The Record Collection: 1988 (20-30)

The album collection in chronological order from when it was bought. Revisited one at the time.

The Dream Syndicate | The Days Of Wine And Roses | Closer 1982 |


I vividly remember buying this LP – the French pressing – on my first ever record fair, early in 1988. I was well aware of The Dream Syndicate at the time, going back to Out of the Grey that I’d bought on cassette a couple years before. I adore all of Syndicate’s albums, but I always find myself returning to this here baby. The Days Of Wine and Roses must’ve been an anomaly in 1982, way ahead and out of tune with the sign of the times it marks the return of GUITARS in American rock. This is a tour de force of loud, noisy, abrasive, distorted, tickling guitars, cool Velvet vibes and an almost free jazzy approach to the songs. They are all awesome, from creepy beasts like “Halloween” (oh, when those guitars kick in) and “When You Smile” to full force freak outs (the kosmisch title track, “Definitely Clean”) and instant college rock anthems (“Tell Me When It’s Over”). In short, this is a cornerstone in 80’s American guitar rock that set a standard hardly anyone has managed to achieve ever after. Stories and words are here and gone, but this album hasn’t faded at all.

Wall of Voodoo | The Ugly Americans In Australia | I.R.S. 1988 |


I’d been drawn to the stoic super-American voice of Stan Ridgeway for some years when the Wall Of Voodoo live album hit the shelves in 1988. I guess it felt like a quite unnecessary purchase back then, I haven’t given it too many spins, and this live LP doesn’t really reveal new magic 30 years down the road. But, there are some great explorations of sci-fi new wave gone country here, horseback space travel style. “Far Side Of Crazy” and “Mexican Radio” are obvious favorites, and the version of “Ring Of Fire” is pretty dope. Never saw them live, but I believe this LP captures the band in prime shape – and the sound quality is not too bad either. However, when I feel like listening to WoV I rather pick up one of their awesome studio albums. Think I’ll do just that right now.

The Sex Pistols | Never Mind The Bollocks | Virgin 1977 |


One of remarkably few albums in my LP collection bought on its historical merits rather than being new and fresh. As a matter of fact Never Mind the Bollocks was only 10 years old then, comparable to buying a 2008 album today, but back in those days this was an old school dinosaur from a whole other time. Never a huge fan of British punk in general, and finding Johnny Rotten’s voice mostly annoying, I have to acknowledge the band’s unquestionable qualities and their nose for efficient songwriting. No fillers here, just pure punk catchy as hell. No need to go in depth on its historical significance, just one of those albums you need to know I guess. Glad I turned on as a kid, even though I rarely listen to it.

Giant Sand | Storm | Demon 1988 |

Storm was my introduction to the wondrous world of Howe Gelb and his Giant Sand, and what has now turned out to be a 30 year long relationship. Giant Sand have always been all over the map, difficult to pigeonhole, unmistakable unpredictable and remarkably recognizable. I’m so thankful for stumbling down their desert rabbit hole, and it all started with Storm. It obviously holds a special place in my heart. The songs range from Neil Young style environmental concern, a cover of The Band’s “The Weight”, straight out honky tonk, ragged country rock (“Town Without Pity”), country gospel (“The Replacement”) and dusty piano ballads (my personal fave “Was Is a Big Word”) – on Storm Howe Gelb started to shape a signature style of songwriting unmatched by anyone.

Hasil Adkins | He Said | Ace/Big Beat 1985|


Wild, wayward and hell-bent, the one man band of Hasil Adkins exploded like a bomb in the ears of this here kid, proving rock n’ roll was something wilder and primitive, more untamed and way out there than your parents Elvis albums. This is the raw sound of a one man rebellion against conformity and boredom. “She Said” being the classic tune here, I also tuned into the even more awkward and freaky “We Got a Date.” They just don’t make em like Hasil anymore.

Rave-Ups | Town + Country | Fun Stuff/Demon 1985 |


Americana was not a frequently used term in 1985, but plenty of bands played boots ‘n roll before Uncle Tupelo et al pushed the direction further into the mainstream and new directions. Among those pioneering acts in the early to mid 80s we find Hollywood via Pittsburgh quartet Rave-Ups, sparkling with equal parts pleasant college rock fervor and neo-country twang – town and country if you like. Frontman Jimmer Podrasky sang with nasal country sincerity, sometimes with a rockabilly yelp, and Sneaky Pete Kleinow lays down some mighty fine pedal steel here too. “Radio” was the big favorite back then, and this haunting night tune is still the highlight amongst a number of other fine cuts – “Positively Lost Me” being the most famous. The back cover reminds us of a time when urban cowboys actually were pretty in pink.

AC/DC | Back in Black | Atlantic 1980 |


My record collection is scarcely populated with hard rock or metal albums, but the ones I bought are actually not too bad. Back in Black is by all means a classic, the title track, “Hells Bells” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” are eternal anthems in the Aussie rockers – or anyone’s – catalog. Tight production provided by Mutt Lang and Brian Johnson passed the test and immediately proved he could fill the shoes of Bon Scott adds even more power to this album. But I can’t say I ever played this a whole lot in 1988 and I haven’t listened to it too much as the years went by either. My loss, I guess.

Violent Femmes | Violent Femmes | Slash/London 1983 |


A little girl glances through a darkened window, barefoot and with a white summer dress on, resembling a 19th century painting. What’s in there, in the dark, that we don’t see? The innocent child catches a glimpse into the adult world, as confessed by a college kid, a world of deception and debauchery, religious shame and sexual confusion, love, lies and lust. Many have done this before and after, but none as compelling as Gordon Gano and his Violent Femmes on their debut album. The Milwaukee trio played punk rock with folk instruments, or folk songs with a punk attitude perhaps, singing their hearts out from any street corner. One thing is that the songs are super catchy, the lyrics really makes this a standout album. I memorized each and every one, these stories all became the soundtrack to my youth. Every time I listen to this album I’m 16 again, kissing off in the air, chasing that good feeling, trying to wipe away the shades from those windows and get a glimpse of the secrets in there.

Concrete Blonde | Concrete Blonde | I.R.S. 1986 |


“Still in Hollywood” was the big favorite back in the days, and it’s still the standout track from Concrete Blonde’s debut album. Hailing from the same buzzing LA scene that included bands like Wall Of Voodoo, X, Jane’s Addiction and The Gun Club, the blondes certainly had a punk edge to their sound, softened with a rock approach in the vein of The Pretenders and Heart. Johnette Napolitano is unquestionably the star, with her recognizable strong voice and cool attitude. Concrete Blonde made better albums later on in their career, but I still get a kick out of this one. It’s true.

Iron Maiden | Live After Death | EMI 1985 |


Superior technical skills, theatrical gimmicks, and over the top performance are just some of Iron Maiden’s characteristics – and they all come out to play on their 1985 live album. The Churchill intro followed by “Aces High” sets the standard for an album that leaves no room for any fillers. Live After Death captures the band in its prime. Classic cover art too, as always. Can’t wait for the kids to discover this, cause after all, Iron Maiden speaks to the inner child in all of us.

Reklamer

Årets Beste Album & Reutgivelser 2016

arets_album_1200Å rangere årets favorittalbum er en øvelse som raskt minner om et par ting, både mengden kvalitetsplater som utgis hvert år og den skrekkelig lille tiden man egentlig har til rådighet til virkelig å grave seg ned i materien. Og det sier jeg, som sitter å lytter til og vurderer musikk hver dag som en del av jobben. Denne kåringen av årets høydepunkt fungerer dermed også som en rolodex over titler som fortjener mer fokus, og som jeg har ambisjoner om å høre enda mer på (for det kommer sikkert ikke noen bra plater i 2017 som vil stjele den tiden…)

Uansett. 2016 har vært et helt fabelaktig albumår, i en tid der mange hevder dette formatets endelikt. Au contraire, albumformatet har gjenvunnet en status, ikke minst innen såkalt urban musikk som preges av en etterlengtet politisk slagside vi ikke har sett maken til siden slutten av 60-årene, med profilerte navn som Beyoncé, Kanye West og Solange som fremste talerør. Artister som Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar og Anderson .Paak driver også den musikalske utviklingen framover i stadig nye retninger og gjennom nye mutasjoner, som bidrar til å hviske ut gamle skillelinjer.

For et annet kjennetegn ved denne oppsummeringen er sammenblandingen av mainstream artister og undergrunnen. Det har gjerne vært tette skott mellom disse grupperingene, slik vi ofte har sett to ulike verdener på salgslistene kontra kritikertoppen. Så er det ikke i år, hvor vi positivt nok har sett at veven mellom topp og kred bare har blitt enda tettere.

Likevel står ikke 2016 igjen for meg med den ene soleklare favoritten, faktisk ble jeg overrasket selv over hva som til slutt endte på Topp 10. Det ble en merkelig smørje dette, som gjenspeiler vår tidsånd, i hvert fall for de av oss med relativt åpent sinn, som har tilgang på alt hele tiden. Ikke overraskende preges lista av mye indierock og folk/Americana, men også mer pop og hip hop enn vanlig, samt en variert miks av world, jazz, electronica – og en ikke uvesentlig andel ‘godt voksne’ artister (noen langt oppe i 80-årene, som Shirley Collins og Leonard Cohen) og ringrever (David Bowie, Radiohead og Teenage Fanclub leverte alle opp mot sitt beste i 2016). For Bowie og Cohens del, betød det også at de gikk ut av tiden med den stilen de fortjente.

Tiden er for knapp, frekvensen for høy og den endeløse tilgangen for stor til at vi trenger å bry oss med det som er halvbra. Ingen på denne listen – som lett kunne vært dobbelt så lang – kvalifiserer til en slik betegnelse. Dette er i hvert fall 100 av de beste og mest hørte platene som har blitt utgitt i år. Sett fra tampen av 2016.

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100-90:
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band: The Rarity of Experience
Subrosa: For This We Fought the Battle of Ages
King Creosote: Astronaut Meets Appleman
Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids: We Be All Africans
Luísa Maita: Fio da Memória
Hasse Farmen: Livet du redder kan være ditt eget
Teenage Fanclub: Here
Vanishing Life: Surveillance
Moor Mother: Fetish Gambles
Kristoffer Lo: The Black Meat

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90-80:
nonkeen: The Gamble
Deakin: Sleep Cycle
Elza Soares: A Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo
Black Mountain: IV
Anders Røine: Kristine Valdresdatter
Western Skies Motel: Settlers
Maria Usbeck: Amparo
Weyes Blood: Front Row Seat to Earth
Howe Gelb: Future Standards
Heron Oblivion: s/t

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80-70:
Jeff Parker: The New Breed
Karl Blau: Introducing Karl Blau
Goat: Requiem
Ryley Walker: Golden Sings That Have Been Sung
Noura Mint Seymali: Arbina
Skepta: Konnichiwa
Lucy Dacus: No Burden
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein: Stranger Things
Parquet Courts: Human Performance
Blood Orange: Freetown Sound

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70-60:
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinity
Tim Hecker: Love Streams
Kedr Livanskiy: January Sun
Chris Staples: Golden Age
Jherek Bischoff: Cistern
Gojira: Magma
Margaret Glaspy: Emotions and Math
NxWorries: Yes Lawd!
Huerco S: For Those Of You Who Have Never (and Also Those Who Have)
Jóhann Jóhannsson:Orphée

shabaka_1200

60-50:
Babyfather: ‘BBF’ Hosted by DJ Escrow
Leyla McCalla: A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey
Ka: Honor Killed the Samurai
Shabaka & the Ancestors: Wisdom of Elders
Margo Price: Midwest Farmer’s Daughter
Richmond Fontaine: You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing to Go Back To
Daniel Bachman: s/t
Ólafur Arnalds: Island Songs
BADBADNOTGOOD: IV
Erlend Apneseth Trio: Det andre rommet

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50-40:
Max Jury: s/t
Aaron Lee Tasjan: Silver Tears
Geir Sundstøl: Langen ro
PUP: The Dream is Over
The Mystery Lights: s/t
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: EARS
Bon Iver: 22, a Million
Pinegrove: Cardinal
Årabrot: The Gospel
Angel Olsen: My Woman

rihanna

40-30:
Terrace Martin: Velvet Portraits
The Olympians: s/t
Noname: Telefone
Rihanna: Anti
Anohni: Hopelessness
Nothing: Tired of Tomorrow
Stein Torleif Bjella: Gode Liv
Marissa Nadler: Strangers
Ray LaMontagne: Ouroboros
Shirley Collins: Lodestar

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30-20:
Hiss Golden Messenger: Heart Like a Levee
James Blake: The Colour In Anything
Floating Points: Kuiper
Whitney: Light Upon the Lake
Agnes Obel: Citizen of Glass
Lambchop: Flotus
Steve Gunn: Eyes on the Lines
Car Seat Headrest: Teens of Denial
Nicolas Jaar: Sirens
Childish Gambino: “Awaken, My Love!”

sturgill

20-10:
Jeff Rosenstock: Worry.
Ian William Craig: Centres
Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Kanye West: The Life of Pablo
Drive-By Truckers: American Band
William Tyler: Modern Country
Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch
Leonard Cohen: You Want it Darker
Kendrick Lamar: untitled unmastered.
Solange: A Seat at the Table

***

10-1:

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Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate
(Interscope)

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree
(Bad Seed)

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Anderson .Paak: Malibu
(Empire)

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Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool
(XL)

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Cass McCombs: Mangy Love
(ANTI)

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A Tribe Called Quest: We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
(Epic)

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Kevin Morby: Singing Saw
(Dead Oceans)

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David Bowie: Blackstar (★)
(RCA/Columbia)

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Beyoncé: Lemonade
(Parkwood/Columbia)

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Woods: City Sun Eater in the River of Light
(Woodsist)

≈≈≈Bubbling Below≈≈≈
Amanda Shires: My Piece of Land//Big Ups: Before a Million Universes//Brandy Clark: Big Day in a Small Town//case/lang/veirs: s/t//Chance the Rapper: Coloring Book//Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas: Mariner//Darling West: Vinyl and a Heartache//Dinosaur Jr.: Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not//Frank Ocean: Blonde//Frankie Cosmos: Next Thing//Jim James: Eternally Even//Julianna Barwick: I Will//Kaytranada: 99.9%//Lionlimb: Shoo//Lydia Loveless: Real//Maren Morris: Hero//Miranda Lambert: The Weight of These Wings//Mattis Kleppen & Resjemheia: El Bokko//Mitski: Puberty 2
Mystery Jets: Curve of the Earth//Nails: You Will Never Be One Of Us//Oathbreaker: Rheia//Okkervil River: Away//Oranssi Pazuzu: Värähtelijä//Robbie Fulks: Upland Stories//Savages: Adore Life//Signe Marie Rustad: Hearing Colors Seeing Noises//Swans: The Glowing Man//S U R V I V E: RR7349//Tony Molina: Confront the Truth//Touché Amoré: Stage Four//Twin Peaks: Down in Heaven//

Retroåret 2016 – 10 Utvalgte Favoritter:

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Various: Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music
(Numero)

tad_godsballs TAD: God’s Balls/Salt Lick/8-Way Santa
(SubPop)

sunra_600 Sun Ra: Singles
(Strut)

jack_rose_600 Jack Rose: Jack Rose/I Do Play Rock and Roll/Dr. Ragtime and His Pals
(Three Lobed)

scientists_600 Scientists: A Place Called Bad
(Numero)

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Various: Chaos in the City of Angels and Devils – Punk in Los Angeles 1977-81
(Soul Jazz)

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Various: Doing It in Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980s Nigeria
(Soundway)

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Terry Allen: Juarez
(Paradise of Bachelors)

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Various: Aloha Got Soul – Soul, AOR and Disco in Hawai’i 1979-1985
(Strut)

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White Zombie: It Came From N.Y.C.
(Numero)

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The Rave-Ups :Town + Country
(Omnivore)