Monday, December 22, 2014

Blogovision 2014: the official poll results - Greek bloggers vote best albums

Once again it was a fine year. I really enjoyed it - loved it! The discovery process is the best thing of course: finding new music you had missed during the year. And of course the amazing presentations - well done people! Here's to next year. Let's see the final tally below (in parentheses are the points won by each album):

1. War On Drugs – «Lost In The Dream» (753)
2. Röyksopp – «Inevitable End» (725)
3. Future Islands – «Singles» (591)
4. Damon Albarn – «Everyday Robots» (565)
5. Caribou – «Our Love» (558)
6. Wild Beasts – «Present Tense» (537)
7. Swans – «To Be Kind» (430)
8. St. Vincent – «St. Vincent» (416)
9. Antlers – «Familiars» (405)
10. Angel Olsen – «Burn Your Fire For No Witness» (369)
11. Lykke Li – «I Never Learn» (341)
12. Ariel Pink – «Pom Pom» (339)
13. FKA Twigs – «LP1″ (338)
14. Temples – «Sun Structures» (328)
15. Baby Guru – «Marginalia» (322)
16. Perfume Genius – «Too Bright» (318)
17. Ty Segall – «Manipulator» (303)
18. Thom Yorke – «Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes» (294)
19. Banks – «Goddess» (291)
20. Iceage – «Plowing Into The Field Of Love» (264)
= Beyonce – «Beyonce» (264)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Sandman Chronicles on Poplie radio 21/12/2014: my top-20 albums for 2014

Blogovision 2014: My top-20 albums of the year

Here is the list of the top-20 albums of the year for me, and after that, you can see a short video with the photos I made for each album post.

no.01: Röyksopp - The Inevitable End
no.02: SOHN - Tremors
no.03: Future Islands - Singles
no.04: The Preatures - Blue Planet Eyes
no.05: Wild Beasts - Present Tense
no.06: Tori Amos - Unrepentant Geraldines
no.07: Russian Red - Agent Cooper
no.08: Róisín Murphy - Mi Senti
no.09: Caribou - Our Love
no.10: Chinawoman - Let's Part In Style
no.11: Little Dragon - Nabuma Rubberband
no.12: My Brightest Diamond - This Is Your Hand
no.13: Hundred Waters - The Moon Rang Like a Bell
no.14: Hozier - Hozier
no.15: Paolo Nutini - Caustic Love
no.16: Chet Faker - Built On Glass
no.17: Saint Saviour - In The Seams
no.18: Banks - Goddess
no.19: Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams
no.20: Nick Mulvey - First Mind

Friday, December 19, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.2: SOHN - Tremors

I died a week ago
There's nothing left
It's caught on video
The very last breath
In time an avalanche
Will cave in on mines
Covering all evidence
The very last time
All this fuss over nothing
Reinventing the wheel
All this searching for something that's not real

Lyrics from The Wheel by SOHN, from his album Tremors

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.3: Future Islands - Singles

Going to the beach was always their favourite thing to do. Even just for a walk, she wearing a cotton print summer dress, he in shorts and shirt, with their panama hats, their books and sunglasses. She knew locals talked a lot about them, "the rich couple at the villa". Some favourably, some not so much. She did not care. As long as they could come in August and stay through mid September. Soak up the sun, enjoy the warmth of the sea and each other, watch endless sunsets come and go, sometimes even stay up till sunrise, with lots of cool wine the colour of white gold. Seasons change, but for her it would always be summer. How did that Future Islands song go (the one from Singles)? "As it breaks, the summer will warm". And it always did.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.4: The Preatures - Blue Planet Eyes

The Australian summer. Endless heat, making one bored even to pick the beach where she'd lay down her lithe body. She'd rather stay in the pool, sip her g&t and listen to music all day long. This new group was fantastic - The Preatures. Her brother was in AIM with most of the band members some years ago. She vaguely remembered them coming to some of the parties she organized around the pool every summer since graduating from high school. Had they played live in any of them? She did not remember, but with this heat, she did not even dare to try. But their album was great. Blue Planet Eyes. Every single song was catchy, spunky, full of life. Like they did not give a fuck what you thought of it. Or them. "Kinda like me" she thought. And smiled. Time for another drink.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.5: Wild Beasts - Present Tense

Monty was happy. He could not believe this was happening! Posing on the cover of an album was something he'd never thought possible, even though his friends all were into the music business, one way or another, either creative or promotion or organizing. But he never thought he looked good enough to be asked to pose for this! It sounded like a cliché but it was indeed a case of "a friend of a friend of a girlfriend who knew...". The funniest thing was that he loved Wild Beasts. He had been listening to their music from their very first album, his best mate knew both singers and they had some beers time and again a while ago. And now this. Wow! They had presented him with a preview so that he was able to listen to the album, called Present Tense, before it was out officially. What a blast. He loved it. That music, those lyrics those voices! He was in favour of the more electronic sound the guys were after and he was so proud that his face would be part of it. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.6: Tori Amos - Unrepentant Geraldines

"I've always been inspired by visual artists of all mediums because, as with music, art is not a job you can go to and leave from, but it is something that defines who and what you are [...] Visual artists shake up our brains and force us to look at everything, from objects we don't normally think twice about to people we might not have cared about. In one image, they can remind us of nature's power to enchant, as well as humankind's fruitless attempt to overpower her or simply second-guess her. Through the visual artist's application of tone, shape, pattern and pigment, I not only begin to see, but I can honestly say I begin to hear". 

Tori Amos, Rolling Stone magazine, 19 February 2014

"Tash said something to me. She said, 'You know, your albums, I've always seen them as being a certain phase you're going through...' This is my 13-year-old telling me this! And she said, 'I don't see this as a phase. I see moments of all your records. And then things that I've never heard before, that might have come from the musical. You're starting to write certain stories from the perspective of being a mom, and from being 50. Because you've lived.'" 

Tori Amos, press release for Unrepentant Geraldines, March 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.7: Russian Red - Agent Cooper

"A woman in transition". That's what the director had told her when they first discussed the script of her new film. Yeah, right. Agent Cooper. Moving from one country to another, from one continent to another, from being a teacher living in the suburbs of Barcelona with husband and child to working as a hired assassin for those who could afford her extraordinary skills, while at the same time trying to avenge her family's demise. Always wearing Russian Red lipstick.Transition indeed. Who wrote this script? Anyway, she was enjoying doing most of her own stunts, jumping, running, climbing, the works. And the pay-check was so good, she could be filming her own scripts for the next couple of years without any worries. Bring it on.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.8: Róisín Murphy - Mi Senti

Róisín was exhausted but happy. She had spend a few days in Miami with friends she had not seen for a long time, visiting the galleries and spaces full of art, enjoying great food and drinks. She loved the energy and feel of Art Basel Miami, much more than the actual art per se. But it was time to pack up and go. She had to return home, to a family that was waiting her for the holiday season. And then it was time to finish that album. Mi Senti, the Italian covers EP she had released this summer was hard to record but it had paid off in many ways, Now it was the new album's turn. She sipped her martini, silent and content. And happy. Bye bye dear Miami.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.9: Caribou - Our Love

Julia was in a hurry. She was a bit late for dinner with Dan and she did not want to keep her love waiting. It was the rare occasion getting him out of his recording studio and his music instruments, so she did not want to miss a beat. She knew he'd be tickled to see her carrying his latest album release, Our Love (yes, it was inspired by their affair, contrary to what the press was writing - she laughed inside her). And she had taken great care to match her skirt to the album cover's pattern - full of petals and colours. Much like their love was. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.10: Chinawoman - Let's Part In Style

She had put it all behind her. The life, the friends, the family, the home-town, the country. It seemed almost as if some other person had gone through all those experiences, emotions, situations. The only common thread now was dance. She started dancing back at St. Petersburg and had quickly climbed up the strict and unforgiving ballet hierarchy. She knew it would be a ticket far from that life. And it was. Most Western European and American ballet companies had come begging. She chose wisely and moved to New York. She became a star like no other. But there were always the memories. And that music. Chinawoman. But not from China. Russian born in Canada of immigrant parents. It never failed to connect her with that other life, that other person. She had even choreographed some of her songs as they touched her innermost self. And the new record, Let's Part In Style did exactly that. She had to meet her, find out more about her. A woman is still a woman.

Photo inspired by the Russian Interview magazine cover of Angelina Jolie, shot by Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.11: Little Dragon - Nabuma Rubberband

Liu Juan had grown up since she had last visited her village. Now a famous fashion model and spokesperson for the biggest Chinese cosmetics line, she looked like she had nothing in common with this remote agricultural area in the middle of China. But she had really nice memories of the place, and had wanted to see it again, even though most of her immediate family now lived in some of the big industrial cities by the sea. When she reached the family field, she threw her shoes away and started jumping with joy, her mind full of images from summers gone by. And that weird photo session that started it all. That Swedish group, Little Dragon. with the indomitable Swedish/Japanese singer who liked her so much she had kept contact all these years. And then the trip to Shanghai and Hong Kong, the fashion shows, money and fame. That album, the one that used her on the cover image, with the weird title Nabuma Rubberband, was still her favourite music to listen to. Melancholic music matched her mood when travelling, and that was a thing she did often. She now knew that Scandinavians did melancholia best of all, especially in music.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.12: My Brightest Diamond - This Is Your Hand

Elise or Shara? Shara or Elise? Trying To recreate Bernd Preiml's photographic oeuvre for My Brightest Diamond's latest album, This Is My Hand (surprisingly showing no hand at all on the cover) was at least a lot of fun for photographer and model alike. They both love the yin-yang mentality of the album, starting with the louder, more upbeat songs and then continuing with the quieter ones. The deceptivly stark atmoshpere, concealing so many hidden pleasures inside it. An artist at the top of her form, showing absolute mastering of her art and craft. She played her hand well.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.13: Hundred Waters - The Moon Rang Like a Bell

Eugenia returned to her office really excited. She had found the perfect music to use for the upcoming commercial. The latest Hundred Waters album, The Moon Rang Like a Bell, was on her playing list on repeat for the last months. She listened to with every chance she got. The mixture of influences she could discern (whether conscious or not), from Cocteau Twins to Bjork to Mum to folk, all stuff she had in her record collection in abundance, made her feel instantly at ease listening to the album - but also it sounded fresh and exciting like nothing else. And last night was the moment she knew she had to use their music for her advertising. Would it detract from their immense appeal? Certainly not!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.14: Hozier - Hozier

He sipped his Guinness and looked again around him. This Dublin pub was his favourite haunt every single time he visited his home country, He was here to shoot some photographs of Hozier, a Bray musician who was now very famous all over the world - he'd even appeared in a Victoria's Secret Angels catwalk show for Christ's sake. Patrick was not usually shooting pop stars - he specialized more in gritty urban portraits of obscure artists and writers, or fashion models. But he had accepted the gig as an excuse to visit Dublin again - that, and the fact that the album had grown on him after a couple of listens only. The first thing that struck him though was the voice - probably the best male voice he had heard all year. This guy had some lungs! The music was not pop at all; instead. the sound was more bluesy, with R&B and soul elements that made it more distinct - and a bit unusual for an Irish mate. He caught a glimpse of Andrew Hozier entering the pub on the huge mirror behind the bar and turned around. He waved him over and then ordered two more pints.

The Sandman Chronicles on Poplie radio 07/12/2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.15: Paolo Nutini - Caustic Love

He left the University of Edinburgh Main Library the minute it started raining outside; that stupid useless rain that's more like millions of water droplets infuse the air with water and you feel the need of a set of gills to breathe properly. It was an easy walk towards his favourite scandinavian cafe and bakery. He could taste the cardamom bun even now. He put on his earphones and listened to that new album by Paolo Nutini: Caustic Love. He knew Paolo from St. Andrews, they were in the same class. He loved the music his old school chum was making, but this new album was by far his best yet: R&B and blue-eyes soul at its best. "Way to go Paolo, way to go", he thought. He left Meadows behind him, walking fast towards his destination. He needed that coffee and bun almost as much as the sensual music he was listening to.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.16: Chet Faker - Built On Glass

He could not believe he'd be seeing his favourite artist on-stage live tonight. Chet Faker at last was making an appearance in Jake's home-city and of course, he would not miss it for the world. Built On Glass was on his iPod on heavy rotation for months now, the erratic beats, the jazzy influence, the distinct vocals and atmospheric environment all but swallowing him in their otherworldly dimension. Most of his friends did not like it but Jake did not care. It would be him and Chet tonight. Live.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.17: Saint Saviour - In The Seams

Giselle was still waiting for Becky to arrive at the hotel. Already having her second cup of tea, she looked at the endless array of plates and platters and saucers filled with a variety of delicacies celebrating the venerable tradition of afternoon tea. She did not have much of an apetite. She'd rather hear from her friend all about her new record, how it came along, why she had decided to go down a less commercial but more artistic path and style. How she had eschewed beats and effects in favour of melodies and emotions. But the voice was still brilliant as ever, ready to reach the depths of your heart and mind. "Come on Becky!" she thought. And then a smile brightened her face: her friend had just entered the salon,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.18: Banks - Goddess

Lilith had left the studio early. She wanted to listen again to the album they had been mixing lately and was ready for release really soon. They were supposed to finish in April but it took them a while longer to finalize it. Jillian was always changing things, usually minute ones but they really made a difference once they listened to the revised track one more time. She kept on joking how she and Lilith were twins: they looked alike a bit, had the same hairstyle and wore similar outfits every single time, as if their minds were fine-tuned to the same wavelength. Even the album cover photographer had taken some shots of Lilith styled like Jillian. Or Banks, as her moniker was now. And naming the album Goddess of all things! Lilith's brother was of course ecstatic; he thought it was perfect, as that's how he called Jillian every time he met her. Lilith laughed silently to herself, put her headphones on and started that atmospheric journey once more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.19: Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams

Nadja banged the door behind her, threw her bag on the floor and went straight to the kitchen corner where the liquor was stashed. She picked the gin bottle and went over to the counter to make a huge gin and tonic. As if it wasn't enough that she was working as a stripper in that seedy nightclub, she had to meet the perfect guy right when she was gyrating on a pole. He had come over to film a video clip for his latest album - oh yes, he was a singer/songwriter this one. With a deep, sexy voice that tingled her spine and almost gave her an orgasm. And that music of his... oh my! It was as if each and every one of the songs in that damned album of his was written for her. She closed her eyes and tried to forget him. No such luck. Not with that funny nickname of his. Timber Timbre, huh! Nadja sure wanted to give him some Hot Dreams too.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Blogovision/My top-20 albums of the year - no.20: Nick Mulvey - First Mind

Remi was so happy he had finally his hands on Nick Mulvey's solo album, First Mind. He had loved Portico Quarteτ and was eager to see what their former percussionist would do on his own. He was not disappointed. It had a definitely folksier sound but it was also more personal and idiosyncratic, a brilliant work with varying influences and his distinctive voice highlighting the lovely songs. "Way to go Nick" he smiled as he drove away in his vespa.