Things I’m Liking – Nostalgia Week

 

Dylan LeBlanc – Paupers Field

It’s hard to believe, much like Laura Marling that LeBlanc is just twenty years old. ‘Paupers Field’ harks back to the americana and country stylings of Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young. Even country/folk legend EmmyLou Harris drops by with her bone chilling voice to lend a hand. I found myself mesmerised by the lyrical maturity and the understated instrumentation. The closer track is by far the winner, ‘ No Kind of Forgiveness’ sucker punches you in the gut and really can make you feel totally insignificant.

 

Diane Cluck – Macy’s Day Bird

There are certain artists that always have a habit of bringing you back to a good place. Diane Cluck is one of them for me. While not necessarily a happy-go-lucky artist her music always makes me feel 17 again. Macy’s Day Bird admittedly isn’t my favourite of her records (Oh Vanille/Ova Nil is) this is nostalgic in the sense that it holds very dear memories of people, of places and just extremely naive times.

 

Lewis & Clarke – Blasts of Holy Birth

This album only became apparent to me because I just really liked the artwork, and thought I’d get it on an impulse. Its full of acid-folk jams and sweet 60s nostalgic Topanga Canyon folk its a little bit Crosby, Stills and Nash with more a modern twist likening to Fleet Foxes and Horse Feathers-ish. The song “We Think We Have Eyes” is just one of my favourite songs right now, totally addicted.

 

RuRu – Elizabeth

Almost impossible to track down. This little hidden gem was released in the summer of 2008 and again, it really just passed me by. Now I’ve heard he has been signed to Colombia Records and will be re-releasing the album some time this year under his real name Isaac Russell. Its full of jangly, self-depreciating songs about a lost love, much like Bon Iver with For Emma….. In alot of ways he is like Sufjan Stevens and Patrick Wolf, if Wolf went to sunday school with Stevens. Worth tracking down and giving it a listen.

 

Scout Niblett – Sweet Heart Fever

Shes dark, moody, and little out there and mates with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, so really you can’t go wrong. This album was one of many that I became obsessed with in my late teens. She goes places others dare not to. This is no record to sit around with friends with beers and conversation, this is in your room with no lights on headphones on and laying on the floor, its too intimate to share with anyone else, Scout Niblett is for personal journeys only.

 

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Album Review – Bright Eyes: The People’s Key

BRIGHT EYES THE PEOPLE’S KEY

After the release of 2007s ‘Cassadaga’ the Bright Eyes moniker has been on somewhat of a hiatus while front man and wunderkind Conor Oberst explored other projects including a solo record, a project with the Mystic Valley Band and supergroup Monsters of Folk which included Bright Eyes alum Mike Mogis, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and frequent collaborator M. Ward.

Oberst really steps away from his folky and alternative country roots and explores a much more rounded, full band sound and even comes back with the use of synths that was featured so prominently on ‘Digital Ash in a Digital Urn’. Admittedly the anticipation for ‘The People’s Key’ has really outweighed the music the opener ‘Firewall’ has a long monologue which is somewhat usual for Bright Eyes (At the Bottom of Everything, Claraudience respectively) but it really seems to drone relentlessly for seven minutes without actually going anywhere.

‘A Machine Spiritual (in the People’s Key)’ lacks the intimacy that made Oberst so famous. It also, can be an overbearing in its pantheistic message. ‘Shell Games’ is probably Oberst at his most jubilant its hard not to hear Patrick Wolf woven in the chorus and the instrumentation another good moment comes from ‘Ladder Song’ a heart wrenching lament about a friend close to Oberst who killed themself. In addition to that his political tendencies as well as the emotional fragility that made him everyone’s favourite sad kid with a guitar, it can be both nostalgic and angsty while still being philosophical and universal.

If The People’s Key is indeed the last release under the Bright Eyes name, they have gone out on a low, which is disappointing, it’s definitely not their crowning glory though it has some great moments, it also has some lazy, almost thoughtless ones too.

6/10

Best Tracks: Shell Games, Jejune Stars, Approximate Sunlight, Beginners Mind, Ladder Song

Things I’m Liking

Radiohead – The King of Limbs

I’ve always been a fan of Radiohead, controversially my favourite album of theirs is ‘Amnesiac’ so put that in pipe and smoke it, douchey Radiohead fans. Anyway, The King of Limbs was released on valentine’s day which made everyone very happy. It has taken me a few listens to actually absorb everything there is to offer, baring in ming there are only 8 tracks, it’s a lot less straight forward sound-wise than whats In Rainbows was, exploring territories that Flying Lotus and Four Tet seem more comfortable in. It’s not by all means the best thing they have ever done, but its a bigger step forward for the Radiohead evolution. And NO it doesn’t sound like ‘Kid A’

 

Adele – Someone Like You

I don’t really have the intention of listening to the whole album just yet, although the first two songs she has released I’ve quite liked. Now I am a sucker for sad, self-deprecating lyrics and this song was right up my street. I first saw her perform the song on Jools Holland and was blown away but the utter sincerity in the words and it seems like every time she sings it, she is reliving everything she felt when she wrote the song. It’s no wonder that the song rocketed to #1 on the singles charts there  hasn’t been a decent number one single for a long time. It seems like she is getting a lot of success too which is good.

 

Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Graphic novels and comics aren’t usually my cup of tea. The first time I ever read one was Dan Clowes’ ‘Ghost World’ and  just really knocked sideways. I sup pose, I read it at the right time, you know in your late teens when you’re going through a bit of an identity crisis so you read Edgar Allen Poe and Virginia Woolf and listen to The Cure…. just me then?. Anyway, I read the first installment of this a while back and its kinda recently been published in its entirety, It’s brilliantly written it reminded me of Richard Ford’s book Independence Day. Its b een released in both paperback and hardback, but the hardback one is such a nice little package, I went to Brighton recently and I saw it there, I would’ve bought but low funds…sad times. But yes, check it out your life will be infinitely better.

 

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Master and Everyone

Now, I know everyone loves ‘I See a Darkness’ and while it’s a brilliant record, I think ‘Master and Everyone’ is my favourite. Through my re-cataloging all my music I came across this again and realized that its been really neglected. There are just so many beautiful songs on it most notably is the stunningly sad ‘Wolves among Wolves’ (which incidentally made me love it even more when I saw Cat Power live and she sang it). I think maybe people unfamiliar with him might be put off with his laid back approach, especially those who enjoy their music a bit more edgier but you really won’t find anything as beautiful.