An occasional thread for standout purchases

Alela Diane - Cusp

I never find the long lists of purchased CDs and downloads inspire me much so here is a thread for people to pick out occasional highlights of their purchasing and maybe add a bit more detail if they want. I hope it means people will find new music they like.

I've bought all of Alela Dianes's work but this is richer and seems more consistent than other albums.

There is a bit of Laura Veirs or KD Lang in her style (although she is from Oregon not Canada) and early albums were more dusty folk/country. This latest is smoother and lyrically really interesting and it engages over several listens. A subtle pleasure but high quality I think.

If you like this try her previous albums (To Be Still possibly the best, if a bit spikier) and maybe Anna Tivel's excellent recent brace of Small Believer from last year and Heroes Walking from 2016. Very good indie country folk albums with great storytelling-style songs and a clean and natural style. Again quiet and simple albums but worth the effort.

There is a review of Cusp below with some samples. I note also that 7Digital and Qobuz have a good price for it in High Res just now although the former seems to change day to day

Cheers Bruce

https://www.theguardian.com/mu...iew-songs-motherhood

Original Post
Bruce Woodhouse posted:

Alela Diane - Cusp

I never find the long lists of purchased CDs and downloads inspire me much so here is a thread for people to pick out occasional highlights of their purchasing and maybe add a bit more detail if they want. I hope it means people will find new music they like.

I've bought all of Alela Dianes's work but this is richer and seems more consistent than other albums.

There is a bit of Laura Veirs or KD Lang in her style (although she is from Oregon not Canada) and early albums were more dusty folk/country. This latest is smoother and lyrically really interesting and it engages over several listens. A subtle pleasure but high quality I think.

If you like this try her previous albums (To Be Still possibly the best, if a bit spikier) and maybe Anna Tivel's excellent recent brace of Small Believer from last year and Heroes Walking from 2016. Very good indie country folk albums with great storytelling-style songs and a clean and natural style. Again quiet and simple albums but worth the effort.

There is a review of Cusp below with some samples. I note also that 7Digital and Qobuz have a good price for it in High Res just now although the former seems to change day to day

Cheers Bruce

https://www.theguardian.com/mu...iew-songs-motherhood

A good idea, Bruce. By a strange co-incidence, I am downloading this as I write.

Loma - S/T

Loma are an amalgamation of Cross Record and Jonathan Meiburg from Shearwater - a collaboration brought about when Cross Record supported Shearwater on their last tour. Given the individuality of Meiburg's writing and singing one might expect this to be a one-way trip, but nothing could be further from the resulting album.

The vocals are lead by Emily Cross's rather waif-like voice, but the main characteristic of the album is the strength of the songs and the nature of the arrangements - they're delicate and layered in such a way that each listen reveals more and in a way that's just off-kilter enough to be interesting rather than generic.

The obvious ear-catching songs are Relay Runner, Joy, and Black Willow but the heart of the album is the run from White Glass > Shadow Relief, where I'm reminded of the feel from the last two Talk Talk albums.

This is a real grower and a gem.

Bandcamp Link

A couple of videos...

And the whole album (official)

Nick Lees posted:

Loma - S/T

Loma are an amalgamation of Cross Record and Jonathan Meiburg from Shearwater - a collaboration brought about when Cross Record supported Shearwater on their last tour. Given the individuality of Meiburg's writing and singing one might expect this to be a one-way trip, but nothing could be further from the resulting album.

The vocals are lead by Emily Cross's rather waif-like voice, but the main characteristic of the album is the strength of the songs and the nature of the arrangements - they're delicate and layered in such a way that each listen reveals more and in a way that's just off-kilter enough to be interesting rather than generic.

The obvious ear-catching songs are Relay Runner, Joy, and Black Willow but the heart of the album is the run from White Glass > Shadow Relief, where I'm reminded of the feel from the last two Talk Talk albums.

This is a real grower and a gem.

Bandcamp Link

A couple of videos...

And the whole album (official)

Just heard a tack on Radio 6 on the drive in to work and liked what I heard.  Thanks for the links.

Nick Lees posted:

Loma - S/T

Loma are an amalgamation of Cross Record and Jonathan Meiburg from Shearwater - a collaboration brought about when Cross Record supported Shearwater on their last tour. Given the individuality of Meiburg's writing and singing one might expect this to be a one-way trip, but nothing could be further from the resulting album.

The vocals are lead by Emily Cross's rather waif-like voice, but the main characteristic of the album is the strength of the songs and the nature of the arrangements - they're delicate and layered in such a way that each listen reveals more and in a way that's just off-kilter enough to be interesting rather than generic.

The obvious ear-catching songs are Relay Runner, Joy, and Black Willow but the heart of the album is the run from White Glass > Shadow Relief, where I'm reminded of the feel from the last two Talk Talk albums.

This is a real grower and a gem.

Bandcamp Link

A couple of videos...

And the whole album (official)

Nick,

Thanks for this superb recommendation - I see where you're coming from re Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden & Laughing Stock. Picked up on Qobuz - as Bandcamp is getting a bit lumpy with the exchange rate and especially VAT. 

Andy

15 albums in and YLT have produced something entirely yet quite different to what has gone before. Most of their usual styles are present (although there are no extended squally feedback solos) but it is the most ambient and electronic of all their albums, closest to their excellent soundtrack 'The Sounds of the Sounds of Science' or perhaps 'Summer Sun' in terms of its overall mood and sweetness. The track posted above is the most conventional (and most similar to tracks from their last original release 'Fade') but be prepared for instrumental longeurs as well. It might be the first YLT headphone album!

I think this is a very good YLT album and it is great to hear them doing new things after 30 yrs+ without losing their essential flavour. Is it an album that gets new listeners hooked? Let me know-and be prepared to investigate a back catalogue of great diversity and fun.

Bruce

Bruce Woodhouse posted:

15 albums in and YLT have produced something entirely yet quite different to what has gone before. Most of their usual styles are present (although there are no extended squally feedback solos) but it is the most ambient and electronic of all their albums, closest to their excellent soundtrack 'The Sounds of the Sounds of Science' or perhaps 'Summer Sun' in terms of its overall mood and sweetness. The track posted above is the most conventional (and most similar to tracks from their last original release 'Fade') but be prepared for instrumental longeurs as well. It might be the first YLT headphone album!

I think this is a very good YLT album and it is great to hear them doing new things after 30 yrs+ without losing their essential flavour. Is it an album that gets new listeners hooked? Let me know-and be prepared to investigate a back catalogue of great diversity and fun.

Bruce

Thanks, Bruce. I only have the ‘Prisoners of Love’ compilation, which has some great stuff on it, so I’m interested by your review.

That is good compilation that summarises a lot of the earlier 'classic' YLT work but in my view it is definitely worth still buying the albums because there is so much variety on them. 'And Then Nothing Turned Itself inside out....' would be my favourite from that era probably.

'Fade' from 2013 is definitely a more modern sound, perhaps transitional to the new album. Check out 'Fakebook and 'Stuff Like That There' which are largely covers albums (of the familiar and the obscure) for something else a bit different to their mainstream stuff. Here's a great version of the Cure song (and an amusing video)

A fine band I think

Bruce

Howlin Rain - Live Rain

Though this is from 2012, I've only just stumbled across it. My loss! 

They're led by Ethan Miller (of Heron Oblivion, Feral Ohms) who does the singing and plays one of the lead guitars and they included at the time the very, very wonderful Isaiah Mitchell (of Earthless fame) on the other lead guitar.

The style is 70's blues rock of a Southern disposition (some similarities with Lynyrd Skynyrd) with excellent songs, a rough-edged vocal style backed up with stunning twin guitars howling at each other at every opportunity. The two videos below, the first straight from the album, the second from the same tour, will give you the idea.

The studio albums sound good too, though lack the seat-of-the-pantsness of this live stuff.


The Bandcamp link

Nick Lees posted:

Howlin Rain - Live Rain

Though this is from 2012, I've only just stumbled across it. My loss! 

They're led by Ethan Miller (of Heron Oblivion, Feral Ohms) who does the singing and plays one of the lead guitars and they included at the time the very, very wonderful Isaiah Mitchell (of Earthless fame) on the other lead guitar.

The style is 70's blues rock of a Southern disposition (some similarities with Lynyrd Skynyrd) with excellent songs, a rough-edged vocal style backed up with stunning twin guitars howling at each other at every opportunity. The two videos below, the first straight from the album, the second from the same tour, will give you the idea.

The studio albums sound good too, though lack the seat-of-the-pantsness of this live stuff.


The Bandcamp link

Thanks Nick, I was notified that you had bought this so I had a quick read of the blurb on bandcamp this morning. I've stuck it in my wishlist and will get it downloaded anon.  

I must have tracked down everything by Howlin Rain and was lucky to see them in London a few years ago and meet the legendary Ethan Miller - well he was actually selling his own merchandise.

If I could recommend a truly awesome album by this band it is Magnificent Fiend epic in every sense of the word and well up there in my top ten albums of all time. It just floors me....... One of those bands everyone should know but then again I like the fact that only a few do and those few must be wonderful people to appreciate such greatness!

AndyP19 posted:

I must have tracked down everything by Howlin Rain and was lucky to see them in London a few years ago and meet the legendary Ethan Miller - well he was actually selling his own merchandise.

If I could recommend a truly awesome album by this band it is Magnificent Fiend epic in every sense of the word and well up there in my top ten albums of all time. It just floors me....... One of those bands everyone should know but then again I like the fact that only a few do and those few must be wonderful people to appreciate such greatness!

Thanks Andy, I guess I'm going to be tracking down Magnificent Fiend. 

Ralph Vaughan Williams - Scott Of The Antarctic: The Complete Score

Royal Scottish National Orchestra - Martin Yates

Dutton Epoch SACD (no download that I've found)

I confess up front to being a complete RVW nut, so bear with me.

This is, as it says above, every note RVW wrote for the film, written almost entirely before filming and based on the book The Worst Journey In The World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. It has twice the music that the otherwise excellent Chandos film score (Rumon Gamba) and perhaps because of that and the fact that it does follow the book in sequencing comes across as a more complete and engrossing narrative - as well as including a ton of wonderfully evocative music otherwise not heard before.

Despite having a lot of fairly short cues (there are, after all 41 tracks) it never seems bitty or piecemeal to me. It's an excellent recording and I find the whole thing an emotional trip - far more than Sinfonia Antarctica, which in all respects I adore.

I couldn't find any clips online, so here's the Gramophone review instead!

It's been a while since we've had a standout release.

Jennifer Castle's - Angels of Death is such a wonderful album - This track just floored me - beautiful chord changes:- 

https://www.google.co.uk/searc...=chrome&ie=UTF-8

I picked up on her last album Pink City via a comment from Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station who was being showered with accolades for her last album and said something along the lines of if you think I'm great then listen to Jennifer Castle.

Bandcamp tags her with: Meg Baird, The Weather Station, Aldous Harding, Joan Shelley, Joanna Newsom and Julie Bryne

On Qobuz for £7     https://www.qobuz.com/gb-en/al...castle/vlvjx5uccs6hb

And Bandcamp for $10 + VAT (for UK)   https://paradiseofbachelors.ba...lbum/angels-of-death

Also, in my Friday morning on-line buying trawl:-

Ryley Walker - Deafman Glance

Courtney Barnet - Tell Me How You Really Feel

Adrian Younge presents: Voices of Gemma

This latter bandcamp purchase is a must for fans of Sterolab,  Lætitia Sadier and Gainsbourg:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD_d_BGDHHI

 

Melody's Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage

This is breezy French pop from Melody Prochet with psychedelic hints of Stereolab and even Dungen, and is just a breath of fresh air from start to finish. Not just great tunes, toe-tappingly catchy, but enough variation in the production and arrangements to keep the interest going.

This is on my album of the year list.

On Qobuz Sublime for just £4.79 (and other streaming services no doubt) and Bandcamp

Nick Lees posted:

Melody's Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage

This is breezy French pop from Melody Prochet with psychedelic hints of Stereolab and even Dungen, and is just a breath of fresh air from start to finish. Not just great tunes, toe-tappingly catchy, but enough variation in the production and arrangements to keep the interest going.

This is on my album of the year list.

On Qobuz Sublime for just £4.79 (and other streaming services no doubt) and Bandcamp

Picked this up last week and love it, particularly at the price. Great album as was her debut a few years ago.

Spot on with the Stereolab comparison. 

Once in a while a record comes along that just hits the spot - Astral Drive by Astral Drive who is/are record producer/songwriter Phil Thornally. 

This album is a complete rip-off of Todd Rundgren (or Gregg Alexander's New Radicals) down to the Bearsville vinyl and glimpse of Todd in the video.

Although it's on Qobuz for £7.99 for the 16-bit, the record company site has it for £7 and at that price you can select either MP3 or up to WAV 24 bit at the same price! 

https://www.lojinx.com/release...l-drive/astral-drive

It's soppy stuff but if you love Todd or have ever come across the classic New Radicals album 'Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too', then this a delight too. Mr. Thornally has produced a homage that fits the season and a WAV 24 bit album for £7 well....

Bah

Having set up this thread earlier in the year I've been frustrated at buying lots of 'nearly' albums that have not quite made it onto here. Wye Oak 'The Louder I Call The Faster It Runs' is very good in places, Beach House '7' is rich and dense but, frankly a bit too much for me. The Essex Green 'Hardly Electronic' is a jangly indie pop album that is fun but not terribly remarkable. Finally Luluc 'Sculptor' was an album I had high hopes for but frankly totally fails to hang together after the lovely 'Passerby' of 2014.

So here we have it; a new Cowboy Junkies album. If you think you know what to expect you'd be right. That lovely voice is intact, some great guitar playing (especially on bass), rich slower tracks and a couple of faster rockers. It is not much different from previous; but the quality of the songwriting is consistent and it is also recorded really, really well. They've made a lot of albums and this feels like it is as good as any-so you could start here if curious and without any CJ in your collection (although The Trinity Sessions is a bona fide classic that everyone must own surely?).

There's a review here. http://www.folkradio.co.uk/201...at-reckoning-review/

Here's to some really good purchases in the rest of the year!

Bruce

Bruce Woodhouse posted:

So here we have it; a new Cowboy Junkies album. If you think you know what to expect you'd be right. That lovely voice is intact, some great guitar playing (especially on bass), rich slower tracks and a couple of faster rockers. It is not much different from previous; but the quality of the songwriting is consistent and it is also recorded really, really well. They've made a lot of albums and this feels like it is as good as any-so you could start here if curious and without any CJ in your collection (although The Trinity Sessions is a bona fide classic that everyone must own surely?).

Bruce, funny listening to the Cowboy Junkies album this afternoon, outstanding. I picked it up a week or so ago on 7digital where the 24bit was a going for a great price. Plus I bought the 4CD package Notes Falling Slowly just for that album but in addition bagged the other three in the package (which I already had) but in 24bit for I think about £10 (around 40 tracks).

Agree with you on the Trinity Sessions, which as you say everyone must (already) own. I picked this up around the time it was issued (1987) when it was used by every hi-fi reviewer to test a sytem - recorded in a church with a single suspended microphone, if I remember correctly. Saw them play the whole album a few years back (2007) at the Royal Albert Hall with Ryan Adams and Thea Gilmore backing vocals.

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