Archive for the ‘Front Row’ Category

Albums of the Year – 2017

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Transplants – Take Cover EP

Kind of reminiscent of the Tim Timebomb covers series from back in 2013, but more polished than those tracks. I love the variety of styles here, but would have liked more tracks

Standout track: Nothing but a heartache

Transplants @ the Warfield

Old Firm Casuals – Wartime Rock n Roll

Another solid EP from the Old Firm Casuals. They are always very consistent stylistically, but I love the Rose Tattoo-inspired slide guitar on the first track.

Standout track: Hell’s a lot better

2016-01-30 Old Firm Casuals @ The Night Light

Mayfield – Victim of Circumstance

This album sounds really great. This is surprisingly not drum-heavy, given that it’s a drummer’s project. After watching the launch show, I wasn’t sure about the singer, but she sounds really good on the record. I’m a big fan of the sax player too. Looking forward to more from these guys.

Standout track: My Apartment

Rancid – Troublemaker

Rancid have become very consistent over the last 4 or 5 albums, varying their style a little between albums. In that regard Troublemaker isn’t groundbreaking, but solid as always.

Standout track: Telegraph Avenue

2015-09-17 Rancid @ Terminal 5, NY

Andy Allo – One Step Closer EP

I’m never quite sure what I’m going to get from Andy Allo. This EP is sad, but still beautiful. This is probably more heartfelt than a lot of her earlier work, but I have no idea if she’ll stick to this sound (probably not, given her recent chritmas EP)

Standout track: 1000 Days

Andy Allo @ hotel Utah @andyallo

Special Mention: Prince – Purple Rain Deluxe

This is border-line since it’s a re-release, but I’ll consider the second disc (“From The Vault & Previously Unreleased”) as new since it contains the first release of these tracks.

I was probably most looking forward to the studio version of Our Destiny/Roadhouse Garden, but found it underwhelming compared to the 1984 Birthday Show version. The 12 minute “Hallway speech” version of Computer Blue is so good. I can understand that it wouldn’t fit on an album, but I’d say it’s better than the album version. We Can Fuck is perfect 80’s prince – funky, synthy, sexy and obscene. I’m very glad it was released, even though I’m sure prince would be very unhappy with it coming out.

Standout track: We can fuck

Purple Rain era Prince at Casa Loma

Albums of the Year – 2014

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Prince/3rd Eye Girl – Plectrum Electrum

Amazing album. I love it when prince plays rock n roll guitar, but much to my surprise, I also really enjoy the Hannah songs too. The album can’t touch how amazing Prince and 3rd Eye Girl are live, but is still a much closer representation of the live sound than any prince solo stuff.

My biggest complaint is that this album cam out about a year too late. There was some great buildup in 2013, with demos, club shows, tv appearances etc, but then nothing until late 2014, by which point we’d been listening to the songs for 18 months already, making the album seem a little stale even as soon as it was released.

Standout track: BOYTROUBLE

2014-03-31 Prince poster
(prince doesn’t like people taking photos at his shows anymore)

The Architects – Border Wars Episode II

A little bit of a lighter sound than Episode I, but still great rock and roll songs along with probably the best production the Architects have ever had.

Standout track: In the snow

2014_04_25 0153 the ARCHITECTS
I still haven’t got to see The Architects live

Old Firm Casuals – This Means War

A really cohesive album, which is easier to listen to than the separate singles and complilation they’d released before now. These tracks are more nuanced than their earlier songs, but still very angry and loud, straight up oi.

Standout track: Off With Their Heads

2014-03-08 old firm casuals @ thee parkside

Jamie T – Carry on the Grudge

A surprise release after almost complete silence for 5 years. Much more mature and less “fun” than his earlier stuff. Jamie T has grown up; he’s no longer singing about drinking and fighting, there’s a sadness in these songs but also a slow-burning anger that I really like.

Standout track: Zombie (but Love is Only a Heartbeat Away is probably more representative of the album)

2014-12-02 Jamie T @ the independent

The Interrupters – S/T

Incredibly solid, polished ska/punk album. I love Amy Allen’s angry vocals but everyone in the band is on top of their game. Hard to believe this is a first album. I’m really looking forward to future albums to see if they branch out more.

Standout track: Take Back the Power

2014-12-02 The interrupters @ the independent