Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What's playing in my car II

Tool : Aenima

So you say you do not much care for hermaphrodites? Well, you might just revise your opinion about their tribe after you listen to this album. Even though Maynard James Keenan might not be a hermaphrodite (although rumors persist about his being asexual), his androgynous voice is quite possibly the easiest on the ears in the world of hard rock and metal. This album consists of buzzing guitars, intensely melodious, vulnerable vocals and the sharp wit that is a trademark of all Tool albums. Simply amazing stuff. This is the first cd I bought when I reached the shores of my foster country.

Favorite songs on the album : StinkFist, Eulogy, Pushit.

Soundgarden : Superunknown

A relic of the 90s grunge movement that continues to proudly bears it's torch. Chris Cornell's screaming vocals, Kim Thayil's ceaseless guitaring and darkly melodious songs. It all reminds you of the good times that were the Clinton years.

Favorite song on the album : Black hole sun.

Alice in Chains : Unplugged

Alice in Chains' final album before Layne Staley, the lead vocalist died of a drug overdose. You can make out the tenuous thread supporting Staley's grasp on reality in this grim and foreboding, but at the same time, intimately acoustic album (which is also available as a DVD). AIC put aside their amplifiers and distortion pedals to give us this very depressingly beautiful album, consisting of most of their hits, set in MTV's Unplugged studio, which is lit up with candles for the occasion and attended by a devout group of fans. Lots of quirky moments on the DVD that have been omitted in the CD, for example, when Staley fucks up the beginning of a song, sounds off an expletive to that effect and has to restart it. Best enjoyed when high on some kind of euphoria inducing substance.

Favorite song of the album : Brother.

Sigur Ros : Ágætis Byrjun

Think about the bleak, icy, rugged barrenness of Iceland. Think about the craggy mountains in the distance, quite possibly volcanoes, a cloudy drizzly sky and imagine you, standing at the outer edge of a volcanic crater, clutching your jacket as you peer inside, taking care not to slip and fall into the abyss. Inside, you see four people, armed with guitars, drums and all kinds of musical equipment, playing....what IS that music? You've never heard anything like it before. It all blends in extraordinary well with the rest of the ambience. It's dark, brooding music, but also magical, almost other-worldly. And you are somewhat concerned, because even though the words seem to be in English, they don't mean anything to you. And Jesus Christ, is the guy actually using a violin bow on his guitar to create those strange wailing symphonies?

Your eyes and ears are not deceiving you. Welcome to the band Sigur Ros. Quite possible the best thing to come out of Iceland since...well, I don't know of anything else that ever came out of Iceland. But you get the drift. This band sings in a tongue invented entirely by them. It's called "Hopelandic", basically a language which sounds like Icelandic, but doesn't mean anything at all. The album Ágætis Byrjun has an entirely unique sound, unlike anything you've ever listened to. I don't know any other band whose music evokes as vividly the landscape of the country they emerged from. It's an album of haunting soundscapes and orgasmic melody. Check it out, you will not be disappointed.

Favorite song on the album : Flugufrelsarinn

Dr Dre : The Chronic

Well, who woulda thunk I would ever be listening to rap, and lovin' it too? Well, actually,this is the only rap album I love and listen to. This record is the mother of Cool. It's the closest you can get to chillin' without having to slay a brother in the process. Of course, as is the case with rap, it's liberally sprinkled with references to sex, drugs and violence. And it is also highly improbable that listening to this stuff might send a feminist into paroxysms of delight. But if you decide to turn a blind eye to all that and concentrate on the music, boy is it a treat for the ears.

Favorite song on the album : Nuthin' but a G thang.

Massive Attack : Mezzanine

The Brit equivalent of chilldom, also called "trip hop". Dark sinister, intense beats, incorporating a number of influences, some Indian. The perfect record to play traveling in your car on a rainy day with a lot of time to kill till the next rest stop.

Favorite songs on the album : Inertia Creeps, Black Milk, Teardrop

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