Toto – 40 trips around the sun (2018)
This is a compilation album, and since I listened to Toto’s hits as a teenager, I am now focusing on the three brand new songs included on the album. I think many of us fans became surprised when Toto released an album with all-new material in 2015, since they had been announcing a break-up several times before. The songs on “XIV” were like a summary of their songwriting through the years combined with a modern sound, unlike 2006’s “Falling in between” where they tried hard to sound up-to-date. These three new songs make a natural follow-up to “XIV”, and the sound on this album is better than on its predecessor. “Alone” is a standard Toto rock song that feels like it could have been written for the “Isolation” sessions in 1984. The slower “Spanish sea” sounds like early Toto in the 70’s/early 80’s, on this song they’ve actually sampled the drums and bass tracks from a session with Jeff and Mike Porcaro recorded at that time! “Struck by lightning” is the heavier side of Toto that we recognize from the 90’s. Joseph Williams, who is my favourite of the Toto singers, is featured on all three songs and still in good shape. On the verses in “Spanish sea” you can hear him in his lower range which is not that common, and I suppose David Paich has provided some vocals here too. As usual, there are some nice keyboard and guitar features by Steve Porcaro and Steve Lukather. To sum up, you can’t really expect anything new from Toto, but if you want to hear more of Toto’s excellent songwriting and musicianship wrapped in a fresh 10’s sound, you won’t be disappointed.
Tingsek – Amygdala (2017)
When I went to Folkhögskola, which was like a preparation for the Music College, it was very definable which kind of music was “hip”. It was a blend of soul, indie pop and slick, but it shouldn’t be too slick, then it would be labeled as “corny”. Tingsek’s music fitted perfectly into what was hip, and on this album it’s still clear that he knows exactly how to be hip when it comes to music. He uses punchy snares, weird hi-hat patterns, vintage keyboards and even a vocoder. You can find a slick chord progression here and there, but it’s compensated by dirty guitars and crazy synth effects, as well as Tingsek’s laid-back, lazy voice. The productions are filled with details and a wide range of instruments, which makes the album fun to listen to. Sometimes the sound gets a bit all-over-the-place though, which makes the songs a bit hard to distinguish from each other. The best songs I would say are the more straight-forward ones, like #8 and #9. There is a song called “The change – part 2”, I wonder if it’s a follow-up to “I love you – part 1” on his second album? I doubt Tingsek will get a wider audience with this album, but I’m sure hipster musicians will love it.