You release an album and everyone tells you how ingenious it is. Time rushes by, and before you know it your next album is due, with higher expectations than before. The listener travels a similar route – first the excitement from a new discovery, then the eager wait for a similarly ingenious next album from the same artist. Sometimes both parties are disappointed, other times the love story between artist and fan continues. Of the 19 albums I’m presenting you with this month, 9 were on my eagerly-anticipated list. Unfortunately, not all of the albums lived up to my expectations. But some really did.
The updated list is HERE... More than 26 hours of continuous great music!!
I have also singled out the 19 albums reviewed today in the Newcomers List, found HERE.…
Hugh Coltman – Who’s Happy? -Pop/Jazz
I thought Coltman’s tribute to Nat King Cole was among last year’s best albums. His new album with his own material contains a lot of great crooner songs, many with a New Orleans jazz/blues feel. No doubt Coltman learned a lot from his time in King Cole land. Who’s Happy? Me.
First Aid Kit – Ruins – Country/Folk
Not so happy with Ruins, I am afraid. The two Swedish sisters came back after the fabulous Stay Gold in 2014 to a much more classic country album in 2018m not as creative, but still with a number of great tracks with the inimitable harmonies that have become their trademark.
Frederico Albanese – By the Deep Sea – Classical/Instrumental
Not so happy with By the Deep Sea either, I am afraid. The Italian pianist residing in Berlin calmed my senses for a year with his previous lovely The Blue Hour. This time he repeats himself a bit too much. Still, it is hard to stay stressed even with his new album, and the tracks left in my list show off Albanese’s brilliance as a composer and artist.
Chris Price – Dalmatian – Pop
Price’s debut album was among the very best of 2017. Dalmatian would have benefited from a bit of pruning, but I am still excited about this composer and singer with a knack for good songwriting almost equalling the work of masters like Jeff Lynne and Billy Joel. Almost.
Sarah Blasko – Depth of Field – Pop
Blasko was my number one in 2015, then came a forgettable album, and now she’s back in great form with Depth of Field. How come this artist isn’t better known and more loved? Her voice could melt a pole, her songwriting surpasses so many other similar pop artists.
The Silver Seas – Moonlight Road – Pop
Their Chateau Revenge album from 2010 in my view still stands as one of the best albums this decade. Alaska from 2011 followed up somewhat. Since then we have been waiting for news from the band. It came this year, and although some of the songs on Moonlight Road show off the brilliance of Chateau Revenge, they are few and far between. Moonlight Road contains too many undistinguished tracks, I am afraid, but I still believe the band has it in them…
Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour – Country/Pop
…like Kacey Musgraves! I am so proud to have discovered this artist long before the majority of reviewers did. Her two previous albums are so full of fireworks and fun and heartbreak and truth that it is almost impossible to believe she didn’t score massively. With Golden Hour reviewers are going crazy, calling her the new Taylor Swift. And she deserves every bit of praise. The only fly in the ointment is that she will be swamped with composers and producers who will do their best to peel off the very layers that make her the superior artist she is. I hope she proves me wrong – and on Golden Hour there is only one horrible track (“High Horse” – which is already the most listened to track by Musgraves on Spotify – Sigh!), the rest is every bit as lovely as everything else she has released.
Joan as a Police Woman – Damned Devotion – Rock
Joan is every bit as tough as a police woman, she does it her own way with a roughness and a different kind of beat to what other of her contemporaries offer. I have kept adding tracks by Joan Wasser for years, knowing that the music is an acquired taste. Her latest, Damned Devotion, is full of musical surprises, great songwriting and beats borrowed from every conceivable genre.
Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You – Pop/Folk
Carlile’s The Story was a darling of radio stations across the world. Since then, more similar songs has emerged, performed with a voice that sounds like the singer swallowed rusty nails before recording, many of the songs following the now-familiar recipe of starting quiet and building to a thundering crescendo. On By The Way, I Forgive You, there are a fair number of those as well, but Brandi Carlile gives us tender un-pompous ballads in between, some of which are now to be found in your newest playlist.
Glen Hansard – Between Two Shores – Blues/Rock
There is more real sincerity in Glen Hanrard’s latest solo album, Between Two Shores, a tender, well composed collection of new songs. Hansard sounds like a mild Springsteen, perhaps equally influenced by him and by Dylan and Van Morrison.
Graham Coxon – The End of the F***ing World – Soundtrack
Those of you who have enjoyed the Netflix series, must have noticed the very interesting soundtrack of songs from Graham Coxon of Blur fame. The low-key songs get your attention, but they also add a lot of texture to the TV series. Coxon recorded the songs in his own home, sometimes only wearing an old dressing gown, having just rolled out of bed. You get that feeling from listen to this brilliant album.
Moby – Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt – Electronica
…says Moby, and it seem as if he wanted to add: But now everything is sad and ugly and everything hurts. Because this a sad album, more elegy than fun and laughter, your might say. But it is often hauntingly beautiful, despite the lyrics without much hope, and particularly the tracks with Raquel Rodriguez are pleasing and calming.
Morten Abel – Evig din – Pop/Rock
There is considerably more fun, both musically and (if you understand Norwegian) lyrically in Morten Abel’s solo album Evig din (Forever Yours). This is an artist who has done his bit of peeing on lampposts in his native Norway. Now he has less to prove and is more focused on giving his imagination a free reign, being older and not particularly wiser. Abel was the lead singer of The September When, a band who enjoyed tremendous success in Scandinavia in the 1990s.
Lucy Dacus – Historian – Singer-songwriter
Lucy Dacus from Richmond, Virginia, could easily have been on my much awaited list, but I simply missed her debut album. After Historian has really caught my attention with its brilliant collection of musical short stories, I will definitely go back and listen to No Burden from 2016. There is something genuinely true about everything Dacus does on Historian, great lyrics, a laid-back kind of performing that makes me lean forward, and with an irreverent electric guitar playing contradicting the emotional tone of the songs.
Holly Miranda – Mutual Horse – Blues/Rock/Pop
Miranda is from Detroit, Michigan, and has recorded for many years without really reaching fame beyond her group of loyal followers. Which is sad and unfair, because her mix of blues. rock and pop is pleasing and well worth listening to. I enjoy that each track comes as a bit of a surprise – new instrumentation, new style every time.
The Wood Brothers – One Drop of Truth – Folk Rock
This trio that sounds like at least a five-piece band, performs what has been called soulful folk, a good label to describe the energetic and peppy album. I would love to see these guys live, that must be true fireworks.
Savoy – See the Beauty in Your Drab Home Town – Pop/Rock
Savoy will get you down to the ground again. The husband-and-wife band of Pål and Lauren Waaktar-Savoy jumps from happy Mamas-and-the-Papas pop in Bump, to the dark and the introvert in other tracks. Pål Waaktaar-Savoy’s day job is with A-ha, and Savoy rarely matches the main event, but it happens.
Andy Gunn – Too Many Guitars to Give Up Now – Blues
Andy Gunn has every reason to sing and play the blues. His health is in a true mess, but he keeps recording, and his latest album offers some of the best blues to be found these days, raw and full of pain, but at the same time with a kind of optimisim and humour in there, too.
Joan Baez – Whistle Down the Wind – Folk
Baez has turned 79, but who would have believed. She recently visited the Norwegian-Swedish talk show Skavlan, and revealed she was worried about her voice losing its strength and flexibility, but from listening to this quiet, gentle album, you wouldn’t suspect it. She absolutely seems to be in total control of both voice, song material and guitar playing.
I am pruning Petter’s Blog List, to make room for the 128 new songs. Out go Ray Davies, Jacob Ogawa, Cigarettes After Sex, Charlotte Dos Santos, The Unthanks, Saint Etienne, Ron Sexsmith, Imelda May, Lindsay Buckingham & Christine McVie, Lorde, Cameron Avery, The Beatles, Youn Sun Nah, Arve Henriksen, London Grammar and Don Auerbach. Can you believe all the great music I am taking out?