This is what a reviewer called the latest album from Marina & The Diamonds (reviewed by me below), and I thought this was a great title for my blog list overall. Except you will also find Blues, Jazz, Folk, Country, World and Rock for Grownups in my list. It is the grownups part that is particularly fitting, not necessarily grownup in age (I appreciate the many younger readers/listeners) but grownup in taste. I imagine readers/listeners have listened to a lot of music before and like to be both challenged and gratified. Today I am publishing 74 tracks from 14 albums with artists from 7 countries, a new record I believe, but to get you to the music fast, let me be short about what they are and who are behind them. https://open.spotify.com/user/pewalla/playlist/0IYuA8tJNdTAT8sc1E8dBk
Michael Bublé, P.J. Proby, Georgie Fame, Claire Teal, Natalie Cole, Chris Farlowe and Mark Knopfler are all helping Van Morrison out on his first duet album, Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue. . You should think this was an unbeatable collection, but although I have picked 7 tracks, I was disappointed, because Duets serves more as a sing-a-long album with Van. Very little new is added to the interpretations of his classic songs. But I thought: These are great songs however they are treated, so what the heck. Sing a long, you too, if you like.
Moving down to Ireland and to a promising, for me, new group, Villagers. Darling Arithmatic is their third album, and everything seems to be centred on Conor J. O’Brien,. The music is atmospheric and with lovely tunes and great, romantic lyrics.
I often hear music enthusiasts speak condescendingly about Danish pop music. I find this quite unfair, as the two artists I have added ought to prove. Mew has been around for a while and is big in their home country. Like Villagers the band offers atmospheric pop with beautiful harmonies. Not all tracks on +- is as brilliant as the four tracks I have added, though. But isnt’t that the point of this list, you get the best bits?
Oh Land, or Nanna Øland Fabricius as her real name is, has been in my list before. Her new album, Earthsick, offers more of the same, but I like the variety in the songs and the grandness of the orchestrations. Nanna likes to pour it on and the result is well worth listening to.
While in Scandinavia, let’s listen to two Norwegian artists, very different from each other. Daniel Kvammen from Geilo comes from a singer/songwriter tradition, but his debut album Fremad i alle retninga (Forward in all directions) offers great variety the transcends the genre.
Anneli Drecker is a seasoned artist, vocalist in arctic electronica band Bel Canto who has also recorded with Röyksopp. The tracks of her new album Rocks and Straws are all based on poems by Arvid Hanssen translated to English. There is not much electronica left in Anneli, but what remains warms the heart and massages your eardrums. This is really lovely.
I started quoting a review of Marina and the Diamonds’ new album FROOT. Although the terms used fit the overall description of this blog, the album at times becomes to bubblygummy for me. I loved their previous album and Marina Diamandis’ sultry voice, but on FROOT there are too many tracks leaving me with nothing. What is left, though, is great pop music, and you find those seven tracks in the list.
I am also a bit disappointed in The Leisure Society’s new album with the great title The Fine Art of Hanging On. Nick Hemming (who for the most part is The Leisure Society) has given us fabulous pop music before, and four of the tracks on the new album should give you reason enough to delve into their back catalogue. Long standing blog readers should remember many previous samples from the band.
Death Cab for Cutie’s new album offers a number of good songs, but again I had expected more. Lead singer Ben Gibbard realeased an excellent solo album last year, so perhaps most of the energy went into that one? Still, this is a brilliant band, so when the songs I didn’t appreciate were deleted, I was left with four enjoyable tracks from Kintsugi to wet your appetite for their back catalogue.
You might also remember Denai Moore. She is still a young, fairly unknown artist, 22 years of age, but her sound is remarkable, solemn and with an insisting voice that grabs me, reminding me of Adele and Laura Mvula. Enjoyr tracks from her new album Elsewhere.
There is not much fun around Bill Fay either, this is an introvert performer, but with a quiet intensity in the very low-intensity songs. Bill Fay seems to deal with the greater questions in life on his new album Who is the Sender? , and even about the art of song writing. Bill has been around since the 70s, but has always been an outsider in the business, which might explain the quality of his music…
London’s jazz/funk band Bassistry shows a lot of promise, but even though their latest album,What the Hell Do You Call This? was a bit disappointing, I have added 3 tracks to the list. Let’s keep an eye (and two ears) on the band, great things may evolve later.
The Lilac Time also shows a lot of promise, with folksy pop music with a country twist, reminding me of Prefab Sprout, with beautiful, well-crafted songs, sweet melodies. Their album is called No Sad Songs, which is not entirely true.
Finally, something very different, Pokey LaFarge. This (Something in the Water) is a mixture of old styles of pop music, from ragtime to swing to music from down south. Some of it gets a bit too much and too rich, but in small doses (I have added four tracks) this is a lot of fun.
Like Sarah Brightman so poignantly proclaimed, it is time to say goodbye, this time to Gjermund Larsen, Sid Griffin, Deptford Goth, Adrian Crowley, Bell Gardens, Stars, Neil Diamond, Skinny Dipper, The New Basement Tapes, Jaymay, Pink Floyd, Woman’s Hour and Mark Nevin,