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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2nd of November

Shakey Graves - Roll The Bones

Roll the Bones Cover Art

Every now and then I stumble upon this ugly cowhead cover during my bandcamp walks. Always near the top of items tagged alt country, folk, blues, lo fi and Austin Texas. Finally this album awakened my interest and I was very pleasantly surprised. I highly recommend listening to it, but my advice is to forget all aforementioned tags, 'cause this guy's music can't be placed in any drawer - it's much wider than that. Just listen to the only cover on this record / Bruce Springsteen's I'm On Fire. Unlike many other renditions, this one is based on bass and rhythm and interesting backing vocals.Of original songs, my favorite would be Georgia Moon. Emotional one!

Shakey Graves on Bandcamp

Friday, September 9, 2011

9th of September

Slow Club - Paradise


They surely lost their innocence! Purity of previous releases has gone, possibly forever, but beautiful melodies are still there, although stained with little bit of wisdom of grown ups. The choir singing is still there too, angelic as ever. Song structures are more complex than before, but without hundreds of layers in the manner of Bon Iver, who is in my opinion Pink Floyd of the 21st century (not by result, but by concept).Emmy The Great is better comparison, but Slow Club, paradoxically, is moving faster from their common starting point. Even travelling along with them is pleasure and adventure and we can only imagine the joy that we will feel when we reach our yet undetermined destination!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

10th of July

Beirut - Rip Tide

Young Zach Condon, Sante Fe, New Mexico, unintentionally has done the unpossible - he has managed to conceal two opposed poles of Serbia. One traditional, symbolized by Guča Brass Festival and the other progressive, symbolized by Exit Festival in Novi Sad.  Few days ago, on Exit's main stage, while he was playing Serbian traditional that belongs to Guča "Kad sam bio mlađan lovac ja" (When I was teenage hunter)  the crowd clymaxed in approval.  He showed them how to conceal heart and mind, East and West, traditional and modern. He showed us that those things shouldn't be antagonized, on the contrary, they should be used together to give us new quality. In Beiruts new album, he did exactly that adding all his intelligence and talent in it. The final result is album sounding much better than any Goran Bregović's album will ever sound!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

6th of July

Dave Alvin - Eleven Eleven

Run Conejo Run

This time, I won't talk too much, just a few informations for ignorants. David was once with Blasters (enough said), has that deep tranquilizing voice of Jim Reeves/Johnny Cash and has that rock'n'roll feeling so damn rare these days. Try "Gary, Indiana 1959", listen to the piano and you'll understand what rock'n'roll is all about!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

17th of May

Laura Cantrell - Kitty Wells Dresses                                
Kitty Wells Dresses
Thea Gilmore - John Wesley Harding
John Wesley Harding

Two ladies with the same idea - to present two legends to contemporary audience and to give a tribute to the authors they grow up with. They both succeeded in it. Laura's highlights are I Don't Claim to be an Angel, Amigo's Guitar and Making Believe and of course her own song Kitty Wells Dresses (that can stand side by side with any of classic Kitty Wells songs). Thea Gilmore was even more direct - she remake Dylan's classic John Wesley Harding album song by song. Her singing was reinterpretation of Dylan note by note, but instrumentation is different to the original. Piano is very prominent on some songs, there's no harmonica at all and guitar is prevalently electric. Thea's version of Frankie Lee & Judas Priest is not as raw and I'll be Your Baby Tonight is not as tender as the original, but on the other side Drifter's Escape is much tougher, and Dear Landlord is more humble than the original. My only objection is that both girls are playing it totally safe with their choices - this repertoire is not adventurous in any sense!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

30th of April

Project Jenny, Project Jan - Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

When Acqua overrun Boney M in stupidity I thought it was the end. I thought that nobody can go further in that direction. Unfortunately, I was wrong! It took fourteen years for somebody to beat Acqua's Barbie Girl. Their name is Project Jenny, Project Jan (pointless as can be), the name of the album is Home Sweet Home (unimaginative as can be), the most prominent instrument is Jew's Harp (irritating as can be). I am capable of forgiving those two guys if they swear they were only joking!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

23rd of April

Frank Sinatra - Best of Vegas

Best of Vegas

I have always been asking myself why I love Sinatra: because of  his blue eyes (I doubt that!), because of his turbulent private life (unlikely!), because of his daughter Nancy (that sounds reasonable, but still it's not completely true!)? Recently I did some thinking about the subject and you can read my conclusion below: I love him for his ability to convince us of the authenticity of emotions embedded in stories in his songs. He is so convincing, he'd make Disbelieving Thomas believe. I love him even more for his singing technique and ability to hold notes and sing above or behind the beat, giving a "floating" quality to his singing. To put it simple, he's got swing! In this album, Sinatra's in his natural environment, in Las Vegas. Sinatra in Vegas, it's like fish in water, so if you pick this one, you can't make mistake!

Friday, April 8, 2011

8th of April

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

Let England Shake

Polly Jean and I,  we are friends for a long time. Back in the horrible nineties, she helped me a lot to channel my rage and redirect it in the right direction. She was the strongest female I met (not counting my wife), she had attitude, she had energy, she had more testosterone than most men. Unfortunately, life has separated us, I haven't heard much about her until we met again few days ago. As usual, she talked and I listened. As usual, it was pleasant and moving experience for me. She has changed (who didn't!?!), but I can tell you, she is still damn good! Testosterone turns into estrogen, but it is still so strong. Rage turns into angelic chants (with more than little nervousness in her voice). Dirty rock'n'roll turns into sophisticated experiment.But energy remains energy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

17th of March
Jonathan Byrd - Cackalack


Educational role of rock'n'roll must not be ignored. This time we non Americans will learn two new words. Try to translate this sentence: "Scuppernong from Cackalack". You can't? Than, obviously, you are not from North Carolina (Cackalack) and you have never been in the Scuppernong river valley where Scuppernong white grapes are growing naturally in coastal area. Those two words now have additional new meanings. Cackalack is the name of Jonathan Byrd's third and best album so far, and Scuppernong is the name of the best song of this album. ....I am lonely, darling keep me warm.........I am broken, darling take me home .......deep in the shade of shallow Scuppernong........I am restless, darling let me go.....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

10th of March

The Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck

All Eternals Deck

He's got voice as already out of tune Bob Dylan went out of tune and he's nervous as Andy Roddick serving for staying in the match, but his words can be launched at the speed of more than 150 mph, more than Roddicks, or Ivo Karlovics serve. His words can hit you hard, right in your head, or, more dangerous, in your heart. His words can take you to any place in the world, can take you to the future or to the past. With him you can meet Quetzalkoatl and Charles Bronson, Liza Minnelli and Dinu Lipatti, Dennis Brown and Dana Plato....He is strong on words on this new album too. But he is not lo-fi anymore. It has it's good and it's bad sides. Some prefer that way, some prefer this way. I prefer any way John Darnielle choose.

Monday, February 28, 2011

28th of February

Pariah Beat - Bury Me Not

Bury Me Not

I don't know anything about this group. I know just one thing - I felt the same way when I first heard The Pogues long time ago. Pariah Beat are not musically similar, they just have that same joy of playing their music to the world!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

22th of February

Radiohead - The King Of Limbs

The King Of Limbs

After the third careful listening I can say that this schizophrenia, which manifest itself by antagonism between mechanistic repetitive rhythmic matrix and smeared and weepy vocals (first seen in Joy Division), is singing about my sad life in this cruel world, as Arsen Dedić, albeit in a different context, used to say, ".. you'll have to go into that mill that grinds ...". *

* Excerpt from discussion about this album on

Thursday, February 10, 2011

10th of February

Stray Dogg - Demo EP

Stray Dogg is my real life son. So, I'm in conflict of interest if I write about his EP. But you can download and listen to it here:
Note: it's the lowest lo-fi recording of his four original compositions.

Friday, February 4, 2011

4th of February

Kurt Vile - Square Shells EP

Square Shells EP

Incidental meeting at the party in their hometown Philadelphia changed lifes of Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile. They were both obsessed with the most famous native of Duluth, Minnesota (no, it's not Charlie Parr!). Their obsession was just the starting point for The War on Drugs, more Adam's than Kurt's band. Kurt better expresses himself in his solo albums and EP's, unique pieces of music. It's hard to explain his music, most of the time it's chaotic and sounds like "sound check" but in the middle of that chaos when you witness a birth of heavenly melody the only possible reaction is to shut up and listen! He is yet on the hard way of making really good song, but I don't doubt he'll make it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

19th of January
Andrew Combs - Tennessee Time EP

Tennessee Time

Young Andrew Combs has that rare kind of voice to make you cry in a moment. It's not what he sings, but how he does that! Just listen to Hummingbird and you'll know what I mean. If he penned this song himself, he'll be a big star but even if he just sung it, it's good enough for youngster like him! Another great plus for him is his ability to provoke maternal feelings in ladies (I know few examples!) and that surely won't make it harder for him. On the contrary!

strajnic’s Music Profile – Users at

strajnic’s Music Profile – Users at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

13th of January
John Carter Cash - Family Secret

The Family Secret

Gene for beauty went to Carlene Carter, gene for musical talent went to Roseanne Cash and what's left to poor John? Not much, he became producer. We would all live in peace with that, but he made a mistake, he wanted to make record on his own. How does it souns? It sounds like every record made by producer-wanna-be-artist. Boring, pretentious, empty, incoherent. By the way, the only producer who helped the produced (I mean, really help!) coming to my mind is Martin Hannett, who transformed average post-punk band Warsaw to eerie and spacious now legendary Joy Division creating the whole new genre during the process! But, let's get back to our hero, poor John Carter Cash. He has yet to choose what he want to be: classical pianist, heavy metal guitar hero, Foreigner follower, ambient artist .....Whatever he decides, he did reveal the best kept family secret - our dear son has no talent at all!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

9th of January
Turnpike Troubadours - Diamonds and Gasoline

Diamonds & Gasoline

Hank Williams' Lost Highway was toll free back then, but on future Appalacian Highway tolls will have to be payed. Tolls for leaving your roots behind, tolls for "so called" civilized life. Split Lip Rayfield will fare thee well from your mountain home, Turnpike Troubadours will meet you on the road to your new life just to remind you what you left behind. They can not save you from temptations, but echo of their songs can follow you all the way and help you make it through. That's more than enough for a musical group!