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Monday, August 27, 2012

Romanticism


Romanticism is the conceptual school of art. It deals, not with random trivia of the day, but with the timeless, fundamental, universal problems and values of human existence. It does not record or photograph; it creates and projects. It is concerned - in the words of Aristotle - not with things as they are, but with things as they might be and ought to be.

- The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Album Of My Week: Passing Stranger

I'm not sure who exactly recommended this album to me, it was found in the musical notes I take down in my iPhone, but before I begin I must say thank you very much.

Passing Stranger is the debut album from Englishman Scott Matthews. It was released in 2006 and had some buzz in the UK at the time but I've only just made my discovery. 
Again, it's a folky, acoustic-based record - very much my buzz right now as you could tell - though this is definitely more rootsy than others I've recommended. His voice has shades of a bunch of great vocalists - Jeff Buckley, Justin Vernon, Nick Cave...he also can be more accessible on the record in a Jack Johnson kind of way...(hate me if you will, I believe Mr Johnson has written some lovely wee songs, so there!)

It has a good mix of quiet, light songs but he definitely does rock in The Fool Is Fooling Himself and is always in the blues. It's a great album and I'll now be seeking out his subsequent efforts for sure.

Have a listen, but if you like the sound of a rootsy, bluesy, folk album mixed up with Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave and Bon Iver just get it now.  

This song rules:

There's nothing like a week on a musical retreat.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Album of my week: Blues Funeral

The past few weeks I've been working stupid, stupid hours covering the Olympics (and my rent money) and all these graveyard shifts got me the blues...in a good way!

I first discovered and saw Mark Lanegan while living in Sydney a few years ago - I didn't know much about him apart from the fact he played a big part in the grunge scene in the early '90s. I was too young then to really dig deeper than Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots, but Lanegan's band Screaming Trees were an underground favourite of the time and one I've recommended on here before.

His voice is incredible. When I saw him in Sydney I couldn't believe how powerful such a low voice could be. In fact, it's always something I've pondered - how male singers with very low voices struggle to be heard in the music world...most of the time, when they do rise to the surface, it's for pure novelty-factor (think Crash Test Dummies). Maybe it's because a good low voice is a rare thing (think Johnny Cash) or maybe people generally respond more positively to more of a tenor range - either way, Mark Lanegan is a rare thing to behold.
He's just released his seventh studio album, Blues Funeral. The album name does a pretty good job of describing the sound really - it melds classic rocknroll instruments and blues frameworks with synthetic instruments and rhythms. It comes out as a modern-sounding record with just enough elements from yonder to make it sound learned and classic.

Have a listen and give it a crack if the below track gets you going.