Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Popular Music - October 2014

Tori Amos
  • From the Choirgirl Hotel
  • Night of Hunters
  • Unrepentant Geraldines
Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
Bat for Lashes - Two Suns
Bat for Lashes - The Haunted Man
Blur - The Best of
Deborah Conway - Bitch Epic
Patty Griffin - 1000 Kisses
Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
Roisin Murphy - Overpowered
Nichole Nordeman - Woven & Spun
Something for Kate - Leave Your Soul to Science
Thrice - Major/Minor
Washington - Insomnia
Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

Apologies for the delay. Life was sufficiently interesting after the end of October for me to not get around to completing this post.

Which is a pity, because the music was rather interesting. There are no less than 3 new purchases on this list, although (as is typical for me), only one of those is a recent release, the others being from 2009 and 2011.

The first is Two Suns, which I had decided a while ago to purchase on the strength of iTunes clips. As The Haunted Man has come to impress me more and more, it seemed desirable to get to know Bat for Lashes' previous album as well. And it's pretty good. It's perhaps a little grander and more romantic in mood, and has a few more beat-driven songs, but it's recognisably from the same skilled musician who can create quite a lot from only a few elements.

The second is Major/Minor, which I picked up after listening to a few Thrice albums on Spotify and deciding it was worth picking up their last two (I've yet to purchase Beggars). I don't really feel that I've listened to this one enough yet to comment much on it, other than to observe that it is definitely louder and more aggressive than a lot of The Alchemy Index (my previous exposure to this band, and an album I've mysteriously failed to talk about much) but the songs seem well constructed.

The third is Thom Yorke's new album, which I found out about by complete accident via a classical music message board a few weeks after it quietly was released for download via bittorrent of all things. It didn't take me very long to become hooked on the freely available single,'A Brain in a Bottle', and after that it wasn't a difficult decision to purchase the album given how cheap it was... although the traditionalist/dinosaur in me would still dearly love to have a CD in my collection rather than just an image in iTunes to remind me from time to time that this exists.

The album's length (about 38 minutes), the fact that you're really not getting that many full songs and the weirdly experimental 'There Is No Ice (For My Drink)' might all have provided incentives for Yorke to drop the album cheaply and with minimal marketing, but buried in here are a couple of the most moving songs he's done. For me the most impressive is 'The Mother Lode', which somehow succeeds during the main vocal sections in evoking a bright, chirpy big band number from another era while consisting of little more than glitchy beats.

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