Well here we are, the very first weekly music post. I’ll probably be tweaking the structure of these posts for a little while until I am happy with them, but for now I will discuss new albums I have bought, other music I have been listening to, and I might do a classic album of the week sort of thing too. As always, I would love to hear if you’ve heard these albums, and what your thoughts are on them. Enjoy!
I bought two new albums this week, including one that has come along quite suddenly, but which I have anticipated all the same – the second album by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, an American folk/psychedelia/whoknowswhatelse band led by Alex Ebert (also from Ima Robot, and more recently on his own as simply Alexander). Titled Here, it’s the follow up to their successful 2009 debut album Up From Below, which featured the hugely successful single “Home” that appeared on many television shows, commercials, film trailers, and which also placed 15th on the Australian Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown, one of the biggest music polls in the world.
Back to the new album, Here features nine new songs, continuing along in the same vein of the first album and Ebert’s solo effort. The songs are quirky, slightly psychedelic folk music. They are all generally upbeat, and although quiet in sound are actually quite complexly layered – the current band has ten permanent musicians (and it makes for quite a live show, as I discovered a couple of years ago). While Ebert takes lead vocals on many of the songs, some are also led by Jade Castrinos, who has a remarkably different voice that actually complements Ebert’s quite well. It took me a while to warm up to this album (more so than the first), but it is growing on me, and it has done well on the Billboard charts, debuting at #5 (the first album only peaked at #74).
Check out the official video for “Man on Fire” off Here, here:
The other new album I bought was by Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and is titled Americana. I will admit I like some of Neil Young’s work, but not all of it, and so I always feel I am taking a risk when I buy his albums. This one is a covers album of classic Americana songs, as the title suggests, including songs such as “Oh Susannah” and “This Land Is Your Land”. The feel of the album is more garage rock, something not unusual when he teams up with Crazy Horse, and so the interpretations are quite energetic and different to what one might expect. I’d be lying if I said I loved this album, but it’s pretty decent. If you’re a big enough fan of the songs or of Neil Young you’ll probably love this.
Other music I’ve been listening to
The main other artist I have been listening to a lot who I would like to recommend this week is Laura Marling. At the age of 22, she has already appeared in several bands, most notably being part of the original line up of Noah and the Whale, and has three solo albums under her belt, all of which have been nominated for various awards and in some cases even won her major awards. Alas I Cannot Swim was released in 2008, followed in 2010 by the more mature I Speak Because I Can and in 2011 by her third (and my personal favourite) album A Creature I Don’t Know. All three albums are heavily folk-oriented music, and her songwriting skills are exceptional, the songs and instrumentation varying enough to keep every song interesting, and her vocals deep and soulful, with a maturity far beyond her years. I love every song on all three of these albums, though my favourites would have to be “Don’t Ask Me Why” and “The Beast” off her latest album, and also “Devil’s Spoke” and “Rambling Man” off her second album.
If you haven’t listened to Laura Marling, you really are missing out on a huge talent. Check out the music video for the single “Devil’s Spoke” here:
Classic Album of the week
For this week, I’m going to choose one of my personal favourite albums as the classic album of the week – Supertramp’s 1974 classic Crime of the Century. After the first two albums by the band were unsuccessful, they broke up, and the two frontmen and songwriters, Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies, re-formed the band with new members. The new band created the sound that they would become famous for – progressive rock, with the trademark combination of keys and saxophone (and sometimes other woodwind instruments) bringing something unique to the music. The album, which dealt with themes of loneliness and mental and emotional instability, reached #4 on the UK Charts and #38 on the Billboard charts, and is considered by many to be the band’s finest album. It includes the singles “Dreamer” and “Bloody Well Right”, although my favourite song on the album is “Rudy”, a seven minute long song which gives just about every instrument a moment to shine as it progresses, really defining what the band’s sound was about.
Listen to “Rudy” here to see just what I mean (the film clip isn’t official, though, but the sound quality seems okay):
What music have you been listening to recently?