3 December 2017

Round Up - Part 16

Welcome to the final round-up review of 2017!  Similar to the Round-Up posts I put up earlier in the year, I’m going to be posting some bullet point reviews, sort of akin to the ones that you get in magazines, short and to the point.  I complete my first one of these reviews around last Christmas, mainly due to the volume of albums that were still left to review at that time of year, the lack of time to review them all and this is happening for similar reasons. Basically, there is only so much time available to a one-man team, I cannot complete the full detailed blog that I usually post on here, as I need to work to feed myself, look after my lady and generally keep a roof over my head.  So, the list of albums that I want to review/promised to review/need to review has grown beyond my control.  At any given moment, it tends to hit north of 100 with ease and going forward, I will need to get that down with these sorts of blogs.  Now, I will be breaking these roundups down into batches of ten (but this one has a few more as I'm fitting in the stranglers for 2017), they will be minus the normal link to purchase or stream the albums (due to space) but you will be able to find these online very easily (legal links, remember - this is not that type of blog).  I will be using the same introduction to each of these blogs if only to save more time.  Thanks for reading - Eddie.

The Front Bottoms – Going Grey

The Front Bottoms are good at what they do, quirky indie-punk with lots of swearing and a good sing-along chorus.  Going Grey is a fun album that will be played a lot over the next year or two, but it is also an album that should have been released in the summer.  Also, it is nothing that you have not heard by from other bands of the same genre before, it reminds me of a harder-edged version of Deep Blue Something.  So, decent for what it is, but not rocking my world.

6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but it's not quite there

Top track – Grand Finale

Morbid Angel - Kingdom Disdain

After the glorious madness of Illud Divinum Insanus, as well as losing two-thirds of their line-up, and that tidal wave of negative reaction from their fans, Morbid Angel have gone back to basics with Kingdom Disdain and it couldn't sound more like a retreat.  Even if they had have placed a white flag on the cover, this will be looked at in years to come as a safe step.  I understand why, truly I do - you're not going to continue with the vision of a man who has departed the band, but I have to ask this question.  If you defined a genre such as Death Metal in the way Morbid Angel have, what it their left to conquer by releasing a safe album?  It sounds good, there is no denying that one, but it's still a case of damage limitations.  Two of these marks go to the cover alone.

7 out of ten - This is good and worth checking out

Top track - Garden of Disdain

Rancid – Trouble Maker

When Rancid are on top of their game, nothing can get close to that anarchic sound they create.  Trouble Maker is the finest Rancid album for many years, full of everything that makes them special and what also makes them so exhausting as well.  It’s all short, sharp Punk, with no let-up and a tad too many tracks to be honest.  You would think that sometimes, less would be more, but this album cannot be accused of that.  However, the positives outweigh the negative on this one, it is a rebellious call to arms and they have not sounded this good for years!

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track – Ghost of a Chance

John Carpenter – Anthology

If you have seen any John Carpenter movie, you know exactly what you are going to get from this album.  It is a compilation of all of the main theme music from his films, all together in one glorious package.  So, depending on how much you love synth music from John Carpenter films, will give you an answer on how much you will like/love/hate this record.  For me, it is brilliant, and it is a joy to the ears.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track
Porkchop Express

Gangs of Youth – Go Father In Lightness

Gangs of Youth are an Australian band, one who has been linked with Christian leanings (don’t skip over this) and on Go Father In Lightness, they seem to explore the issues of losing faith in God, in being abandoned to your own devices.  It is an album with an outsiders’ view of the world, songs like “Atlas Drowned” and “What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?” are stomping tunes, ones with messages that will give some people hope that they are not alone.  For me, it is a good, solid indie album which is trying to make sense of this fucked up world, with a lot of swearing.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out.

Top track – What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?

For Giants – Big Sky

Big Sky is an instrumental Progressive rock album from For Giants, a two-piece act who come from in New York, depending what you read, they are also from Chicago and LA.  But, whilst they might get around a lot geographically, in musical terms, they are out of this world.  Big Sky is a very ambitious album, it deals in huge sounds, big bass drops and it has a Meshuggah feeling to the music, but without the mania or madness.  One of my surprise records in the latter half of the year, definitely one I have had a hard time putting down.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track – Manhattan Bridge

Burn – Do It or Die

Sometimes you just want your music to be heavy and loud, sometimes you want it to have a message at its core and at other times you need a combination of the two.  Do or Die keeps up the great tradition of Hardcore music by keeping those principals alive, whilst still soundings like a mosh-pit could erupt at any given moment.  If you’re lucky enough to have purchased one of the limited vinyl with the cool print, I am eternally jealous.  Best Hardcore album of 2017, hands down!

9.5 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost……

Top track – Dead Identity

The Bronx – V

It wasn’t until I saw Mariachi el Bronx that I finally understood the Bronx.  That might surprise some people, but what are you gonna do!  V is an album I have been playing on and off for the last month or so, just as an album to listen to without any pressure of reviewing it at that moment, which has helped a lot.  It means I have had the opportunity to let it sink in, to absorb it rather than complete a “shot from the hip” review!  For me, this is a great album, with songs such as “Side Effects”, “Channel Islands” and “Past Away” sounding brilliant, it is a gem of a record.

9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost…..

Top track – Channel Islands

Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

On the raggy edge between art & pop, we currently find Ariel Pink wondering that line with reckless abandon.  When he is on point, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is an interesting album which sounds like a demo produced Buggles, but on an acid trip.  Sometimes this album goes too far the other way, it sounds like a mess, one that has no harmony with the world.  Chaos and noise are fantastic at times, sometimes so intoxicating that it can cause illusion, but there has to be a reason, and Ariel Pink sometimes falls on the wrong side of that.

5 out of ten – Not for everyone, but played well

Top track – Feels Like Heaven

Arcane Roots – Melancholia Hymns

Melancholia Hymns is an album that I could walk through with my eyes closed, listening to it was incredibly easy as I seconded guessed each step of Melancholia Hymns.  As far as modern Alternative Rock goes, it hits all the right beats.  There is drama, broken hearts and soul searching, mixed with epic music for those moments of union in the live setting.  However, it’s also very safe, very clean cut and it sort of felt like the emotional damage was being managed from afar.  I like it, don’t get me wrong, but it is also a little bit middle of the road as well.

6.5 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it's not quite there

Top track – Indigo

Deaf Havana – All Those Countless Nights

This is actually the second time I have written something about All Those Countless Night, but when my laptop died on me earlier in the year, it took the review and for some reason, I lost track of it.  So, sadly it does not get a full review, but it is still one I have to post about.  All Those Countless Nights is a mature modern rock record, it has some class song, some songs about heartache and some things which are not as positive as others.  It’s a good modern rock album, with one of the catchiest songs of 2017.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Fever

Flat Worms – Flat Worms

Debut album of LA post-punk band featuring Will Ivy (Dream Boys, Wet Illustrated, Bridez), Justin Sullivan (Kevin Morby, The Babies) and Tim Hellman (Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Sic Alps).  This Garage-Punk album is exactly how you’re probably imagining it just by looking at the names involved.  It’s all Art-House, angular, Lo-Fi Indie Rock with a hint of noise and reverb.  It sounds really good, definitely a Supergroup that I hope we hear more from over the years.

8 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out.

Top track – Pearl

Born Without Bones – Young at the Bend

Born Without Bones seem to be aiming for the same sound as early Biffy Clyro, mixed in with a bit of 8Stops7 as well.  It’s the sound of angry youth, but with a retro flair to it that harks back to my youth if I’m honest.  It goes on a few tracks too many, but it is a good record that shows a band with a lot of potential.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track
Takes Time

Buildings – You Are Not One of Us

Buildings are a Noise/Punk/Grunge act from Minneapolis, MN who have been going for over a decade (from what I can see, they keep their cards close to their chest).  With low-end reverb, biting vocals and a lot of fiery energy, Buildings have made a great album with You Are Not One of Us, it is great to hear guitar music that knows what the distortion peddle is for.

7 out of ten
– This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Smell The Pool

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