So, hte beginning of the new year, time to reflect on the old year... Haven't gotten around to posting up books of 2007 yet, but I was voting for the Triple J Hottest 100 today and it made me reflect on the music that I liked so I think I'll try my hand at some music reviewing. Here are some top picks and new discoveries, in no particular order-
Bright Eyes- Cassadaga
The CD that I have been waiting for ever since I first heard Bright Eyes, since it contains the song 'I Must Belong Somewhere'. This CD did not let me down, it had some awesome songs, and continued the great Bright Eyes tradition while at the same time sounding different to all the other albums. What can I say, Conor Oberst is a genius. That said this probably isn't my favourite Bright Eyes album, it's very good, but I'm not sure if I liked the swirly new age sounds as much as the countrified 'I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning'. Still a great buy.
Cloud Control- Cloud Control (EP)
I must admit, I'm a bit biased with this one, as I have some connections with the band and that always makes me excited about a band. But I can honestly say that they play some very good music. Their song 'Vintage Books', which I just found out is nominated for this years Triple J Hottest 100, is a stand out. But that does not make the other songs filler, they are consistently very good and I enjoy them heartily. I think I first heard them described as 'folk-influenced', and they do have a folky mellowness to them, with also a cheerful party vibe to tracks such as 'She's Crazy But She Doesn't Care'. But when I say 'party', maybe it is best to think of an afternoon party, with a BBQ perhaps, and some sitting around sipping beer with friends. Also good for listening to alone.
I loved the movie, and I think it was about ten minutes in that I turned to Andrew and whispered, "I want to buy this soundtrack". Took me a couple of months to do it, in fact I just bought it two days ago. So it's a buy of 2008, but since I first heard it in 2007 I will count it here. This has some beautiful music. Fairly sparse, and not overly produced I guess, it's just lovely and honest and did I say beautiful? I left the movie with 'Falling Softly' stuck in my head, it had this really simple melody played out on the keyboard at the beginning that just catches you. Andrew was a big admirer of the 5/4 drumbeat in, I think, 'When Your Mind's Made Up', another great track. I think, after a couple of listens, that the first half of this album is stronger than the second, but maybe I should listen to it a few more times to see... :)
Amy Winehouse- Back to Black
Now a bit of a change of pace from those quiet alternative albums, this one is jazz and funky. A kind of poppy, funky jazz. Amy Winehouse has an awesome old school jazz voice, in the way that she sounds like a world-weary singer in a smoky bar, but she also sounds very modern. This album makes me want to dance, excpet in the sad songs. It is an album for dancing to in a slinky dress. Favourites are the single, 'Rehab' and the so-funky-you-hardly-notice-it's-sad 'Tears Dry on Their Own'. Great for dancing or just listening to, or even for doing the washing up (provided you can dance while washing up). Would be good at parties I think.
The Cat Empire- So Many Nights
Speaking of parties, this CD makes me want to throw parties, it is so perfect for anything from a BBQ to wild and crazy dancing. I don't own it, but I want to. Because how can I throw a party without it? I saw Cat Empire in concert earlier this year, at the Metro, and they were awesome. The place was packed and moving and I got a bit of a crush on Felix. I think my favourite song on this album has to be 'Fishies', it's awesome and fun and cheeky and makes you dance. Oh, if I didn't mention it before, this album is also pretty jazzy and funky, but I think more Latin influenced than say Amy Winehouse. Back to the songs, I also have to mention 'So Many Nights', mostly because it has the awesome line "put your waistcoat on". In a slightly different tempo, 'Til the Ocean Takes Us All' is slower, a love song with less razzamatazz but still so good.
Honourable Mentions: Lily Allen, Gotye- Like Drawing Blood, The Audreys- Between Last Night and Us
I would throw in some dishonourable mentions, but I don't listen to music I dislike enough for it to be memorable for me... Except perhaps for 'Stronger' by Kanye West, which I dislike mostly for the lyrics. But that's just one song. I'm sure I could think of some others if I switched my radio on...
CDs/Artists I've heard about and now would like to hear:
Radiohead- In Rainbows
Ok, I have heard this one but I'd like to hear it again. It had something. Sounds like a good CD for lying around listening to, perhaps while reading.
The Howling Bells
The White Stripes- Icky Thump