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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Thursday Tunes: James' Top 5 Albums of 2013

"All that's missing are my earphones..."
For this week's edition, we have a special guest blogger: James Williams, (or some of you may remember Captain James Sparrow from this post) hails from England, but is currently roughing it with the rest of us here in beautiful KK. James brought along not only his knowledge on marine biology and witty sense of humour when he moved here, but also (and possibly more importantly) his unconventional music taste (and a whole lot of height)!

Those who know me know that Marine life is my passion, but
only those close to me know that music is what makes me tick. I pay little to
no attention to who or what is in the charts and rarely find what the radio is
trying to force down my ear holes to do anything other than annoy me.

I can’t help but feel that music is losing its soul and
increasingly I find great new music harder and harder to come by. As such
I follow my ears; whatever it is that I can’t sit still to when I hear it,
whatever makes my foot tap, my head bounce and what I invariably end up
serenading my neighbours with when I sing loudly in the shower. Nothing is
off limits what sounds good sounds good regardless of genres and as a result I
am led to believe that my taste in music is broad and sometimes unexpected. While
my top 5 selection for 2013 may not hold any surprises for many of you I hope
that somewhere in here you can find something new and exciting, perhaps you'll give
something a try that you haven’t before. 

Right then enough gab! I’ll try to keep words to a minimum, I’m
sure you’d rather be watching and listening than reading my guff...

5.
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Kings of Leon's first 2 albums; Youth and Young Manhood (2003) and Aha Shake Heartbrake (2004) are amongst some of my favourites of all time. They were raw, basic, and shamelessly fun. But since then they have transitioned to be more polished and more marketable and as a result have blown up in popularity. However this isn't necessarily a bad thing, the 'new' Kings of Leon still have great songs. 

Their latest offering may not be the same mass chorus inducing floor filler as previous albums have been, it seems looser, slightly more generic and perhaps a little rushed, but the tone of the guitars and emotion in each song carries it. For me its not been an album I'm itching to play over and over, it's filled the niche of something to play when I'm busy, something enjoyable but not distracting.



5 other tracks to try: Genius, Velvet snow, King of the rodeo, Joe's head, Use somebody.

4.
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Nine Inch Nails (NIN) are certainly a marmite band, you either love or hate them, they're a bit unusual but in a creative way. I missed out on seeing them live in 2007 because I'm an idiot, they then promptly broke up and I kicked myself...hard! Trent Reznor went off an decided he fancied winning an Oscar and a couple of Golden Globes for his movie soundtracks... as one does of course, BUT! luckily they're back and as explorative as ever. 

On first listen Hesitation Marks can be a little alienating, but once you let your guard down you'll start to feel the groove of the digital rock combo. They key to the brilliance of NIN
is that unlike most pop releases today technology is not a mask or a tool for 'perfection', whatever that is? but it is an instrument like any other and Trent bends it to his will with maximum effect.

5 other tracks to try: Hurt, Head like a hole, Hand that feeds, Closer, Wish.

3.
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Sound City: Reel to Reel is the child born from Dave Grohl's (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) amazing documentary; Sound City. It documents the history of one of most infamous recording studios in rock history where some of the greatest ever rock albums have been recorded. Seriously if you claim to like rock music chances are one of your favourite albums or artists recorded there, the list of talent is just ridiculous. The film goes on to explore how music today is losing its human element and to exemplify how things should be done Dave calls on a bunch of past artists to record a new album. 

The album is a collection of all the songs they wrote together. Expect some interesting collaborations, a personal highlight was Sir Paul McCartney writing and performing a song with the remaining members of Nirvana. 

This film is a must watch and you can find it here, it's worth every penny and more. 

 

5 other Sound City artists to try: Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Johnny Cash.

2.
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Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) were MIA for years prior to this album, each member off pursuing other projects, most notably Josh Homme (the coolest man in rock) working on Them Crooked Vultures with John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Dave Grohl. QOTSA have always been one of my favourite bands, the line ups change but some things remain constant; (i) they always have a beast of a drummer (ii) true rock and roll guitars that are greasy, grimy and leave you wanting to wash your dirty dirty body (iii) Josh Homme!, one of the great artists/producers of our generation, the man is a true wordsmith and can shred a guitar unlike anyone else, all while giving zero f**ks and looking like hes not even trying. 

I've always loved their balls to the wall style however ...Like Clockwork adds a whole new dimension to the QOTSA repertoire, the band has matured and it creates a much more complete musical experience, especially their live shows. Additionally some music icons contributed to this album; Alain Johannes, Dave Grohl and Sir Elton John to name a few.  This album is like a journey, a story, with headphones on its truly immersive, I've repeatedly lost 46 minute chunks of my life over the past year and appear to have developed a habit of uncontrollably gyrating my hips like Elvis...

Finally ...Like Clockwork had the best pre-release teasers I think I've ever seen, animated by Boneface they're creepily awesome, check the medley out below!     

5 other tracks to try: No one knows, Go with the flow, Make it wit chu, The lost art of keeping a secret, Little sister

1.
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Biffy Clyro are with out a doubt one of my favourite bands...ever. Back home they top charts and headline festivals yet outside of the UK they are perhaps one of the most unrecognised and underrated bands out there. They have it all, from songs that can make you cry to songs that make you want to punch your friend in the face, melancholy ballads to screaming choruses, Earsplitting riffs to orchestral ensembles. With each album they only seem to get better and better, Opposites is no exception and the cherry on the cake is that its a double album...and its all killer no filler.

'Mon the Biff




5 other tracks to try: Mountains, Livings a problem because everything dies, Many of horror, Machines, Glitter and trauma

Before I go (and assuming you made it this far) you may have noted the shameless plugs to iomoio.com, no they're not paying me. 
However I'm sure you go to work everyday and expect to get payed for it, so don't be a d*ck pay for your music! iomoio charges 16 cents per track, that's way less than itunes, less than what you'll pay for the pirated ones at the market and the artists get paid :)

I hope you all enjoyed the journey, now be free, free to ignore the top 40 charts!!! 

Risus,
James

*You can find James goofing around on Instagram (there are instavids no one should ever have to see), or showing off his equally amazing pyjamas on facebook HERE. Drop him a friend request and  enter a world of wacky! Also, drop us a comment if you want James to be our guest blogger again! =D

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