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10 Records with Marco Soellner (Klimt 1918) (ITA / ENG)

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With their unique blend of decadent post-rock, emotional shoegaze and goth rock recalls, Klimt 1918 is with no doubt one of the most innovative and interesting bands active nowadays, contributing to enrich with impressive records the already wonderful roster of german label Prophecy Productions.

Born in Rome in 1999 by musicians who already played in several local metal and rock bands (the brothers Marco and Paolo Soellner with bassist Davide Pesola), Klimt 1918 have started crafting their own musical formula initially with an interesting demo (Secession Makes Post-Modern Music), but above all with the foundamental following albums Undressed Memento (2003) and Dopoguerra (2005), where they paints a cinematic world made of melancholic and nostalgic feelings evocated through excerpts of 80’s and 90’s music, liquid guitar soundscapes and enthrallic melodic vocal lines.

The formula is enriched and never repeated in the same way on the following record Just in Case We’ll Never Meet Again (2008), where they added a solid and consistent dose of post-rock nostaliga and then on the mastodontic double album Sentimentale Jugend (2016), where Klimt shows a darker, louder and even more dreamy side.

On this article, written in both italian and english, it’s my pleasure to have founder, composer and singer/guitarist Marco Soellner here to selected 10 records that had a particular impact on him, as an artist, as a songwriter and as a person.

Songs from the Big Chair: Tears for Fears: Amazon.it: Musica

Tears for Fears “Songs From the Big Chair” (1985)

Songs from the big Chair fu la prima musicassetta che io e mio fratello comprammo quando eravamo bambini. Ricordo che mio padre verso la metà degli anni ottanta cominciò a spronarci ad ascoltare musica che piacesse a noi, diversa quella che potevano scoprire nella sua collezione. Ci dava ogni tanto una cifra destinata appositamente all’acquisto di dischi, così comprammo questo album i cui singoli (Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World e Head over Hill) erano in heavy rotation su Videomusic. Ascoltammo questo disco tutti i giorni per mesi e poi per anni imparando ad amare anche brani intimisti meno conosciuti come The Working Hour, I believe e soprattutto Listen che è una perla assoluta, a metà strada tra synthpop e dream wave malinconica. Riascoltandoli dopo 35 anni mi sembra evidente che abbiano avuto un’influenza determinante nel mio modo di scrivere canzoni.

Songs from the Big Chair has been the very first cassette that me and my brother have ever bought when we were kids. I remember that my father around mid 80’s started to encourage us to listen to music we liked, different then the one we could discover from his collection.
Sometimes he used to give us some money intended specifically for the purchase of records, so we bought this album whose singles (Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Head over Hill) were in heavy rotation on Videomusic. We listened to this record every day for months and then for years, learning to love also lesser known songs such as The Working Hour, I believe and in particular Listen, which is an absolute jewel, halfway between synthpop and melancholic dream wave. Listening to them again after 35 years confirms to me in a very clear way that they had a decisive influence on my way of writing songs.

Blade Runner: O. S. T. -Blade Runner: Amazon.it: Musica

Vangelis “Blade Runner OST” (1982)

Un tempo ascoltavo questo disco per sfuggire all’insonnia e immedesimarmi in una dimensione remota, un futuro/passato bloccato tra i ricordi della mia infanzia e la malinconia per il domani che non ha mai trovato compimento. Continuo ad ascoltare la colonna sonora di Blade Runner nel cuore della notte, a bassissimo volume, quando non riesco a dormire e non trovo altra soluzione se non quella di aggrapparmi ai synth monofonici di Vangelis; anche se ora è come percorrere tutte le strade perdute delle mie aspirazioni. Blade Runner Blues, la canzone che più di tutte evoca la nostalgia lacerante per il non vissuto attua in me una sorta di disconoscimento: un Marco diverso, in un luogo diverso, in una città diversa, un lavoro diverso, persone diverse attorno a me come se da qualche parte nel passato, la linea del tempo fosse stata deviata in una tangente creando un oggi alternativo. Quella tangente è l’unica realtà percorribile, adesso. Del mio vero futuro rimane lo spettro, un aura ectoplasmatica, il segno di un quadro lasciato sul muro per decenni che non mi ricordo di aver mai appeso.

In the past I used to listen to this record as an escape to insomnia identifying myself in a remote dimension, a future/past stuck between memories of my childhood and melancholy for the future that has never found fulfillment. I still listen to the Blade Runner soundtrack in the middle of the night, at a very low volume, when I can’t sleep and I can’t find any other solution than holding myself to Vangelis’ monophonic synths; even if now it feels more like walking all the lost paths of my aspirations. Blade Runner Blues, the song that most of all evokes the piercing nostalgia for the unlived, implements a sort of disavowal in me: a different Marco, in a different place, in a different city, a different job, different people around me, like if somewhere in the past, the timeline had been deflected into a tangent creating an alternate today. That tangent is the only viable reality now. Of my actual future remains only the specter, an ectoplasmic aura, the mark of a painting left on the wall for decades that I don’t remember ever hanging.

Dead Can Dance – Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun | Just Direct

Dead Can Dance “Within the Realm of Dying Sun” (1987)

Within the Realm of Dying Sun è un sogno ombroso, una suggestione neoclassica fuori dal tempo. Ha il potere di astrarre l’ascoltatore dalla realtà che lo circonda e proiettarlo in una dimensione di sospensione e rarefazione. Ogni volta che lo ascolto mi sento come un archeologo che trova nel terreno le tracce di un antico dromos sepolto sotto le radici degli alberi. È tangibile la tensione verso il disseppellimento e il rinvenimento. Come se la musica fosse una discesa nella terra, fino alla soglia di una tomba ricavata nel tufo vecchia di tremila anni.

Within the Realm of Dying Sun is a shadowy dream, a timeless neoclassical suggestion. It has the power to abstract the listener from the reality he’s surrounded by and project him into a dimension of suspension and rarefaction. Every time I listen to it I feel like an archaeologist who finds in the ground the traces of an ancient dromos buried under the trees’ roots. The tension towards excavation and discovery is perceptible. As if the music was a descent into the earth, up to the threshold of a tomb carved into three thousand years old tuff.

The Story Behind The Album: Secrets of the Beehive, by David Sylvian

David Sylvain “Secrets of the Beehive” (1987)

Secrets of the Beehive è uno di quegli album usciti nella seconda parte degli anni ottanta che diluivano l’esperienza new wave nella sperimentazione cameristica, come stava succedendo all’altrettanto seminale Spirit of Eden dei Talk Talk. Un terreno sonoro che poi avrebbe dato i suoi frutti post rock all’inizio del decennio successivo. Sylvian lo registrò quasi per caso mentre stava collaborando con Holger Czukay dei Can a Plight and Premonition l’album ambient che i due fecero uscire alcuni anni dopo. Si tratta quindi di un’opera discontinua, scaturita dall’improvvisazione e da un’incessante ricerca. Lo considero difatti un album di appunti di viaggio. Una sorta di collezione di oggetti sonori raccolti qua e la, ognuno impregnato di sapori diversi ma accomunato dalla stessa aura malinconica e nostalgica. La splendida copertina di Vaughan Oliver che ritrae un arenile marino dove giacciono oggetti trasportati dalla risacca, ha poi indubbiamente influenzato questa mia percezione.

Secrets of the Beehive is one of those albums released in the second half of the 80’s that diluted the new wave experience into chamber experimentation, alongside the equally seminal Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk. A sound ground that would have then created the roots of post rock at the beginning of the following decade. Sylvian recorded it almost by accident while he was collaborating with Holger Czukay from Can on Plight and Premonition, the ambient album that the two released a few years later. It is therefore a discontinuous work, resulting from improvisation and incessant research. In fact, I consider this an album of travel notes. A sort of collection of sound objects taken from here and there, each imbued with different flavors but united by the same melancholic and nostalgic aura. Moreover Vaughan Oliver’s splendid cover, which portrays a seashore where objects transported by the surf lie, has undoubtedly influenced this perception I have on the album.

Fields Of The Nephilim, Elizium, Beggars Banquet,Vinyl LP , CD

Fields of the Nephilim “Elizium” (1990)

Ho ancora i brividi se penso alla prima volta che ho ascoltato questo disco, ormai 25 anni fa. Quello che mi ha subito colpito di Elizum è il lavoro straordinario svolto dai due chitarristi Paul Wright e Peter Yates. Le canzoni sono infatti disseminate di feedback, loop concentrici di tremolo, droni ambient e rumori che rendono il sound dell’album tridimensionale e affascinante. La lunga coda di At the Gates of Silent Memory è magia pura: una sorta di liquida, ripetitiva oscurità sovrastata dalla voce indimenticabile di Carl McCoy che declama testi criptici influenzati dalla mitologia sumerica. I brani poi sono tutti collegati tra loro, fusi in un unico stream emozionale. Nascono e muoiono in lunghe scie soniche. Trip totale.

I still have chills when I think about the first time I listened to this record 25 years ago. What immediately struck me about Elizum is the extraordinary work done by the two guitarists Paul Wright and Peter Yates. The songs are in fact soaked with feedbacks, concentric tremolo loops, ambient drones and noises that make the album’s sound three-dimensional and fascinating. The long At the Gates of Silent Memory is pure magic: a sort of liquid, repetitive darkness dominated by the unforgettable voice of Carl McCoy who declaims cryptic lyrics influenced by Sumerian mythology. The songs are also all linked together, merged in a single emotional stream. They are born and die in long sonic trails. Total trip.

Mark Hollis, where are you? I Talk Talk e la legge della sottrazione -  Limina | Rivista Culturale Online

Talk Talk “It’s My Life” (1984)

Ho amato tutte le incarnazioni dei Talk Talk: dal synthpop romantico degli esordi, passando per la svolta acustica intimista, fino alla definitiva destrutturazione post rock. Ma il mio disco preferito rimane It’s My Life forse perché mi ricorda l’infanzia negli anni ottanta e poi il periodo dei primi anni universitari in cui cominciavo ad approfondire seriamente la conoscenza dell’universo new wave. It’s My Life è sostanzialmente un album pop concepito per dominare le classifiche. Eppure in esso, come anche nel precedente omonimo debutto sono presenti in nuce tutti gli elementi che avrebbero poi contraddistinto la proposta musicale di Mark Hollis e Paul Webb, ovvero accordi minori, lirismo malinconico e un certo sotterraneo rifiuto dell’edonismo ottantiano.

I loved all the incarnations of Talk Talk: from the early romantic synthpop period, through the intimate acoustic turn, to the definitive post rock deconstruction. But my favorite record remains It’s My Life, perhaps because it reminds me of my childhood in the 80’s and then the period of my first university years in which I began to seriously deepen my knowledge on the new wave universe. It’s My Life is basically a pop album created for dominating music charts. Yet in it, as well as in the previous homonymous debut, all the elements that would later distinguish the musical proposal of Mark Hollis and Paul Webb are present in a nutshell; namely minor chords, melancholic lyrics and a certain rejection of 80’s hedonism.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 1999 - Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada -  PSYCANPROG

Godspeed You! Black Emperor “Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada” (1999)

È sempre arduo preferire un album nella discografia dei GY!BE. Io li amo tutti e non smetto mai di citarli nei miei ascolti. Stavolta scelgo Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, un EP uscito nel 2000 che contiene Moya quella che io ritengo la loro più bella canzone di sempre. Si tratta di una reinterpretazione della terza sinfonia (Symfonia pieśni żałosnych) di Henryk Górecki sviluppata su un unico, imponente crescendo. Alla fine del settimo minuto, dopo un lungo climax il brano esplode in una cavalcata epica e tristissima. Uno dei momenti più alti del post rock cameristico. Come tutti i prodotti Constellation anche SRFNZK ha un layout semplice ma elegantissimo con scritte e disegni dorati su carta nera opaca color antracite. In copertina è riprodotto il Tohu VaVohu (Senza forma e vuoto) un passo/pittogramma della Bibbia tratto dalla Genesi, nel retro invece lo schema per la realizzazione di una bomba Molotov in italiano. Una sorta di sistema simbolico sulla condizione umana compresa tra la creazione e la rivolta, ovvero il suo momento culminante. La commistione di citazioni religiose/spirituali e politica militante è un tratto della poetica dei GY!BE che ho sempre trovato molto affascinante. Trovo completi la dimensione ieratica e solenne della loro musica.

It’s always hard to choose a favourite album from GY!BE’s discography. I love all of them and I always mention them when I talk about my listenings. This time I choose Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, an EP released in 2000 that contains Moya, which is according to me their best song ever. It is a reinterpretation of Henryk Górecki’s third symphony (Symfonia pieśni żałosnych) developed on a single, imposing crescendo. At the end of the seventh minute, after a long climax, the song explodes into an epic and very sad section. One of the highest moments of post rock chamber music. Like all Constellation releases, SRFNZK also has a simple but very elegant layout with golden lettering and drawings on matt anthracite black paper. On the cover there’s a reproduction of the Tohu VaVohu (Without form and void) a passage/pictogram of the Bible taken from Genesis, on the back instead there’s the scheme for the realization of a Molotov cocktail in Italian. A sort of symbolic system on the human condition between creation and revolt, in other words, its climax. The mix of religious/spiritual quotes with militant politics is a trait of GY!BE’s poetic that have always fascinated me.I think it fulfill the solemn dimension of their music.

A SILVER MT. ZION He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace  The Corner Of Our Rooms reviews

A Silver Mount Zion “He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms…” (2000)

Nati da una costola dei GY!BE, gli A Silver Mount Zion hanno sviluppato nel tempo uno stile più punk e sperimentale rispetto a quello della band madre. Nonostante tutto, però questo disco, che rappresenta il loro esordio discografico, risulta ancora legato alla matrice post rock/cameristica anche se con qualche eccezione/divagazione vocale, che poi diventerà l’elemento caratterizzante degli album successivi. Mi riferisco soprattutto a 13 Angels Standing Guard ’round the Side of Your Bed, un brano costruito su delle tracce di cantato fatte suonare al contrario che donano alla composizione un atmosfera fantasmagorica assurda. Forse la canzone più spettrale e malinconica che abbia mai ascoltato.

Started by three members of GY!BE, A Silver Mount Zion have developed over the time a more punk and experimental style compared to their parent band. But even so, this album, which represents their discographic debut, is still linked to the post rock/chamber style even if with some exceptions/vocal digressions, that will later become characterizing elements of the following albums. I am referring in particular to 13 Angels Standing Guard ’round the Side of Your Bed, a song built on vocal tracks played backwards that give the composition an absurd phantasmagoric atmosphere. Perhaps it is the most spooky and melancholic song I’ve ever heard.

EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell  the Truth Shall Live Forever reviews

Explosions in the Sky “Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever” (2001)

Sono molto legato a questo disco perché l’ho ascoltato per la prima volta di notte, in treno, mentre tornavo da Parigi nel lontano 2003. Ricordo che all’improvviso il convoglio si è fermato in mezzo alla campagna e il personale ci ha fatto evacuare a causa di un incendio. Ho ancora chiara in testa l’immagine delle fiamme altissime che si sprigionavano da una delle carrozze e illuminavano i campi avvolti nell’ombra. Io avevo ancora le cuffie con Those Who Tell the Truth che girava nel cd player portatile. Mi sembrò quasi un segno del destino, una sorta di predestinazione aver ascoltato per la prima volta una band con un moniker così perfettamente armonizzato a quella visione assurda e affascinante.

I am very attached to this record because I’ve listened to it for the first time at night, during a train travel, on my way back from Paris back in 2003. I remember that all of a sudden the convoy stopped in the middle of the countryside and the staff evacuated us due to a fire. I still have a clear image of the towering flames rising from one of the carriages and enlightening the fields shrouded in shadow. I still had headphones on with Those Who Tell The Truth running through the portable cd player. It seemed almost a sign of destiny, a kind of predestination to have heard for the first time a band with a moniker so perfectly harmonized with that absurd and fascinating vision.

Burzum - Filosofem Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Burzum “Filosofem” (1996)

Scelgo di inserire Filosofem nella mia lista per due motivi: per testimoniare la mia lunga appartenenza al movimento death/black metal, iniziata nei primi anni 90 e conclusasi due lustri più tardi, e per ricordare a me stesso come quell’esperienza dello spirito non sia stata casuale ma invece legata a un preciso modo di stare al mondo. Qualcosa che non si perde mai del tutto con il passare degli anni ma si trasforma in una sensibilità differente e complementare. Burzum testimonia molto bene questa circolarità. I sui riff sono concentrici, come droni che catturano il pensiero e lo fanno girare e focalizzare sul trascendente. In virtù della sua natura meditativa questo black metal è eterno. Si è adattato a stagioni diverse della mia vita e continua a fare parte delle mie giornate. Brani come Gebrechlichkei e Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule Der Singularitat sono scivoli verso l’infinito, strade di accesso alla religiosità, anche se si parte da solide basi laico materialiste. Non mi sono mai preoccupato di approfondire troppo la poetica norrena di Varg Vikernes. Non mi interessa il suo modo di vedere il mondo. Non ho mai considerato il suo personaggio politico/messianico. Ascolto da 25 anni la sua musica unicamente per foraggiare la mia personale, privata psichedelia.

I decided to include Filosofem on my list for two reasons: to testify to my longtime membership in the death/black metal movement, started during early 90’s and ended two decades later, and to remind myself how that experience of the spirit was not random, but instead linked to a specific way of staying in the world. Something that you’ll never completely lost over the years, but that becomes a different and complementary sensitivity. Burzum testifies this circularity very well. His riffs are concentric, like drones that capture thoughts and make them spin and focus them on the transcendent. By virtue of its meditative nature this black metal is eternal. It has adapted to different seasons of my life and continues to be part of my days. Tracks like Gebrechlichkeit and Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule Der Singularitat are slides towards infinity, access roads to religiosity, even if everything starts from solid materialistic laical basis. I’ve never been interested to delve too deeply into Varg Vikernes’ Norse poetics. I don’t care how he sees the world. I’ve never ever considered his political/messianic persona. I have been listening to his music for 25 years solely to feed my personal, private psychedelia.

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Album Lists

10 Great Records of 2020

2020 has been a hard year with no doubt at all; alongside the millions of things related to Covid-19 that forced us to change our way of living, music has been hit as well.

Tons of tours and festival has been erased or postponed and we don’t see any band playing live since a very long time, but fortunately many albums has been released (actually more than expected due to a forced quarantine), and we can still enjoy listening to some great new music.

This list is intended to gather a few recommended records released in 2020 in no particular order with no limits of genre or way of distribution.

At the end of the article you’ll also find a list with some additional records i enjoyed as well.

Liturgy - Origin of the Alimonies

Liturgy “Origin of the Alimonies”

Last year the brooklyn based experimental metal band surprised us with a great comeback after 4 years with a new album called H.A.Q.Q., an excellent record made with Liturgy’s classic formula.

After just over a year Hunter-Hunt Hendrix’s band is already out with a new incredible masterpiece, bringing to another level its sound and enriching it with avant-garde and classical music elements with an operatic structure divided in movements played with a band composed by 12 members.

Needless to say this album is a really unique experience, providing undoubtely the most well crafted hybridation with classical music that black metal has ever seen; it seems like Liturgy has finally acheived the sound Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has been looking for years, which reminded me a sort of metal version of Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

This of course dosen’t mean the previous works were inferior, since we’re talking about a band that has always evolved its sound on every album in an unique way, but simply that they have been able to express exactly the real nature of the project in the best way possible; this achievement has also happened when Hunt-Hendrix came out as a transgender woman, opening herself in a really touching way through an Instagram post.

In conclusion i think we could surely affirm that Liturgy is one of the most interesting and original bands active nowadays and that Hunter Hunt-Hendrix is a true visionary genius:

if you want to start a really unusual philosophical opera journey made of modern classical music, avant-garde dissonances, black metal explosions with a few trap beats and electronic glitches don’t miss this record and the previous single Antigone in collaboration with Leya.

Recensione: Rina Sawayama - Sawayama | Uptempo Magazine

Rina Sawayama “Sawayama”

One of the best debuts this year comes by the british/japanese born singer Rina Sawayama, providing a very genuine and inspired pop record named after just her surname.

One of the things that surprises more is how much Rina Sawayama is inspired by 2000s music which may be pop, dance, rock or even nu metal. Just to take an example STFU! has some super punching nu metal inspired guitar explosion, but it later evolves into a perfect meodic pop chorus that reminds the most catchy  songs by Christina Aguilera or Mariah Carey. Her voice is also super versatile and expressive, perfectly matchable to many different contexts; Indeed on this records you’ll find explosive songs (STFU!), dance pop well-crafted tunes (Comme Des Garcons), trap inspired modern pop (Akasaka Sad) or perfect songs to sing at loud (Paradisin’, Tokyo Love Hotel), without forgetting some more touching moments with very well written lyrics (Chosen Family).

Yung Lean - Starz LP - Smekkleysa SM // BadTaste SM

Yung Lean “Starz”

Oh yeah, the most eclectic and “mystical” swedish rapper has come back with a new record after the wonderful Strangerz of 2017, and it sounds exactly as you could expect its continuation.

Sad and dreamy tunes are still the main element that mark out Yung Lean’s cloud rap, perfect to be enjoyed during an insomniac night with lights out (or even with just a green soft neon light that reminds the album cover’s colour) and total calm around.

Productions is still very impressive, especially for the massive use of hypnagogic synths, dreamy melodies, ambient-like enrichments, effected guitars and weird sounds, offering for sure some excellent cloud rap songs like Outta my Head, but seeing also Yung Lean providing some more psychedelic oriented moments like the excellent Starz with the wonderful guest partecipation of Ariel Pink or the hypnotic Dancer in the Dark.

If you’re looking for a trip made of sad vibes and magic sound layers this is probably your thing.

HOW I'M FEELING NOW - MP3 | Charli XCX US

Charli XCX “How i’m Feeling Now”

A forced global quarantine in the digital era may have for sure a positive effect on artists or creative minds in general, having finally enough time to make order within their ideas.

Looks like Charli XCX’s last album How i’m Finally Now is one of the best products realized during quarantine and her best release so far.

The british futuristic popstar probably dosen’t need any particular presentation and on this record she has found an even more distinctive and solid identity for her sound, switching intelligently across future synth pop, very catchy autotuned vocal melodies, easy listening solutions, digital glitches and trap-like beats.

Now image yourself listening to Claws, Party 4 u or Visions a decade ago; doesn’t this music sounds exactly as your idea of “pop from the future”? How you’re feeling now?

SVALBARD, When I Die Will I Get Better? - The New Noise

Svalbard “When I Die, Will I Get Better?”

One of the most interesting hardcore/post-metal hybrid bands is finally back with its third album; i’m talking about Svalbard from Bristol, UK and their new record When I Die, Will I Get Better? (Looks like pessimistic titles are a trademark for every full-length), which is definitely a true gem among the heavy music releases of the year.

Compared to the previous works here the band pushes its art over a more lighter and dreamy sound, which reminds a bit of last Alcest album Spiritual Instinct, but of course in a more hardcore way.

That’s always incredible how much the band is able to create very emotional and intense soundscapes mixing heartbreaking melodies with political and melancholic lyrics; alongside the strong post-rock oriented guitar work (that sounds more chrystalline than ever) a special mention goes to Serena Cherry’s clean vocals that found a lot of space on this new album (check What Was She Wearing or Pearlescent) offering incredibly cathartic moments.

Recensione: Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou - May Our Chambers Be Full

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou “May Our Chambers Be Full”

Putting togheter two of the most inspired and talented acts around today is for sure a certain way to get something qualititatively relevant, but due to the different nature of both Thou and Emma Ruth’s music i was super curious about what expecting from this album, even if i already knew it would have been great before even listening to it.

Moreover this collaboration is not a completely new thing since they already played a set together at the mighty Roadburn Festival in Holland back in 2019, but on the studio side this is the first work that sees the partecipation of both (and it’s not even the last, since there’s a bonus EP on the way).

Based on Thou standards this may be considered less aggressive and more melodic and not so different in comparison with Emma Ruth’s latest releases, even if it’s for sure super heavy with insanely low guitar tuning, which is strangely in perfect harmony with Emma’s delicate voice and softer moments.

In conclusion the overall result is porbably the perfect mixture of both styles, alternating more dreamy post-rock moments with devasting sludge metal shots with insane high pitched screams. A special mention goes to guitar compositions able to switch from more elegant arpeggios to low tune heavy chords and typically metal harmosied twists.

Dead Kids, R.I.P. City | Soft Kill

Soft Kill “Dead Kids R.I.P. City”

Undoubtely one of the most notable bands alongside Drab Majesty if we talk about post-punk revival. With several albums in their discography that explores various different aspects of gothic rock universe (which makes the band’s sound pretty variegated), this record offers some more lighter vibes and it’s definitely highly recommended.

A strong sense of nostalgia permeats the atmospheres in this album, it’s not desperate or necessarily dark, but it gives the same emotion that you feel when you remember of past moments and periods that will never come back.

Lyrics are indeed narrating facts happened in the past and memories related to them; every track is a different characters that tells a different story related to Portland, Oregon.

This is a romantic journey made of vitrious guitars melting into liquid melodies, some choruses and main riffs are impossible to forget (who’s still singing the melodies in Floodgate’s intro or the instrumental chorus of Crimey after a listen?) and the experience is pretty distinctive, confirming Soft Kill as one of the most interesting bands active nowadays.

ROPE SECT - The Great Flood

Rope Sect “The Great Flood”

After a pretty good record made in 2017 and entitled Personae Ingratae this obscure project has come back this year with a new album that pushes their sound in an even more convincing and mature direction.

The style of Rope Sect is a sort of post-punk/gothic rock with absolutely distinctive and catchy riffs and some very sinister moments that on this record sees a pretty strong metal contamination hearable on many guitar harmonisation, a few double kick/blast beats drums accelerations and even a little harsh scream cameo on the song Diluvian Darkness.

The haunting vocal work is very interesting and well made, also the always reverbered guitars are giving to the atmospheres a strong and captivating personality, which is absolutely irresistible for all those who likes enthralling rock with dark vibes.

Even if this is pretty original, if we should have to found some comparisons the more immediate would be probably Fields of the Nephilim or even bands like Christian Death or Sisters of Mercy with a strong Agalloch-like melancholic flavour.

Highly recommended.

clipping.: Visions of Bodies Being Burned Album Review | Pitchfork

clipping. “Visions of Bodies Being Burned”

Alongside Run The Jewels mastodontic fourth album (yeah it’s not on this list, but it’s absolutely worth to check), this is definitely one of the highest moments of the year related to hip-hop.

Certainly clipping. and their claustrophobic industrial rap are not new for all lovers of alternative music and this album provides essentially a confirm of their greatness.

This record is the conceptual continuation of the previous There Existed and Addiction to Blood and with its abrasive electronic obsessive beats, dark soundscapes, glitch-y noises and aggressive rapping punchlines provides a unique minimal and avantgardistic weird rap opera.

Another worth to mention point of this records are certainly some collaborations with many great artists able to let the album taking different shapes in a really cohesive way. For example Los Angeles female rap duo Cam & China brings a killer flow to the song ’96 Neve Campbell, as well as Ho99o9 do on Looking Like Meat with their punk rap aggression; But also the weird contributions of Joe Lester from Intronaut on bass (Check the Lock), guitarist Jeff Parker (Eaten Alive) and experimental artists Greg Stuart (on the short interlude Invocation) and Sickness (Body For The Pile) give a very original intention to the album.

It’s also impossible to forget the ending song Secret Piece which is the reinterpretation of a Yoko Ono avant-garde track featuring almost all the guests building a very solid instrumental wall made of loops, atmospheric layers and even saxophone, cello, guitar and double bass.

Plantgazer | Show Me a Dinosaur

Show Me a Dinosaur “Plantgazer”

In the abscence of a Deafheaven album this year (even if there’s a cool live album called 10 Years Gone) this has been for sure the best replacement, since this russian project is one of the closest things to them i’ve heard, but fortunately without sounding like a clone band.

Plantgazer is a fantastic album, full of heartbreaking moments and really emotional vibes putting what remains of the blackgaze micro genre into an ocean made of the best of modern post-rock with some strong This Will Destroy You and Explosions in the Sky references.

It’s impossible to resist to the wonderful sparkly melodies of Marsh that arrive directly to your heart or to the enthralling bass driven section of the opening Sunflower.

If you’re looking for touching music while contemplating a winter sunrise, this quartet from Saint Petersburg with such a likable name has provided you the perfect soundtrack; You can liquefy your soul and letting it drown across chrystalline arpeggios, furious blast beats, suffering screams, loud Mono-like guitar tremolo sections and Sunbather inspired crescendos.

Unmissable!

Other Honorable Mentions:

Touché Amoré “Lament”

Run The Jewels “RT4”

Jesu “Terminus”

Ichiko Aoba “Windswept Adan”

Kataayra “Toda História pela Frene ”

Anna Von Hausswolf “All Thoughts Fly”

Phoebe Bridgers “Punisher”

Shame “Uniform”

Adrianne Lenker “Songs”

Ulver “Flowers of Evil”

Tired Lion “Breakfast for Pathetics”

Shedfromthebody “A Dead and Aimless Hum”

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10 Discouraging songs regarding love

Love is without any doubt the most inspriring feeling for all the arts, having a particular visceral empathy with cinema, and music. Saint Valentine’s Day is usually considered the celebration of the most obvious, mutual and happy side of a feeling that actually has way more facetings that are still intense and pure, but which may include desperation, sorrow or just misunderstandings; giving birth to very genuine music pieces and lyrics sometimes permeated by heartache, pain, rejection or nostalgia for a lost love, but also nihilism or skeptciism.

This list contains 10 discouraging songs about love, exploring it in in an opposite way of its joyous stereotypes.

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Radiohead “True Love Waits” (A Moon Shaped Pool, 2016)

The song is basically a tormented soft ballad accompanied by hypnotic synths in the case of the studio version and acoustic guitar in the case of the recorded live version, both are undoubtely great and intimate, but maybe the dreamy and abstract feeling of this one fits in a more interesting way with the lyrics. The main topic of the song is remaining young and trying to not grow to keep a loved one and consequently the pureness of the feeling. The main refrain “don’t leave, don’t leave” shows a strong fragility and a real need of someone’s company, while the verses “i’m not living, i’m just killing” are the clear rapresentation of a self-destructive abandonment sometimes relatable to a desperate love.

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Princess Chelsea “I Love My Boyfriend” (The Loneliest Girl, 2018)

Probably most known for her super catchy song Cigarette Duet, Princess Chelsea from New Zealand is surely one of the most interesting names of modern art pop around today.

I Love My Boyfriend is a baroque ballad with some incredibly addictive melodies, especially the ones played by the harp on the chours and the heavenly vocals singing on it; probably this is not intentionally a discouraged song about love, but through its story illustrates a really more than common scenario present in many long time relationships, which demolish the “eternal mutual love” tale we have always heard about.

The song is about a girl in a 10 year relationship feeling something special for another guy, but too confused to admit it. Even if it’s obvious she really wants the other, she tries to convince herself that her boyfriend is the only one she loves. That’s very interesting how the verses where she convince herself that her boyfriend is the one she really loves don’t describe any feeling and they simply remark the fact that “he’s a good man” and “takes care of her” while the ones about the other guy are clearly showing a romantic interest (“everytime he looks at me I get electric shocks, In my brain and in my heart”).

The naive way the narrator denies her feelings to herself is surely spontaneous, but so confuse to show immediately their real nature to the listener, and that’s essentially what makes this song’s lyrics so well crafted.

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Hatchie “Bad Guy” (Sugar & Spice, 2018)

Taken from her wonderful debut EP Sugar & Spice, this is the highest moment of the whole record.  Starting with a beautiful and touching guitar arpeggio the song soon evolves into an ethereal and nostalgic ballad with Cocteau Twins-ish angelic vocal melodies and ends by reaching the loudest and most emotional point in its finale. If it’s not already obvious, Hatchie from Australia, takes inspiration from 90’s british dream pop with a very delicate touch of shoegaze.

This song may have several meanings, but it is essentially about a complicated relationship (not clear if it’s a broken one or not), with the narrator feeling bad and blaming herself for being so much into someone who has clearily made her suffer multiple times.

These lyrics shows in a very mellow way all the frustration of being not understanded by someone you care abuot more than you should.

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Deafheaven “Unrequited” (Roads to Judah, 2011)

Before confimring theirself as one of the most acclaimed bands of the last decade in the world of extreme and alternative music, in 2011 Deafheaven have released this debut album through Deathwish Inc.

The californian ensemble shows immediately a very strong emotional and melancholic touch in their shoegaze-y black metal formula made of very long post-rock overtures and aggressive sections with neverending blast beats, high pitch shrieks and razor distorions.

In terms of sound and lyrics this 9 minutes song describes exactly the tormenting feeling of loving someone who dosen’t respond to your feelings. The deep and desperate feelings expressed in this poetical lyrics are absolutely real and touching, describing a persistent thought impossible to earase (“I feel so worn, quartered, and torn. Hung from the post where my brothers once sung. Cut from the tie where my sanity binds. Stuck in Winter’s Hell, with just you in mind.”), a thought that makes everything else impossible to be done (“I can’t move on, because I can’t shed the weight of myself. There is no such thing as the past, present, or future. There just is, and it never goes away.”), and a lacerating sense of grief accompanied by self blaming thoughts for being unable to stop it (“I thought about you for the rest of the day. Catching my head turning to find you again. I hated myself for it.”)

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Carly Raep Jepsen “Your Type” (Emotion, 2015)

Yes, she’s the same girl behind the addictive summer hit Call Me Maybe we’ve been hearing all day long back in 2012. Althought the undoubtely mainstream pop nature of her music, is always fun to mention that due to a positive review on the versatile music channel theneedledrop, her third album Emotion has started to be surprisingly appreciated by people from completely different musical backgrounds ending up with Swans and Death Grips fans enjoying listening to Carly’s record even if it’s still pure pop.

Beside that funny story, it’s worth to mention that this song is a really honest and well working 80’s inspired track in the same line with the whole album, gathering extremely catchy songs oftenly layered with electro pop synths and pleasant melodies.

Your Type is probably the best track from the album showing a really cheerful and somehow happy atmosphere even if the lyrics are about the hurtful feeling of being in love with someone that consider you just a friend.

The consequences of the situation on the narrator includes self-blaming thoughts for having no control on her feelings (“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I love you, I didn’t mean to say what I said

I miss you, I mean it, I tried not to feel it, But I can’t get you out of my head”) and also an annoyed complain toward her crush’s behaviour for ignoring her love and living normally his relationship (“I bet she acts so perfectly, You probably eat up every word she says, And if you ever think of me, I bet I’m just a flicker in your head”), but in hamrony with the musical aspect there is no negativity and she’s seems to accept in a rational way the situation.

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LowCityRain “You Are Everyone, You Are Everywhere” (LowCityRain, 2013)

After the release of three incredible albums with his main post-metal output Lantlos, in 2013 the german multi instrumentalist Markus Siegenhort decided to released an album with a new solo project named LowCityRain.

The intent is exploring a completely different musical dimension and the result is an absolutely impressive post-punk record with elements of electronic pop, shoegaze and dreamy atmospheres.

You Are Everyone, You Are Everywhere is the opening track of the album and despite the very short lenght it’s incredibly intese, touching and moving; It starts with one of the best guitar lines written in the last decade, clearly The Smiths inspired, and it’s accompanied by a strong rhythmyc and leaded by angelic female vocals.

Lyrics seems to be about a desperate and unreachable love, impossible to remove from your mind even if you’re losing yourself across the monotony of growing grey urban landscapes.

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Carcass “No Love Lost” (Heartwork, 1994)

Formed in Liverpool during the 80’s by Jeff Walker and Bill Steer, Carcass are, alongside their friends Napalm Death the undisputed fathers of grindcore, a genre created mixing wisely devasting metal riffs with hardcore punk elements and insanely fast passages.

After two albums of pure grindcore the band introduced the swedish guitarist Michael Amott from Carnage, with which started to incorporate an impressive amount of melody in its sound borrowed from swedish death metal and classic heavy metal. The monumental album Heartwork is probably the perfect synthesis of this formula, showing a unique massive sound and an amazingly perfect songwriting. No Love Lost is for sure one of the most acclaimed and memorable tracks off this record.

Behind the sour poetry of the words in the lyrics there seems to be a strong scepticism regarding the feeling of love, usually overrated by people, involving theirselves in emotionless relationships made of fake feelings and fake illusions (“The low cost of loving, Amorous travesty, Human frailties and weakness are easy prey, How your poor heart will bleed”), trying to follow an ideal romantic cliche that dosen’t really exist (“Without emotion, your heartstrings break, Snapped and severed to the tune of a tragic, sad cliche, No love lost, When all is said and done, There’s no love lost”).

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The Cure “Pictures of You” (Disintegration, 1989)

There’s no better song to describe nostalgia than this, with its soft melodies and beautiful atmospheres accompanied by a deeply suggestive vocal performance.

Even if it sounds a bit obvious it is worth to mention that The Cure symbolizes the essence of gothic rock and dark music in general, with their melancholic and sad inner poetry, the band leaded by Robert Smith have painted the portrait of a generation who lived its tormented youth during the end of the 70’s and throughout the 80’s.

Disintegration (1989) closes The Cure’s golden decaded and it’s an absolute masterpiece and an iconic record that all of us should have listen at least one time. If there is a central theme on the whole album, that theme is nostalgia, from the missed “kiss of treachery, The shameless kiss of vanity” and “The soft and the black and the velvety up tight against the side of me”  of Disintegration to the harsh memories and the heartbreaking regret of what has gone wrong (“If only I’d thought of the right words I could have held on to your heart”) while contemplating those Pictures of You.

This song is about that sad, but in the same time beautiful sensation of remembering something that will never return, a specific moment, a feeling or whatever related to a lost love. the lyric’s verses are hurtful and sad, and they show a really touched and still vivid love toward someone that even if it’s not anymore in your life, will be never forgotten till the end.

“There was nothing in the world

That I ever wanted more

Than to feel you deep in my heart

There was nothing in the world

That I ever wanted more

Than to never feel the breaking apart

All my pictures of you.”

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The Darkness “Love is Only a Feeling” (Permission to Land, 2003)

The band that more than anyone else has brought back calssic rock at the top of the charts at the beginning of the 2000’s: The four piece ensemble from London leaded by Justin Hawkins takes inspiration from giants such as Led Zeppelin, Queen and Def Leppard and they’re probably the last successful band that intended rock’n’roll attitude in its purest form, but with a unique energy and an irresistible sense of humor.

This song off their most acclaimed album Permission to Land is about nothing more than its title: love is certainly overwhelming and incredibly powerful (“The state of elation that this unison of hearts achieved, I had seen, I had touched, I had tasted and I truly believed”), but it’s really nothing more than just a feeling.

This interpretation of the song is clearly described by Justin Hawkins in a 2003 interview: “”When we wrote that one, I was thinking, ‘People always say that it’s more than a feeling.’ It really isn’t. It’s just that: it’s a feeling”.

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Have a Nice Life “I Don’t Love” (Deathconsciousness, 2008)

Released in 2008, Deathconsciousness is the debut album of the Connecticut based duo Have a Nice Life, It is a deep travel across human subconscious, melancholy, nihilism and tragedy spreaded on a musical tapestry made of gothic rock, post-punk and drone layers.

It’s very interesting how the album gained a strong popularity among the underground alternative community, becoming a cult record still very acclaimed after more than 10 years. Of course it’s not the kind of album you immeidately get into, especially if you’re not in the right mood; it is described by the the band theirself as “the most depressing album in the history of music”.

The song I Don’t Love is probably much more than its title; love is the feeling that moves our exisences more than any other: loving means living and refusing love means refusing life, indeed behind a clear delusion toward love’s condition (“I don’t want to do this anymore, but there’s nothing else to take. I don’t love”) there is a global sense of dissatisfaction and abandonment (“I don’t want to live like this, Lord. I don’t want to live at all”) permeated by a persistent nihilism (“I don’t feel anything where this love should be”).

Musically speaking the atmosphere has a beautiful and calm overall mood that makes the sense of abandonment evocated through the lyrics a sweet experience. The vocal lines are pretty much addictive, it’s impossible to not sing them along after a few listens and their lo-fi sounds fits very well with the fuzzy guitars and the enthralling melodic bass in the background.

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Album Lists

10 early post-rock records

Even if right now the word post-rock is refered to a rock subgenre with some very specific characteristic, back during the 90’s it was just an umbrella term used to gather bands with a strong experimental and emotional vibes playing a style with rock roots, but almost impossible to label.

Among the early post-rock bands there are literally projects of every kind, sometimes also very different from each others, taking inspiration from a huge variety of genres including jazz, prog, pop, ambient or darkwave, but usually filtered by an evident hardcore punk attitude.

Here on this list there are 10 records from the early post-rock period you can take as essentials, but of course there are many other important exclusions that will be probably included on a second list.

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Labradford “Labradford” (1996)

Cult band coming from Richmond, Virginia and active between 1991 and 2001. Labradford is one of the most unique and talented projects ever existed, and this album in particular is a true hidden gem shining into the 90’s underground. Even if this is not the only masterpiece from their dioscgraphy is for sure the more indicated to consider if we’re talking about post-rock.

From the beginning to the end this is a beautiful journey across incredible soundscapes and emotional architectures made of whispering vocals, chrystalline guitars, strings and keyboards.  The whole atmosphere is quiet and evocative from the addictive psychedelic keyboards of Pico to the galloping tremolo guitars of Battered.

Labradfor is the Soundtrack of your more pleasant and hidden dreams.

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Bark Psychosis “Hex” (1994)

Leaded by Graham Sutton, Bark Psychosis from London is another cult band, less known compared to many bands who conied the post-rock genre, but important in the same way.

This album, Hex, sounds like anything else ever done, and it is recognized as an absolute masterpiece that every postrocker on earth should’ve listen at least one time.

The musical style is way hard to describe, it shares for sure a calm vibe for its full duration as most of the albums on this list, but offers a completely original experience, super experimental, but still accessible. Drifting across these melodies and drowning into their peaceful vibes is highly recommended, the beautiful semi-jazz drum patterns and the weird bass lines are always hearable and they weave a very distinctive rhythmic substratum upon which develops an introspective vocal work accompanied by always beautiful melodies played by piano, guitar, harmonica, synths and organ; It’s impossible to not melt your heart into the tunes of Absent Friend, Eyes & Smiles or Pendulum Man.

This is undoubtely a good example of an album that can be definitely labeled as post-rock (when it wasn’t already “a thing”), but it’s still completely free from the bonduaries of a single genre.

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Talk Talk “Spirit of Eden” (1988)

Spirit of Eden or Laughing Stock? This question blizzed in my head for several hours when i decided to write an article about early post-rock and include Talk Talk and i’m still not fully convinced by my decision. Well, for sure they’re both wonderful albums and seminal works for the post-rock genre, but i ended up chosing Spirit of Eden because it’s been a completely new and revolutionary musical manifesto regarding Talk Talk’s discography and rock music in general, in other words this is probably the first post-rock record ever released.

Formed in 1981 by Mark Hollis, Lee Harris and Paul Webb, Talk Talk is definitely more know for addictive synth pop hits like It’s my Life (also covered by No Doubt 19 years later) or Such a Shame (both 1984), but at the end of their carreer they suprisingly decided to take a completely opposite direction, very experimental, melancholic and introspective with two incredible records of which the first is Spirit of Eden.

Taking inspiration from an evident british progressive and baroque rock background passing though jazz and chamber music there’s still a distinctive singing oriented formula in several parts of this incredible journey; but the amazing vocal performance of Mark Hollis is not the only memorable thing of this album, you won’t be so able to forget the guitar explosions of Desire or the hypnotic fretless bass lines of Inheritance.

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F♯ A♯ ∞ (1997)

“The car is on fire, and there’s no driver at the wheel” with these words declaimed by a deep male voice starts one of the most incredible rock records of the 90’s.                                                  Godspeed You! Black Emperor (at the time known as Godspeed You Black Emperor!) have done a real musical and conceptual revolution with their art able to touch people in their deepest emotions; This is the first album of the Canadian ensamble released after a rare previous demo and it is available in two separate versions for vinyl and CD with different tracklist.

If you’ve never heard of this record before, it’s gonna be a journey that will change your life, the endless songs are separated in movements like operatic acts and they switch from classical music-inspired parts with violin and cello to cinematic western passages including drone, ambient and experimental sections with field recordings and loop samples. The first macro track The Dead Flag Blues is incredible in all its progressions showing a very sad and melancholic overall feeling that turns with the following East Hastings into all the anger and the discomfort regarding this society that our anarchist orchestra has to express with a strong anti-capitalist political content and an incredibly inspired artistic sensitivity rarely heard in rock music in general.

Every GY!BE record is very special and meaningful and their singular personality is also expressed in the intricated tables present in their layouts and behind the visuals screened during their concerts.

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Low “I Could Live in Hope” (1994)

Low is undoubtely one of the most solid acts coming from 90’s alternative rock, with a very intense live activity and 12 records published as of today.

I Could Live in Hope is the beginning of everything, the first album released by Low and the undisputed symbol of the slowcore subgenre, which is essentially early post-rock with a very sad and slow overall mood and some grunge-y recalls. Needless to say this record is a beautiful journey across grey landscapes made of intense guitar intersections, strong basslines and suggestive male and female vocal parts with introspective lyrics.

ICLIH is essentially the portrait of an american generation that shows all its fragilities and uncertainities through sad melodies and verses like “If you see my daughter don’t tell her I’m scared” (Fear) or “Hearing only yourself you wait for the truth, how can you get it When all you do Is slide?”  (Slide).

It is the perfect soundtrack for a melancholic moment and the best antitode to turn it into a reflective one: If you close your eyes while Lullaby or Lazy are playing in your headphones you might be able to fall into the deepness of your calm and forget all the rest.

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Tortoise “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” (1996)

Formed in Chicago at the end of the 80’s, Tortoise is one of the most eclectic, versatile and innovative names in the whole post-rock universe and this album is probably the best way to get into their weird world if you’ve never heard of them before.

This work is also know for the introduction of the guitrist David Pajo (already founding member of Slint) and for the story of its composition made during a 10 days retreat in Northern Vermont.

The way Tortoise explore different musical genres and cultures is highly impressive, mixing instrumental rock and almost jazz rhythmic sections, with electronic glitches, fusion, krautrock, baroque music and even world music recalls like the marimbas and the mallet percussions on the monumental Djent, which is an admirable example of experimentation.

But Tortoise’s music is not only unconventional and strange, the band is absolutely able to create beautiful melodic sections like the unforgettable guitar lines on Glass Museum, one of their most love tracks and a real jewel of contemporary rock.

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Mogwai “Mogwai Young Team” (1997)

I honestly doubt that this scottish band needs any kind of introduction since they are, alongside Sigur Ros, one of the biggest names of the whole post-rock movement, giving the genre a worlwide notoriety also across more mainstream channels.

Mogwai Young Team is the band’s debut album, and shares with the world an absolute genuine explosion of feelings across emotional instrumental passages a la GY!BE with spoken words (Tracy), post-hardcore dissonances (Like Herold), heavy sections (Summer) and positive alternative rock vibes with somehting similiar to Smashing Pumpkins (Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home).

The strong dynamic between soft sections and heay passages is very impressive and gives a rare to hear intense charge to this album, making the experience crushing and cinematic. The climax is probably concentrated in the final Mogwai Fear Satan which is a colossal 16 minutes tracks with an incredibly strong impact and charge, so intense that they still play it at the end of their sets after more than 20 years.

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Codeine “Frigid Stars” (1991)

With Low, Codeine is definitely another foundamental name regarding the slowcore subgenre.

Formed in 1989, they have been a short lived project with only two album realsed of which this is the first.

Even if the overall mood is certainly slow and melancholic, there is for sure a very explosive Swans inspired component, especially in guitar distortions and dissonances that definitely makes this record strong and solid. The album moves across different sections including heavy parts with open chords as well as more intimate folk-inspired interludes with guitar and vocals.

The post-rock is also particulary evident in a few melodic moments such as the whole song New Years, that contains all the elements that belongs to the post-rock genre also in its more modern variant.

Schoepenauer wrote that life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom, i would say that Frigid Stars is kinda doing the same but moving between depression and euphoria.

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Slint “Spiderland” (1991)

One of the most iconic cult records of the whole history of rock, with an iconic cover as well.

Made of sad moments, dissonances, spoken words and heartbreaking lyrics this album is a hard to swallow pill and fully getting into it needs a small effort, but as soon as you’ve done it you’ll discover an incredible journey of sounds and emotions.

One of the things that makes this album so good is for sure the ability of switching from extremely slow and soft parts to heavy overtures mainting a dreary atmosphere. Washer is a very beautiful ballad with very intense guitar melodies that expresses fear, loss and abandonment, For Dinner… is another worth to mention episode with a very strong emotional impact. The conclusive Good Morning… Captain shows the best of the band’s heavy side with massive feedbacks and distortions.

At the guitar we find David Pajo, founding member of the band and already met on this list on Millions Now Living Will Never Die by Tortoise.

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Don Caballero “What Burns Never Returns” (1998)

If you’ve never heard this before i bet your first reaction will be totally upsetting and you’ll find many difficults to follow the music’s tempo and the instrumental interweaving.

Before it was a cool thing, Don Caballero have experimented considerably and explored new combinations outside the conventional limits imposed by rock’s rhthmyc structures giving fundamental tools to plasm the so called math rock genre.

This is the third album recorded by Don Caballero and it’s definitely one of their best ones, able to provide a wonderful melodic work clearly post-hardcore oriented despite the weird parts here and there. This should be listened from the beginning to the end as a whole experience, in a calm moment or even during a night driving.

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Album Lists

10 Great records of 2019

2019 has been a year full of interesting albums and longtime comebacks from bands and artists of every kind.

This is my very first article written fot this new personal blog, said that, i think it’s important to point out that this list (and all the others that i’ll post in the future) is not intended to be a chart with a first and a last position, it’s just a selection of 10 really good 2019 albums accompanied by a short description i’d like to recommend to everyone who opens this page.

Alcest “Spiritual Instinct”

Follower of Kodama (2016), this new record is a really good comeback for the french duo leaded by Neige and it’s the first one released by the colossal metal label Nuclear Blast; But beside that it dosen’t show big changes in the band’s sound and the fewest new things are all well managed like the heavy distortions that recalls a really massive post-metal sound in the vein of Neurosis and Russian Circles balanced with super rock Emma Ruth Rundle-like moments (Sapphire is the best example and it shows an almost perfect and genuine songwriting).

It’s always good to see projects that started from the very underground like Alcest getting always bigger and mainting a very honest and coherent artistic identity.

American Football “LP3”

With a strong excitement from the band’s die hard fans, the new American Football’s wait has been undoubtely worth. Anticipated by the hypnotic Unconfortably Numb with the special contribution of Hayley Williams from Paramore, the album gives the same relaxed, sleepy and emotional atmosphere of this single track for its whole duration. Beautiful, thirlling, quite and very intense, perfect to enjoy during a train/car/whatever travel when it’s dark outside.

Blanck Mass “Animated Violence Mind”

With its weird aesthetic, the new Black Mass’ album is a disturbing travel across very catchy tunes and more aggressive outbursts. Love is Parasite’s videoclip is a true gem of weirdness and its scenes seems taken from David Lynch or David Cronenberg’s movies accompanied by perfectly crafted melodies.

Giving a listen to this albums means diving into a very eclectic electronic sound that switches from EBM moments with harsh screams to piano driven cinematic soundscapes with overwhelming singing (listen to House vs House if you want a proof of what i’m saying).

Blood Incantation “Hidden History of the Human Race”

If the previous Starspawn was one of the most well realized extreme metal albums of the last 5 years (and believe me it was), with this new one the four piece band from Denver has been able to reach a higher level with impeccable songwriting and hypnotic passages. The heavy parts still shows a massive and almost perfect approach to guitar driven outburst, but with a totally unique taste for experimentation. The whole album sounds like a cosmic trip across astral planes in a semiconscious state.

A special mention goes also to the cover art by 70’s painter Bruce Pennington that gives the album a sci-fi and Philip K.Dick-esque aesthetic (interesting fact – there are two other albums around using this cover: Agony’s Apocalyptic Dawing and Alec Empire’s Hypermodern Jazz 2000.5, both released in 1995).

Elizabeth Colour Wheel “Nocebo”

After a series of really interesting minor releases, the US based 5 piece band has finally released their debut album Nocebo, one of the most interesting rock albums of the outgoing year.

Elizabeth Colour Wheel is with no doubt one of that bands that sounds like nothing else already existing with a unique formula made of shoegaze sparks, noise rock outbursts, metal oriented parts with fast drumming, slow heavy passages and cinematic epicity. If you want to hear explosive guitar distortion accompanied by a unique and super flexible female vocal work you’re going to discover one of your next favourite bands and albums.

Liturgy “H.A.Q.Q.”

Here we go, it’s been 4 years from The Ark Work’s release and the quartet from Brooklyn leaded by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix is finally back with another impressive record. Even if a first listen will suggest a comeback to the roots this is not entirely true, for sure black metal screams are back and many atmospheres from the Aesthetica/Renihlation period can be felt, but the fine use of electronica made of glitches and MIDI sounds started with the Ark Work is still present and it’s perfectly matched with the rest.

Also the massive use of classical instruments such as harp, strings and piano (there are even some exotic instruments like hichiriki and ryuteki) takes Liturgy’s music to another level of high quality composition exploring new musical horizons and strange a-rhythmic sections accompanied by the usual philosophical tables and concepts that makes the “Liturgy experience” so characteristic.

DIIV “Deceiver”

After two almost perfect albums was not so easy to make a new record on the same level, but the new Deceiver is without any doubt a strong confirmation of the band’s ability to write impeccable songs.

Following the usual direction halfway between shoegaze and post-punk this release is a pure concentration of 90’s alternative rock euphoria, from the harsh pop lines of Skin Game to the beautiful melodies sorrounded by fuzzy soundscapes of Lorelei. DIIV also confirms their impressive ability to switch from massive bass driven fast parts to slow and dreamy moments full of chrystalline guitars and ambient backgrounds.

If you don’t know this band and you’re into My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth or The Cure you should definitely take a listen to all their three albums.

Ştiu Nu Ştiu “Sick Sad Love”

Dark, sad, hypnotic and gloom are just a few ways to describe the incredible experience offered by this album entitled Sick Sad Love which is an overwhelming experience across the sound of madness and melancholy.

The band, Ştiu Nu Ştiu, is an obscure and underrated project from Sweden crafting a very original sound that takes inspiration from post-punk, darkwave, gothic rock and a few metal moments taken on a very high level. The album is a true hidden gem and it’s full of very various but always impressive songs, check the incredibly beautiful post-rock melodies of Sick Sad Love, the hypnotic heaviness of Sibirien or the massive experimentation of Slack Fyrarna to get an anticipation of the whole experience, you’ll find some of the most intense and well made songs recorded in 2019 you could listen to.

Of course also the rest of the discography is highly recommended to check, there are two other impressive album on the same level of this new one out there.

Sadistik “Haunted Gardens”

With his very unique experimental hip-hop, Sadistik (stage name of Cody Foster) has always been one of the most interesting and talented outputs offered by the genre.
This new Haunted Gardens is a beautiful mix of dreamy and depressing atmospheres with poetical lyrics, fast rapping and aggressive beats.

The instrumental work is nearly perfect, confirming this album as one of the most intense things released this year you could find out (try 8/12 or Pet Sematary if you wanna drown into synth layers), and if you listen to it with lights off and calm around it will swallow your heart.

Lyrics are also incredibly well made offering very emotional, reflective and mindblowing verses:

“A thousand people surround us inside of me’s only lonely
The fireflies used to visit to sit on my skin I miss it
When mystery dissipated you drifted into the distance” (taken from the song Eden)

Drab Majesty “Modern Mirror”

The previous The Demonstration has been my absolute favourite album released in 2017 and impressed me with its synthwave perfection; well, the new Modern Mirror is another masterpiece, confirming the direction of the previous record adding a distinctive dramatic emphasis to the slower moments (Oxtocyn, Noise of the Void) and addictive vocal lines impossible to forget in a very 80’s way (The Other Side, Elipsis).

The Los Angeles-based duo is showing album by album an unbelievable ability to create with its music a dreamy place where guitar and synth lines are perfectly merged as one, combining flanger arpeggios and spacey catchy melodies as a unique breathaking and chilling experience.