selection of other lists but there are so many of them that you may also want to go to the albumoftheyear.org website to get an aggregation of them all.

  • Mojo (UK music mag): 1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Ghosteen 2. Bill Callahan Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest 3. Bruce Springsteen Western Stars 4. The Comet Is Coming Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery 5. Aldous Harding Designer 6. Fontaines D.C. Dogrel 7. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell! 8. black midi Schlagenheim 9. Purple Mountains Purple Mountains 10. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry Rainford
  • Uncut (UK music mag): 1. Weyes Blood Titanic Rising 2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Ghosteen 3. Purple Mountains Purple Mountains 4. The Comet Is Coming Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery 5. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell! 6. Joan Shelley Like the River Loves the Sea 7. Bruce Springsteen Western Stars 8. Bill Callahan Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest 9. Big Thief UFOF 10. Wilco Ode to Joy
  • NME (UK website): 1. Billie Eilish When we all Fall Asleep, where do we Go? 2. Tyler, The Creator Igor 3. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell! 4. Slowthai Nothing Great about Britain 5. Little Simz Grey Area 6. FKA Twigs Magdalene 7. Fontaines D.C. Dogrel 8. Michael Kiwanuka Kiwanuka 9. Weyes Blood Titanic Rising 10. Clairo Immunity
  • Rough Trade (London, Nottingham, Bristol and Brooklyn stores): 1. Fontaines D.C. Dogrel 2. Weyes Blood Titanic Rising 3. Angel Olsen All Mirrors 4. Little Simz Grey Area 5. black midi Schlagenheim 6. Sleaford Mods Eton Alive 7. Cate Le Bon Reward 8. Vanishing Twin The Age of Immunology 9. Ex:Re Ex:Re 10. The Comet Is Coming Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
  • Fopp (UK stores): 1. Sharon Van Etten Remind me Tomorrow 2. Bill Callahan Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest 3. FKA Twigs Magdalene 4. Big Thief Two Hands 5. Aldous Harding Designer 6. Joan Shelley Like the River Loves the Sea 7. black midi Schlagenheim 8. Angel Olsen All Mirrors 9. Bill Callahan Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest 10. Dave Psychodrama
  • Greg Kot (Sound Opinions radio DJ #1): 1. Jamila Woods Legacy! Legacy! 2. Raphael Saadiq Jimmy Lee 3. Bill Callahan Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest 4. Michael Kiwanuka Kiwanuka 5. Sharon Van Etten Remind me Tomorrow 6. Billy Woods and Kenny Segal Hiding Places 7. Sturgill Simpson Sound & Fury 8. Kills Birds Kills Birds 9. Mugen Blakrok Anima Mysterium 10. Shana Cleveland Night of the Worm Moon
  • Jim Derogatis (Sound Opinions radio DJ #2): 1. Lizzo Cuz I Love You 2. Sturgill Simpson Sound & Fury 3. Tacocat This Mess is a Place 4. Grlwood I Sold my Soul to the Devil when I was 12 5. Kills Birds Kills Birds 6. Ex Hex It’s Real 7. The Regrettes How do you Love? 8. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell! 9. Sharon Van Etten Remind me Tomorrow 10. Michael Kiwanuka Kiwanuka
  • Pitchfork (US music website): 1. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell! 2. FKA Twigs Magdalene 3. Big Thief UFOF 4. Angel Olsen All Mirrors 5. Solange When I Get Home 6. Bad Bunny X 100PRE 7. Helado Negro This Is How You Smile 8. Fennesz Agora 9. Weyes Blood Titanic Rising 10. Purple Mountains Purple Mountains
  • Paste (US music website): 1. Weyes Blood Titanic Rising 2. Angel Olsen All Mirrors 3. Sharon Van Etten Remind me Tomorrow 4. Big Thief Two Hands 5. FKA Twigs Magdalene 6. Britanny Howard Jaime 7. Carly Rae Jepsen Dedicated 8. Julia Jacklin Crushing 9. Lizzo Cuz I Love You 10. Faye Webster Atlanta Millionaires Club
  • Les Inrocks (French mag): 1. Tyler, The Creator Igor 2. Weyes Blood Titanic Rising 3. Fat White Family Serfs Up! 4. James Blake Assume Form 5. Fontaines D.C. Dogrel 6. Philippe Katerine Confessions  7. Denzel Curry ZUU 8. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell! 9. Alex Cameron Miami Memory 10. Hubert Lenoir Darlene
  • The Guardian (UK daily newspaper) : 1. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell! 2. Dave Psychodrama 3. Billie Eilish When we all Fall Asleep, where do we Go? 4. Sharon Van Etten Remind me Tomorrow 5. Tyler, The Creator Igor 6. Angel Olsen All Mirrors 7. FKA Twigs Magdalene 8. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Ghosteen 9. Slowthai Nothing Great About Britain 10. Weyes Blood Titanic Rising
  • The Independent (UK website) : 1. Aldous Harding Designer 2. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell! 3. Little Simz Grey Area 4. Bruce Springsteen Western Stars 5. Big Thief Two Hands 6. Tyler, The Creator Igor 7. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Ghosteen 8. James Blake Assume Form 9. Weyes Blood Titanic Rising 10. Dave Psychodrama
  • Magic rpm (French bimonthly magazine) : 1. Weyes Blood Titanic Rising 2. Big Thief UFOF 3. Shannon Wright Providence 4. Aldous Harding Designer 5. Tyler, The Creator Igor 6. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Ghosteen 7. JPEGMafia All My Heroes Are Cornballs 8. Big Thief Two Hands 9. Bertrand Belin Persona 10. Altin Gün Gece
  • Noise Magazine (French bimonthly magazine) : 1. Health Vol. 4:Slaves of Fear 2. Brutus Nest 3. Cave In Final Transmission 4. Tool Fear Inoculum 5. The Young Gods Data Mirage Tangram 6. Ventura Ad Matres 7. Cult Of Luna A Dawn to Fear 8. Lingua Ignota Caligula 9. Refused War Music 10. Boy Harsher Careful

September 2019 Album of the month: Giant Sand “Recounting the Ballad of Thin Line Men”

As every year at back to school period, September was extremely busy in terms of releases. I may have missed a few of them… but I am ready to justify my selection to anyone!

Album of the month: Giant Sand – “Recounting The Ballads of Thin Line Men” – (essential) American Rock. More than ever the avatar of the great Howe Gelb, Giant Sand have been in the music industry forever. Their excellence has been taken for granted and the release of a new album has probably become a non-event with time. This is a disgrace as their leader is one of the best American writers and musicians of our times. What makes this new record different from the others then? Difficult to say really…but it was really obvious for me after the first thirty seconds. It may come from the fact this is actually the reworking on an old album and that Howe Gelb had a kind of ‘now or never’ attitude. The best American desert music you will listen all year, sung in a voice not dissimilar to Lou Reed or The Go BetweensRobert Forster.

  • Runner-up: Iggy Pop – “Free” – Jazz…the Iggy Pop way – I really thought Iggy Pop’s amazing 2016 album ‘Post Pop Depression‘ would be his last and I was a bit worried about a new ‘Jazz’ album. The albums he did a few years ago, singing old French songs were not really good for instance… What a surprise then to listen to such a vibrant piece of music. Of course, Iggy is just the voice here of Jazz musician and composer Leron Thomas but the way he inhabits these songs is beautiful and very moving, sounding not that different from David Bowie‘s ‘Blackstar on a few songs. We are so lucky to still have Iggy around us.
  • Also recommended:
  •  Metronomy “Metronomy Forever” – Pop Rock – Are you a fan of this band’s 2001 album of the year ‘The English Riveria‘? If so, enjoy their new long, complex and buoyant LP!
  • Pixies “Beneath The Eyrie”– Pop Rock – Not as good as their peak period (but who is?) but by far their best album since they came back a few years ago.
  • Jerkcurb – “Air Con Eden” –  Pop Rock – A beautiful and relaxed pop first album from London musician Jacob Read.
  • Stephan Eicher – “Homeless Songs” – Swiss Pop – As if Stephan Eicher were Brazilian so full of saudade this album is made of. Getting better with age…
  • Sturgil Simpson – “Sound & Fury” – Space Country – More Ziggy or ZZ Top sounding than real country, a tremendous effort from our favourite zombie, as spotted in Jim Jarmush recent movie. It should be high in end of the year poll’s lists.
  • Lest we forget: album of the previous month – Bon Iver – “i,i”

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.

Bodega

  • 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

My music personality and gig of the year 2016: Iggy Pop, Royal Albert Hall, 13th May

Be warned: this post is an excuse to talk about one of the last living heroes: Mr. James Osterberg, alias Iggy Pop! Not really actually as I really think his presence and excellence throughout the year was huge and unexpected and that he deserved this virtual reward.

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Iggy Pop, 13th May 2016, Royal Albert Hall – Iggy celebrating

I let you read the review of his latest LP “Post Pop Depression” which ended up the year ranked #2 in our best of the year list. The good news is that Iggy Pop toured throughout the year for a few shows and that the band which played with him at least during the first part of the year was actually that present on the album.

Iggy Pop, 13th May 2016, Royal Albert Hall - full stage

In particular, I was lucky enough to attend the 13th of May gig which occurred at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I know superlatives are easy and that music reviewers do have sometimes the tendency in being over-enthusiastic for the last album they listened to and for the last gig they attended. But trust me, this concert was definitely in my personal top four, which means a lot for someone who spends his life listening to live music. For the record, the other gigs would be Jeff Buckley in 1995 (Paris Olympia), Radiohead in 1996 (Paris la Cigale) and Tom Waits in 2008 (Paris, Grand Rex). Why was this concert so amazing? First, the Royal Albert Hall is a very specific and beautiful place but I do admit we are just dealing with the environment here. Secondly, apart from the original Stooges, Iggy Pop has never played with such a great and smart band: Josh Homme, Dean Fertita, Troy van Leeuwen from the Queens of the Stone Age galaxy, Matt Sweney from Chavez/Swans and Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys. Apart from the latest who only played incredible drums throughout the concert, the other musicians alternated between keyboard, guitars and bass with an incredible sensitivity, joy of being on stage and a certain fandom also. Third reason was the setlist which was entirely based on the three best Iggy’s albums, namely “The Idiot”, “Lust for Life” and the new one “Post Pop Depression”. Listening live and for real by such tracks as “Lust for Life”, “Mass Production” or “Fall in Love with me” was really something I never thought I would live.

Fourth reason was the energy, love and enthusiasm showed by the little 69-year old man. He succeeded to keep his jacket for two tracks but as usual he took it off and spent the whole show bared-chested, showing his strange skin which is a mix of that of an old lizard and of an ageless punk rocker. The way he sang these songs was incredible and his voice was really on top. But more important, what made this concert special was the feeling of love and good vibes transmitted by him. I must say I have never seen so many hugs in one concert!

Image result for iggy pop post pop depression live royal albert hall

I was not the only one to feel the quality of this concert as we spotted after the show of group of people, including Kate Moss, Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) and Mani (The Stone Roses). I recommend also the following linked review by The Guardian who says it all…in better English. Last but not least, this concert is now available in CD, DVD or even better Blu-ray so watch if you want to experience the beautiful moment yourself in your sofa…or elsewhere.

Image result for jim jarmusch gimme danger

…and that is not all there is to it for Iggy Pop in 2016. The great American director Jim Jarmusch filmed and produced a documentary on Iggy Pop’s first band called “Gimme Danger” . Jim Jarmusch has always been very much influenced and present within the world of music either through his movies where one could see the late Joe Strummer (The Clash) or the RZA (Wu-Tan Clan) acting or the documentary he did on Neil Young and Crazy Horse. The Stooges only actually released three albums but they are all indispensable and influenced generations of musician and music lovers. Not sure if this is already available everywhere globally but watch it when you can and in the meantime click to see the trailer.

Best albums of 2016: Death is not the end

2016 yeah-ah! Remember, the year when everyone died and also the year everyone discovered mortality? Losing David Bowie, Alan Vega, Prince, George Martin, Leonard Cohen or George Michael was very sad indeed as a few of them were really young but probably also has it meant a part of our youth was vanishing. I remember not being something new as such sad news in the past already occured with artists such as John Lennon, Jeff Buckley, Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith, Lou Reed or George Harrison. Listening to their music on a regular basis is probably the best way to keeping the flame alive. Death is a weird topic in Western civilizations as we keep on doing as if it were nonexistent although this is the only sure thing…I advise for those interested by this very festive topic to read the first pages of Karl Ove Knausgaard memoirs’ “A Death in the Family”.

On top of being the year everyone died, it has been also the year everyone published records. For some reasons, I had more time than usual to listen to (almost) all records that went out this year if one considers my reviewing perimeter is confined within the pop/rock/soul/hip hop/metal/r’n’b perimeter. I am humble enough to recognize there is somewhere an amazing jazz or blues record I am not aware of but this is also probably true for a great record made by an Italian, Malian or Brazilian band. There are so many musicians in the world and so many ways to discover them with streaming platforms or the resurgence of records’ stores that this is getting frustrating sometimes.

So after death and frustration, let’s bring the good news! This was a really fantastic year in terms of records and new music and it has been more difficult than ever to keep a shortlist. A few usual favourites of this blog are not amongst the chosen few either because they are just out of this Top 15 or because their records was below expectations despite being good. In other words, it has been a great year for hip-hop and r’n’b genres and De La Soul, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye West, Solange or Franck Ocean 2016 records are also super-recommended. Same for a few indie rock favourites such as Shearwater, Bob Mould, Mark Kozelek, Wilco, Okkervil River, Teenage Fanclub or Pixies. As usual, I tried to stay as close to the end of the year as possible…but probably not enough as a new Run The Jewels album has just been available two days ago and a new Nine Inch Nails EP yesterday!

Anyway, always difficult to make choices but I guess that is the beauty of such lists. I had enough time this year to put on a ranking amongst my selection so here we go in reversed order. For those who did not get it, it means #1 is my record of the year!

Image result for biffy clyro ellipsis#15 Biffy ClyroEllipsis The main reason this record is here is probably that I live in the UK and that this band is really massive here. Biffy Clyro is a Scottish band made out of the twin brothers Ben and James Johnston on drums and bass and of Simon Neil on guitar and voice. On top of being known for playing bare-chested and being full of tattoos, their music has been evolving throughout the years from grunge metal to a kind of Scottish Foo Fighters. Not the most subtle music ever but it is soooooo good to shout out loud these anthems. Best stadium-rock record of the year!

Image result for sunflower bean human ceremony #14 Sunflower Bean – Human Ceremony Sunflower Bean is a young trio from Brooklyn and 2016 saw the release of their debut album. This record is a grower has one says and this band has a perfect sense of melody mixed with an exciting in-your-face attitude. If Liz Frazer from Cocteau Twins and Kurt Cobain from Nirvana had made a record together, it would be quite close to Sunflower Bean’s sound.

Image result for kanye west the life of pablo #13 Kanye West – The Life of Pablo This record has been probably too long and complex to make in a year that was a bit tough for Kanye West. After second thoughts, all years are tough, different and weird for Kanye… The reason why this record is not higher in terms of ranking is indeed probably due to the fact it requests many more hours of thorough listening to get over it. The reason why Kanye West is once again in our best of the year is named “Ultralight Beam”. This is the song opening the record and is one hell of a tune.

Image result for michael kiwanuka love and hate #12 Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate Michael Kiwanuka is a young British singer songwriter from Ugandan origins. After a very promising debut album in 2012 and great shows in a soul/folk tradition, he eventually faced a few difficult years looking for his real musical talent and trying to be at peace with his cultural background. After being closed to leave the music industry, he came back stronger and not afraid to show at the same time new ambitions but also happy to embrace any kind of music he likes. The results are really astonishing as one goes from one track sounding like Pink Floyd to another more related to black protest song a la Curtis Mayfield.

Image result for xiu xiu plays the music of twin peaks #11 Xiu Xiu plays the Music of Twin Peaks Of course, we Twin Peaks fans are all very much excited to discover in 2017 what Season 3 will be, directed by David Lynch himself…but that is not the reason this album is here. Xiu Xiu is a Californian band lead by Jamie Stewart and their music has always been complex to say the least. Here they succeeded to keep their weirdness to reshape covers from the series and the movie “Fire Walk With Me” whilst respecting the beautiful sense of melodies these songs hold. One of the most fascinating, frightening and powerful records one could find in 2016.

Image result for red hot chili peppers the getaway #10 Red Hot Chili Peppers  The Getaway “The worst band in the world”, “a cartoonish band”, “their best material is behind us” and so on… These are the articles one could find in reviews about the latest album by RHCP. This is totally untrue and shows how this is difficult sometimes for bands and their work to be really listened to. Thanks to the extraordinary production of DJ Danger Mouse, this is their best record for a long time and a few songs are really on par with their most famous ones (“Dark Necessities” for instance). This is also the first album in which Josh Klinghoffer succeeds in being himself and shows his guitar creativity without one having to remember his amazing predecessor John Frusciante.

Image result for meilyr jones 2013 #9 Meilyr Jones – 2013 This LP is the highest ranked debut album in our list and comes from a young Welsh singer. My best description of his music would be to mention Neil Hannon and his band The Divine Comedy if they still had the flame and kept on doing exciting records… The first track of this album called “How to recognize a work of art” is the best example of what a single should be nowadays. To put it differently, if you do not want to sing out loud or clap your hands, you are probably already dead (and I should have added you in my introduction). Click for concert’s review.

Image result for beyonce lemonade #8 Beyoncé  Lemonade A record from a major maturing artist, mixing all kind of music and sounds, not afraid to grab political topics such as the role of the black woman in Africa, being very much at the peak of visual and sound production, having prestigious guests such as James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White or The Weeknd? Indeed and even better than it looks like.

Image result for palermo hollywood biolay #7 Benjamin Biolay  Palermo Hollywood Would Benjamin Biolay be more famous out of French-speaking countries if he were to sing in English, like Christine and the Queens did this year with a new English edition of her album? Probably not and not sure I would like it to happen… I was a bit afraid to read that he recorded this LP in Argentina as this is not always a good idea to mix different styles. No risk here as this record is as Argentinian as The Wings’ “Band on the Run” was Nigerian when they went to Lagos to record it. Beautiful as always and as usual a very thin line between production and emotion.

Image result for radiohead a moon shaped pool #6 Radiohead  A Moon Shaped Pool Quite a bit unexpected I must say as although I found the recent experiences of their members always rewarding, I had more or less abandoned hope in listening again to a traditional great Radiohead album. I was entirely wrong as this album is probably one of their best, mixing urgency, poetic themes and more importantly super exciting music. Good also to hear more than usual the great sounds of the underestimated Colin Greenwood on bass. Take the time to discover this new album and you will be immensely rewarded.

Image result for kevin morby singing saw #5 Kevin Morby  Singing Saw Sometimes a good singer makes a new record and one can feel he has stepped up and is now part of the greats. It happened in recent years with bands or artists such as The War On Drugs or Kurt Vile for instance. Kevin Morby’s first albums were really good but this one has an extra je-ne-sais-quoi, mixing super exciting guitar music with great lyrics. If Bob Dylan were in his 20’s today and had started directly with electric music, he would not sound that different from Kevin Morby. Click for concert’s review.

Skeleton Tree #4 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds  Skeleton Tree Nick Cave has been a sort of old companion as I have been buying his records and listening to his music for thirty years now. Unless having a heart of stone, one could only share the indescribable pain he and his spouse had last year when they lost a son. Despite a few songs already written and produced before this tragic event, this album is all about this loss. It may be of course quite harsh sometimes to listen to but one must recognize this is a fascinating record and one of his best works. With lots of very long songs and more drones and loops than usual, it might surprise those familiar with a Nick Cave sound but the effort is really recommended.

Image result for field music commontime #3 Field Music  Commontime This is another fantastic record from this band of brothers from Newcastle and probably a blessing and a curse for them as one gets used easily with quality stuff. I have already wrote a few posts on this band, in particular throughout my review of the end of the road festival. Let’s be more specific here: Field Music are the best unknown band of our times and every record is an incredibly exciting piece of music, mixing british pop sound, Prince and Steely Dan. Now get this record!

Image result for iggy pop post pop depression #2 Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression To put this record under the name of Iggy Pop only is quite an injustice as he himself recognizes that this is the work of a real band with Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) on drums and Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) on bass. But the real architect of this album is the great Josh Homme, leader of Queens of the Stone Age and main man on guitar and vibes here. Legend is that he received a text from Iggy asking “I think we should make a record together”. After a couple of days of uncertainty and pride, Josh replied also by text “I think that would be beautiful”. And beautiful and exciting and moving and funny and…name it it is! They all gathered secretly in the Rancho de la Luna studio in the Joshua Tree, California area and polished these fantastic nine songs. The best Iggy Pop record since “The Idiot” and “Lust for Life” 1976/77 Bowie era. Iggy pop made it quite clear that it would be his last traditional rock album and tour. If such were to be the case, one of the most beautiful human beings on earth has left us with a record to cherish. No better way also to end up a record (career?) with the wise lyrics taken from “Paraguay”, the last song on the album: “You take your motherfucking laptop/And just shove it into your goddamn foul mouth/And down your shit heel gizzard/You fucking phony two faced three timing piece of turd/And I hope you shit it out/With all the words in it”.

Blackstar #1 David Bowie Blackstar I swear I did not want to put this album as my album of the year as it looked a bit obvious… Blackstar has been the first record I bought this year as I got it on the 8th of January at the excellent New York Rebel, Rebel record store. This is also in NY that I got the sad news of the morning of the 11th of January and I do recognize that the way the late great man organised this record as a farewell piece of art might be over controlled. But I am pretty sure this record would still be ranked as such if David Bowie was still alive. First the music is super fresh through it and I have never heard so-called jazz musicians be used in such a “non-jazz” way on a “non-rock” record. Donny McCaslin on saxophone is particularly amazing. But the real stars of Blackstar are the songs and the melodies. Has there been a better song this year than “Lazarus” with its moving lyrics, free jazz style and The Cure influences?  I know this is difficult to listen to this record out of context but to me it stands as an immense piece of exciting musicRECORD OF THE YEAR!

Here we go then for 2016. Probably not my most original list ever but these records were those that brought me the most emotion and excitement this year and as a reminder this is the criteria for this list rather than any cultural or trendy meaning. Please react if you feel like it and whip me harshly for any significant record I may have missed in this Top 15!

Other voices’ (websites, magazines, records stores, etc…) Top 10. David Bowie and Franck Ocean everywhere!

  • Mojo (music mag): 1.David Bowie Blackstar 2. Michael Kiwanuka Love & Hate 3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree 4. Lambchop FLOTUS 5. Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker 6. Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression 7. Franck Ocean Blonde 8. Paul Simon Stranger to Stanger 9. PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project 10. Heron Oblivion Heron Oblivion
  • Uncut (music mag): 1.David Bowie Blackstar 2. Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool 3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree 4. Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker 5. Ryley Walker Golden Sings that have been Sung 6. PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project 7. Sturgill Simpson A Sailor’s Guide to Earth 8. Anohni Hopelessness 9. Teenage Fanclub Here 10. Beyoncé Lemonade
  • NME (formerly great, now free weekly junk): 1. The 1975 I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it 2. Kanye West The Life of Pablo 3. Christine & the Queens Chaleur Humaine 4. Skepta Konnichiwa 5. Kaytranada 99.9% 6. David Bowie Blackstar 7. DIIV Is the is are 8. Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression 9. Chance the Rapper Coloring Book 10. Franck Ocean Blonde
  • Rough Trade (London, Nottingham and Brooklyn stores): 1. Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression 2. Anderson .Paak Malibu 3. Margo Price Midwest Farmer’s Daughter 4. Mark Pritchard Under the Sun 5. Charles Bradley Changes 6. Anohni Hopelessness 7. Thee Oh Sees A Weird Exit 8. Angel Olsen My Woman 9. Powell Sport 10. Car Seat Headrest Teens of Denial
  • Fopp (UK stores): 1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree 2. David Bowie Blackstar 3. Christine & the Queens Chaleur Humaine 4. Mogwai Atomic 5. Bat for Lashes The Bride 6. Brian Eno The Ship 7. Field Music Commontime 8. King Creosote Astronaut meets Appleman 9. Lambchop FLOTUS 10. Skepta Konnichiwa
  • Greg Kot (Sound Opinions radio DJ #1): 1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree 2. Franck Ocean Blonde 3. Jamila Woods HEAVN 4. Michael Kiwanuka Love & Hate 5. Anderson .Paak Malibu 6. PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project 7. Drive-By Truckers American Band 8. Chance the Rapper Coloring Book 9. Solange A Seat at the Table 10. David Bowie Blackstar
  • Jim Derogatis (Sound Opinions radio DJ #2): 1. Savages Adore Life 2. TEEN Love Yes 3. La Femme Mysteres 4. Sneaks Gymnastics 5. The Gotobeds Blood//Sugar//Secs//Traffic 6. Honeyblood Babes never die 7. Jenny Hval Blood Bitch 8. Drive-By Truckers American Band 9. The Handsome Family Unseen 10. Beach Slang A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings
  • Pitchfork (music website): 1. Solange A Seat at the Table 2. Franck Ocean Blonde 3. Beyoncé Lemonade 4. David Bowie Blackstar 5. Kanye West The Life of Pablo 6. Chance the Rapper Coloring Book 7. A Tribe Called Quest We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service 8. Anohni Hopelessness 9. Angel Olsen My Woman 10. Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Paste (music website): 1. David Bowie Blackstar 2. Beyoncé Lemonade 3. Car Seat Headrest Teens of Denial 4. A Tribe Called Quest We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service 5. Mitski Puberty 2 6. Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool  7. Angel Olsen My Woman 8. Lucy Dacus No Burden 9.Bon Iver 22, A Million 10. Franck Ocean Blonde
  • Les Inrocks (French mag): 1. David Bowie Blackstar 2.La Femme Mystere 3. Franck Ocean Blonde 4. The Lemon Twigs Do Hollywood 5. PNL Dans la légende 6. Kanye West The Life of Pablo 7. Leonard Cohen You want it Darker 8. Drake Views 9. Alex Cameron Jumping the Shark 10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree
  • Time Out (London free weekly) : 1. Kanye West The Life of Pablo 2. David Bowie Blackstar 3. Solange A Seat at the Table 4. Skepta Konnichiwa 5. Kaytranada 99.9% 6. Anohni Hopelessness 7. Christine & the Queens Chaleur Humaine 8. Franck Ocean Blonde 9. Beyoncé Lemonade 10. Chance the Rapper Coloring Book
  • The Guardian (UK daily newspaper) : 1. Beyoncé Lemonade 2. Franck Ocean Blonde 3. David Bowie Blackstar 4. Kanye West The Life of Pablo 5. Solange A Seat at the Table  6. Anohni Hopelessness 7. Rihanna Anti 8. Christine & the Queens Chaleur Humaine 9. Skepta Konnichiwa 10. Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Noise Magazine (French bimonthly magazine) : 1. Dinosaur Jr. Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not 2. Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas Mariner 3. Perturbator The Uncanny Valley 4. Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression 5. Preoccupations Preoccupations  6. Nothing Tired Of Tomorrow 7. David Bowie Blackstar 8. Neurosis Fires Within Fires 9. Savages Adore Life 10. Oranssi Pazuzu Värähtelijä

My Californian rock trip, July 2016

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The blog has been away for a few months but for good reasons. First, there has been a change of office in order to deal with the exponential growth of readers all around the globe but the main reason is that one of the blog’s best reporter has been sent to the USA and more precisely in California for a couple of weeks.

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As for all good Californian journeys, better to start with San Francisco not only because the temperature difference is low vs. London but also as this is a great rock’n’roll place. A bit disappointing to be honest as the Haight and Ashbury district is not really what it used to be when bands such as Jefferson Airplane or the Grateful Dead were leading the psychedelic world but one can still sense a bit of hippie vibes when hanging around in the city. Funny as well to see for real places such as Grace Cathedral Park, as sung by Mark Kozelek in his Red House Painters days. The real music highs I experienced were the visit of the great Haight Ashbury Music Center guitar store but moreover the way I found a quite rare American edition of Virgins and Philistines by the Colourfield for only $9! I have been looking for the vinyl version of this record for a long time and found it in a store who had only a few vinyls…in a country where basically this is getting very difficult and rare to find records’ store.

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Change of atmosphere a few days later on our way from the Death Valley to Joshua Tree. “This is 9am ; let’s stop for breakfast… this place seems nice…funny that this is called Bagdad Café like that in the movie…but stop, that’s the one actually!” Yes, indeed, quite unexpected but great. For some reason, this movie has been really popular in France and Japan… and that’s it really but one cannot forget the fantastic cover of the soundtrack done by the late Jeff Buckley.

I would lie if I were to say that visiting the Joshua Tree National Park was only to see the beauties of this weird and atypical place. U2 made indeed the place more famous than it used to be with their 1987 LP and this is also the home of the Rancho de la Luna studio, home for instance of many Queens of the Stone Age records and the latest Iggy Pop LP too. However, I really booked our motel there as it looked nice, cheap and quite easy vs. our overall road trip. What a surprise then to realise at the reception desk that this is actually the motel where U2 stayed and had many famous pictures taken for the promotion of the album…close to 30 years ago now… Great place with just a few rooms and a special vibe as one can guess.

After San Francisco, Big Sur, Sequoia National Park, Death Valley and Joshua Tree, our last stop was in Los Angeles and in particular on Venice Beach. No way for a music and records lover not to pay a visit to Amoeba records which is probably the biggest independent records’ store in the world right now with Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas. Quite an amazing place indeed. I was impressed in particular by the way so many records were so well labelled and organised in such a big store and I must say it was quite easy to find out what one was looking for. But the real totally unexpected event of it was to spot Jesse Hugues, leader and singer of the Eagles of Death Metal hanging around in the store, without nobody really recognising him. I met him for a chat and although a lot of not-so-nice comments have been made about him recently, he was charming and very warm. I could really felt that the Bataclan November events were still very much in his heart and soul and that the guy feels connected forever with French people with what happened that night.

Last but by no mean least, I had been warmly recommended by a Garideche Hell’s Angels’ hipster not to leave L.A. without attending a show at the Hollywood Bowl. I did not manage to make it as the shows were not great when we were there but I had booked in advance to spend our last night at the Greek Theater to see The National, one of my favourite bands ever. The Greek Theatre bears the same concept as the Hollywood Bowl, in the sense that the audience sits outside in an amphitheatre surrounded by a beautiful landscape. Amazing place…and another great show for the National. On top of singing their usual beautiful songs which were chosen amongst all their past LP’s, the band played a few songs from their future LP which is still under a work in progress phase. Very interesting songs with more electro sounds although final versions may be quite different. The band were excellent as usual and their singer Matt Berninger particularly happy to be there, as shown with his recurring beetle-on-stage jokes. Great invitees on stage as well with Adam Granduciel from the The War on Drugs and Annie Clarke from St. Vincent…and a concert from The National would not be the same without the splendid a capella performance of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” so the show ended beautifully.

No “Californication”, neither “California uber alles”, just a great trip in one of the greatest rock’n’roll places in the world.

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TOP 100 Artists/Bands of all Times : 41 – 45

45. LCD Soundsystem

 from : New York, NY, USA / first great sounds : 00’s / style : New York groove / essential albums : LCD Soundsystem (2005) , Sound Of Silver (2007), This Is Happening (2010) / Click for more on the blog

LCD Soundsystem was the project of NY citizen James Murphy, Head of the great DFA label. The guy is a music freak with a vast knowledge of all genres and started on his own with NME single of the week “Losing My Edge” where he plays the role of a former hip guy who used to go to every concert possible. LCD Soundsytem’s music is a kind of electronica meets Talking Heads meets punk rock and was to my mind one of the best things that happened to the 00’s. James Murphy disbanded LCD Sounsdystem at the height of their powers as one can see in the great film “Shut Up And Play The Hits“.

44. Serge Gainsbourg

Serge Gainsbourg from : Paris, France / first great sounds : 50’s / style : nice-sounding French words / essential albums : Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971), L’homme à tête de chou (1976)

Serge Gainsbourg is an institution in France but very often for the wrong reasons (mainly his numerous provocative acts vs. the French media). What is actually tremendous about his career is the length, quality and diversity of it : from “chanson française” to jazz, psychedelic rock, African music or reggae, he was there with the best musicians and always with a feeling of where to be at the right moment. The fact that he married so well the French language within the anglo-saxon rock mindset adds to his genius as well.

43. Pavement

 from : Stockton, California, USA / first great sounds : 90’s / style : fresh sounding rock / essential albums : Slanted and Enchanted (1992), Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994), Wowee Zowee (1995), Brighten the Corners (1997)

In the 90’s, I remember telling my beloved one that buying a new Pavement LP was one of the great pleasures in life… So, now, it is true we only buy reissues as Stephen Malkmus band did not last longer than one decade but the least one can say is that the production quality level was one of the highest. Their style was a very personal one, mixing a DIY attitude in a 90’s grunge environment but with their feet strongly in the American songwriting tradition. LP reissues are beautiful and a good way to start with this amazing band which plays on tour once in a while.

42. Miles Davis

 from : Alton, IL, USA / first great sounds : 50’s / style : jazz-funk trumpet man / essential albums : Kind of Blue (1959), In a Silent Way (1969), Bitches Brew (1970)

It feels a bit awkward to rank Miles Davis amongst our TOP 100 as his fans might find the man and his music much above these down-to-earth matters, although one has to remember his love of beautiful cars and women, talking about material matters… Miles Davis is of course above jazz too although he started with Charlie Parker as a traditional jazz trumpeter. But he started to move from bands to projects at an early age, creating one of the most fascinating oeuvres of all times, from beautiful souring ballads to furious jazz-rock-fusion.

41. Iggy Pop / The Stooges

 from : Ann Harbor, MI, USA / first great sounds : 60’s  / style : the essence of rock’n’roll / essential albums : The Stooges (1969), Raw Power (1973),  The Idiot (1977), Lust for Life (1977)

First a precision : I am much happy to see these days James Osterberg (his real name) advertised with a Xmas hat for the Printemps stores and making a crap French songs covers’ LP rather than him being dead or insane somewhere… On top of it, he had one of the most rock’n’roll life ever and made tremendous records, either with the fantastic Stooges musicians (the Asheton brothers and James Williamson) or with David Bowie. And seeing Iggy Pop on stage…whaooh, this should be compulsory by law!