Author: Matthew Barlow

The Dogs — Before Brutality

The Dogs Before Brutality Drabant Music The Dog are a punk band from Oslo.  Formed away back in 2011, they released their début album in 2013, and ever since January 2014, they have put out a new album every January. In Norway, frontman Kristopher Shau is celebrity of sorts, engaging in performance art, hosting one of the country’s biggest podcasts, and even hosting a TV show on the Seven Deadly Sins that stirred up a bit of controversy.  But in the rest of the world, they’re a little less famous.  They did win Little Steven’s Coolest Song of the Year...

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Red Rum Club — Matador

Red Rum Club Matador Modern Sky Red Rum Club are from Liverpool.  Also from Liverpool is Echo & The Bunnymen,  Why does this matter?  Because Red Rum Club sound like an updated version of the Bunnymen,  Shimmering guitars, quick beats, and frontman Fran Doran sounds a bit like a cross between Ian McCullough and Noel Burke (the temporary frontman of the Bunnymen c. 1990).  And yet, this is a brand new bag.  RRC also have this bizarre mariachi horn.  You’d think this would be a bad idea.  It is not.  In fact, this is some seriously good shit. Doran...

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The Best Music of 2018, Part II

This is the second part of my completely subjective best of 2018, music-wise.  Part I was published on Monday.  Music is a central part of my life, there is almost always music playing in our house, in our cars.  Or I am playing music.  I have a collection of musician friends, I am always amazed by their creativity.  And in the dark times we live in, I find I need music more than ever to give me some balance.  So, without further ado, the best of the second half of 2018: Wooden Shjips, V (Thrill Jockey) Essential psych rock from San...

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The Best of Music, 2018, Part 1

As we sat around over the holidays discussing the past few years, we realized that we called 2016 a tire fire.  That made 2017 a dumpster fire.  So what was 2018?  We struggled with this, but ultimately, we decided it was just a clusterbombfuck.  We invented a brand new word for 2018!  Last year wasn’t as brutal with killing musicians as 2016 and 2017 was, I guess.  But we still lost some greats last year.  Pete Shelley, of the Buzzocks is gone.  Country legend Roy Clark also checked out. The legendary French chansonier, Charles Aznavour left.  And so did...

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Jah Wobble — The Butterfly Effect

Jah Wobble The Butterfly Effect Rough Trade Jah Wobble is a legend.  He was the founding bassist of Public Image Ltd., the most essential of post-punk bands.  PiL (comprised initially of John Lydon, Keith Levene, Jim Walker, and Wobble) essentially invented post-punk with their first two albums, 1978’s First Issue and 1979’s Metal Box. Wobble brought a new way of playing bass to rock music, heavily influenced as he was by reggae and dub.  His big, fat basslines were the perfect counter punch to Levene’s jarring, metallic guitars and Lydon’s singular voice. Wobble quit PiL in 1980 and seemingly faded into obscurity.  There is an apocryphal story of him working on The Tube in London in the mid-80s and announcing into the PA system, ‘I used to be somebody. I repeat, I used to be somebody.’ He resurfaced in the early 90s with The Invaders of the Heart, heavily influenced by dub, reggae, as well as Middle Eastern music.  The album, Rising Above Bedlam, featured the hit single ‘Visions of You,’ with Sinéad O’Connor on vocals.  It was and remains one of the most mesmerizing songs I’ve ever heard, as much for Sinéad’s voice as Wobble’s bass.  Since then, he has regained his musical mojo and has released more albums, eps, and singles than I can count. Wobble’s music is instantly recognizable, I don’t think there is another bassist in the history of...

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