On Shoulders of Giants

Some of you might say it is a sign of utter creative draught that contemporary artists look to the past for musical inspiration and that so much of new releases are covers, remixes and, yes, copies of previously released music. There might be some truth in that, but lets’s be open to another interpretation:  that some of today’s musicians add another layer to pieces we know so well and that they bring the world of music forward – by looking back.

I am protecting you against some of the worst examples of “inspired” music – sadly there’s a lot about – but in the March list you will find in my view interesting takes on everything from old shanties and Sinatra classics to Beach Boys and Disney hits with completely new melodies.  

And to make sure you are reminded of whose shoulders today’s artists are standing on, I have added one of the best albums of all time as this month’s classic album, the inimitable Abbey Road by The Beatles. I have also added Sinead O’Connors own remix of Nothing Compares to U, written by Prince, on the 30th anniversary of its release. Pop music doesn’t get much better than that.

How to listen:

Petter’s Short List contains excerpts of the albums and singles reviewed in the current blog entry. Click here.

But you can also listen to Petter’s Long List, which contains all music reviewed in 2020. Click here.

And – by clicking on the album covers in the blog, you will be taken directly to that particular album in full

 

After the Fire After the Rain
Lost Brothers

This Irish duo (who are not brothers by the way) keeps on releasing some of the most inspired folk around. There is so much of tranquil Ireland in here, that it feels absurd to label this Americana, but you know what I mean. There is softness, sadness, beauty in every track. Perfect prescription against a racing heart.

aloha
Son Little

Prince is dead, but he has not resurrected as Son Little. I think Son Little would have liked that, though.  Supposedly he lost all his demos when his hard drive crashed, and he recorded all this in 8 days to get over the loss and remember as much as possible. Which explains the roughness and the lack of polish – which also happens to be the allure of the album.

The Bare Romantic pt 2
highasakite

This is Norwegian indie band highasakite’s second EP release in just a few months, with a number of great tracks with their unmistakable sound, broadbrushed, bordering on the pompeous (which never hurt Queen on little bit), and very catchy.

Dreamers Do
Kat Edmonson

Queen of Vintage Pop, Kat Edmonson, has made an entertaining and interesting concept album, performing old Disney classics and jazz standards (mostly) in a novel way.

The Family Songbook
Haden Triplets

Yes, they are indeed triplets, and yes, it is the family songbook that inspired this album. As with Lost Brothers, the three daughters of jazz legend Charlie Haden perfect singing in perfect harmony. It is less swing and joy than with the 50s Andrew Sisters, but equally harmonious.

Half Moon Light
The Lone Bellow

«Half Moon Light is enough to comfort and reassure even on the darkest night of the soul. Let this evocative album be your friend and lift your spirit through to the morning.»  Highway Queens review. Enough said.

Hotspot
Pet Shop Boys

If you really long for time to stand still, this is the album for you. Nothing has really changed since Pet Shop Boys rose to prominence in the 1980s. A bit of a guilty pleasure for me, I don’t like it but I like it.

Intro
Lola Young

I don’t own a crystal ball, but if I did I would see Lola Young in it. I introduced this amazing talent last month with «Six Feet Under», and now the whole Intro album is out (excuse the pun). Imagine being 18 and churn out amazing lyrics and great songs like this…  Listening to Intro makes me think of Amy Winehouse, and more recently, Billie Eilish. Except Lola Young is very much her own. (I don’t think her name is, though).

The Last Bohemians
McAlmont & Webb

Another surprise retro album is The Last Bohemians by David McAlmont and Alex Webb, interpreting both Beatles, Queen and other pop greats in a jazzy fashion. Not everything serves as tributes to the originals, but the album pleases more than it displeases.

Storm Damage
Ben Watt

Storm Damage is an album by a man in his late 50s, musing on his life, lost love, changing surroundings, and mortality. By some incredible sleight of hand, he’s managed to make that unpalatable dish, delicious. Pop Matters review (Ben Watt was previously half of duo Everything But the Girl)

Swimmer
Tennis

It is unintentional, but this is the fourth duo in this month’s entry. Tennis is sometimes bubblegum, sometimes catchy high quality pop. Few duos sing and write about marital life as much as they do, which makes them kind of interesting.

Uncovered
Steve Harley

One of my true musical heroes, Steve Harley, is back with an un-Cockney-Rebel- release, mostly covering old favourites, including his own Compared with You. He has mellowed, but there is the occasional sting from the old days in his voice.

 

Lots of great new releases – and a giant re-release.

Besame Mucho – Edna Vazquez & Pink Martini

Bristlecone Pine – Rumer & Lost Hollow

Empire – Blanche

Ergens In Mijn Hoofd – Linde Schöne

God Only Knows – Lily Moore

Heartbreaker Please – Teddy Thompson

Let’s Go – Laura Gibson & Dave Depper

Music – Peter Bjorn and John

My Lotus Flower – Finn Andrews

New York, New York – Daisy Dash

Nothing Compares to U – Sinead O’Connor

No Time to Die – Billie Eilish

Now, Winter Comes – cabane & Kate Stables

Oh, Girl – Jonathan Wilson

Why You Gotta Do It – Willie J Healey

Abbey Road
The Beatles

This album, in my humble opinion, is among the most awesome compositions in all of musical history. To think that it received mixed reviews makes one doubt the whole music journalism business. I have picked some of the rarer played tracks, which also happen to be the best, again in my humble opinion. I’d better stop before I declare «Oh Darling» the best rock vocal performance of all time.  There. I’ve stopped.

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