Wednesday, April 30, 2008

sometimes the fastest way to get there is to go slow

There's a little list on my personal blog somewhere of all the CDs that I have bought this year. Considering I have been remiss in reviewing any, I thought maybe the time was right for a little recap of the year in albums so far.

Not included here are anything that wasn't released in 2008, so that excludes great stuff I have bought like The Very Best of 10cc, David Jordan's "Set The Mood" (the 21st century Terence Trent D'Arby), Aqualung's "Memory Man" and the excellent debut album from Mumm-Ra....

Indie-pop comes no more fresh-faced and poptastic right now than North Yorkshire's finest bunch of 17 year olds, One Night Only. It's a vaguely Kook-esque sound, and whilst energetic and melodic it's also unfortunately rather forgettable. If it wasn't for the presence of the superb anthemic top 10 hot "Just For Tonight" there wouldn't be much to shout about here. It's a decent enough effort, God love them, and they're clearly enjoying themselves but it's not troubling the Mercury panel or the Grammies.

Alex Turner's side-project, the Last Shadow Puppets, is a different proposition all together, though. Despite it's brevity (it's a mere 34 minutes long), it's packed with retro-energy and class. It's a great record this as Turner and Kane transport you back to the mid-60s in their apparent challenge to write a Bond theme from that era. It's like the Arctic Monkeys attempt at writing a "Music To Watch Girls By" record, and Turner and Kane triumph unequivocally.

It's hard not to smile and warm to the Feeling. On "Join With Us" they have taken their brand of 70's inspired MOR and upped the ante yet further by making it even more lush and catchy than debut "Twelve Stops And Home". The influences remain - 10cc, the Darkness, Supertramp et al but their ability to craft these catchy and well-produced pop records make this one of the best albums I have bought in recent months. Great stuff.

It would be fair to say that Danish starlet Tina Dico is, at present, my most favouritest artist in the entire world. "Count to Ten" follows a number of shorter EP releases and somehow manages to better her previous brilliant album "In The Red" (a feat I wouldn't have considered possible). The excellent title track sets the standard and from the great "Sacre Coeur" to the haunting and heart-rending "Love Is Cruel To The Sensitive Kind", it's by far my album of the year to date.

Six years since the release of their last album "Hard Candy", the Counting Crows return with their new studio album. The "Saturday Nights" refers to the upbeat, rock nature of the first half, and "Sunday Mornings" to the second, more mellow half. I've always preferred them in their more reflective, acoustic mode and the second half of this record showcases the Crows at their best. It's actually a pretty good record this but if you're not a fan, this isn't going to convert you.

I can't say I'd historically ever have bought a Michael McDonald record, but this was recommended to me (by producer Simon Climie he says, namedropping horrifically...!) Some of this is a little bit like McDonald doing glorified karaoke, but it's saved from being hopeless lift music by McDonald's superb voice and his take on a couple of great covers. His version of Climie's own "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" is a highlight, as is the newly penned "Still Not Over You (Getting Over Me)". As background music it works pretty well, but don't tell anyone I bought it, eh?

5 Discussions:

Blogger bedshaped said...

Just goes to show how our tastes differ.

One Night Only. Yeah, listened to the album, but haven't been reaching for it since.

Last Shadow Puppets. Can't say I've heard this yet and to be honest it doesn't sound that attractive to me. Great cover though!

The Feeling. I think I'm in a large minority by being somebody who doesn't like this band. I have their previous album and yes, their songs are catchy, but annoyingly so. To me anyway. I've tried, but they're really not my bag, baby.

Tina Dico. Never heard of her. I like your description of it though, so much so, that I'm gonna persue this one. Cheers!

Counting Crows. August and Everything After was once my most played CD. I liked the follow up and even got the VH1 Storytellers album. But then I think they went downhill. The occasional song reared it's head, but in the most, I felt like they'd all but given up. Considering Adam's health issues it's not surprising.
I might check this one out for nostalgic reasons.

Michael McDonald. Hahahahahaha.

8:13 PM  
Blogger swisslet said...

I find that "Last Shadow Puppets" album a bit of a poser. Of course I was going to be interested in anything featuring Alex Turner off of the Monkeys in something that has been widely compared to Scott Walker.... and I think it's a pretty handy album.... but the Walker comparisons are wide of the mark, I think, not least because Turner's voice is so completely different. It is good though, although I can't help but see it for what it is: which is a retro-styled album where the amazing strings were added after the original recording sessions. It's fantastic that someone in Turner's position can do something like this though.

Love that Tina Dico too. She's a fantastic talent.

Good roundup. I keep meaning to keep a list of the stuff I've been buying, but somehow never get around to it. I'm loving that Vampire Weekend album, but I've also been out buying things like James, Warren Zevon and Paul Simon....


1:51 PM  
Blogger swisslet said...

Oh, and that Feeling record is ace too!

1:52 PM  
Blogger weenie said...

Last Shadow Puppets - have only listened to it once through but certain tracks already shine through with their brilliance! There's deffo a 60s feel and funnily enough, I thought of Bond themes too! Bravo to the lads!

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shadow Puppets me likey.
First heard of Tina through the artist "AM" he did a duet with her that is rocking my world.

WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS gotta hear it and you gotta get it. You'll probably never find it cuz who can find AM on Google-- um nobody.

Counting Crows .. no brainer. xoxox

1:59 AM  

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