Week 39: Laura Veirs: July Flame
Howard, the Record Shop Bloke, pointed out on the week I bought this that there was a new album of children's music by Laura Veirs. He wasn't sure he could really recommend it to me, but did say that her regular album was good. And wow, too bad it's been sitting on my shelf unopened all this time. It is, as far as I can tell, totally up Howard's street, given what else he's recommended me, and it's one of the best - beautiful songs, folky Americana, with nice tunes with such a variety that there's even a track that reminds me of Stereolab. I might even buy her Children's album now to see what my daughter thinks of it!
Week 40: Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
I think I picked this up on the basis of hearing a track on Lauren Laverne's Radio 6 show. It's a curious thing. A sort of Lo-Fi Prog, which is surely a contradiction in terms, and probably why it sounds not quite like anything else. If I had to liken them to anyone it would be Pavement. Not so much because anyone would confuse them, but for the combination of Lo-Fi and silliness at times. Being one of the albums in the last-minute rush, I can't say I've listened to it as thoroughly as I should, but the initial impression points to much goodness. The opening track is brilliant, some other will take me some time to get to know better, but I will definitely get to know them better.
Week 41: Sam Amidon: I See the Sign
My supplier moved in to promotion during the year and Sam Amidon was the first gig to come along. I'd not hear of him, though my estimably colleague and gig-companion Wilton had seen him before and recommended him. I duly bought the album in advance of the gig. It was fun, and I enjoyed him and his songs, even with a bizarre Jedward-centred between-song narrative. It is again Americana, which I've heard a lot this year through recommendations. Or perhaps NuFolk - I can't be sure. I don't think he has a fulsome beard or drinks microbrews, but he sure sounds like he should. That's no bad thing, I think. I at least drink microbrews, even if I don't have that late Beach Boys look. Nice album.
Week 42: Girls: Father, Son, Holy Ghost
My brother got me in to this band. At least I think so. I had some idea from somewhere that he liked them, so when it came to his birthday I looked around for gigs to take him to, and saw that Girls were playing around the right time. He was indeed keen to go. And we went. I listened to the album quite a bit in advance of the gig. It's really quite good. Tuneful shoegazy indie that would have fitted in the late 80s (clearly the best time for tuneful shoegazy indie music), although a bit more diverse than that. Also a good band to see live, though I always feel slightly uncomfortable when going to a band with obviously devoted fans, when I happen not to already be one of them. That's not much of a reason not to like them, though.
Week 43: A Winged Victory for the Sullen: A Winged Victory for the Sullen
We (girlfriend and I) saw this in the record shop, and based on nothing more than the cover, came to a judgement. I was mostly derisive, thinking song titles like "We played some open chords and rejoiced, for the Earth had circled the sun yet another year" just sounded pretentious, whereas she thought they sounded cool. I think in the end, we met somewhere in the middle upon hearing the album. It's so ambient that there seems no reason to either have it playing or not. I'm not sure I ever gave it the concentration I should have, but I'm not sure it really deserved it. It was pleasant enough, but never got under my skin.