The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by Steven Wilson
Steven Wilson is one of the busiest people in the music business, almost constantly either working on a new album with one of his various bands (Porcupine Tree, Blackfield and Storm Corrosion to name but a few), or helping produce, mix or remaster albums by many other progressive rock bands new and old. This is his third solo effort, less than two years after the highly successful Grace For Drowning, and if you liked that work you’ll love this. It has six songs, averaging close to ten minutes a song and jumping around in genre between prog rock and jazz and everything in between. Each song tells a story of sorts, all of which are of the usual dark themes one would expect from Wilson. I absolutely love this album, and it is definitely going to be in my top ten albums of the year. If you’re looking for intelligent music, go no further than this! The clip I’m including is of the song Luminol, being played live last year long before the release of the album – even at this point the song was pretty tight:
Ghost On Ghost by Iron & Wine
With his last album, Kiss Each Other Clean, Iron & Wine moved away from his folk roots and towards a more 1970s pop sound. With this, his fifth (or is it sixth) offering, he continues this direction only adding more elements of jazz and even funk into his music. While many who have been listening to him from his earliest beginnings a decade ago might be disappointed by this new turn in his sound, I personally love it, and love the fact that he was daring enough to try something so different. The song I’m going to include is called Lovers’ Revolution, and is a pretty good example of what to expect from the rest of the album:
The Terror by The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips are a very strange band. They always have been very weird and quirky, and have been about as alternative as you can get, but I quite liked a number of their albums, particularly last decade with the likes of The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and At War With The Mystics. But then they released Embryonic, and things just got a bit too weird even for me. The Terror is one of those albums which addresses all sorts of interesting existential issues, and had so much potential as a concept, but simply isn’t pleasant to listen to, which I tend to think is the primary objective of music. I like to be challenged with music (Steven Wilson is awfully good at this), but I just listened to this with a look of despair and confusion on my face. Perhaps some Flaming Lips fans will love this, but it isn’t for me. Not terror-ble (sorry, I had to make the joke), but nothing amazing. The clip I’m including is at least entertaining to watch, and is of a song called Try To Explain:
Are you a fan of any of these artists? What are your thoughts on their new directions?