Friday, January 26, 2007

Eclectic choice of music

I'd like to think I've got quite a varied taste in music. Some people, no names mentioned but lets call them Fiona, might argue I've no taste in music, but we can discuss that at another time.
Between the ears this week I've been listening to a number of new or recent albums which vary widely in style but each of them have made a decent impression on me to the extent that I'd recommend each of them to you my esteeemed readership!!
Country music. If there's a genre of music I can't really be bothered with it would be this, and anything to do with Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman, etc.. Sometime last year I went to see the acclaimed Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. The acting was fine, the story reasonably interesting but I couldn't get off on the music in the way that I did for the Ray Charles movie, Ray, where the music was just brilliant.

However, a couple of months ago I was channel surfing, as you do, and I caught the last two or three minutes of Johnny Cash playing one of the last songs he ever recorded and I was fair struck by how tender it was. Maybe not enough at the time to rush out and buy it, but it changed my opinion of some of his music. Anyway, I bought American V:A Hundred Highways and though it might not be a regular on the playlist it is actually quite good.

Star Rating: ****

At the other end of the spectrum, and again without wishing to jump on the bandwagon, but if you like the Arctic Monkeys, you're probably going to love The View's Hats Off to the Buskers. Right now they are Dundee's finest and tipped to be the next big Scottish band to make it big across the UK and beyond. There first three singles, Wasted Little DJs, Superstar Tradesman and Same Jeans have been played to death on XFM Scotland but the other tracks on the album are just as catchy. As someone said recently its a change to see something good coming out of Dundee!!!

Star Rating *****

Another of Fiona's favourites is likely to be the new Tom Waits album, Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. Tom's an aquired taste and to be honest some of the albums I have are a bit hit and miss. However when he's on form I think he's just a great storyteller. This new triple album has him at his best with three different styles showcasing his range. I've only heard it a couple of times but I'm sure there'll be plenty of more playbacks in the months and years ahead. If you have to start your Tom Waits collection, start here.

Star Rating
Brawlers ****
Bawlers *****
Bastards ***

Sometimes I go into FOPP for a wander around to kill some time and end up buying an album that I think I've heard some of on the radio, or the cover looks interesting, or in the case of FOPP, it's relatively cheap. I can't remember exactly why I bought The Long Blondes, Someone to Drive You Home, but whatever it was it was a very good decision even if I say so myself.

Again, not heard it too often to make a definitive claim that I'll still be playing it regularly in five years or so, but early days yet. If you like Siouxsie And The Banshees, Patti Smith or the Ramones then chances are you'll like this.

Star Rating ***

Finally for this week I should mention the Gossip's Standing In The Way Of Control. Like the Long Blondes it reminds me of female led punk bands like Siouxsie, Blondie, etc. (The etc. just means I can't think of any similar influences at this moment!!). I got this as a Christmas present from Lucy and a fine choice it was too.

Star Rating ****

So there you go. Five albums covering a wide range of music and not an X-Factor winner in sight.

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