lunes, 22 de febrero de 2010

The Best Albums of All-Time Part 7

31. The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

One of the most important albums in music history, Pet Sounds even predated the Beatles in sound and production experimentation. Melodies are very rich and beaturiful on this record, and is definetely a must-have on any collection.

32. Joy Division - Closer

If I thought that Unknown Pleasures was a dark, indigestible record, after hearing this, I think I want to hear UP on a nice summer day. Released after Ian Curtis death, Closer presents to us the legacy of a man who clearly had his issues.

33. Black Sabbath - Paranoid

Setting apart the title track and Iron Man, which are commonly acknowledged as great heavy metal tracks, this album is one of the greatest collection of such songs. From the drum solo in Rat Salad to the magnificent guitar, this is definetely a guitars album.

34. Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

From the first time I heard Electric Ladyland, I knew it was a classic album that was not made for me. It is currently the first album on the list which I don't really like, enjoy or even rspect. There is great guitar playing, but it is lacking something from the previous Are You Experienced?

35. Neil Young - After the Goldrush

I believe I have already state how, when it comes to singer-songwriters, I prefer Mr. Neil Young over any other, and After the Goldrush is probably his finest moments, mixing good rockers with nerve touching ballads.

sábado, 20 de febrero de 2010

The Best Albums of All-Time Part 6

26. Radiohead - Kid A

Named by numerous sources as the album of the last decade, it was not without its reasons. Radiohead's fourth album expands on a sound which was started on 1997s Ok Computer, and has stayed as a blueprint for a decade of music which had just begun when this was released.

27. The Smiths - Bigmouth Strikes Again

In my world of being a frustrating musician, there is probably not any album which has influenced me more than this one. The music is beyond words, and Morrissey's lyrics and vocal delivery just hit a nerve inside me.

28. THe Doors - The Doors

I can't consider myself a Doors fan, specially since my knowledge goes little beyond this self-titled debut. However, if we were to judge on this album alone, this band has indeed a lot to offer, some nice piano parts, as well as Jim Morrisson's voice which is just haunting.

29. Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Live 1966 - The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert

Bob Dylan created some of the most enduring music albums of history during the first 15 years of his long career, however, this famous "Dylan Goes Electric" presentation was my first live encounter with his music. Not a let down.

30. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

This is just beautiful noise, noise under an almost hypnotic control. This album was meant to be heard at night, alone, in your dark room. Rejoice.

viernes, 19 de febrero de 2010

From the Grave. Notable Posthumous Music Releases

Inspired by last entry on Johnny Cash & Jimi Hendrix's new albums, I have decided to create this brief list. Doing this makes me think that it is impossible to ignore, the fact that whenever an artist dies, there are always two kinds of people who want to take chance of the occassion. Some of them might actually wish to remark this person's importance to his medium, or save his legacy for the future generations, however, there is a whole other group of people who have a different idea in their heads (€€€).
Posthumous releases have been around for a while, that's probably because nobody knows for sure when their hour comes, and the hooded figure might just find them in the middle of their work. Famous literary examples are Machievelli's "The Prince" or Franz Kafka's "The Trial", "The Castle" and "America", which he made his friend swear to destroy. Which he didn't. I guess in movie industry, the most notable release, or the one gaining more attention, has been Heath Ledger's Joker performance on "The Dark Knight".
But my main passion is music, and therefore, I will briefly list some famous posthumous releases in the music industry. In no particular order (wikipedia appearance, jejeje.)

1. Joey Ramone - Don't Worry About Me
Joey Ramone - What A Wonderful World .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

The perfect posthumous album has to be released with no more than a year of the artist's death. Even though, Joey released numerous albums as The Ramones singer, Joey Ramone's only studio album was recorded on his last two years of life, and released one year later in 2002. As is many the case with such releases, the album features a song which seems like the artist is talking to us from the grave. Joey's cover of Louis Armstrong "What A Wonderful World" is surely it.

2. Joe Strummer - Streetcore
Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros - Coma Girl .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Keeping in the line of diseased, once vocal frontmen from Punk bands, I continue with Joe Strummer. Strummer was the singer in The Clash for 10 years, until the band realized they were not worth it anymore. Strummer formed the band Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, and this was their third studio recordings, which features a lot of vocal tracks taken from a single take.

3. Nirvana - Unplugged in New York
Nirvana - Where Did You Sleep Last Night .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

April the fifth, marked the date of the last music icon to die. That day, Kurt Cobain passed away at the scaring age of 27 (same as Morrison, Janis Joplin & Jimi Hendrix). Many have noted that the band's last performance for the show MTV Unplugged, scarily looks like a funeral, with candles and velvet all over the place, the only thing that could make it feel more like a goodbye is the closing track, Kurt's take on a traditional folk song.

4. Joy Division - Closer
Joy Division - The Eternal .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Although Ian Curtis' most "from the grave" sounding song is found on the unreleased on studio albums "Atmosphere", accompanied by an excellent video by Anton Corbjin, Closer is far from sounding lively. Intesifying the sound which made a murky dark experience out of their debut Unknown Pleasures, Joy Division return with this gloomy masterpiece, which I admit to be personally scared of.

5. Elliott Smith - From a Basement on the Hill & New Moon
Elliott Smith - Pretty .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Elliott Smith always had emotional and personal problems which had reflected on his lyrics for his previous albums, therefore, it its not really a surprise that he ended up taking his own life in 2003. At that time, Elliott was working on From A Basement on the Hill, for which he had a colelction of 30 songs, some lacking vocals, which had to be narrowed down to a 15 tracks album. New Moon was taken from the sessions of the recordings of his 1995 self-titled album and 1997s Either/Or

From the Grave. Two Long Gone Artists Release NEW Albums

Just some days ago, it took me by surprise, the fact that two new records with original songs by late artists Jimi Hendrix & Johnny Cash will be released. Yep, that's true, 40 years after the first's death and 7 after country king's one, their labels will release completely unheard material.

In Jimi's case, it is some lost album which documents his transition from playing with "The Experience", Mitch Mitcheel and Noel Redding, to his later solo career. Valleys of Neptune comes out on March 9th, and has a lot to prove, since Hendrix jsut released three albums during his lifetime, all of them considered classics (Are You Experienced?, Electric Ladyland, and Axis: Bold as Love). The title track of the album has also being released as a single, with a video which contains one of Jimi's unknown talents; painting.

Jimi Hendrix - Valleys of Neptune

On the other side, we have Johnny Cash's second posthumous release and the sixth on the American series sessions, recorded with Rick Rubin, and which brought him critical and commercial acclaim back in 1994, as well as opening his music for the younger audiences. The first American Recordings won Cash a Grammy, and from these albums we have heard outstanding and I would even say, heartbreaking performances like his cover of NIN's "Hurt", or The Beatles' "In My Life". It is to expect that this being the second release from one session, you are not to expect much, though the British newspaper The Indepent's review said in comparison to the other American Recordings, that it "comes so close to those heights [that it] is cause for rejoicing".

Johnny Cash - Ain't No Grave

jueves, 18 de febrero de 2010

The Best Albums of All-Time Part 5

21. Pixies - Doollittle

This one I like because it is the only album I have bought through the internet. Of course there's a lot more to it, specially if you think why I HAD to posses it. Simply Pixies is pop rock at its best. Bass lines are probably the best, but Frank Black is great and that "loud quiet loud" thing has been very important. Plus it was ripped off to make Smells Like Teen Spirit.

22. The Beatles - Rubber Soul

What? Yet another Beatles album? Don't blame, blame the Beatles for making so great music. This here, is their first top class album, still keeping a little or their old poppy sound, but mixing it with the experimentation which would rule their later releases. Plus the track chosen is just beautiful, try hearing the Johnny Cash cover.

23. Nick Drake - Pink Moon

Nick Drake is one of those artists I feel ashamed for people who don't know him, specially because those might be many. Nick, as many others before and after, suffered from a premature death, not withot leaving us with three majestic works of art, of which, this is the finest. Too bad its so brief. . .

24. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures

My brother is quite a fan of this band, which have probably made the definition of what we know as post-punk. Dark, bass rich and with a prominent drum. Although I respect the only two albums Joy Division made before Ian Curtis (leadsinger), yet again, premature death, because they just seem too dark and moody. This one here is the most accessible of the two, but its not being fair, to play this only once. It definetely needs repeated listens.

25. The Clash - London Calling

Before London Calling and after The Wall, Siamese Dream, Electric Ladyland, I didn't know a double album could manage to be diverse, and entertaining through its whole running time. Plus it just bursts open the frontiers of punk. One of my favorites.

miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2010

Meat is Murder

As you might or might not have read on my Valentine's Day post, there I referred about the 20 years of The Smiths' second album "Meat is Murder". Over the last three years The Smiths have consolidated as one of my favorite bands, the third the last time I ranked them. Of the four studio albums The Smiths released on their career, this is the only one I haven't heard before; the three others I love, specially their follow up to this "The Queen is Dead". But although this is unknown to me, from this album comes what I believe is to be The Smiths most known track, and one of their finest moments, "How Soon is Now?", which has been covered numerous times over the years, one by Russian duo T.A.T.U.

Meat is Murder was the only Smiths album to reach number one on the UK charts, where it remained for 13 weeks. It also gave its name to the last track on the album, a vegeratian anti-meat anthem, written by Morrissey and Mick Mars (both vegetarians) which will make your stomach crunch umcomfortably with lines like:

"Kitchen aromas aren't very homely
It's not "comforting", cheery or kind
It's sizzling blood and the unholy stench

Hmmm, the smell of murder for lunch

Last week we had a t school some potatoes cut in stripes with ham, that I love. They are supposed to give me food for the whole weekend, and since they had made so much of this peruna(potato) thing, than they gave a big pile for me and my flatmate. However this dude has got some stupid thought on his mind that he is not eating meat anymore, and he hasn't done it for a month or smt now, so I had to eat the whole food myself. After been having the same food for days, I went to the kitchen on Monday to see what they had prepared. Guess what?

Yes!! Indeed!

Since the, I've had 3 days now only eating vegetables, and although the factors are multiple: awful repetitive food, some bad temper I'd been having lately, I believe The Smiths song had also something to do with my change in diet. I tell myself it is mainly an experiment, but I actually believe I can live without meat, so let's see how much this last. I invite you to join me, and you will see the advantages in your mood and physical state, plus, "a death without a reason, is MURDER".

The Smiths - Meat is Murder

lunes, 15 de febrero de 2010

5 Misunderstood Love Songs

Now that Valentines is over, and you don't have to worry anymore about what to give that person, or what to write in your letter, you can check in this selection on songs. Because who hasn't thought of dedicating a song or remember somebody when listening to a love song? But sometimes, is it a love song? What? Not?

5. Babybird - Because you're Gorgeous
Baby Bird - You're Gorgeous .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Since I've been in Finland, I had heard such an awful song on the radio, which I believed to be a new band. I was surprised that the artist was Babybird a British 1990s band which spent years doing demos, until they finally scored bigtime, with this song reaching number 3 on the British charts. However, this song was not representative of their sound, and future album, although receiving moderately good reviews, failed to sell, which cause the record label to drop them, and the band to split. They have reunited since, but this keeps being their signature sound, and really, I have to admit the catchiness of the chorus, which is likely the source of my hatred, and also of the misinterpretation of it as a love song. So, if your girl is gorgeous, you might nevertheless want to think twice before dedicating this song, which is really, to quote the author "about male photographers who want to use women to sell things using sex."

Remember the boyfriend who dedicated you this song? Well, he's being mountain photographing lately.

4. The Kinks - Lola
The Kinks - Lola .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

I bet you've heard about the first British invasion before, yes, it had to do with those guys who called themselves The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Those two mentioned before are probably the most relevant, but not far behind followed The Who, and well, The Kinks. You may remember The Kinks, fronted by Ray Davies by their song Waterloo Sunset, or You Really Got Me (Yes, same as that Van Halen COVER), but probably one of their most famous song is the one featured here. So before your sweet Dolores hears this coming from your mouth, be aware that that Dolo, might be better meant to a Doloretto.

3. R.E.M. - The One I Love
REM - to the one i love .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

R.E.M. were American critics sweethearts since their debut record Murmur broke into the stores on 1983. However well they were received by critics, the decade of the 80s was considered to be the poorest in terms of mainstream musical quality. Therefore it took 5 albums for this cult band to break the charts with this song, the first one to use the most commonly used word on song titles, "love". This probably mislead many into believing it to be a love song, but a close look at what Michael Stipe is singing, is really cruelly evil. "A simple prop to occupy my time" tells much about the singer's intention with this person, a simple prop, one which he ends up changing by the end of the song.

2. The Police - Every Breathe You Take

Police - Every Breath You Take .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

It's very likely that after so many years of this being released and misunderstood, that it probably shouldn't be here anymore. Anyways, for lack of a better song, and to orientate some girls who still might feel their hearts beat faster with the lines "Baby can't you see, you belong to me". Now picture that guy stalking on your facebook.

Not romantic anymore eh?

Well, yes, as it has been explained before, this song is actually about a stalker, a guy who's determined to check out everything this girl is doing. Not my concept of love, more like obsession.

1. U2 - One (Really, what do you expected?)
U2 - ONE .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

This one I added, because myself have always taken it to be a love song. A song I used to make every girl I was interested to listen to, well, also beacuse One is actually my second favorite song behind "Layla" (followed closely by entry number 3 on this list). However, myth tells that this song was improvised when the band was desperating when beggining their 1991 album "Achtung Baby". To quote Bono, the lyrics "just fell out of the sky, a gift".

Contrary to what you might believe, letters falling from the sky are not always a blessing.

I believe the song could be taken as anything really, though it is supposed to conjure a more globalized human union meaning, and after being told some friends have played this song at their weddings, singer Bono replied "Are you mad? It's about splitting up!"

So next time you're about to give an audio compilation to your girl for Valentine's Day, be sure to read the lyrics carefully, or be sure your girl will not (nevermind, she'll just throw it to the garbage ("Honey, did you hear the mix album?")). But if you are too lazy for reading, you might as well stick to roses.

domingo, 14 de febrero de 2010

Here Comes the Sun

If you see my last entries about my thoughts on the greatest albums of all-time, Beatles albums included, my choice of the video for them are mainly George Harrison's songs. He is probably my favorite Beatle, and that was even before a winter in Finland (or a winter at all) had made me understand the beauty of the song for which I borrowed the name for this entry. "I feel the ice is slowly melting", I feel so at the moment, and I'm so happy the sun is coming. However, this is not the only reason why I have decided to write about this song. Today is Valentine's Day remember? In contrast to last year, when my mood was certainly gloomy, at least I could tell by the songs I was hearing. This 2010 promised to be a little different, and I even manage to send a Valentine's Day letter to a girl friend (note: not girlfriend), one which I still haven't received any reply, but which theme was indeed, The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun". Moments after I left the card at the post office, I began to fear if I had done wrong by sending such a childish card, but I hope the girl understand an artist has to follow what his mind tells him, and at that moment it was that letter.

About Valentines, I tried to get in the mood by listening to some love playlist, but one unlove song from the Smiths, their most famous, HOw Soon is Now? from their album Meat is Murder, which on its 25th birthday this date, hitted me more than 20 80s hair metal ballads. Really, it's kind of amazing someone could write something like:

"There's a club, if you'd like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go, and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home
And you cry
And you want to die "

That guy sure needs a hug.

You choose for yourself which song hits you most.

Album Review - Massive Attack - Heligoland

Massive Attack - Heligoland

My knowledge about Massive Attack and the genre it represents doesn't go much beyond than the two most representative albums. Portishead's "Dummy" and this band's "Mezzanine", and although a 90s genre, on 2008 Portishead proved this genre had still more to give, while aiming it in a new direction. In contrast to following the path set by their opposing brothers, Massive Attack has come with a very average album.

I believe I don't really recognize any of the the guest voices on Mezzanine, but Heligoland's main advertisement had been the number, and size of the guesting names. In Spanish music, this happens a lot with artists who have had 10+ years without giving any worthy product, they just gather how many names they can, and release a collection of their own cover songs, I guess this also happens with average Anglo speaking artists like Neil Diamond or Marianne Faithful. At least Heligoland comes with original songs, which are listenable, but lack the spirit that wrapped Mezzanine in such mystery. The beats are not that memorable, and you will probably just end up remembering the songs as: "that which Tunde Adebimpe sings on", "that one with Damon Albarn" or "that one with the Elbow guy".

Massive Attack - Paradise Cricus

jueves, 11 de febrero de 2010

The Best Albums of All-Time Part 4

Today I come back with albums 16-20. Enjoy:

16. King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King

In the classic progressive era, which started in the 60s and into the 70s, there is just one name that I would dare to place besides that of Pink Floyd, and that one is, of course, King Crimson. I believe pretty much the cover says it all, prepared to be blown away.

17. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde

I went down to the library, just because I remembered there they had a vinyl version of this album. I thought this couldn't sound better, but every single instrument came so clearly out of the headphones. Blonde on Blonde is mainly about the poetic lyrics, though the music has also a lot to do, specially feeling wise. When you get to "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" you'll know what I mean.

18. Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced?

Some of Jimi's most famous cuts, like Purple Haze or Hey Joe, were put out as singles, and left out of this studio album. However, this is packed in enough consistency and excellent musicianship, that you won't really miss those songs.

19. Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks

When it comes to sincere and emotionally charged albums, it rarely gets better than this. Written after Dylan's divorce to his wife Sara, there exists a first recording of the album (available as bootleg), which is even more melancholic (depressing) than this cut. Probably the last great Dylan album.

20. Television - Marquee Moon

I won't lie, I basically paid 9€ for a deluxe version of this album, based merely on its fame, since although it has been in my digital collection for a while, I had not given it the respect it deserves. This album has clearly been a big influence in the music that has appeared after its release, you can't just hear it.

Third Stone from the Sun; A Guide to Music from the World: Honduras

I decided to make a little list about Honduran music. For proper viewing you'll need to visit this page click here. Feel free to join our community.

miércoles, 10 de febrero de 2010

The Best Albums of All-Time Part 3

I had said a couple of entries ago, that I would definetely cut it off with trying to make any kind of systematic entries on my blog, but what started almost as a joke, I have began to take seriously. Listening to the most I can out of this list. Getting close to the 20th, that means I've already done better than I thought, so I might just continue writing about them also:

11. The Beatles - The White Album

The White Album has also at some point in my life being subject of being called, my favorite Beatles album. The reason is simple, this is the Beatles studio album with more songs. Coming as a double album, the White Album featured a minimalistic cover, a number count printed and was the first album to include lyrics to its songs. Ok, there is some filler, specially the awful Revolution 9, but there's godl too.

12.John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

As I said before, Jazz is not my strong point nor my subject, I am just not used to it, but with this exercise, I am forced to listen to a couple of albums, and until now, I believe this might be the best, since it features excellent musical parts by different instruments, including a fabulous drum solo.

13. Charles Mingus - THe Black Saint & the Sinner Lady

This here is the first jazz album I ever got. It was a pair of years ago, and I can't say I've listened to this a lot. In fact it has sat there on my computer without being played, maybe for the first time I got it, and some long car trip I have made. Not much, or anything, I can remember from here.

14. Bob Dylan- Bringing it All Back Home

Dylan's album are filled with excellent top quality songs. Highway 61 before might be one of his greatest accomplishment with Like a Rolling Stone and Desolation Row alone.The lyrics on his first albums, specially on The Freewheeling Bob Dylan's Blowing in the Wind, led Dylan to be name the voice of a generation, when he just wished to make good music. On Bringing it All Back Home, I just feel Bob is really wanting to tell us something. I do feel there is more than just poetic metaphors on these songs.

15. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV

Stairway to Heaven alone could make a classic album, and when you add to that 7 more tracks, just as rocky and epic, and with less airplay on radio music history, how can you not have an album worth of praise? That's exactly what Led Zep deliver here, the highest point of their career.

lunes, 8 de febrero de 2010

The Best Albums of All Time Pt. 2

Well, I've already made it to the third day and five albums a day is quite something. First day it were ten, then only 3, but a double album included, and today I plan to fill my goal of 5 albums a day. The official counting says I still miss 17 of the albums present on the first part of the list, which I will go hunting to the library today. Anyways, here come the next five:

6. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

I have tried to review Highway 61 Revisited a couple of times, and somehow I've never been able to do justice to such a work of art. There's something about Dylan that I don't quite get unless I am actually hearing him. This album is filled with gems, from Like a Rolling Stone, to the magnificent Desolation ROw, yes, like the MCR cover.

7. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

It's hard for something to ever top DSOTM for me, but Pink Floyd follow up might be the closest it can get. The two parted Shine on Your Crazy Diamond, writing in tribute to fron tman gone crazy, Syd Barrett, might just be the best song on their entire catalogue, and additionally you get the excellent ballad which gives title to the album, and well, all songs are quite strong. The Pink Floyd sound condensed in 45 minutes of highgest musical quality.

8. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

I don't really have a problem with Jazz, well actually I do, but it's not like against Jazz, but more against myself. I can comprehend why people love it so much, and how it excites feelings inside music listeners, but the fact is that my ear is just not used to it, and however pleasing it can be to my ear, it fails to get anywhere on my memory. I am at the point, where I would never have a jazz album on my top albums of all time, anyways, maybe this exrcise will help me in that sense.

9. David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spider from Mars

As many other musical genres, glam was so abused that many people have forgotten it managed to give us gems like Electric Warrior, or most importantly, Ziggy Stardust. To many, Ziggy Stardust just sounds like a greates hits compilations, and that is because for me there is no filler in here, and even B-sides Velvet Goldmine and John I'm Only Dancing, would have deserved a place here. Suffraggette City, Ziggy Stardust, It Ain't Easy, Moonage Daydream, well, pretty much everything. The best Bowie album out of a very rich discography.

10. The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

The last entry for today goes to another Beatles album, and one of the most regarded ones. Sgt. Peppers has secured its place in history merely by its album art depicting the band along with such personalities as Bob Dylan, Oscar Wilde or Mohammed Ali. But looking, or better said, hearing past the cover, the album doesn't let down, with production ahead of its time, and sometimes silly, though never stupid songs. A must hear, and must have.

domingo, 7 de febrero de 2010

The Best Albums of All Time

It's hard to say which are the best/greatest albums of all-time. As most things in life, it is a question of taste, some people might like Van Halen III, and some might hate The Beatles collection, yet, there are some musical creations that share a common summarizing consensus, and if the number of times we see them on magazines and VH1 lists, the site has been creating a commmunity, where more than 10,000 users have rated their favorite records, and although the list keeps changing (every few weeks it gets an update), yesterday night I saw the current one, and looked back three years ago, when out of the top 100, I probably had heard 15, and now, I get close to the 80th mark. Some of them which I have heard more, and which I keep closer, but overall, such a great colelction of music made me desire to try to listen to them all. I started today, and I'm already at number 6, let's see how far I go. Usually I can't hear 6 albums in a row, but rally, when the music is such high quality, it really doesn't bother at all.

1.The Beatles - Abbey Road

The Beatles dominate the first page of the chart with 6 albums, more than any other artist. And they do for good reasons, even though I have my personal favorites, to my eyes they are the biggest and best band on music history, and all this they did on 7 years of recording. When hearing this, I thought I agreed in calling this the best Beatles album, not because it's their last one, but because it quite represents their whole musical catalogue better than any other studio recording.

2. The Beatles - Revolver

Unsurprisingly, the second Beatles entry is also the second entry on the list, and this time with another of their greatest achievements, which as a whole, even manages to save songs such Yellow Submarine and Doctor Robert. For me, Revolver is probably their highest point in terms of songwriting, although the production techniques in Sgt. Peppers will end up setting that up to match this one. After listening to closer Tomorrow Never Knows, I concluded that the best Beatles album, is the one being played at that moment. That's how great they are.

3. Radiohead - OK Computer

Reviewing Ok Computer was quite fun, specially cause I got to read my first entry when I first jpined rateyourmusic three years ago. It was an immature, stupid, bad written and utterly nonsense review, which I am glad to think I have improved over the years. However, it was caused by the emotion this album produced in me, and still does. Although more than ten years old, OKC still sounds as if it could have been made yesterday, not like anything has been better than this over this years.

4. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico

The only thing I hate about this album, is having to write the complete name of the band, and then again the same + Nico, when I talk about it, however, that + Nico is a very important part of the album. Without the German singer, it is possible, that although a great singer on his own, the album wouldn't have worked with just Lou Reed. I like to cite a quote about this album which went something like this: "Back in the 60s not many people bought this record, but those who did, started a band".

5. Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon

In order to not bore anybody to death, I'll leave it up to DSOTM for today's entry, but this project is really exciting me about all the good music that has been made over the years, and to me, this is the best. DSOTM sits top spot for me as my favorite album of all time. The things it adresses, and the music quality and the atmosphere, and the whole album rally, just make it something more, a musical experience.

viernes, 5 de febrero de 2010

Career Opportunities

Money. Have you thought how awful our society is that you actually need something otherwise meaningless like money to survive. Everything is for sale, you should pay for everything. Should it be this way? Who knows, but its already too late to change the system. Take me for instance. I'm here in Finland, and although it's true, I have food and boarding here, I have paid for this before coming here. At least I don't need to worry about that at this moment. Something less, because otherwise I have a trip to Estonia on mind, pay my last trip to Latvia, and even simple things like bus tickets, post service or even shampoo.

Each month I'm given 85€, which run out faster than you can say "ei mitään!" (nothing), so after seeing things at home aren't specially good to be sending me money I "don't need", than I decided to look for a job. First thing to know was, "Am I allowed to work on this coutnry?", I was not really sure, but after a visit to the work office and the police station, I found out I can perfectly work in Finland although I won't be counted on the unemployed list (remember that in Finland the government pays the unemployed. . .). I ask for help from someone else, mainly becuase one of the main of the many problems I have when looking for a job is that I'm not a full finnish speaker (I'm about to call myself intermmediate), and also because I would just work for 6 months if I were to start on February, which seems very unlikely when all the work available signal June as starting date.

My next choice is to put some kind of add announcing I can give private English or Spanish. Although newspaper alone, I would have to invest around 40€, and not only have I not got that money, but is it worth it? I guess overall I don't have much on what to spend here when I have food and where to sleep, and with some help from my family, I might just be able to pull both the trip already made and the future one into a 2-3 month pocket money (85). Anyways, I'm still unemployed, so if you live in Savonlinna, feel free to ask me ;)

I leave with a song by what to me was the best punk band, maybe because they broke the genre barriers. They were more than a punk band. Of course I'm talking about The Clash:

The Clash - Career Opportunities .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

jueves, 4 de febrero de 2010

Some Little Nonsense

Ghédalia Tazartès - Une éclipse totale de soleil

Here I just share with you a nonsense short story inspired by the album Une éclipse totale de soleil, by french artist Ghédalia Tazartès:

I can't really remember why I had always wanted to come to Morocco. Actually I do, I just thought ignorance would definetely do a better starting line. Starting lines are quite important, manage to miss with your opening statement, and your reader would already be looking for reasons to call your story boring, or a cure for insomnia. But insomnia has nothing to do with my reasons for me coming to this country, nor does any classic film with Humprhey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. It actually all goes back to my last visit to the United States, when I tried to visit all that Epcot Center had to offer, and out of what I was able to see, the Moroccan representation was the one which left a bigger impact on me. The music, the architecture, and specially that funny hat just seemed to call me.

Anyways, when I finally got to Europe, I realized I was quite closer to Morocco than I would ever again be in my life, at least for a long time. So after spending half a year in Finland, my brother came from Honduras and I told him, ”How about some Rabat or Casablanca?”, he just couldn't say no.

Three weeks later and we were in a taxi taking us from Casablanca airport to the cheapest hostel we could find around. Trip was weird. We both sat on the back of a musicless cab, which stereo didn't seem to be the only problem, also the driver didn't seem to notice some metalic clank hit every now and then what seemed to be the pavement of the city. Actually the hostel was outside the city, through a road where on one side you had beautiful singing birds, and a noisy factory of I don't really know what, nor did the taxi driver. Actually the taxi driver didn't know anymore English than when talking about fees.

Maybe it was the heat. A heat I was not used to since Finland is not the sunniest place on the world, but my head started to hurt, and just when we got to the hostel, we seemed to arrive just in time for a performance of a child singing way off key. I tried to simulate sympathy, but was deeply annoyed by his singing. My brother on the other hand, didn't loose a chance to photograph. That's the way it works when you get to a new place, photograph every chance you get. Don't worry, it'll stop after a while. I still had the city traffic honking on my head, so I decided it was better to retire to my room than to stay and hear the new singer, an older man and what seemed to be his female companion singing some kind of prayer, which mixed with my mind racket's made a perfect ”going crazy” soundtrack.

Finally I was inside the room, which as is the usual in these places, was to be shared with my brother, and two other random strangers, which I still had to meet. Apart from night birds, the place seemed to be silent, until I realized it was actually placed beside the hostel kitchen, where a group of German youngsters where making quite a racket. Dishes, pans, beer bottles crashing together, the oven signaling something under cooking was ready, and a singing now and then. After a while, when I was just laying on my bed trying to isolate my mind, the party finished, and two of the German guys came to sleep, or at least to lay down on their beds. They did notice me, and believed I was sleeping, so started making some awful whispering, which seemed to be more audible than any beer chant. Then it came.

Someone was screaming in some point of the hostel. A fight was under way. Screaming! Screaming! Someone was screaming outside of a room, and whatever this person was saying, he wanted each room to know about it. I started to realize I really had not understood anything coming from a person's mouth since some hours ago. Wether it was french, german, arabic, berebere, etc. I just didn't understand, to me it all sounded the same. Incomprehensible.

I guess I must have fallen at sleep at some point afterwards, because next thing I was aware of was a silent room. Silent but for a drop of water falling somewhere on the adobe building, and what seemed to be an old guy praying. Long deep prayers that nobody else in the room seem to be noticing on their sound sleeps. I was about to wake up to go and complain, but then I realized the sound came from the neighbor's house. There was little I could do.

Next day I woke up, feeling weirdly hung over, although I had not touch a single drop of alcohol the night before. Today we had arranged with my brother that it would be a sightseeing day. Take a bus to the city center, have some nice traditional lunch somewhere, check the local music store, buy ourselves a souvenir, one of those hats maybe, and spent the night at some club, hooking up with tourist girls. However, I was just not feeling in the mood for this kind of schedule.

I remember quite clearly the rock music playing at the hostel that morning, and it sounded quite familiar, though couldn't exactly point what it was, or where it came from. I also recall that in the open air common room there was a man, who seemed to be selling what appeared to be pet monkeys. One of the Germans discussed in english with him, if it would be a problem at the airport, and the Moroccan salesman was prepared to give him all kind of tips in order to get his new pet all the way to Cologne. Monkeys were around doing what monkeys do, until the hostel manager came screaming, really mad, threathening to kick the salesman outside of the stablishment which rested under his belt, and under his responsability, he believed, was the well-being and the not being ripped off of his customers. Monkeys started screaming when the angry man came near their temporary owner.

I left the fauna-human drama inside, and went out, where surprisingly was more singing. That place outside the hostel must have been some kind of X factor audition or something, for the musical movement seemed permanent. However, in contrast from last night presentation, this time, the singer had to compete against a bus announcing it was leaving soon, an ambulance some streets nearby, and the local elementary school just across the street, where kids seemed to be repeating their lessons out loud. This place was quite noisy, maybe my country was too, but Finland was not, and such a contrast just seemed not just to hurt my ears, but to confuse them at the same time.


We have just arrived from a lousy trip at the town center. And to welcome us, a nice crying baby. The manager is trying to tell us something though he can't remember the words in English, and the baby crying on a lady's arms just doesn't make things easier. I should not move, maybe it's something important the manager wants to tell us ”what''s the word? Don't worry, it's not important” he says. My brother stays there talking with some new guest, and I go to my room, just to find the singing kid from yesterday hiding inside the room under one of the two-story beds. He sees I see him and makes me a signal to keep silence. He's obviously in some kind of hide and seek game. Another kid from around the same age comes near the door, exclaims something like ”Aha!”, and a big discussion between the two children starts. Not knowing if the one just found is cursing me or not, I push him outside of the room and head to my bed, where one of the german guys seems to have left all his luggage on top.

At town, i all went wrong. Bus filled with people, sweaty, smelly people, music at top volume, bus stopping every street corner, not to get anyone down, only inside. After what seemed like an eternal trip we got hungry to town, and went to what seemed to be a cheap restaurant, order what sounded exotic from the menu only to find ourselves with nasty rubber tasting food, an annoying flamenco guitar player who went mad at us when we left without tipping, specially since we were not that generous after a quite high bill. At the music store, the clerks had on some awful pseudo-metal stuff, which sounded like a horrible NWOBHM band singing in a foreing language. I even skipped my usual international CD buying this time, though not before trying another store, where they had the exact same god-awful song which was worse than your mother getting hurt. The shit was just ear splitting.
I was feeling sick. Probably the heat, probably the food, probably a whole dream trip gone wrong, and one which was filled with all kind of noise coming from everywhere. Really, when we left Casablanca's airport, not without hearing some other criminal rock song by what seemed to be the same band at the music store, I couldn't help but finding relaxing, deeply meditative, and heartwarming, the sound of the planes turbines defeating Moroccan soil.

lunes, 1 de febrero de 2010

I Can't Complain Anymore

I've been away from the Blog because I needed to go to a midterm evaluation camp from the ICYE, the organization which has had me in Finland for what now is 6 months (halfway there). The camp was really nice, since it was a chance to catch up with some friends, as well as meeting new people, hearing some life advice and overall, exchanging our experiences in Finland. However, this was just 3 days, the following 4 days I spent in 4 different countries, since no longer had the camp finished, I left Helsinki in direction to Tampere, from where I took a Ryanair plane (really cheap) to Riga, where I was being hosted by website, and was actually planning to spend the 3 days there. First day I arrived in Riga, the only major city in Latvia, a country which has a considerable Russian population, and which adds to no more than 40 years of independent history. It was dark at night, and I was actually more aware to follow the directions which led me from the airport, commuting nearly one hour to my hosting place, with a Latvian girl who had actually lived and travelled through Latin America. We spoke until late, although I was quite tired.
Next morning my friend companion & me woke up around 10 am, had breakfast in the bread store across the street and prepared our legs for a good walking day around Riga. Little would we know that we would finish that day entering the country of Poland. Little had we walked, when we thought it would be a good idea to just go to the train station and catch a train somewhere else, with Prague being our main objective. After learning the crappy train system in Latvia (you can't leave the country on train), we had to use the buses. We checked the timetables, and took the next bus to Vilna, Lithuania, where we planned to connect to Prague. We basically went through Latvia and Lithuania, so although I can't say I know Riga, I do know Latvia. In Vilna we managed to buy tickets for the night train to Warsaw, which was going to be our final destination. When I saw the map, I understood that Prague is not really around the corner. However, before taking the bus, we had a couple of free hours, which we use to go around the beautiful city of Vilna.
We slept at the bus, so we didn't need to pay for a place to stay, but we got to Warsaw around 6 in the morning after a 10 hour travel. Over there we had to wait for the currency exchange to open, and then we could delight ourselves with Polish food, myself taking a Pacek Po, some kind of pancake with meat inside, kind of like a crepe but thicker. Unfortunately, we also found out that the train station is not really that close to the city center, so we stroll around aimlessly until we finally took a bus, which took us nowhere, but returned to our initial spot, and took another bus on the opposite direction, where a nice looking Polish girl explained us how to get to the old city, or whatever remains of it. Anyways, we got to some pretty amazing clock tower, which I somehow didn't take picture, and then strolled around the city. Saw a couple of landmarks, but afterwards saw the city zoo, and since we had not had very good sleep at the bus, we thought it would be a nice idea to just go there. Quite a waste you might think, but I actually enjoyed it, and believe it was a correct decision, plus I got to see the first rhino in my life. The day ended as the one before, spending the night on the night bus to Vilna, just to get off, wait some 20 minutes, and set our asses for another 5 hours to Riga. I slept quite a lot this time, in contrast to the first travel. We where in Latvia, got some nice sleep, and flew back to Tampere, where even though we had some inconvenience at the fucking expensive Pendolino train. Next day I was back home at Savonlinna and had to prepare for another day of work.
Overall the experience was quite nice, especially since I had being complaining about my lack of traveling, which just seems to be growing on the future months, though I'm not sure where will I fabricate money to spend. I'm currently looking for an afternoon job, so if you live in Savonlinna, own a business and have a vacant, post in the comments ;) I would also like to add, that I don't really reccommend this trip, since although we got to get a glimpse of the cities, it is way too tiring, and they still have a lot more to offer than what we were able to see.

David Bowie - Warszawa .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine