Monday, 25 June 2012

Music Purchases April -June

Looking at my purchases I seem to have bought a lot of ‘new’ music over the last few months, by new I mean by artists that I don’t really know, but I’m interested in due to reviews I have read or 3rd party recommendations.

I don’t use Spotify, I have in the past and Last.FM but for some reason I prefer to buy music unheard sometimes. I’m not sure why, as I’m writing this I think I find it’s more exciting and also I’m trying to test myself a little bit. Can I make the right choice my reading music magazines or checking out a tweet from someone on Twitter who has similar tastes. I know for rock and prog music to look at what @amcyoung and @HP_Dalen are listening to, @philblogs and I have alarmingly similar musical tastes I suspect we sometimes are buying the same albums at the same time in different parts of the UK. 

So here we go;

Neal Morse – Lifeline Bought this as it was £3 and read a lot about the Artist. I like modern progressive music, as made by the likes of Porcupine Tree, The Mars Volta and I like some older progressive rock from the likes of Genesis etc, this has a foot in both camps in that it’s a modern artist making music that sounds old, and that’s where it falls down for me. Coupled with the fact that Morse is a born again Christian so the lyrics reflect this all leaves me a bit cold. One for the charity bag for I think.

Various Artists – Those Shocking Shaking Days Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive, Rock and Funk 1970-1978 Another £3 purchase but think this one is staying, as mad as the title suggests, beautifully packaged with a 64 page booklet. This is great, obscure and worth every penny. Actually its worth more than £3!

Paul Weller – Sonik Kicks I have struggled with the last few releases from Weller, call them avante garde call them ground breaking but in truth they have virtually unlistenable to me. Hoping this one is more accessible, so it doesn’t just end up on the shelf with the others, played a couple of times.

Anathema – Falling Deeper A lot of guys talking about this band on twitter and thought I would give them a go, and I’m glad I did. This album is a rework of older material with an orchestra and I really like it and it has made me want to go through their back catalogue. On the back of this purchase I bought The Silent Enigma and in truth release that Falling Deeper is not the true sound of Anathema, this is way too heavy for me vocal wise a guttural roar made me flick through this album very quickly. Free to a good home.

Sweet Billy Pilgrim – We Just Did What Happened And No One Came £3 he cries, for a band I really like, BARGAIN!!!! Nice album too, that ambient, off kilter, post rock that I love. I tweeted my delight about getting this so cheaply, and this was picked up by the official Sweet Billy Pilgrim twitter account, who tweeted that the title basically reflected the album sales!

Various Artists - 7 Worlds Collide The Sun Came Out The first 7 Worlds album was live with a bunch of great musicians joining Neil Finn to run through his back catalogue and a few covers, a lot of those musicians return, Johnny Marr, Ed and Phil from Radiohead plus we get a host of new guys, KT Tunstall, Jeff Tweedy plus a few siblings this time to make new music rather than a rehash of old. 2 Cd's, 24 tracks of varying quality. As with a lot of the purchases this month I managed to get this for £3 in HMV.

We Are Augustines – Rise Ye Sunken Ships @choosemymusic has been banging on about these guys for a love time and although I had streamed and loved the album I hadn’t got round to buying the album. It’s brilliant and if you haven’t got it go and get it now.

Howlin Rain – The Russian Wilds My find of the month and maybe the year, I read a review of this album last month in Classic Rock and marked the band for further investigation, this month’s magazine had a free CD and the first track was Self Made Man which opens this album and it is stunning. Rick Rubin has been involved and although this band sounds like they have been teleported from the 1970s there is a real modern feel to this album. Epic springs to mind when I listen to this and so far I haven’t stopped listening to it for 3 days!

Wintersleep – New Inheritors Another £3 purchase from HMV, bought after a bit of Internet research. Canadian likened to Band of Horses, first listen lots to like.

ST. Vincent – Strange Mercy  Has been on the list for a while and looking for to listening as everybody can’t be wrong....can they?

The Phantom Band – Checkmate Savage  Another blind purchase on the back of reviews and recommendations.

Sharon Van Etten – Tramp Another blind purchase and have been playing this on loop really great album.

Snow Patrol – Fallen Empires I confess!!! I really like Snow Patrol. I can’t help it. I have always been a sucker for that middle of the road melodic rock that Snow Patrol produce and I have no reason to think I won’t like this.

Various Artists – The State Of Music Volume 2 + Showcase Special Fellow tweeters and followers of this blog might already know about series. The brain child of Dominik Paczko this is volume 2 of his quest to showcase 50 individual bands from across the 50 states of America. I love volume 2 it is amazing and it will ultimately cost me a lot of money. Too many great artists to highlight just go buy this (there are only digital copies left!) The Showcase Special is a limited release to spotlight some of the bands Dom managed to arrange a live showcase at SXSW. 8 artists’ standout for me Freak Owls and Houndmouth a couple of real crackers.

Simone Felice – Self Tilted Album – Live From A Lonely Place Sometimes my wallet takes a hammering on the back of a great live gig, and Simone Felice cost me a lot of money this week! The gig was fabulous I was expecting to buy the new album at the gig (and I did) but then I saw the live album an Internet and gig exclusive CD, purchase number 2.

The Felice Brothers – Lost Tapes Volume I & II- The Big Empty & Mexico 2 rare CDs of rare demos from Simone first band, made for purchases 3 & 4!

Simi Stone – Self Titled EP Simi was the support for Simone and a member of his band and also a member of Simone third band The Duke and The King, she entertained us with some original material and a great Neil Young cover and so her EP became purchase number 5!

Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls The band of the moment, who I have been following for about 6 months now. I expect that as I write this they will be number one in the UK album charts and they deserve all the success that they get. A tight album that at times sounds like Al Green singing Kings of Leon sings this album is fresh and exciting. I suspect that this album will hang about with us for some time.

Goldfrapp – The Singles I have most of these but I would rather buy the album than set up a play list. Strong album that borrows from the 80’s. A&E is an amazing track.

Quantic & Alice Russell – Look Around The Corner recommendation from a mate of mine and what a recommendation. Summer soul that was a revelation to me.

Storm Corrosion – Strom Corrosion One of my favourite artists (Steven Wilson) and rave reviews in all the music magazines left me anticipating a lot from this album. The jury is still out for me, interesting, layered, complexed it is all of this, however I can’t really remember any of the music on the CD. A grower maybe?

The National – Alligator The last piece in my collection. An album for some reason I thought I had until I came to play it! As all The National’s album quality understated music. Brilliant.

Maria McKee – Live At The BBC I’m a long term fan of McKee from her work with Lone Justice and through her varying solo work. This album gives us to ‘in Concert’ performances from 1991 and 1993. A highly underrated artist who is worth looking up if you like Americana music.

Admiral Fallow – Tree Bursts In Snow (Limited Edition) I pre-ordered this album to get a limited edition poster, the poster is OK but the star of this show is the music. A fabulous second album from this Scottish band whose stock I suspect will grow throughout 2012.

Ellen and The Escapades – All The Crooked Scenes I was wandering round Fopp in Manchester when a track came on that stopped me in my tracks was played, the power of Shazam meant I was buying this album 5 minutes later. What a find. This is the debut album from the Leeds based band and it hasn’t been far from my CD player for a couple of weeks now.

Paul Buchanan – Mid Air (limited Edition) Anybody who knows me will know my love of The Blue Nile and Paul Buchanan, the man can do no right for me and this album delivers yet again. This album is little more than Buchanan’s voice and a piano and at times it feels like sketches of songs that would have evolved into full Blue Nile songs but that’s doing this album a disservice. The album is fragile and beautiful. At times when listening to this I have found myself forgetting to breathe as the songs pull you in and demand attention. The limited edition offered 10 extra tracks sadly 8 are instrumental versions of the album tracks which although good it’s the 2 ‘new tracks that I have paid the money for. Have You Ever Been Lonely? And God Is Laughing is as good as anything on the main album. I suspect this album will be my album of 2012 and that is a bold statement to make in May but this album is that good.


All of these next purchases are from Gizeh Records a small independent record label in Leeds. I discovered them after buying an album by Sleepingindog at a gig where they were supporting Low. Looking up the label I found a plethora of post rock bands at album prices that I couldn’t believe.

We can get sampler albums for nothing and what they are great at is having 48 hour sales where all music is reduced by 50%. Most purchases come with a immediate download so you don’t have to wait for the CD’s to arrive and I can safely say I have yet to be disappointed by any of the albums I have bought from Gizeh such is there quality control.

These 5 albums cost me less than £20 including postage, and if you like bands like Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky I would recommend you take a look at this label you won’t regret it.

A-Sun Amissa – Desperate In Her Heavy Sleep

Sleepingindog – Polar Life

Tresspassers William – The Natural Order Of Things

Glissando – With Are Arms Wide Open We Walk Towards The Burning Sea

Conquering Animal Sound – Kammerspiel