Jan 9 2014

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2013: David Bowie – ‘The Next Day’

David Bowie The Next Day Albums of 2013 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2013: David Bowie   The Next Day

The fact that ‘The Next Day‘ was released with no warning at all was remarkable enough in it’s own right but even the biggest David Bowie fan could not have expected such a consistently brilliant album.

David Bowie returned unexpectedly after nearly 10 years of silence upon which much speculation was had (depression, lack of inspiration, fear of the illness had in ‘last tour?). The lineup is the same as on his last releases ‘Hours‘, ‘Heathen and ‘Reality‘, and the trusty Tony Visconti is confirmed again on production duties.  ‘The Next Day’ turns out to be a gem of absolute value, with a handful of superb songs, like the nostalgic and hopeful “Where Are We Now” or the already classic “The Stars Are Out Tonight” – Mario

I loved this album after probably the third listen, but as a Bowie devotee for years, there was never really any chance that I wouldn’t. I have tried and failed to put my finger on where ‘The Next Day‘ fits in amongst his past albums and various reincarnations, but the closest I can come is that it reminds me of everything I love about weird but amazing songs like “Life on Mars,” but with a steady, rocking groove that extends through each track. It is deliciously melodramatic and yet feels subdued and mature, like Ziggy Stardust growing older and wiser.

Best track: “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” – Emily

20140107 034257 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2013: David Bowie   The Next Day

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Feb 10 2013

Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

20130210 183339 Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

Cougar writer Mario offers his top ten albums for our Top albums of 2012 feature.

  Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

The XX – ‘Coexist

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

 Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

Jack White – ‘Blunderpuss

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

  Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

Bat For Lashes – ‘The Haunted Man

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

 edward sharpe here Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – ‘Here

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

 Soundgarden King Animal Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

Soundgarden – ‘King Animal

In a time when mega reunions often amount to business flops and broken promises Soundgarden returned to the scene after 16 years. Preceded by a highly acclaimed sold out tour completely, the hard rock pioneers released ‘King Animal‘ in the wake of enthusiasm, a album of pure rock that proves that when it comes to getting down and dirty you can rely on past heroes rather than churning out dozens of new copycats. They might offer very little new, but the formula still sounds very current.

lana Del Rey Born To Die Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

Lana Del Rey – ‘Born To Die’

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

 Tame Impala Lonerism Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

Tame Impala – ‘Lonerism’

Lonerism’ is the title of the second album of this psychedelic rock band from Perth, noted partially for being the same label as MGMT and supporting act for Black Keys on their first tour. Two names that are not casual as both these bands manage to mix nostalgic/vintage sounds to produce a modern and fresh output. In this case the psychedelic 60’s rock style of Hendrix or the Beatles circa Revolver and Sgt Pepper. Excellent confirmation.

Jessie Ware Devotion Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

jessie Ware – ‘Devotion

True revelation of the year, comparisons are wasted for the London pop/RnB artist including annie lennox, sade, tracey thorn. in addition to an extaordinary voice she is also equipped with a great compositional talent and promising live perofrmance (take note miss Lana Del Rey). see the video of the beautiful ‘Wildest Moments’ for yourself.

 Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

Toy – ‘Self-Titled

I could not fail to include the latest promising classic new wave band although this genre has probably become very saturated. that being said, this self-titled debut album is a mix of dark and experimental songs with echoes of some alternative bands of the British scene of the 80’s like Jesus and The Mary Chain and more recent bands such as the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and even Modest Mouse.

Passion Pit Gossamer Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

Passion Pit – ‘Gossamer

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

topalbums2012 Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario

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Jan 22 2013

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Passion Pit – ‘Gossamer’

Passion Pit Gossamer Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Passion Pit   Gossamer

Starting off almost by chance as a one-man-project and rapidly growing thanks largely to internet buzz, Passion Pit have finally released their second full length. ‘Gossamer’ proves their ease in churning electro-pop gems such as the super “I’ll Be Alright“, “Take A Walk” and “Constant Conversation” said Mario.

Thom continued “I don’t think anyone doubted that ‘Manners‘ was a once off. Michael Angelakos‘ ear for a melody and soulful falsetto tones meet shimmering retro synths on ‘Gossamer’ and was more than a few steps forward from where’ Manners‘ left off. The intro to “Take A Walk” is an inspired and deserved stand alone intrumental even before the track gets going.”

Cougar‘s own Jazmin added that “it may have been a long wait between ‘Manners‘ and this second Passion Pit album, but it was most definitely worth being patient. ‘Gossamer‘ is undoubtedly one of the best albums to have come out of 2012, with brilliant singalongs like ‘Carried Away‘ and a perfect combination of electro pop. Any party that this album is playing, I’ll definitely be dancing“.

topalbums2012 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Passion Pit   Gossamer

TRACKS:

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Jan 19 2013

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Lana Del Rey – ‘Born To Die’

lana Del Rey Born To Die Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Lana Del Rey   Born To Die

Lana Del Rey became one of 2012 most discussed artists thanks in part to her calculated retro femme fatale image, the visual power of her infamous ‘Video Games‘ video, a slew of amazing remixes and her unaffected yet incredibly deep vocal delivery.

Cougar scribe  Mario said “when listing my albums of the year I couldn’t leave out one of the year’s authentic surprises. Lana Del Rey has been much discussed. What I do know is that, while the album at times does not live up to the level set by its singles, the talent is there for everyone to see as well as is her already iconic image.  Only time will tell if  this is a well packaged marketing operation or whether we are faced with a new American showbiz diva“.

Sam also listed her adding “nostalgic lyrics capture the aesthetic of a girl let down by everyone to paint a world of Hollywood tragedy whilst luxurious strings flood through your speakers like tears from the broken dreams of the troubled singer”.

topalbums2012 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Lana Del Rey   Born To Die

TRACKS:

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Jan 16 2013

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man

 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Bat For Lashes   The Haunted Man

Bat For Lashes decamped to the idyllic Italian countryside to write and record her third album in an attempt to rid herself of a classic bout of writer’s block.

She got that monkey off her back- no reference to the Mapplethorpe style cover- succeeding in giving us a the most heartfelt record of her short career. Tracks like “Laura“, “Marilyn” and “Lilies” are the pick of the bunch.

Intense and totally naked emotionally… just like on the beautiful cover. – Mario

topalbums2012 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Bat For Lashes   The Haunted Man

 

TRACKS:

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Jan 2 2013

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: the XX – Coexist

  Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: the XX   Coexist

Following on from the XX‘s decade defining eponymous début everyone was curious to know what the trio’s next move would be.  There was almost hushed reverence when they announced their comeback with first single “Angels.

Coexist’ is an overwhelming success with a melancholic, bleak landscape of sparse sounds portraying the distance felt between once lovers who share no common ground but a past. Each listen reveals another hidden layer of Romy and Oliver’s longing and the efficacy of the concept is beautifully curated by Jamie’s minimalist but enchanting production” said Cougar staffer Sam.

Thom added that ‘Coexist‘ was that “blissful mix of distant minimalist echoes and frugally dispatched beats. The genius of The xx is that they don’t know they are geniuses, therefore there is never an ego in sight but just a shed load of passion and reverb. “Fiction” and “Reunion” were simply inspiring”.

Mario concluded that “the English trio passed the complicated test of following up on the success of their self-titled début with a record that is perhaps less rhythmical than it’s predecessor but is far more intimate and nocturnal“.

topalbums2012 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: the XX   Coexist

TRACKS:

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Jan 2 2013

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Jack White – Blunderbuss

 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Jack White   Blunderbuss It is a little hard to judge ‘Blunderbuss‘ as a debut album because Jack White has been in the public eye for so long. Fortunately this album stands on it’s own merits irrespective of the pedigree of it’s creator.

White is possibly one of only a handful if not the sole musician arund who can truly be labelled a rocker, wrote Mario in his top 10 albums of the year list. Today he is one of the most eclectic artists in circulation who can produce great music with any instrument and approach any genre. His debut, since being orphaned of Meg,  ‘Blunderbuss‘ comes across like a kaleidoscope of sounds and melodies that acts as an informal manual of Rock N Roll and it’s roots.

T.R Wicks  chimed in statingBlues drenched piano ballads and surf-noir guitar leads are Jack White‘s staple but I stand by the statement that no one plays them with the same sass and gritty finesse as Mr. Jack White”Blunderbuss‘ is the one we’ve been waiting for.

topalbums2012 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Jack White   Blunderbuss

TRACKS:

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Jan 1 2013

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Here

edward sharpe here Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros   Here

Fans expecting Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros to come out with ‘Up From Below‘ part two may have been slightly underwhelmed by the band’s follow up ‘Here‘.

Whereas the band’s debut may well have represented a joyous trip culminating in a grandiose dramatic sunset desert scene this sophomore effort is more like the ensuing campfire singalong with each “character” telling his/her highlight from the journey.

It remains to be seen if this album will experience the same longevity that ‘Up From Below‘ enjoy with new listeners being picked up around the world thanks in no small part to the Superbowl featured megahit “Home”. In many ways ‘Here‘ is an escape from that phenomenon and an exploration of new territories.

Cougar writer Nicole had ‘Here‘ in her albums of the year saying The Magnetic Zeros are “again competing for best all around. With so many great tracks its hard to deny how complete this album feels, from start to finish. But right off the bat, three songs stand out amongst the rest, “Man on Fire, “That’s What’s Up“, and “Fiya Wata“.

Cougar scribe Mario added that “the 11 person strong megaband confirms its penchant for positive vibrations. Although ‘Here‘ is possibly less “indie” than its predecessor it manages to offer reliable and simple writing throughout. Check out the Cash/Carter-esque “Man On Fire” or the gospel sounding “Mayla“; Carefree and optimistic just like this crazy bohemian Californian crew.”

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