Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Old discoveries to share

I'm very much the type of person who is forward-looking - I don't dwell too much on past events apart from what I can take positively from them.

I'm the same with music as well.  I listen largely to what is happening NOW in the world of music apart from creations that will stand up forever in my mind as absolute class. And by no means does that stop me from looking back for inspiration and happiness - just this week I've got hold of albums from Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Nick Cave and Bonny Prince Billy which I'm really enjoying. Some of these albums I can see myself enjoying for many years, some for not so long.

I thought I would share with you a couple of old gems that have stayed with me for a long time and I think always will in some form and for different reasons - some songs are just plain great and some bring back amazing memories.

Firstly, a band that only ever released one album that I have a large soft-spot for - Sunhouse. Their only creation was called Crazy On The Weekend - a brit folk-rock beauty.

It contains many timeless tracks in what is a complete album - a rarity these days. Definitely give them a listen if you're into the latest folk-rock trend. Here's three tracks in one youtube vid to get your mouth watering:

Secondly, a band whose sound is very NOW but was released over the past 10 years - The Dears. Their album No Cities Left is on my 'greats' list and is a crazy mix of styles similar to the likes of fellow Canadians Arcade Fire and Wold Parade plus The National, Blur, The Smiths, Elbow and a little of Doves.

If you are a fan of any two of those bands then I would highly recommend getting a hold of at least that album. Here's one of my favourite tracks from said album:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Cherry On Top

For all those people out there who love Mumford and Sons and can't get enough of that type of English folk-rocky goodness, I have another band for you!

Their name is Cherry Ghost.

I first came across them whilst recording our first record and Mr Andrew Buckton, the man recording us, played us their album Thirst For Romance.  Myself and the whole band immediately loved it and wondered why the world hadn't embraced them and still hasn't - it's a great illustration of the ruthless factor of timing in the music industry.

These guys are somewhere in-between Mumford and Sons and one of most-favourite bands of all time, Elbow (listen to ALL of their albums at once(at a moderate pace, not actually all-at-once, that would be just crazy eh) if this is news to you).  

NOW - why this is all relevant is that they've just released their second album to rave reviews in the UK and I'm rather excited to hear it and hopefully they get huge and tour near us all.

So once I've found a way to buy it down-under I'll let you know how it sounds, but for now I can highly recommend their first album - here's one of many highlights:

Friday, July 16, 2010


I think for most people Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill album reminds them of rebellion - reading "saucy" teen mags in primary school, playing it really loud to piss off your parents, smoking at lunchtime, underage RTD-ridden house parties and teenage "exploration".

For me it reminds me of waiting in the car while my mum did lots of grocery shopping.

Not an amazingly profound observation, but this is one of the most beautiful things about music - it means so many different things to every person and captures moments in life that otherwise would have passed your mind.

I'm glad that one hasn't.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New discoveries! Laura and Audra.

I haven't always been a fan of female songstresses, in fact I used to go out of my way to avoid them for some reason. And I'm still not a fan of the modern-pop-soul craze that has swept the world over the past few years.

However, this year seems to have produced a whole bunch of great albums by solo female artists making music which is soulful and telling and their voices amaze me - I can't help but love them.

I've already mentioned my love for Laura Marling (who is touring close to me but I'll be on the road then unfortunately) and you can add the Joanna Newsom and Beach House (a two-piece but female-led nonetheless) albums to this year's highlights that are well-worth getting a hold of. I've just discovered two more that can be added to that list - Laura Viers and Audra Mae.

Firstly, Laura Viers, another Laura and another great album. This is her 7th album and I have to say I've never heard of her before and haven't listened to any of her previous works. But on listening to her latest I'm an immediate fan. She has a beautifully-dusty folk voice and her songs are very vibey with a mix of piano and guitar-based tracks to add good variety. It's always hard to pin down what exactly makes a song but I believe that's because it either speaks to you or it doesn't - this album speaks to me so I love it. Here's the title track from the album July Flame:

The second of my discoveries is Audra Mae - a relative of Judy Garland. Her debut album, The Happiest Lamb, I only bought this morning and I've only had a first listen, but it has already inspired this blog, so that's gotta be good right? Most of the album is downbeat and emotive folk-soul, so it'll be a situational listen for most people. But, like the other people I've mentioned, her voice is incredible and immediately blew me away. She does an amazing version of a Dolly Parton song called Little Sparrow as a highlight on the album. It's definitely another one to jump on now if you like the sound of the below.

I hope you enjoy these like I have!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Prince - mad or masterful?

If you haven't heard already, Prince has announced that the internet is dead. In particular, for the music industry.

This legend of the musical world has basically come out and publicly stated that he is mad. Here are a few of his quotes, so you can place some context to this situation.

"The internet's completely over. I don't see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won't pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can't get it.

"The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good.

"They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

Already, commentators and media have jumped all over this story saying Prince is grossly out of touch with the world and some kind of neo-luddite. And, taken at face value they'd be perfectly entitled to that opinion.

However, there could be another possibility happening here. 

Prince, an artist who hasn't had a pop-hit himself (he's certainly written them for others) for a number of years releases an album for free via a handful of newspapers and magazines who pay him big money to do so. He's done this before, so this isn't huge news and isn't going to ramp up any potential hype. BUT, what if Prince did something scandalous...would that make people take notice? Would that drive sales of these papers? Would that get his music heard when it is quite possibly itself out of touch to all but his most loyal fans? (see football song: 

Just watch all the press he gets today along with, I bet, a boost in sales of Raspberry Beret, Purple Rain and blog posts about his new album.

This guy could certainly be mad, but he could also be a master of the art of marketing.

Friday, July 2, 2010