50 Years of Heavy Metal

The sound of a torrential downpour. The slow tolling of a church bell. The unsettling, three-note tritone riff sequence that embodied the mythical diabolus in musica: G, G, C#. “What is this that stands before me? Figure in black which points at me. Turn ’round quick and start to run. Find out I’m the chosen […]

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The 2019 Album of the Year

Lana Del Rey, Norman Fucking Rockwell! (Polydor/Interscope) Back in the mid-2010s I attended a panel discussion whose topic was something to the effect of, “Why are there no classic albums anymore, and what makes a true classic album?” There was a lot of good discussion, but the conversation kept drifting away from the crux of […]

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The 2019 Track of the Year

Charly Bliss, “Chatroom” Like so many great rock and pop songs, Charly Bliss’s gloriously hooky “Chatroom” is rooted in dark subject matter. According to singer/guitarist Eva Hendricks, the song was written in the wake of being sexually assaulted, in which blinding rage steadily morphs into empowering joy. Featuring verses that seethe with anger (“Everybody knows […]

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The Best Tracks of 2019, #2

2. Lana Del Rey, “Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It” From the very beginning – that being “Video Games” – Lana Del Rey crafted one of the more unique styles of the decade, but although my admiration for her has been steadily growing over […]

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The Best Albums of 2019, #2

2. FKA twigs, Magdalene (Young Turks) Although it was completely understandable that it took Tahliah Barnett five years to put out a full-length follow-up to 2014’s LP1 – she experienced a crushing end to her long-term relationship and then underwent surgery to have six fibroid tumours removed from her uterus – the music world was […]

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The Best Albums of 2019, #3

3. Opeth, In Cauda Venenum (Nuclear Blast) When Opeth decided to eschew the extreme metal element of their sound after 2008’s Watershed in favor of a more progressive rock-oriented approach, it angered a lot of their obsessive fans. Ten years and four albums later, those fans are still whining that Mikael Åkerfeldt doesn’t growl his […]

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