Monday, November 30, 2020
Eponomously title album of the year:
Sunday, November 29, 2020
A total leftfield surprise for me. But an enduring one:
A record I've slowly fallen for rather hard over the last few days is Ginormous the third album from London based Japanese musician Koichi Yamanoha who goes under the Grimm Grimm nom de guerre. I've lsitened to a range of great new records over that time but found myself coming back again and again to this almost despite myself. The sure sign of a great record.
Ginormous is a subtle charmer, whispering and insinuating rather than hammering its points home. It's all the more alluring for this approach, conjuring a soft, fantastic landscape that's reminiscent of the gentlest and oddest moments of Can, Young Marble Giants, Beach House and Cate Le Bon's back catalogue.
High praise indeed, but Ginormous is worthy of it. It manages the remarkable feat of being both tender and durable and it's already a record I look forward to returning to and getting to know better over the coming weeks and months. Imbued with the loveliest melodies and cadences but shifting mood with the upmost subtlety from track to track, it's one for sensitive Indie couples to tuck the kids into bed to and kickback to before they themselves hit the sack.
Yamanoha describes the objective behind the album as trying to 'sound like a wedding and a funeral at the same time.' Switching between his native tongue and his adopted one at will and inviting a number of like-minded female vocalists such as Paz Maddio and Laetitia Sadler to leaven the mix, the cumulative effect of their joint endeavours is incredibly compelling as you make your way through this enchanted forest of a record.
The tracks here function almost as nursery rhymes or lullabies, consistently bedded on a warm torrent of organ driven melodies. Determinedly intimate and idiosyncratic it constantly varies its mode of delivery and the individual tracks are quite different from one another yet knit together almost seamlessly. A small but perfectly formed arecord. An album of childlike wonder to clutch to your heart.
'Tom Waits has never been thought of as a political artist. But in hindsight, his most famous album sounds like a protest against Reaganomics.;
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Friday, November 27, 2020
'Rapper's Delight is a massively important record that came to exist through a murky blend of opportunism and total surprise.'
Early Eighties Glasgow contemporaries of Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Josef K and Altered Images. The Bluebells somehow seemed a little less essential than their fellow travellers at the time. At least to NME readers like me. Now, almost forty years later with the re-release of their debut album Sisters they scome across as impossibly youthful, vital and fresh to my ears.
The template for their sound and sensibility seemed clearly to be early Sixties British Pop. They almost come across as Freddie & The Dreamers, Herman's Hermits or Manfred Mann wannabes on here sometimes, particularly on their most famous songs and notable hits Young At Heart and Cath. They seem to certainly owe nothing, or next to nothing to Punk.
This pales by comparison with Aztec Camera's High Land, Hard Rain, I'd say the finest album this particular scene produced, but most albums would. There's certainly much here to relish and enjoy. A good record for the middle aged likes of me to start the day with. A couple of songs you might want to skip perhaps, but for the most part, this should put a spring in your step.
All yearning choruses and swooning harmonies. Sisters come across a reminder of what seemed like more innocent times, (I guess many of the fortunate feel that way about their youth and mid-teenage years). One to savour your first kisses, the way your heart always seemed about to break, and the sky seemed infinite when you were sixteen.
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Perhaps not quite as good as their debut. But a pretty worthy follow up:
An act of quiet, but thoughtful consolidation. That's how I'd describe Melbourne band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever's second album, Sideways to New Italy just out. I've been listening to it fairly consistently since it was released last Friday and find it that rarest of beasts. A record that is at once immediate and one that will surely also reward repeated plays.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
A quite transcendent record from January:
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Still love this record. Still like this review:
Album Review # 37 Lloyd Cole & the Commotions - Rattlesnakes
Not quite as fine as previous album In a Poem Unlimited. But still pretty fine: