To me this is the most exciting time of the year. It is also a very expensive time of the year. Yeah, I spend a lot on gifts around Christmas, but this is when I catch up with everything I have missed. Every music site is publishing lists of the best music of the past year (including ours, have you checked it out already? I am so proud of it!).
To me, these lists are an ideal way to learn about great releases I have missed. I have learned over the years that, no matter how hard I try, a lot of great music passes me by without me noticing it. And this is what makes me so grateful for those lists. The end of December and the beginning of January are reserved for checking out music that I missed or did not appreciate that much when I checked them out the first time around.
What I Learned
Diät is a prime example of the latter category. Their debut is a proud part of my ever expanding music collection, but for some reason I discarded last year’s follow-up. Seeing ending up so high in our list makes me re-think that life choice. I have no doubt it will end up on order from one of my favorite dealers.
It is also a good moment to learn about bands you might have missed, even though they exist for ages already. Blut Aus Nord comes to mind here. I never paid that band any attention but discovered it because of Cheryl’s list. It seems I have a whole musical world left to discover with that band.
Of course all that glitters is not gold. How Baroness ended up in any top list with that production is a complete mystery to me. I did not support corporal punishment for any crime until I heard that record for the first time. I thought the purists were exaggerating. They were not. Making an album sound like that is a crime! Spyros, who selected this album as one the best of last year has some mandatory spins of albums that do sound good ahead. Let’s hope he learns something from that experience!
Expect The Unexpected
Usually January is a slow month when it comes to new releases. This year seems to be different. Let’s start with a couple releases that most people would not expect to be a part of my musical world.
The Lone Bellow has a new release scheduled February 7. I was late to the game and only got to know them after the release of their previous album, and I found a band with a very consistent discography of upbeat, country-influenced pop (as I am not a connoisseur of the genre, feel free to disagree with my description of the band). Since every album by this band makes me happy, my expectations for this new one are high.
Another album I am curious about is the new Drive-By Truckers album. My history with this band is a funny one. I enjoy Jason Isbell’s music very much. When I discovered he had been in this band I decided to give one of their albums a spin. There was a three disc album available for a good price, so I decided that would be a good place to discover what Drive-By Trucker would have to offer, only to discover Jason Isbell had already left the band at the time of recording. I enjoyed their southern rock music no less because of that, but never got round to checking out studio material. This new album seems as good a place to start as any other album.
Another album that has been announced, but without a release date for now, is Phoebe Bridgers. She is one of my favorite singer-songwriters (Sera Cahoone is my absolute number one if you are wondering). After her stunning debut she released a brilliant EP together with Julian Baker and Lucy Dacus as Boygenius (if you ever wondered if an all-star band can succeed, look no further) and an album together with Conor Oberst under the name Better Oblivion Community Center -- an album that doesn’t really do it for me unfortunately. Late last year she announced she was finishing up her second album. Now that is something to look forward to!
The metal community has also been quite busy. New videos (and albums) have been released by some big bands. One example is My Dying Bride, who continue to do what they do best, judging by that video. My Dying Bride surprises me in one respect: they keep releasing their new albums in or near spring (I have not fact checked this, so it might be my memory fails me here). Regarding the doomy and gloomy character of their albums this is perfect autumn music to me. Their timing keeps me puzzled.
Sepultura is also back in town. Some people in the mostly conservative metal-verse will tell you Sepultura does not deserve to exist under that name since not one, but both Cavalera’s, left the band. I disagree. The evolution of this band has had my interest all along. Yes, the first albums after Max left displayed a band looking for their identity, but with Dante XXI and Machine Messiah the band has released two modern classics (and most of the other albums are well worth your time). After all these years I am still excited about a new album.
Also noteworthy is the new video by French weirdo’s Igorrr. It is weird and disturbing as ever. The video has a bit of a Primus vibe (on steroids and backed with ADHD electronics, mind you) due to the deployment of the bass, but looking at their previous albums, that will say nothing about how the album as a whole is going to sound.
There’s a Darkness in the Netherlands
Now to some shameless chauvinistic promotion of the Dutch black metal scene. Something has been brewing in that scene for a while now resulting in a whole lot of very interesting releases. The split of Turia and Fluisteraars (which made my year list as best split of 2018). This February both bands are set to release new albums. Turia’s Degen van Licht will see the light of day on the 14th and Fluisteraars Bloem will follow on the 28th. Do yourselves a favor, even if you ignore all my rambling on this page, do check these bands out.
And with that statement I will leave you all alone. For now that is. See you in two months!