Tuesday, 10 May 2011

New music

I've been catching up with some new music recently, and some old tunes too.

My most recent acquisition is a compilation put together by Echelon Effect, available for free here, called Singularity 1. It features tracks from a variety of musicians and bands in what can probably best be described as the 'post-rock' or 'ambient' genres. If you like Sigur Ros, Tangerine Dream or Radiohead there's probably something for you here. Stand out track on the first listen has to be Matt Stevens' 'Sand Part 2'.

Also in that 'post-rock' area is the latest offering from Blackfield - 'Welcome to my DNA'. Blackfield is a collaboration between Aviv Geffen & Steve Wilson, and their music has a distinctly mellow feel to it compared to Wilson's better known work as guitarist with Porcupine Tree. One of my stand-out albums of 2011 so far, this is an excellent introduction to a more progressive vibe without the lengthy compositions that can sometimes be a turn-off for some.

At the more popular end of music we find the latest offerings by Elbow, Fleet Foxes and Joe Bonamassa, each of whom have their own distinctive style. Elbow have consistently turned out exquisitely-crafted songs, coupled with Guy Garvey's distinctive vocals and a contemplative feel that is finally receiving the recognition it deserves, and their latest release - Build a Rocket Boys - sticks with the tried and tested formula to great effect. Also continuing with a winning formula are Fleet Foxes, whose debut offering in 2008 brought their close harmonies and quirky acoustic sound to a wider audience. Their latest offering - Helplessness Blues - carries that same sound and brings a sound of summer, of long dreamy days, to your ears. Joe Bonamassa has been playing and singing the blues since his earliest days, and his new release - Dust Bowl - gives us another hour or so of hard-rocking, guitar-driven blues in the tradition of Clapton or Gallagher. A man with a terrific work ethic, this is his third solo offering in as many years, alongside his sparkling debut with Black Country Communion last year (and a follow-up release due later this year). For those like me who love the blues, this is a must.

The old tunes came in the form of Blondie's classic 'Parallel Lines' from 1978. What an outstanding recording! Every track is a gem, and although it may be a cliche to say 'all killer, no filler' that certainly applies to this album: every one is a classic. How have I missed this for so long?