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My favourite albums of the the first half of 2013

1 Jul

Hello there blog, it’s been a while.  I’m sorry I didn’t mean to neglect you.

It has been an incredible six months for new albums.  I feel excited for the future of music.  There has been a definite shift in the general music scene during the last year or two.  There are so many wonderful musicians that are changing that landscape by simply being authentic. They’re not thinking out of the box – they were never in a box to begin with.

This is by no means a ‘best of’ list.  It’s simply a list of albums (in no particular order) that I’ve connected to on some level and enjoyed listening to for whatever reason, be it catchy, creative, different, classic.  I’ve embedded a song or two from each album as a taster (if you’re reading this on email, go to the blog on the web to see the videos). Let me know what you’ve been listening to or what you think of the selection in the comments section.

Clubfeet – Heirs and graces

I am so in love with this entire album. It’s such a lovely listen with so much power. This group from Melbourne and Cape Town have so much talent and potential.  Watch out – they’re going to be BIG!

Foals – Holy Fire

Amazing album, one that will be a classic in 5 years.  Innovative and different.

The National – Trouble will find me

What I like to call mainstream indie – appealing to most mainstream radio listeners. That doesn’t mean that they’ve sold out!  This album is something special.  It’s hard to put your finger on it but I felt it the first time I heard it.

Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob

The 7th studio album from the Canadian indie pop rock duo has taken a new direction, away from their classic, emotional, sometimes dark, always quirky breakup songs and closer to mainstream pop (I see them as genre-less with (on this album) classic pop influences).  In my opinion Tegan and Sara will never be pure mainstream pop,  but with this album they may just start influencing pop as much as pop has influenced them).  This is by far their most commercially viable album yet.  It’s poppy, sexy fun but it’s still quintessential Tegan and Sara.  It’s intelligent pop, a closer look at the lyrics reveals what are probably harder hitting lyrics than any of their previous work.   I for one applaud them for stepping out of their comfort zone. It’s layered and some may argue that there’s a few layers too many. They have received as much flack as praise for this album but they seem to be accessing and inspiring an entire new audience while keeping most of the diehard fans happy.  This is no small feat for a band that’s been in the industry for 14 years.  I realise that may be biased with this one because these two can do no wrong in my books.  I believe that they the most entertaining, well rounded live act in the world and this album will be amazing live (their shows focus on them as people by way of their onstage funny and articulate storytelling and their incredible musical abilities, it is not a big unnecessary production designed to distract you from holes in the music and/or lack of personality).   If you’re not a Tegan and Sara fan yet, I hope that the Quin twins win you over on this one.

Paramore – Paramore 

The latest album from emo pop band Paramore contains elements of funk, rock and pop. If you’re looking for an album to get you out of bed and into the gym on a winter’s morning, this is it. I love to belt out their hits at the top of my voice in the car, awesome stress relief. Perfect, fun album.

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampire in the City 

I haven’t connected with all the songs on this album (yet) but I love the fresh sound and feel of this album. What I like about it is that it has a kind of old school feel to it that I can’t quite place.

Phoenix – Bankrupt! 

France’s Phoenix is finally back with their 5th Studio album.  Lots of energy and colour. This is an album that will grow on you, you need to give it a few listens! Phoenix never disappoints, just stay with them.

OneRepublic – Native

OneRepublic’s third studio album has something for everyone.  “Native” is a bit more laid back than some of their previous work.  The album is one strong track after another.  An easy listen with a fresh and smooth sound that will cater for most audiences.

Hurts – Exile 

What I love about this band is how much they remind me of one of my all-time favourite bands, Erasure.  Enough said.  Great album that will not disappoint!

City and Colour – The Hurry and the Harm 

Canadian Dallas Green is back and making girls swoon with his luscious, dreamy vocals.   One of my all-time favourite artists.  Every album, every song is brilliant and this is no exception.  His music has an instant calming effect on me.

These albums very almost made the list (but I haven’t really been listening to them long enough yet) They are also worth checking out.

Imagine Dragons – Night Visions

Joshua Radin – Wax Wings

Tom Odell – Long Way Down

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

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Today’s awesome note from the universe

15 May

The top 10 things people claim to have taken for granted, Liezl, when they were alive:

10. How important they were to so many.

9. How easy life was when they stopped struggling.

8. That all of their prayers and thoughts were heard.

7. That there really were no coincidences.

6. How far ripples of their kindness actually spread.

5. What really was important: happiness, friends, love.

4. That any and all of their dreams could have come true.

3. How good looking and fun they always were.

2. How much guidance they received, whenever they asked for help.

1. That God was alive in everything, including themselves.

As expressed by the recently departed, fresh after their life-review on the big, BIG screen.

Ah-so,     The Universe

 

You can sign up to the mailing list here http://www.tut.com/account/register

Video

Save you – Matthew Perryman Jones

15 May

One of my new favourites, the very talented Matthew Perryman Jones. I downloaded all his album after hearing one song (Stay beside me).

Save you is such a beautiful song. Enjoy, and let me know what you think about the lyrics.

Tegan and Sara – Get Along

1 May

I’ve been a huge Tegan and Sara fan for a long time but I’ve only recently discovered their Grammy nominated DVD called Get Along. If you live in a country with better record stores than South Africa you can buy the CD and the DVD as a set (if not, check out iTunes or Amazon). As far as I’m aware it’s also available on Netflix in the US.

The DVD contains 3 movies, one about their trip to India, one with some live shows, commentary and Q&As with fans and by far the most awesome, a live acoustic set they did for some die hard fans and their friends and family. If you don’t believe me when I tell you how INCREDIBLY talented these two are, watch it! I loved hearing songs from the last 12 years of their musical career done so differently and with such sensitivity. The Quin twins from Canada will steal your heart on this one.

Tegan and Sara are quite active on social media and you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram among others. YouTube ‘Tegan and Sara banter’ and you will see why they are such a popular live act. Not only do you get a musical performance but you get some stand up comedy thrown in for free. I love how they interact with their audience during live shows, a very loyal audience they have built up over many years. It’s refreshing that their music never, ever underestimates the intelligence of their listeners.

Their latest album ‘Heartthrob’ was released earlier this year and is by far their most commercially viable so far. A really nice easy listen with plenty of pop vibes, it will instantly transport you back to highschool, I love that about the album. If you are new to Tegan and Sara I would suggest trying Get Along first followed by Heartthrob and The Con as some of their older stuff may require a bit of getting used to.

Now, if we can only convince them to come play a show in South Africa! Meanwhile, while we wait for that SA show, here’s a clip with one of my favorite songs from the acoustic DVD (the rest of the songs are done inside in front of the audience but I sadly can’t find them on YouTube) Check out their mad guitar skills!

I really cannot recommend this DVD highly enough! Watch it!

Josh Pyke – sew my name

1 May

Many people may not know exactly how much I love Josh Pyke’s music. It’s a LOT! Here’s a first look at his new acoustic sessions. Enjoy and go sign up to his mailing list on his website for more.

The incredible Nick Drake

24 Apr

Raised by swans

27 Jul

I cannot get enough of this incredible album!   “No ghostless place” by Raised by Swans.  It’s  a masterpiece!    You can listen to the full album here –> http://soundcloud.com/fullspectrum/sets/raised-by-swans-no-ghostless-place/ or check them out on YouTube