It’s December so the season for shorts is definitely on. Sport your leg hairs all day, ladies and germs!
Bobby Beausoleil and the Freedom Orchestra – Lucifer Rising
Soundtrack album, 1981, Disgust Records
Damn, this was a surprise. Atmospheric synths meet a jammy rock band, creating some scintillating soundscapes that make me interested in seeing what the movie was all about. And this coming from a dude who rose into (in)fame by murdering a guy in the late 60’s, complying an order by Charlie Manson. Judging by the interview I read in Bardo Methodology, the dude’s gained a lot of wisdom in prison and has pretty deep insights into many existential matters. Go pick up a copy if there’s any left!
Märvel – At the Sunshine Factory
Album, 2017, The Sign Records
Party action rock with a definite 70’s feel. Märvel bow to Rolling Stones, the Hellacopters and Sweet, and do it fairly well. Album opener “A Killing View” is a blockbuster, but the rest don’t hold up to the same standard. After five-six songs some emotional numbness starts to set in, and I’m not as convinced of Märvel’s deliciousness anymore. But we got one hit, at least!
Seventh Wonder – Mercy Falls
Album, 2008, Lion Music
More schizo than your mom, this prog metal/AOR album sports a capable vocalist with just a tad too much emo, a production job that’s pretty punchy but flawed (the guitar solos…come on) and songwriting that doesn’t know where it’s going, where it’s coming from, or what it’s supposed to do. Very confusing.
Gudars skymning – V
Album, 2017, Transubstans Records
Cool 70’s-tinged hard rock with a slight doom nod and folk sensibilities. It’s like if Black Sabbath decided to play Swedish 70’s prog with a brawly singer. I’m really digging this, and the Swedish lyrics set them apart from most. Cool stuff.
Himmellegeme – Myth of Earth
Album, 2017, Karisma & Dark Essence Records
Pretentious isn’t always bad, as is the case with artsy, but sometimes you just don’t know what to make of a record. Not a lot of melodies to remember, but some cool and unique atmospheres at least. Progressive in the non-technical sense.
Lars Vegas Trio – Femte advent
EP, 2017, independent
I love Lars Vegas Trio. They’re the fucking greatest, and biggest, trio of all time. They play karate musical violence country and do it well. Alas, this EP just doesn’t cut it. A couple of live songs, and some spoken humour tracks that are pretty fun but not hilarious. This feels just like what he says it is, tongue-in-cheek, on the first track: a cash-in. Nope – I’ll listen to one of the greatest Christmas albums instead: “Lars Christmas”.
Martin Almgren – Changing Street
EP, 2017, Universal Music Sweden
Almgren won the Swedish Idol competition a couple years back, and I was curious to see what he’s up to nowadays. Apparently, he’s found his calling in souly americana, and good for him. His vocals are amazing as always, full and charismatic yet with an edge to them when some snarl is needed. The songs don’t reach the same heights as Almgren’s voice, not even close, which, of course, is a shame. But for the moment I’d rather listen to this than fantastic songs with an inferior vocalist. Let’s hope he finds a great songwriter to make company with.
Tribulation – Children of the Night
Album, 2015, Century Media Records
One of the greatest albums of the last decade, “Children of the Night” has both the immediacy of catchy riffs, melodies and arrangements, as well as the depth of imaginative song structures, a characteristic production and atmospherics that provide a rewarding and long-lasting listening experience that makes you return to it time and time again. The missing link between Dissection, Goblin, Watain and Kent. Fantastic stuff.
Jan Johansson – Jazz på svenska
Album, 1964, Megafon
This sublime masterpiece should have its rightful place in every music lover’s collection. Making somber and moody jazz versions of Swedish folk songs with the most marvelous of taste, pianist Jan Johansson created, together with Georg Riedel on bass, one of the greatest albums of all time, in any genre. It’s blissful to follow Johansson’s playful and innovative way of toying with the centuries-old themes, adding touches of blues here, dissonance there, beautiful approach notes everywhere, all with the same immaculate taste that both revers and uplifts the original melody. This is just a miraculous and otherworldly treasure, the pure definition of a classic that should be mentioned in the same breath with “Pet Sounds”, “Sgt. Pepper’s” and “Kind of Blue”. Rest in peace, Maestro.