Getting pretty excited now…

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It’s a little less than a month until Auckland City Limits kicks off at Western Springs. There are the big headliners in the outstanding lineup – Legendary Grace Jones, prolific multi-genre musician Beck and painfully honest Will Toledo of Carseat Headrest (Best Albums 2016) but it’s going to be difficult to pick a favourite. I’m looking forward to seeing kiwi collaboration The Beths and their upbeat take on 90’s alt-rock.

American indie-folk band The Head and the Heart are a big deal too. Have a listen to ‘Library Magic ‘ (isn’t that a phrase so perfectly knitted together). I’m hoping they appear in the late afternoon sun.

I’m beside myself to see Aaradhna. I’ve listened for a long time but never seen her live. I’ve heard she has immense stage presence. Listen to her incredible voice here:

And we’ll be treated to the gorgeous harmonies of The Staves

And, of course, there is the brilliance of Thundercat. Too much! Hope to see you there – tickets are nonsensically still available….

The Year of the Chimera – 2014’s Best Albums

2014 was an interesting year for music. Established names pulled out career defining albums, while new artists stomped over the rickety remnants of genre boundaries to produce brilliant debut hybrids. There was more than something for every type of listener. For me, ‘Lost in the Dream’ by The War on Drugs stood above the others. Every time I listen to it I think of The Boss’ third album ‘Born to Run,’ albeit with an aesthetic of smoke and mirrors and hazy psychedelica. ‘Lost in the Dream’ was also Adam Granduciel’s third album, a labour of love in which he worked through panic attacks and anxiety to produce what I reckon is an enduring masterpiece.

I haven’t ordered these albums in any meaningful way except alphabetically and, at the bottom of the page, you’ll find a spotify playlist with  a couple of songs from each one. Continue reading

Through Adversity comes Strength…or a really great album….

Breakup albums. I’ve got a fair few on my ‘Albums I Listen to Incessantly and Never Tire of’  list: Ryan Adams’ ‘Heartbreaker’ is one, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/36-heartbreaker/, and Beck’s ‘Sea Change’ another, http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-best-albums-of-the-2000s-20110718/beck-sea-change-20110707 . I like these particular albums, not because I have schadenfreude tendencies, but because unexpectedly raw beauty has been created by two artists, neither of whom were previously known for their overly-sensitive sides. Beck sat on his twelve songs for two years not wanting to ‘strew his baggage across the public lobby.’ I suppose with track names like ‘Guess I’m Doing Fine,’ ‘Lonesome Tears’ and ‘Already Dead’ there could have been accusations of wallowing self-indulgence. Although the album is awash with lush string arrangements, the lyrics are so honest, so stricken yet delivered in a deadpan detached tone, that any hint of sentimentality doesn’t get a look in. Continue reading