1. ‘Secret Life’ by FRED AGAIN… and BRIAN ENO

Weird collaboration? No, certainly not. The very popular EBM/house/hip-hop/DJ FRED
and legendary sound wizard ENO complete each other here on this surprising album. They create a sonic labyrinth where Eno‘s hallucinatory ambient waves progress in slow motion, causing a trance trip in a foggy environment and Fred‘s rare, ghostly vocals seem to come from a mysterious universe.

Secret Life is a hushed, soothing soundtrack for late-night mind entertainment after
another busy day and too much noisy music. Relaxing, calming and triggering lazy dreaming.



2. ‘Quiet Part Out Loud’ by FILIBUSTER (Belgium)

It’s the second longplayer by these 4 Belgian mavericks.

Both sonically and lyrically, you get a mood-swings record that evokes both eerie and profound emotions. Filibuster fabricate a melting pot of grunge (Nirvana), slacker rock
(Dinosaur Jr.) and anything post-punk edged. You can rock out to it, take a breather now and then, and go quiet/loud all the way through. Overall an impassioned tour de force.

Karl Strooban (frontman/songwriter): “It’s hard for us/me not to make music that’s
extremely personal. You tend to cut out the overly emotional bits during the writing process,
but somehow it just always turns out sentimental and angsty. Most of these songs were written during a tumultuous time in my/our personal life and while grieving a family member. So the title reflects this I guess. We don’t mean to say the quiet parts out loud, we just wanna have fun and rock out, you know, but we can’t really help it.”

Wanna know more? Read the full interview with Karl Strobant here.



3. ‘Westernization’ by CONFUSIONAIRES (Canada)

Who? “A trio of Edmonton, Canada-based musicians has built a sound that’s synonymous with the hardest-hitting country and rockabilly acts around with sound that stands on its own. Their sound fills dance floors with fans from age 8 to 80. Their thoughtful and hard-hitting songs are for people that believe that music should have a little dirt under its fingernails.”

Westernization is their 3rd album.

These motherrockers jump from hot-blooded blues jams to garage rock electricity, from peppery punk echoes to charged-country music in an eye/ear blink. And it’s good old riff-rotating rockabilly that glues all the frenetic havoc together. Confusionaires know all the tricks to activate you to get up, to stand up and to fight for your right to go apeshit.

Sounds fucktastic, right? You betcha.

By the way, these three desperadoes look (see band photo above) like the reincarnation of maddening noise maniacs Motörhead ready for that infamous digging-body-up scene in Maffia movie Goodfellas. Hell bloody hell yeah.


4. ‘First Tow Pages Of Frankenstein’ by THE NATIONAL

Artwork: The cover features a photo of a young boy holding a mannequin’s head.
The photograph was taken by the boy’s father, John Solimine, an illustrator and longtime friend of vocalist Matt Berninger. They met as dishwashers in a Cincinnati restaurant.

I second the multiple raving reviews for this outstanding LP. It’s not the first
time that troubled and depressed artists (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and others experienced it too) come up with healing music. Despite a temporary writer’s block and severe depression, Matt Berninger (aged 52) found his way in his chaotic mind and came back to express the psychic fights with all of his demons in a most affecting manner. And his crooning voice, once more, is instrumental for The National‘s sound.



5. ‘Back In The Room’ by THE DHARMA VIOLETS (Wales)

Their second one following Random Transmissions released in 2015.

THDV embed 60s psychedelia in a blistering mix of flaming garage rock mania,
swaggering mid-tempo grooves, an impressive, amplified slo-mo jam right in the middle and a stunning opener with horns snippets of Primal Scream‘s e-tastic classic Loaded.

Overall I hear Beatles-like harmonies, multi-layered guitar extravaganza à la Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, steady drums/bass horsepower, sizzling six-string solos, psyched-out space steamrollers, 24 Karat riff-rushing rockers, some slow ones, and echoing vocals
from the eight miles high past. Final result: a hell of a must-hear record that I added to
my best-albums-of-2023 list. The Dharma Violets should be huge. FACT! Don’t miss them.