2008 has been a strange old year for music. As radio gets more commercial and the new indie set a little too cool, I have found myself turning my back on alot of the new music scene. I have however, managed to discover some real sonic gems… so here they are (in no particular order) a few of the albums that have captured this lost shark and deserve more attention.
13 Blues for Thirteen Moons – Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band
This is an absolute trip from the Montreal ensemble. 13 Blues starts with twelve short drones, each lasting for around 10 seconds before blasting into the first full length song, the intense and mammoth 1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound. From this point in the band holds you in their swirling power as they blast throgh 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons, Black waters Blowed/Engine Broke Blues and BlindBlindBlind. Find yourself a dark space and allow your head to unravel…
Here’s a sample: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=sttO1yabmlc
When Good Times Go Good – The Fauves
Little has been said about this band since the early to mid nineties, although they have been releasing a steady stream of albums many which have gone completely unnoticed by the general populace. I certainly hope that is not the case for this album. This is vintage Fauves. Phil ‘The Doctor’ Leonard’s pop melodies work perfectly beside the more angular rock of Andrew Cox. Fight Me I’m 40 should be slaying them on the summer radio circuit. It is a call to arms for all those who revelled in the heady days of the late 80’s/early 90’s indie rock explosion – “When I was your age I had a record deal/ send me a text let me know how you feel.’ The other highlights include opening track Underwhelming, Love Radar and Sunday Drive.
proVISIONS – Giant Sand
Hailing from Tucson, Arizona, Howe Gelb is the main man behind Giant Sand. proVISIONS is Giant Sand’s first album in four years. It is filled with desert grooves, dustbowl ballads and some wild jazz mood swings. Gelb is a traveler; equal parts Kerouac and Cash. His music has a restless vigour that keeps you guessing and after more than 30 albums, that’s no mean feat. Spiral is spare and evocative – ‘Don’t wanna live forever / but another generation would be nice.’ The cover of PJ Harvey’s Desperate Kingdom of Love, achingly good and there are some incredible collaborations here: the rollicking country of Stranded Pearl with Isobelle Carmody and the late night blues of Without a Word with Neko Case. An album that whispers in your ear and pulls you closer with each listen.
Check this out: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=JCoJLZ87W7A&feature=related
Painkiller – Steve Kilbey
Kilbey is one of those people who truly deserve the term artist bestowed upon him. Best known as lead singer and bass player of Australian legends The Church, Kilbey is also respected as a painter, poet, producer and musical collaborator. Painkiller is Kilbey’s ninth solo album outside The Church and other projects and it is an album in the truest sense. This is not made for the iPod shuffle generation. While there are tracks that in another world would be hit singles – Wolf and Outbound – Painkiller is an album that benefits from being played in full. Remember how we all used to rush home and put our latest purchase on, put our feet up and really listen? Remember? This is an album brimming with psych-folk rhythms, ambient blips, driving bass lines and poetic imagery. Take your Painkiller and let the dizzy chaos carry you away.
A little taste for you: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=fhv58p-GSyE
Hour to Hour – The Stress of Leisure
Brisbane boy, Ian Powne inhabits the world of The Stress of Leisure. Hour to Hour is the second album and it is bursting at the seams with pop-goodness. Powne, like all great songwriters has that ability to write with an autobiographical eye, while allowing the ‘I’ in the lyric to be universal. These songs shimmer and kick and Powne isn’t afraid to ask the big questions – ‘Do you like your job/ all the hours you put into it?’ – The Weight Of The World. There is an intensity that sits beneath the surface of Hour to Hour, both lyrically and sonically, that drives this album along. The iconic backyard romance of Christine Macpherson burns with longing and missed opportunity; Blues For Britney deconstructs the idea of indulgence and obsession and Man Doll casts a critical eye over love in the 21st century. This might sound a little heavy for most pop records, but that is the beauty of this record. The pop licks and unassuming delivery keep you coming back and each time, the smile is a little wider.
Sample here: www.myspace.com/thestressofleisure
So… what have you been listening to?