sabato 12 dicembre 2015

STRACHY NA LACHY - "DODEKAFONIA" (2010)

Thanks to their empowering slogans for the young and their catchy refrains, Strachy na Lachy are one of the most important alternative bands from Poland.
They were founded in 2002 by singer Krzysztof Grabowski and guitar player Andrzej Kozakiewicz, both members of Pidżama Porno. They started as a side-project, but since 2005 they have become the main band due to their growing popularity.

“Dodekafonia” is their fifth album, the first to reach no. 1 in Poland and probably their most complete work.
Here you can find dub-influenced songs (“Ten wiatrak ta łąka”), folk ballads (“Cafe Sztok”), and alt-rock anthems with guitars in the style of Franz Ferdinand, such as “Ostatki - nie widzisz stawki” and “Twoje oczy lubią mnie”.


DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

lunedì 23 novembre 2015

DAWID PODSIADŁO - "ANNOYANCE AND DISAPPOINTMENT" (2015)

Dawid Podsiadło won the Polish edition of X-Factor in 2012. While in the rest of the world every singer who has come out of x factor has become a money-making machine with no artistic value whatsoever, Podsiadło has managed to actually make some great music, with the help of ambitious producer Bogdan Kondracki
His debut, titled "Comfort and Happiness", has sold around 200.000 copies in Poland, which in these days marks a record. Even if I like it, I find it a bit monotonous in his slower parts. 

On the other hand, this new chart topping album seems to be good from start to finish, a majestic anthology of indie-pop tracks with the widest range of instruments (electric organ, analogue synths, acoustic instruments, jazz guitars, and sporadic fuzz effects).
“W dobrą stronę”, “Son of Analog”, “Byrd”, and “Block” are among the best songs of 2015.

P.S. Kudos to bass player Wojciech Król and his amazing lines.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

domenica 22 novembre 2015

MAKOWIECKI - "MOIZM" (2013)

Tomek Makowiecki came out of a Polish talent show in 2002, but he has never sold himself to mainstream music. He has decided instead to become a cult figure of the local scene, playing a refined and intellectual form of alternative pop.

This is his fifth studio album, the second as a soloist, and one of the most beautiful Polish records released in the last years.

The slower tracks reminds of David Sylvian (“Ostatni brzeg”, “Your Foreign Books”), whilst the faster ones are closer to electronic dance music (“Holidays in Rome”).
“Dziecko księżyca” steals the show with ten minutes of heaven-like pop-ambient progressions, and Tomasz's voice sounds like that of an angel.

Four out of ten tracks are sung in English, and among the special guests is keyboard player Józef Skrzek from the legendary prog-rock band SBB.


DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

venerdì 20 novembre 2015

ZBIGNIEW WODECKI - "ZBIGNIEW WODECKI" (album, 1976) + "ZBIGNIEW WODECKI" (extended play, 1973)

Zbigniew Wodecki is a Polish singer and multi-instrumentalist, even if he's better known as a television personality.

During the Seventies he released only one album and one EP, which I have both uploaded. The music is a stunning mix of soft pop, bossa nova, baroque arrangements, funky basslines, and gentle female background vocals. Wodecki sings beautifully and plays both trumpet and violin. 

After being forgotten for many years, the album was re-discovered by the alternative audience, and a live version recorded by Wodecki in 2014 charted in the Polish top 10. Whilst the rendition is perfect, I would still recommend the original version first.


DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

domenica 13 settembre 2015

SMAK - "CRNA DAMA" (1977) [R.I.P. Boris Aranđelović]

As I said on my previous post, during the two months off my blog two important figures in the music scene of former Yugoslavia died. 
The second was Boris Aranđelović, lead singer of the historic Serbian band Smak.

Smak were founded in Kragujevac by Aranđelović and guitar player Radomir Mihajlović Točak, who composed the majority of their songs.

While they started as a hard rock band with a strong blues influence, this second album shows their experimental face, adding progressive rock structures, luminous vocal harmonies, jazz fusion keyboards, and funky rhythm patterns.

Songs are really melodic and catchy, this is a beautiful and dynamic album, you can listen to it on repeat.
A special mention for the title track (whose riff at 0'21'' incredibly predates "Moving in Stereo" by the Cars), "Tegoba" (a melancholic jazz rock extravaganza), and "Plava pesma" (a slow ballad with baroque arrangements).

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

giovedì 3 settembre 2015

ARSEN DEDIĆ - "ĆOVJEK KAO JA" (1969) [R.I.P. †]

During the two months off my blog two important figures in the music scene of former Yugoslavia died, the first being Arsen Dedić.

Dedić was the greatest Croatian singer-songwriter of the late Sixties-early Seventies, and one of the most respected as of today. This is his debut album, which is mentioned in every best of ex-YU music list.

At the time of its release Dedić was already popular in Yugoslavia, having been around since 1962 with a long series of singles and EPs. This album contains some re-recorded versions of his previous hits, along with new material. 
If you know and appreciate American singer Scott Walker, you will get accustomed easily to Dedić, considering that their voices have many resemblances (no copycat here, Dedić was out there before Walker).
The arranger and co-producer of the album is Croatian maestro Stipica Kalogjera, who is capable of switching from bossa nova to folk ballads, from baroque pop to chansons.

The excellent sound quality of these recordings show that, as an artist, Dedić did not come second in any comparison with other top European musicians of his age.

P.S. Other than obviously Dedić, the album cover features Walker himself and influential Italian singer-songwriters Gino Paoli and Luigi Tenco.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)


sabato 11 luglio 2015

LAO CHE - "DZIECIOM" (2015)

Lao Che were founded in 1999 by singer and guitarist Hubert "Spięty" Dobaczewski, and took their name from a song of his previous project, the crossover trio Koli.
This is their sixth album, it peaked at no. 3 in Poland and stayed ten weeks in the top 10.
In spite of being in the charts, the music of the album is not commercial at all, and the sales were thus high only because of the Polish market's unique setting, that often favoured indie bands.

The songs are a mix of Warsaw folk melodies, cabaret-style declamations, jazz arrangements, electronic rhythms, and indie rock guitars. Lao Che are one of the most unique bands out there, you won't find many other artists producing similar music in the world.

Line-up:
Mariusz Denst – sampler
Hubert Dobaczewski – vocals, guitars
Michał Jastrzębski – drums
Filip Różański – keyboards
Rafał Borycki – bass guitar
Maciek Dzierżanowski – percussion

Produced by Emade.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

martedì 16 giugno 2015

FISZ EMADE TWORZYWO - "MAMUT" (2014)

FISZ (Bartosz Waglewski)  vocals, lyrics
EMADE (Piotr Waglewski)  beats, composition, production
Marcin Pendowski  bass
Mariusz Obijalski  piano, organ, synth

Fisz and Emade are the sons of Wojciech Waglewski, one of the key figures of Polish alternative scene, who introduced them to art and music. 

Their career began at the end of the Nineties, with a series of hip hop projects, then they gradually opened to other styles of music, releasing a couple of experimental rock albums along with their father too. 

"Mamut" is the duo's most melodic album up to that point. With the exception of two songs featuring DJ Eprom, there isn't any rap.
Instead, you will find trip hop beats, slow noir ballads, uptempo songs with alternative dance arrangements, synthesizer and piano lines, and lots of beautiful melodies. 
Justyna Święs sings on three tracks ("Pył", "Ślady", and "Wróć"), while Kasia Nosowska 
from rock band Hey features on "Wojna".

The album reached no. 9 in Poland, staying in the chart for 32 weeks.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

    giovedì 11 giugno 2015

    DOLPHIN - "ZVEZDA" (2004)

    Original album title: Звезда

    Andrey Lysikov, better known as Dolphin, is one of the most important names of current Russian music.
    From its beginnings in the early Nineties, his career is a tortuous path through rock, rap, and electronic arrangements. Before becoming a solo artist, he was the leader of projects like hip hop trio Malchishnik, alternative band Dubovyy Gaay, and experimental rock duo Mishiny Dolphiny.

    Anyway, I think that his solo work is the best way to get to know him. "Zvezda" is the fifth album released under the moniker Dolphin, and it represents the moment when Lysikov discarded rap to fully embrace rock music. 
    It's a very exciting record, especially thanks to producer Mewark, who provided lots of creative rhythm patterns and atmospheric electronic sounds, and Pavel Dodonov, a versatile, experimental guitar player, one of the best of the post-2000 scene.
    Dolphin is the author of both lyrics and melodies, his melancholic and heartful voice is the icing on the cake of an already perfect formula.

    The most popular song is "Vesna", which is regarded as his anthem, but "Sumerki", "Chuzhoy", "Toska", and "Kiberpank" are also excellent examples of this hi-tech music with an epic mood.


    DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

    domenica 10 maggio 2015

    MAREK GRECHUTA - "MAGIA OBŁOKÓW" (1974)

    The second collaboration between singer-pianist Marek Grechuta and support band WIEM is another great album. 
    "Godzina miłowania" is one of my favourite songs ever, a dynamic mix of progressive rock, jazz, funk, and poetry, with some devastating bass guitar parts, courtesy of a totally unknown player called Jan Adam Cichy.
    The most popular song is "Świat w obłokach", with its baroque choral harmonies

    DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)


    lunedì 27 aprile 2015

    MAREK GRECHUTA - "DROGA ZA WIDNOKRES" (1972)

    This is where Marek Grechuta started his collaboration with jazz-rock ensemble WIEM. Unexpectedly, the result is an easier album if compared to 1971's "Korowód": the songs are shorter and less timing is given to jam sessions and instrumental solos.

    There are two main elements on this album. One is Grechuta's heartfelt voice, which declaims beautiful Polish poetry. The other is the double bass played by Paweł Jarzębski, whose articulated lines are very loud in the mix and dominate the arrangements. The rest is occupied by gently played guitars, some pristine piano parts, and lots of percussion.

    Try to imagine a less-baroque Polish version of Gainsbourg's "Histoire de Melody Nelson", a part spoken album where the melodies are determined by the richness of the instrumental architectures.
    It is not among Grechuta's most popular works, but it is celebrated by critics as one of his bests, and so it is.

    DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

    giovedì 9 aprile 2015

    AGATA KRISTI - "OPIUM" (1995)

    Original band name: Агата Кристи
    Original album title: Опиум

    This is one of the most celebrated Russian albums of the Nineties.
    A dozen of powerful songs which mixes heavy synths, danceable rhythms, classical music orchestrations, dark atmospheres in the style of the Cure, and grotesque sketches influenced by the local folk tradition.
      
    If you liked their previous work, "Pozornaya zvezda", then try this.


    DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

    venerdì 13 marzo 2015

    DARKWOOD DUB - "ŽIVOT POČINJE U 30 OJ" (2002)

    In their early years Darkwood Dub released a couple of funk-rock albums with harsh, experimental sounds (I've already uploaded one of them here).

    After taking a short hiatus due to the war, they became an electronic band, facing styles such as downtempo, alternative dance, and ambient. Their songs remain catchy and rich of exciting instrumental patterns though.

    "Život počinje u 30 oj" is just another beautiful album by this great Serbian band. Among the best tracks you will find "Dnevnik", with its house-influenced beats, "Vrtlog vira", with a suggestive noir atmosphere, and "Baobab", with that obsessive dub progression.

    DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

    giovedì 5 marzo 2015

    R.I.P. Vlada Divljan (IDOLI)

    According to B92.net, "Vlada Divljan died in Vienna on 5 March 2015 after a long illness".

    This is a sad day for this blog, IDOLI were one of the first non-English speaking bands I discovered and I will always love their music.

    Here's some links to download their first EP, their debut album, and the compilation album "Paket aranžman".


    martedì 24 febbraio 2015

    SEBASTIANS - "BLUE BY SEBASTIANS" (1993)

    Sebastians were an English language Czech band. I have to say I'd rather listen to bands who sing in their native languages, but in this case I will make an exception, because their sole album is just beautiful. Ten graceful and well-played songs in the Madchester style,
    recommended to those who are into early Charlatans and Inspiral Carpets.

    Line-up: 
    David Volenec / "David Wrdisty" (vocals)
    Dušan Lipert / "D.L. Beauty" (guitar)
    Jan Čechtický / "Ian Von Czechticky" (bass guitar)
    Pavel Pelán / "Paul Penal" (drums)
    Štěpán Tůma / "Stephen Young" (guitar)
    Producer: Colin Stuart

    DOWNLOAD (kbps: 251-268)

    venerdì 13 febbraio 2015

    AGATA KRISTI - "POZORNAYA ZVEZDA" (1993)

    Original band name: Агата Кристи
    Original album title: Позорная звезда

    Agati Kristi was one of the classic bands of Russian rock music.
    They were founded in Yekaterinburg in 1987 by brothers Gleb and Vadim Samoylov, both singers and guitar players, and keyboardist Aleksandr Kozlov.

    Their first three albums were a mix of post-punk and occasionally kitsch hard rock guitars, I honestly don't like them that much, but from this one onwards, their sound changed into a fascinating electronic rock influenced by the Cure and the Madchester scene
    "Pozornaya zvezda" was a huge commercial success, and the romantic anthem "Kak na voyne" is one of the most popular Russian songs of the Nineties. If you like dark, atmospheric, and danceable music, this is your album.

    DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

    mercoledì 21 gennaio 2015

    TSENTR - "TSENTR" [aka SDELANO V PARIZHE] (1989)

    Original band name: Центр
    Original album title: Центр (Сделано в Париже)

    Led by singer and songwriter Vasily Shumov, Tsentr is definitely a cult act of the former Soviet Union. The project is stilly active today, after dozens of albums, despite never breaking into the mainstream.

    Tsentr had already relased thirteen magnetic tape albums in 1989, but their sound quality was not so good, as the band was not allowed to use professional studios. Finally they found a good contact in the person of Maxim Schmitt, a French producer who invited them to Paris, to record their songs with decent equipment.

    This album is the result of the above mentioned French sessions. It basically contains Shumov's favourite tracks from his previous tapes, re-recorded and finally competitive with the international standards of new wave bands. Ten beautiful songs pumped by frantic guitars, echoes, samples, crystal sounding keyboards, and half spoken half sung vocals.

    The album was titled "Tsentr" and released in France by Nord Sud Records. After some months it was released in the USSR by state label Melodiya, under the title "Sdelano v Parizhe" (Made in Paris). For Shumov it was the first legal release in his homeland, and despite the lack of any kind of promotion, it was able to sell over 40.000 copies in one year.

    DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)