As you can see from the previous top 3 albums post, there is a major advantage in having friends that share similar music tastes to you and who are also avid taste-makers. However, sometimes this isn’t the case. In those situations, don’t underestimate the power of quality music blogs.
Before I get going on my next top 3 albums of now, here are a few blogs that I both respect and follow. No write up necessary, just keep an eye on their movements:
Post To Wire
Timber and Steel
This week, I’ve decided to highlight a couple of my favourite releases from last year and an album from 2011 that another friend of mine recently put me onto.
1. Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread
In writing about this album, let me make it clear that this is the only Rosanne Cash album that I have heard so far. Born in 1955, she has put out 10+ albums with a wealth of original material ripe for the picking. I have a strong love for her dad’s (Johnny Cash) material, which makes me feel somewhat regretful for such a late showing to the party. All because of the pure awesomeness of this album. Be sure to hit me up with any of her other albums that you recommend I check out.
Everything about this album is appealing for me. The lyrics are great and littered with hooks, the session players are as good as they come, the production is polished but not plastic. Admittedly, it took me a couple of listens to really comprehend the high quality of this album.
All involved in the creation process should be commended – especially Producer John Leventhal. The flow between the tracks is seamless yet all are diverse. The River & The Thread is essential listening.
2. Tiny Ruins – Brightly Painted One
Another release from last year, this is the second full length album from Tiny Ruins – the alter ego of New Zealander Holly Fullbrook.
My first exposure to Tiny Ruins was with this video recorded live on Radio National’s The Inside Sleeve:
The above song Me At The Museum, You At The Wintergardens is the opening track for Brightly Painted One and sets the mood for the entire album, which is one of deep introspective thought and spacious, acoustic beauty. When I first heard the studio version of the above song, I hit repeat about 3 or 4 times – maybe more.
Other personal highlights for the album include the tracks Reasonable Man and Straw Into Gold.
3. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
Years ago, I purchased my first Kurt Vile album. It was a second hand CD that the man behind the counter of a local record store highly recommended. I brought it home, moved house a few days later, and in the midst of the moving chaos, lost the album and forgot all about Kurt Vile.
Smoke Ring For My Halo is the first Kurt Vile album that I’ve properly listened to and absorbed and I love it. Every track see’s Vile sit cross-legged on the outskirts of folk, pop and rock obscurity. I feel like he has such a clear understanding of the elements that make up a great folk or pop tune that he can take a step back and twist the words and melodies into his own unique mould.
This album is not one for those who like to analyse lyrics and achieve instant gratification. With it’s intricate fingerpicking and hook-soaked chord progressions, it begs the listener to join Kurt Vile on the outskirts, close their eyes and take in the album as a whole.