Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Robert Dada’s Top 10 Albums Of 2016

Posted: December 27, 2016 in Music

#10. Preoccupations – Preoccupations

It was great when my Emusic membership account recommended this band to me because I never heard of them (or their previous incarnation, “Viet Cong”) before. Emusic must have me greatly profiled because this album lodged into my head like few others from bands I have never heard of before in 2016.

Very reminiscent of 80’s post-punk, a lot of it reminds me of a less poppy Jesus And Mary Chain, Joy Division/early New Order and especially the original lineup of The Danse Society.

Below is the link to the album review from Spin magazine:

http://www.spin.com/2016/09/review-preoccupations-ride-a-new-wave-on-self-titled-reboot/

preoccupations

 

#9. The Rolling Stones – Blue And Lonesome

If someone would have told me the Rolling Stones would be releasing an album in 2016 that would end up in my top 10, I would have said they haven’t made a great album since 1978’s “Some Girls” so why should I believe it?

Okay, the album is all blues covers from masters such as Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon and Memphis Slim but still the Stones play it like they own it.

Their first ‘new’ album since 2005’s “A Bigger Bang”, Mick Jagger hasn’t sounded this confident on the harmonica and vocals in many, many years and Ron and Keith trade guitar lines like two ace pilots competing with each other. Charlie, as always, keeps the whole thing from flying off the tracks with his locked in drumming.

You can tell they are really just having fun with this one, not trying to prove a point but reminding us of not only where they came from, but where rock music itself came from. I’d give a year off of my life if they would tour on this album in small clubs and would pay handsomely for the tickets.

Way to go lads…you nailed it.

Below is the link to the album review by David Fricke/Rolling Stone magazine:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/review-the-rolling-stones-blue-and-lonesome-w453332

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#8. DIIV – Is The Is Are

[From Wikipedia] DIIV is an American rock band from Brooklyn, New York City, formed in 2011. The band consists of Zachary Cole Smith (vocals, guitar), Andrew Bailey (guitar), Devin Ruben Perez (bass), Colin Caulfield (keyboards, guitar) and Ben Newman (drums).

Initially called Dive, the band started as Smith’s solo recording project. After releasing three singles – “Sometime”, “Human” and “Geist” – on Captured Tracks, DIIV released its debut full-length album, Oshin, on June 26, 2012.

In 2016, the band released its second studio album, Is the Is Are, after a lengthy and troubled gestation period.

Like My Bloody – Cure – Valentine, the songs are echo-laden, reverb dripping, gloom-pop masterpieces. I had never heard of the band until a Facebook friend posted a link to the album. I’m really glad she did because it reinforced my belief that there is always great new music being produced, even if the media criminally ignores it.

While it’s not revolutionary in any sense, it faithfully creates an homage to 80’s – 90’s ‘shoe gazer’ rock without becoming too nostalgic about it.

Below is the link to the album review from Pitchfork:

http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/21462-is-the-is-are/

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#7. Jack White – Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016

Spanning almost 20 years, this is a double album collection of strong acoustic versions of White Stripes, solo work and a couple Raconteur (my favorite Jack White side project) songs. Sometimes acoustic albums can feel like they are plodding along. This album though, is almost as hot as when he is plugged in.

Nothing on here feels like it is ‘forced’ to be acoustic. They songs still feel natural in this ‘tamer’ setting. Outside of getting a ‘new’ Jack White album, this was one of the most welcome releases in 2016.

Below is the link to the album review from Pitchfork:

http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/22350-jack-white-acoustic-recordings-1998-2016/

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#6. Swans – The Glowing Man

With this latest incarnation of Swans, Michael Gira once again takes pretty traditional rock instruments (guitar, bass, drum, lap steel guitar) and somehow twists and filters their sounds through his hypnotically dark creative force, which often comes out like a dirge-like symphony orchestra. It’s simultaneously abrasive and musical.

It’s eight tracks span two discs with over half of the songs clocking in at 12 to 29 minutes. Because many of the pieces are long, there is ample time to let things build, heave upward and then recede only to heave upward some more. At times it feels like Einsturzende Neubauten, Sonic Youth (There’s even a ‘cover’ of “The World Looks Red”) and The Birthday Party jamming, albeit with more restraint and true musical phrasings.

The crown jewel on the whole album is the title cut. Clocking in at 28:51, it’s one of those signature pieces that starts low and slow and just keeps building with layers of sound until it kicks into to straight ahead heavy hard percussive noise rock. It’s an industrial noise rock masterpiece.

I was fortunate enough to see them on tour for this album and managed to get myself to the front of the stage right in front of Michael and Christoph Hahn. It was so loud you could feel your insides shake. My ears were ringing a bit even though I wore my musician’s grade earplugs.

Michael Gira has stated this is the last album to feature this lineup of Michael Gira (vocals, guitar), Norman Westberg (guitar), Christoph Hahn (lap steel guitar), Phil Puleo (drums), Christopher Pravdica (bass) and Paul Wallfisch (keyboards), which is somewhat of a shame since I think it’s one of their better lineups. Still, if this is what is necessary to continually come up with something new and visceral, then it’s a sacrifice that needs to be made. Or maybe it’s the end for good. If that is the case, this Swans-song was majestic.

Below is the link to the album review from Spin:

http://www.spin.com/2016/06/review-swans-the-glowing-man/

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#5. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

Having been released after the tragic death of his son, Arthur, you knew this album was going to be dark. Actually some of it was recorded before Arthur’s death but it’s plain to see that event definitely shaped this album.

The opening song, “Jesus Alone”, after a somewhat dizzying and dark film score beginning, opens with the line,

“You fell from the sky

Crash landed in a field

Near the river Adur”

Arthur fell 60ft to his death from a cliff after freaking out on LSD. If you believe Nick, this was just a weird coincidence. According to him, most of the lyrics were written before the tragedy.

Nick always works out his demons through his work, whether it be music or literature and that’s what gives his work such importance, especially to those of us captivated by the darker side of life, or haunted by the darker side of life. Somewhat like Bowie’s “Blackstar” album, you can’t put on this album for some casual listen. You really need to be prepared for it because it can be emotionally draining. It works best at night, in the cold, alone with a drink, so you can just sit…and ponder…how horrible life can be at times.

Below is the link to the album review from The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/sep/15/nick-cave-and-the-bad-seeds-skeleton-tree-review-brilliant-music-on-the-verge-of-collapse

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#4. Anderson / Stolt – Invention Of Knowledge

If you can’t have one of the classic Yes lineups with Jon Anderson on vocals, then at least you have this wonderful modern progressive album. Joined by Roine Stolt and a host of other notable prog musicians, this album is a near masterpiece.

Some of it reminds me of Close To The Edge/Tales From Topographic Oceans era Yes and some of it reminds me a bit of Going For The One. Jon’s voice is in great form throughout and at age 72, I’m amazed he still has that wonderful high voice (Note: I saw Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman perform on tour this year and can tell you firsthand that he still has the voice.)

Below is the link to the album review from The Prog Report:

http://progreport.com/anderson-stolt-invention-knowledge-album-review/

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#3. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression

My general opinion about Iggy Pop is that he’s always as good as the band he puts together with him and he nailed it this time. He’s joined by Josh Homme and Dean Fertita from Queens of the Stone Age, and Matt Helders, the drummer for the Arctic Monkeys.

Maybe it’s partly due to his reforming of The Stooges in the 2000’s but this time around, Iggy feels and sounds reenergized. There’s nothing ‘phoned in’ on this one. It feels raw and vital like we’ve often come to know from Iggy.

He’s alluded to the media that this may be his last album, which is kind of sad to hear but if this truly is his last album, he will have gone out in epic style.

Below is the link to the album review from Rolling Stone:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/iggy-pop-post-pop-depression-20160318

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#2. The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Monolith Of Phobos

The ONLY reason this album didn’t make #1 is because I knew nothing would knock my #1 choice of 2016.  That said, this album is beyond genius.

I really like most of Les Claypool’s side projects but this one is probably the only one where I really want this to be an ongoing concern. It would be a shame if Les and Sean no longer collaborated after this one.

I guess you could best describe it as psychedelic – prog rock. Though unique, one can still hear homages to The Beatles as well as Primus. I never really followed much of Sean Lennon’s work so it astounded me to know how much he sounds like his father. However, I never get the impression on this album that he is deliberately trying to do so.

This album enjoyed heavy rotation by me in 2016 and I was damn lucky I was able to see them live when they toured on it this year.

Below is the link to a Rolling Stone article about the project:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/hear-claypool-lennon-deliriums-outlandish-debut-20160526

claypoollennondelerium

 

#1. David Bowie – Blackstar

I bought this album the day it came out on January 8 and listened to it all through that weekend. I could sense after the first listening that something terrible was going to happen. It just struck me somehow that this wasn’t just a new album; it was the artist trying to tell us something is about to happen and that he was prepared for it.

I remember not sleeping well that Sunday night and when I woke up that Monday morning of January 11, I went to the computer as I always do to check out the news. There it was: “Rocker David Bowie Dead At 69”. I wasn’t shocked at all though I was sad (“I read the news today, oh boy…”).

That an artist dying of cancer could craft such an immaculate work of art that is basically telling us that he is leaving us is a testament to his creative energy and genius.

There’s talk of additional never released works to be released in the coming years, which is something to look forward to. However, we will never be able to ask ourselves, “What new stuff is David working on?”

Below is the link to the review from The Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/david-bowie-blackstar-first-listen-extraordinary/

blackstar

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Honorable Mentions (In No Special Order)

  1. Wire – Nocturnal Koreans (This would have made the Top 10 but because it’s an EP and not an LP, I couldn’t permit it. Great, great stuff though)
  2. Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Events (See #1 for same explanation)
  3. Lazarus (Original Cast Recording)
  4. Tycho – Epoch
  5. Surgical Meth Machine – Surgical Meth Machine
  6. Pixies – Head Carrier
  7. John Doe – The Westerner
  8. Jah Wobble And The Invaders Of The Heart – Everything Is No Thing
  9. Helmet – Dead To The World
  10. Dengue Dengue Dengue – Siete Raices
  11. Brian Eno – The Ship
  12. David Arkenstone – Beneath A Darkening Sky

#10 Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Melba Barnett is an Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist from Melbourne, Australia. This is her first album after having released 3 EP’s prior.

The album kicks off with “Elevator Operator”, which kind of reminds me a bit of Lou Reed mixed with The Strokes (first album). It has some great narrative storytelling set to a danceable rhythm. Following this is “Pedestrian At Best”, a somewhat grungy number with the vocals out front so they don’t get lost in the mix.

“An Illustration Of Loneliness” takes the tempo down a bit, while maintaining that early Strokes sound (at least to me). “Small Poppies” takes the tempo down even further. It’s one of the more bluesy cuts on the album with some nice echo effects on the guitar. Midway through the song there is a nice guitar solo that veers somewhat into a blues-rockabilly vein.

“Depreston” has a sort of Lou Reed gone country with a little Cowboy Junkies thrown in. “Aqua Profunda!” takes us back to more of an up tempo sound that is somewhat reminiscent of Elastica.

“Dead Fox” returns once again to the L Reed/Strokes feel but it doesn’t wear thin. “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party” sounds a bit like a Bleach/Incesticide era Nirvana but with clear vocals and hints of mid-60’s Brit rock.

“Debbie Downer” has a 60’s psychedelic/folk appeal to it especially due to the keyboard line while “Kim’s Caravan” starts off almost like an early Bauhaus song with the bass line accompanied by a sparse higher end guitar line (it made me think of the song “Hollow Hills” for some reason). The song then morphs into more of a Doors kind of territory with the epic style poetry and tense but subdued music.

The album concludes with “Boxing Day Blues”; another psych/folk excursion that gently returns us to the point where we stepped on board.

This isn’t the type of music I usually go in for but for some reason it grabbed me due to both the music and the great lyrics. I’m not saying I will own her entire discography but this album is worth being part of one’s collection.

courtney_barnett_-_Sometimes_I_Sit_and_Think__and_Sometimes_I_Just_Sit.1

#9 Prong – Songs From The Black Hole

This being their 10th studio album, Prong decided to release an album of covers that highlights a fairly broad range of styles. I thought I was going to absolutely love this album when I first read about it and I do really like it (it made it to #9 after all), but I can’t find an instance where I like their version almost as much as the original.

The album kicks off with Discharge’s “Doomsday”, which is basically some straight ahead hardcore. This leads into a cover of Sisters Of Mercy’s “Vision Thing” which is actually a pretty faithful cover though the vocals can’t get as low as Andrew Eldritch. Still it’s one of the stronger songs on the album.

Following this is Butthole Surfers “Goofy’s Concern”, which is more of a hardcore metal version of the original. Think a bit like latter day Ministry. After this we have Adolescents’ “Kids Of The Black Hole”, which takes the tempo down a bit. There’s some pretty good drum work going on in this track and the song takes us into a more American punk sound than the prior tracks.

Black Flag’s “The Bars” turns up next and it sounds just as 80’s west coast hardcore as the original. The album then turns to a version of Killing Joke’s “Seeing Red” which for some reason seems like an odd choice for a Killing Joke song to cover. It’s a pretty faithful cover but just a bit more metal at the chorus. Tommy Victor can’t mimic Jaz Coleman’s vocals, but then again, who can?

“Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely” from Husker Du follows. It kind of reminds me of a more metal Foo Fighters covering Husker Du. It’s not the strongest cut on the album but does have some good lead guitar work. Fugazi’s “Give Me The Cure” turns up next played as good straight ahead hard rock.

Bad Brain’s “Banned In DC” has a fast, fast, fast start and then takes us into a slower second half.

The album closes with the oddest choice I think: Neil Young’s 1975 “Cortez The Killer”. It’s an interesting choice to end the album and actually is a pretty faithful cover reminding us that Mr. Young’s influence is far and wide.

As I said earlier, I thought this album was going to end up higher on the list. I might have chose different songs from the bands covered but still it’s a pretty strong slab of music and worth a listen or two.

prongsongsfromblackholecd1

#8 The Prodigy – The Day Is My Enemy

This to me is their best album since 1997’s The Fat Of The Land. It’s loud, abrasive, beat heavy techno that is relentless. If you can’t dance to this, you are probably dead.

We begin with “The Day Is My Enemy”, whose harshness and chest thumping beats are counterbalanced by the vocals of Martina Topley-Bird. “Nasty” is your classic late 90’s Prodigy with Keith Flint’s sneering John Lydonesque vocals. It’s fast, then some slow breaks, then fast again. “Rebel Radio” sounds like a candidate for a 4th Matrix film. The song is filled with dirty vocal samples and sounds that bounce around with industrial-techno, hip-hop and world beat.

“Ibiza” is some beat heavy stuff with more of Keith’s sneering vocals. The song is an attack on the superstar DJ culture aka “music on USB sticks”. “Destroy” could easily have been at home on The Fat Of The Land. It’s a mostly instrumental number that kind of reminds me of Kraftwerk on Ecstacy. “Wild Frontier” opens almost like a John Carpenter opus but then quickly slides us down the rabbit hole of beat heavy, trippy techno.

The danger with this kind of music is that one is tempted to drag songs to 8 to 10 minutes or even longer. However, with all but one song less than 5 minutes in length, this album moves along with a nice blistering pace. Liam Howlett is one of my favorite techno musicians. He has total mastery of his gear and he clearly knows how to pace an album; in to and out of each track like a commando run.

“Rok-Weiler” sounds a bit like a metal song stripped of its traditional guitar, bass and drum and replaced with alien android electronics. “Beyond The Deathray” is reminiscent of 80’s post-punk electronica (think Numan or pre-girls Human League). It’s like a short bridge of a song to get us to “side B of the album”.

“Rhythm Bomb” starts with a heartbeat like beat and continues to build as the sampled vocals kick in. The song features samples of American house music band Jomanda. “Roadblox” is the longest of the songs clocking in at 5:01. It’s possibly the fastest tempo on the album with way cool pitch bent synth lines.

“Get Your Fight On” opens with a treated guitar riff then propels headfirst into a hard as fuck dance track. This too, could easily be worked into a hard rock/metal song. This ain’t DJ shit. These are songs! “Medicine” has a hard world beat feel to it. The horns give it a bit of a North African/Middle Eastern feel. Towards the end it has kind of a “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” bass rhythm line with a sax line that gives the song a techno-Bauhaus feel.

“Invisible Sun” takes the tempo down. Again this is one of those songs on the album that you know could be a great slow metal song. “Wall Of Death” closes the traditional album with some ‘in your face’ techno with a bit of horror-rock sound thrown in. It’s a great closing to a fine album.

“Rise Of The Eagles” is a bonus track thrown in on some releases. It starts with helicopter and motorcycle samples then treated sampled bass. Then the percussion kicks in along with the vocals to give it a 60’s psych/garage vibe. The “all dressed up and ready to go” vocals definitely reminds me of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult.

I might have rated this album higher if it had more Keith Flint vocals on it. His voice always amps up the aggression on an already aggressive album. Still, I do love this album.

prodigy_thedayismyenemy

#7 Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

Finally, after a string of albums that were definitely not his best, Marilyn Manson, somewhat unexpectedly returns to form with his strongest album (his 9th) in far too many years. The thing about Manson is he’s usually only as good as the other band members he writes and records with. This time it’s with Tyler Bates, who Manson met through their mutual involvement on the show Californication. Tyler brings a more blues-influenced sound to the proceedings and it really works well, though one might not think so at first.

“Killing Strangers” opens the album and it wastes no time starting off with a more blues influenced tone. To me this song has a weird late career Doors on a goth trip vibe to it. After this we get “Deep Six”, clearly his best single since “Mobscene”. This really kicks the album into a higher gear after “Killing Strangers”. It’s a really great song with some of his finest wordplay (“You want to know what Zeus said to Narcissus? You better watch yourself”). “Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge” is full of 70’s hard rock guitar with a modern rhythm track. Upon a couple listens, it’s evident this could be a pretty good Iggy Pop song.

“The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles” has kind of a slowed down “Beautiful People” drum line. It feels a bit like it could have been on Mechanical Animals. It also has more of that interesting wordplay (“Lazarus ain’t got no dirt on me.”). “Warship My Wreck” has a slightly Gary Numan feel to it in the beginning. This song also effectively features Manson’s trademark layered thick screamed vocals. The song is very soundtracky; like they listened to a lot of Reznor/Clouser beforehand. That’s not a bad thing by the way.

“Slave Only Dreams To Be King” isn’t really a great song but it still clings to the overall theme and style of the album so it doesn’t really disappoint. Taken by itself, however, it feels like more of a b-side to a single. “The Devil Beneath My Feet” takes us into a bluesy glam sound of a darker Marc Bolan.

“Birds Of Hell Awaiting” – Jim Morrison and The Gun Club performing at a bordello on the set of a David Lynch sex scene, with Robert Rodriguez as unit director. I’ll just leave it at that. “Cupid Carries A Gun” is where Marilyn meets Nick Cave at the crossroads of Holy Wood and The Golden Age Of Grotesque.

“Odds Of Even” reminds me of a slow Alice Cooper song on the B-side of one of his earlier albums. It has a very 70’s blues/shock sound to it.

The album closes with the extra cuts: “Day 3”, “Fated, Faithful, Fatal” and “Fall Of The House Of Death” which are acoustic re-workings of “Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge”, “The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles” and “Odds Of Even” respectively. They are all good versions and stand on their own as fine songs.

It’s great that Manson has finally righted his ship with this release. Here’s hoping it is a trend and not a fluke. Bravo Marilyn.

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#6 Wire – Wire

This is a band that has never disappointed me (though I do love some albums more than others). They have been consistently releasing really great music throughout the 2000’s.

The album leads off with the pulsing “Blogging”. The song is not hard rocking but it does get you moving as the guitar and vocals slide all over and around Graham Lewis’ bass line.

“Shifting” has a real organic feel to it like something that started off as a Githead track but somehow made its way to Wire. Graham does a great kind of Malka Spigel bass line.

“Burning Bridges” would sound just as great if Graham did the vocals. Some of the phrasings in the song seem Beatle-esque to me. “In Manchester” kind of starts off like a latter day Peter Murphy song before kicking into a fairly up tempo number with a real catchy, bouncy bass line.

“High” somewhat reminds me of the stuff they were doing in the 80’s without it sounding dated or nostalgic. “Sleep-Walking” brings the tempo down quite a bit from the previous song. It’s a very brooding and haunting number that could easily be the soundtrack to a dream.

“Joust & Jostle” was the first single from the album. It too has a cool bounciness to it, making it very danceable. This was the first song I heard from this album and I thought if the rest of the album is just as good, we’re all in for a wild ride. At times, it reminds me a bit of XTC but I’m not sure why.

“Swallow” is another song that I can easily hear Graham singing. It might have been cool if they traded lines or verses with each other. This is one of those songs where you just want to close your eyes and melt into the rhythm. “Split Your Ends” is full on classic Wire. Kickass driving bass and drum with guitar lines and chords weaving above and below.

To me, “Octopus” is the most “post-punk” sounding number on the album that has some really intelligent arrangements. “Harpooned” closes the album with a hard, heavy fuzzy distortion sound that builds throughout the number. It has a bit of a Killing Joke feel to it. Colin repeatedly sings, ‘I’m worried, I’m worried…’ adding to the tension the song invokes. The song continues to build until it finally crashes into a wash of heavily distorted guitars.

This is one of Wire’s strongest albums in some time even though they’ve been consistently releasing strong material. If I have any complaint, it would be that I would have liked to hear 2 or 3 songs with Graham on lead vocals. He has a good deep voice that compliments Colin’s higher tenor. It’s only a small complaint and these guys are also so prolific with various side projects that I’m sure I’ll get to hear plenty of Graham’s voice (See #5).

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#5 Hox – Duke Of York

Hox is Graham Lewis of Wire with Andreas Karperyd, the first for the duo since 1999. This is one great album to listen to late at night in very low lighting.

“Anthracite” oozes and pulses with arcs of icy electronics. If Gary Numan or Nine Inch Nails wanted to get a little more experimental in their work, they’d best be studying something like this. “Javelin” has more of a musical feel than “Anthracite”. It’s as if Wire traded in their more traditional instruments and instead picked up some electronic instruments.

“Correct Co-ordinates” sounds like one of those weird but cool Wire b-sides that make you think they should do a whole album of this kind of stuff. It also feels like an updated track that never made it to Brian Eno’s and David Byrne’s “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts”. “It’s Too Much” has the feel of a soundtrack piece. The pumping rhythms and very much alive bass line reminds me of an anthem to a very dystopian world.

“X In Circle” starts off very Eno-ish with maybe a dash of “Close To The Edge” era Yes intro that nicely melds into something akin to Bowie’s b-sides on the Low and Heroes albums. “White Space Conflict” begins with a tribal techno intro, like world beat on an alien landscape. It also has a ritualistic sexual feel to it like something Chris & Cosey might come up with.

“Track And Field” starts off in a very deep space vibe then breaks into both a subdued and frenetic pace. I’m hearing some early Human League (before the ladies came on board) with maybe a dash of Aphex Twin thrown into the mix.

“Goodbye” starts off with a simple techno tribal line with added fills of percussion as it moves along. Then a more rock oriented bass line emerges that rides along an ethereal synth line. Graham’s vocals ride nice and clear on top of the mix, saying goodbye to a good friend.

The album closes with “Frequency” which starts with a couple bass lines that lead into treated vocals by Graham. The phrasing is very Wire-like; so much so, I could hear Colin singing on a track like this. The song leads out with the line, “I walk with you…” sung repeatedly until the end.

Graham Lewis is an extremely talented musician. We all knew that from his work with Wire. But his many side projects are equally as good as Wire. This album is no exception.

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#4 The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015

If a year prior someone had told me I was going to put a JSBE album in my top 5 albums of the year, I probably would have laughed. Hey I’ve always liked JSBE but #4? Well they did it with this one.

The album starts with “Funeral”, which sounds a bit like the Beastie Boys when they rocked instead of rapped. It has a totally downtown New York kind of feel to it with some 70’s era Stones guitar work in there. “Wax Dummy” continues with that 70’s era Stonesy sound but with hint of a post punk explosion in the Bowery. It would be cool to hear Mick Jagger cover this.

“Do The Get Down” has a total Beastie Boys percussion intro that then evolves into something like Jack White jamming with Mike D. “Betty vs. The NYPD” gets more into the classic NY punk or like the Cramps take on Manhattan with the New York Dolls.

“White Jesus” starts like The Cramps dropped in on a Stone’s rehearsal and just went from there. It’s got that bad vibe sound that feels real cool. “Born Bad” is blues punk heaven. It’s got some really strong drum work and the song eventually bleeds into a brief Psych-60’s guitar solo.

“Down And Out” is a song I bet The Strokes wished they had written that also has some Lou Reed flavorings and maybe even a little bit of later period Velvet Underground. “Crossroad Hop” has a Jack White in the Bowery feel to it. This is the kind of music we’ve heard live, where the band is tapping their feet on a beer soaked stage with an occasional broken syringe lying about. We’ve all been there. Towards the end, Jon pulls out some cool slide guitar work.

“The Ballad Of Joe Buck” has a kind of Red Hot Chili Pepper’s mid-80’s thing going but with an influence that is more NY than LA (obviously). “Dial Up Doll” has that mid-70’s deep in the city rock sound. In all honesty, the song is kind of filler but it still beats many bands’ ‘porterhouse steak’ songs. “Bellvue Baby” is like a deep album cut from the Stones circa 1972 but with a much dirtier mix. This strikes me as a good song to fuck to when you have a bottle of Jack in your left hand and a joint in your right hand while you watch your lover ride you. The short guitar solo rocks too.

“Tales Of Old New York: The Rock Box” is Jack White jamming with the Beastie Boys in some basement shithole that smells like stale beer and fresh piss. The album concludes with “Cooking For Television” another slab of gritty NY blues punk. This album doesn’t end with a whimper at all.

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#3 Public Image Limited (PIL) – What The World Needs Now…

I guess John Lydon should really be calling this band The John Lydon Band since he’s been the only original member for years. This is a strong album start to finish and it’s also measurably better than 2012’s “This Is Pil”, which is not a bad album at all.

“Double Trouble” kicks it all off with a simple bass and drum line for about 6 seconds then John’s spoken word intro comes in with “What you fucking nagging again” going on about the broken toilet and how a plumber should have been brought in to fix it. This is classic sneering Lydon served on a platter with jagged guitar and a bass line that propels the song along like a train. This might be my favorite cut on the album.

“Know Now” reminds me a bit of Killing Joke, mostly due to how it begins with a fading in guitar followed quickly by the drums and bass setting the foundation to the guitar line that reminds me a little bit of Geordie from Killing Joke. I’m not sure why John felt compelled to write a song about “Bettie Page” but he did. It has a really good guitar line that courses through it with an echoey almost 60’s feel to it.

“C’est la vie” seriously sounds like a lost track from the “Metal Box” album. Its slower tempo and moody guitar and bass would easily fit onto that album. “Spice of Choice” sounds like something PIL would have done in the late 80’s. This is where PIL gets about as commercial sounding as is possible for them.

“The One” really reminds me of something Joe Strummer would have recorded after The Clash broke up. Everything from the music, backing vocals and even the way John tosses out the lines evokes Strummer, though the two don’t sound anything alike. “Big Blue Sky” is like a collage of different song styles that seem to work here with elements of ska, reggae, funk with a 70’s vibe buried into it. Then the chorus sounds a bit like a 70’s anthem rock song. You would expect this to not work at all but it somehow does.

“Whole Life Time” gives us that great PIL-funkadelic sound; kind of like early 80’s Talking Heads but with a nastier tempo. The driving bass line and up front percussion can easily get asses moving on the dance floor. “I’m Not Satisfied” is very much like Gang Of Four when Sara Lee was with the band. The scratchy guitar owes a lot to Andy Gill too.

“Corporate” again gets back into that “Metal Box” era, especially with the very Jah Wobble-like bass line. The guitar line and John’s vocals sound pissed off and for good reason. Listening to this makes me think I’m at a Rage Against The Machine concert performed in a swimming pool under water and I’m headbanging under water.

“Shoom” is the most techno-y song on the album with a simple but great opening vocal line of ‘Fuck you. Fuck Off”. Throughout the song, John wails “What the world needs now is another fuck off”. Amen brother. There’s a bonus track called “Turkey Tits” that closes the album. It’s amusing but can be considered a throw away like maybe a few of the songs on The Clashes’ “Sandinista!” album. You don’t hate it but it’s clear not a lot of effort went into it.

At age 60, John Lydon hasn’t lost any of his sneering anger at all. He’s using it to channel more sophisticated rants than he did as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. I like the way he’s matured. He’s pissed off but you can tell he’s having fun being pissed off. What the world needs now…are more John Lydons.

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#2 Killing Joke – Pylon

Killing Joke has been one of my favorite bands since I discovered them in the early 80’s. It never ceases to amaze me how they are largely underappreciated, especially here in the United States. They’ve had a misstep in the late 80’s but they quickly rebounded and have been running strong ever since. Their latest, “Pylon” is a killer piece of music.

“Pylon” starts off with “Autonomous Zone” which a pounding, pulsing furious track with scratchy dissonant guitar. You know right away this album intends to get right to business. “Dawn Of The Hive” kicks off with a heavy industrial metal riff. Jaz Coleman’s echoed vocals ride on top of this heavy swelling sea of noise.

“New Cold War” is a post-punk, prog-metal masterpiece with Jaz’s furious vocals. “Euphoria” is another up-tempo track borrowing heavily from the post-punk sound. It sounds a bit like their early to mid 80’s sound but the thing with Killing Joke is that no matter when it was recorded, it never sounds dated later.

“New Jerusalem” begins with a droning bass synth with a hint of Middle Eastern synth effects. Then Geordie, Youth and Martin kick in with a mid tempo heavy sound with Jaz starting off rather calm then working himself up into a frenzy as the song really begins to take off. The intro to “War On Freedom” reminded me of something that might have come off their “Revelations” album with Geordie’s guitar work from the 1982 era. But the song soon ascends into that dark, post apocalyptic sound they’re currently known for.

“Big Buzz” also has that “Revelations” feel to it as well as something off of the “Night Time” album. There are some really beautiful, yet hard guitar and vocal melodies in this song. Jaz’s vocals can still soar on top of the songs, which is amazing since on many songs, he almost growls out the vocals. With “Delete” you think if Tommy Victor of Prong earned an art degree prior to him picking up a guitar, this would be the sound of Prong.

“I Am The Virus” is a runaway train of bass and drum with Geordie deftly weaving guitar riffs all over it. Jaz is killing it on vocals. His growl is angry yet artful, not metal caricature. The album closes with “Into The Unknown” that has a dizzying pace that won’t let up just because it’s the last song.

The deluxe version of the album comes with a second disc containing 5 additional tracks. They aren’t throwaway tracks either:

“Apotheosis” – Like 90’s Ministry “Jesus Built My Hotrod” but without the humor.

“Plague” – Nice plodding, marching bass/drums with distorted guitar.

“Star Spangled” – This could have fit nicely on the “Pandemonium” album.

“Panopticon” – Opens with a Manson-like riff but then becomes something more.

“Snakedance (Youth ‘Rattlesnake Dub’ Remix)” – Clearly the weakest track on the album but is still an interesting dub mix akin to what Adrian Sherwood does.

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#1 One-Eyed Doll – Witches

Okay, I know those of you who know me will tease on this because I’m a huge fan of the band and I know them personally. But this album is clearly the best thing I heard in 2015. Based on the Salem witch hysteria of 1692, “Witches” is a concept album that deftly handles the subject matter as opposed to making it into something cartoonish. After listening to it, I actually went online to study more about this part of American history.

“Ember” opens the album with a piece of music played on bells (or a synth with a bell patch). This line will appear elsewhere throughout the album, though played differently. In the background you can hear an accusatory voice that eventually gets swallowed by Kimberly Freeman’s furiously played guitar and scream along with Jason Sewell’s drums. Then Kimberly repeatedly wails “My soul’s an ember in the flames of Hell”. The mood is set.

“Prayer” follows and it’s a much quieter, slower piece with acoustic instruments, strings and what sounds like analog synths, giving it somewhat of a 70’s prog feel to it. “Black In The Rye” follows and we’re once again thrown into the realm of hard rock. The song delves into one of the prevailing theories that rye crops were infested with a mold that had hallucinatory properties when ingested, which explains why people were seeing things.

“A Rope For Mary” follows. A slower piece that builds in intensity as it progresses, the song is about Mary Eastey, who was accused of being a witch and was later executed by hanging. “More Weight” is a heavier piece (no pun intended) and tells the story of Giles Gorey, who was pressed to death by rocks laid on top of him because he refused to enter a plea in court.

“Remember” is an acoustic, instrumental piece of mandolin (?), violin and guitar giving the album a kind of intermission interlude quality. “Witch Hunt” follows as a heavier hard rock number that delves into the accusations of witchcraft that lead to convictions that culminated in hangings. “Stillness” is one of the most beautiful songs on the album. Starting off low key and mostly acoustic, it later builds in intensity. Kimberly’s vocals throughout the song are amazing. The song is about a woman who has been hung and slowly passes:

“Stillness

Finally confusion is gone

And as they said all along

I can fly”

As one listens to the album, musical themes re-emerge in reworked fashion. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the song “Afflicted”, potentially the opus piece on the album, tying the story and themes together in a lengthy work that brings things to a climax. The analog synths give the piece a classic feel to it especially as each line is layered over one another. About a quarter of the way in, marching guitar chords propel the listener. Toward the end, Kimberly’s swirling harmonies fly high above the fast kick drums and guitar.

“Betrayed us

Her name has been inscribed

In the pages

For all ages

With his power

She holds me in captivity”

One might think the album could end at this point but there’s more…

“Sorrow” is a short track that ties the lyrical and musical themes together once again. This then leads into the last song, “The Ghosts Of Gallows Hill”, in my opinion the best track on this exceptional album. The song is about those who paid the horrible price of this hysteria – those who were accused, tried, sentenced and hung:

“We are the ghosts of Gallows Hill

We sing forgotten stories of the past

By moonlight, we dance on Gallows Hill

Remember, so that we may ever last”

Just before the middle of the song, Kimberly sings these soaring harmonies that can literally take your breath away. I could listen to this part of the song over and over again (and have, many times). Her vocals are so powerful without ever being over the top. I think it is one of the best vocal performances to close a song and album. The song then goes into some of the music themes previously explored which fades out as an organ/synth and bell fades in, with frogs croaking in the background. This lasts for about a minute and a half until it fades all the way out. Magnificent.

Sometimes I get a little nervous when a band I have invested so much time, emotion and money into announces a new album. I hope it’s going to be good. And there’s a part of me wondering, “what if it sucks?” (This has happened before). I remember listening to “Witches” start to finish in my study the day I got it. After “The Ghosts Of Gallows Hill” faded out, I just sat still, processing everything I had heard. After a few minutes I went to the kitchen where my wife was sitting. I remember telling her, “It’s fucking brilliant”. It still is.

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Robert Dada’s Top 10 Albums Of 2014

Posted: December 21, 2014 in Music
Tags: , ,

Okay, I’m not going to do a song by song breakdown on this list.  I’m simply going to tell you how each album has moved me. Do yourself a favor and buy every one of these. You know I’m right about every one of them.

#10 Lisa Gerrard – “Twilight Kingdom”

This is the perfect album to listen to at 3:23 AM in very low light with a head full of something numbing. Through each song, you are encouraged to contemplate final days slipping by like sand through your fingers.  If I first listen to Einsturzende Neubauten’s “Lament” (more on that below) as the World War 1 soldier who has been struck down by a bullet, shell fragment or poisonous gas, this album evokes my final thoughts as I leave this mortal coil. So fitting how this album relates to the other on this list. The Alpha and the Omega.

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#9 Johnny Marr – “Playland”

This album and its predecessor, “The Messenger”, quickly reveals that Johnny Marr was the true beating heart and soul of The Smiths. Hearing these albums makes me sad that it took so long for him to enter into his extremely talented solo phase. Yes almost everyone will associate The Smiths with Morrissey but when you compare the two in their solo ventures, it’s clear that Johnny Marr was the driving force behind The Smiths. Morrissey has some interesting lyrics and knows how to present them vocally but without Johnny Marr, I think he would only be Boy George II. I can’t wait for Johnny’s next album.

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#8 Bryan Ferry – “Avonmore”

I never expected Bryan Ferry to enter a top 10 list of mine in this decade but he nailed it on Avonmore. It’s his best stuff since Bete Noir and latter day Roxy Music work. He plays well with his limitations now that he is in his upper 60’s but God damn, he’s still so fucking suave and romantic. This is music to dance to with your significant other and hold them close afterward.

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#7 Jack White – “Lazaretto”

There are those who take exception to Jack’s solo works when compared to his work with Meg in The White Stripes. On a superficial level I get it but for me The White Stripes are like Led Zeppelin I, II and III where Jack’s solo efforts are like Houses Of The Holy and Physical Graffiti. He sounds more confident on this album than he did on “Blunderbuss”, which is also a strong album. After this album, I get the feeling we’ve yet to witness his true solo greatness but we will soon enough. In the meantime, we got this slab of hot shit blues based, roots rock. He may indeed be Rock ‘n’ Roll’s last superstar.

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#6 Peter Murphy – “Lion”

Don’t get me wrong, I really loved the “Ninth” album and I loved hearing it live on tour. But with “Lion”, Peter has captured energy and excitement that I haven’t seen since Bauhaus. The sweeping and soaring rhythms and choruses are breathtaking. Maybe the 35th Bauhaus Anniversary Tour infused something into these performances because this is some of his highest energy and greatest creative work since “Burning From The Inside” and “The Sky’s Gone Out” from Bauhaus.

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#5 Aphex Twin – “Syro”

This is intelligent techno music that you can easily move to and just as easily think through. This is Richard D. James masterpiece. If he never does another thing, this will be known as his finest work.

At points it almost sounds like aliens have been monitoring human techno music, then have processed and regurgitated it back as their reinterpretation. We then call them hymns we pray to.

At other times, it’s late at night on a very lonely freeway and I’m flying above the speed limit in a high performance car as the rain drops roll off of my polished windshield as if gravity doesn’t exist.

And I’m also thinking about how the Overlords have taken possession of Earth and have been reprogramming us to be their techno dance drones.

In control and enslaved at the same time. That’s a brilliant album.

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#4 Swans – “To Be Kind”

This might be the most organic and visceral albums on the list. The sounds are hypnotic, rhythmic and noisy; with odd music patterns swirling in and around each other. A track here and there reminds you of being in a paranoiac dream you are incapable of escaping from. Other tracks are long, thick and drawn out like the thick blood oozing out of a junky’s arm.

It’s very much like grooving deep inside of a nightmare you know you will never wake from and that fuels the dark erotic pleasure absent of all sex.

Certain passages evoke the Summer sun and makes me want to dissolve and sit underneath it and nibble peyote until everything evaporates away.

The album on balance, reminds me of Apocalypse Now in Afghanistan. The past is present.  Will it be the future?

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#3 St. Vincent – “St. Vincent”

I’m ashamed that I did not know of Annie Clark, aka, St. Vincent, prior to seeing her open for The Black Keys on Dec 6th. She gives me great hope for contemporary  music. I would have paid double the ticket price to see her performance alone.   She has a masterful stage presence and her guitar prowess is awe inspiring. As soon as I got home, I bought this album and another. She is the one to watch going forward. Lady Gaga is old hat. Annie Clark has the charisma, the musical ability, the vocal style and the sharp songwriting skills that creates a superstar. Look out Bjork; there’s a new kid in town and she’s got everything on you. This is my biggest surprise favorite of 2014!

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#2 Chrome – “Feel It Like A Scientist”

I really believe that the band’s re-imagining of the songs that would emerge on last year’s , “Half Machine Lips From The Sun”; older tracks from the bands classic early 80’s period of “Half machine Lip Moves” and “3rd From The Sun”; really inspired this work.  “Feel It Like A Scientist” feels like they picked up right where the band left off in the early 80’s but the album doesn’t feel dated at all because back in the 80’s they were decades ahead of their time. I sooo much wanted to give this #1 and I almost did but one other band had to go on and beat this. Still, buy this album and listen to it daily. You won’t regret it. If you like punk or proto-punk, ala The Stooges and dark science fiction, then this is right up your Replicant alley.

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#1 Einsturzende Neubauten – “Lament”

Okay, this album is about World War One, released during the centennial of that horrific war, by the preeminent true industrial (influenced by Dada) band, Einsturzende Neubauten. Once you combine true industrial music, the most disgusting war of all time and the most controversial art movement of all time, then you got all of my f’ing attention.  You can keep your Tommy and Quadrophenia  (great though they are), Lament is the powerhouse of all concept albums. The last time I was this moved by music was in grade school when I first heard “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Magical Mystery Tour”. “Lament” once again reshapes how I view musical art and it has thoroughly lodged itself into the top 10 albums that have influenced my life the most! I don’t say that lightly. Bravo Blixa Bargeld and gang. I’ve loved you for decades but this album has simply awed me beyond belief. All I can say is, thank you forever. Easily in the top 10 of best albums I have ever heard in my entire life!

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Honorable Mentions:

  1. The Black Keys – “Turn Blue”
  2. Robyn Hitchcock – “The Man Upstairs”
  3. Eno-Hyde – “Someday World
  4. Primus – “Primus And The Chocolate Factory”
  5. Brian Setzer – “Rockabilly Riot! All Original”
  6. Echo & The Bunnymen – “Meteorites”
  7. Matias Aguayo – “Legende”
  8. Dum Dum Girls – “Too True”
  9. Damien Jurado – “Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son (Deluxe Version)”
  10. Prong – “Ruining Lives”
  11. Rodrigo y Gabriela – “9 Dead Alive”
  12. Jason D. Williams – “Hillbillies And Holy Rollers”

2010:

1 Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon from The John Lennon Collection
2 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Alice Cooper from We Wish You A Metal Xmas…And A Headbanging New Year!
3 White Christmas – Iggy Pop from White Christmas
4 Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues from If I Should Fall From Grace With God
5 Linus & Lucy (Charlie Brown Christmas Theme) – Geoff Downes from Christmas Rocks!
6 Christmas Tree Boogie – The Swing Cats feat. Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats from Rockabilly Blues Christmas
7 Merry Christmas Baby – Chuck Berry from Rock & Roll Christmas
8 Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight) – The Ramones from Brain Drain
9 Winter Wonderland – Ozzy Osbourne & Jessica Simpson from Winter Wonderland
10 Carol Of The Bells – Chrome from Dark Matter: Seeing Strange Lights
11 Feliz Navidad – Los Straitjackets from Tis The Season For Los Straitjackets
12 Medley: Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby & David Bowie from Bing Crosby: Christmas Classics
13 Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne – Jimi Hendrix from Merry Christmas And Happy New Year
14 Jingle Bells – Brian Setzer Orchestra from Christmas Rocks: The Best Of Collection
15 Oh Come All Ye Faithful – Twisted Sister from A Twisted Christmas
16 The Nutcracker Suite (Operatica’s Nutcrackeratica Mix) – Berlin Symphony Orchestra from Holiday Chill – The Christmas Remixes
17 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Rock This Town from Rockabilly Christmas
18 Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Elvis Presley from Rockin`Christmas (Merry Christmas With Elvis And His Friends)
19 Zat You Santa Claus – Buster Poindexter And His Banshees Of Blue from How Cool Is That Christmas
20 Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan from Christmas In The Heart
21 Run Rudolph Run – Keith Richards / Toots & The Maytals from Run Rudolph Run / Pressure Drop
22 Red Water (Christmas Mourning) – Type O Negative from October Rust
23 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Ronnie James Dio from We Wish You A Metal Xmas…And A Headbanging New Year!
24 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Reverend Horton Heat from We Three Kings: Christmas Favorites
25 Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses from The Best Of The Waitresses
26 Silent Night – Lloyd Brown from A Reggae Christmas
27 Christmas Time Again – Bad Manners from Bollocks To Christmas
28 Merry Christmas Fritz – Buff Medways from A Damaged Christmas Gift To You
29 Stuff The Turkey – Alien Sex Fiend from Bollocks To Christmas
30 Switched On Sugar Plum Fairies – Lucky Wander Boy from Music Of Christmas Future
31 City Of Christmas Ghosts – Goldblade featuring Poly Styrene from A Damaged Christmas Gift To You
32 Christmas Is For Everyone – James Brown from Disco Christmas
33 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – The Pretenders from Pretenders Holiday EP
34 Silver Bells – Cuckooland from A Damaged Christmas Gift To You
35 Blue Christmas – Johnny Cash from Christmas With Johnny Cash
36 You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Asylum Street Spankers from A Christmas Spanking
37 Sleigh Ride – Squirrel Nut Zippers from Christmas Caravan
38 Santa Dog ’88 – The Residents from Santa Dog ’88
39 Hark The Herald Angels Sing – Eros from Christmas Regrooved
40 Good King Wenceslas – Jay Atwood from Christmas Regrooved
41 We Wish You A Merry Christmas – Analogue Model from Music Of Christmas Future
42 Winter Wonderland – Beat Dominator from Have A Very Bass Christmas
43 Away In A Manger – D1 Music Club from Christmas 3
44 The Twelve Days Of Christmas – The Joseph and Mary Chain from It’s Not Like Christmas
45 Auld Lang Syne – UK Subs from Bollocks To Christmas
46 Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis – Tom Waits from Blue Valentine

2011:

1 Back Door Santa – B.B. King from Best Of / 20th Century – Christmas
2 Jingle Bell Rock – The Swing Cats feat. Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats from Rockabilly Blues Christmas
3 Hoy, Hoy, Hoy (Rockin’ On Christmas Eve) – The Honeydippers from Rockabilly Blues Christmas
4 Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me) – Elvis Presley from The King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Complete 50’s Masters [Disc 3]
5 White Christmas – Bob Marley And The Wailers from Destiny: Rare Ska Sides From Studio 1
6 One Christmas Catalogue – Captain Sensible from One Christmas Catalogue
7 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – The Fall from The Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004
8 Father Christmas – The Kinks from Father Christmas
9 I Believe In Father Christmas – Theme From Sleigh Ride To The Winter Palace – Greg Lake from The Greatest Christmas Songs
10 Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen from The Platinum Collection, Vol. 1-3 Disc 3
11 The Nutcracker Suite – Brian Setzer Orchestra from Christmas Rocks: The Best Of Collection
12 Rock ‘N Roll Christmas – George Thorogood And The Destroyers from A Rock ‘N Roll Christmas
13 Won’t Be Home For Christmas – Blink 182 from Won’t Be Home For Christmas
14 Deck The Halls – Twisted Sister from A Twisted Christmas
15 Carol Of The Bells – August Burns Red from Lost Messengers: The Outtakes
16 Christmas At Sea – Sting from If On A Winter’s Night…
17 That Was The Worst Christmas Ever! – Sufjan Stevens from Songs For Christmas [Disc 1]
18 I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day – Johnny Cash from Christmas With Johnny Cash
19 Sleigh Bell Rock – Rock This Town from Rockabilly Christmas
20 Can You Hear What I Hear – Steve Stevens from Merry Axemas
21 Don’t Shoot Me Santa – The Killers from Don’t Shoot Me Santa
22 Jilly’s On Smack – Primus from Green Naugahyde
23 Christmas At The Zoo – The Flaming Lips from Clouds Taste Metallic
24 I Wish It Was Christmas Today – Julian Casablancas from I Wish It Was Christmas Today
25 Christmastime – The Smashing Pumpkins from Christmastime
26 We Three Kings – Reverend Horton Heat from We Three Kings: Christmas Favorites
27 Watch Out! Santa’s Been Drinking – Tiger City Jukes from Christmas In Bluestown
28 Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Gary Twinn from Rockabilly Blues Christmas
29 Mr. Heatmiser – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from Everything You Want For Christmas
30 Hot Christmas – Squirrel Nut Zippers from Christmas Caravan
31 Red Nosed Reindeer Blues – Asylum Street Spankers from A Christmas Spanking
32 Lonely Lonely Christmas – Willie Hill from Ichiban Blues At Christmas Vol. 3
33 New Year’s Eve – Tom Waits from Bad As Me (Deluxe Version)

2012:

1 The Rockin’ Night Before Christmas – The Honeydippers from Swing Cats Christmas
2 Run Rudolph Run – Reverend Horton Heat from We Three Kings: Christmas Favorites
3 White Christmas – Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats, The Swing Cats from Rockabilly Blues Christmas
4 Don’t Believe In Christmas – The Tabaltix from Psychobilly Christmas
5 There Ain’t No Sanity Clause – The Damned from There Ain’t No Sanity Clause
6 It’s Always Christmas Time – Buck Santa from It’s Always Christmas Time
7 Silver Bells – Twisted Sister from A Twisted Christmas
8 Holiday Fortnight (2002 Digital Remaster) – The Specials from Alternative Rock X-mas
9 God Rock You Steady Gentleman – The Toasters from Christma-ska
10 Skank ‘Til Christmas – The Selecter from A Christmas Fable
11 It’s Christmas – Toots And The Maytals from It’s Christmas
12 The Night Before Christmas – Eek-A-Mouse from A Reggae Christmas
13 We Three Kings – Los Straitjackets from Yuletide Beat
14 Come On! Let’s Boogey To The Elf Dance! – Sufjan Stevens from Songs For Christmas [Disc 1]
15 It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Scott Weiland from The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
16 Christmas As I Knew It – Johnny Cash from Christmas With Johnny Cash
17 Merry Christmas Baby – Elvis Presley from Elvis Christmas
18 Silent Night – Stevie Nicks from A Very Special Christmas
19 Jingle Bell Rock – Billy Idol from Happy Holidays (A Very Special Christmas Album)
20 Boogie Woogie Santa Claus – Brian Setzer Orchestra from Christmas Rocks: The Best Of Collection
21 Rockabilly Christmas – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from Everything You Want For Christmas
22 Winter Weather – Squirrel Nut Zippers from Christmas Caravan
23 Linus And Lucy – Béla Fleck & The Flecktones from Jingle All the Way
24 Blue Christmas – Cyndi Lauper from Blue Christmas
25 Winter Wonderland – Eurythmics from A Very Special Christmas
26 Carol Of The Bells – Linnear from Music Of Christmas Future
27 O Tannenbaum – DJ Scotty Marz from Christmas Regrooved
28 Twelve Days Of Christmas – D1 Music Club from Christmas 3
29 Jingle Bells – DJ Maverick from Hardcore X-Mas Party – Hallelujahhh It’s Christmas
30 Deck The Halls – St. Amanita from Music Of Christmas Future
31 Sleigh Ride – Mr. Bassman from Have A Very Bass Christmas
32 We Wish You A Merry Xmas – Joseph Jaime from Christmas Regrooved
33 Hark The Herald Angels Sing – APM Holiday Ensemble from An Electronic Christmas – Digital Sounds of the Season
34 Let It Snow – Luscious Jackson from Alternative Rock X-mas
35 Little Drummer Boy – The Dandy Warhols from Alternative Rock X-mas
36 When I Get Home For Christmas – Snow Patrol from When I Get Home For Christmas
37 Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2 from A Very Special Christmas
38 Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – The Alarm from Alternative Rock X-mas
39 The Christmas Blues – Bob Dylan from Christmas In The Heart
40 Soulful Christmas – James Brown from 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection: James Brown
41 Christmas Celebration – The Fabulous Thunderbirds from Classic Rock Christmas
42 Kitty Cats’ Christmas – Leon Redbone from Christmas Island
43 Far Away Christmas Blues – Asylum Street Spankers from A Christmas Spanking
44 It’s Bad To Have The Blues (At Christmas Time) – Charlie Daniels from Merry Christmas To All
45 Auld Lang Syne – B.B. King from Best Of / 20th Century – Christmas

2013:

1 Last Night (I Went Out With Santa Claus) – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from Everything You Want For Christmas
2 Please Come Home For Christmas – Jon Bon Jovi from A Very Special Christmas – Essential
3 Christmas Is Near – Ralph Stanley from A Very Special Acoustic Christmas
4 Christmas In Dreadland – Judge Dread from Bollocks To Christmas
5 Have A Boom Boom Christmas – Freddy Cannon from Have a Rockabilly Christmas
6 Santa – Lightnin’ Hopkins from Blues, Boogie & Rhythm Christmas
7 O Little Town of Bethlehem – Elvis Presley from The King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Complete 50’s Masters [Disc 3]
8 Signs Of Christmas – James Brown from 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection: James Brown
9 Run Rudolph Run – Sheryl Crow from A Very Special Christmas – Essential
10 I Want You For Christmas – Cheap Trick from A Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary
11 Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer – The Smithereens from Alternative Rock X-mas
12 Santa Drives A Hot Rod – Brian Setzer Orchestra from Christmas Rocks: The Best Of Collection
13 Rock Around The Christmas Tree – Big Bud from Rockabilly Christmas
14 Christmas In New Orleans – Louis Armstrong from Blues, Boogie & Rhythm Christmas
15 Happy Christmas – Toots And The Maytals from Christmas Specials
16 A Christmas Fable – The Selecter from A Christmas Fable
17 The Little Drummer – Boy Sufjan Stevens from Songs For Christmas [Disc 2]
18 Please Come Home For Christmas – Willie Nelson from A Very Special Acoustic Christmas
19 Frosty The Snowman – Reverend Horton Heat from We Three Kings: Christmas Favorites
20 Christmas Blues – Canned Heat from Christmas Blues
21 Jingle Bells Boogie – Jody Levins from Rockabilly Christmas
22 Silent Night – Johnny Cash from Christmas With Johnny Cash
23 I Saw Three Ships – Sting from A Very Special Christmas – Essential
24 War Is Over – The Toasters from Christma-ska
25 I Told Santa Claus – Fats Domino from Christmas Is A Special Day
26 Jingle Bells Earl Scruggs from A Very Special Acoustic Christmas
27 Danse Of The Sugar Plum Fairies from Béla Fleck & The Flecktones Jingle All The Way
28 Under The Christmas Tree The Honeydippers from Swing Cats Christmas
29 Merry Christmas Everybody 4-Skins from Nevermind Christmas, Here’s The Bollocks!
30 At The Christmas Ball Bessie Smith from American Blues Christmas
31 Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas) The Decemberists from Alternative Rock X-mas
32 Merry Christmas, Baby Asylum Street Spankers from A Christmas Spanking
33 Gift Of The Magi Squirrel Nut Zippers from Christmas Caravan
34 Here Is Christmas Heart from A Lovemonger’s Christmas
35 Snowman Anti-Nowhere League from Nevermind Christmas, Here’s The Bollocks!
36 I’m Getting Pissed For Christmas Bamboula from Psychobilly Christmas
37 Empty Stocking Blues Floyd Dixon from Rockin’ Blues Christmas
38 That Old Christmas Moon Leon Redbone from Christmas Island
39 Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Rod Stewart from A Very Special Christmas – Essential
40 We Wish You A Merry Christmas The RAS Family from A Reggae Christmas
41 Santa Claus, Santa Claus Louis Jordan from Blues, Boogie & Rhythm Christmas
42 I Hate To See Xmas Come Around (Christmas Blues) Jimmy Witherspoon from Rockin’ Blues Christmas
43 The Day It Snowed Amusement Parks On Fire ft. Leila Moss from It’s Not Like Christmas
44 Step Into Christmas Business from Nevermind Christmas, Here’s The Bollocks!
45 Silent Night Rock Los Straitjackets from Yuletide Beat
46 Auld Lang Syne The Reducers from Auld Lang Syne – Single
47 Happy New Year Blues Mary Harris from American Blues Christmas

2014 Holiday Playlist

Posted: November 30, 2014 in Holidays, Music

Here’s this year’s holiday playlist:
1 Gettin’ In The Mood (For Christmas) – Brian Setzer Orchestra from Christmas Rocks: The Best Of Collection
2 Christmas Is Starting Now – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from It Feels Like Christmas Time
3 Carolina Christmas – Squirrel Nut Zippers from Christmas Caravan
4 Linus And Lucy – Asylum Street Spankers from A Christmas Spanking
5 Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! – Sufjan Stevens from Songs For Christmas [Disc 2]
6 Santa On The Roof – Reverend Horton Heat from We Three Kings: Christmas Favorites
7 Christmas Without You – The Triggers from Psychobilly Christmas
8 You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Misfits from Horror Xmas
9 Halloween On Xmas – The Coffin Caddies from Psychobilly Christmas
10 Shot My Baby For Christmas – The Vaudevilles from Psychobilly Christmas
11 Candy Cane Children – The White Stripes from Candy Cane Children – Single
12 Christmas – The Who from Tommy
13 O Holy Night – Gothic Vampires From Hell from Nightmare Before Christmas
14 The Christmas Song – London After Midnight from Oddities
15 Ghosts Of Christmas Past – Nox Arcana from Winter’s Knight
16 Making Christmas – String Tribute Players from String Tribute To Nightmare Before Christmas
17 Seasoned Greetings – The Residents from Meet the Residents
18 The Spirit Of Christmas – Martin Atkins & The Chicago Industrial League from An Industrial Christmas Carol
19 Carol Of The Bells (A Demonic Christmas) – D.J. Demonixx Various Artists – StreetBeat from Acid X-mas
20 Nutcracker Suite (Dance Of The Funky D.J.’s) – Various Artists – StreetBeat from Acid X-mas
21 We Wish You A Techno X-Mas – Dave Miller, L.A. Tom from Techno Christmas: Dancefloor Holiday Favorites
22 Christmas Techno – Rivans from Christmas Techno
23 Auld Lang Syne – Various from Christmas Regrooved Part 2