Yes, Summer is over as one of our featured artists suggest, and it is reflected in the music currently released. Even more so I imagine the pandemic is reflected in the songs, both those down-to-earth, close-to-the-microphone – songs, and the defiant, happy give-the-world-the-finger – songs.
This is the last regular blog list of 2020, but I’ll come back and sum up the year closer to Christimas, with my pick of the best of this horrid year.
If you are already in the Christmas Mood, let me re-introduce my list of brand new Christmas releases from 2019, just click HERE 🙂
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 this far in 2020, now more than 27 hours of continuous music….. Click here.
And – by clicking on the album covers in the blog, you will be taken directly to that particular album in full..
Fabulous comeback from Bright Eyes, the band encompassing Conor Oberst, the man with the saddest voice on the planet. Still, the album only makes me happy and wanting to sing along.
Not sure you like contempary jazz? Espen Eriksen Trio might be your path in to this particular world, melodic and haunting, while tecnically brillant.
My good friend Terje Formoe started out as a folk singer more than 40 years ago, and has returned to his roots, having in the meantime written, produced and performed in Norway’s most enduring and popular children’s universe, Captain Sabertooth. I am glad he is back as a singer, creating heartfelt, down-to-earth songs brimming with humanity.
Non-binary, trans and of Malawian heritage artist Anijmile from Texas has released a truly suprising debut album, hard to pin down, beautiful while painful, and well worth listening to.
Unashamed fun from sixtet Red Rum Club, happy rock’n’roll with lyrics that seem to ignore totally the woes of the world. It feels good to foot tap again. But remember one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.
Such style, such absolutely perfect nostalgia – folk singer Loundon Wainwright III takes us back to a time very few of us have been part of, and we all feel at home there, with a big band that sounds like, I guess, the big bands sounded in the 1920s. If they had today’s recording equipment. Which they didn’t.
They all stayed at home and never met, but musicians recording Read the Sign still made it swing, and soul & jazz singer Odd Rene Andersen has rarely sounded better. Still, I wish they had a bit more interesting material to work with. The best tracks are in the blog list.
The Fleet Foxes harmonies are back! So appropriate with tiny waves on the cover, this is how Fleet Foxes music feels. A number of great tracks, fluid and, yes, catching, at times even hummable.
A delightful new album from the voice that warms you like a tea cozie. Melody Gardot has picked songs from the jazz catalogue at large, whatever fits her – and so definitely our – moods. Sounds so effortless. I am sure it isn’t.
One should think it is a brilliant idea to re-record an album fifty years hence. But also nerve wracking, not only for the artist, for the audience as well that loved it the first time around. Cat Stevens has shown respect for his own original work, but changed as much as his lifetime of experience has let him do, not to improve, but to show us all that we move with the times, and so does music. This is no longer 1970. We are not necessarily wiser, we are that same, but more weathered, more experienced, less certain. I am deeply moved by listening to the young Cat Stevens singing a duet with himself half a century later in Father and Son.
Becky Jones, lead singer of Groove Armada, is out with her third solo album as the artist Saint Saviour. It is a deeply personal, tender album . Not all songs are readily accessible, it feels as if we are eavesdropping on a private recording, but most of the time Saint Saviour opens the door and invites us in.
Kathleen Edwards has been away from the music stage for a long time. Following a period of heavy drinking, she decided to quit her life off the rails, went back to her native Canada and opened Quitter cafe – and after a while started recording Total Freedom, a gem of an album, with sometimes wry, other times happy lyrics, but always melodic and upbeat music.
Now, who is this Ziemba who writes and performs some of the catchiest music of the year? With lyrics that seem to reveal all? Her real name is Rene Kladzyk from El Paso. She used to get attention for selling song-specific scents to the audience at her concerts. Now she shouldn’t need gimmicks like that any more…
You might find this month’s personal favourites among the singles, because a great number of well-established artists have released just one or two songs recently. Of course it is cumbersome and challenging to record for weeks in a studio these days, so let’s be happy with whatever they bring us. So much to choose from; my singles list has never been longer than this.
You will also find a few – let’s call them pre-Christmas releases. And a classic track from Elton John not previously released.
Ain Du – ISAK
Aldri i livet – Nr. 4
Angels – ARY
Another Space and Time – Laura Veirs
Blackness of the Night – Bill Callahan, Bonnie Prince Billy, AZITA
Californian Soil/Baby It’s You – London Grammar
Carageen – Jodie Marie
Checka – Delara & Loredana
Come Down in Time (Jazz version) – Elton John
Come Give Me Love – First Aid Kit
Curve a Line – CATT
Dido’s Lament – Annie Lennox
Elita – Gary Barlow, Michael Bublé & Sebastian Yatra
Fysstereisgutt – Kjell Reianes & Vera Ottesen
God is in the Detour – VanWyck
Happy Days – Cory Henry
Heartbeats – Amason & Dante
Heart of Glass – Miley Cirus
Here for Good – Jordan Moyes
The Hills of Cinnamon/Pancho & Lefty – The Lilac Time
Indian Jasmine – Zouzouelectric
Joyous We’ll Be – Adam Douglas
A Little Bit Yours – JP Saxe
Next Life – Nerina Pallot
Part VII (Live) – Keith Jarett
Sing to the Moon – Laura Mvula & The Chapel Choir of Pembroke College, Cambridge
Still Here for You – Northkid
Thank U- AURORA
Trouble of the World – Sinéad O’Connor
Tru på meg – Odd Einar
Turn on the Lights – Jamie Cullum
Vilde Piger, Vilde Drenge – Oh Land & Zeritu Kebede
Vi trenger ikke hage vi – Ine Hoem
Finally, let’s go back to 1985 and perhaps the smoothest voice and sound in the history of pop music. Sade Adu formed a band and released Diamond Life, including the single Smooth Operator, one of the biggest hits of the 80s. With elements of jazz, soul and pop, Diamond Life didn’t fit into any of those categories, because it was a little of all, so a better term was coined: sophisti-pop. A number of other artists could easily fit into that catergory, like Simply Red, Prefab Sprout, Everything but the Girl, but Sade is the queen of genre. And Diamond Life the defining sophisti-pop album.