This band from Sydney came across our radar via the iTunes store this week. Its actually their second original album (they put out an acoustic version of their first album Echo of Youth in 2020 as well) and is a really polished set of performances with well written, melodic pop (that would probably be labelled as Indie or Alternative). These Beatlesque songs are memorable and indicative of a talented band. Mixdown mag describes it as “a musical journey replete with opulent synths and rousing, crowd-pleasing choruses reminiscent of the golden era of bands like The Verve and The Strokes”.
Veteran Indie artists Cold War Kids have produced their 10th album. It doesn’t seem to have generated much buzz amongst the reviewers but its a solid set of alternative rock tracks from the Californian band, including a few toe tappers like “Run Away With Me”. Enjoy!
We don’t usually feature compilation albums, especially one which has been re-released three times in my lifetime (CD in 2003, remaster in 2010 then Giles Martin’s new remix last Friday) however this one is special. I’m sure there must be many Beatles fans who explored the band’s music through this and its companion 1967-1970 album. It might have been allegedly compiled by the band’s arch-villainous manager Allen Klein but it is a superlative collection of the music in their early years. One great complement to the band was always in reviews of this collection which pointed out that despite filling two double albums with ‘greatest hits’ there were still some absolute crackers left off. That has now been rectified in this new release which now justifies two CDs in running time and has added some notable omissions such as “I Saw Her Standing There”, “Twist and Shout”, “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Here, There and Everywhere”. Some of the others strike me as ‘political’ additions to increase the presence of George Harrison or correct a perceived lack of tracks from the Revolver album – as creative and revolutionary as it was I don’t feel “Tomorrow Never Knows” sits nicely on a greatest hits collection. But those are quibbles.
In any case the interesting thing isn’t the additional tracks, its the remixes. These aren’t just yawnworthy tweaks for uber fans (bringing the bass slightly forward in a song for example) but dramatic reworkings of songs whose stereo mixes suffered from early ideas of what a stereo mix should be. These were more designed to show off the novelty of the technology and featured quirks such as all the vocals being located far off to the right and the drums on the left. Additionally four early songs couldn’t be properly mixed in stereo due to their original multitrack tapes being lost. Giles Martin has now reworked these songs with lovely spacious mixes with much more ‘realistic’ soundstages, locating the vocals and drums near the centre and spreading other sounds around. It is quite a revelation and for me will be the definitive version going forward.
Enjoy these absolute classic songs with us this week and hear this incredible band develop in their early years.
Melbournian Angie McMahon stimulated an interesting review by a Guardian author, who began by describing an anxiety attack resolved by a walk and listening to McMahon’s second album “Light, Dark, Light Again”. Although it may have therapeutic qualities the album is undoubtedly a musically accomplished set of contemporary singer-songwriter fare that bears repeated listening. Lyrically accomplished with great melodies and performance, McMahon is a real talent and we look forward to listening this week.
Its hard to believe that it is 18 years since the last album of original music from the Stones. What is astonishing is that a band which has been around for sixty years is releasing some of their best music in decades. It sounds like the Stones but also enjoys freshness. It also features a few other greats including Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney. We have had a few surprises from legacy artists such as Bob Dylan in the past few years (including Sir Paul) but this album is up there with the best of them. Relevant, eminently re-listenable and incredibly an album which can sit unshirking alongside the rest of their discography. “A bunch of hackneyed duds” – Sorry Pitchfork you’re completely off the mark.
This is pretty clearly a between albums clearout of material from an incredibly talented master musician (ala Carly Rae Jepson’s The Loveliest Time or The National’s Laugh Track) so its not bright and bumpy as The Guardian seemed to hope. This is a great selection of contemporary/timeless singer-songwriter material.
The Melbournians have come through with another fantastic collection of folk rock, genuine, warm, heartfelt and melodic. Clash rightly said that it “showcases a consistent and refined range in their musicality over a decade after their first release”. Enjoy this excellent live performance of “Black & Thunder” and other tracks from the album this week.
“Irresistably melodic 80s nostalgic trip” – so The Guardian described British artist Birdy’s fifth album. Given its four out of five star rating we assume this is a compliment of sorts – and it should be. Although we welcome a broad palette of sounds at New Zealand Net Radio the synthy sound Birdy (and many other artists in the past few years) have been adopting is really enjoyable. Our bar for playback is that the music has to have a tune – this album easily surpasses that bar. A collection of really solid songs with a few standout tracks, Birdy continues to deliver.
Hozier is back with a wonderful album revolving around isolation and death, informed by Dante’s Inferno. OK its not disco but its not as grim as it sounds either! The Telegraph described the album as “further evidence of an artist who takes pride in every aspect of his craft, concocting songs of emotional and philosophical depth in richly detailed sonic environments that push this venerable genre into thrilling new spaces”.
This week we step back thirty six years to Robbie Robertson’s first solo album from 1987, over a decade after he parted ways with the influential The Band. He rewarded fans for waiting, recruiting an all star team of collaborators including U2, Maria McKee and Ivan Neville. The Guardian described it as “ambitious and cinematic”, a kaleidoscope of great music, moody and never straying back into the blues and country flavours he became famous for as a crucial part of The Band. More known for his guitar playing in the band, here he lets his voice take flight. We’ll enjoy this album as a tribute to his passing last week.
Robbie Robertson July 5 1943 – August 9 2023