The last time I posted an article in this section … heck, that was almost 2 years ago. Lots has changed since then. One thing that’s very important is that I moved into a new flat and now I finally have space for new records again! Which is why I went on a shopping spree the other day and this is what I found:
Russian Circles “Empros” LP
When I started browsing through the records in the store this was the first one I came across and I pulled it out immediately. Russian Circles has fast become a band who I know won’t disappoint me. All of their releases I know have been great and this one is no different. It’s always fascinating how a trio can soound so tight and dense. They have these hard rocking songs in which they go all out on you and then they mellow out with the follow up, catching you cempletely off guard.
Omega Massif “Karpatia” LP
It read massive, it looks massive, it feels massive, and it definetely sounds massive. Omega Massif continue where they left off, although I kind off miss their screeching guitar parts which sound like someone’s scratching metal over metal. Painful yet irresistible. This beauty comes in a gatefold sleeve, thick cartonage, heavy vinyl and what I really like about their releases is that their cover art looks as depressing as their music sounds like. Great combination.
This Will Destroy You “Tunnel Blanket” 2xLP
I believe it was last year at some point when I went to watch This Will Destroy You play a show in Cologne. I had seen them in 2008 and that was a blast, but this one was slightly different. The band had changed their style from “music” to “sound” in the meantime. This Will Destroy You might have become a pill hard to swallow, but they are still great. The “songs” are missing an actual structure nowadays, but they will take you on a journey through various soundscapes which are just as interesting and fascinating as their previous records. It’s just a bit hard to keep up the concentration for a live set, but inside your own room this record is huge.
The Horrible Crowes “Elsie” LP
The Horrible Crowes is Brian Fallon (of The Gaslight Anthem) and his guitar tech Ian Perkins. And this fits to everything else Brian has released over the past few years. It’s not as loud and rocking as The Gaslight Anthem, but it’s also not as quiet and toned down as his solo stuff. It’s somewhere in the middle. And it’s always vintage Brian Fallon, a voice you just cannot duplicate (well, Springsteen might have a chance). Of course the other guys of his main band dropped by at the studio to record a track here and there, so it has the feel of another Gaslight record, but still I can see why these songs were not released under that name. It’s different. And it’s good.
Revival Tour “2011 Collections” LP
This compilation features four guys who went on tour together last year. For the concept behind the tour you might want to check out this page and read a bit. As for the music it’s singer/songwriter american folk music, nothing more, nothing less. What I like about this is that you get two songs each and that#s more than enough as I somehow can’t bring myself to listen to acoustic stuff for the length of a complete album. But here everything’s perfect. This record features The Gaslight Anthem‘s Brian Fallon, Alkaline Trio‘s Dan Adriano, The Loved Ones‘ Dave Hause and Chuck Ragan, formerly of Hot Water Music and inventor of the Revival Tour. And with those band names you get a good idea of what to expect. Although it’s not an unamplified version. Think more along the lines of folk music with a touch of punk energy.
Dan Adriano In The Emergency Room “Hurricane Season” LP
And because everybody else does it Alkaline Trio‘s Dan Adriano released his own solo album as well. Although I have to admit I really like the “band name”. When you think of the songs Adriano sings on the Alkaline Trio records you get a pretty good idea of what to expect on this one. It’s a full band recording, with piano, strings and so on, and it really is nothing special. But it’s pretty relaxing to listen to it on a rainy sunday afternoon, which is what I am doing right now.
Thees Uhlmann “self-titled” LP
Uhlmann’s band Tomte looks as if it’s on hiatus at the moment, so he releases his first solo album. If things were always that easy. Uhlmann has made a name for himself in the german punk and indie scene for being a great entertainer on stage as well as a wonderful poet. You might want to compare him to John K. Samson and the like, still his style of writing is a bit more complicated and less straight forward. On this record he has songs which could easily be on the next Tomte album, so nothing special there. What’s a bit annoying is the fact he had to somehow fit in his latest signing for Grand Hotel Van Cleef, Casper, a horribkle german “rapper”, but since it’s only one song, that feature is over by the time you realize it. Apart from that this is a solid solo effort.
Kettcar “Sylt” LP
If I’m not mistaken this is Kettcar‘s 3rd full length album and the evolution continues. Ever since …But Alive there has been a red cord connecting all records and this one if no different. Maybe it’s Marcus Wiebusch’s songwriting, at least I can’t think of a lot of people who write lyrics which are so recognizable. Kettcar is no live band, all the shows I’ve been to have been boring to say the least, but their records are always a good listen. Sometimes the sampling and sythie sounds are a bit too much, but all in all it’s always nice to know they are still around. Look for their new record to be released in 2012.
Sodom “Better Off Dead” LP
This actually was one of the first metal records a friend of mine gave me on a tape way back in school. I had started listening to the Scorpions and I liked melodic punkrock, but stuff like thrash and speed metal were a bit far out for me. So listening to Sodom opened up a new world, really. Although I like the classic predescessor “Agent Orange” better, this record deserves attention as well. “An Eye For An Eye” is a brilliant starter, “The Saw Is The Law” makes for great humour and “Stalinorgel” is a great track to finish the album. I guess the simplicity and punk roots of Sodom were the reason why I liked this record so much, so when I found the 2nd hand copy at the store I had to get this one.
No FX “Hardcore” 10″
No inlet, no backprint, no real title (“Hardcore” is the name of the record on their homepage), no tracklist. Just the cover, which, I guess, is supposed to say it all. It’s a one-sided 10″ record with nine hardcore cover songs, but I guess I never was enough hardcore to actually know any of those songs. Or maybe I’m too young. Apparently that’s intended, because the band said so when announcing the release. Bands featured are The Necros, Social Unrest, Stretch Marks and rebel truth and I’m pretty sure I heard the first sog somewhere before. Anyway, this is 80s hardcore they way it should’ve been played, a great hommage to a time long gone by.
EA 80 “Definitiv: Nein!” LP
This is the latest record by German dark punk legend EA 80. Over the past three decades they have been constantly releasing one gem after another. They always had a rather mysterious aura about them, playing only selective shows, very few over the course of a year. I saw them once at a squat in Cologne and because of the lighting in the room (which was nonexistent, really) the atmosphere matched the music perfectly. What adds to their image is that I wasn’t able to find a homepage and this myspace site looks like it’s a fan site. Anyways, EA 80 are as great as ever and I have to admit I really like the silver cover artwork, not only because of the subway benches.