June 22nd Reviews / Contest next week

As usual, 5 reviews and 2 podcasts this week. Next week there may or may not be a site update, depending on how soon I get my computer back from the shop...

Regardless of whether that happens, I'll be having a little trivia contest next Wednesday at Noon (central standard time). The winner gets a copy of "Veneer" from Jose Gonzalez courtesy of Mute Records. Now you have two reasons to come back next week...

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I'm also going to add these to my best-so-far list:
Om - Conference of the Birds
Six Organs of Admittance - The Sun Awakens

Both spectacular albums and will probably end up in my final top 10 list.

i got an advanced copy of Thom Yorke's album. If you like fractured beats and Thom's melancholic style then you're gonna enjoy this one. I wonder if this is just a coincidence. Thom Yorke was previously in a band called Eraserhead. Does he have a fascination with rubbers???.

On the Helios topic, i love the way it flits from boards of canada style electronica, to ambient passages then on to beautiful acoustic work like "Light House".

I'm not sure what to think of the Helios album. Some tracks are very good, but as a whole I think it's too repetitive and almost tedious. It creates a nice mood, right from the start. But after that it kind of drags along. I think it should have been an EP or at least a whole lot shorter.

Seconded the Helios recommendation. Nothing particularly new (but, what is? why do music writers always need to state this?), but really beautiful and emotional electronic music. I bought it on the strength of its album artwork, and I'm not disappoitned in the least.

Looking forward to hearing Thom Yorke's album!

albums i like so far:

zombi - surface to air
juana molina - son
shearwater - palo santo
extra golden - ok-oyot system
niobe - white hats
don peris - go when the morning shineth
badawi - safe

Quote: "...so Neil listened 690 2006 albums at this date!"

Absolutely no way!! My general rules are (1) only listening to what I might possibly like; (2) only buy what I like. That way, I only like what I buy - thereby reducing disappontment to a bare minimum.
I'm more than willing to take chances, mind. Acid Mothers Temple were a huge gamble, especially as I bought about 8 of their albums in two weeks without hearing anything by them before-hand.
Yes I can be an idiot, but music is too engrossing, too intoxicating. I'm like a child in a sweet shop sometimes!

Theres a lot to digest there, but if you were to pick a few of them to buy then go for;

Port-Royal (stunning soundscapes, electronic/guitar music)

The Gentlemen Losers (country, folk and electronica)

Thom Yorke (because he is a genius)

Helios (very beautiful and unique music)

[T]ékël - (very instant and danceable dance music the way it should be)

Ulan Bator - theres something about their native French lyrics and accents)

My albums of the year so far, are as follows ( irealise some are from 2005 but i only got around to getting them this year):

# Artist Album (Release Date) Rating Ownership
1 Port-Royal/Flares (2005)
2 The Gentleman Losers /The Gentleman Losers (2006)
3 Mogwai /Mr. Beast (2006) Vinyl
4 A Silver Mt. Zion /Horses in the Sky (2005)
5 Sweek /The Unbelievable Cinematic Crash (2006)
6 Thee More Shallows/ Monkey vs. Shark (2006)
7 Van Der Graaf Generator /Present (2005)
8 Thom Yorke/ The Eraser (2006)
9 The Album Leaf /Into The Blue Again (2006)
10 Bitcrush/ In Distance (2006)
11 Boris /Pink [Southern Lord] (2006)
12 Deaf Center/ Pale Ravine (2005)
13 Nathan Fake /Drowning in a Sea of Love (2006)
14 Helios /Eingya (2006)
15 Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan /Ballad of the Broken Seas (2006)
16 The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble/ The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (2006)
17 Massive Attack /Collected (2006)
18 Mono / You Are There (2006)
19 Rodrigo Y Gabriela/ Rodrigo Y Gabriela (2006)
20 Sonores/ Sonores (2006)
21 Tarantula A.D./ Book Of Sand (2005)
22 [T]ékël/ [T]ékël (2006)
23 Tied & Tickled Trio /A.R.C. (2006)
24 Tool/ 10,000 Days (2006)
25 Tunng /Comments of the Inner Chorus (2006)
26 Ulan Bator/ Rodeo Massacre (2005)
27 Various Artists - Labels - /Ghostly International Idol Tryouts Vol. 2 (2006)
28 Donato Wharton/ Trabanten (2004)
29 Alias & Tarsier/ Brookland / Oaklyn (2006)
30 Epic45 /Drakelow (2006) CD
31 Fisk Industries /77 And Rising (2006)
32 B. Fleischmann /The Humbucking Coil (2006)
33 Inch-Time /As the Moon Draws Water (2006)
34 Leafcutter John /The Forest and the Sea (2006)
35 Murcof/ Cosmos (2006)
36 Soledad Brothers/ The Hardest Walk (2006)
37 Bitstream/ Domestic Economy 7 (2005)
38 Christ. /Blue Shift Emissions (2006)
39 Khonnor /Burning Palace (2006)
40 Liars /Drum's Not Dead (2006)
41 Primal Scream /Riot City Blues (2006)

68 albums in his top, according to Sturgeon sentence 90% of anything is anything, so Neil listened 690 2006 albums at this date! ;-)

Myself I put 10 in my top but only the first 7 has a very good chance to end in my top. So well I can say I listened carefully 70 albums from 2006! :-p

You guys are crazy! :)

68 albums of the year to date and we're not even halfway through the year. Sometimes when I think I'm actually doing a fairly good job hearing a lot of the releases that come down the pipe, I see lists like that and wonder where in the heck all this stuff is coming from.

There are a bunch of things on the lists below that I still really want to hear including the Adem, the Jesu, Acid Mothers Temple, etc. Need more hours in the day.

As requested, my albums of the year to date (see www.rateyourmusic.com/~cheggers)

1. MONO – You Are There
2. JESU – Silver
3. FINAL – 3
4. MOGWAI – Mr Beast
5. LEBANON – Sunken City
6. PAN-AMERICAN – For Waiting, For Chasing
7. SONIC YOUTH – Rather Ripped
8. WHITE ROCK – The Exploder
9. GHQ – Cosmology Of Eye
10. GHQ – La Poesia Visiva
12. ZAÏMPH – Live Hasselt
13. ZAÏMPH – Unfolded Gold
14. TODD – Comes To Your House
15. LORDS – This Ain’t A Hate Thing, It’s A Love Thing
16. CHRIS BROKAW – Incredible Love
17. ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE & THE COSMIC INFERNO – Starless And Bible Black Sabbath
18. ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE & THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O. – Have You Seen The Other Side Of The Sky?
20. LAMELLA – Love Versus Dirt
21. MOUTHUS / SUNROOF! / DOUBLE LEOPARDS – Crippled Rosebud Binding
22. MOUTHUS – The Long Salt
23. ROBIN GUTHRIE – Continental
24. GLISSANDRO 70 – Glissandro 70
25. ADEM – Love And Other Planets
26. GARETH HARDWICK – Three Degrees Of Separation [**]
27. CARLA BOZULICH – Evangelista
28. SARAH’S CHARITY – On The Edge Of Black Sinus Desert
29. TOOL – 10,000 Days
30. DE ROSA – Mend
31. SCOTT WALKER – The Drift
32. LOOSE FUR – Born Again In The USA
33. GARETH DICKSON – The Amber Goose Dance [**]
34. FEU THÉRÈSE – Feu Thérèse
35. EIGER – e. (a.k.a. Eiger)
36. DREAMS OF TALL BUILDINGS – Harbour’d In The Sleepy West [**]
37. ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE – Bon Voyage [**]
38. VINAYA – Les Marges [**]
39. RANDOM NUMBER – Golden Acre Sleeps
40. MELT – Inertia [**]
41. THE CENTURY OF AEROPLANES – Repellent Communications Of Sea Creatures [**]
42. GALENA – The Druid Curtain [**]
43. BOC SCADET – Nightfall In Gentle Waters [**]
44. VERBOSE – Aperture [**]
45. MAPS OF THE HEART – Drawn To Light [**]
46. CHEJU – Pica [**]
47. OCTOBER MAN – Spatial Index [**]
48. STEREOLAB – Fab Four Suture
49. DANIEL JOHNSTON – Lost And Found
50. THE ELECTRIC GHOSTS – The Electric Ghosts
51. KIMONOPHONIC – This Fragile Emergency [**]
52. OCTAVCAT – Drumming Up [**]
54. THE ANGELIC PROCESS – Coma Waering
56. MORRISSEY – Ringleader Of The Tormentors
57. TRAMPFARTYG – Ska Det Köras Cyklar Ner I Vaken? [**]
59. DREAMS (James Ferraro of The Skaters) – Dreams
60. THE SKATERS – Raising Spheres Of Crossing Angel Minds
61. VODKA SOAP (Spencer Clark of The Skaters) – Un Chand Pyramdelier
62. PAN ALS ALLGOTT SATURNIA, 1977 (James Ferraro of The Skaters) – Pan als Allgott Saturnia, 1977
63. PURPLE GONGS(James Ferraro of The Skaters) – Purple Gongs
64. KEPLER – Attic Salt
65. LES ENFANTS – Sea Rabbit
66. SOEZA – Tribunal 4 Soeza [**]
67. THE BAKER BOYS – Driftwood Boats [**]
68. BLACK OX ORKESTAR – Nisht Azoy

those marked [**] are part of Unlabel's "Series 52" - an on-going series, where one album is released each week (limited edition of 100, really cheap, well worth looking into if you like post-rock, electronica, acoustic and ambient).

Neil, I couldn't get that link to work, could you list 'em here?
Here's mine..
GHQ - Cosmology of Eye
Loren Connors - Sails
Loren Connors - Night Through (3 cd set of singles and rarities)
Ilyas Ahmed - Speaking of Shadows
Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood - Goodbye
Kyrgyz - s/t
Keiji Haino & Sitaar Tah! - Animamima
Scott Walker - The Drift
Starving Weirdos - Eastern Light
James Blackshaw - Sunshrine
Pumice - Yeahnahvienna
Charalambides - Dead/Live

thus far.

The top albums are only a part of the quality and fun of a musical year but well ok let participate! :-)

Liars - Drum’s Not Dead (Mute)
Original and catchy! Impressive, I put it between Talking Head's 'Remain in Light' and The Fun Boy Three first album.

Volcano The Bear - Classic Erasmus Fusion (Beta-Lactam Ring)
In fact it's the CD 1 which is in my top, but the CD 2 is a nice bonus that I won't drop. Shame on me I didn't knew this group. I listened quickly and partially their previous albums, most seems as much interesting than this one but they seem to tend more to experimental involving some parts hard to follow. I feel that Classic Erasmus Fusion has more density and is more strange than experimental, the CD 1 is amazing and beautiful. For more experimented ears, some of previous albums could be better but I bet for newbie this one is the best to start with.

Sightings - End Times (Fusetron)
A major step forward in comparison with previous albums, still a bit experimental but that's hidden by extreme games with noises. Not walls of noises but noises everywhere, fascinating.

Der Blutharsch - When did wonderland end ? (WKN/Tesco)
From 2005 but from extreme end of 2005 and the CD version is from 2006. This group mutated from Neo Folk to Rock and the result is strangely original and tenebrous.

The Amoeba Men - ...Let The Infection Set In (CNP)
Can't describe this music, just great, a lot of passion, catchy and original, at least for my ears.

Jel - Soft Money (Anticon)
Try too hard to seduce ears but the music density is amazing. One more with funny games with sounds. Highly catchy but he tried so hard so you could expect it, ha well I just enjoy I can't complain!

Shora - Malval (Conspiracy)
Still can't explain why I enjoy it that much! A sort of post-rock with underlying energy/power but that doesn't describe why I enjoy it so much.

Monno - Error (Conspiracy)
Not Mono but Monno. Well one more album of brutal and noisy rock with plenty edges. But this one has something more than most. I put it right after few Lightening Bolts and Burning Mind from Wolf Eyes. A great album walking in this musical path but with its own style.

Camille - Live au Trianon (Virgin)
Funny vocal pop, it works even better in live. The new version of old tracks into funny vocal pop is a great bonus. Nothing serious, just fun here.

Fatals - Fatals (Vakisakana)
Extreme Garage, quite cool but not for everybody!

I will eventually add them later in my top, but not sure at all: The last albums from Genghis Tron, Comets on Fire, Barry Adamson, Ekkehard Ehlers, Noxagt, Carla Bozulich, Phon°Noir, Whitehouse, Tarantula AD, The Cuts, The Fiery Furnaces, Carbonas (from USA), Volcano!

Interesting list, Neil. Good to see GHQ and Acid Mothers Temple among those. Didn't know there was a second GHQ record, will have to look this one up. Cheers.

click on my name for the link to my albums of the year, which is updated as and when

That's good to hear on the Arthur Russell. It's actually on my short list of things to purchse in the near future. I have most of his other releases to date and think that his work is amazing and ahead of its time (especially "World Of Echo").

I have to admit that I thought the Centro-Matic wasn't that thrilling. I hadn't heard any of Johnson's previous work, but perhaps it's just not my style in general.

The Acid Mothers Temple stuff sounds invigorating. I'll try to hunt one or the both of those down.

One of the many things I like so much about this site are the readers lists for album of the year. Always great stuff among those lists and plenty of things to discover. So now that we are halfway through 2006 I was wondering what everyone's favourite releases are so far this year. Would be a nice little sneak preview of the real deal in December.

Here are mine in random order:
Acid Mothers Temple - Starless And Bible Black Sabbath
The title track of this album just kills me! 35 minutes of mind blowing psychedelic freak-outs. Immense album from this great, yet totally insane band!

Arthur Russell - First Thought Best Thought
Especially the first instrumental selection is amazing. The best thing I’ve heard this year probably. Great reissue of lesser known recordings from someone who I think was a genius.

Valley Of Ashes - Cavehill Hunters' Attrition
This came out of nowhere for me. A 3lp box of mind blowing experimental folk jams with guys like Pete Nolan. Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice comes to mind if you want to make comparisons. Still lots to discover here for me on this one.

Centro-Matic - Fort Recovery
Will Johnson is a song writing genius. Centro-Matic remains to be one of my favourite bands and this one might just be their best yet. Listen to “For New Starts” you’ll be convinced.

Acid Mothers Temple & - Have You Seen The Other Side Of The Sky?
Yes, another Acid Mothers Temple album, but this one is quite different. There are even some acoustic tracks on here. But luckily at the end also a 30 minute monster track! Very impressive album.

Charalambides - A Vintage Burden
Already had a good review and podcast on here. I think I like “Our Bed Is Green” a little bit more, but still this album is insanely good. Christina had a beautiful voice, but it’s their guitar work that sets them apart I think.

Death Chants - Death Chants
Good cdr release on the Time-Lag label. So many great things going on on this album, experimental folk with strings. Best Time-Lag release so far this year.

Espers – II
Great psychedelic folk record. Greg Weeks done it again. Their best yet.

Boris & The Saltlicks - Cactusman Versus The Blue Demon
Best Americana album so far this year. Good, honest American music. Also a great live performance. Should get some more attention in the US.

I saw Jose Gonzalez a couple of months ago. I liked the album, but was put off by his live show.

This may sound very picky, but his playing was note-perfect. In fact too perfect. For me live music should be raw and full of passion, mistakes or bum-notes often enhance sonngs in a live arena.

However, i felt i could have stayed at home and listened to the record and had the same experience.

I have noticed he is touring again. But instead of playing in a small, dark club, he is playing in a large concert hall.

This may be a better setting for him, so ill probably give him another go.