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Monday, December 30, 2013

The Best Albums of 2013


Urednik IT časopisa Wired Chris Anderson je u svojoj knjizi The Long Tail koja se bavi ekonomskom problematikom izvanredno opisao ono što se događa na današnjoj muzičkoj sceni. Naime, čovečanstvo se iz paradigme hitova premestilo u paradigmu niša. U prevodu, sredinom osamdesetih i pre, uspeh u muzici diktirale su top liste, ko je na njima bio dobro plasiran, bio je uspešan i poznat, bez obzira na žanr muzike koju ste slušali. Iako je ovo i danas prisutno, sve više su prisutne i niše slušalaca koji slušaju određeni muzički pravac, imaju svoje omiljene autore koji van tog kruga mogu ali ne moraju biti poznati, imaju svoju ikonografiju, svoje izvore informacija, i svoje tržište. Tržište funkcioniše na taj način da se, za razliku od hitova koji se konzumiraju mnogo u kratkom vremenskom periodu, proizvodi ovih autora konzumiraju od strane manjeg broja ljudi ali tokom dužeg vremenskog perioda. (Momir Đekić - Svet Kompjutera Decembar 2013, uz moje neznatne adaptacije). Sve ovo sam napisao da bih objasnio da sam svoju listu najboljih albuma pravio iz niše koja se zova Amerikana (ma šta to u stvari značilo) i da pored albuma koji pripadaju tom pravcu ima i nekolicina onih koji mu ne pripadaju, ali su nekako doprli do mene i svideli mi se. Treba imati u vidu i da je ovo podskup od 100 albuma koji pripada skupu od oko tri stotine koje sam preslušao i da veliku većinu onih koje nisam stavio na listu a vi mislite da sam trebao, nisam ni preslušao. Za dobar deo sam napisao kratka objašnjenja zašto su na listi, za neke nisam stigao. Ko ima volje, nek izvoli! Komentari su dobrodošli!

Editor of Wired magazine Chris Anderson in his book "The Long Tail", which deals with economic issues, wonderfully described what is happening in today's music scene. In fact, the mankind moved from the paradigm "hits" to a paradigm "niche". In translation, in the mid-eighties and before, success in the music have been dictated by the charts, i.e. who was well placed was successful and famous, no matter what genre of music you're listening to. Although this is still present, the presence of niches of audience who listen to certain music genre, have their favorite authors who outside that circle may or may not be known, have their iconography, their sources, and their market, is increasing. Market work in such a way that , in contrast to the hits that is consumed much in a short period of time , these authors' products are consuming by small number of people, but over an extended period. (Quote: Momir Djekić - Svet Kompjutera Magazine December 2013, with my minor adaptations ). All this I wrote to explain that I made my list of the best albums from the niche that is called Americana (whatever that actually means), and that besides the albums that are in that genre, there are few of those who do not belong to Americana, but they somehow reach me and i loved it. It should be borne in mind that this is a subset of the 100 albums that belongs to a set of about three hundred, which I listened to past year, and that the vast majority of those who did not make it on the list and you think it should, I never listened . For a good part of the albums, I wrote a short explanation of why they are on the list , for some I did not. For those of you who have the will, let's go to the list! Comments are welcome !

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fatneck Friends!

They are all singer/songwriters, they are all / americana / folk artists, they are all damn good and they all have fat necks (literally)

The first, John Moreland, from Tulsa, Oklahoma! His second album is just as good as his first and the best thing is you can listen to them for free on his bandcamp page.

The second, Bradford Loomis from Seattle, Washington! His first album is gospel influenced folk, also free to listen on bandcamp.

The third, Austin Lucas from Bloomington, Indiana! His 8th album Stay Reckless is not on Bandcamp, so I gave you preview of the album from Soundcloud and his previous album from Bandcamp. I strongly recommend buying new album, it's the best of him to date.

The last but not the least, The White Buffalo(real name Jake Smith) from LA, California, who's new album Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways is out September the 10th (new track will be added every Tuesday on it's YouTube playlist), has set the standards pretty high with his previous album "Once Upon a Time in the West", my number two album on 2012 list.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Introspective Adventure

The 28th of May 2013
Laura Marling - Once I was an Eagle (2013)

I'm reading all around internet about similarities with Nick Drake or Joni Mitchell but it's quite unfair to accuse Laura for that. It is true, she is similar in approach to her emotions to Nick and Joni, but she is also similar with any great artist who have ever made connection with inner-self. To be honest, authenticity in visible part of creative process is more in question because this album really recalls Joni Mitchell's works with legendary bass player Jaco Pastorius (Hejira, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter...) and from time to time , when cello shows up, recalls Drake's Five Leaves Left. On all sixteen tracks she is almost on her own, playing guitar better than ever and singing a lot, occasionally accompanied with friends playing cello, bass, percussion and keyboards. In a whirlpool of past and future relationships, this 23 years old girl is asking questions and finding some answers along the way and that's the only way it should be. She will find out sooner or later that some questions will stay unanswered forever. But life will still go on.

Monday, April 1, 2013

New Southern Rock

The 1st of April 2013
Dorado - Anger, Hunger, Love and Fear of Death

While Violent Fammes' "This is American Music" echoing in my head (for the title, not for the content) I'm sinking into the crazy world of a southern gentlemen from Birmingham, Alabama, named Jody Nelson. The frontman of Dorado, made of some ex members of almost legendary Birmingham's band Through the Sparks and some other local musicians, is stepping inside the uncharted territory. Some have been there before, to mention just the most notorious as Syd Barrett, Brian Wilson or Captain Beefheart, Guided by Voices also, but only few returned with preserved common sense. Loose experimentation is taking it's turn from smooth melody and vice versa, some rock'n'roll is makin' it through too, but none of that is similar to blues/boogie/hard rock sweaty patterns of old southern rock of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Allman Brothers Band.  New southern rock is something completely different. Obviously, deep south is air-conditioned today!

Friday, March 8, 2013

8th of March 2013

Son Volt - Honky Tonk (2013)

After the break-up of Uncle Tupelo, proto americana band whose song No Depression (cover of The Carter Family song) gave name to at least one magazine and one music genre, Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar separate their ways. The first-mentioned ended up in a band (Wilco) that has become, after some wandering, the new R.E.M (to make myself clear, that's not such a bad thing, on the contrary). The second, our today's hero, Jay Farrar, kept up with his new band Son Volt where Uncle Tupelo left. He kept up with researching american traditional music during long meandering career, full of stops and go's. Now, twenty years from the birth of Son Volt, he is ready to give us a real masterpiece, by far the best album of this year and the best of his career too. Violins and slide guitars, with the coat of dust over every song here make us think of time passes by, of long forgotten dreams we had, of lost and found love. It's about the travel too. Road travel and the spiritual one!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Veterans still in the saddle!

Three long lasting alternative bands have new albums out. All three are very good and fresh after all these years. All three show us how to grow old with dignity, retaining quality supported with great experience.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away

Yo La Tengo - Fade

Eels - Wonderful, Glorious

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bluegrass! Bluegrass! Bluegrass! Bluegrass!

Chigger Hill Boys & Terri - Indescribable (2012)

Although for outsiders all bluegrass bands sounds the same, those four different Bluegrass records still don't represent the whole spectrum of bluegrass. Chigger Hill Boys & Terri, they are from Hendersonville, Tennessee, and they are worshiping God in every of their songs. In my opinion, they are doing it more successfully when Terri sings (she has that high lonesome quality in her singing!) and thank God she is singing 
on almost every track. This is Gospel record intended for Christian public and as such, it fulfills it's purpose, but outside of this territory it won't be recognized as important or entertaining.

Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass - The Road into Town (2012)

The next of kin to the late Bob Paisley, his son Danny (born in  Landenberg, Pennsylvania, 1959) is still keeping the fire of traditional bluegrass. Always inside the coordinates of the genre, but with all ingredients brought to perfection, every member of his band is offspring of bluegrass player including Danny's son Ryan who is picking mandolin with his father. If you have already heard hundreds of bluegrass records, this one won't shake your world, but if you've heard only few (and you like it), this could be one of your all-time favorites!

Town Mountain - Leave the Bottle (2012)

They are from Ashville, North Carolina, and they are the second band from Ashville I'm writing about. The first were The Honeycutters, one of the best country bands in my own alternative reality (other 99% of people have never heard about them), the second, Town Mountain are relatively new (this is their 4th album), deeply drowned into tradition, but open to new influences. Unlike notorious Punch Brothers who are trying to graft bluegrass and jazz looking pretentious and "clever" but loosing heartfeltness in the process, our heroes are melting honky-tonk, gospel and even surf-rock into bluegrass, leaving original feeling intact but adding some refreshing spices. Nice listening!

The Coloradas - The Coloradas (2011)

The nucleus of Coloradas are Roy Davis and Bernie Nye, songwriting pair accompanied with a bunch of well-known musicians from Portland, Maine, playing their version of bluegrass (or rather This is the most acceptable record for modern audience of all presented here. The Coloradas have their focus on songwriting, and remarkable songs they have indeed. From the starter Mysery ("Mysery, mysery, give me back my money, mysery") to the last song Enid ("Enid, the ghost is gone, wash those ashes off your face..."), the atmosphere is dark, the themes are gloomy, the light on the end of the tunnel could be seen only on the cover. Demo quality of the recording is just adding some more rough edges to the music, but, despite all that, for me, this is by far the best of these four CD's. Both songwriters are well worth following, specially Roy Davis. Can't wait to see what will be the trigger for catapulting them into the spotlight (if this ever happens!). In my alternative reality they are already torchbearers!