Bands seldom have names that describe what it is that they do. In fact, more often their names have nothing much to do with the kind of music they play. Canada’s The New Pornographers obviously don’t do what their rather risqué name suggests. Neither does Portland’s electronica band STRFKR do whatever you may think they do once you put all the missing letters back into their name. So when I came across a New York band called Endless Boogie, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d got a lead on them from a blog and when I checked them out I realised that they might be one band that lives up to its name. Read more
My taste for heavy metal is not a pronounced one. It’s not that I can’t listen to heavy metal or its extreme cousins such as doom or death metal. I’ve written about bands such as America’s Sunn O))) or Japan’s Boris and their kith, and I do turn to some of their albums when the going gets, er, heavy, but it’s not often my genre of preference. Heavy metal, whether it comes in plain vanilla formats or in the varieties commonly known as doom or death or sludge, has one common characteristic – it is very loud. Everything is amped up, distorted and emphatic – it’s a macho, brawny and massive genre of music that is sometimes so loud that it can be potentially harmful to health. Read more
I have had an album, When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog, by Sweden’s Jens Lekman for a number of years. But I never did really listen to it much. True, he is easily one of the more prominent members of a growing bunch of contemporary Swedish pop musicians (think of Peter Bjorn and John, The Radio Dept., Tallest Man on Earth and so on) and his songs are often romantic and have wit, self-deprecation and interesting lyrics, albeit with quirky twists, but for a while it was as if I’d rather listen to Scotland’s Belle & Sebastian or even Morrissey for that kind of stuff than the Lekman album. Read more
I don’t know if it happens to you but every so often I go through these fairly extended phases when I’m listening to not much else than one band or one musician almost all the time. When I first discovered The National, the Brooklyn band that is hitting the headlines right now, I became a serial listener of their albums, all five of them, which were in heavy rotation on my iPod for more than a month. Through the years I’ve had that kind of infatuation with many a band. There was a Rolling Stones phase; a (late-blooming) Morrissey phase; a (very prolonged) Radiohead phase, which roughly, but not accidentally, coincided with a very prolonged low period in my personal life; a fairly long Phish phase, which quite fittingly overlapped with a very happy period in my aforementioned personal life; and, of course I’ve mentioned this before, a hugely extended Grateful Dead period. Read more
“But let’s talk about you for a minute, with the vomit at your gullet, from a half bottle of vodka that we’d stolen from the optic. On the back seat of your car because it wasn’t safe to start it, you were ‘far too f***ed to drive’ were the words that you imparted. And the woolen dress that clung so tight, to the contours of your body. And the dead grass stuck to fibers from us rolling in the layby, were passed to dog-hair blankets that protected the bench seat covers, and a crucifix was hung from rear-view mirror by your mother.” Read more
Last weekend, I did something that is totally at odds with what Download Central is supposed to do. Instead of sitting at my computer and scouring the Internet for downloads or streams of new music, I actually went out and watched a rock band performing live. The gig was at Delhi’s kitschy Hard Rock Café (but then aren’t all HRCs meant to be kitschy?) and the band was Hurricane Bells who hail from Brooklyn, New York.
I know we’re barely into the tenth month this year and November and December are still left, but 2009 has thus far been such a hyperactive period for music that I couldn’t help writing about the best that I’ve heard till now. It’s not easy to do a list of the best new albums but let me try.
Some bands you discover late. But if they are really good, knowing them late doesn’t prevent you from becoming a huge fan. Like ‘The Smiths’ and ‘Morrissey’. ‘The Smiths’ released their first album in 1984 (Here’s ‘The Charming Man‘ from that LP). Read more
Early this year, Morrissey released a new album, Years of Refusal. Coming three years after his last major release, the album received much critical acclaim and, I think, should be on everyone’s best of 2009 list.
Last month, not too long after Years of Refusal came out, Morrissey also turned 50. But days after reaching that milestone came the news that he was canceling several concerts that he was supposed to play in the coming weeks because he was ill. While one hopes that Moz (as fans call him) will bounce back, with all that news of Morrissey, I couldn’t help writing about the man and his music. Read more