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So, I came across Ida Maria on one of the many sprawling forms of Music TV on Sky the other night. Anyway, she’s awesome. Great rocky pop, album’s out at the end of the month. See below:

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Not had any album recommendations in a while? Willing to listen to the pointless unheard ramblings of one of only 6.5 billion music listeners?

mwMartha Wainwright – I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too
Vampire Weekend
ttThe Ting Tings – We Started Nothing
zThe Zutons – You Can Do Anything
abAlphabeat – This Is Alphabeat
gcGabriella Cilmi – Lessons To Be Learned
tfThe Fratellis – Here We Stand
wWeezer – The Red Album

and, because Guitar Hero has ruined me:

dfDragonforce

As mentioned before, I have an occasional tendancy towards splurging on CDs. This weekend I returned home from a ski trip somewhat cough-y and bleurg-y and so the following occurred:

The Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
ff

Mylo – Destroy Rock & Roll
m

The Pipettes – We Are The Pipettes
p

Counting Crows – Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings
cc

Muse – H.A.A.R.P.
m

Sigur Ros – Hvarf & Heim
sr

The Klaxons – Myths Of The Near Future
k

Duffy – Rockferry
d

And, because I can, Belinda Carlisle – The Best of Belinda
bc

I may have over-splurged. So far I’ve made my way through The Pipettes (awesome), Counting Crows (well, not exactly August and Everything After), Mylo (singles good, rest ropey) and Foo Fighters (excellent). Details and reflections to come…

Sheryl Crow has had an interesting career. Her debut album ‘Tuesday Night Music Club’ came from almost nowhere to become a cult hit (despite the overplayed annoyance of ‘All I Wanna Do’), and the mainstream beckoned with her more pop-y eponymous follow-up. The Globe Sessions drifted her further away (while probably being her best actual album) before another swing at the mainstream (and duets with the likes of Lenny Kravitz) on her fourth, C’mon, C’mon. Then she decided to further indulge her political sensibilities for a while and didn’t bother writing anything for a while (and so in time-honoured fashion released a couple of best-ofs). I’m ignoring her god-awful cover of ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’ for an Adam Sandler movie on the basis that, well, she must have been seriously mentally ill at the time. I can’t think of any other possible reason for it.

sc

Her latest album, Detours is very pleasing return to form. There’s still the political bitterness (if you couldn’t guess, she really doesn’t like George Bush), but her break-up with Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong really, ah, glooms through as well (‘diamond ring fucks up everything’, being a fairly obvious example). There’s some really nice stripped down numbers, but it remains accessible. A couple of less than great numbers aside (‘Make It Go Away’, is her dealing with cancer, but sadly ends up a bit too screechy and ‘Gasoline’ is a fairly lame go at, well, guess…) it’s a great album that probably won’t sell anywhere near as much as it deserves. I’ve a strange affinity for female singing bass players and Crow is definitely up there with Kim Deal and Chrissie Hynde.

I’m getting old. Or I’m turning into my Dad. Or possibly both. Anyway, I’ve found myself listening to a reasonable amount of folk music recently. It’s possibly just the latest rotation of my catholic approach to music, but, you know, there’s actually some pretty reasonable stuff out there. And it’s impinging on the mainstream – Kate Nash, Amy McDonald, Lily Allen – all singer songwriters with clear folk influences, or at least songs and albums very much in the tradition.

Anyway, Kate Rusby has been the recent apple of my ear:

kr

Anyone expecting lyrics relevant and explanatory of 21st century life is… pretty dumb – it’s folk music, guys. But if you want a lovely voice with stripped-down accompaniment then it’s excellent. Whereas Eliza Carthy seems to strive against the fact she’s playing folk, Kate seems comfortable and happy to just excel with the material she has.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for a talented, musical female (or maybe Muse just haven’t released an album in a while) but whatever the genre, Kate Rusby has something about her.

A few posts ago, I recommended a bunch of albums. One in particular deserves revisiting – Version by Mark Ronson

MR

There’s some great covers on there (and a couple of rotten ones, Robbie). The two that have got the most airtime so far are ‘Valerie’ featuring Amy Winehouse (from The Zutons original) and ‘Oh My God’ with the diminutive Lily Allen (from the Kaiser Chiefs). However, the stand-out for me is the cover of ‘Just’ by Radiohead. In this case Mark Ronson has collaborated with Alex Greenwald – the lead singer of Phantom Planet and occasional actor (he was in that indiest of early 21st century films, Donnie Darko). Phantom Planet are best known for ‘California’ – used as a theme song for The O.C., another cult outing (albeit one that’s not quite so cool).

Radiohead fans tend to be pretty fervent and one-eyed (when they’re not killing themselves after listening to too much Radiohead of course) and as such you could easily expect an outcry for covering one of their classics (at least it wasn’t ‘Creep’ I guess). But they’d be missing a trick. Covers tend to go one of two ways, slowed down or sped up. This has a slight slow down, but not too much and the real greatness is the touch of bounce and funk that Ronson’s added.

Plus you don’t have to think about Thom Yorke’s malformed John Simm-alike face.

Loz Text: I’m having drinks with Dave. And Belinda Carlisle is on.

Rapid GF phonecall: Who’s this Belinda Carlisle and why are you having drinks with her?

I’m sure I’m not the first to compare Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

SIWBI

and The Hooziers ‘Goodbye Mr A’ off ‘The Trick To Life’

Hooziers

One’s a goodtime fun book, mildly satirical without being actually cutting or funny, about Superhoeroes and Villains, t’other is a great modern indie single, with a catchy chorus. Both are my picks to make it good and big in 2007.

(Technically it’s 2008 now. But I’m trying to look cool and authoritative. Let’s just keep this between you, me and the datestamp on this post)

Honestly, has there ever been anything written that’s better than ‘No One Knows’ by Queens of the Stone Age? Kick-ass bass-line, awesome riffs and just a brilliant song.

Ahead of the difficult second snowboarding trip that’s coming up, I ordered a nice shiny new ski jacket from Snow+Rock. Everything went fine and dandy and I awaited delivery. Of the card saying they’d missed me and would try again the next day. No card the next day, nor for three more working days. So I ‘phoned up Snow+Rock to get the Parcelforce tracker number. Perfectly helpful people, they provided it for me and so I began my odyssey.

I tracked the parcel on their website which claimed they’d tried to redeliver it twice more (without leaving any trace of this). Fortunately, there’s a phone number you can call to arrange further redelivery – either at home, or to a new address (£5 surcharge) or to a local post office (50p charge). Figuring they’d only try and redeliver it when I wasn’t there again, I guessed the local post office option would be best and dialled them up.

Parcelforce’s phone system is all menus and voice recognition. Some of the voice recognition works pretty well – it got the 4-letter/10-digit tracker number straightaway, although struggled a bit on post codes and addresses. Still, everything went well, delivery was booked and I waited for a few days before popping down to the post office. No parcel. A few days more? No parcel. And again… no parcel.

Right-o, this time I’ll just use the web-site and rebook it directly there. Everything goes through smoothly and it gives me a delivery date to the post office… which comes, goes and no parcel. Few days more… no parcel.

This time I try the phone again thinking that at least I’ll speak to some one and get it sorted. None of the menus have any option to talk to an operator. They other just repeat to infinity or direct you to the website. Brilliant.

Next time I’m just going to get it from the shop.

Anyway, with this sort of frustration I did what I always do and splurge on some music from HMV. So I recommend to you:

BSPBritish Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music

AMcAmy McDonald – This Is The Life

MRMark Ronson – Version

PWTPlain White T’s – Every Second Counts

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i miss your disposition and your strength to see the best in everyone
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