Monday, 22 December 2008

Old vs. New

I've got very loose definitions of old and new music because they interchange for me so frequently. I'm often finding old, new music and new, old music. It's with this thought that I want to avoid the 'albums of 2008' post that staples itself to spaces on the internet at this time of year. I'd quite like to talk about my albums of 2008. Some old, some new, some re-discovered in no order other than they way they come into my head.

Ray Lamontagne - Gossip In The Grain
'Let It Be Me' is all strings and magic. Ray's voice on this record just pushes its way through every sigh and every word, sharpened or smooth. The lyrics are flawless, the stories are dusty and beaten but with drum brushes of hope. I really, really, really like it.

Edie Carey - When I Was Made
I'm not sure where I even heard this first. It might have been from CDBaby ( It ties in with my new found appreciation for Americana - I heard about 8 seconds of a song and went straight to Amazon new & used to dig out a copy. Her voice got me in the door, but it's her lyrics that made me stay and take my coat off. There are two songs, 'Open Wide' and 'If I Start To Cry' that make me stop typing and hold my breath, so I don't miss the words.

Ed Sheeran - Want Some? & Nizlopi - Make It Happen.
Ed is to Nizlopi as Cheese is to Marmite. Each taste perfect on their own, but together there is some kind of amazing taste explosion. Nizlopi are Marmite, Ed has a little way to go before being entitled to that crown but none the less.. he's still full of B Vitamins. It's bittersweet that this is Niz's last full studio affair but it's packed with old, new and the poetic justice they fight so hard for. Everytime the bass introduces 'Start Beginning' I have to turn the volume up, it stays up until the aptly named 'Drop Your Guard'. Love is... well, is all about this.

Sara Bareilles - Little Voice
The album doesn't do her voice justice, but when I first heard Vegas I was there. I was dreaming of quitting my job and moving to New York, that lyric threw itself into my stomach and got lodged. Gravity is a perfect, perfect song.

Jamie Lidell - Jim
Pure, unadulturated, 'I'm going to strut whilst walking' SOUL. I don't like the whole album, but the majority of it just makes your face break into smiles. This is what summer should feel like. This used to make being at work at 7am in the morning the best part of the day.

Laura Marling - Alas, I Cannot Swim
Voices. Female voices. I think at any other time I might not have been quite as receptive to this album, but her voice just makes the fact that it rains lots in this country okay.

Patty Griffin - Living With Ghosts
I've talked about Ms P. Griffin previously, but this album from 1 to 10 is just full of something raw that I wish I had in my pocket for so much longer.

Susie Suh - Susie Suh
A recommendation from a friend, and now something that I cannot stop listening to. I can't figure out exactly what I like about it, because in some ways it's like I've heard it all before - her voice is so old, so fragile it's like it's been picked up from a vinyl, dusted off a little and laid over the songs again. You can hear her singing with her eyes closed, you can see the songs in her head. It's simple stuff really, there's no huge instrumentation, but her voice makes everything better. Oh, so much better.

William Fitzsimmons - Until When We Are Ghosts
I was 'had' about 43 seconds into hearing this album, and then I just kept getting 'had'. He has such an interesting story to tell, and listening to him sing about it almost feels like you're being sung to sleep by a bedtime story. It's so intensely personal it's hard to listen to sometimes, it's hard to listen to his breath catch over a word and not feel it. Hearing this album made me buy everything he has ever done, turn all my lights off and sit at dusk with a cup of tea and closed eyes.

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