Blimey, it’s been a while since I’ve been here. At least 6 months, maybe more. No offence but I can’t say I’ve missed it and really, it’s only since I stopped updating this blog that I realised how much I was just going through the motions. That is to say, writing about music for the sake of it rather than the love of it. Maybe this year hasn’t been great for music. Or maybe like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, I’m just getting too old for this shot. Who knows. Either way, I guess I kept this place alive just in case I ever felt the need to start writing again and while I wouldn’t necessarily say that was the case right now, I kind of felt like I wanted to do this post. So, just in case you haven’t had enough lists thrust at you this month, here’s my choice of favourite albums of 2012. As ever, I make no claims to them being the best, the most important, the most revolutionary or any other grand statements like that. No, these are merely the albums that I’ve enjoyed listening to the most over the last 12 months. As ever, the albums are presented in alphabetical order because to my mind, music isn’t a competition. Read more
Late again I’m afraid. Almost getting on for two weeks in fact. Not to worry though, as I’ve said many times before, better late than never. Not that I want that to become a mantra round here. Anyway, this list is for the week of the 9th to the 15th of April. As you can see, the top 2 spots were taken up by new releases while the rest of the list is made up of some old favourites. It has to be said that I’m still enjoying the Alabama Shakes‘ record and as yet, it’s shine hasn’t started to diminish so maybe it has more life to it that I gave it credit. As for the new Spiritualized record, well it’s kind of what you expect from them these days. A good record that ticks all the expected Spiritualized boxes but which seems a little diluted when you compare it to ‘Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space‘. Though to be honest, most records are left lacking when compared to that record. I guess it’s not really fair to continually compare two records from different parts of a career. Taken on it’s own merits, Sweet Heart Sweet Light‘ is a fine record that dazzles in places and sort of underwhelms in others. Having said that, there’s more good than bad and I can definitely see it making a few more appearances in future lists. In the meantime, here’s some music from some of the bands that filled my ears that week.
Okay, so despite the title of this regular feature, this isn’t actually what I was listening to last week. This is me trying to catchup on a week that I haven’t yet had chance to feature. The above list actually represents what I was listening to in the week from the 2nd April until the 8th April. One of these days I swear I’ll get back on track and start posting more often and on time. Until then, I’m afraid it’s going to be sporadic and random. Which I know must be hellish for all you OCD sufferers out there but alas, that’s the way things are at the moment.
So anyway, as you can see, the most obvious new entry is Alabama Shakes, whose debut album has been clocking up a fair amount of my ear time over the last 2 weeks. Not to mention a fair few column inches. Which I guess begs the question, do they live up to the hype? To which I answer, yes but also no. I think it’s fair to say that while it doesn’t exactly break new ground, it does what it does well. It’s an enticing mix of good old southern rock, with 60s soul and a dash of garage spirit, all of which I love. So in that respect, it’s a winner. However, it lacks enough individual stand out tracks to make it a truly great record and I do wonder if it reveals itself too quickly. A few listens and you pretty much know everything you need to know about it. There ‘s no subtle reveals, no hidden nuances, no difficult layers to work through. While that’s not always a bad thing, there’s the risk that over playing it could result in it burning out too quickly. It does suggest that given enough time to develop, there may be great things to come from this band but I guess only time will tell. For now though, I’m really enjoying it.
Elsewhere, my listening was pretty much made up of old favourites and reliable recent additions. Feeder continue to make an appearance as they have done over the last month or so, Bat For Lashes made a long overdue reappearance, while erstwhile favourites Radiohead and Elliott Smith once again got in on the act. As ever, here’s a few session tracks form some of the bands I was listening to that week.
So this list covers the 26th March to the 1st April. I think with even the slightest of glances it’s pretty clear which band grabbed my attention and ran away with it last week. In part that was due to me loving The Beatles but also down to the fact that we hosted a mini family gathering and I thought the background music should be something that everyone would enjoy rather than some of my more left field choices. The rest of the list however is made up of bands and artists who were played purely for the pleasure of my ears. Feeder have become a bit of a regular showing in the last couple of weeks after I saw them play an intimate live acoustic session and was reminded how much I actually like them. You can see a few photos I took here.
Interesting to note that last week, there was a lack of artists with new releases in the list. I don’t think that was a conscious decision but after a few weeks of new things creeping in, I think I was just in the mood to revisit a few records that I’d neglected of late. I have a sneaking feeling that, with a few exceptions, the same may be true this week. However, with a few days left in this week, I guess anything could still happen. Who knows, my listening habits may even swerve off in some weird dubstep grime territory and completely skew the list. It’s doubtful but you never know. I guess you’ll just have to come back and see next week. Or whenever it is that I actually get round to posting it. In the meantime, here’s a few session tracks form some of the bands from last week’s list.
So for once, this actually is what I was listening to last week. From Monday the 19th to Sunday the 26th March inclusive. Well kind of. Everything except Dusty Springfield, which, while I do like her, was actually what my girlfriend was listening to. Somehow her iPod managed to scrobble those plays onto my account and mess up my stats. Not a massive problem but one I thought it was worth pointing out. Everything else on there is bona fide me. Looking at the list now, it appears that I had a bit of restless 7 days in terms of my listening. Aside from the obvious exceptions, I seemed to play more artists but less times, as opposed to the usual habit of listening to fewer artists more. Hence the overall lower number of plays. I guess a change is as good as a rest. Or so they say. Either way, that’s what was happening in my ears and heres a few session tracks from some of them.