Music Weekly: Week 33: Everything Everything: Man Alive

Everything Everything was recommended by Howard, the record shop proprietor, who said something like "They're poppy, but there's ... more to them than that." And I think that's pretty accurate. They're quite, I don't know, arty, I suppose, in the way someone like Interpol is. They remind me more than anyone of ¡Forward, Russia! because of the stuttering nature of both the singing and the music, though Everything Everything are indeed poppier, as promised. The album has one very very catch pop track, photoshop handsome, which deserved better than its 129 in the charts. I might listen to the rest of the album from time to time, but I doubt that its going to feature that heavily in my playlists

Music Weekly: Week 32: tUnE-yArDs: W h o k i l l

A few years ago, my brother bought me an album call "Songs in the key of Z," full of so-called outsider music. Music that clearly appealed to some people, and spoke to them, but what might just strike other people as frighteningly bizarre and odd. The whole alternating capitalization of tUnE-yArDs should have been a hint that this artist's brain works in a sufficiently different way to mine that I'd have trouble relating to it. There's the odd song that I quite like, but really, the whole album just frightens me a bit.

Music Weekly: Week 31: Laura Marling: "I Speak Because I Can"

I'm not sure whether or not I'd heard of Laura Marling when, a few weeks ago, a colleague pointed out that she was playing a gig in Guildford Cathedral, literally a couple of minutes from where I live, and that tickets went on sale the next morning. I'm always happy to go to a gig on a recommendation, especially if it is just round the corner, but tickets sold out very quickly and I missed out. Oh well, it's not like I was a fan. I am now, though. I picked up the record for week 31 (a couple of weeks ago - I'm a bit behind with listening and blogging), and it turns out to be fantastic. She's a slightly outré folky type, somewhat like Rufus Wainwright, mixing a folky tradition with something else their own. She reminds me in turns of Phil Ochs and KT Tunstall, with music that is sometimes beautiful, sometimes catchy, often both.

Sucks that I didn't get a ticket for her gig, really.

Music Weekly: Week 30: Smoke Fairies: "Through Low Light and Trees"

The name "Smoke Fairies" makes me think that it's an instruction, but I suspect that's not the intention. This one was picked completely at random, by my girlfriend, without either of us knowing anything about the band or the style of music. It reminds me more than anything else of early Heart. Whenever I say things like that, I do feel like a pseud, reminding me of the time I read in NME years ago that Björk said she only liked The Swans pre-1985. Except of course Heart are not at all cool to quote in the NME. The Smoke fairies, then, sounds like 1970s prog-folk, with a bias to the folky side. I like it more on each listen. I'm not a fan of the vocals, but have got used to them. Drink Beer! Smoke Fairies!

Music Weekly: Week 29: Sonic Youth: "Simon Werner A Disparu"

Part of the reason I've fallen a bit behind with posting weekly is that I bought this Sonic Youth album, part of their self-published SYR series of typically more experimental stuff, and have not really got round to trying to give it a proper listen. I'm not sure I've really done that now, but it's probably time to move on.

The album is the outgrowth of a soundtrack to the film of the same name (apparently released as "Lights Out" outside France), but reworked in the studio into longer songs. It's instrumental, and atmospheric. Rather like the Broadcast and the Focus Group album I listened to earlier in the year, it okay to have it on in the background and occasionally grabbed by what's going on, but probably better to concentrate to. Perhaps I'll find time to do that...

Music Weekly: Week 28: My Morning Jacket "Circuital"

Oh, a month since I have posted, but I have been buying records at roughly the requisite rate, and even listening to some of them. The next on the list is a band I had heard of - My Morning Jacket - but somehow supposed that they were some kind of young-person's emo band. I wasn't quite right in that judgement, which I guess I made based on the band name, for reasons that now escape me.

I'm not quite sure how to describe them. Slightly psychedelic slightly indie rock is a bit how they sound, but I do find them hard to describe. They sort of don't quite fit, like how a psychedelic indie band from France might sound, but then they're not Gong, so probably not. They're actually from Kentucky. I don't think I'll be buying any more of their records, which is not to say that I don't like them. There are some nice songs on the album, but it doesn't blow me away.

Music Weekly: Week 27: Caitlin Rose: "Own Side Now"

After a slight disappointment last week, I went for a newish album that I knew I'd like (because I'd heard it several times, and seen the band live) and figured I should actually buy the album. I'm sure I'd never had bothered to listen to Caitlin Rose, it being badged "country" if my colleague hadn't offered me a free ticket to go and see her play at the Scala a few weeks ago. I went, and enjoyed it quite a lot. It is indeed country music, which has a low hit-rate for me, but this is a hit. The band are young and cool, and Caitlin's indie heritage can be heard every now and then with the key changes. Good stuff. My colleague is going to see her play again tonight. And then again next week. Probably again after that. I can see myself going back for more...

Music Weekly: Week 26: Bon Iver: "Bon Iver"

Bon Iver seem like one of those bands that people tell me I'll probably like, and I never get round to listening to. So I finally got round to it last week, when their new album was featured in the new albums shelf of the record shop. I've tried reasonably hard to like it, listening a few times, even though I didn't like it the first, then the second, then the third time. The songs are insipid and the effects on the vocals are really annoying. This is one to consign to history.

Music Weekly: Week 25: Cults: "Cults"

I like this album. I can't confess to being aware of the band until reading a positive review of them in the paper the other day, but when I saw it on display in the record shop, I talked about them with Howard, who didn't seem overly enthusiastic about them, but said they were quite good - a bit like a girly Strokes with Phil Spectorish production. That's not a bad description. They're Strokes-y in their poppy but rough tunes. They're pretty catchy, and they remind of a less shoegazey version of Asobi Seksu. Good stuff.

Music Weekly: Week 24: White Denim: "D"

When I went into the record shop this week, Howard was playing the album D by White Denim. I'd never heard of them, but they sounded kinda fun. A bit psychedelic, I thought. I browsed through a few things. There was a new Vetiver album out. Another band I'd heard of, but didn't really know, so Howard played some of it, but it sounded a bit too easy listening and shallow, and he put White Denim back on. It sounded kinda fun again, so I went for it.

Listening to it more, I realised that as well as being psychedelic, it is actually quite proggy. I mean, there's even some flute in there, and it's very twiddly, but really rather good. If you buy one psychedelic prog album this year, this should be it.