Albums Of The Month
1. BECK – MORNING PHASE
On his remarkable 2002 album, Sea Change, Beck ditched his signature irony, break beats and jump cuts to vibe on the country-tinged singer-songwriter tradition of his L.A. hometown. Since then, the album’s stature has only grown – even as Beck left his fringed-suede jacket tucked away in a closet. He has finally put it back on for Morning Phase, which features many of the same players and themes as Sea Change. The result is a set that feels like an instant folk-rock classic. Comprised entirely of deeply melancholic strings and Beck’s heavily echoed voice, on initial listens ‘it can seem like a real trip into dark territory – ‘Wave’ for example ends with him simply repeating the word “isolation”, definitely less of a boisterous call to arms and more of a mournful lament. On Sea Change that’s exactly what it would’ve been too – the album was created off the back of a significant break up. Here on Morning Phase though, it seems there’s something more reflective going on, something older, wiser and a bit more philosophical. ‘Blue Moon’ might open with “I’m so tired of being alone”, but elsewhere Beck states “Your heart is a drum, keeping time with everyone”. The gently cascading chords of opener ‘Morning’ strongly recall the serene bliss of George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’, and the whole of Morning Phase carries that happily resigned mood that the former-Beatle often returned to. By its close, the sun has definitely come up on Morning Phase, and any suggestion that it’s simply a retread of Sea Change’s ruminations can be firmly put to bed. It might share some sonic similarities, but it’s an altogether brighter beast, built by an older, wiser soul who seems to have been taking a few years to work out exactly where he wants to be as an artist.
2. ANGEL OLSEN – BURN YOUR FIRE FOR NO WITNESS
Olsen’s voice is enchanting; it sounds like the result of a spell that called for Leonard Cohen’s blood, Buffy Sainte-Marie’s larynx, and a still-operational old-timey microphone emblazoned with radio call letters. Her songs are powered by a strange, anarchic electricity, always flickering on the edge of blowing out. By the laws of the unique universe she creates on her records, Wanting, Waiting, and (probably the most popular pastime in her songs) Thinking are not passive stances but active ways of being in the world; unruly emotion is a virtue. “You don’t sing so high and wild,” she sneers at one point to a detached lover, and in an Angel Olsen song this is an insult so harsh it’s almost obscene. This guy may as well be dead. Her music is honed in seclusion but now ready for more people to bear witness to its peculiar charms.
3. ST VINCENT – ST VINCENT
Annie Clark‘s bold and almost jarringly confident fourth record, St. Vincent, does not sound like it was recorded here on Earth. Its songs sprout with their own strange, squiggly lifeforms and are governed by unfamiliar laws of gravity. Check out the first one, “Rattlesnake”, a song that’s bare, Kraftwerky, and full of imagery that is somehow both Edenic and post-apocalyptic. Clark glances around: “Am I the only one in the only world?” She spots the title creature, gasps, and then comes this song’s idea of a chorus, like melodic gagging, or distress expressed in an 8-bit video game: “AH-AH-AH-AH-AH-AH AHH AHH/ AH-AH-AH-AH-AH-AH AHH AHH.” You often get the sense in a St. Vincent song that Clark has touched down on a desolate, previously unexplored planet without an air supply and is showing off the fact that—for the moment at least—she can still breathe. This is Clark’s hardest, tightest, and most confident record to date—a vaguely ominous promise of better days ahead. “We’ll be heroes on every bar stool,” she vows, sounding so sure of herself that you’re liable to follow her to whatever planet she’s headed.
4. NENEH CHERRY – BLANK PROJECT
5. TINARIWEN – EMMAAR
6. SOULJAZZ ORCHESTRA – INNER FIRE
7. PATTEN – ESTOILE NAIANT
8. SNOWBIRD – MOON
9. ILLUM SPHERE – GHOSTS OF THEN AND NOW
10. ROSANNE CASH – THE RIVER AND THE THREAD
*****CHECK OUT OUR ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2013!*****
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Top selling albums of 2013!
TOP 10 SELLING ALBUMS OF 2013 FOR MUSIC MANIA.
This is YOUR chart as you’ve parted with your hard earned cash at our till.
- Black Sabbath “13″
- David Bowie “the next day”
- Queens of the Stone Age “Like Clockwork”
- Arctic Monkeys “AM”
- Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds “Push the sky away”
- Black Veil Brides “Wretched and divine”
- Daft Punk “Random Access Memories”
- Arctic Monkeys “whatever people say i am….”
- Foals “holy fire”
- Black Star Riders “All hell breaks loose”
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Albums Of The Year 2013
We’re at that time of year again where we have to route through our personal record collections and scan over the shop stock at least 50 times to try and find all the things that we have bought and loved over the last 12 months. This year has seen a lot of variation between the staff here in what we have bought. The only album that all 3 of us bought and fully agreed on was our Number 1, The brilliant MATTHEW E. WHITE – BIG INNER who, with his Spacebomb crew, play us 7 tracks that groove along in a most blissful and lazy way. With soul and jazz elements throughout and comparisons to Allen Toussaint and Stax records to name but a few. And with choirs and brass hidden in the mix, and his hushed vocals, like someone whispering in your ear, he has managed to create a real timeless record. Hats off Sir! Lots of other things have pleased all 6 ears of ours and looking back over the list it’s clear to see that it has been another fantastic year for new music. We could gush over every album in the list but we’ll save it for when you come in store and buy any of these lovely albums. Here are the shop Top 10. For the full list: http://musicmaniauk.com/music-mania-albums-of-the-year-2013/
- Matthew e. White – Big Inner
- Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare
- Julia Holter – Loud City Song
- Phosphorescent – Muchacho
- Forest Swords – Engravings
- Bill Callahan – Dream River
- Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
- Janelle Monae – Electric Lady
- Goldfrapp – Tales Of Us
- James Blake – Overgrown
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