Matze’s Top 5+5 (no particular order)
1. Grey Reverend – A Hero’s Lie (Motion Audio/Rough Trade)
The story of discovering the music of L.D. Brown aka Grey Reverend is a bit dull, I have to admit: I stumbled across the cover thinking “well, that’s a great photo” and just gave it a listen. And it completely blew me away. This summer I was sitting at a beach in Portugal with “A Hero’s Lie” on my headphones simply gazing at the sea and for a moment I was at peace with the world (being me, that didn’t last long, mind you). Although it’s nothing groundbreaking, it simply is a hauntingly beautiful record. In a few years a lot of people will probably look back on “A Hero’s Lie” as a masterpiece no one took notice of. Remember folks, you read it here first.
Listen to: “Belafonte”
2. Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart (Vertigo/Universal)
It was in February 2009 that I first encountered Frank Turner. He was standing with his acoustic guitar on a stage in Cologne, preceded and followed by, well, “heavier” bands. Frank nonetheless killed it and won the room in a coup de main. Since then his music is a loyal and comforting companion of mine. In 2013, after a lot of heavy touring and two more albums in between, he released his fifth album. “Tape Deck Heart” sees Turner at his best, although he probably was it his worst while writing it: it’s basically all about heartbreak. A lot of heartbreak. But even if you’re happy as hell right now, you’ll probably enjoy this one, because it’s just so incredibly good.
Listen to: “Polaroid Picture” (man, THAT segue from verse to chorus is a killer)
3. Tocotronic – Wie wir leben wollen (Vertigo/Universal)
German it is! Carlo and Daniel will probably shake their head in disgust, but the more I listened to “Wie wir leben wollen” (“How we aim to live”), the more I embosomed it. Tocotronic is basically one of the few German “indie” bands that evolved throughout their career without losing it. “It” being that special something that makes everything interesting, for example Dirk von Lotzows strange way of singing. I can’t really pinpoint it any further, so I just stop meandering and go back to having fun with the weird lyrics, the soothing guitar lines and, well, everything.
Listen to: “Abschaffen”
4. Kevin Devine – Bubblegum (Triple Crown)
I already said so much about that record, so I am going to keep it short: It’s great. Kevin Devine is one of the few singer-songwriters of our generation, who has a public voice and knows how and when to use it. It probably won’t change the world, though, but perhaps a few people start thinking a bit more about how messed up some parts of our western society are, after they gave a listen to “Nobel Prize”, “Private First Class” or “Fiscal Cliff”.
Listen to: the three above-mentioned
5. Boy Sets Fire – While A Nation Sleeps (End Hits/Cargo)
I hereby confess that I’m not a fan of most “modern” post-hardcore-something bands. Not because I don’t like the music, no, it’s the singers I can’t stand: their screaming without any alteration is the epitome of boredom (yeah, go on, prove me wrong). With boysetsfire it’s different: for one thing they are not really “post” and for another thing they have the probably most talented singer of the whole scene. That being said, with “While a Nation Sleeps” boysetsfire just continue where they left off in 2005: so, nothing new on the musical side, to be honest, but that also means that they stagnate on a pretty high level. Call me old-fashioned and backward-looking, but hell, I had a lot of fun with that record.
Listen to: “Heads Will Roll”
1. Into It. Over It. – Intersections (Triple Crown)
Did I ever tell you about that one time I nearly saw Evan Weiss performing solo in a backyard in Hanover? Of course not, because I didn’t tell you that many stories until now. And I won’t start with it just today, because, well, it’s kinda boring. Into it. Over it.’s new record, “Intersections”, thankfully is the complete opposite: it sounds as if the era of mid-western emo never ended, which is a pretty good thing, especially compared to that one phase some ten years ago when people with make-up on their faces were considered being “emo”. Brrr.
2. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse (Warner)
It would be a huge loss for the British culture, if Scotland decides to leave the Empire at some point during the next few years. One of the many reasons for that are Frightened Rabbit, who delivered another high-class collection of songs this year. Scott Hutchison could probably just recite the list of beverages of his favourite pub and I’d still love it.
3. The National – Trouble Will Find Me (4AD/Beggars)
With The National it’s always like meeting a good, old friend: even if you haven’t seen him for years, you are able to connect with him within a sec. Why is that, you ask? Because that friend still hammers out songs like “Pink Rabbits” or “I Should Live in Salt” that just move you like the old times, when you were barely 23.
4. Owen – Ami du peuple (Polyvinyl/Rough Trade)
Mike Kinsella quietly made his way up into my imaginary singer-songwriter-top-5-list. For some years, I have mostly seen him as the singer of American Football, which is totally stupid, considering how many albums he released as Owen (seven!) compared to the single one by his old band. So don’t make the same mistake and go and buy all his records. Probably start with his new one, because it is pretty easy to get AND it is ace, as always.
5. Defeater – Letters Home (Bridge 9/Soulfood)
Do you remember me writing something about not liking “modern post-hardcore-something bands”? Yeah, I am not completely honest with myself here. So, I kinda like Defeater, because they sound a bit more “punk-influenced” than, let’s say, Touché Amoré. At times I even think of the old Rise Against, only with a better production and some heavier riffs.
Looking for part 1? You can read it here.