I've been buying music again in fits and starts this past year and it's getting better and better. I've taken suggestions from Amazon and Apple, and plenty more from Last.FM and humans. Most of the buying has been through Amazon MP3, which has good prices and seems to generally be a lesser evil.
I've been running a playlist called all new to listen to new acquisitions many times before deciding on what other playlists to put them into, if any. I haven't ought anything of late that didn't go into a least one of the regular playlists, which is encouraging. Oh, these notes are almost entirely without reference to the biography of the artists. I'm giving the music a chance for quite awhile before ever intentionally looking up the bands.Herein the albums currently in the all new playlist and what I'm thinking of them (iPod is album shuffling so these are in no order at all):
- Angelfish - Angelfish
- Shirley Manson before Garbage. Somehow I hadn't gotten this one before a couple weeks ago. It's neat to see how much of the wonderful sound of Garbage was there and how much of a difference the producers (her bandmates) made. Quickly went into noisy and grrl playlists along with her sisters the Garbage albums, yum.
- Florence + The Machine - Lungs
- I can't explain really but this bouncy music reminds me quite pleasantly of Fleetwood Mac (They don't really sound anything like that, from the modern synth, backbeats, and production on out). Maybe it was my first glance at the album's cover, though a closer looks reveals a much stranger more interesting picture, including some nice lungs. Maybe it is the way the music and words flow out: not drifting but you could be fooled into thinking they were moving languidly until you pay more attention or are startled by a phrase. Even just into the second track the lyrics are haunting and are driven into my head by the pretty music and strong beat. A fairly complex rhyming theme including references to King Midas certainly scores some points for being cultured (in the West at least). I give up trying to describe the sound of her voice in these vocals and invite you to listen and try and figure it out for yourself. It's lovely and strange and I hadn't even noticed the tremendous use of rhyme until trying to write this.
- L'Aura Abela - Okumuki
- The Yokko Kanno masterpiece soundtracks from Ghost in the Shell: Stand alone Complex still get played often and among them are some beautiful (and absolutely incomprehensible to me) Italian vocal pieces (Illaria Graziano?) and in some manner that led Last.FM to play Laura Abela for me. She sings some each in Italian and English and it's all very pretty and quite potent in spots especially "Una Favola" which was the track I first heard. In typical Last.FM fashion it was accompanied by a slideshow of photographs of the lovely young singer. That never hurts either.
- Supreme Beings of Leisure - 11i
- I think Apple suggested this one based on some of my triphop and chill albums. This is lovely, upbeat yet calm, and very sexy music done by some people who really know what they are doing. Lyrics are simpler though hardly without meaning or potency. I put this forward as grown-up electronica ... either music for grown-ups (as if I'd know!) or what happened when the music itself grew up. Although dangerously sexy like some of the triphop classics this music is very smooth and not jarring or jangley at all. Very nice and has already joined my triphop and nin playlist.
- Nicola Hitchcock - Passive Aggressive
- Pretty, powerful, very hard to categorize or describe. Much more mellow and calm than 11i, Lungs, or Spark. Though there is music behind her it sounds almost like she is just singing over hand drums on most of these pieces, giving her voice lots of room to float and flit about. Later on it picks up with more music and more production and doesn't lose any of the vocal range or power (such as in the track "Forgive me").Remarkable stuff.
- Natalie Walker - Spark
- The latest solo effort for an artist I've been following for some time (originally with the act Daughter Darling). Very pretty but somehow softer and less energetic than her earlier work. Easy to not pay attention to and you barely notice when it's gone.
- Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
- The lyrics to these songs are so complex and full of emotion that I hesitate to pay full attention to any of the songs or to look up the lyrics to read them just yet. If you have heard the singles as I did on the radio you may have some idea what I'm talking about but the other tracks are stronger and more subtle. I'm going to keep listening and absorb the pieces I do pick up and marvel at them for awhile
- Katzenjammer - Demon Kitty Rag
- This single track from the remarkably shapely and accomplished Norwegian folk-music circus act (...) seems to have been left behind as a spacer when their album Le Pop moved off into some other playlists, including one just for them
- Paramore - Riot
- This stems from a good bouncy rock song in a Guitar Hero game and a few other positive sightings. The fiesty looking bright red-haired singer probably helped too. All that said there is unexpected depth to this music and some well crafted barbs in the lyrics to more than one song. It's great energy of a certain kind and worth paying attention to hear what she is so upset about (eg)