Sunday, November 28, 2010
1. The Archandroid, Janelle Monae,
2. I Speak Because I Can, Laura Marling
3. Total Life Forever, Foals
4. High Violet, the National
5. The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
6. Go, Jonsi
7. Halycon Digest, Deerhunter
8. Heartland, Final Fantasy
9. Lucky Shiner, Gold Panda
10. Forgiveness Rock Record, Broken Social Scene
11. Infinite Arms, Band of Horses
12. Plastic Beach, Gorillaz
13. Transference, Spoon
14. Contra, Vampire Weekend
15. Fields, Junip
16. Have One On Me,Joanna Newsom
17. Queen of Denmark, John Grant
18. The Lady Killer,Cee Lo
19. Heligoland, Massive Attack
20. Band of Joy,Robert Plant
21. Odd Blood, Yeasayer
22. How They Are, Peter Broderick
23. The Fool, Warpaint
24. Big Echo, The Morning Benders
25. The Courage of Others, Midlake
26. The Family Jewels, Marina and the Diamonds
27. Revolutions Per Minute, Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek)
28. Congratulations, MGMT
29. Swanlights, Anthony and the Johnsons
30. Jasmine, Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden
31. There is Love in You, Four Tet
The Archandroid (Suite II and III), Janelle Monae
A visionary, imaginative, bold, varied, daring, boundary pushing record absorbing hip hop, funk, rock, jazz, soul, classical and hollywood showtunes. It eclipses ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ as the most impressive genre straddling R’n’B based album by a female artist in the last twenty years. The Archandroid puts Monae on course to be up with the greats like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. That good.
I Speak Because I Can, Laura Marling
Laura Marling’s album blew me away - with strong echoes of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, it's a chillingly precocious truly great work. Sounds like: The best female folk singer songwriter in ages. Her first album was promising but who could have expected this?
The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
Maintains their usual level of brilliance. Still arguably the greatest rock band in the world.
Total Life Forever, Foals
An absolutely stunning album of epic rock - one of the albums i’ve played the most this year. Sounds like early U2, Talking Heads, Radiohead with African guitars.
Lucky Shiner, Gold Panda
A stonking electronica album, thrillingly imaginative and inventive, it keeps moving and shape shifting. Reminiscent of Ulrich Schnauss and the Field at their best.
High Violet, the National
Burrowing under the skin even more so then their last one, Boxer, a moody, gloomy, smokey late night album. Sounds like: the Tindersticks.
Halycon Digest, Deerhunter
These guys really get rock music, there's something indefinably effortlessy cool about their sound - Deerhunter make me feel like i’m a teenager again hearing My Bloody Valentine or the Stone Roses for the first time. This their most accessible, focused album to date.
The Lady Killer, Cee Lo
Fantastic, fun, party, soul record, had forgotten what a great voice Cee Lo has.
Heartland, Owen Pallet
Owen Pallet (formerly Final Fantasy) is a true original. This is his first album that comes close to matching the consistent magnificence of his live shows. Sounds a bit like: Beirut, Rufus Wainwright, Andrew Bird.
Forgiveness Rock Record, Broken Social Scene
A classic indie-rock album, like all their stuff, it’s sprawling and messy and ramshacke but in a very loveable way. Their best effort yet.
It’s Jose Gonazalez with a prog rock band behind him, what’s not to like?
A poppier, uplifting variation on Sigur Ros - a consistently super album. Sounds a bit like: eh Sigur Ros? Duh!
Vampire Weekend, Contra
Much synthier than their first album, not quite as many killer tunes but still quality and in Run, Horchata, and Giving Up the Gun its got some of the best tracks of the year.
Heligoland , Massive Attack
This slightly patchy album had some of the strongest tracks of the year with Horace Andy guest vocal-ling on the blinding Girl I Love You and Hope Sandoval on the gorgeous Paradise Circus.
Have One On Me,Joanna Newsom
Her last album, Ys, was possibly the album of the decade for me, this isn’t as compelling but still brilliant.
One of the coolest US bands around, with one of the best rock voices in Britt Daniel, very under appreciated here in Ireland, this is a stripped down, minimalist gem - a bit of a reaction to its more accessible predecessor
Odd Blood, Yeasayer
Wow, Yeasayer went seriously retro 80s for this, not as good as their more ambitious first album but strong, very populist, very catchy.
Infinite Arms, Band of Horses
Just great classic American rock, classic songwriting, beautiful melodies and singing. Sound like: Neil Young.
The Family Jewels, Marina and the Diamonds
She’s a cooler, British Lady GaGa
How They Are, Peter Broderick
A seriously talented bloke - moving music and a lovely mix of folk stylings and classical
Rumer, Seasons of My Soul
What a beautiful voice, like a fusion of Dusty Springfield and Carole King, most of the songs are pretty strong too.
Queen of Denmark, John Grant
Backed by Midlake, this soul baring album sounds like a slightly less miserable version of Midlake’s current album, the Courage of Others
Band of Joy, Robert Plant
Another great rootsy album to follow ‘Raising Sand’, his voice sounds as good as ever on this, who needs Alison Krauss?
The Fool, Warpaint
Lovely drumming and great bass lines on this, great atmosphere and meandering songs remind me of the Verve and PJ Harvey with a bit of Kristin Hirsch thrown in.
There is Love in You, Four Tet
Some fantastic electronica on this record, he's back making records i can connect with, lost me for a while.
Big Echo, The Morning Benders
Lovely record, has a very poppy start gets progressively less so - like a fusion of Vampire Weekend, Deerhunter and Grizzly Bear, it's produced by their Chris Taylor.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
His new album, 'How They Are' is on itunes.
This was my first time in the new music venue Workmens Club beside the Clarence in Dublin. Nice small room and friendly staff. Thumbs up.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
This photo was taken at Dublin's new Grand Canal Theatre a few hours ago. Rufus is in the early stages of his tour for new album All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu.
For this tour he's having venues make an announcement pre-show requesting no applause during the first half while he plays the new record in its entirety. The audience are also asked to note that Rufus' walking on and off stage is considered part of the performance. Tonight, they very nearly managed to pull off the feat of quietness but then one over enthusiastic punter sitting near the edge of the venue couldn't contain their accumulated store of pent up clapping, letting rip as Rufus had almost completed his theatrically slow exit.
The new album was recorded with the knowledge that Rufus's mother, the fine singer songwriter Kate Mc Garrigle, had little time left to live. It is sombre, dark, deliberately harsh, sometimes unmelodious. It occupies a place in Rufus's canon similar to Sinatra's desolate, inconsolable 'Only the Lonely.' The theatrical presentation of the new material and his decision to present it as one piece is spot on; most of these songs wouldn't work inter-spliced with his back catalogue. The first half worked well for me initially through songs like 'Martha' addressed to his arguably equally talented sister, but after a while the unrelenting gloom becomes wearying, particularly through the batch of Shakespeare sonnets adapted to music. Still, Rufus can't be faulted for staying true to his vision and where his heart is at the moment; he is still, clearly, naturally, in mourning.
I enjoyed the second half of the show a lot more, where Rufus, still alone at the piano, played a selection of songs from his previous five albums. Even during this section, it was the sad (but this time beautiful and wistful) tracks like Dinner at Eight, Leaving for Paris, and Memphis Skyline that he played the best.
This, the fifth time I've seen him live was a stark contrast to the joyful showmanship of his Oxygen performance in 2007. I've been lucky enough to see him play Vicar Street with his mom and Aunt Anna McGarrigle, and Martha, and also to see mesmerising shows at Vicar Street during the Want One and Two tours. I'll be back for more next time he's in Dublin. The man is truly a musical treasure to be cherished.
Oh and the new venue Grand Canal Theatre? Very impressive.
Great photo of Rufus and really interesting article here.