February 2010


1 Feb 2010, 9:26

The idea is for a journal for every month listing new albums I listen to and what I think so that when I review the year's music in December, I will have a handy reminder.

I will add to this as the month goes on. Suggestions welcome.

Previous journal: January 2010

* Corinne Bailey Rae - The Sea
Her best album to date. It plays nicely and subtly enough until it gets to Love's on Its Way when suddenly, the album wakes up, forcing you to take note. In the quietest possible way, throughout the whole album, she's saying, "Listen to me."
We7: http://www.we7.com/album/The-Sea?albumId=429908&m=0
Sunday Times review

* Midlake - The Courage Of Others melancholic indie rock. More prog than rock, more rock than indie, at times alt-country. Moody and dark. Channels some of the greats in folk.

* Four Tet - There Is Love in You at times dance, at other times electronica, this pretty album varies between the two throughout.

* Family of the Year - Songbook Goes well back-to-back with Midlake. California collective mixes folk, electronica and Fleetwood Mac inspired rock on its debut album. (description from Spinner).

* The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers ambient, the first from Album Leaf to feature a live band. Sort of cool but passionate at the same time. Warm but aloof. Lovely contrasts between sentimental and heart-tugging against distance. At times, reminds me of Nick Cave & Warren Ellis and their movie soundtracks, though not quite as dramatic.

Toro y Moi - Causers of This South Carolina chillwave artist Chazwick Bundick releases his first of two planned albums for 2010 (description from Spinner). Very pretty, dream pop type chill music that's undemanding as it is soothing.

* Codeine Velvet Club - Codeine Velvet Club indie rock with an added twist of cabaret. Released just before new year.

* Delphic - Acolyte contemporary indie rock channeling past masters of euphoric electronica. The future sound of Manchester.

* Gift Of Gab - Escape 2 Mars Gift of Gab (born Tim Parker) is the MC for the California hip-hop duo Blackalicious. One Amazon reviewer described this as Wu Tang meets TV on the Radio. Funky rap. Brilliant. A strong 4/5.

* The Soft Pack - The Soft Pack Formerly The Muslims, the band release their debut full length album. Garage rock. Bright and cheerful with a few moments that stand out.

* Martha and the Muffins - Delicate Famous for Echo Beach in the 80s, the band return with its first album since 1992. New wave. Covers a lot of ground, varied and ranging, stretching out and comfortably reaching points before switching to something else. One that will take time to get to know, and an enjoyable exercise it will be too.

* Salvador Santana - Keyboard City Carlos' keyboard playing son releases his major label debut. Electronica and hip-hop while also featuring some Latin influences. Genius, but what else would you expect?

* We Are Wolves - Invisible Violence lo-fi indie rock from Canada

* Massive Attack - Heligoland

* Thea Gilmore - Strange Communion Folk. A Christmas album, yes, but a very good one.

* Yeasayer - Odd Blood Their first album was great. This is amazing.

* Sade - Soldier of Love subtle and understated. Perfect for nighttime.

* Husky Rescue - Ship of Light The band that gets better with every new album.

* Hot Chip - One Life Stand Can't say I'm a fan.

* Fionn Regan - The Shadow Of An Empire The guy who looks like Dave Edmunds makes another good album.

* Bellevue Rendezvous - Salamander Exceptional music featuring fiddles, the Scandinavian nyckelharpa, citern and jaw harp, ranging from Scottish to klezmer.

* Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here Over far too soon. Bit mumbly at times, then he pulls you back with something special. You can't just put this on in the background, you have to listen. Great.

* k.d. lang - Recollection A retrospective of good songs performed by the most mellifluous singer of our times. One new track - Beautifully Combined.

* The Maccabees - Wall Of Arms Two great tracks: the title track Wall Of Arms and their cover of I Drove All Night (B Side).

* Pantha du Prince - Black Noise Minimal ambient electronica / techno / house.
From Amazon: On this release his music has moved on to a more academic kind of sound design inspired by the notion that music already exists in everything and that human beings just have to bring it out. The resulting sound collages have an extremely organic, enveloping sound, touched with minimal electronic beats.
Stick By My Side featured guest - Panda Bear (Noah Lennox)

* Field Music - Field Music (Measure)
Review: http://www.neonfiller.com/page3.htm#measure
Wide ranging and varied double album, going from rock, through post-rock, to experimental, to soft. What's it got? It's got the lot. Great album.

* The Watson Twins - Talking To You, Talking To Me Classic soul and country.

* Citizen Cope - The Rainwater LP Highlight - Jericho

* Seasick Steve - Songs For Elisabeth Good. He's the blues man, what more is there to say?

* Sa Dingding - Harmony Enjoyable. Reco'd.

Caitlin Rose - Dead Flowers EP folk, alt-country. Distinctive voice, cuter than Neko Case. New album due later in the year.

Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back Hit and miss. Comes to life on a rainy afternoon. The first listen of this album isn't promising at all. For ears tuned to contemporary pop and rock, the absence of drums and guitars comes as a little shock. It takes a few listens to acclimatise. Orchestral or piano covers of well known songs, part of a song exchange with the different artists covered pledging to return the favour. I don't like the Radiohead one, amongst others, but I like tracks 2 to 6.

* The Unwinding Hours - The Unwinding Hours Post-rock. Annoyed me - the quiet bits were so low I had to turn the volume up, only to be accosted by too loud loud bits. Be warned.

* The Go Find - Everybody Knows It’s Gonna Happen Only Not Tonight Lovely electronica from the Morr music label.

* Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore - Dear Companion Produced by fellow Kentucky musician Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket, this album aims to raise awareness of Mountaintop Removal coal mining and its effect on Appalachian residents. (from Spinner). I always have time for good, honest folk music. A pleasure.

* Class Actress - Journal of Ardency Elizabeth Harper's seductive vocals are on display on the debut release from this Brooklyn synth-pop outfit. (from Spinner).

* Lightspeed Champion - Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You Better than you'd expect.

* Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago post-rock that shimmers with silvery sounds and gorgeous melting moments. Stunning.
Review - Battlemouth

* Holly Miranda - The Magician's Private Library Debut album. Recorded with TV ON THE RADIO’s Dave Sitek before being signed. Super-talented artist, sounds a little like Cat Power sometimes, othertimes like Soap&Skin. Music is varied and ranges from experimental indie folk to indie pop. Exceptional.

* Electric President - The Violent Blue ex Morr music. It's good but not wow. It's the middle ground, music for background, music to work to, music to fall asleep to. Nothing demanding here, but nothing memorable either. It's not Insomnia.

April Smith and The Great Picture Show - Songs for a Sinking Ship April Smith The Brooklyn, N.Y. singer-songwriter channels mixes influences from the '30s to the present on her fan-funded debut. (Spinner) Great new album, fun, upbeat, amusing and cheeky - some songs sound like those you strip to in a burlesque manner. Wonderful.

* Salif Keita - La Différence Music for a good cause, says The Sunday Times. Proceeds will go to the foundation he runs to combat prejudice against albinos.

* Blind Man's Colour - Wooden Blankets Experimental indie. Reminds me of Animal Collective and Yeasayer. Complex, textured, some interesting ideas.

* Veil Veil Vanish - Change In The Neon Light The San Francisco quartet looks ready to break out with its unique dark post-punk debut album. (Spinner). A good mix of goth and shoegaze. Really enjoyed this.

* Title Tracks - It Was Easy Former Q and Not U member John Davis blends a variety of influences on his new project's debut album. (Spinner) Upbeat and cheerful, radio-friendly, ends with a giggle. Enjoyable.

* Little Boots - Hands Some of these tracks were released as singles last year. They're still the strongest on the album, but it's Little Boots, so it's all good.

* Zeus - Say Us "The album shows a band with an incredible ability to write?smart pop hooks with jangling electric guitars, three-part harmonies; classic rock n’ roll with a touch of twang." arts and crafts Everything sounds so familiar. Just as I feel I'm close to naming something, along comes something else. Certainly an album I'd like to get to know. Lots going on.

* Sambassadeur - European Third album from Swedish pop rockers. So-so. I like the last track best Small parade.

* The Knife in Collaboration with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock - Tomorrow, In A Year Now we're talking! Something experimental and actually interesting for a change. Best heard before reading the blurb. It's The Knife, by the way. Expect the unexpected, including opera.

* White Rabbits - It's Frightening

* Nneka - Concrete Jungle

* Phantogram - Eyelid Movies

* Johnny Cash - Ain't No Grave Fantastic
Envíos aceptados
My Gang


  • MrModernRock

    I started listening to this day and I'm really enjoying it. This is what modern soul/r&b should sound like - not like the mechanized productions so many other "r&b" singers use.

    2 Feb 2010, 23:01
  • Babs_05

    Me too, it's a fantastic album. Can't stand plastic r&b.

    3 Feb 2010, 15:33
  • MrModernRock

    Do you follow the site Daytrotter? They do live sessions with a bunch of indie bands. Anyway, they did a session with April Smith. She has a new album coming out this month (pre-ordered it yesterday), might want to look into it. Check out the song Colors.

    9 Feb 2010, 3:00
  • Babs_05

    Nice one. No, I didn't know. Thanks for the heads up.

    9 Feb 2010, 11:21
  • IanAR

    Thanks, Babs. Lots of juicy news in here, for me. It'll take a while to cover it all. ATM, I'm esp' loving We Are Wolves' "Invisible Violence", which I'm happy to see your approval stamped (tagging) all over :) x

    21 Feb 2010, 20:15
  • Nialloleary

    Hi Babs-Good idea, come December I never remember albums from over the year. I tend to put all albums into an itunes playlist but perhaps we could create a spotify list? All my albums of the year are listed here-except These New Puritans & Vampire weekend. Four Tet is pretty much the standout for me thus far.

    22 Feb 2010, 8:30
  • Babs_05

    I have a Spotify playlist of albums not in Last.fm, the link's in our NNME threads. Sometimes, not all the albums I listen to are there, which is why I use Last.fm as my central base - I can tag things up here whether tracks are streamable or not. On other music sites, if they're not there, there's nothing to grab. Massive Attack is my number 1 of the year. And Gorillaz, when they release theirs next month. My year's done! lol

    22 Feb 2010, 15:59
  • MrModernRock

    I just got the April Smith album in the mail today - listening to it now. So far so good. I listened to Colors and Dixie Boy before since I preordered the album through her site, so its nice to hear a full album done in those styles. I also got loveletterbombs but haven't listened to that all the way through yet. If you enjoy this you should check out Devil Doll. Same kind of style.

    23 Feb 2010, 0:23
  • CvaldaVessalis

    "The idea is for a journal for every month listing new albums I listen to and what I think so that when I review the year's music in December, I will have a handy reminder" Hmmm, reminds me of someone! ;^) But seriously, even when I was marathon-journalizing last year, I wasn't listening to quite SO much as you are here, Babs; very diverse... have only listened to a handful here (my interest piquing on new Lightspeed and Sa Dingding in particular!) I appreciate the new Corinne album is very sad and very pretty, but I much prefer Sade's effort... how unpopular a choice is that? Four Tet, Yeasayer and Delphic are all mighty fine though... Am slightly disappointed with Massive Attack's; though it's probably more of a grower and I need to listen to it more. Peter Gabriel's album though I was quite dispirited by, especially it having to end on the most belaboured, uncomfortable cover of a Radiohead song I've yet heard... No mention here though of eels, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Shy Child, The Knife, Broken Bells, Nneka, BT, Laura Veirs or White Rabbits... all good albums you might like!! Yours is an eclectic taste, after all! Thanks for this; plenty audio food for thought on offer now...

    25 Feb 2010, 10:39
  • Babs_05

    hehe I got the idea from you! But the difference is, from what I noticed anyway, you wrote proper reviews at the end of each month, and I'm just putting scribbles and reminders. Are you doing your monthly reviews again? Or writing anything? I love how you write. It's killing me, trying to keep up with new releases, I must admit. And I have nowhere near heard everything. I've been seriously flagging and getting grumpy, I tell thee. Eels and Charlotte Gainsbourg were last month, I think. As were some of the others. And the rest - oh me oh my, I'd better get my skates on! Either that, or I listened and failed to write something. As I said, seriously flagging. It's exhausting!! I don't know how music journalists do it and run their lives at the same time! I adore Massive Attack. I'm quite disgruntled I haven't heard it enough yet. It's a 5/5, trust me.

    25 Feb 2010, 15:22
  • CvaldaVessalis

    Hmmm, have only JUST finished re-rating my entire iTunes; two months of eight-hour listening marathons! Finishing up with Sigur Ros' ( ) album, which is as perfect as can an LP can be after that hefty slog... May restrict myself to quarterly installments, but they won't be straight forward reviews; friend of mine came up with the point that albums that are simply middling aren't worth writing about; only the good, the bad and the fucking atrocious, and it really took it out of me by December last year... Pop by my page sometime next month, and I'll see what's what... thanks for your kind words about my writing though. Really need to get into it a little bit more! And I'll take your word on Heligoland...

    25 Feb 2010, 15:47
  • Babs_05

    Your friend has a point. There's fine dining and there's supermarket sandwiches. I'm adding everything of some note to our 2010 albums radio, just because even though not all albums are all that, they still form part of the musical flavour of the year. I do draw the line though - this is a no Ellie Goulding zone. I want nothing to do with Frankmusik. Also, as the year goes on, I notice sometimes, the ones I didn't have much to say about are the ones I go back to. They're the quiet ones that are like your favourite slippers. Comfort music, I suppose. I'm in awe of your tidy iTunes. Mine's an absolute mess, and it duplicated itself somehow during the move from one computer to another. Good thing my external hard drive is a terabyte. I'll tidy iTunes 'later'... Why don't you write about just one album a month? Your good/bad/ugly, say? You write so well. Go oooooooon!

    25 Feb 2010, 16:09
  • Babs_05

    Are these the albums? : White Rabbits - It's Frightening (2009, re-released) indie pop BT - These Hopeful Machines (not streaming anywhere) Shy Child - Liquid Love (1st Mar, not streaming anywhere yet) Nneka - Concrete Jungle (previews) Eels, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Laura Veirs - I covered last month The Knife - looked it up last night. Fantastic.

    26 Feb 2010, 17:49
Ver todos (13)
Dejar un comentario. Entra en Last.fm o regístrate (es gratis).