Sunday, January 30, 2011


Just a quick note: I discovered vinyl. And I LIKE it.

Having 2 or 3 vinyl LPs and no record player lead me to buy one some weeks ago. Now I find myself browsing flea markets and the internet for old LPs. What the heck? :-)

Already spinning on my record player:
  • Mike Viola - Hang On Mike / Lurch / Melon
  • Frank Sinatra - Live At The Sands / In The Wee Small Hours
  • Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree
  • Queen - The whole discography (my favorites: Innuendo / Queen II / Made In Heaven / News Of The World / A Day At The Races)
  • Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue
  • Robbie Williams - Swing When You're Winning (yes, I like this one!)
  • Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around
  • The Beatles - 1
  • Elvis Presley - 30 # One Hits
  • Jim Boggia - Misadventures in Stereo (Mono Version!)
Coming soon:
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5:55
  • Air - Moon Safari / Pocket Symphony
  • Freddie Mercury & Monserrat Caballe - Barcelona
  • Ron Sexsmith - Time Being
Any suggestions for LPs?

Monday, January 17, 2011

CD Review: Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour Of Bewilderbeast

The Hour Of Bewilderbeast - the debut LP of Badly Drawn Boy - is an exceptional piece of work.
It opens up with "The Shining", a beautiful melancholic intro with an even more beautiful song. Followed by "Everybody's Stalking", it's darker, heavy guitars. "Camping Next To Water", a song full of soul and melancholy. "Stone In The Water" leads you to "Another Pearl", which is less experimental, more radio friendly (as "Once Around The Block"). "Body Rap" shows a funky hip-hop part of the album, which is first strange, now I love it. "Magic In The Air" is again a melancholic, sweet song (perfect for a rainy autumn day). "Cause A Rockslide" is probably the most experimental song of the album, especially the instrumental at the end. It seems to end in chaos, suddenly leading straight to "Pissing In The Wind", a simply heartwarming song. "Disillusion" is a designated radio single, it has a kind of disco feeling. The record closes with "Epitaph", one of the best closing songs I ever heard.

Final comment: There are very few records that fit as good together as "The Hour Of Bewilderbeast". It's so hard to listen to one song of the album without thinking "Oh wait, now comes ...". And it's strangely disappointing if it doesn't follow. The only album with a similar feeling for me is "Queen II". It's just an classic record. Sadly Badly Drawn Boy changed his style after that a bit. Don't get me wrong - he still creates very beautiful songs, but not as coherent as "The Hour Of Bewilderbeast".

Highlights: "The Shining", "Everybody's Stalking", "Camping Next To Water" and "Disillusion"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Taylor Locke & The Roughs - Review "Marathon" & "Grain & Grape"

Yes, Rooney. Again. Solo Record. Again. This time it's Taylor Locke. Seriously: The band members of Rooney seemed to be very productive in 2010. Rooney with their latest album "Eureka", Ned Brower with his solo record "Great To Say Hello" and finally Taylor Locke & The Roughs with "Grain & Grape" and "Marathon". Yes. Two records. In one year. Both are just great.

Taylor Locke & The Roughs - Grain & Grape:
The album opens with "Start Me Over" and "Jennifer" - two straight rock song (and i like them a lot!). "Joy" reminds me of ELO & Bleu, "Amnesia" is upbeat & catchy while "What Have I Done?" is my favorite of the whole album. And so we are at record no. 2:

Taylor Locke & The Roughs - Marathon:
The brilliant opener "The Honor Role" is minioperaesque* in tradition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" or "Band On The Run", while "Jenny" and "tarred, feathered & scarlet lettered" are straight rock songs. "Don't Forget" reminds me of Queen & ELO (or LEO ...) - I confess, I like the "wooo-hoo". "My Only Drug" along with "One More Time" are no less than perfect radio singles (which can still be a good thing these days).
"Sleeping with the enemy" is like listening to a good Def Leppard song (do I hear "Loud Lion" here?).

So thank you Rooney for 2010 - what a surprise! Just one thing: bring Bleu and/or Mike Viola with on your next tour to us in Germany (like the "Ménage A Tour 2011". The people here don't know what they are missing :-)

* checked Google: the word "minioperaesque" wasn't used before. I claim copyright for this :-)

Official website: Taylor Locke & The Roughs

CD Review: Ned Brower - Great To Say Hello

"Are you high Ned? Drummers don't make solo records. Next you're going to tell me you've actually gone and written some songs. Say it isn't so."
It is - Ned Brower, the drummer of Rooney has a solo album called "Great To Say Hello" out for some weeks. The songs were produced by no other than Mike Viola and recorded in just 10 days. Ned says, the album "has been in my mental works for a couple of years". It's a mix of styles, yet it fits in the end.
Ned: "I think we made a record that blends my northwest indie roots, my southern R&B leanings, and my Californian pop sensibility into an eclectic yet cohesive album."

Here are some short notes to some standout tracks: "Underneath You Spell" is a great upbeat opener, "Love And Affection #3" has powerpop written all over it and "Hide Your Secrets Away" immediately got stuck in my head. "Mine And Mine Alone" is just groovy! "Father To Son" has a nice 1960s feeling. I instantly had to think of the 1955 "Back To The Future" while listening to it :-) I also enjoy "Together For All Time" and "The Alleyway" very much.

Final words: It's surely different from Rooney. It's upbeat, very catchy (no surprise with a producer like Mike Viola) and makes me listen to it again right away.

Ned Brower - Official website:

Listen to samples of the whole album here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jon Brion

What would you think of a producer writing soundtracks for some of the best movies in the last years (Magnolia, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or I ♥ Huckabees) and producing exceptional artists like Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainwright, Fiona Apple, Elliott Smith, Spoon, Keane, Dido or Of Montreal? A busy man, is he? But Jon Brion also has a solo career (okay, it's just one album: Meaningless from 2001 - sadly there was never a follow up).

In 2006 a tendonitis in Brion's right hand forced him to cancel his live shows.
Today he plays live again. But unfortunately there are very few news about him.

Jim Boggia

To be influenced by the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel or Brian Wilson isn't a bad thing for a songwriter, is it? Jim Boggia, a songwriter and performer from Philadelphia proves this can be actually a excellent mix: Jim has become a fixture in the pop scene in the last ten years: in 2001, Boggia released his first full-length studio album "Fidelity is the Enemy", following "Safe In Sound" in 2005 and "Misadventures in Stereo" in 2008.

Remembering Jim playing on the ukulele at The Borderline in London last year and performing "I hate New York" or "Listening to NRBQ" or "No Way Out" with Bleu and Tracy Bonham brings back memories of a tremendous concert.

Listen to three of his best songs here:

Official website: