This Week's Best Album Streams: 24th October 2012
LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL it's uh this week's best album streams, collated here for your listening pleasure. Provided you like good music, that is. For the penultimate week of October - before we all start boarding up the windows to keep out the zombies and unplugging the wi-fi in case the virus can spread through it (that idea's copyrighted by the way, I'm working on a zombie flesh eaters-go-Silicon Valley script as we speak) - wrap your ear gums around these auditory delights, from a Wu Tang kung-fu soundtrack (but like, for an actual film) to a surprisingly good solo album from a white-collar indie rock frontman.
Andrew Bird - Hands of Glory (The Guardian)
While Bird's last album, Break It Yourself, was full of wide open spaces, luscious orchestration and soulful duets with the likes of St Vincent, this follow-up - released nary seven months later - is a country-fied hoe-down of an album. Recorded live, in a barn (a barn! You don't get that from Mumford), his band of fiddle and banjo players huddled around a single microphone, Bird's rich voice carries spectral covers of songs by both the Carter and Handsome families. Lovely autumnal stuff.
RZA - Man With The Iron Fists Soundtrack (Bandcamp)
If that delicate outburst of gentle harmonising and string-plucking isn't your kind of thing, I point you in the direction of this: the accompanying soundtrack to Wu Tang mastermind the RZA's directorial début of the same name. A slew of high-profile guest performers litter the album as they do the film, the most notable being the Black Keys on the down-and-dirty opener 'The Baddest Man Alive' and Kanye West's 'White Dress'. The songs draw even more directly from the grindhouse and kung-fu cinema the Clan sprung from - and that's including the surprisingly fantastic, rough-around-the-edges lo-fi soul of Corinne Bailey Rae's 'Chains'.
Luke Lalonde - Rhythymnals (Exclaim!)
Whilst Born Ruffians have sort of dropped off the map (despite the aceness of their last two albums and 'Hummingbird', that song what was on that Orange advert), their frontman has been fiddling about with a solo album. Lalonde describes the album's theme himself as "originally centred around the notion of sound existing whether we do or not and our unique ability to interpret it and manipulate it. But in the end the album ended up sprawling outward to narratives about gender confused couples, a man who hates his boyish looks so he cuts his face up, long distance relationships and rejection." And if that hasn't won you over, it sounds a bit like Passion Pit crashing following a sugar high.
Chad Valley - Young Hunger (Hype Machine)
With swathes of warm synths and keys that practically cry out to be described as "day-glo" and "technicolour" and "bright" and other such cliches people who can't really write about electronic music (like me), producer Chad Valley's Young Hunger is a rather lovely and engaging debut, and he proves to have quite a set of lungs on him, standing comfortably alongside guest turns by the likes of Twin Shadow. There's a bit of Vice City-style neon eighties about tracks like 'Fall 4 U', but they fall just on the right side of the Drive soundtrack/Best of Spandau Ballet divide. For fans of Blood Orange when they want to put their dancing shoes on.
Dolfish - I’d Rather Disappear Than Stay the Same (Paste)
Sometimes bands write cheques they can't cash when naming releases; Ohio's Dolfish follow up their EP Your Love is Bummin’ Me Out with I’d Rather Disappear Than Stay the Same which, thankfully, lives up to the title. Recorded in five days, frontman Max Sollisch continually throws you off guard - whether it's his Neil Young-esque voice or sudden change in tempo and melody - to keep the acoustic-lead tracks fresh.
If you find any good album streams this week, Tweet me @tennis_everyone. But if you've got nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.
This weekend has been a welcome lull. After the excitement of record store day it's the last free weekend until, ooh October, because festival season UK is GO. Live At Leeds, Land Of Kings, Camden Crawl this week, then the 72 hour mayhem of The Great Escape, before I'll Be Your Mirror, Dot To Dot...End Of the Road. Lordy. I'll have a cider if you're asking. [read more]
My Twitter feed has been jammed with people talking about one central topic this past week: the John Lewis Christmas Advert. Has this become a thing? Have we so lost sight of tradition through our free market capitalism that we no longer see Christmas as a magical time? A time when people come together for one single, special event which we can all share - the first airing of the Coca-Cola Christmas Advert? [read more]
All week my earworm was Nick Lowe’s I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass, with ‘glass’ replaced with ‘eggs’, such was the eggcitement about Easter. However, my chocolate was tainted by the death of Jim Marshall, inventor of rock’s greatest amp and the man who shaped the music we love. So, as Easter is a time of resurrection, I went through my record shelf, choccy in hand, honouring the great guitar heroes I’ve idolised over the years. [read more]