Local to international: New CDs

Dirty Computer

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection including the fantastic new albums by Kimbra and Arctic Monkeys. The gorgeous box-set by Procol Harum and the 30th anniversary edition of Bruce Springsteen’s classic Born To Run offer rare footage as well. We have a lot of box-sets and they keep coming. Come in and check them out!

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base hotel + casino
“To the fact that Alex Turner was a mere 32 years old when he unleashed Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino onto the world, a young age that seems older because Arctic Monkeys released their debut when he was just 19. Throughout Tranquility Base, Turner comes across as if he were much, much older than his actual age, cocking an eyebrow to a potential paramour who has the audacity to have never seen Blade Runner, and reminiscing about the ’70s — a decade he never saw.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Janelle Monae – Dirty computer
“2018 release, the third studio album by singer Janelle Monáe. Dirty Computer is the follow up to her critically acclaimed studio albums, The ArchAndroid (2010) and The Electric Lady (2013). Includes the singles ‘Make Me Feel’ and ‘Django Jane’.” (adapted from mightyape.co.nz)

Laurie Anderson – Landfall
“The piece, which was inspired by Anderson’s experience of Hurricane Sandy, is the first collaboration between the iconic storyteller/musician and the groundbreaking string quartet, who perform together on the recording. Landfall juxtaposes lush electronics and strings with Anderson’s powerful descriptions of loss, from water-logged pianos to disappearing animal species to Dutch karaoke bars.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Kimbra – Primal heart
“For her follow-up to The Golden Echo, Kimbra could have expanded on any one of its eclectic sounds. Instead, on Primal Heart she combines all of the styles she explored on that album into a more cohesive — and immediate — approach. A consistently winning album, Primal Heart finds Kimbra hitting the sweet spot between imagination and accessibility — if her nods to the mainstream get more ears pointed her way, so much the better.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Delaney Davidson – Shining day
“Delaney Davidson looks wryly at the packed suitcase, nailing the last things into place for his 2018 migration. It was supposed to be a year of settling in but the world has other plans for him, starting with his new album release. 50 days into 2018 and Davidson has ticked off a 6 song writing session with SJD (Sean James Donnelly), album production for Belladonna (Lytteltons black metal doom band). UK label Glass Records Redux (Spaceman 3, Spiritualized) has picked up Shining Day his 9th solo album. It has been 2 ½ years since the release of his last studio album Lucky Guy.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Julia Deans – We light fire
“With the release of bold first single ‘Walking In The Sun’ in September 2017, Julia Deans whet the appetite of fans and critics alike for her new album. The album has been recorded in a home studio in Northcote, Auckland, which Julia’s partner David Wernham built over the course of six months 2011, and she began writing the songs not long after. While writing the songs was a very solo pursuit, the recording of them was less so, with Deans working closely with Wernham on “pulling the musical story together”.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Procol Harum – Still there’ll be more : an anthology 1967-2017
“This eight disc set comprises five CDs and three DVDs, of which the first three discs draw upon the key tracks from Procol Harum’s illustrious career. Disc four features the band’s legendary concert at the Hollywood Bowl on 21 September 1973, whilst disc five features a previously unreleased concert at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens on 17 March 1976. Still There’ll Be More is the most elaborate celebration of Procol Harum’s music released to date and this deluxe boxed set is a fine tribute to fifty years of one of Britain’s greatest bands.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Miles Davis – The final tour : the bootleg series vol. 6
“The latest entry in the award-winning Miles Davis Bootleg Series focuses on the final chapter in the landmark collaboration between Davis and saxophonist John Coltrane: their last live performances together, in Europe in the spring of 1960. These historic performances marked Miles and Trane’s last outing together and showcased both musicians’ incredible influence on the changing sound of jazz. The beautiful music they made together is presented here officially for the very first time.” (adapted from amazon.com)

The Who – Live at the Fillmore East 1968
“April 2018 – the 50th anniversary of these legendary unreleased recordings from the Fillmore East, New York City, Friday April 5 & Saturday April 6, 1968. Both nights were recorded by Who manager Kit Lambert with the intention of releasing as the Who’s fourth album after Sell Out and before Tommy. Remastered for optimum sound quality, this will enhance The Who’s reputation as the best live act of the time, regarded by fans as something of a ‘holy grail’ in live shows.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Bruce Springsteen – Born to run
“Personally supervised by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau, the bookset includes Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75, an astonishing film of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s legendary 1975 concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London; the new film Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run; the classic album in remastered cd form; and finally, a 48 page booklet of previously unpublished photographs. With its two DVDs, the package offers approximately four hours of previously unseen footage.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Yacht and roll: New books on Popular Music

The Yacht Rock Book

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on popular music including David Bowie Made Me Gay, the first book to document the history of LGBT music and musicians, and the intriguing The Yacht Rock Book. A lot of rock fans contributed their photos and stories to Smithsonian and made a fantastic book Smithsonian rock and roll: live and unseen.

Syndetics book coverSmithsonian rock and roll : live and unseen / Bill Bentley.
“In December 2015, the Smithsonian called on rock and roll lovers around the world to collect photos and stories of their favorite moments in music. Fans dug through attics, basements, closets, shoeboxes, digital cameras, and photo albums to post great rock shots to rockandroll.si.edu. From Woodstock to the Whisky a Go Go, and all the rockin’ places in between, fans overwhelmingly responded with their favorite rock and roll moments. Iconic artists ranging from the Who to Nirvana to Chuck Berry to the Jimi Hendrix and many more are celebrated here.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCoal black mornings / Brett Anderson.
“Brett Anderson came from a world impossibly distant from rock star success, and in Coal Black Mornings he traces the journey that took him from a childhood as ‘a snotty, sniffy, slightly maudlin sort of boy raised on Salad Cream and milky tea and cheap meat’ to becoming founder and lead singer of Suede. Coal Black Mornings is profoundly moving, funny and intense – a book which stands alongside the most emotionally truthful of personal stories.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDavid Bowie made me gay : 100 years of LGBT music / Darryl W. Bullock.
“LGBT musicians have shaped the development of music over the last century, with a sexually progressive soundtrack in the background of the gay community’s struggle for acceptance. With the advent of recording technology, LGBT messages were for the first time brought to the forefront of popular music. David Bowie Made Me Gay is the first book to cover the breadth of history of recorded music by and for the LGBT community and how those records influenced the evolution of the music we listen to today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAstral weeks : a secret history of 1968 / Ryan H. Walsh.
“Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend, a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. In his first book, acclaimed rock musician and journalist Ryan H. Walsh unearths the album’s fascinating backstory – along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed it: Boston 1968.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemphis 68 : the tragedy of southern soul / Stuart Cosgrove.
“In the 1950s and 1960s, Memphis, Tennessee, was the launch pad of musical pioneers such as Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Al Green and Isaac Hayes, and by 1968 was a city synonymous with soul music. The book opens with the death of the city’s most famous recording artist, Otis Redding, who died in a plane crash in the nal days of 1967, and then follows the fortunes of Redding’s label, Stax/Volt Records, as its fortunes fall and rise again. But, as the tense year unfolds, the city dominates world headlines for the worst of reasons: the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe yacht rock book : the oral history of the soft, smooth sounds of the 70s, and 80s / by Greg Prato.
“Just what is ‘yacht rock,’ you ask? Perhaps the easiest description is music that would not sound out of place being played while carousing aboard a yacht back in the good old days. But these songs were also some of the top pop gems of the 1970s and ’80s. And while some associate yacht rock’s biggest songs with one-hit wonder artists, several of rock’s most renowned artists fall under this category, too – including Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, The Doobie Brothers, Toto, and more. This is the definitive story of the yacht rock’s creation, rise, chart-smashing success, fall, and stunning rebirth.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExperiencing film music : a listener’s companion / Kenneth LaFave.
“Of all the elements that combine to make movies, music sometimes seems the forgotten stepchild. Yet it is an integral part of the cinematic experience. Minimized as mere “background music,” film scores enrich visuals with emotional mood and intensity, underscoring directors’ intentions, enhancing audiences’ reactions, driving the narrative forward, and sometimes even subverting all three. Experiencing Film Music: A Listener’s Companion opens the ears of film-goers to the nuance behind movie music, laying out in simple, non-technical language how composers and directors map what we hear to what we see–and, not uncommonly, back again.” (Syndetics summary)

New CDs from New Zealanders and rock legends

Sex and Food

New CDs in our extensive AV collection feature the new album by Unknown Mortal Orchestra led by our very own Ruban Nielson as well as the fantastic box sets by the rock legends such as Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa. Check them out!

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & food
Sex & Food is a delightfully shapeshifting album that filters real-deal serious themes through a vibrant sonic lens that spans battered drum machine funk, doomy and thrashing rock and pinkhued psychedelic disco.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

David Byrne – American utopia
American Utopia is Byrne’s first solo album since 2004’s Grown Backwards, and fits hand-in-hand with Byrne’s vision for his series ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ – an ongoing series curated by Byrne of hopeful writings, photos, music, and lectures – named for the song by the late Ian Dury. Over the last year, Byrne has been collecting stories, news, ideas, and other items that all either embody or identify examples of things that inspire optimism, such as a tech breakthrough, a musical act, a new idea in urban planning or transportation.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Moby – Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt
“Following a pair of angsty punk blasts with the Void Pacific Choir, Moby dipped back into what he does best: soulful electronic soundscapes. If the VPC albums were Moby’s outward displays of anger and frustration surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt was his depressed and introverted response to the subsequent societal fallout. Despite the overwhelming melancholy that drenches the album, it remains a gorgeous collection that is mostly indebted to trip-hop and his pre-millennial output.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Yo La Tengo – There’s a riot going on
“While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Frank Zappa – The Roxy performances
“43 years ago in December 1973, Frank Zappa played a series of legendary concerts at the famed Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Considered a high-water mark of his career, owing to the incredible, virtuosic performances of himself and his stellar band The Mothers, the five shows. The Roxy Performances, a definitive seven-CD box set that collects all four public shows from December 9-10, 1973, and the December 8th film shoot/soundcheck, each presented in their entirety for the first time, along with bonus content featuring rarities from a rehearsal, unreleased tracks and highlights from the Bolic Studios recording session.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Bob Dylan – 1974 tour live
“For Dylan’s first proper tour since 1966, he was joined by his longstanding colleagues The Band. Expectations for both acts ran high, with huge venues swiftly selling out and immense media interest. It was no nostalgia act, though: whilst Dylan performed old material, he did so with considerable attack, as well as showcasing songs from his new Planet Waves LP. The Band also played alone, showing themselves to be arguably the finest group of their sort in the world. This release offers two historic shows from the early part of the tour, both originally broadcast on FM radio.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

George Harrison – Concert for George
“On November 29, 2002, one year after the passing of George Harrison, Olivia Harrison and Eric Clapton organized a performance tribute in his honor. Held at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the momentous evening featured George’s songs, and music he loved, performed by a lineup that included Clapton, Jools Holland, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Monty Python, Tom Petty, Billy Preston, Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, Ringo Starr, Dhani Harrison and more. This new combo package comprises 2-CDs and 2-DVDs.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Joni Mitchell – Transmission impossible : legendary broadcasts from the 1960s-1990s
“This three CD boxed set features a number of live recordings of Joni from concerts and sessions recorded for FM Broadcast in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Starting with a number of live cuts from shows she performed in the mid to late 1960s, her full set from the Newport Folk Festival in 1968, and a couple more cuts recorded in the early 1970s.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – Transmission impossible : legendary radio broadcasts from the 1970s & 1990s
“This 3 CD Set contains broadcast recordings from CSNY’s heyday, which together form a majestic collection of their live work. Kicking off with an early show recorded at the Fillmore East in New York, in June 1970, the set continues with a fine gig from the group’s 1974 reunion tour, at the Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island, also in New York. Completing this collection is a set the foursome performed at the Bill Graham Memorial Concert, held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in 1991.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Recent staff pick CDs

We’ve put together a list of of our favourite CDs from this year’s new releases so far, check out our staff picks below! There’s bit of everything genre wise, so we hope you find something new or something you may have missed when it first came out.

Record.
Tracey Thorn’s ageless voice returns with another album of mature pop, her first solo album of entirely original material for seven years. Her female worldview informs the 9 songs on this short album. The beats are back for the dance jam ‘Sister’, with Warpaint’s rhythm section and BVs from Corinne Bailey Rae, and closing track ‘Dancefloor’, but have a more sombre feel on tracks like ‘Face’. Topics include the on-going struggle for female equality (Sister), her musical beginnings (Guitar), motherhood (Babies) & the impact on Social Media of failed relationships (Face). (Mark)

Wallflower.
Born in New Zealand, grew up in Australia and a London resident now, neo-soul singer Jordan Rakei first grabbed the spotlight by working with Disclosure in 2015. His sophomore album ‘Wallflower’ is surprisingly released from Nnija Tune, and is a delicately crafted, beautiful work, featuring his quality songs and silky voice. In comparison with other new-generation soul artists such as The Internet, Hiatus Kaiyote and Nick Hakim, he seems to be a more personal, introspective singer-songwriter, and it’s showcased here. (Shinji)

Singles 1978-2016 / The Fall.
Made especially relevant by Mark E Smith’s recent sad demise, this excellent box set compiles, over seven discs, every single – both A and B sides – from one of the greatest indie bands ever – The Fall. Mark E Smith was a true legend and, unlike artists like Keith Richards who similarly defied established health beliefs, Mark E Smith maintained a high artistic credibility, continuing to produce great, challenging music for close to 40 years – and there are not many artists who can lay such a claim. This set lays it all out, from 1978’s ‘Bingo Master’s Breakout’ to 2016’s ‘Wise Ole Man’. For those less in need of completism there is also a smaller box-set – ‘A-Sides 1978-2016’ which, over three discs, omits the B-Sides. (John)

Scorn of Creation.
An outstanding 8-track self-titled debut album from Wellington death metal outfit Scorn of Creation. The band pay tribute to traditional old-school death metal without compromising on a modern, fresh sound. Energetic and raw. I loved it start to finish! (Theresa)

Part 2 / Brix & The Extricated.
Fall fans who are especially fond of the slightly more rock oriented ‘Brix era’ albums will be pleased to learn that Brix Smith has got together with ex long term Fall members Steve Hanley (bass guitar), his brother Paul Hanley (drums) and Steve Trafford (guitar and vocals) to make a record that is anything but the cash-in one may dread. Featuring mostly originals plus new versions of three Fall songs, this is a great hard rocking indie record, surprisingly so from a bunch of musos in their fifties, that was described by Drowned In Sound as “One of the great indie-rock releases of 2017”. (John)

Woodland echoes.
It’s very good news that he is still making music. Out of the blue, Nick Heyward, the former 80s pop sensation Haircut 100’s front man, released an album for the first time in 18 years and it’s a charmer. His genius songwriting is still up there with the best, such as Paul McCartney, offering dazzling breezy pop music. It’s perfect music for a lazy afternoon. (Shinji)

World wide funk.
Since the ‘60’s, US bass player Bootsy Collins has defined funk bass. Starting out as James Brown’s bass player, playing bass on “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine”, he went on to form Parliament / Funkadelic with George Clinton, collaborated with Deee-Lite on “Groove Is in the Heart”, and in 2010 formed ‘Bootsy Collins’ Funk University’, on online music school. His first album in six years features the 67-year-old laying down grooves as cool and funky as anything he has ever done with guest appearances including Doug E. Fresh, Buckethead, Snoop Dogg, Stanley Clarke, Big Daddy Kane and Chuck D. (John)

Ponguru / Al Fraser, Phil Boniface.
Ponguru is a truly unique album fusing seamlessly the sonic worlds of acclaimed jazz bassist Phil Boniface and leading Nga Taonga Puoro player Al Fraser . The resulting album has many faces and facets its Jazz tinged rather than Jazz, ambient in places and like a complex sonic landscape in others, throughout all its pieces it’s always fiercely original , rewarding and hugely atmospheric. Phil’s bass work is of the highest calibre imbuing the whole piece with a core of beautiful rhythmic structure. And Al’s emotive, nuanced playing shows that he is rightfully regarded as one of the finest musicians working in NZ today. (Neil J.)

Black sea.
This re-release of UK post punkers XTC’s 1980 follow up to their chart breaking ‘Drums & Wires’ album gains a lot from Steven Wilson’s remastering. In fact it sounds like a different record from the muddy original with lovely crisp drums and excellent deep bass which allow the songs to fully breathe. The album captures the band in full flight as they played over 150 live gigs in 1980, a couple of years before they stopped playing live altogether to become a strictly studio based band. Consequently the musos are very tight, playing with real precision and fire throughout what is an excellent example of ‘80’s post punk / new wave power pop. (John)

Shadow of the sword.
Wellington based speed metal maniacs Stalker deliver a debut full-length of pure, unadulterated speed metal in all its thrashing, shrieking, shredding glory! A great listen – guaranteed. (Theresa)

Continue reading “Recent staff pick CDs”

New CDs in our AV collection

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection including the new albums by Franz Ferdinand and Calexico. The fantastic 3 CD box set How is the Air Up There? offers 80 recordings from more than 50 New Zealand’s artists in the 60s and should not be missed.

Nils Frahm – All melody
“For the past two years, Nils Frahm has been building a brand new studio in Berlin to make his 7th studio album titled All Melody. Since the day Nils first encountered the impressive studio of a family friend, he had envisioned to create one of his own at such a large scale. It is here where he has spent most of his time deconstructing and reconstructing the entire space from the cabling and electricity to the woodwork, before moving on to the finer elements; building a pipe organ and creating a mixing desk all from scratch. All Melody is, in fact, proof that music is limitless, timeless, and reflects that of Nils’ own capabilities. From a boy’s dream to resetting the parameters of music itself.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Calexico – The thread that keeps us
“The ninth studio album from Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us is a timely snapshot of the Arizona-bred band: a family portrait capturing their stylistic variety and unpredictability while still finding solace in limitless creativity. In bringing the album to life, vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino found a spiritual home in unusual surroundings—not in Arizona, but on the Northern California coast in a home-turned-studio called the Panoramic House.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Justin Timberlake – Man of the woods
“The fifth studio album by pop superstar Justin Timberlake. Man Of The Woods was produced by Timberlake, The Neptunes, Timbaland, Danja, Eric Hudson, and Rob Knox. As with FutureSex/LoveSounds, recording sessions for the album were loose and had multiple studios open for work.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Franz Ferdinand – Always ascending
“Franz Ferdinand present the new album Always Ascending. Nothing short of a rebirth, the album’s 10 songs are a triumphant recasting of the group, bursting with fresh ideas and vigorous sonic experimentation. Always Ascending was recorded at RAK Studios, London and Motorbass in Paris, with the help of French producer extraordinaire Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix, The Beastie Boys), the mutual affection between band and producer seeping into every dazzling groove.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

How is the air up there? : 80 mod, soul, RnB & freakbeat nuggets from Down Under
“Inspired by The Looking Series collections on RPM of UK 60s Nuggets, we now look in the world mirror at New Zealand. For the latest in the RPM/Frenzy Music collaborations, following sets from Larry’s Rebels, The Fourmyula, Ray Columbus, The Dave Miller Set, and the Girl Group Sound down-under on Come and See Me, we explore the mid 60’s club scene and the various classic singles tailored for that scene.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Revolutionary spirit : the sound of Liverpool 1976-1988
“Features classics, rarities, album tracks and previously unreleased gems from Echo And The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, OMD, The La’s, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Dead Or Alive, China Crisis, A Flock Of Seagulls, Wild Swans, Big In Japan and many more.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Woody Guthrie : the tribute concerts
“Exclusive 3-CD set accompanied by two beautifully illustrated books containing historic liner notes and Guthrie biography, original concert reviews and photographs, attendees interviews and artists bios, and concert ephemera. Two ”Tribute to Woody Guthrie” concerts were planned after Woody Guthrie’s death on October 3, 1967: at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on January 20th, 1968, and at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on September 12, 1970. Appearing at the January concert were Judy Collins, Bob Dylan with members of The Band, Richie Havens, Tom Paxton. Appearing in Los Angeles were Joan Baez, Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Odetta, Country Joe McDonald, Richie Havens, Earl Robinson and Pete Seeger.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Jethro Tull – Heavy horses : new shoes edition
“Disc 1 contains the Steven Wilson stereo remix of the original album plus previously unreleased material (CD). Discs 2 and 3 contain Jethro Tull’s live performance in Berne, Switzerland, May 1978, remixed in stereo by Jacko Jakszyk (CD). Disc 4 contains the DVD audio of the full Heavy Horses album, with 7 additonal tracks, mixed in 5.1 DTS & DD surround sound and 96/24 LPCM stereo (DVD). Disc 5 contains the DVD audio of Jethro Tull live at The Festhalle, Berne, Switzerland.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

New CDs in our AV collection

More new CDs, including fantastic box sets from The Fall and Wilco, have been added in our popular CD collection. Check also the exciting newcomers such as Moses Sumney and Sunflower Bean.

Sunflower Bean – Human ceremony
“Drawing inspiration from a vast pool of influences such as Black Sabbath and The Cure, Sunflower Bean refine their sound and take it to the next level on Human Ceremony. It is a crystalline, bright, sparkling record, tipping its cap to the likes of The Vaselines, The Velvet Underground, The Feelies, and more, loaded with an innate artfulness that belies the band’s young age: all three members are under 21.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Eminem – Revival
“Eminem releases his new album and it features collaborations with Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys, Pink, Kehlani, Skylar Grey, X Ambassadors and Phresher.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Moses Sumney – Aromanticism
Aromanticism is a concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape. It seeks to interrogate the social constructions around romance. The debut includes single “Doomed,” as well as new versions of standouts “Lonely World” and “Plastic.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The Fall – Singles 1978-2016
“The band is noted for its prolific output: as of autumn 2017 they have released over 32 studio albums, and more than triple that counting live albums and other releases. This is the first collection of all The Fall singles recorded across a multitude of labels and this edited 3-CD set features all of the A-Sides.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Wilco – Being There [bonus tracks]
“The DELUXE EDITION builds on the original with 15 bonus tracks released for the first time, including alternate versions of tracks “I Got You” and “Say You Miss Me”. It also features Wilco’s 20-song performance at the Troubadour from November 12, 1996, combining songs from A.M.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The Residents – 80 aching orphans
“Extended, 4CD anthology set chronicling the career of the legendary San Francisco experimentalists and curated with the band themselves, from the debut 1972 single to the band’s most recent album, The Ghost Of Hope. •Singles, fan favourites, album highlights, live recordings and material never before available on CD.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

INXS – Kick 30
“4-Disc 30th Anniversary Edition featuring the remastered original album, B-Sides, rare mixes & more across 3CDs plus a Blu-ray disc with the full Kick album mixed in Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound by Giles Martin & all the music videos. Housed within DVD sized ‘fan-deluxe’ packaging including 48-page booklet with interviews, essays & rare photos.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Jam – 1977
“40th anniversary five-disc box set (4CD/1DVD), celebrating the Jam’s debut year when they released two albums and three hit singles. Features ‘In The City’ & ‘This Is The Modern World’ – original albums re-mastered as well as unreleased demos and live recordings. The DVD features TV appearances and promo videos from 1977.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Dr. John – The Atco albums collection
“All seven studio albums included in the collection have been remastered for the first time. The set features: Gris-Gris (1968), Babylon (1969), Remedies (1970), The Sun, Moon & Herbs (1971), Dr. John’s Gumbo (1972), In The Right Place (1973), and Desitive.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Staff Picks CDs: The Best of 2017 Part 2

From our very own Wellington bands to Kendrick Lamar and soundtracks, check out more of our best music picks of 2017!

Mark’s Picks

Patriotic grooves. [VINYL]
Awesome anarcho-punk feminist diatribe against everything from Trump to neo-liberal politics, capitalism, misogyny, patriarchal violence, oppression, misogyny, transmisogyny, sexism, and cissexism. If this sounds didactic it’s not. It’s just relevant and timely. Also has great tunes that channel all the best elements of the classic Riot grrrl aesthetic.

Miles Calder & the Rumours.
Following on from their 2013 EP ‘The Crossing Over’, which was nominated for the 2014 NZ Taite Music Prize, Miles Calder & The Rumours deliver their eponymous debut 5 years after forming as a band. The culmination of a couple of years work, the self-produced album was engineered by Lee Prebble but mixed by Grammy-award winning engineer Trina Shoemaker, and features a large array of local talent (Lisa Tomlins, Ed Zuccollo, Dayle Jellyman, Finn Johansson, Chris Winter, Matthew Benton and Lucien Johnson) who add musical shadings from piano to horns to organ on various tracks. From the first track it’s easy to see just how much the songs benefit from the richness of sound the studio environment provides, and there’s a consistent calibre of songwriting across the whole album.

Dark arts / The Nudge. [VINYL]
The 2nd album from The Nudge only has 3 tracks, one of which clocks in at 13 minutes, the other at 24. The four minute opening title track (and single) is just a hint of the genre mashing that is about happen, but provides a basic reference point for the bands diverse sound. If you’re not enamoured with anything vaguely ‘prog’ and hate tracks that are basically longer that 3 and half minutes, be prepared to have your opinion changed by this addictive record. With relatively few vocal interludes, it’s all about the structure of the sound here and they manage to weave in out of different styles and atmospheres within the same track with nothing feeling overly laboured or obvious. All the tonal shifts seem like smaller songs within the larger canvas of the track and by the end of 13 or 24 minutes they leave you wanting more not less.

The weight of melted snow.
Lovely new meditative album from French For Rabbits based around the dissolution of the romantic relationship of band members Brooke Singer and John Fitzgerald. Male vocals provide a counterpoint to Singer’s softly lilting voice, and the dreamy atmospheric ambient sounds that the fully fleshed out band provides. Previous albums have drawn inspiration from nature and the physical, but ‘The Weight of Melted Snow’ while not short of imagery of the natural world is all about the internal, the dynamics of the heart and how to keep it beating when you lose part of it.

If you’re born on an island the ocean heals you.
With the exception of bass and drums on a few tracks and backing vocals everything is played by Lake, along with all the writing and arrangements. The synthy pop structure of a lot of the tracks enfold the layered vocals (and lovely backing voices of Seamus Maguire, Penelope Esplin, Felicity Herbertson and Nadia Reid) with a sense of warmth rather than cold beats. He uses a distinctively ‘kiwi’ voice on the brilliant ‘Good Keen Man’ that cleverly updates a series of iconic NZ images with the realities of the now. A mini-album exits within the larger work, with ‘Renters’ & ‘The Cost of Living’ addressing what he sees as the social crises’ facing people in NZ today. A love of nature, the land and the beauty that surrounds us pervades against the avarice and capitalism of modern life.

Teeth.
When you heard that Luke Buda & Tom Callwood (Phoenix Foundation) were teaming up with David Long (The Mutton Birds), & Anthony Donaldson (The Labcoats) you could be forgiven for thinking that the result would be more along the experimental spectrum. But Teeth turn up the indie guitar dynamics to just rock out, in a straight ahead way that differs from its members previous bands. You get the feeling that the entirety of Teeth is a great palette cleanser for everyone involved. Trippy guitars, riffy bass lines, shimmery reverby vocals, songs that bounce from the cosmic to the angsty to tongue in cheek and back. Every song is so catch & melodic it’s hard to pick highlights but ‘Glass Ceiling’ & the wry ‘Looking Good, Feeling Great’ are both super fun.

Harmonies.
Super funky new album from Lord Echo. A melange of analogue dance floor grooves that take in everything from ‘Rebirth of the Cool’ Acid Jazz, Caribbean disco vibe, African funk, classic American R&B and back. The ever awesome Mara TK takes vocal duties on 4 tracks, with Lisa Tomlins on 2, and Toby Laing & Echo himself on one each. Lucien Johnson’s sax & flute float around the beats with Daniel Hayes synth’s. It all somehow meshes into a groove that becomes more than the sum of its parts and the funky retro-ness always seems genuine and never a deliberate pastiche.

Unearthing.
As with listening to Into Orbit’s debut album ‘Caverns’ it still seems amazing that the group just consists of two people, guitarist Paul Stewart and drummer Ian Moir, as their immersive soundscapes sound so epic. The hybrid post-rock/metal/experimental template of the first album is expanded on. Elements shift up against each other, heavy guitar riffs meld into moments of calm and delicate playing, only to explode into crushing drums. But it’s not just a series of loud/quiet/loud moments tied together as ‘tracks’. Into Orbit never seem to be welded into a particular set definition of what each track should be in terms of sound and atmospherics, and the subtle layering of complex patterns & textures make each track a unique experience.

Morningside.
Fantastic new album from Auckland based Amelia Murray (AKA Fazerdaze). Fuzzy guitars, programmed drum patterns and the odd sinewy keyboard line make up the sonic palette of most tracks, but her sweet airy vocals soar over all of it. The shimmery reverby guitars invoke a summery sense of well being, but the ‘poppy’ musical framework hides a lyrical disillusionment and uncertainty. A pervading sense of anxiety permeates nearly every track, inhabiting every relationship and interaction, and hovering cloudlike over the future itself.

Otherness.
Fantastic next level sophomore album from Grayson Gilmour, filled with superbly textured sounds and catchy melodies. His voice is moved up in the mix so it floats upon the layers of often dichotomous sound he builds into the tracks. There is an almost academic level of focus on the soundscapes & chord structures but it is more an organic exploration rather than fussy cleverness, and moulded around the album’s overarching themes of growth and acceptance.

Ennui.
The songs on ‘Ennui’ form themselves through shifting styles, overriding an easy definition or pigeon-holing, subsuming genres, metres, keys, & vocal styles into the original narratives of each of the songs rather than being in service of them. With 3 vocalists at play and elements of everything really from post-hardcore/sludge, psych Rock, post-Rock, stoner riffs, desert rock, doom layers it’s impossible to delineate the trajectory of each track adequately, suffice to say that each is challenging and complex and overall it’s an alum that reveals its musical and emotional layers after repeated immersion.

Perfect body.
Vibrant second album from the Mermaidens trio scored a flurry of great reviews upon its release, and rightly so. The tracks wind in and out of indie rock influences (newer bands like Warpaint, and older classic exponents like Sleater Kinney), elements of shoegaze , brighter Britpop, & echoy layers of early Cure’s goth. As a whole the album sounds fantastic, the breathy vocals merging perfectly with the dense drum patterns and creeping sinuous guitar lines, creating a cavernous sound that builds and releases. The precision of the music is aligned with the murky melodicism of the vocals which shift between an intense attack and detached emotion, as they dissect the juxtaposition of animalistic physicality and the sensory experience of the natural, with the pressure of the modern digital world of social media, fractured relationships and uncertain interactions. Bold and accomplished, enigmatic and intense at the same time. Continue reading “Staff Picks CDs: The Best of 2017 Part 2”

The life of a song: New books on popular music

Check out this wide range of intriguing books on popular music. They include The Life of Songs which is the fascinating backstories of hit songs, the rare study about ‘post-rock’, and the insightful biography of Joni Mitchell.

Syndetics book coverA brief history of album covers / Jason Draper ; foreword by Paul Du Noyer.
“Cover art can be an influential factor in a record’s success, and some designs are so memorable that they go down in design and music history – who doesn’t instantly recognize the covers for the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon? Now celebrate some of the greatest covers of the last 50 years alongside entertaining and informative text, in this great little book that will make an ideal gift for any music aficionado or art and design enthusiast.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe life of a Song : the fascinating stories behind 50 of the world’s best-loved Songs / edited by David Cheal and Jan Dalley.
“Each 600-word piece gives a mini-biography of a single song, from its earliest form (often a spiritual, or a jazz number), through the various covers and changes, often morphing from one genre to another, always focusing on the ‘biography’ of the song itself while including the many famous artists who have performed or recorded it. The selection covers a wide spectrum of the songs we all know and love – rock, pop, folk, jazz and more. Each piece is pithy, sparkily written, knowledgeable, entertaining, full of anecdotes and surprises. They combine deep musical knowledge with the vivid background of the performers and musicians, and of course the often intriguing social and political background against which the songs were created.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new electronic guitarist : new technologies and techniques for the modern guitar player / Marty Cutler.
“In The New Electronic Guitarist, Marty Cutler puts more than thirty years of expertise at your fingertips, explaining the nature and history of guitar synthesis before walking you through all the tools you need to find your sound. This unprecedented, pragmatically subjective book contains everything you need to know while scouting and adapting today’s finest products and technologies to your favorite guitar. From the Beatles to Prince, from Hendrix to EVH, all the greats have obsessively managed and altered every element that influences their tone. Why restrict your creative potential? Boldly take your twentieth century rig into the twenty-first with The New Electronic Guitarist !” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReckless daughter : a portrait of Joni Mitchell / David Yaffe.
“Joni Mitchell may be the most influential female recording artist and composer of the late twentieth century. In Reckless Daughter , the music critic David Yaffe tells the remarkable, heart-wrenching story of how the blond girl with the guitar became a superstar of folk music in the 1960s, a key figure in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1970s, and the songwriter who spoke resonantly to, and for, audiences across the country. Reckless Daughter is the story of an artist and an era that have left an indelible mark on American music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaximum volume : the life of Beatles producer George Martin, the early years, 1926-1966 / Kenneth Womack.
Maximum Volume offers a glimpse into the mind, the music, and the man behind the sound of the Beatles. Martin s working-class childhood, his education, and his musical influences at London s Guildhall School of Music and Drama profoundly shaped his early career in the BBC s Classical Music department and as head of the EMI Group s Parlophone Records. These musical influences would become the fount out of which flowed the genius behind his seven years producing the Beatles incredible body of work, including such albums as Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSo much things to say : the oral history of Bob Marley / text and photographs by Roger Steffens ; introduction by Linton Kwesi Johnson.
“Roger Steffens is one of the world’s leading Bob Marley experts. He toured with the Wailers in the 1970s and was closely acquainted with Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and the rest of the band members. Over several decades he has interviewed more than seventy-five friends, business managers, relatives and confidants–many speaking publicly for the first time. Forty years in the making, So Much Things to Say weaves this rich testimony into a definitive telling of the life of the reggae king–the full, inside account of how a boy from the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, became a cultural icon and inspiration to millions around the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPop stars in my pantry : a memoir of pop mags and clubbing in the 1980s / Paul Simper.
“Author, columnist and TV writer Paul Simper had a front-row seat at one of pop stardom’s most exciting shows: the 1980s. His memoir, Pop Stars in My Pantry, is an account of a wide-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears lad from Wiltshire landing in London just as the capital’s club scene went into orbit. As a pop writer and fellow clubber, he had unique access to the artists who would become the biggest pop acts of the decade.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFearless : the making of post-rock / Jeanette Leech.
“In 1994, the music critic Simon Reynolds coined a new term: post-rock. It was an attempt to give a narrative to music that used the tools of rock but did something utterly different with it, broadening its scope by fusing elements of punk, dub, electronic music, minimalism, and more into something wholly new. Drawing on dozens of new interviews and packed full of stories never before told, Fearless explores how the strands of post-rock entwined, frayed, and created one of the most diverse bodies of music ever to huddle under one name.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMeet me in the bathroom : rebirth and rock and roll in New York City, 2001-2011 / Lizzy Goodman.
“In this fascinating and vibrant oral history, acclaimed journalist Lizzy Goodman charts New York’s explosive musical transformation in the early 2000s. Drawing on over 200 original interviews, Goodman follows the meteoric rise of the artists that revolutionised the cultural landscape and made Brooklyn the hipster capital of cool–including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend. Meet Me in the Bathroom is the definitive account of an iconic era in rock-and-roll.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUncommon people : the rise and fall of the rock stars / David Hepworth.
“In Uncommon People, David Hepworth zeroes in on defining moments and turning points in the lives of forty rock stars from 1955 to 1995, taking us on a journey to burst a hundred myths and create a hundred more.” (Syndetics summary)

Exciting new CD arrivals

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. They include the new albums by Bjork and Taylor Swift. Fantastic box-sets keep coming to our extensive collection and REM’s much-loved Automatic for the People is back as a super deluxe box-set!

New Albums

Björk, Utopia
“2017 release, the ninth studio album from the Icelandic singer/songwriter. Björk began working on Utopia almost immediately after releasing Vulnicura in 2015. The artwork was created by Jesse Kanda.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Taylor Swift, Reputation
“2017 release, the sixth studio album from the pop singer/songwriter. Reputation is the long-awaited follow-up to her 2014 album 1989. One of the leading contemporary recording artists, Taylor is known for narrative songs about her personal life, which have received widespread media coverage.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rest
“The eleven essays on Rest are nothing if not sure-footed, proffering a compelling fusion of gleaming, string-emblazoned modern electro-pop and cinematically textured avant-chanson – their magical music box melodies kissed by bruised, introspective, occasionally disquieting lyrics.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

U2, Songs of experience
“U2 return with their hotly anticipated new studio album ‘Songs of Experience’. The new album – their 14th – is the companion piece to 2014’s ‘Songs of Innocence’, the two titles taking reference from English poet William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’. ” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Morrissey, Low in high school
“Low in High School is Morrissey’s first studio album since 2014 and was recorded at La Fabrique Studios in France and in Rome at Ennio Morricone’s Forum Studios. Morrissey’s talent for combining political statements and beautiful melodies is more prevalent than ever on Low in High-School, capturing the zeitgeist of an ever-changing world.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Box Set/ Reissue

Bob Dylan, Trouble no more : the bootleg series vol. 13, 1979-1981 : deluxe edition
“30-track set spanning his controversial ‘gospel years’ 1979-1981. Includes 14 previously unreleased songs + live performances, rare studio outtakes and more.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

REM, Automatic for the people : 25th anniversary deluxe edition
“Commemorating the album’s 25th Anniversary, this remastered Deluxe edition boxset features previously unreleased material, including 20 never-before-heard demos, and the previously unreleased tracks “Mike’s Pop Song” and “Devil Rides Backwards.” A Blu-ray disc offers the full album (with bonus track “Photograph” featuring Natalie Merchant) mixed in Dolby Atmos, plus a high-resolution master of the album, music videos, and the original 1992 EPK. Also included is Live At The 40 Watt Club 11/19/92 – a live set performed in R.E.M.’s hometown of Athens, GA.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Black Sabbath, The end
“The End is a celebration of Black Sabbath’s final hometown concert at Birmingham’s Genting Arena on February 4th, 2017. This unforgettable farewell show from one of the biggest bands in the world will be released by Eagle Vision on November 17th, 2017. The limited deluxe collector’s edition contains: The End on DVD and Blu-ray; The End on double CD; The Angelic Sessions on CD; a 32-page perfect bound book.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Ramones, Rocket to Russia [deluxe].
“Contains two different mixes of the album: a remastered version of the original and a new 40th Anniversary Tracking Mix by originalRocket To Russia engineer/mixer Ed Stasium. The collection also includes a number of unreleased studio recordings, plus a previously unissued recording of the band’s 1977 concert in Glasgow, Scotland.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Monkees, Monkees 50 : classic album collection
“THE Monkees 50 is a three-CD set packed with 50 unforgettable songs from the band’s historic career, including She Makes Me Laugh and You Bring The Summer” (adapted from mightyape.com)

Staff Picks CDs: The Best of 2017, Part 1

John, Neil J., Jackson and Alex select their favourite CDs of 2017 from our collection. There is a wide variety of music here and you might find something interesting or missed. Part 2 is coming soon so keep checking.

John’s Picks:

Real Estate – In Mind
Indie hipster heroes, Real Estate, deliver another portion of their gorgeous laid back jangle pop and it’s exactly what fans will expect –tremolo heavy guitars, lovely harmonies and bitter sweet songs, all delivered at a relaxed pace by musicians so tight as to appear telepathic.

Grandaddy – Last Place
Granddaddy were always singer/songwriter Jason Lyttle’s band and it’s great to hear his esoteric, slightly melancholic slacker take on existentialist angst once again.

 

Gas – Narkopop
Wolfgang Voigt follows up his 2000 ambient masterpiece ‘Pop’ and dives deeper into the original template, focusing on texture and reverberation and introducing sub bass pulses to create stunning symphonic electronic chamber music that is as meditative as it is unsettling.

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble – Find Me Finding You
The demise of UK post rockers Stereolab left a gap in contemporary music, but vocalist Laetitia Sadier continues to create her surreal sensual pop informed by the harmonies and lush instrumentation of exotica, easy listening and tropicalia.

 

Laurel Halo – Dust
On ‘Dust’ her music remains as unclassifiable as ever and, as much jazz as electronica, has attained a new found warmth and softness with her treated vocals woven through absorbing and often playful sound textures and beats to create a collection of tracks as original and beguiling as anything you will hear this year.

Thurston Moore – Rock ‘n’ Roll Consciousness
Sonic Youth fans are in for a treat here as that legendary NY band’s guitarist, Thurston Moore, explores five lengthy, textural, guitar centred songs that are reminiscent of his playing on the groundbreaking Sonic Youth album, Daydream Nation.

 

Shirley Collins – Lodestar
84 year old Shirley Collins, the “faerie queen” of UK psych folk, was finally coaxed back to a microphone by devoted fans and recorded live to laptop in her rural cottage accompanied by members of the next generation of folk musicians.

 

Dauwd – Theory of Colours
Electronic producers often find it difficult to maintain an entire album and it is nice to be able to report that UK artist Dauwd, bucks that trend with most of the seven tracks here maintaining a lovely rolling chilled rhythm with deep bass lines and skittering hi-hats pushing it all along.

LCD Sound System – American Dream
Seven years after they disbanded, we get the fourth LCD album and it’s as good as anything they have done. Anything but a cynical cash-in this album confirms James Murphy as a major artist.

 

Kraftwerk – 3D: The Catalogue – Box Set
German electronica pioneers, Kraftwerk, release their entire catalogue of eight discs once again, but the difference is that these are all recently recorded live versions, capturing the band using modern state of the art equipment with pristine clarity.

 

Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins
The highly anticipated follow up to 2012’s ‘Shields’ from the darlings of the NY hipster scene doesn’t disappoint featuring all of the band’s distinctive touches – excellent musicianship, great arrangements, gorgeous melodies and inscrutable lyrics. They are here in Wellington for the NZ Festival in March.

Grayson Gilmour – Otherness
Wellington based multi-instrumentalist Grayson Gilmour plays everything but the drums and strings on this sophisticated, beautifully composed album that brims with heart while avoiding sentimentality.

 

Peaking Lights – The Fifth State of Consciousness
US husband and wife duo, Peaking Lights, gain more confidence with each release and with this, their fifth album, they effortlessly explore their relatively unique world of ‘80’s influenced cosmic dub/synth pop.

 

Washed Out – Mister Mellow
Released on the US Stone’s Throw label, Ernest Greene’s third record is an intoxicating blend of downbeat, free jazz, hip hop and lounge with spoken word samples thrown in to keep things interesting.

 

Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
This is an intensely political record that harks back to the early days of hip-hop as the fiery UK poet directs her fine honed literary tirades at capitalism, gentrification, climate change, war, disconnectedness, isolation and more.

 

Machinedrum – Human Energy
Inspired by the California new age movement, Human Energy finds US electronic producer Travis Stewart, coming as close as he has come to the popular arena, featuring very catchy tunes, a range of guest r’n’b vocalists, great beats and excellent production to create a summer record of euphoric glitch pop.

Roman Flugel – All the Right Noises
Roman Flugel’s third album is “about the solitary time in hotel rooms between gigs, and that strange mixture of peace and isolation”, and he has created a collection of pieces that lie between ambient and dancefloor in the wonderful world of electronic listening music.

Brian Eno – Reflection
Brian Eno has finally created a piece of infinite music, via an iOS app, that generates music indefinitely without ever repeating itself. In these anxious times, this hour long excerpt is a welcome respite, presenting a peaceful and calming virtual river to sit beside.

 

The XX – I See You
The London trio’s third release in seven years finds The XX creating their gorgeous and beautifully produced take on pop throughout, arguably, their best record yet.

 

Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life
LA songstress Lana Del Rey matures into a true artist with her excellent fifth album that expands her sound palette and makes real her fascination with modern pop culture via guest appearances from Sean Lennon, Stevie Nicks, the Weeknd and A$AP Rocky.

 

Neil J’s Picks:

David Long, Richard Nunns and Natalia Mann – Utterance
This is a truly remarkable album, it is what great music sounds like, this is a major work in any sphere of artistic endeavour and it’s what many musicians strive their entire lives to achieve and is one of the finest albums in any genre from anywhere I have heard in a very long time . It is the culmination of a lifetime for Richard Nunns who knew from the start of the albums production it would be his last work and it sounds as if he has placed some deep aspect of his very being into the piece. It is a modern beautiful abstract work that is very aware of the deep spiritual and cultural traditions from which it springs and embraces these roots whilst being totally unique and new and timeless. Its powerful, emotional, challenging, spiritual and simultaneously personal and universal.

Blade runner 2049 : original motion picture soundtrack
Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack to Blade Runner 2049 is a startling, original and stunning work that ranges from faint melodic echoes of the original to dark, bleak, unsettling, industrial howls and cries, it’s a fantastic piece. Whilst many soundtracks are just designed as audio cues for events in the film, only the very best create atmosphere and add to a film rather than just compliment it. Wallfisch and Zimmer’s soundtrack joins the esteemed ranks of people like Ennio Morricone or Bernard Herrmann in creating a classic soundtrack that stands up on its own right even when its stripped away from the films visuals.

Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
I love the Fleet foxes first two albums and was intrigued to hear that Crack up their third outing starts exactly where the last track of their second album Helplessness blues ends. No band is attempting to do what they do with their sound. It’s really hard to describe their work but here goes experimental, orchestral, modern folk music with a close affection for music from late 1960s American West coast Scene. People like Crosby, Stills and Nash or Joni Mitchell. Its lush, its gorgeous, its seductive and it has serious intent too one of my favourites of the year.

Perfume genius – No Shape
Perfume genius’s fourth album No shape is a lush, elaborate, decadent shape shifting album of contrasts. Moving effortlessly from haunting delicate fragile melodies that still somehow sound slightly damaged or decayed to uplifting euphoric rapturous elements often in the same piece of music.

Ross Harris – Requiem for the fallen
Ross Harris has had a very busy 2017 and for me this was his finest release and also the best new classical work I heard all year. A deeply emotional melancholic work, that drains the listener with its intensity (as a piece on this subject matter should) Its melodically subtle and is powerfully moving a piece that touches the heart in the saddest of ways. Its beautifully recorded and performed a stunning work in every way and my favourite classical work of 2017. Words by Vincent O’Sullivan.

Jackson’s Picks:

Kendrick Lamar – Damn

 

 

 

Aldous Harding – Party

 

 

 

Jay Z – 4:44

 

 

 

Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love!

 

 

 

Alex’s Picks:

Kendrick Lamar – Damn

 

 

 

Kelela – Take Me Apart