(The very first) Music Monday!

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!

New music

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?

18 thoughts on “(The very first) Music Monday!

  1. Well your first manic Monday is off to a good start-love “home”! Supertramp & Neil Young bring back fuzzy but happy memories. My record purchase last week were a glut of Sicilian folk music (my blog last week) and a Wayne Newton album when he was about 17! If only I could sing in Italian…

    • I somehow missed that post of yours (I’m a bit vague when looking through my emails at the moment so I seem to keep missing a number of things), but those records look great! I love the things you can find sometimes in these places…I need to go looking for more records, as my collection is a bit flimsy (at least compared to my CD collection). And I imagine Sicilian folk music would sound lovely.
      Supertramp brings back memories for me, although more of my dad listening to them a lot when I was younger (he plays the saxophone, so hearing it always reminds me of him too). But I still love them now! Neil Young however I kind of stumbled across more on my own when I became interested in that era of folk music from which he sprang initially. 🙂

  2. Love Laura Marling. Apparently folk music sales have increased by 20% since she came along. A good friend of mine is a freelance photographer and he took this photo of her for NME magazine :

    Beautiful!!

    • Wow, has she really had that much of an effect on the genre? That is awesome! I wouldn’t be surprised, she is immensely talented. Folk music has become huge in Australia, but there are a lot of pretty average folk artists too, just riding the wave I guess. But I think Laura Marling is exceptionally talented and I think she’ll be around for a long time to come – I certainly hope so!
      I love that photograph as well, awesome backdrop, awesome pose by her! Really well done! 🙂

  3. I’m so happy you like Laura Marling! I remember reading in Spin magazine in 2007 that she is “proud to come off more Wuthering Heights than The Hills” and writes lyrics like “Maybe I should give up…and turn into my mother/God knows I love her” and just falling in love with her. I actually got to see her perform in London soon after her second album came out, and she was absolutely incredible! Great choice of favorite songs, by the way — Devil’s Spoke is probably my favorite, and The Beast is deliciously dark 🙂

    • Yep, she is very mature and clearly very aware of her maturity, and I think that’s something else I like about her – she strikes out on her own to make music that is very her, and I think people like it for that reason. It’s just unique, and mature, and clever. You can tell she’s grown up with music, too.
      I am quite jealous you have seen her perform! I think she has been to Australia once, or maybe twice, but I am yet to see her – next time she comes out I am going for sure, because she is one of my favourite artists of the last few years.
      I thought I was fairly on the money with my favourite songs too! I just love the imagery of Devil’s Spoke, but I also like the feeling of the song. She is very good at creating a lot of atmosphere often will very little instrumentation. 🙂

    • I really like that song too! I really like that whole album, it feels quite different to her later albums, a bit more upbeat if anything! It’s amazing to think when she wrote Ghosts she would have only been 17, 18 years old.

      • Hello! Wow, it’s only taken me a week to reply to this! I have to say that while I really love the song Ghosts, I found it difficult to get into the rest of the album – I can only listen to it if I’m REALLY in the mood. But I also really like a song that she did with The Mystery Jets called Young Love. It has a really cool beat.

        • Hahaha, that’s okay 😛 It gets a bit like that sometimes, I think I sometimes forget to reply to posts for ages.
          I think when I first bought that album I struggled to get into it, for the same reason, but I think her music has grown on me with her later albums, and I’ve gone back to that first album and like it a whole lot more now. And I agree about that Young Love song, that was a good song. 🙂

  4. I wish I could have heard Laura Marling from all the glowing remarks about her. Apparently, ‘the up-loader has not made this video available’ in my country. 😦

    I did, however, enjoy the ‘Man on Fire’ video. While the Supertramp video doesn’t sound much like what I remember of the band, it was pretty good.

    Your Dad played Sax? How cool is THAT! I love listening to the saxophone so much Hubby got me a CD of simply sax music a long time ago. I recently added the tracks to my MP3 player.

    Thanks for the great music post. I think Monday’s the best day for this new venture. I love alliteration and Music Mondays has a nice ring to it! 🙂

    • Oh really? See if anything by Laura Marling is available on youtube, sometimes the embedding doesn’t work on other sites but it works fine on the actual youtube site!
      Yeah, Man On Fire is a quirky little song, I like it. I think a lot of people probably remember Supertramp more for their hits, like Dreamer, and some of their later hits like The Logical Song, Goodbye Stranger, and Breakfast In America. I’ll probably do more of their albums down the track because they are one of my favourite bands from that period in music.
      My dad did, he doesn’t practise it much anymore though. He has two saxophones, an alto and a tenor sax, the tenor is just beautiful, black and gold (same colour scheme as my guitar, now I come to think of it). I think I need to get into my guitar and get my dad back into his sax…if we made time for it, we could be quite a musical family (my sisters have both played guitars at different points, but none of us were quite musical enough to stop life distracting us).
      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the music post, it was fun to write it actually! I chose Mondays precisely for the alliteration hahaha! 🙂

  5. I seem to be the only one who has no clue about who Laura Marling is. Fixing!

    I’ve been going through a whole King Crimson phase (again), and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes sounds like something I’d love. I doubt I’d find it here though. 😦

    And I feel the same way about Neil Young. He’s okay once in a while, and in compilation albums and stuff, but I can’t really listen to entire albums. Even with Bob Dylan. I love him when it’s just a song or two, but any more and the feel-good, head-bopping feeling goes away.

    • Laura Marling does seem to have more of a cult following…just a really really big cult following! I hope you like her when you do listen to her! 🙂
      Ah yes, I must get more King Crimson…I only have a few of their albums. I think you’d like Edward Sharpe…they’re a weird band though, but weird in a good way! You can probably buy them online I’d imagine? Through Amazon or somewhere like that?
      Glad to know you know what I mean with Neil Young. I like some of his albums, but some are just rubbish. And he was better when he collaborated with CS&N. :p

      • King Crimson is awesome. 😀 So, so quirky. I’ve checked out Edward Sharpe on Last.fm, and they definitely seem like something I’d listen to. I’ll pester a few stores here for a week, and if they say they can’t get it for me, I suppose I’ll have to order it online.
        Ah, you’re right. He was quite good with CSN, but then I hardly noticed him, haha. I think it was just the awesomeness of the other three shining through. 😛
        On a completely different note, have you listened to Buckethead? I know, I know, he’s quite mad, and a lot of people don’t like him (though I can’t understand why), but I think he’s a genius. I got Crime Slunk Scene a while ago, but I recently started listening to his Electric Tears album. Beautiful doesn’t even begin to cover how beautiful it is. His music can get pretty heavy on some albums, but this one is so mellow, and.. flowy. And it suits the weather here perfectly. If you do get Electric Tears, I’d suggest sitting down with a glass of wine, and just soaking in the wonderful sounds he manages to create.

        • Ahhh cool! Let me know how you go getting your hands on Edward Sharpe.
          This is true, CSN were pretty amazing on their own too! Wish they released more albums though!
          I have heard some Buckethead, but I haven’t got any of his albums. But he does seem very talented from what I have heard…maybe I should try Electric Tears. I like albums that sound like that – I have always thought that about David Gilmour’s On An Island. It’s one of those albums you need to close your eyes and just let the music soak in. 🙂

          • Yeah. Same with Fleetwood Mac. Tango In The Night is the only album on which the line-up worked. For me, at least. Well, okay that’s not true. The Chain was pretty good, as well. But not as much.
            Yes! That’s exactly what I do when I listen to him! But sometimes, when I do that on the bus, and I open my eyes afterwards, I realise a few people are staring because I’ve been making guitar sounds!
            Tell you what. Look him up on YouTube, and if it sounds like something you’d like, pick the album up. 🙂

            • Yeah, Fleetwood Mac definitely changed dramatically. Some bands can pull off line-up changes (Pink Floyd, for example), but others change dramatically because of it.
              Bahahahah you make guitar sounds? That is kind of funny. But cool. 😛
              Ahh, I might just do that! By the way…my second Music Monday post is going up in about 9 and a half hours (I’ve scheduled it for 6am Monday, which is 9.5 hours away as it’s now 830 on Sunday night for me :P). Just so you know! I suspect there’ll be something you’ll like in the second Music post 🙂

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