Article Series

Song Of The Day: Alex Lahey – Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

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Alex Lahey’s 2017 album I Love You Like A Brother was one of the stronger debut albums of the last couple of years, with songs like “Every Day’s the Weekend”, “Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder” and “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself” grabbing the listener immediately with their poppy, punky tales of relationships and general ennui.

And now Lahey’s back with sophomore album The Best of Luck Club and it is indeed a worthy successor to her debut. Lead single “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” builds on Lahey’s standard sound by adding a sweet, sweet saxophone solo to top it all off. Check it out below:

Song Of The Day: Sasami – Morning Comes

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Photo Credit: Alice Baxley

Just in case you thought every concept for a music video had been done already, Sasami has figued out an angle that I’m fairly certain hasn’t been done before – just film your grandmother as she cooks.

Yes, Sasami recruited her own grandmother, Halmoni, to show us her “world famous recipe” for kimchi (that includes tips like “Always spank your cabbage”) in the video for her latest single “Morning Comes,” directed by Sasami herself alongside Eric Notarnicola.

According to Sasami, the song was the first one with lyrics that she ever wrote and recorded and it “marked a (fleeting) chapter of independence, confidence, and feeling in control.” So it made sense for her to recruit her grandmother, the most stable and strong person she knows (and also, in her words, “a boss ass bitch”) to star in the video.

Check out the video for “Morning Comes” below. And in the word of Halmoni, “enjoy your kimchi!”

Song Of The Day: Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky – Estranged

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Photo courtesy of Ebru Yildiz

“When you’re talkin’ to yourself
And nobody’s home
You can fool yourself
You came in this world alone”

These lyrics start off the nearly ten minute epic “Estranged” off of Guns N’ Roses’ 1991 album Use Your Illusion II (to my mind, the superior of the Use Your Illusion albums – don’t @ me).

It’s a fairly bleak lyric that at the time was somewhat overshadowed by the insanity of the track’s video, which featured helicopters, live footage from huge stadiums, Slash rising from the water messiah-like to rip a solo, and Axl swimming with dolphins – basically the height of GNR’s early ’90s ‘they’ll pretty much let us do whatever we want’ excess.

The darkness of those lyrics is at the forefront, however, on the cover of that song featured on Droneflower, the new collaboration between Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky (of Mutoid Man and Cave In fame), with their sombre, haunting version sounding just as epic as the original despite coming in at almost two minutes shorter. Check it out below.

Droneflower is out April 26, 2019 on Sacred Bones Records.

Classic Album Review: Skalmold – Baldur (2010, Tutl Records)

Posted on by Paul in Albums, Classic Albums | Leave a comment

Skálmöld_-_Baldur

I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia kick as of late, for several reasons. One of the reasons is the fact that we’ve just wrapped up our coverage of this year’s SXSW, which commonly involves a bit of looking back and reflecting on what went down over the week, and which also often leads me to reminisce in general about past editions of SouthBy. And the realization that I’ve been going to Austin every March since 2011 and that the Panic Manual has had a presence there since 2009 gets me thinking about the past, and also that I’m getting old. The main instigator of all this nostalgia however, was a bit of a Spring cleaning jag I went on earlier this week wherein I uncovered a few artifacts from my time here at Panic Manual, including a bunch of old handwritten notes for potential posts. Yes, back in the day I wrote out many of my original rough drafts by hand – very old school of me.

Among these scraps of paper, I found the beginnings of a planned review of Baldur, the debut album by Icelandic Viking/folk metallers Skálmöld. I do not really remember ever listening to this album, though I do vaguely remember that when I started out writing for Panic Manual, I had big plans to broaden our scope by writing about more metal. And I guess something about this album caught my attention at the time, probably the Berserker Viking dude on the album cover charging forward while holding an axe. It is a somewhat striking image, and one that predates the premiere episodes of Game Of Thrones or Vikings by a bit, so they were a little ahead of the curve I guess.

Anyways, in the interest of not being wasteful, I decided to finish that review up and also delve even further into nostalgia by resurrecting our old Classic Album Reviews series, even though at the time the first draft of this review was started it was a relatively new release. Is Baldur actually worthy of being designated a classic? Not likely, but odds are it might be somebody’s favourite album somewhere in the world, so let’s just go with it.

And now, without any further ado, here’s the first paragraph of a review I started nearly a decade ago:

They say you can’t judge a book (or an album) by its cover. But just look at that cover! It’s practically screaming to be judged. And what it’s saying (in a Viking warrior cry) is “I am awesome.” It’s the kind of cover that kind of tells you exactly what kind of music you will be hearing.

And that’s it. That’s as far as I got with this review, which indicates that I may have never actually sat down and listened to the album, but that I at least had something to say about the cover image that I considered kind of funny at the time. And so after taking a very long break, I’m finally putting pen to paper (virtually speaking) and wrapping this one up. So what does the album actually sound like? And does it hold up?

Initially released on Faroe Islands record label Tutl in 2010, but later rereleased in 2011 on Napalm Records, Baldur was Skálmöld’s introduction to the world. The band has gone on to put out four full length albums in the years since the release of this one. I have listened to none of them. But I have now listened to this one at least, and it’s a pretty solid album as these things go.

For those unfamiliar with Viking metal, it’s pretty much what you might expect from the name – fairly epic sounding stuff full of Nordic chanting and more aggressive vocals as well as plenty of melodic guitar lines along the way. The Viking aspect is not just a refelection of the band’s Icelandic roots, but also represented in the story behind Baldur, a concept album with supernatural elements telling the tale of the titular Viking and his epic quest for revenge after the death of his family. I gathered as much only after reading about the album online – the lyrics are all in Icelandic, so I’m fairly unclear on all the details. Sounds like a cool story though.

And finally, I’ll wrap things up with another note that I found in amongst those papers, this one from a 2011 Summerworks review of a show by Toronto indie folk band Great Bloomers. It didn’t make the cut at the time, not really fitting in anywhere in the review, but now it can finally be revealed (even though it doesn’t really fit at all in this review either). So I leave you with these thoughts, written down on a yellow sticky note on that August evening long ago:

After the show, some dude asked me for change, told me he was 79 years old, then asked me if I was some guy named Herman and/or a cop. I told him I wasn’t but he seemed pretty insistent that I was.

True story. I wonder whatever happened to that guy. And I wonder if he likes Viking metal.

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