Its overdue to make changes and additions to my blog list, I am sorry to those of you who are getting bored of the songs that has been in the list since April. As of today they will be replaced, by new and exciting music, recorded recently, but with roots going back to great music from the past.
Let’s start out in Scotland, the homeland of my ancestors, and totally underrated as a music nation, as I hope I have proven in earlier blog chapters. Ally Kerr has given name to my blog entry today, with his new album Viva Melodia. And the album is truly an ode to the melody. Kerr from Glasgow has been compared to Simon & Garfunkel, and the comparison is fair, despite the fact that Kerr’s voice is even more syrupy than Garfunkel’s. This is sweet, vulnerable and just pure lovely music. Taster: Ally Kerr – Everything I’ve Learned I Have Forgotten
Brian Setzer is an artist who pays more respects to his roots than most contemporary artists. His new album is Rockability Riot: All Original is shameless flirtation with the 50s and 60s rockabilly music. This has held true for Setzer’s career as a whole, both on his own, or with his bands like Stray Cats. I dare you to keep your feet steady when you listen to the playful tracks of this sunny and fun album. Taster: Brian Setzer – Blue Lights, Big City
There is less playfulness in the music of Yes. And yes – they are back, this time without Jon Andersen, but don’t worry, you won’t notice. Their new lead singer Jon Davison sounds like a carbon copy, and Yes sounds exactly like they did 30 years ago, down to the production and the orchestration. While most other bands have left 70s synths and organs behind, Yes puts the retrospective sound in the front of their sound picture. Some reviewers naturally get annoyed; I like the total lack of change in Heaven & Earth. Taster: Yes – To Ascend
Adam Cohen, a younger man than any of the Yes guys, but with a famous father even older, is also stuck in the magic music decades 30-40 years ago. Cohen plays with the sound and words of his father, Leonard, and creates another great album, We Go Home. It is in his genes, obviously, to create melodies with pathos despite their simplicity, and to mold the melodies to words filled with equal meaning. Taster: Adam Cohen – Uniform
But enough seriousness, at least for a little while… I went to an amazing acoustic concert with Elvis Costello recently, and Larkin Poe from Atlanta, Georgia warmed up the audience for him. The two sisters also did their gig acoustically, but when I listened to their album, Kin, I realized that the songs deserve a full band around them. Here is a lot of energy, recklessness and playfulness – and one should think radio friendliness. Taster: Larkin Poe – We Intertwine
Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg isn’t the best of artist names if you ask me. I think Avigdor from Long Beach, California realized this, he took the name Avi Buffalo, and even formed a band using the same name. There is a lot of sweet, lo-fi pop music around these days, and Avi Buffalo is among the best at it. His (their) second album is called At Best Cuckold, filled with luscious harmonies and gentle melodies, scaring no-one, entertaining many. Including me. Taster: Avi Buffalo – Oxygen Tank
Another indie band, Shovels & Rope, is a bit sharper and folksy, but still with a sweetness to the music. The band consists of married couple Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst and their newly released album is called Swimmin’ Time, with more guitars but with as much sweet harmonies as Avi Buffalo. No doubt Michael and Cary Ann has listened to Adam Cohen’s father and many of his contemporaries, but their sound is definitely their own. Taster: Shovels & Rope – Coping Mechanism
They might have listened to Mark Fry as well; he has been around longer than most in today’s blog list, with the possible exception of Yes. In a way Mark Fry is a kind of Sugar Man, an artist that got a lot of attention in the early 70s but disappeared. Well, he didn’t really disappear after the success of Dreaming with Alice, he just concentrated on his second passion, painting, and has supposedly made quite a career out of it, even though he has dabbled in music as well since the 1970s. Now he is back with a beautiful album, and all is well. South Wind, Clear Sky, is an album worth waiting for in my view, perfect music for the autumn, a lot of songs in minor that will calm you down and dream the day away. Taster: Mark Fry – River Kings
Last, but not least: Emilie Nicolas from Bekkestua, Norway. She released a single last year (in my bloglist, of course) and performed at a few festivals, and suddenly all local reviewers were writing elegies in honour of the new star. When her first album, Like I’m A Warrior, was released about a month ago, it went to number one in Norway overnight, and the reviews were ecstatic. Emilie has been a frequent guest in our house when she grew up, and it is no surprise to me that this sweet-tempered, talented girl now seems to hit the big-time, both in Norway and possibly elsewhere as well. She has a unique style of her own, painting music as much as playing it. This is sophisticated contemporary pop that demands much of its listener, so give Emilie time and let the melodies and the hues embrace you. Viva Melodia. Taster: Emilie Nicolas – Grown Up
To make room – and to move on in the world – quite a few artists leave us this time: Benmont Tent, Mary Coughlan, The Family Crest, tributes to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, I was i King, Robert Ellis, Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Peter Bruntnell, Simone Felice, Goldfrapp, John Newman, Amy Stroup and The Handsome Family. Some of them will definitely be back in the 2014-list.