What's the difference between this year and last? Well, one could make any number of extreme economic (confusion/recession), political (villain/hero), or even personal (Liverpool/NYC) comparisons, but the music carries things through here and that's where this comes from.........
This time last year I'd already posted a couple of times about releases I'd missed from 2007. January provided a couple of interesting listens but, overall, the new offerings up to March had been somewhat lacklustre. As a result, I frequently turned back to the successes of the bygone year that had gone by me. The list was extensive. I expected the same this year - at least in terms of missed gems, rather than a slow start to the New Year - but it has taken me a lot longer to reflect on them. Chiefly I put this down to the unrelenting pace of excellent records coming out in early 2009. Already, Dalek, Animal Collective, Neko Case, A.C. Newman, Lamb of God, Sepultura, Bon Iver, and The Appleseed Cast have released noteworthy discs........and I haven't even had time to check out all of them in the detail they deserve!
So, understandably, the previous year has taken a back seat. No longer, though, as a couple of the better offerings have demanded my attention and blown the just-settled dust from the book of 2008. Here we go:
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
I quite enjoyed 2004's Bright Like Neon Love, so it's strange that I didn't get into this album much sooner. It was even featured on eMusic, to which I had a monthly subscription, so I have no cause to plead ignorance. Annnnnnnnd it's considerably better than the aforementioned record in most every way. Simple but unbelievably catchy rhythms and eminently danceable tunes, highlighted perfectly by tracks like 'So Haunted' and the remixed-to-oblivion 'Lights & Music', are par for the course. Everything is slickly produced and forms a complete soundtrack for a night on the tiles.......or simply a swift pick up when life gets a bit slow.
MP3: Cut Copy - Lights & Music (Radio Edit)
The Bronx - III
My omission and catch up on this one was covered extensively here. Suffice it to say this is still a solid Bronx record and I was much rather have heard it last year for my list purposes, but distribution was, generously described, lacking. Could easily have been missed by others and that would be a shame.
MP3: The Bronx - Knifeman
Johnny Foreigner - Waited Up Til It Was Light
Now then, this one did creep under the radar. In the same way that a genuine scouser in a crowd of Norwegians at Anfield slips by, it was lost in the sea of imitators. A ton of music popped up for this band over the last couple of years.....demos, cover mounts, remastered tracks etc......so although the single perked up my ears, I assumed it was just another individual track release to continue the intesrest. Nope. It was this rough and ready slice of jagged, melodic rock. Dual gender vox collide in a 1997 (the band) kind of way, synths and childish keys underpin rough guitars before breaking into inexplicably accessible choruses. It should be a mess in the way that you would expect a young, raw rock band from Birmingham to sound, but it all gels into a wonderful cacophony.
MP3: Johnny Foreigner - Salt, Peppa & Spinderella
Buy Buy (UK folks.....cheaper)
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Like Cut Copy, there's certainly no case to make for this not having appeared on my radar. It was on some 2007 lists and was widely lauded last year by anyone that missed the first sailing. Thus I arrive, laden with luggage and 5 minutes late, clinging to the trailing life jacket that is the Blood Bank ep. Another that was covered in a post earlier this year, I've recently picked up the full length and am still trying to dig into the crevices. It's as quiet and beautiful as expected, yet I still find myself creeping back to the ep for the real emotional access. Probably just a matter of time, and meanwhile it's obvious to see from where the praise stems.
MP3: Bon Iver - Skinny Love
There are more to come but this gets me off and running. The difficulty now is a more familiar dilemma. Delve back into the past and resurrect some missed gems, or gaze into the next month's releases and try to avoid something amazing becoming next year's lost treasure..........ever feel like one set of ears isn't enough?
Now playing: Scott Weiland - I Know It's Too Late