dimanche, janvier 25, 2009

FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND, Satori (1971, JapRock)

I'm in a JapRock mood.
My favourite JapRock band (including the more most recent ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE, GHOST etc...), far better than most japanese band from the 70s - I think of the bands described in Julian Cope's book "JapRockSampler", some of which are ok but not so many...

For those who don't know them, THE FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND is a sort of Japanese AMON DÜÜL II, in my opinion. They share this idea of creating their own legend in their music, with killer riffs, very specific guitar playing and charisma in the singing. A difference is their sound, much more minimalist than A.D's and more heavy psych too maybe.

Even if "Satori" is not my favourite album, it's their best known and the album that the fans remember first, maybe thanks to its strong unity. Obviously it's a very good entry into the band's dark and menacing world. A must have.
So here it is.

ps : I've just read that it's in the top30 of the best albums of 1971 on rateyourmusic.com - it seems you won't be that many to discover it on my blog...

mercredi, janvier 21, 2009

BLAGO BUNG, Kärleken & Döden (1981, indie pop)

I know absolutely nothing about this obscure swedish band, except that "Kärleken & Döden" seems to be their only album.
To say the truth : I've found it on another blog (Mutant sounds maybe?) and I just want to share it on mine now, because it's simply very surprising, naive and melancholic at once. It's composed of short songs with M or F vocals, it sounds like a mixture of 70s pastoral folk and 80s early dark electronics. Well, once more my english doesn't allow a good description, but believe me, it's very special and quite exceptionnal. You should try as I did last year.
And it's here .

jeudi, janvier 15, 2009

AND ALSO THE TREES, The house of the heart EP (1988, dark pop)

The reason why I post this 14' long EP is that I've been looking for it for months on various blogs, as it's never been released in CD. At last, the best way to get it was to buy a used LP on the web! So here it is.
I knew nothing about the band when a friend of mine made me discover this EP, many years ago. We were fascinating by the 3rd track, the haunting "Count Jefferey", one of the darkest song I know. The obsessive synth sequence as a basis, the layers of strongly echoed guitars and synths on it, everything was perfect. Magic!
Another really good song is the almost instrumental "Anchor Yard" - I'm not sure you can find it on CD neither. Same mood as "Count Jefferey".
On the contrary, forget the title track on side A, not really bad but certainly not as interesting as side B.
Find this EP ripped at 192kbps here.

mercredi, janvier 14, 2009

CHRISTIAN DEATH, The Scriptures (1987, death rock)

A concept album that confirms Valor Kand's taste for psychedelia, "The Scriptures" is also the 1st to contain many "not dark at all" songs. Many genres of music are explored, from horror film music (or sounds?) to cabaret songs to basic rock'n roll near classics - the cover of Hendrix "1984" is certainly too long but almost moving. The dark side is more in the tribal songs you'll find here too. I would say, after 50 krautrock albums post, that it's almost a kind of kraut from the 80s! In my opinion, a very good album - maybe because this is the one I've discovered the band with (on the contrary, it's not well rated on "rateyourmusic.com").
Let's say here that it's the last good album the band made - but i'll post the other albums recorded in the 80s, "Sex drugs and Jesus Christ" and the double concept "All the love all the hate" (an absolute failure that you've found earlier on this blog).
My rate for this one : 4/5
And it's here.

CHRISTIAN DEATH, Atrocities (1986, death rock)

After 2 albums that (for various reasons) were maybe not absolutely convinving, Valor - after Rozz Williams had gone - has probably produced the best album of his own CHRISTIAN DEATH. Even if it probably doesn't contain only good tracks, it's very tense, the work on guitars is really outstanding - sometimes it sounds like some analog synths or organs - and can remind the way it sounded in "Only theatre of pain". The general impression again is "death rock meets psychedelia", and there are some really moving tunes too : "Stranger Fortune" is a classic song to me, "Danzig Waltz" or "Chimère de-si de-là" are really convincing. The main problem, listening to this album 23 years after it's been released, is the way snare drums sound : much too loud and very 80s indeed! And the end of the album, with the cover of "Gloomy Sunday" and the dark ambient "Death of Joseph", is a bit too long.
My rate : 4,5/5
And here it is (at 192kbps).
ps : I couldn't find the almost black original artwork, so here is the copy of a re-release edition - same picture but very different and awful treatment.

vendredi, janvier 09, 2009

CHRISTIAN DEATH, Catastrophe ballet / Ashes (1983 / 1985, "death pop")

Despite the lack of interest of my readers about CHRISTIAN DEATH' 1st (less than 60 downloads for such a masterpiece!!), I keep on posting their essentials recordings from the 80s.

About "Catastrophe Ballet" : second album and first major shifts in the line up, alas. Tell me if I'm wrong, but only the singer Rozz Williams is still there (with a completely different singing though)! A major change is the arrival of guitarist and singer Valor Kand, who would soon lead the band through the 80s until now. It's not a surprise that "Catastrophe Ballet" sounds so different from "Only theatre of pain" : not punk agression, no feedbacks in the guitar, no echo is the drums and organs etc... on the contrary, the sound seems dangerously monotone and polite. And what about the compositions? Well, one on two is good, the other is often too simple and boring (like the 1st track). But I confess that the overall ambience is quite coherent and intriguing.
I remember that those who liked C.D. were considering this album their best, maybe thanks to the lyrics that seemed mysterious and beautiful. I don't know, I don't try to understand the lyrics. But you probably speak english better than me...
My rate : 3/5
Highlights : The Drowning, Sleepwalk, As evening falls, Electra Descending.

About "Ashes" : roughly the same line-up for a more accomplished album in my opinion. Better produced and spacier than "Catastrophe Ballet", it doesn't work as a series of singles but should really be heard as a whole instead. The 1st side obviously is better composed, the 2nd side may be boring, to say the truth (the too long "Luxury of tears" and the spoken words "Of the wound" that don't really work...). You'll note that it's the 1st album where all the songs are not basic rocks tunes (the ambient "Ashes Part II", the cabaret "Lament" and the spoken words "Of the wound"), what would become a kinf of tradition for the next albums from the 80s.

My rate : 3,5/5.
Highlights : Ashes, Ashes part II, Lament.

After "Ashes", Valor Kand, who was invited to play the guitar at first, would lead the band alone, after founding member Rozz Williams had quit (at this time, he was told to have committed suicide... what he's finally done, but 15 years later).
Here are this 2 albums, in a single file.

CHRISTIAN DEATH, Only theatre of pain / Deathwish EP (1981 / 82, death rock)

It's cold outside, so it's time for a little goth cliched (more or less) music period. I don't know how long nor for how many abums it will be. Not too much...

Let's start with the ultimate "death rock" (american "batcave"? - anyway, nothing in common with "death metal") album, CHRISTIAN DEATH's 1rst. I love it, there's absolutely no humour here, nevertheless I don't feel there is so many cliches either. Well... The guitar is fantastic (a kind of early SONIC YOUTH's distortion and feedback style), the voice is very similar to Robert Smith's around "Pornography" era but even more desperate, the music is tense, well composed, a kind of "punk meets psychedelia in a cave". Many great songs, nothing useless.
Well, I won't tell better than this comment picked on rateyourmusic.com :"The beginning of everything we like is right here: heavy guitars, amazing bass lines, harmfull moods, desperate vocals which you really can get whatever Rozz is saying."

In the file you'll find C.D.'s 1st EP, recorded in 81 but released in 84 only. It sounds more like a demo, but a good one, and it features 3 songs that won't be on the album, particularly one of the darkest songs I have, "Desperate hell". Almost frightening! Great!!
Again, a right comment on rateyourmusic.com :
"Deathwish", "Desperate Hell" and "Cavity" suggest psychedelia, distorted hard rock riffs, existential terror and a horrifying intensity. "Romeo's Distress" adds romantic elements to the recipe, "Dogs" displays doom synths and electronic effects, while "Spiritual Cramp" is a punk maelstrom.
It demonstrates the formidable power of the first Christian Death line-up, and features excellent guitar and vocal work by Rikk Agnew (ex Adolescents) and Rozz Williams respectively."

My rates :
> Only theatre... : 5/5
> Deathwish : 3,5/5

No prejudice, try it here (ripped at 192)
Be warned : I will post most of the albums the various incarnations of CHRISTIAN DEATH have released, as they've really made some good albums.