More new CDs include the new Radiohead Remix CD; ‘Bad As Me’ from Tom Waits; new albums from the critically lauded Laura Marling, and Florence & The Machine; and just in time, the new She & Him Christmas album…
“2011 album from St. Vincent, the nom-de-stage of singer, songwriter and guitarist Annie Clark. Having worked together on 2009’s Actor, Clark reunited with producer John Congleton and recorded the album in her hometown of Dallas, TX at Elmwood Studios. The eleven new tracks showcase Clark’s gift for fusing the cerebral and the visceral, her melodically elegant arrangements packing hefty emotional punches. Strange Mercy isn’t an entirely solitary affair either, with Clark joined by a host of other musicians. Included among them are Grammy Award winning Bobby Sparks on mini Moog, clavinet, Arp and Wurlitzer, Midlake’s MacKenzie Smith on drums and Daniel Hart on violin. Also contributing were Beck keyboardist and musical director Brian LeBarton, Evan Smith on woodwinds and Phil Palazzolo.’ (Description from Amazon.com)
World comes calling.
“One of the biggest musical success stories to come out of New Zealand in the last few years, Midnight Youth are back with a HUGE new album – WORLD COMES CALLING. Their debut album, THE BRAVE DON’T RUN, saw them pick up ‘Best Rock Album’ and ‘Best Group’ at the 2009 New Zealand Music Awards, while the single ‘The Letter’ collected the award for Most Played Song on NZ radio in 2009.” (Description from Real Groovy)
Live in Europe, 1967 / Miles Davis Quintet.
“Live archive release from the Jazz legend and his quintet. The recordings from their 1967 European tour are some of the only existing documentation of the band performing compositions from the extraordinary series of studio albums they made between 1965-1967 — E.S.P., Miles Smiles and Sorcerer. Now fans can hear live versions of “Agitation” (from E.S.P.), “Gingerbread Boy” (from Miles Smiles), “Masquelero” (from Sorcerer ); PLUS, Miles revisits some of the earlier classics he had been performing for years — ‘Round Midnight’ and ‘On Green Dolphin Street’ , — all in strikingly different interpretations from the original studio versions.” (Description from Amazon.com)
A creature I don’t know.
“Bob Dylan had barely put miles on his 23rd year when he wrote My Back Pages, his gleeful kiss-off to finger-wagging folk turning on his political idealism, its key lines: “But I was so much older then / I’m younger than that now”. Laura Marling is only 21, but the Hampshire-born starlet shows no sign of reversing the ageing process with A Creature I Don’t Know, her third album which picks up where the meandering, lips-pursed folk of 2010’s I Speak Because I Can left off. On the one hand, that means we’re in for some familiar, portentous metaphor-wielding and detours into the sort of windy country ploughed by her once-beau Marcus Mumford and his figurative offspring. On the other, she wears her furrowed brow with a grace and stoic humour well in advance of her nu-folk peers; combining the sort of winking stoicism that was once the preserve of commie-sympathising, flinty-faced menfolk with the supple, jazzy tones of idol Joni Mitchell…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)
“Florence Welch’s debut album of 2009, Lungs, lived up to the hype of a music press that had been utterly seduced by her harp plucks and tribal drum riffs, her otherworldly sensibility and her arresting vocals. She pushed us through fairy-tale dreamscapes and catapulted us through life’s dramas with anger and beauty, her voice as strident, sharp and strong as a deftly brandished scimitar. Visceral, raw and passionate, Lungs was aptly named. And so too is the follow-up, fittingly released on Halloween. The arrangements here are even more richly layered and majestic; they surge with strings and arrive backed by choristers, while the narratives are darker and prioritise the spirit over the corporeal. Lead single What the Water Gave Me, issued as a standalone cut in August, is brooding and windswept, its harp twinkling eerily in the ether…’ (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)
Bad as me.
“It’s been five years since Tom Waits released Orphans, a triple album that mixed new songs with a clear out of oddities and outtakes, making Bad as Me his first album of all-new material since 2004’s scabrous and sonically inventive Real Gone. Couple that with his reputation as one of the greatest musicians of the last 40 years and it’s fair to say that expectations for Bad as Me are high. The album ignites more than begins, the hot, horn-fuelled blues of Chicago rushing straight into Raised Right Men’s dagger-like organ stabs. Talking at the Same Time offers a withering report on the financial crisis (“Someone makes money when there’s blood in the street”), Waits crooning in his familiar, eerie falsetto while slide guitar blooms over a brushed backbeat. But with the disposable roadhouse jive of Get Lost it becomes apparent that Bad as Me lacks the cohesiveness of a Swordfishtrombones or Bone Machine. While those albums develop a unity even as they leap between radically diverse styles, from avant-garde soundscapes to cocktail jazz and hellish blues, the songs here feel less closely related to one another…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)
TKOL RMX 1234567.
“It’s fitting that The King of Limbs is the first Radiohead album to receive the full-length remix treatment. It’s their first album since 2000’s Kid A to swing away from traditional rock techniques, seamlessly incorporating electronic music elements at the heart of the songwriting. Where much of Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows seems to have originated on guitar or piano before taking on additional digital light and shade, the loops, samples and textures of The King of Limbs are integral parts of the whole. It’s also the album that most blatantly foregrounds the extraordinary power and flexibility of Radiohead’s rhythm section, and especially Phil Selway’s virtuoso drumming. So great is the impression it leaves that when Modeselektor roll out a standard thumping kick drum, on Good Evening Mrs Magpie, disappointment inevitably results. Despite some other lacklustre inclusions (SBTRKT’s vocal garage take on Lotus Flower, Pearson Sound’s unremarkable 808 reconfiguration of Morning Mr Magpie) , invention just about has the upper hand on this 19-track double album, which compiles tracks originally released on limited-edition 12-inches between July and September…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)
“The album is apparently a concept work, “based on a love story with a happy ending,” Martin claims, and inspired by old-school American graffiti and the anti-Nazi pacifist White Rose Movement: “It’s about being free to be yourself and to express yourself among negative surroundings.” But the lyrics are still typically Martin’s life-affirming, anthem-forming and plain-speaking as ever, more ABC than MYLO XYLOTO. The same goes for the music. Bassist Guy Berryman said in 2009, “It’s time to take our music down different directions and really explore other avenues,” and, in name alone, this set suggests Coldplay might finally do an Achtung Baby; they might rip it up and start again, in the presence of said U2 LP’s producer Brian Eno, who also worked on Viva la Vida. If the addition of electronic undertows, instrumental snippets (the title-track, M.M.I.X., A Hopeful Transmission) linking many of the tracks and the presence of Rihanna on Princess of China count as “other avenues”, then job well done. But Mylo Xyloto is much more a brilliant, shiny and emphatic reinstatement of the euphoric hooks and cuddly ballads that have served the band so well…’ (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)
A very She & Him Christmas.
“In recent years Christmas albums from indie stars have veered from the engagingly bleak (Bright Eyes’ A Christmas Album) to the wonderfully whimsical (Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas). A Very She & Him Christmas finds M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel offer up something slightly different in form but no less sincere, despite its jokey cover photo. In thrall to Yuletide offerings by the likes of Elvis Presley and The Beach Boys and strongly coloured by the duo’s admiration of classic 50s through 70s sounds, it was perhaps an inevitable release for a band like She & Him, and it fits their aesthetic to a tee…(Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)