Here’s the first playlist of the year. Mostly new stuff that I been turned on to, but a couple of oldies too. Hope you enjoy it.

Wet Grave by Henge

“It’s not an easy listen from this London-based four piece, anything worthwhile rarely is, but it is very rewarding. Here Henge have taken acid-psychedelic-noise-sludge-punk (whatever) rock by the gullet and stuffed its own take on it squarely back down its throat. Be very scared!”

Read the full review here.

Burnout Beach by Wooden Indian Burial Ground

This is a video that sums up the American dream as much as anything…and keep going to the end because you’re in for a huge fucking freakout that you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry as the track dissolved into awesome sonic chaos.

Read the album review here.

Truth in Reverse by The Oscillation

This is The Oscillation’s most complete album yet. It is dense and complex, and, for me, is quite unique in its sound and approach. Yet it somehow continues the theme of the key albums I’ve reviewed this year so far (HengeCavalier Song and Pop. 1280) of being dark, dystopian, and innovative; difficult and yet very rewarding through close listening.

Read the full review here.

Pyramids on Mars by Pop. 1280

“In ‘Paradise’ Pop. 1280 have produced an incredibly important album that deserves to be heard…are you listening?”

Read the full review here.

Stones for Throwing by Cavalier Song

“There is no easy way to sum up this album because it is one that will challenge different people in different ways. As someone who regularly walks through post-industrial landscapes finds meaning in the dilapidated, and beauty in the re-assertion of nature in such places I see both hope and despair in this album. A despair for what has been ruined, but a hope for what can emerge and endure as a result.”

Read the full review here.

Escalator by Sam Gopal

Great track from early in Lemmy’s career…

Breeze Blows West by Holy Mount

From the ‘We Fell From The Sky’ Deluxe Reissue
Now on colour and black 180 gram vinyl from Berlin label White Dwarf

Saltes of Humane Dust by Haikai No Ku

“This is very much a record for our times: not always an easy listen, but one which is also quite subtle in places, and with something to say. In it Haikai No Ku have delivered an album that is right for the times in which we live…that argues that the reality beneath the thin glossy veneer of our society and culture is something far more complex and sinister than we imagine.”

Read the full review here.

Targets of Men by G.L.O.S.S.

Picked this up from a best of year list for last year. Just love the political directness of the band…totally full on!

Flaming Lake by Electric Moon

“This is an album that you can get totally lost in, with its jazz improvisations, droning cosmic repetition, trippy psychedelic languidity, and topographic angles. It is an album that soars and sweeps through your brain taking you on the sort of internal journey, creating and then taming inertias of the mind as each track builds and builds again and again. This is an album that is at times as heavy as any space rock you will hear (‘Lost and Found Souls’), yet is also highly nuanced…it pounds you but in doing this does not neglect the detail which, especially for a live album, is focussed and panoramic.”

Read the full review here.

Blackstar by David Bowie

For those of us of a certain age, and I’m 51 as I write this, Bowie has provided the soundtrack of our lives. At school, when we started work, at the party after our weddings, when we want to tell our kids about music and life, when we can’t think what to put on the stereo…David Bowie has been there. Faced with such a difficult decision, then, I have gone for the title track of what I assume will be the great man’s final album (although I wouldn’t bet that Bowie hadn’t left another one before he left us).

‘Blackstar’ the track, like the album that bears the same name, has been described as Bowie’s parting gift to us; the sign of a man who choreographed his death every bit as much as he did his life. And that is why this track is so important to me. I have written elsewhere that Bowie’s passing has resulted in me seeing my life in a very different way, particularly in terms of my own mortality: and ‘Blackstar’ helps me to come to terms with that.

For me ‘Blackstar’ is a very spiritual song, more like two songs in one. The beginning and end evoke a certain ritualism which help take the listener into a very spiritual place, but typically of Bowie this is not something that is proscribed…we can make up our own mind about such important matters. That ‘solitary candle/ in the centre of it all’ could represent him, or it could represent any one of us…or something completely different.

The middle section, for me, is autobiographical…the ceremony for his own passing…Bowie’s requiem for himself.  At the moment when he begins to sing ”Something happened on the day he died’, it gets me every time. This is not only because it reminds me of Bowie’s death, but also reminds me of my own mortality. It reminds me that my time of this Earth is finite

For me Bowie has done something unique in speaking to me beyond the grave (as he did to countless people during his life) and inspired me to be as amazing as I can be for the rest of my time. He has told me that I can be my own person and not worry about what others think, to be daring and creative. For me then ‘Backstar’ is every bit as important as Bowie putting his arm around Mick Ronson’s shoulder all those years ago. It tells me that he has remained as important at 69 as he was at 25, and that my solitary candle does not need to be dim despite my age.

‘Blackstar’ truly is a gift and I am confident that it will stand up every bit as well as all those other classic tracks that we have come to know and love over the years. Thank you so much David…for everything!

 

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