Three short albums with three short reviews.
Album: A Simple Reflection
Artist: Cold Beat
Release Date: 24 August 2018
- Love is a Stranger
Thoughts: Ethereal vocals over synthpop beats transport the listener back to the 80s. Yes, these are all Eurythmics’ covers.
Release Date: October 26, 2018
- Salt in the Wound
- Ketchum, ID
Thoughts: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus formed a super group but only recorded 6 songs. Strong harmonies and rich instrumentation make one wish for more.
Artist: Aphex Twin
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Favorite Tracks: All of them.
Thoughts: Richard D. James mixes blips, whirrs, and beats into an ineffable whole. I really like it and can’t explain why.
Album: Love is Magic
Artist: John Grant
Release Date: October 12, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Love is Magic,” “Tempest,” “Diet Gum,” and “Is He Strange?
American expatriate John Grant resides now in Iceland where he makes very weird music. The synths and disco beats make the album feel straight from the early 80s complete with spoken word segments reminiscent of Laurie Anderson. The lyrics are crude, angry, deeply personal, and sometimes just plain bizarre. It took me a few listens to warm up to Love is Magic, but it still doesn’t feel as good as Grant’s earlier work.
Hot songs spinning in my ears over the past month.
Courtney Barnett – “Nameless, Faceless”
Femi Kuti – “One People One World”
Jorge Elbrecht – “Here Lies (Feat. Tamaryn)”
Orquesta Akokan– “Mambo Rapidito”
Khruangbin – “Maria También”
Hollie Cook – “Stay Alive”
Album: Little Dark Age
Release Date: 2018 February 9
- Little Dark Age
- Me and Michael
- One Thing Left to Try
Little Dark Age sounds like it was recorded in 1985 and has been sitting in a vault all these years to finally be released. You could find it on the shelf somewhere between Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark and the Pet Shop Boys, and even the lyrics of songs like “She Works Out Too Much” sound like commentary on the 80s aerobic craze. The songs on this album are hit or miss, and it’s never going to live up to Oracular Spectacular, but it’s a fun pop confection.
The spectacularly-talented Canadian artist Grimes (a.k.a. Claire Boucher) has a new album Art Angels which features the track “Kill v. Maim.” I’m still making my mind up about it, but do have to share this post from Said the Gramophone on the song.
Small Black‘s cinematic video for “Real People” featuring Frankie Rose is my song of the week. This is a song by a band from Brooklyn, not a reboot of a cheezy reality tv show from the 1980s.
What’s your song of the week? Let me know in the comments!
Once again Song of the Week is lost in the 80s with the synthpop sounds of LA’s electronic duo Soft Metals on “Tell Me.” The initial rhythm and melody remind me of Kraftwerk.
What are you listening to this week? Let me know in the comments.
“A Tattered Line of String” is the new track on the rerelease of The Postal Service 2003 album Give Up, although you can be forgiven for thinking the song is from 1983 instead. I can imagine hearing this song between tracks by the Human League and The Pet Shop Boys. Lead singer Ben Gibbard is also known for his work with Death Cab for Cutie. Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley provides backup vocals.
What new songs are you listening to this week? Let me know in the comments!