Saturday, December 31, 2016

My favorite songs of 2016 [updated]

I decided to tweak my playlist of my favorite songs from 2016. I wanted to include tracks by Nyxx (who will be opening up for Aesthetic Perfection and Solar Fake on their upcoming US tour), September Mourning, and my new favorite band Strvngers. I also realized that I had forgotten to include Margo Price who put out a really excellent album this year. This is definitely my finalized version of My Favorite Songs of 2016 playlist. What a great year for music. I hope the same can be said about 2017.

Friday, December 30, 2016

My thoughts on my best of 2016 list

Since I did not go into sordid details about my best of list on last night's blog post, I thought I would write out my thoughts on some of my list for tonight's post.

Last night I posted my list of my favorite albums of 2016. I didn't feel like getting into the sordid details so I will now. I came up with the list by listening to all the albums I enjoyed this year for the past couple of weeks at work. For a long time Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker was in the top spot. I have loved Leonard Cohen's final album when I first heard it on Spotify after his untimely passing. I love how sparse the album is as well as Leonard's poetic lyrics. The following day I went out and bought the album. I recently started listening to Friends by White Lies again after dismissing it a couple of months ago. When I started listening to Friends recently for a second time, the music really sunk into my head. The more I listened to the album, the more addicted I became to the catchy synthpop hooks. It really was a difficult decision for me to pick which of the two albums. White Lies eventually won out. I guess it is because I have just been listening to their album daily. Nevertheless both You Want It Darker and Friends (at least to me with this album) are masterpieces in their own right.

I was planning on including CHROM's Peak and Decay album on this year's list but I just felt that In Strict Confidence, Assemblage 23, and Blaqk Audio put out stronger albums than Peak and Decay. I would consider the album an honorable mention. I just thought ISC, A23, and Blaqk Audio had better body of works to show for this year. Nevertheless CHROM is easily one of my personal favorite futurepop/ebm acts in recent years. The Blaqk Audio album Material was an unexpected surprise. My friend Trace did not care for it so I really didn't have much expectations for it when he gave me his copy. Much to my surprise, Material turned out to be a lot better than I was expecting it to be. I could hear quite a bit of Covenant in the music. Blaqk Audio really wears their influences on their sleeves.

My favorite new discovery this year is the Canadian darkwave/electro-pop Strvngers. My friend Renee posted their album on Facebook this week and I have been listening to the album constantly. Of course I bought the album the same day I heard about them which says a lot about how much I dig this band. If you haven't heard of them before, go check out their album at this link: https://strvngersngp.bandcamp.com/album/strvngers . Next to Friends by White Lies, I am constantly listening to Strvngers. Like right now ;).

My two favorite hidden gems I have heard this year that I wish people would listen to is Together Alone by Softwave (a talented Danish synthpop act) and Breathe In by Purple Fog Side (a Russian band that has been around for a long time). To anyone who enjoys synthpop as much as I do, please check out these two bands' music. They are so good to not be heard.

I think it has been three-four months since I heard the new Assemblage 23 album Endure. Tom Shears can really do no wrong. Endure is his best effort to date. His song "Bravery" off the new album is my very favorite song off the album. With the insanity going on in this world right, the lyrics to the song really hits home for me as well as the album as a whole.

After the lackluster Plastic Makes Perfect, Ayria returns to form with her latest album Paper Dolls which I enjoyed from start to finish. I really came to appreciate the album after seeing Ayria live again for the fifth time. I absolutely love the songs "Underneath the Water", "Feed Her To The Wolves", "Crash and Burn", and "Chameleon" in particular.

2016 definitely was a much better year for music from my perspective. Last year there was not a whole lot of music that impressed me. This year it was the total opposite. There was so much good music to hear. What 2017 has in store for me is anybody's guess. I can live without any more deaths that is for sure.  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Top 20 Favorite Albums of 2016

It is that time of year again for me to list my favorite albums from 2016. 2016 was definitely a better year for music than 2015 in my personal opinion. I plan on discussing my top 20 picks either tomorrow or over the weekend along with the rest of my thoughts on the music in 2016. In the meantime, I just wanted to share with my readers the albums I adored this year. Enjoy!

20. Softwave: Together Alone


19. Margo Price: Midwest Farmer's Daughter


18. September Mourning: Volume II


17. Ari Mason: Creatures


16. In Strict Confidence: The Hardest Heart


15. Purple Fog Side: Breathe In


14. The Jezabels: Synthia


13. Hydrah: Hold


12. Lights: Midnight Machines


11. Tegan and Sara: Love You To Death


10. Strvngers: Strvngers


09. Ayria: Paper Dolls


08. Delain: Moonbathers


07. Assemblage 23: Endure


06. Bat For Lashes: The Bride


05. School of Seven Bells: SVIIB


04. Kitten: Heaven or Somewhere In Between


03. Blaqk Audio: Material


02. Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker


01. White Lies: Friends

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My favorite artists/bands of 2016

I can't believe it, 2016 is almost over. Not really sure what to make of the year in general but as far as music is concerned, 2016 has been a fantastic year. I saw a slew of great concerts (with my weekend trip to Chicago for the Belly and Lush shows). As I am trying to put together my annual list of my best albums of 2016, putting together of my favorite artists and bands from this year was no problem for me.

Assemblage 23

Autumn (U.S band)

Ayria

Bat For Lashes

Belly

Blaqk Audio

CHROM

Leonard Cohen

Delain

Hydrah

The Jezabels

Kanga

Kitten

Kristin Kontrol

The KVB

Lush

Margo Price

Nyxx

September Mourning

Strvngers

White Lies

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Album Of The Week: Volume II by September Mourning

Over my holiday break I made a trip over to the Electric Fetus because I still had some money on my Christmas Visa gift card from work left. I ended up buying the new albums by White Lies and September Mourning, a band I have been a fan of for some time courtesy of youtube. I now regret not going to their show at The Cabooze when they were in town recently because I am really digging their brand of hard rock. One of my favorite songs on the album is the cover of "Stand By Me". I have heard the occasional cover of the classic Ben E. King but this is definitely my favorite cover.
Other faves includes "Children of Fate", "Superhuman" and "Til You See Heaven". I definitely recommend giving this album a listen. I have been listening to it at least twice a day since I bought it on Thursday.

Monday, December 26, 2016

My Favorite Concerts of 2016

I can't believe that 2016 is coming to an end. It has been a fantastic year for me when it comes to concerts. Here are my favorite concerts I have attended this year.

01. Lush at The Vic Theatre

Hands down my favorite concert of 2016. I never got to see Lush in the '90s so the band's September show in Chicago was a definitely not a show to be missed. I am so glad I went since the band's reunion proved to be brief. For a sold out show, it was so refreshing to not have some asshole up in my personal space like at the January show at First Avenue for Babes in Toyland. Most of Lush's set consisted of music from Split, Gala, and Blind Spot. Only "Ladykillers" from the much aligned Lovelife (which I personally enjoyed) was played live. Tamaryn was an excellent opening act for Lush.

02. Belly at The Vic Theatre


Before I saw Lush in September, I got the opportunity to see Belly in Chicago (since I would be in Chicago for Lush when Belly played First Avenue). This was definitely the best weekend ever for me. I was ecstatic when I heard that Belly would be playing The Vic while I was in Chicago. That was a no brainer. This tour was all about Belly. They had two sets and no opening act. I was not disappointed. The band played all of my favorite songs from Star and King.

03. Sleigh Bells at The Fine Line

I admit, I am not crazy about the band's recordings (except for Jessica Rabbit, their latest effort). I believe that the recordings don't do the band any justice. I saw the band over Labor Day weekend and the band completely blew me out of their water. Their live act proved that I was right that their recordings really don't capture the band's essence. They are noisy and heavy as fuck live.

04. Garbage at the Skyway Theatre

Garbage can really do no wrong. Their live shows is always electrifying to watch. The band played a lot of old and new songs. I preferred the older songs over their new album to be perfectly honest. This was my first time at the Skyway Theatre. I know some people aren't fans of the venue but I didn't hate it. I would probably go there again if the right opportunity comes around.

05. Ayria with Inertia at The Nether Bar

I have seen Ayria about five times and I have yet to see a bad performance from the band. Jennifer Parkin and company is always a blast to watch and dance to their music. Inertia was a great opening act.

06. Strap On Halo at Club Underground

I am more of an industrial/synthpop fan but this was a great show. Really enjoyed the hell out of seeing Strap On Halo as well as local bands Autumn and Principality.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Albums I bought this year

I can't believe 2016 is going to come to an end in just a week away. This year has been different for me. I actually didn't buy a whole lot of music because I have upgraded my Spotify account to premium (i.e got sick of the commercials). I admit Spotify has made me a bit lazy when it comes to music purchases and I will try to do better in the new year. That said I did buy albums that I heard on Spotify and went out of my way to buy CD copies (examples: You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen, SVIIB by School of Seven Bells, Friends by White Lies, and Synthia by The Jezabels). Without further ado, here is my annual list of albums I bought this year.

Aby Wolf: Call the Rocks
Adele: 25
Ari Mason: Creatures
Assemblage 23: Endure [deluxe edition]
Avarice in Audio: Apollo and Dionysus
Ayria: Paper Dolls (2x, digital copy and CD copy)
Bat For Lashes: The Bride
Blutengel: Seelenschmerz
Brandi Carlisle: The Story
Chamaeleon: Evils is Good
CHROM: Peak and Decay
David Bowie: Blackstar
Delain: Moonbathers
Depeche Mode: Catching Up With Depeche Mode
Dessa: Parts of Speech
Evanescence: Fallen
Future Perfect: Dirty Little Secrets
Hydrah: Hold
Joy Williams: Venus Acoustic
Kitten: Heaven or Somewhere In Between
Kristin Kontrol: X-Communicate
Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker
Lights: Midnight Machines
Lush: Blind Spot
Moby: 18
P.O.S: We Don't Live Here
Pride and Fall: Red For the Dead, Black For the Mourning
Promidal: Simul Iustus et Peccator
Psalm One: The Death of Frequent Flier
Pulcher Femina: Shadows of The Lover
Purple Fog Side: Breathe In
Ryan Adams: 1989
School of Seven Bells: SVIIB (2x, digital and CD copies)
September Mourning: Volume II
Softwave: Together Alone
Straight Outta Compton soundtrack
Strvngers: Strvngers
2046 soundtrack
Tegan and Sara: Love You To Death
The Internet: Ego Death
The Jezabels: Synthia
Tracy Chapman: Greatest Hits
White Lies: Friends
Yo Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensmeble: Sing Me Home

Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Current Favorite Songs

It has been a good week for new music for me. This week I realized that Covenant has a new album called The Blinding Dark. I have only listened to it once so I really can't give my final judgement on the album. On my first of two days off from work, I decided to use a bit more of my Visa gift card from work and bought myself two new albums. I bought Friends by White Lies and Volume II by September Mourning. Both albums are great but I really dig Friends by White Lies. The music is super catchy. I also bought a ticket for their upcoming show at the Cedar Cultural Center in February. Another concert I'll be seeing in February, next to Aesthetic Perfection with Solar Fake. Been listening a lot to CHROM's Peak and Decay album a lot lately. I really like how the band pushes the boundaries of futurepop. There are moments when the music veers into harsh electro but then it abruptly pulls back and returns to its more melodic roots. Their album certainly is going to end up on my annual best of list which I will definitely post after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Album Of The Week: Friends by White Lies

Today I discovered that the London based band White Lies is coming to Minneapolis on February 8 at the Cedar Cultural Center. Not sure when tickets goes on sale but here is the link for the http://www.thecedar.org/event/whitelies . Of course I had to listen to their latest album Friends today. It has been awhile since I first listened to it so I kind of almost forgot how good the album is and reminded me that I need to listen to it more often. For fans of The Rope, I honestly think you will dig White Lies although they are more synth driven than The Rope. The music is undeniably catchy. Go listen to Friends. It definitely is one of the best releases I have heard this year.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Playlist of the Week

Well it's official...Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the United States come January 21. Anyone who does not respect women, the LGBTQ community, and people of color does not get my respect. So today after work I created a soundtrack to what the next four years will be translated through music. I make no apologies for my outspoken views on Trump. He's an ignorant, bloated, asshole who is not fit for office. And those who voted for him deserves to lose their health benefits and overtime benefits, and I am not sorry for making that statement.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Albums and Playlists I Am Currently Listening to

Albums:


















Playlists:








I recently picked up the self-titled album by Heart from the library the other day. I have been listening to it quite a bit. Call me weird but I always liked the '80s Heart over the '70s Heart.

Lately I have been finding myself enjoying hair metal again. I will admit the music does make my work day a lot more bearable and easy to drown out the conversations by my annoying coworkers.

With the mutant orange about to become president next month, I must say I find songs like "We're Not Going to Take It" and "Highway to Hell" quite meaningful. I honestly think the electoral college will be stupid enough to let that awful man to become the country's next president. These next four years is going to be awful and that's putting it mildly.

Friday, December 16, 2016

My Favorite Songs of 2016

With 2016 almost over with two weeks left to go, I thought I would post a playlist consisting of my favorite tracks from 2016. I think 2016 was definitely a better year for music than last year. I am still trying to figure out my best of list. There were so many great albums, one being the last album by Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker. Also adore the new albums by Bat For Lashes The Bride and School of Seven Bells SVIIB. I will eventually write a review of my thoughts of 2016, maybe this weekend since the weather is going to be complete shit and I will be holed up inside my warm and toasty condo uit.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Current Favorite Songs

So here are a collection of my collection of songs that I have been listening to a lot lately. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A*O*A "I'm Afraid of Americans"

In case you have been living in a cave and haven't heard of A*O*A and their single/remixes of the David Bowie song "I'm Afraid of Americans", go listen to it. A*O*A is a collaboration of local musicians in the Twin Cities that was the result of current events in this country, from the anti-DAPL protests to last month's [atrocious] election. I have finally sat down and have been able to listen to the single and its remixes. Considering the current climate in this country, the lyrics pretty much drives home my mixed bag of emotions I have for this country especially come January 21st. Both the original track and the remixes are excellent. Go check it out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Album Of The Week: The Hamilton Mixtape

For the past two days, I have been enjoying the hell out of The Hamilton Mixtape. To be honest I like the mixtape than the original soundtrack a lot more. It is a nice break from the music I normally listen to on a daily basis at work. The music is pretty catchy.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Playlist of the Week

Over the weekend I finally got around to creating a playlist of my favorite Conjure One songs. Perfect music to listen to after a long day at the office. Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Music to check out













Thursday, December 8, 2016

My Current Favorite Songs

I definitely know it is the holiday season when I throw in a few Christmas tunes into my weekly playlist of my current favorite songs. It is an odd mix since I do have some In Strict Confidence, Blutengel, Twisted Sister, Celtic Woman, and Cradle of Filth. Go figure. I have been in an odd mood when it comes to music lately. lol

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Christmas Songs

It's December and Christmas is slowly inching closer day by day. In honor of the holiday season, here are my 10 favorite Christmas songs.

10. Mediaeval Baebes: I Saw Three Ships


09. Josh Groban: What Child Is This?


08. Loreena McKennitt: Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle


07. Sarah McLachlan: Happy Xmas (War is Over)


06. Nicki Jaine and Ego Likenes: Little Drummer Boy


05. Celtic Woman: Christmas Pipes


04. Andre Rieu: O Holy Night


03. Enya: Oiche Chiun (Silent Night)


02. Voltaire: Coming Out For Christmas


01. John Denver and The Muppets: 12 Days of Christmas

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Album Of The Week: The Hardest Heart by In Strict Confidence

Been listening to quite a bit of interesting music lately. My favorite album of lately is the new In Strict Confidence album The Hardest Heart which was released digitally last Friday.  No words can really describe the immense pleasure I get out of this album. I certainly plan on buying a physical copy when it comes out next week.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Playlist Of The Week

I had a hard time trying to figure out what my pick for Playlist Of The Week would but I ended up with my work soundtrack. It almost have everything on it. The only hip hop track that meshed well with my mix of heavy metal, industrial, and gothic metal was The Beastie Boys. I may try to add in some hip hop later down the road. I created this playlist last week when it was that end of the month time when my department tries to make month's end numbers which we did. Music is always a good motivator for me, the louder and heavier the better. Also it allows me to drown out the idiots I work with and their annoying conversations. I have been starting off my work day with this playlist with my third cup of coffee of the morning.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Albums and Playlists I Am Currently Listening to

Albums:


















Playlists:






I have been listening to some interesting music lately. Recently came across this rad futurepop group called In Good Faith. They remind me of De/Vision and CHROM. Check them out! New In Strict Confidence album The Hardest Heart dropped yesterday. It is freaking good. Out of curiosity, I took a listen to the new Leaves' Eyes album King of Kings. I still hate the way the band treated Liv Kristine by kicking her out of the band ala Theatre of Tragedy. The new singer is by no means Liv but she is a pretty good singer. The album is actually good although the songs could have used some serious editing (i.e too long) but the band just isn't the same without Liv. Also yesterday the new Blutengel single "Complete" was released. For once I actually preferred the remix version (by Massive Ego) over the original version. Still not a bad song. Believe it or not I am loving The Hamilton Mixtape. There is some really great music on the album.

I know it is the first week of December but I couldn't help but create a Christmas playlist. It is a work in progress. Earlier this week I created a playlist for work. Perfect playlist to motivate me. This week I also discovered that Loreena McKennitt has her music up on Spotify so naturally I put together a playlist to chill at home or enjoy on the way home from work.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Music to check out













Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Current Favorite Songs

Definitely have some interesting songs this week for my Current Favorite Songs playlist. I couldn't help but include a couple of Christmas songs. I really didn't want to like the new Leaves' Eyes album King of Kings considering the band's treatment of former vocalist Liv Kristine but I listened to it last night and actually found myself enjoying the new album. If you haven't heard the new Margo Price album, please check it out. I rarely recommend country albums but that is one country album I can get behind and try to push on to the general public. Margo's music is what country music should sound like,not that watered down country-western pop garbage. No matter how old I am, I will always love the John Denver duet with The Muppets on "The 12 Days of Christmas".  Best Christmas song ever.