Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21st: Albums of the year 2014 (# 11 - 15).

11. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams (Pax Am)
Well, Ryan Adams has always been a favourite of mine. After picking this album up again the last couple of weeks it seems that I really like it a whole lot more than I first thought. More of a return to the poppier songs on Gold and Easy Tiger than the nice and good, but a bit boring Ashes & Fire. The Ryan Adams on this self-titled album is an artist giving himself the new start he has been needing since discovering his health-issues with menieres disease a few years ago. There is a lot of good vibes this time around - hell, he even did a really great cover of Bryan Adams' 'Run to You' on a gig this autumn.

Favourite song: Feels Like Fire

12. Jenny Lewis - The Voyager (Warner Bros.)
It seems fitting that Ryan Adams produced a lot of this album since he holds the position over it, doesn't it? Still, the probably best song on the album was produced by Beck - 'Just One of the Guys'. I really don't know how much the producers has had to say though, Jenny Lewis has been one of the best songwriters of hooky, catchy pop-songs in the California-breezy-poppy-Fleetwood Mac-genre for years now. A really good album.

Favourite song:  Just One of the Guys

13. The Rails - Fair Warning (Island)
What do you get when you put Richard and Linda Thompson's daughter in a duo with her husband? A really great album in the vein of just those two mentioned of course. Kami Thompson has released a few albums on her own, but it's first this time around - with her beau James Walbourne (currently playing guitar in Chrissie Hynde's band), that she hits her stride. This is a modern take on the folk music the Thompson family always has been probably the 'first family' of. Definitely an album that deserves a larger audience. Island even revived their classic pink-label for the vinyl edition.

Favourite song: Send Her to Holloway.

14. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Wig Out at Jagbags (Matador)
Malkmus and his Jicks has tuned down some of their kosmische-jamming on this album and delivers some of the more Pavement-sounding songs of Malkmus' solo-career. Some jamming there is to be had of course, and who doesn't love the 'St. Stephen'-referencing guitar-lick in 'Cinnamoon and Lesbians'. On 'Lariat' he isn't even hiding it - "We lived on Tennyson, venison and the Grateful Dead..". It is Stephen Malkmus we are talking about, so there's of course a whole lot more of these kind of pop-cultural references hidden in the smart-ass rhymes. The stuff that legends are made of!

Favourite song: Cinnamoon and Lesbians.

15. Sugarfoot - Big Sky Country (Crispin Glover Records)
These Norwegians released my favourite country-rock album of the year. Lots of great steel-guitar, lots of great thumping bass playing and of course lots of really great songs. There are hints of The Byrds, hints of Flying Burrito Brothers and even an awesome Spirit cover. Just one of those albums that you feel that always has been there. It has that classic-feel of it.

Favourite song: Monday (I'll Stay Sober).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 20th: Albums of the year 2014 (# 16 - 20)

16. Making Marks - A Thousand Half-Truths (Fika Recordings)
The best twee-pop album of the year. This is the debut from the band Making Marks (who has released albums as My Little Pony before). A brilliant album full of stunning songs. There's no secret that they are friends of mine, I even released the song 'Uten en tråd' as a seven-inch single on my own label Snertingdal Records. 

Favourite songs: Uten en tråd and Like Spinning.

17. Tweedy - Sukarie (dBpm Records)
Everyone was talking about this album as it was Jeff Tweedy's solodebut, but it's not. Tweedy is a band with Jeff Tweedy and his son Spencer being the only members. Yes, it is Jeff Tweedy who is writing the songs, but in my ears his son is putting his stamp on the songs as well. Really musical and great drumming all around. The album is a tad bit too long and would've been higher on this list if there had been some editing. Still, there's no real fillers on the album either. 

Favourite song: Summer Noon

18.  Damien Jurado - Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (Secretly Canadian)
Third album in a row from the team of Damien Jurado and producer Richard Swift. Together they have transformed Jurado from a classic indie-folk artist to a sonically playful voyager. There is still some of the hushed indie-folk, but there is also a great deal of very interesting psychedelia and psych-rock. It seems like Jurado's inner Grateful Dead-fan has surfaced for real. Though it may sound more like the swedes in Dungen than the Dead. Lyrically the album deals a lot with different aspects of religious faith, but not at all in the regular preaching sense. Here Jurado has given us a new way of looking at Christianity and faith. Do yourself a favour and read J. Tillman (Father John Misty) letter Secretly Canadian published as a press release for the album.

Favourite song: Jericho Road

19. The Men - Tomorrow's Hits (Sacred Bones Records)
The Brooklyn punks in The Men can't really be called punks in the traditional sense anymore. On Tomorrow's Hits they play the kind of rock that legends like Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones should envy. Or perhaps a band like Drive-By Truckers, who every now and again makes songs like these. Driving rock songs that just makes you want to have a good time.  One of the feel good records of the year. Love the horns on this record as well.

Favourite song: Another Night

20. Ultimate Painting - Ultimate Painting (Trouble in Mind)
The pairing of Jake Cooper and James Hoare from Mazes and Veronica Falls respectively has made the best indie-pop inspired by The Velvet Underground of the year. Just put the album opening 'Ultimate Painting' on and you are right in a 'Sweet Jane' guitar-groove. I'm glad to add that the rest of the album holds up the promise from the opener, and this was one of the great surprises of the year for me.

Favourite songs: Ultimate Painting and Central Park Blues.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 18th: And I shiver when I see the falling snow.

If we make it through December
Everything is going to be allright, I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the falling snow.

If we make it through December
Got plans to be in a warmer town, come summer time
Maybe even California
If we make it through December, we'll be fine.

Got laid off at the factory
And their timing's not the greatest in the world
Heaven knows I've been working hard
Wanted Christmas to be right for my sweet girl.

I don't mean to hate December
It's meant to be the happy time of year
And my little girl won't understand
Why momma can't afford no Christmas here.

So if we make it through December
Every thing's gonna be all right, I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the falling snow

I don't mean to hate December
It's meant to be a happy time of year
and my little girl won't understand
Why momma can't afford no Christmas cheer.

If we make it through December.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 17th: Happy birthday mr. Mills.

Today's post is nothing more than a celebration of the great Mike Mills. Happy birthday, Mike. He has written some of my favourite R.E.M. tracks and generally seems like a great guy.

R.E.M. - Texarkana (From Out of Time, 1991)

Photocredit: David Belisle (c)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16th: Unplugged.

21 years ago today, the probably most famous MTV Unplugged, aired for the first time. December 16th 1993 was the airdate for the Nirvana MTV Unplugged concert. One concert that was a very special one. Not only for the events that happened early the next year, but also because of the concert itself. We saw another side of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain on that day. The songs they played certainly wasn't a greatest hit set - but if you ask anyone now - it kind of is. They even brought along the Kirkwood-brothers of The Meat Puppets. A band that was for most of the audience completely unknown. But that was the kind of band that Nirvana was. A small band that hit the big time, but never forgot about were they came from. Here they were, on MTV, playing covers of The Vaselines and Leadbelly. It was achingly beautiful. I probably didn't see it on that day, but the VHS-tape I had of if later probably still is the video I have played the most. Just ask my mom.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15th: ..looks like a December day.

Lots of great tracks I hadn't heard before on the new archive-release from Willie Nelson and his sister Bonnie, December Day. This is the first volume of what looks to be a archival series called Willie's Stash. There are two newly written songs, some covers and some re-recorded gems. One of these are the title song which is a really good classic but kind of unknown Willie song.

Here it is in the original version from 1969. Enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12th: At the indie disco.

It's friday, and for the first time in a long time me and my partner in crime Kenneth are doing a dj-set at the really cool bar Wurst here in Oslo. It's going to be a night of all the fantastic indie pop we dig.

Belle & Sebastian, France Gall, Blur, The Go-Betweens, Allo Darlin’, Elastica, Television Personalities, Supergrass, The Shangri-La’s, Beat Happening, The Magnetic Fields, The Chills, Ash, The Pastels, The Vaselines, The Rain Parade and lots of obscurities.

As always when we are DJ-ing we promise hits, and the hits that should've been hits.