Saturday, June 23, 2018

Albums and playlists I am currently listening to

This week has been a great week for new music or should I say Friday was a great day for music? Lots of new releases came out yesterday. I haven't gotten around to the new Nine Inch Nails album. I will probably most get around to it next week at work.

I am currently listening to the new De/Vision album Citybeats again. The music is starting to grow on me however I can not say it is as good as Nordika's Venus or Unity One's Awakening, my two favorite synthpop albums of 2018.

The biggest surprise for me was the new Aiboforcen album Sense and Nonsense. I decided to listen to it at work yesterday when I saw the album mentioned in my news feed on FB.  The album completely blew me away. It was so damn good. I definitely have to get a copy of it but after I deal with some financial responsibilities for the month of August (i.e I have a hefty association fee because of a shower valve replacement). I especially love the tracks featuring Mari Kattman on vocals like "Tears".

The new Helalyn Flowers album Nyctophilia is fantastic! I knew it was going to be a great album after hearing "Kamikaze Angel" for the very first time when the single was released not long ago. Sonic Foundation was a good album but not nearly as good as White Me In/Black Me Out (to me). I wasn't feeling the melodies on that album. Beats and the guitar riffs were solid though.

Ever since I created my post-punk playlist (featured on tonight's blog post), I have been digging the sounds of a lot of the bands I discovered when I was mining for songs for it. I have been particularly digging the sounds of Saigon Blue Rain, Box and The Twins, VV and The Void, and Holygram.



Where to buy music:

Friday, June 22, 2018

Current favorite songs of the week

TGIF! What a rough week I had at work and outside of work but the week is over which I am thoroughly thankful for after the crap that came my way. Today a slew of new music was unleased. De/Vision, Aiboforcen, Helalyn Flowers, Juno Reactor, and Nine Inch Nails all released new music, and new tunes by Moonlight Cove and I:Scintilla. I have yet to listen to the new NIN album. I'll post what I think of it when I get around to listening to the album.

I spent today listening to a lot of new releases. I liked most of what I heard but I was definitely not impressed with the new De/Vision album Citybeats. The first half didn't do much for me and it wasn't until "The Brightest Star" did the album get my undivided attention. My personal favorite track on the album is  "A Pawn in the Game". I will certainly listen to the album more but at the moment I am not feeling the love with Citybeats.

The new Helalyn Flowers and Aiboforcen albums Nyctophilia and Sense and Nonsense are really good. I was not disappointed with the new Helalyn Flowers album. I'm still waiting to receive my CD but in the meantime I'm streaming it on Spotify. "Unleash the Wolves" is my favorite track on the album. I wasn't even planning on listening to the new Aiboforcen album but I decided to do it on a whim this morning. I am glad I checked it out. I really dug the tracks that Mari Kattman sings on especially on the song "Tears" which I have on my playlist. I was really surprised by how good Sense and Nonsense. I definitely need a hard copy (i.e CD) of the album.

The new Juno Reactor album is pretty good but after awhile I get bored and need to move on. I do dig the track "Return of the Pistolero". It is 11 minutes long but it is one helluva track.

Even after a week since the show, I have still been listening to a lot of Autumn's music especially Chandelier. That was such a fantastic live show. I have included my favorite tracks that they have performed last Saturday night "The Hating Tree", "The Trip", "My Last Confession", and "Chandelier". It was really awesome to see the band perform the 11 minute opus "The Hating Tree". I was secretly hoping that the band would perform that song that night and they did. The band will being touring later this summer in August,I so recommend seeing them live and picking up their new album.

Because of my sudden interest in post-punk music in the past couple of weeks, I have put on a lot of interesting post-punk bands I discovered as I was putting together my post-punk playlist last week. I find myself really getting more into that sort of music and less into EBM as of lately. I am currently digging the sounds of VV And the Void, Death Bells, Saigon Blue Rain, Holygram, and Principe Valiente in particular (their music can be heard on this week's playlist). I particularly dig the sounds of Holygram who will be opening up for VNV Nation later this year at the Skyway Theatre. Their song "Hideway" is getting lots of plays on Spotify with me.

Songs to check out:
"Chandelier" by Autumn
"Hideaway" by Holygram
"Gravity" by Box and The Twins
"A Pawn in the Game" by De/Vision
"The Unknown" by Saigon Blue Rain
"Unleash the Wolves" by Helalyn Flowers

Thursday, June 21, 2018

My Top 10 Favorite Ashbury Heights Songs

So I was heading home from work on the 535 that goes northbound to downtown Minneapolis, I was listening to one of my Random Mix Playlists. Just as my bus had gotten off 35W to go on its detour route to DT, Ashbury Heights' "Spiders" came on. I thought I would post ten of my favorite songs by Ashbury Heights for tonight's blog. I have been a big fan of Ashbury Heights for a decade now when I was still on Myspace (which is how I found them). The male/female dynamics between Anders Hagstrom and now former vocalist Yasmine Yaz Uhlin reminded me a bit of Blutengel. Their songs were and still are melodic AF. The pop hooks just gets stuck in my head within a matter of moments when I listening to one of their songs. I was bummed when Yaz left after Morningstar in a Black Car EP and went on to form Javelynn. Kari Berg went on to fill Yaz's shoes for Take Cair Paramour. I have to admit, it took me a few years to come to appreciate that album and to get over Yaz's departure. And after a lengthy time off, Ashbury Heights returned with their third album The Looking Glass Society and with a new co-vocalist Tea F. Thime. I love the new vocalist. I won't lie, I will always have a soft spot for Yaz and the songs she has contributed on the first two AH releases but I think Kari and Tea were and are perfect for the band to compliment Anders' vocals and music.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Earworm of the week

Ever since seeing Autumn last weekend at The Red Sea for their CD release party for their new album Chandelier, I have had the title song stuck in my head all this week which is a good thing considering I have been having a not so great week at the office (and outside of the office too). Looking back, I wish I got their live performance of this song recorded for my youtube channel but oh well, I got a few other songs. This the perfect track to close out a wonderful album. I will let the song speak for itself. I can't imagine anyone not liking it or not getting it stuck in his or her head considering how infectious the hooks in the song is.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

2018 in music (so far)

It is June and 2018 is halfway over. I thought it would be a good time to go through this year in music.

Here are 10 of my favorite releases from this year (not in particular order):

Favorite songs of 2018 (so far)

To me, 2018 has been shaping up to be a fantastic year in music (my personal life is another story). There have been one killer release after another,and there are more to come from Helalyn Flowers, Hanzel und Gretyl, Ladytron (I hope their new album comes out this year), VNV Nation, De/Vision to just name a few.

There were so many albums that I have heard and loved this year I thought I would figure I would just keep it to a ten for this list. Besides nothing is set in stone, that will come at the end of the year or early next year (depending on if there are any end of the year releases). I do love the new albums by Nordika, Brandi Carlile, Junksista, Mercury's Antennae (well, EP, not a full length album to be technical), and Cesium 137 a lot. Those artist and bands put out some great music that is just as good as those on my list. I didn't include them only because I wanted to allow myself some space to write out my thoughts.

Autumn finally released their long awaited third album Chandelier. It had been 17 years since their album Return to the Breath. The wait was definitely worth it. I have been listening to it since it came out at the end of March, and June is now half way over. That says a lot about the album's staying power with me. I have yet to get sick of any of the songs on the album. I could hear how time has affected the band (in a positive way). Their music isn't nowhere as dark as their first album The Hating Tree, it is more upbeat and positive with some glimmer of melancholy and angst. Julie Plante sounds still amazing with her powerful, soaring vocals. The musicianship of Jeff Leyda (bassist) and Neil McKay (guitarist) is impeccable and both men have definitely gotten better over time with their skills on their instruments. Time has definitely been very kind to the band, I could hear it in their lyrics and music. I was thrilled to finally see the band perform a good chunk of the album life last weekend. I was not disappointed. Autumn has always put a wonderful live show and the new songs really sounded great live. Don't be surprise if Chandelier ends up on the top of my annual best of list.

The other albums that I had been waiting with excitement was Blume's third album Ashes and Kirlian Camera's Hologram Moon. It had been five years since both bands had put out new music. The wait was worth it. I am glad I dropped $70 for the 2 disc version of Hologram Moon. There are some great tracks on it that you can't hear on the single disc version of the album. I probably already talked enough about Blume's new musical direction on past blog entries for some people but it is true. I really was surprised in their change in sound which is similar to Pride and Fall's brand of futurepop but I love it. It is perfect. "Desolation Road' though does bring the listener back to their early days when Rise From Grey first came out.

Lightflare by Psy'Aviah was the first 2018 I bought. I bought the deluxe edition with two discs. I particularly enjoyed the second disc which consisted of remixes and some new age/ambient tracks which is quite a huge departure for Yve Schelpe. I particularly love Yve's collaborations with Mari Kattman. The work those two do is nothing short of stunning.

Last week when I was putting together my post-punk playlist on Spotify, I discovered the band VV and The Void. Their album The Upper Room is wonderfully hynpotic and sent chills down my spine when I first listened to the album.

Fellow Minnesotans synthpop act Astronomique and rapper Dessa put out some solid new music. I was really happy to see Astronomique to finally put out a full length album. 2018 has been a great year for local music with Astronomique, Autumn, and Dessa putting out some fantastic music and getting on my mid-year review list. I started listening to Dessa' music on a regular basis when I checked out Parts of Speech from the library 2 years ago (I think) and would listen to it so damn much I ended up buying my own copy. I bought Chime within days it came out this year. "Half of You" is easily my favorite song off the album. Hip hop music is a hit or miss with me but Dessa makes the genre palatable for this casual fan. I love her personal, intimate stories she tells in her music and her delivery too.

I am going to admit it, I was wrong about Love is Dead by Chvrches. It is a great album to this music fanatic, it is a mixed bag for those who review music for a living. The album sounds a lot better as a whole entity. Just hearing a few tracks just wasn't cutting it with me.

Loreena McKennitt really can't do no wrong. I am so glad that she finally put out an album of original material. It had been too long. Yeah Lost Souls is no Mask and the Mirror or Book of Secrets but no album can be like its predecessors. Look at Autumn with their third album. The band took a more modern direction by adding more electronic music  into their sound without totally ditching one iota of classic their post punk/darkwave sound . Some of Loreena's fans who have been complaining about Lost Souls not sounding like her previous albums drives me up the wall. Some people can never be satisfied I tell ya.

I have also included my updated playlist of my favorite songs from 2018 (so far). I couldn't help myself but have a couple of tracks by Autumn,Loreena Mckennitt, and Blume ;). 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Playlist of the week

Last week, it was announced that VNV Nation was coming to Minneapolis later this year. One of the opening bands is Holygram. I was curious and started checking out a song or two on youtube. I really dug their post-punk sound,and after the Holygram song, a song by Principe Valiente (another post-punk band) came on and I was hooked and that in turn inspired me to create my own post-punk playlist. Most of the songs on my playlist consists of modern post-punk bands like Holygram, Second Still, The Foreign Resort, and the list goes on on. I threw in a couple of familiar tracks from the past but the playlist as a whole consists of modern post-punk bands.

I created this playlist by by using both Spotify and the website as reference sources, and in the process I discovered a slew of artists and bands I was completely unaware of their existence. I will plead ignorance since for the longest time I have focused most of my energy on EBM, synthpop, and some metal and hip hop. Since creating this playlist I have been listening to it a lot at work and at home. For the first time in months, I have found music that I can listen to and not it bring me down while I am continue to go through the grieving process for my father. I find on some days that I can't listen to certain songs or certain genres of music but not with this new playlist. This is definitely one of the best playlists I have created in a long time.

I have posted several links to the Bandcamp pages to the bands that really stood out with me (or are personal faves of mine for some time).

Songs to check out:
"Only You" by Death Bells
"Hideaway" by Holygram
"Tangerine Tree" by Laura Carbone
"WW" by Shiny Darkly
"Borealis" by Saigon Blue Rain
"Living in a French Movie" by Hante.

Bandcamp links:

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Autumn Album Release Party at The Red Sea 06.16.18

Well it has been almost three months since three months since Autumn (US band) released their long anticipated third album Chandelier.

Initially the band and A Place Both Wonderful and Strange []were going to have the CD release show at Heavy Attic, which is in a low rent building on Lake and Chicago but that building was engulfed in a massive fire last month. It seemed like the show was either going to be cancelled or postponed.

Initially the show had to be postponed but that did not last long and found a new home at The Red Sea. Thanks to the unselfishness of local industrial band Zwaremachine who had a gig at The Red Sea with a couple of bands Absynthe of Faith and MY ZERO. It was obviously going to be a very long night but that was okay with me. I have been wanting to catch Zwaremachine live for sometime but those damn mood swings always got in the way, had other plans, or had to work the next day. The line up went like this: Absynthe of Faith, Zwaremachine, MY ZERO, A Place Both Wonderful and Strange, and Autumn. Great line up. DJ Apollolypstic provided music when the doors opened to the public and Dark Energy's Grant Mayland spun records before A Place Both Wonderful and Strange went on stage. I enjoyed all the bands' music but as everyone who reads this blog and is friends with me on FB and or Instagram, my heart will always be with the band Autumn. I will say that Zwaremachine killed it onstage. Their album Be A Light is excellent. Go check it out.

Since last night's show was Autumn's CD release party for their long awaited album Chandelier, I would say 98% of their set consisted of songs from the album. If you haven't heard it yet, please buy it off their bandcamp page. I always listen to it on a daily basis. It looks like it will be my favorite album of 2018. The long wait to see the band perform live again was so damn worth it. They did pull out a couple of gems from their first two albums. My personal fave they played is "The Hating Tree". In the following months after my father passed away last year along with the trauma I went through too which resulted in a lot of intense pain and anger, there wasn't a lot of music I could stomach listening to, Autumn's The Hating Tree was one of the few albums I could listen to and take solace in the music especially with the anger I was engulfed in and the title track from Autumn's first album provided some unusual comfort for me in those dark days. Yeah the band went on very late into the morning at one am but it was so damn worth it. The band sounded as good as I remembered. Loved hearing "At Summer's End", "Damage", "The Fall", and "Beginnings" live. I especially loved "At Summer's End" which is probably my  most favorite song off Chandelier. Honestly? I really didn't miss hearing some of my favorite older Autumn songs like "Red", "A Waiting Time", "How It Came to be This Way", or "All My Lovers". That is a first for me because at most of the shows I attend, there is always a song or two I wished the band played but not last night. Overall great time to be had, certainly worth staying up that late at night. I'm glad the weather was nice was enough to take a Nice Ride bike home as opposed to taking the damn replacement bus for the green line (still have nightmares over the train ride home from St.Paul after the Covenant show, that was straight up gross. LOL).

Videos from Autumn's Set:

For more photos, you can see them on my Instagram page at http://www.instagram/eanderson1974.