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What are you listening to?


Frede
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Since there are so many musically inclined people here, I thought it'd be nice to have a thread where we discuss the music we're currently listening to. I'll obviously go first.

 

Magma

An acquired taste, but among my all-time favourites. They're French, but their music revolves around sci-fi stories on and about the planet Kobaïa, a utopia founded by disgruntled Earthlings. As a result, most of their lyrics are in the fictional language Kobaïan, which sounds kind of Slavic-Germanic, but also draws inspiration from scat-singing. Their music, dubbed "Zeuhl" ("Music of the Celestial Might"), ranges from jazz fusion (the debut album "Kobaïa"), over a Wagner/Orff-inspired space opera ("Mëkanïk Destruktïẁ Kömmandöh") to more hypnotic and lyrical pieces (the trilogy "K.A.," "Köhntarkösz" and "Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré"). They've also done a few wonderfully doomy compositions that highlight the often superb basswork, most famously the composition "De Futura." I've never found another band that sounds quite like these guys - this is definitely music from another world.

 

Frank Zappa

I've been a fan for a few years, but since most of his discography hit Spotify a while ago, I've been discovering a lot of material I'd been neglecting before. He was definitely a versatile artist, and no matter if you go for the avantgarde Zappa ("Lumpy Gravy"), Zappa the merciless satiric ("We're Only In It For the Money" and "You Are What You Is"), funky-as-heck Zappa ("Roxy & Elsewhere"), juvenile Zappa ("Sheik Yerbouti") or the mostly-serious classical composer ("The Yellow Shark"), there's lots of excellent stuff to discover. His death definitely left a huge void; such multi-facetted thinkers and artists really are far and inbetween.

 

Rival Sons

As you can tell from the above, I like listening to advanced stuff, but sometimes, I like turning my brain off and rocking out (and here you thought I was gonna mention KISS). At times, Rival Sons kinda sound like Led Zeppelin being fronted by Jim Morrison. They're far from original, but the songs are excellent, the energy level is consistently high and swagger and groove is there. They've also got a wonderful sense of self-irony about them, which keeps the proceedings from becoming self-indulgent - something some of the classic 70's bands could have used to a higher degree. Their two most recent albums, "Pressure & Time" and "Head Down," both have my highest recommendations. The former is a little more focused and never outstays its welcome, while the latter is more explorative, and may need to grow on you a bit.

 

So what's in rotation on your mp3 players, phones, CD players or (if you're really awesome) turntables? :)

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(if you're really awesome) turntables? :)

 

I've got a turntable! It occasionally works, too -- most of the time it just needs a little warming up. Which is strange, 'cos it's got an electrical motor, so it should technically outlive me. Oh well. I've got a bunch of neat vinyls (at least, I think so), but most of the time, I listen to music on my little girly pink iPod. It's a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law -- the "hold" button is broken, the entire top half of it is missing, and the file system occasionally rewrites itself, but other than that, it's a real trooper of a device.

 

So here's what's in heavy rotation on my iPod for the past couple of weeks ... no, scratch that, months (I obsess easily):

 

Sybreed - entire discography

My favorite band of the moment is the Swiss cybermetal outfit Sybreed, who effortlessly blend staccato off-beat rhythms with 4/4 industrial-tinged EBM sounds. Also, the lead singer can't speak English worth shit, so he has a really funny accent while he screams and sings about turning into a robot and hating all mankind. Apart from the music being friggin' awesome, the accent was the final clinch that made me fall in love with the band. That, and the fact that he's about 150 cm tall and has to wear platform boots on stage just to see over the monitors. I saw these guys play in Copenhagen last month and it was a wet dream come true, despite the fact they were the opening act and only played about 5 songs. Favorite song of the moment:

 

http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMQPFT-G82A

 

Amogh Symphony - Abolishing the Obsolete System

Some guy from India going absolutely ballistic on guitars, bass and what I presume are programmed drums, because holy shit. And then, all of a sudden, he switches gears and fires up the Goa-techno synths, complete with Indian-style wordless vocals. And then it's back to spazzing out. I love schizophrenic music (Dillinger Escape Plan is another favorite band of mine), but this is way beyond schizophrenic. It's like two styles of music colliding in one guy's head, fighting over who gets the most screentime. Also, you can hear the bass -- not a mean feat in "metal" music.

 

The entire record is streamable/downloadable here: http://amoghsymphony.bandcamp.com/album/abolishing-the-obsolete-system-platinum-edition

 

Synthetic Breed - Perpetual Motion Machine

Yes, first Sybreed, now Synthetic Breed. Cybermetal bands aren't that inventive when it comes to band names. Anyhoo, these guys are Australians, and they really, REALLY take themselves seriously. I mean BEYOND serious. Which makes them hilarious. Also, the guy's vocals really stand out for me. I'm not really into "growly" metal, so this type of "screaming" vocals suits me much better. Funnily enough, that's what everyone criticized about the album, but it's what made it stick in my head. That, and the fact that these guys know how to build up tension and release it. Check this out:

 

http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TRyeGCde2A

 

Also, I've got a bunch of Frede's music on my iPod ... stuff no one else, apart from (I assume) his girlfriend, has heard. Jealous? ;)

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My list is probably quite different from the crowd we seem to have in here. Regardless, here's a list of suggestions you otherwise might have missed. Caveat: I can in no way claim to be a music aficionado.

 

 

Animal Liberation Orchestra (aka ALO)

Great band with awesome musicians. Their latest album even went onto vinyl. Score. My favourite song is Lady Loop but they've got a lot of great ones.

 

 

Matt Costa

Plays a bunch of stuff with a sound a little like Jack Johnson but where he loves to change it up.

 

 

Imelda May

Both Rockabilly and Soul.

 

 

Matt Dusk

Total swank. Check out Back in Town:

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Black Country Communion

Imagine Led Zeppelin meeting Deep Purple anno 1974, and you've got an approximation of what these guys sound like. Classy 70s rock'n'roll with plenty of guts, drama and meaty riffs. They also have the distinction of being one of the most badass supergroups of all time with the line-up of Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath), Joe Bonamassa (whom you're likely to have heard of as a solo artist), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater) and Jason Bonham (his last name says it all, doesn't it?). Their most recent album, "Afterglow", is nothing short of brilliant. There's been a lot of drama regarding their future lately (if you're familar with the history of Deep Purple, you'll know Hughes' ego is fairly monstrous), but I hope they stay together, because the genre just needs a band that can lay down those tight grooves - screaming Hammond and epic vocals included - and kinda say "Yeah, this is how it's done." Like this.

 

That's a Bonamassa solo song, but still... 'nuff said, right?

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