The Ol’ Facebook “Favourite Quotes”

“In laughter all that is evil becomes holy, and is absolved by its own bliss” Nietzche

“We’re all a bit of a dick. It’s the human condition. Nothing to be afraid of” – Tommy Saxondale.

“Chat away. I’ll just amuse myself with some pornographic playing cards” Mayor Joe Quimby

“Never say anything that doesn’t improve on silence” Richard Yates

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire” Winston Churchill

“A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere” Groucho Marx

“When someone tells you nothing is impossible – ask them to dribble a football” Unknown

“Jack Cooper! That’s a manly name” – Reginald D Hunter.

“Jack is clearly a sucker for gusto and moxie” Frazer Berry

“To me… or not to me” Tall Paul

“Old men are allowed to be racist, they’ve earned the right” Fitzy

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

#2016albumchallange Week 19/20/21/22 aka I QUIT

What’s going on here? Click here to find out.

I’M DONE. (Edit: I’m half-done. #albumchallange2016lite will begin. More on that later) (Edit 2: I actually do review a load of albums here, so scroll down if you want to skip the whinging and get to the meat and potatos)

and I’m this weird limbo between deeply disappointing with myself and incredibly relieved.

It feels like all I’ve done in this blog is bang on about “how I’m definitely going to complete this challenge, not matter what”… and for a long time I actually convinced myself that I wasn’t setting myself up to get egg all over my pretty face. That’s just how committed/deluded I was.

There are two reasons I’m calling it quits. The second has become the final straw.

  1. I’m really far behind. I have a full time job. I do things like hang out with friends and go to football, and I also listen to about 10 podcasts a week. So that’s 10 podcasts – usually around 5/6 hours of audio that ISN’T music along with all of the albums… it’s just too much.
  2. I’ve started to hate music. Okay, slightly dramatic… maybe resent is a better word. But I’ve got genuinely got slightly miserable because I’ve stopped listening to music for fun. I don’t have the time/energy to listen to the music I want to actually listen to – like music from the 70s – and it’s just doing my tits in. All I want is the freedom to listen to what I want, when I want, without the lingering guilt of this stupid challenge hanging over me. Life is too short to be miserable, even if it means getting egg on your face.

BUT ON A POSITIVE NOTE:

I’m really glad I attempted this. I’ve discovered some great stuff, artists I’ve never would have come across. And because of that – I’m going to continue, in a far more relaxed/chilled manner – picking a selection of albums I know I want to hear and ones that pique my interest, either because their wikipedia page makes them sound interesting, or maybe just because they have a really cool album cover.

This challenge started because in 2015 I realised I couldn’t put a Top 10 list together for that year, and I wanted to force myself to check out more new music. And I want to actively listen to more new stuff now – so again another little victory.

But this album challenge has made me realise there’s just some music I’m not into, and I’ve done enough to realise that certain genres/vibes are just a complete waste of my life. There’s no point forcing it anymore, and thank god I don’t have to listen to any twee ethereal singer-songwriter hipster shit ever again.

SO – FOR THE LAST TIME (SORT OF) – HERE IS MAY (I MANAGED TO DO ALL OF MAY)

YAY

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Rittz “Top of the Line” (Rap) – I was deep into May’s albums before hearing this, and this album was the first (possible of the whole challenge) where I HAD to instantly listen to the opening track. Anyway this guy is like a less-commercial, blacker-sounding Eminem. The beats are dope and the flow is sick. Love it.

Bob Dylan “Fallen Angels”(Jazz) – anyone who knows me will know I don’t get Bob Dylan, almost to the point of hatred. However this collection of laid back jazzy dittys was actually quite enjoyable, his old-man voice being very endearing and relaxing.

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Vektor “Terminal Redux” (Metal) – Now we’re talking. This album is proggy, heavy, epic, brutal, constantly interesting; exactly what I want from my metal. Every song twist and turns through quality riffage so perfectly you barley notice most of the songs are over 8 minutes.

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White Lung “Paradise” (Alternative/Punk) – there’s something about certain Canadian bands that seems to connect with me on a deep level. Even thought these sound nothing like Rush or Devin or Protest, there’s this outsider vibe that only seems to come from Canada. Anyway – White Lung are great. Punky vibes with jangly guitars and a modern day Blondie vibe. This is solid rock that’s elevated to awesome by constantly interesting guitar work and production.

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Dance Gavin Dance “Trey City Sessions” (Post-Hardcore/Metal) – Dance… are one of those bands I’ve heard before, thought “these are good” and then never followed up. Anyway the first song sounded a bit like At The Drive In meets Protest The Hero meets teenage angst; so thumbs up from me.

Thalia “Latina” (Pop) – I’m not completely against autotune but this album is an example of very poor use of it. Despite this it’s hard not to love and enjoy the OTT Latino vibes on this album, that joyous South American brass sound and funk percussion. It’s just a great upbeat sound that’s impossible not to love (for me at least)

Kvelertak “Nattesferd” (Black N Roll) – Oh another genre I haven’t heard of again! That hasn’t happened in a few months. “Black ‘n’ roll is a style of black metal that incorporates elements from 1970’s hard rockand glam rock,[152] as well as rock and rollmusic.[“. So do I like it? Of course I fucking do. A black metal band that occasionally sounds like Rush and one point sounds like At the Drive In? Yes please!

Meghan Trainor “Thank You” (Pop) – Unlike Sum 41, this album is a lot of killer and a lot of filler. But the killer is really great catchy pop. A big guilty pleasure vibe going on, but I like the hooks and I like a lot of the synth sounds used. Lyrics are so bad they’re good too.

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Radiohead “A Moon Shaped Pool” (Alt) – It’s Radiohead. So it’s good. Struggling to love the albums released post-In Rainbows just because I live In Rainbows so much, but the one listen I gave to this made me feel like it’s a much better record than King of Limbs.

Nay

Death Grips “Botomless Pit” (Experimental/Hip-Hop?) – I have to give massive props to this band for sounding nothing like I’ve ever heard before. It’s intense, unique and interesting… But ultimately exhausting. It’s just too much. I had a headache after a while.

Ana Popovic “Trilogy” (Funk/Blues/Jazz) – I am so on board for the idea behind this album; a 3 disc record where the first disc is funk, the second is blues and the third is jazz? Great idea. Ana is predominantly a guitar player and her playing is great, unfortunately this album is completely failed by a mediocre voice and uninspired vocal melodies. It’s not bad, it’s just middle-of-the-road. What a shame, I was so up for this as a concept.

Lacuna Coil “Delirium” (Metal) – I loved the first song so it was a shame how quickly downhill this album went.

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ABC “Lexicon of Love II” (Pop) – the first Lexicon is one of my favourite albums of all time, and I had no idea a follow-up was even in production. I went in open minded knowing it wouldn’t live up to the first. It starts solidly but unfortunately goes very sub-par quite quickly and just made me want to listen to original. Lack of slap bass not a good choice.

3OH!3 “NightSports” – There’s a song called “My Dick” on this album which somehow manages not to be funny, even on an ironic level. And that’s the high point of the album…

Yuna “Chapters” (Pop) – Really fucking boring middle of the road RnB pop. Do we really need any more of this? Who’s paying for it!?

Catfish and the Bottlemen “The Ride” (Indie/Pop) – Feel like I should like these since they’re part-Welsh and were hanging about the Cardiff music scene before they got big. But they are so. fucking. dull (and it makes me sad they’re doing so well when people I know who are much better aren’t doing anywhere near as well)

BTS “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever” – Pretty sure that Korean hip hop hybrid boy band isn’t meant from me.

Thrice “To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere” (Rock) – This was well produced, solid stuff; the only problem was I listened to this album directly after listening to White Lung and Vektor so it just wasn’t interesting enough. Solid stuff, but I just need more in my life. You only live once!

The Screaming Jets “Chrome” (Rock) – This is so close to being up above in that “Yay” category, but unfortunately the fun big bouncy riffs that kick off every song turn into over sincere and serious choruses. I have nothing against sincere and serious – but here it just makes them sound mundane.

Anohni “Hopelessness” (Chamber Pop/Electronica) – – Apt album title album name. Really didn’t like her voice and the songs are so minimal there wasn’t much else to
listen to. A dirge.

Beth Orton “Kidsticks” (Electro Pop) – Too many (presumably) middle-class people making uninspired, twee electronic pop music. It does absolutely nothing for me, and more than that there’s something about this whole sound that actively irritates me.

Eric Clapton “I Still Do” (Blues) – Completely uninspired. He’s nicked a genre of music from a different culture, done nothing new with it and made more money than all of the people combined were far better at it near a 100 years ago. Clapton is a perfect example of how fucked up and unfair this world is.

Keith Urban “Ripcord” (Pop/Country) – Not even cool banjo parts can save this insipid shit.

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Saosin “Along the Shadow” (Post-Hardcore) – Why would I listen to this when I could listen to Vektor? To be fair though this 100% aimed at angsty teenage girls who think guys with lip piercings are hot… So not for me really.

Pierce the Veil “Misadventures” (Post-Hardcore/Metal) – Basically a shit version of one of my favourite bands (Protest the Hero). God I wish I had Protest the Hero on my MP3 player now.

Cyndi Lauper “Detour” (Pop) – Always curious when it turns out that one-hit-wonders/artists-of-their-time. Lauper’s voice is exactly the same. Anyway, this wasn’t for me. Nothing special.

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Architects “All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us” (Tech-Metal) – It’s tech-mental, so I did enjoy it, but I hated the way the vocals were mixed and the super-lame clean vocal breakdowns. Shame cos the riffage was top stuff. Have saved the song Deathwish to my random metal misc folder.

Real Friends “The Home Inside My Head” (Pop-Punk) – Y’know I only need so much pop-punk in my life, and the stuff I was listening to when I was 15 fills the pop-punk misdial dietary requirements of my brain. You’d have to be some pretty special to break into that… This isn’t.

#2016albumchallange Week 18: 29th April

What’s going on here? Click here to find out.

Update: Categories split into a simple like/dislike (Yay/Nay) to save time. Albums that really blow me away will get a special mention in the future.

Yay 

Brian Eno “The Ship” (Ambient)- What you’d expect from our Bri except this time Peter Serofenowicz does a spoken word piece in the tone of Blue Jam over one of the soundscapes. Yes please.

Tremonti “Dust” (Metal) – Really didn’t like em at first but weirdly grew on me.

Katy B “Honey” (Pop/RnB) – Bit hit and miss but generally liked the vibes and production.

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Drake “Views” (RnB/Rap) – I remember a few years back I thought Drake was absolute shit. I don’t know if he’s changed or I have but I really bought into the sound of this album.

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Haken “Affinity” (Prog Metal) – Already loved Haken and this album seems like a solid continuation in their discography.

Dizzy Mizz Lizzy “Forward in Reverse” (Rock) – really solid riff-heavy catchy rock that isn’t afraid to take songs in an experimental/unexpected dimension whilst keeping a mainstream sound.

Discharge “End of Days” (Punk/Hardcore) – Fun angry dirty punk that at one point has David Icke samples in one of those songs during a break down. Would definitely watch/start a pit at a festival.

Nay

Afro Celt Sound System “The Source” (Fusion/World) – Felt like I should have dug this hybrd sound but it just didn’t excite me.

Beyoncé “Lemonade” (Pop) – Deeply irritating. If I go into why I feel that way it’ll take half an hour to write it all up and life’s too short. Do like the one with the airhorns though because MLG.

Travis “Everything at Once” (Indie) – Yes they still exist and yes they’re even shitter than you could possibly imagine. They have a song called “Radio Song” FFS.

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The Boxer Rebellion “Ocean By Ocean” (Indie/Rock) – Dreadful. Good cover art though.

Sixx A.M. “Prayers for the Damned Vol. 1” (Cock Rock) – Please don’t make a Volume 2.

Natalia “In My Blood” (Pop) – Yawn.

#2016albumchallange Week 15/16/17: 8th, 15th and 22nd April

What’s going on here? Click here to find out.

Project Update:

This challenge is driving me slightly mad. Everyone I tell about it looks at me as if I am mad. I’m feeling mad at myself because I don’t want to quit, but I don’t know why I decided to boldly publicly announce that I was going to do this in the first place. Oh yeah, I have been over that… I was unemployed.

Listening to them albums themselves isn’t too bad most of the time, but finding the time and energy to write about them is nigh-on impossible. I work a minimum of 42.5 hours a week. I play softball twice a week. Every Monday friends come over and we spend the evening eating and watching Game of Thrones. The rest of the time I want to switch off and not do taxing things.

And on top that I’m running out of things to say about the music. I don’t have the time for in-depth reviews, so I just have to react. The problem is a lot of those reactions are so similar: “I’d watch this band at a festival but I’m not going to listen to this album again”, “This is what hip-hop sounds like in a post-Kendrick world” and “This whiney, boring and uninspired singer-songwriter does my head in” being my Top 3 most-common thoughts. It’s so tedious for me to write, god knows what it’s like for the few people reading it.

This weeks released ( 8th/15th April – we’re actually in May) drove me mad. I hated everything I heard. I felt like I didn’t want to listen to music at all. I was annoyed that I didn’t feel like I had the time to enjoy and listen to the music I actually wanted too (although I did have the time to listen to Bing Bong by the SFA loads, and Blackout Crew’s “Dialled” about 100 times – although that came out in 2009)

My experience of the albums below is slightly warped; like the episode in South Park where Cartman sees the butt-faced people and breaks his funny bone. I am at the stage with this music as I write. I can provide some brief thoughts off the top of my head about the following albums.

A$AP Ferg – Always Strive and Prosper
All Saints – Red Flag
Cate Le Bon – Crab Day
Dami Im – Classic Carptenters
Deftones – Gore
Frighted Rabbit – Painting of a Panic Attack
Gallant – Ology
J Dilla – The Diary
Krizz Kaliko – Go
The Lumineers – Cleopatra
M83 – Junk
Mayer Hawthorne – Man About Town
Musiq Soulchild – Life on Earth
Otep – Generation Doom
PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
Strugill Simpsons – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Suuns – Hold/Still
Tim Hecker – Love Streams
Wild Belle – Dream Land
Xiu Xiu – Plays the Music of Twin Peaks

The only thing I felt like I remotely enjoyed were the Otep album (was a fan at 14 and had forgot they existed) and the Twin Peaks cover album (because the TP music is some of my favourite of all time). Deftones and PJ Harvey are two of those artists who a lot of people I trust love and respect, but for me they just don’t click and these albums did nothing to change my mind. The new All Saints album had nothing on their self-titled so that was the end of that.M83 sorta got me interested for a bit until they started doing my head in. Most of the other stuff just merge into a dull mess, a couple of tracks standing out here and there, but ultimately my brain started to shut down.

So where do I go from here? Well, I don’t quit. Giving all of the albums a chance isn’t too difficult and I’m confident I can listen to them in the context of the guidelines set out (see link at top of page)

Although it drove me a bit nuts this week, I think that was because of the looming distress that I then I had to write a paragraph on them in my free time. I’m fed up of being negative too, sure sometimes it can be fun, but I don’t want to be obliged to write about stuff that doesn’t interest me. So from now on I’m going to write about the albums that inspire me or annoy me so much I have something funny to say about them. I’ll chart track and progress what I listen to, maybe with the odd extra observation here and there. I’ll also post my favourite album covers, cos I really enjoy that bit. On that note – there was only a few even remotely worth posting from these two weeks…

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So that’s where we are, I’ve got A LOT to catch up on. Luckily my new 64gb phone means I can pile it all on there and deleted stuff I hate straight off the bat, which I think we help with the overwhelming feelings. Two weeks should be enough to clear most of April and May… my next update should be June 6th.

#2016albumchallange Week 14: 1st April

What’s going on here? Click here to find out.

The following albums were released between on the 1st April 2016…

LOVE

Mogwai “Atomic” (Post-Rock) – Mogwai are “one of those bands”, and by that I mean one of those bands loads of people I like seem to respect and enjoy, but up until now I’ve not actually bothered to listen to them. The first track is a joyous piece of music, beautifully and softly building in a way that’s really epic without being in anyway exhausting. It’s an amazing start to the album, and one that ends up being a pretty consistency representation of the quality across the board. Out of all the instrumental, post-rock bands I’ve heard or seen (Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros etc) this Mogwai album is clearly the most diverse and musically interesting. Plus, it also reminded me of King Crimson in places, so my likey very much.

The Field “The Follower” (Electronica/Minimal) – So I had a poker night at my work place and forgot to sort out music. Had to plug in my album challenge filled iPhone as a last resort, and a wonderfully eclectic soundtrack accompanied the night. The best moment was that this group literally caused a few people to get so anxious and they asked me to skip their tracks. The brooding, minimal understated sound created heaps of tension that some of the players literally couldn’t handle. If that isn’t praise I’m not sure what is. I’ve since listened to this album again and it’s a perfect album to write/work to… And that is said with the upmost of compliments.

Pet Shop Boys “Super” (Pop) – Another band that have been around for years that I’ve never paid attention to. I’m gonna keep is short and simple for this review – I absolutely love the first song proper on this album. I’ve played it over and over again. It’s catchy and sounds like Depeche Mode. I love it. I’m going to post a video of it now. They rest of the album follows suit.

Live update! You can’t embed youtube videos on WordPress now!? Click here then bitches.

LIKE

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Terrace Martin “Velvet Portraits” (Jazz/Hip-Hop/Beats) – Sexy smooth beats that overwhelm with class, smoothness and jazz. These collection of songs by a major producer for the likes of Kendrick, Snoop and… Stevie Wonder(?) are as pleasurable as you’d expect for a list of artists of that calibre. This album could be described as a blacker version of the soundtrack from “Hey Arnold”.

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Yeasayer “Amen & Goodbye” (Experimental Rock) – When I first saw “Yeasayer” on Wikipedia I thought Yes had released a new album. These don’t sound like Rick Wakeman and Co other than they land on the side of proggy with a bit of art rock thrown in. There’s some really interesting use of song writing and synth sounds on this albums, songs constantly jump into unexpected places. I would like to listen to it a bit more and give it some more time but y’know… this album challenge.

Black Stone Cherry “Kentucky” (Rock) – When BSC’s self-titled album hit in 2006 and I was at my height of enjoying more complex, experimental music. That debut was a unexpected breath of fresh air, as the Kentucky hard rock sound fused with BIG Muse-esq riffs and choruses you only needed to hear once. Since then, all of their albums have sounded a bit boring and insipid by comparison. That is until now. Whilst I doubt this album will ever be enjoyed by me in the same way I enjoyed the first, it definitely comes across as their strongest effort since that impeccable first album. Big riffs and big hits, as the band who frequently your arena sized venues establish their grip on the rock scene. This effort might actually lead to a call-up for a Download headline spot next year… Calling it!

The Future of the Left “The Peace and Truth of The Future of the Left” (Punk) – TFOL could shit in a CD case and I’d probably enjoy it. Their vocal and lyrical choices, backed up by that lo-Fi art/punk rock sound is… Well, I’ve talked about things not being my cup of tea a lot, but this is very much my cup of tea. They have that same manic feel of System of a Down that’s just “so energy so power” (as a Japanese fan once said about Dream Theater) Anyway this is more of the same from them, which is absolutely fine by me, although the tracks of this album didn’t connect with me quite like the last album which I absolutely loved.

Weezer “Weezer” (Pop/Rock) – A lot of Weezer fans on my Facebook feed saying this is their best album in a loooooong time, and I have to agree. I’ve never been a serious Weezer fan, but I’ve always loved them as a singles band and there’s some big hits on here. So if you enjoy Hash Pipe, Buddy Holly, Islands in the Sun like I do it’s well worth a listen, not sure if I’ll get back to it much mind but I’ll certainly give “Thank God for Girls” more rotation.

PEARS “Green Star” (Punk) – I felt like PEARS might be at a bit of a disadvantage this week with new FOTL and Weezer, but their energy and fast-fast-fast punky sound really sat well with me. So much so in fact, I think I preferred it to the aforementioned. My default bar for punk is “is this as good/or makes me feel like early Offspring does/did when I was 13?”. And for once it… the answer is yes! (These type of bands are usually let down by bad songwriting). Well done PEARS, you’ve passed the Jack punk test and so very few bands do

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Lukas Graham “Blue Album” (Pop) – Well! This Danish pop band are a lot of fun. Part Ben Folds, part musical numbers, part… Sorta pop hits on the radio you don’t want to like but end up liking – this is a really catchy upbeat pop album. Playful, postmodern and joyful – I will be going back to this… Probably in 2017.

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Emmy The Great “Second Love” (Indie Folk) – I believe Adam Buxton is a big fan of Emmy, so I really wanted to “get” this. But nope. Bored me to tears. So of the lyrics were interesting I guess but I found the music so plodding and her voice a whole lotta nothing. Not for me.

BABYMETAL “Metal Resistance” (Metal) – BABYMETAL should be my favourite band. Everything about them screams “Jack Cooper’s favourite band” and yet the don’t quite work for me. I think half the problem is they haven’t put out a song anywhere near as perfect as “GIMMIE CHOCOLATE”. That song feels like it’s the only BABYMETAL song you need. This album has moments that reach those dizzy heights – Awadama Fever is incredibly catchy – but the songs just always feel like they’re missing the vocal melodies needed to elevate them. This album is an interesting listen though, and it powers through tributes to other bands with zero shame. Dragonforce song? Check. Mad Capsule Markets Song? Check. Ska punk band? Check. Lots of variety means it’s a decent listen, but overall this band are a disappointment.

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Modrat “III” (Electronica) – This sounds like the sort of minimalist dance music that they’d play in overly trendy and overpriced clothes shops full of trendy rich young people that make me want to end my life. Not for me.

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Explosions in the Sky “The Wilderness” (Post-Rock) – Everything I enjoyed about the Mogwai album I enjoyed this week cannot be found on this album. EitS seem to have a reputation of being musically interesting and worthy but I find them plodding and unadventurous. They’ve got their post-rock, instrumental sound around and they seem to chase their tails over and over again. Songs build and drop and build and drop and epic end and very little else is offered.

SunsetSons “Very Rarely Say Die” (Alt/Pop) – Oh wow, just want the world needs; an even shitter version of the Kings of Leon. Even the album cover makes this band seem like cunts.

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#2016albumchallange Bumper Edition! Week 11 / 12 / 13: 11th, 18th & 25th March

You’d thought I’d quit hadn’t you!? You’d thought I’d given up!? WELL I HAVEN’T!

Sorry to be so defensive, it’s just when I started this challenge I hadn’t had a full-time job in quite a long time. Now I do, I’m taking the job incredibly seriously, and this album challenge suddenly fees like the stupidest idea in the world. That’s probably because it is.

So I’m behind schedule and I’m struggling to keep on top of it all – but I’m not going to give up. So things may go quiet for extended periods etc but that doesn’t mean that somehow, somewhere I’m slowly chipping away at this fucking stupid idea. Despite the fact nobody is reading this, it’s really grinding me down and is ultimately completely futile I’m not going to allow it to be another project I get bored of half way through. Those days are behind me. Hopefully.

What’s going on here? Click here to find out.

The following albums were released between the 11th and 25th of March 2016…

LOVE

Metal Church “XI” (Metal) – How have I not heard of Metal Church before? They’ve been going since the 1980s, released their first album around the same time as Metallica and Slayer et al were kicking off. And yet – seemingly – they’ve been mostly ignored, certainly not forced into alternative culture by the powers that be like the other Big 4 have. This album might be bit cheesy and old-school, but I enjoyed it way more than any Anthrax or Megdeth I’ve ever heard. This album bridges the gap between that early Anthrax thrash sound and a good, healthy dose of Iron Maiden. Big riffs, great production, right-side-of-cheesy vocals. I’m not sure if I “love” this as much as other albums I’ve loved this year, but since I have only 4 more albums to listen to and not a single one has blown my mind this month, I’m chucking this one in by default.

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Violent Soho “Waco” (Alt Rock/Grunge) – This is one of those albums where I can’t quite understand why it resonates with me when other similar sounding music would do my head-in. When I break it down to two simple factors, I like the sound of his voice and I like the big sound of the guitars. So maybe I’m simply a sucker for certain “production vibes”? Often with music I like is because it subtly reminds me of other bands/songs I like. I mean this band sound nothing like the Foo Fighters or At The Drive In or Smashing Pumpkins, but If you were gonna take all of their “essences” and stick ‘em in a blender it might sound something like Violent Soho. Really solid old rock that reminded me of being a teenage and generally enjoying simpler, less-complex music than I do now.

LIKE

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Underworld “Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future” (Electronic) – There’s something really hypnotic about this album, which can only be describe as repetitive electronic beats that subtly change and develop, with a seemingly uninterested bloke doing beat poetry in a Northern accent over the top. It shouldn’t work, it should be pretentious and a bit of a joke, but the mood and tone just resonated with me. Great background/writing music.

The Joy Formidable “Hitch” (Alt Rock) – Oh they’re Welsh! That’s always exciting. But I swear I liked them before I discovered that. This female-fronted band is full of energy and rocks pretty hard, a bit of a more badass Smashing Pumpkins vibe going on. The songs lack the hooks and melodies that would make me love them, but next time they’re in Cardiff I’ll be there cos they sound like they’d be a really great live and would provide a hell of a jumping-around session.

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Zayn “Mind of Mine” (Pop) – At points this album, by the bloke who left One Direction, sounds like it’s influenced by Radiohead and Pink Floyd. Overall quite an eclectic mix of songs, with great production, and possibly the best album cover of the year. Seems like he made the right call to leave 1D and has quickly cemented himself as a serious solo artist. Not really my cup of tea on the whole, but this mix of obvious radio singles and slightly experimental choices is a bold statement that I appreciated.

Lincoln Durham “Revelations of a Mind Unravelling” (Alt Rock/Southern Goth) – Y’know singers that sound EXACTLY like Trey Parker doing a hilarious clichéd American rock singer’s voice in South Park? Well then you know this! I did not enjoy the first track at all, as was ready to write this right off, but then it actually ends up going a bit wonky and interesting. Slightly out-of-tune slide guitars, a moment where it sounded like something out of the Rocky Horror Picture show, White-Stripes-esq stomping blues. And the more I listened to it, the more it starting sounding like an interesting voice rather than a South Park voice… bad album opener, but I think I may very well come back to this soon.

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Soul Asylum “Change of Fortune” (Rock) – Another band going since the 80s who I’ve never heard of who but happen to be really good? I’ll take it. Big catchy riffs, dirty solos, vocals – this is a nice mix of sounding comfortingly familiar but modern and fresh. There’s elements of blues here, mixed in with Pearl Jam and even a slightly pinch of the heavier side of Indie and Brit Pop. Good stuff.

Adore Delano “After Party” (Pop) – The first song made me think that Linkin Park had decided to write a pop song over a Childish Gambino beat, which is as bad yet weirdly enjoyable as I’d expect it to be. The album descends into cheesy pop with vocals that often sound like Chester Benginton, which I understand sounds awful but makes me reach for the “guilty pleasure” phase I once so roundly disregarded.

Anthony Hamilton “What I’m Feelin’” (Soul) – First off, the title track reminds me of the “every nigga is a star” sample that kicks off “To Pimp A Butterfly” so I’m lovin’ the vibes of that one. Overall though, this is one of those albums that’s solid-but-not-going-to-completey-convert-me-into-an-obsessive-of-the-artist-of genre. But what does it sound like Jack? It sounds like he’s taken a soul band for the 70s and a soul band from the 90s and fused them together. It’s smooth, it’s sexy but it’s lacking in the sort of song writing that elevates nice tunes into classics.

AURORA “All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend” (Art Pop) – Below you’ll read me have a go at Birdy for certain reasons that could easily be applied to this album… but this album I like. The difference? It’s as simple as I enjoy her voice more and the music/beats behind the lyrics do a far better job at keeping my interest.

Delta Heavy “Paradise Lost” (Dance) – this natural blend of drum n bass with some heavy computer late 90s FPS game vibes is pretty inoffensive. Which sounds like a slam, but it isn’t; if a DJ drops this a music festival you’re going to have a good time. Solid stuff, nothing stood out so much that I fell massively in love, but still solid stuff.

Redfoo “Party Rock Mansion” (Dance/Pop) – I may have to take everything back I said about guilty pleasures (“there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure” – quote. Me. for the past 5-odd years). This is fucking shit, I know it’s shit, and yet… I sort of enjoyed it? No I can’t lie, I did enjoy it. The Party Rock bit might sound familiar to you, and that’s cos Redfood is the curly haired twat from LMFAO. And the whole album, completely and unashamedly sounds like those two singles you know and pretend not to like by LMFAO. This album is so unintentionally/intentionally entertaining because it is just so unashamedly confident in what it is. The production is top notch and the synth sounds are what you’d expect… exciting, with decent catchy melodies. I mean, who am I kidding, this isn’t good. I know this is shit. And yet.. it’s music that’s confident and happy in itself. It’s not trying to impress anyone. It’s not trying to be cool. And it is kinda catchy. So… Redfoo… keep doin what you do… cos there is a lot shitter music out there that gets a lot more respect than you ever will… but I don’t think you care… and I like that!

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Robin Trower “Where You Are Going To” (Blues) – Really solid, straight forward blues/hard-rock with a confident, cool-vibe that just works. If you were in a bar as this old guy’s power trio came on, you sit there and end up drinking all night, feeling like you’d stumbled across a best-kept secret of the local music scene. That might sound like a slam but it isn’t, this is music at its purest and most sitting-at-a-bar-drinking-bottles-of-beery.

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Gwen Stefani “This Is What the Truth Feels Like” (Pop) – Possibly one of the most embarrassing albums I’ve heard this year. A cringeworthily attempt to be revenant again, this album flirts with trap-esq sounds (which already sound out-of-date) and lyrics that seem they’ve been written by a moron rather than 46-year-old woman who wrote “Don’t Speak”.

Birdy “Growing Pains” (Alt Pop) – Young woman sings melancholy, emotional songs that I’m sure have lyrics that incredibly deep poetry to some people, but Jack doesn’t give a shit.

Asking Alexandria “The Black” (Metal) – I’ve heard of these guys for ages but never heard them properly until now. It’s quite interesting to hear extreme metal packaged and aimed towards teenage girls, especially as in places it gets genuinely quite brutal, but ultimately this hodgepodge mix of styles ultimately feels like the sort of “emo” bands I used to fucking hate back in the day. Not bad, but not for me.

Brian Fallon “Smoke” (Singer-Songwriter) – Y’know it’s funny. The vast majority of the time I pay zero attention to lyrics. I often have listened to an album hundreds of times and have no idea what most of the lyrics are, let alone what they’re about. I can sing you the melodies, melodies are important. I can sing the melodies of the guitar solos note for note… but the actual words? Pft. Yet despite this, I don’t have a completely lack of interest in lyrics. In fact, especially when it comes to rap, lyrics often grab my attention and get me hooked. Brian Fallon’s upbeat, guitar heavy sing-songwriter is not really my thang, but when a song starts with a lyric “I lost my mind in the middle of Toronto” – when that is literally something very specific that happened to me – I’m suddenly like “yeah I’m on board with this song”. That very rarely happens with non-rap/serious music (I love daft/ridiculous lyrics ala Ween/Zappa), so even though this album is being deleted I will keep the song “Smoke” by Brian Fallon.

Elliphant “Living Life Golden” (Pop/Electro-Pop) – One of the things interesting about this album challenge is listening to very different music back-to-back in such a short time. I sometimes I wonder if some albums end up an unfair disadvantage as they directly proceed something I love, or I happen to have heard a similar sound/genre for the past few albums and am a bit bummed out. This disclaimer exsists because I THOUGHT THIS ALBUM WAS FUCKING SHIT. After hearing something fresh like Anthony Hamilton, having to go back to standard pop with “woah ho hoo” choruses made me want to kill myself. I don’t mind “woah ho hoo” choruses, I’ve talked about how much I love The Offspring on this blog, but this just sounded f-ing s-hite.

The Falcon “Gather Up The Chaps” (Punk/Alt) – This punky band have slight At The Drive In vibes (certainly on the opening track anyway, which so often shapes the beginning of these mini-reviews…) Unfortunately for them, they’re nowhere near as good as At The Drive In or any of the punk bands that I like, which is a shame because song names like “Hasselhoff Cheeseburger” and “You Dumb Dildos” are titles that I really could have got behind.

Hooverphonic “In Wonderland” (Trip-Hop/Electronica) –  Hooverphonic is another name I could get behind, unfortunately this Belgium artist just sounds pretty uninspired, and in places the vocals sound like she’s really phoning it in. Yawn inducing in my current state, the song currently on sounds like a shite version of Viva La Vida by Coldplay.

James “Girl at the End of the Road” (Brit-Pop/Indie) – the band that gave us the song “All sit down, all sit down, all sit down, sit down next to me” give us an album of songs nowhere near as annoying as that one, but this middle-of-the-road Britpop that’s nowhere near as good as Blur just made me think “wish I was listening to Blur right now”. Actually maybe I’m being a little harsh, respect to James for being much better than their biggest hit…. Some of the guitar work is pretty nice, but overall… can I listen to Blur now please? Stupid album challenge.

Killswitch Engage “Incarnate” (Metal) –  As regular readers will know (Hi to all 2 of you, I think/hope) I pretty much enjoy all metal. It’s pretty hard for me to not enjoy metal, because it’s metal, and even when it’s not metal I love its still metal. Y’know what I mean? Probably not. Weirdly Killswitch have always been one of those bands that just don’t connect with me, despite their metal credentials. In fact there’s something, and I can’t figure out with it, that actually slightly does my head in about them… which doesn’t make sense… because they’re pretty metal. But yeah, this album might be some of the worst stuff I’ve heard by them.

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Matt Corby “Telluric” (Indie/Singer-Songwriter) – This album is like… the complete opposite to Redfoo (see above if you skipped it). It takes itself seriously. It sounds like the sort of thing that’d be critically loved. And y’know – it’s good. It’s better than Redfoo. I appreciate that it’s thoughtful, and effort has gone into it. But did I enjoy it more that Redfoo? I can’t say I did. It’s just not my cup of tea, and this album challenge is making me realise that my cups of tea are pretty fucking weird and all-over the place, with no consistency other that I’m a sucker for catchy hooks (but not exclusively committed to catchy hooks, plenty of music I like that doesn’t have hooks). So yeah not for me, but big shout out for that riff/drum beat in “Knife Edge” which was awesome. I shall be keeping that song.

DaltWON and BrosNON

Okay readers, I’m just about to start the Craig Daniels’ Bond films. Yes, Craig Daniels, as my Mum once called him. I thought I’d update you on the rankings post-Bronson, and the big news is that Timothy Dalton is now my favourite Bond.  Now I realise how much of a hipster choice that sounds, Cooper being contrary as always, but I genuinely loved Dalton’s icy cold, bad-ass intensity. I still love Moore, despite him being the complete opposite (or maybe because it’s the complete opposite), but both of those Dalton films were really, really solid and I wish he got to do more.

  1. For Your Eyes Only
  2. You Only Live Twice
  3. License to Kill
  4. Goldfinger
  5. The Living Daylights
  6. Moonraker
  7. The Man with the Golden Gun
  8. Dr No
  9. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  10. The Spy Who Loved Me
  11. From Russia With Love
  12. Diamonds Are Forever
  13. A View to a Kill
  14. The World Is Not Enough
  15. Tomorrow Never Dies
  16. Die Another Day
  17. Goldeneye
  18. Thunderball
  19. Live and Let Die
  20. Octopussy

So as you can tell I had very little time for the Broson Bonds, in fact I thought they were all really shit. GoldenEye has not aged well AT ALL, and probably rates as the lowest simply because it was so disappointing as I remember it being good (…at least Tomorrow Never Dies has Jonathan Pryce evil Steve Jobs-man, and the opening 40 minutes of Die Another Day are actually surprisingly entertaining before it goes painfully downhill). But even the tank bit in GoldenEye is nowhere near as good as I remember it being, and Sean Bean is painfully underused too. Add to that the fact I’ve really been enjoying playing the Wii remake of GoldenEye and the film was a fucking chore in comparison.

Anyway ALL of the Brosnon films get 1 Jack. 1 pathetic Jack. No wonder people were so excited when Casino Royal came out…

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