Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Album Review: Sunn 0))) - Life Metal

Sunn 0)))
Life Metal
***and1/2 out of *****

The follow up to 2015's Kannon, Life Metal is more absorbing feedback drone from the masters Sunn 0))). Main guitarists Greg Anderson Stephen O’Malley turn up their stack of amplifiers and radiate sound from everywhere, as minor touches and flourishes help set sonic tones. While not as successful as their masterpiece Monoliths and Dimensions, Life Metal is a triumphant return for the decibel ramping guitar duo.

Opener "Between Sleipnir’s Breaths" starts and ends with samples from horses neighing, in between the riffs roar and compared to past outings things move to a climax slightly faster. Hildur Guðnadóttir spoken word, breathy vocals hard to make out and get washed in the sound, but things are ominous as always.

"Troubled Air" increases the screeching while adding chimes and as sense of brightness, as if it is an awaking from a deep slumber to the overloaded sound of morning while "Aurora" dips back into the darkness of guttural roars but it is the least engaging piece here. While their are other musicians who ad flourishes, T.O.S. Nieuwenhuizen (moog) Hildur Guðnadóttir (Haldorophone, Electric Cello, Voice) Tim Midyett (Bass Guitar, Bass Crotales) and Anthony Pateras (Pipe Organ) this is Anderson and O'Malley's show as their six strings hum and reverberate.

Album closer "Novæ" drips out of "Aurora" but in the first few moments of it's over twenty four minute journey it is already more inventive. It's cutting riffs and warbling feedback echoes lead the way through winding passage that rev up and cool back down with low end rumble all among the feedback and body soaking power.

Produced by Steve Albini Life Metal is the first of two releases from Sunn 0))) in 2019 and while their sound clearly is not for everyone, fans will be ecstatic that the reverb and doom both loom large on this four song album. Sunn 0))) is back with a vengeance.
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Support the band, buy the album, listen on bandcamp and below and peep some video:


Year In Review 2019 - Favorite Album Art

We kick off our Year in Review section of 2019 with a favorite feature in the Best of... area, Album Art. Like in years past we will be choosing our Best Albums of the Year, a few we were underwhelmed with and our favorite show. Today we are starting out by judging books (records) by their covers (vinyl sleeves, jackets, digital pics, etc). We are going to support the creative minds behind the Best Album Art Work of 2019.
The biggest gripe RtBE has with digital music is not the quality (that has been massively improved) nor the disposal nature of it (still a problem, but whatever), it is the lack of amazing album covers and art work.

Sure there may be great artists out there but seeing it on a screen, in iTunes or elsewhere is nothing compared to holding an LP cover or even a CD booklet with pages of lyrics, pictures etc. Thankfully the rise of vinyl is helping this dilemma but it is still not enough. The hours we spent staring, actually holding, examining tons of covers while listening to music can't be adequately recorded, it added new dimensions to the sounds. You were connected to album in a more physical way; things were deeper, more evocative...Anyways...


Monday, December 9, 2019

Dylan Cover #405 Crowes Pasture "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by Crowes Pasture playing "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
An energetic romp that has been covered by everyone, this tune is a great swirl through Dylan's freaky mind. It was a punch and a whirlwind journey through Juarez, Mexico around Easter time...Maybe. There are lots of literary hints dropped, as well as a mischievous smile throughout. One of the first Dylan tunes we gravitated towards and with good reason, it is still one of our favorites.
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
RtBE are new to Crowes Pasture who are the guitar/banjo duo of Monique Byrne and Andy Rogovin. The New England based bluegrass romance group have a few albums and EP's out there for those who want more.

Thoughts on Cover:
A really nice light live acoustic cover of the tune with delicate phrasing and banjo break in the middle. A pleasant version for this winter Monday.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Full Show Friday: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 2007 Great American Music Hall, SF, CA

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Ted Leo and the Pharmacists!
Here is a full Ted Leo and the Pharmacists show from 2007 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Pro Shot with Pro Sound, Enjoy:

Top 50 Albums of the 2010's: Numbers 10-1

Way back in 2009 we were lucky enough to help contribute to Glide Magazine's list of Best Albums of the 2000's. Hard to believe it has been ten years since we worked on that list, but it is that time again to look back at the previous decade and put together some arbitrary rankings. Since this site has been going strong the full decade we have a lot to pull from.

Here comes RtBE's picks for the top albums from the last decade, 2010-2019.

If we reviewed the album we will provide a link to that review in the title, a brief reflection on the record and a tune from it. A lot can change in ten years and a lot stays the same. Some albums were just right for their time and place and haven't aged particularly well and others were perhaps misunderstood or even prophetic as to where the world was headed.

Just our two cents, but this decade will not be looked back at fondly when it comes to remembering music in general. Things (for the most part) are being programmed and mushed together into mellow, white bread, digestible tunes with a hip hop foundation around pop hooks, synth vibes, a few strings and nothing the least bit exciting or offensive for the majority of music out there. In an era that should be considerably be ripe for protest, outrage, and individual expressionism, very little of actual substance has escaped to the masses.

Also from a practical standpoint, never before has the concept of "album" been so meaningless in our streaming/playlist curated society. While RtBE isn't completely old fashion, we still haven't bought into those ways of consuming music and the album is still our only way of listening to things, whether on vinyl or downloaded; no shuffling of singles here. This list focuses on full lengths that are played from beginning to end and deliver the goods.  


We will break this down over five parts, doing ten albums a day. There were a ton of good records released over the last ten years, much more than fifty, but these are our choices. We kept our personal musical releases off the list, but feel free to listen and critique those.

As a note, Glide Magazine, the main site we contribute to, changed it's rating system in the middle of the decade from 5 Stars to 10 stars, then removed it all together so if you see say #49 on our list with only 4 stars, consider it doubled to 8.

Like all of the lists RtBE have done, this is meant to start conversations, not end them. So let's kick it off...

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Live Review: Bob Dylan at The Beacon Theater, NY 12/3/19

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!

It is of Bob Dylan's recent performance at the Beacon Theater on the upper west side of Manhattan. It was the 8th night of his 10 night stand.
RtBE loves Dylan and this show was damn solid. While we liked last years arraignments a bit more we can not complain with this performance at all. If you can see Dylan, you should because he is great.

Top 50 Albums of the 2010's: Numbers 20-11

Way back in 2009 we were lucky enough to help contribute to Glide Magazine's list of Best Albums of the 2000's. Hard to believe it has been ten years since we worked out that list, but it is that time again to look back at the previous decade and put together some arbitrary rankings. Since this site has been going strong the full decade we have a lot to pull from.

Here comes RtBE's picks for the top albums from the last decade, 2010-2019.

If we reviewed the album we will provide a link to that review in the title, a brief reflection on the record and a tune from it. A lot can change in ten years and a lot stays the same. Some albums were just right for their time and place and haven't aged particularly well and others were perhaps misunderstood or even prophetic as to where the world was headed.

Just our two cents, but this decade will not be looked back at fondly when it comes to remembering music in general. Things (for the most part) are being programmed and mushed together into mellow, white bread, digestible tunes with a hip hop foundation around pop hooks, synth vibes, a few strings and nothing the least bit exciting or offensive for the majority of music out there. In an era that should be considerably be ripe for protest, outrage, and individual expressionism, very little of actual substance has escaped to the masses.

Never before has the concept of "album" been so meaningless in our streaming/playlist curated society. While RtBE isn't completely old fashion, we still haven't bought into those ways of consuming music and the album is still our only way of listening to things, whether on vinyl or downloaded; no shuffling of singles here. This list focuses on full lengths that are played from beginning to end and deliver the goods.

We will break this down over five parts, doing ten albums a day. There were a ton of good records released over the last ten years, much more than fifty, but these are our choices. We kept our personal musical releases off the list, but feel free to listen and critique those.

As a note, Glide Magazine, the main site we contribute to, changed it's rating system in the middle of the decade from 5 Stars to 10 stars, then removed it all together so if you see say #49 on our list with only 4 stars, consider it doubled to 8.

Like all of the lists RtBE have done, this is meant to start conversations, not end them. Here are numbers 20-11: