Things I’m Liking – Slept On Edition

Now and then when an album comes out from an artist I really like it usually takes me a while to come round and listen to it. Why this happens, I’ll never know. Anyway, this is what I’ve been playing recently.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Its Blitz!

I absolutely loved their debut ‘Fever to Tell’ it was angst ridden, aggressive and Karen O’s energy can’t really be matched especially on the live stage. With their third release they seemed to take a more electronic route and express a softer side but the singles that were released ‘Head Will Roll‘ and ‘Zero‘ never really caught me like say, ‘Maps‘ or ‘Y Control‘ did. Now while this album was released in 2009 and I have had it since around about that time it mainly just has sat on the shelf It wasn’t until I heard ‘Dull Life‘ and ‘Skeletons‘ on a TV show I was like ‘wow, those are good songs’ so that in turn got me interested in the record again. It’s a good album very consistent, though not as edgy as their previous stuff is has a more of a pop sensibility and that’s not really a bad thing..

Marissa Nadler – Little Hells

Another album from 2009. Folk singer Marissa Nadler has been a favourite of mine for a few years ever since her 2007 album Songs III: Bird on the Water with her cover of the classic Leonard Cohen song ‘Famous Blue Raincoat‘ and the exceptional single ‘Diamond Heart‘. Again, sifting through my album collection I came across this and to be honest I totally forgot that I had it, in fact it was still in the shrink-wrap, that’s the perils of being a compulsive record buyer you forget you have things. Anyway, I don’t know what it was about 2009 but everyone seemed to be making poppier music, not that Nadler would ever be that way but this album is a lot more polished than her previous releases especially with the song ‘Mary Comes Alive’ with Kate Bush style drums and even has a catchy chorus. So yes, if you like folk-y  singer songwriter music then Nadler is your girl.

Leonard Cohen – Songs in Love and Hate

Through my Marrisa Nadler resurgence and her cover of Famous Blue Raincoat, I went back to the man who can reduce me to tears, Leonard Cohen. I’ve always liked his music and love his albums ‘Recent Songs‘ and ‘Death of a Ladies Man‘ but for some reason ‘Songs in Love and Hate’ just seemed to pass me by recently it has occured to me that this must be his best album. Songs like ‘Avalanche‘ and ‘Joan of Arc’ are absolutely stunning. The only thing that was a bit of a question mark was the need to put a live version of  ‘Sing Another Song, Boys‘ or even state that its a live recording you can’t really tell apart from Cohen talking but anyway. If you are a newbie to Leonard Cohen maybe start hear first its the best way to summerize his overall mood and feel.

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Team Tyler? or, Team Tegan and Sara?

While I’ve been aware of the whole OFWGKTA/Tyler, the Creator buzz and have admittedly found it intriguing and entertaining it has occurred to me that it’s probably again just another indie fad and seeing as Hip-Hop in general has been in a lull the last couple of years it was refreshing to hear a new voice with a less ‘gangsta’ and money driven sensibility. The last few days I’ve been talking about and discussing the open letter that Canadian duo Tegan and Sara posted on their website entitled “A Call for Change” in which Sara expresses her disgust and shock over Tyler’s seemingly cavalier attitude towards homophobia and misogyny. She really does give a fair argument and raises the issue of  “When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry? When will they be treated with the same seriousness asracist and anti-Semitic offenses?

I really feel she has a point, while yes, I do enjoy listening to the OFWGKTA material and I never have really taken it seriously but in fairness and I am siding with Tegan and Sara on this one, critics and music fans are constantly siding with Tyler and his shenanigans and it sort of making it OK to be as offensive and as brazenly ignorant as you want to be. Of course he has a right to freedom of speech but what he doesn’t realize it that music is a powerful tool, people really banded together when Bob Dylan and Joan Baez were writing protest songs and even those arseholes Bono and Bob Geldof got everyone to ‘Feed the World’ not that this is on the same scale as any of that but its seen as a cultural phenomenon but it seems like society is so close in gaining acceptance and really on the cusp of getting full human rights, I just think its people like Tyler who are just pushing everything back 10 years. Tegan and Sara throughout their 16 year career been a pillar in the LGBT community as inspirations to young fans who find it hard to be able to be who they are and have also been great inspirations to women in the industry inregard of doing things of their own terms and not backing down to label pressures or making sure that their public persona is kept as is and not rendered in any way.

Things I’m Liking – Music

Its been a while since I’ve done a post. There’s been a lot of music in my ears lately some old favourites, some new stuff and some new, old stuff.

DRAKE – So Far Gone

Now, I haven’t exactly been a proponent of this guy. He perplexes me for one he is from Canada, so why does he speak and rap like he’s from Atlanta? and secondly I still feel that singing is his strength rather than rapping, I think he sounds forced and contrived, singing he sounds a lot more honest and natural but that’s just me. Anyway, I did like a couple of songs from his debut like Karaoke and Fireworks but nothing else grabbed me. A Friend burnt this on disc for me and listening to it all the way through the song ‘Houstatlantavegas‘ was the one that really grabbed me I must have listened to it about 10 times in a row. It’s actually not a bad mixtape has some weird moments like singing/rapping over the beat of Lykke Li’s ‘Little Bit’ and Peter, Bjorn and John’s ‘Lets Call it Off’. Maybe he’s trying to prove his diversity which does seem a lot more genuine than other people.

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

Now speaking of Lykke Li, her sophomore release is a monster. If this is the future of pop music then I’ll definitely be all ear. Moving away from the more subtle sounds of her debut ‘Youth Novels’ Li gets a lot more grandiose and confident especially with the thunderously tribal first single ‘Get Some’ which includes suggestive lyrics such as ‘I’m your prostitute/you gon’ get some” as well as the ambitious nature of ‘I Follow Rivers’ which with the right promotion could’ve of been an actual hit single with its crossover appeal even the Phil Spector flavoured ‘Sadness is a Blessing’ could easily appeal to the masses.

Lou Reed, John Cale & Nico – Le Bataclan ’72

These three people are probably my favourite people of all time especially Reed. This is an amazing live album that was heavily bootlegged over the years when they performed at the Bataclan in Paris for the first time post break-up. Its utterly mesmerising and extremely low key and features both songs of The Velvet Underground as well as songs from each of their solo careers. It features a beautiful version of ‘Femme Fatale’ and a heart renching rendition of Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin’. Admittely its not the best quality but doesn’t take away the magic of all three of them being on stage together.