Linus
As I tend to watch a lot of movies, sometimes it's easier for me to find myself listening to recording artists that I wouldn't normally come across by even if I was deliberately trying to find something new and fresh to my ears. Such was the case with Linda Perhacs. I happened to listen to her while watching Daft Punk's amazing retro-sci-fi movie ELECTROMA, a movie with no dialogues whatsoever and with a soundtrack compiled by the french electro-dance duo entirely from tracks they loved or found that best suited the movie. I was completely mesmerized by the track you can listen to below - If You Were My Man - and played it over and over again when I finally got the DVD until I realized I had to further investigate this mysterious artist that noone seemed to know about. And so I got the album.

Parallelograms
was Perhacs first and only album (again, my penchant for artists with very short careers on full display here...) and it's a beauty with songs that range from the beautifully introspective to the exquisitely arranged. If she recorded more albums, she could have been a contender with Joni Mitchell for one of the best female recording artists of the 70's, because even on this, her debut, she already showed signs of songwriting greatness. As proof, the song below is a sort of B-side as it wasn't even included on the album itself when it came out. Now you can imagine the quality of the other ones. Highly recommended, of course.

Aural Labels: , 1 comments | edit post
Sonic Reactions: 
Linus
I bet you didn't see this one coming, did you? Well, neither did I. It's just that lately I've been having to deal with very hard situations and having to take a lot of tough decisions that I really need to listen to some harmonious music to get myself together. And this one here by japanese genius Ryuichi Sakamoto is just the perfect thing for that.

Probably my favorite Sakamoto album (alongside BTTB), 1996 consists of musical reinterpretations of his own compositions arranged for a trio. The results are wondrous. It's quite amazing the way in which he succeeds to perfectly translate a totally different sonic arquitecture into the world of chamber music, which is basically what this album really is. Old classics next to then current favorites, they're all here and for me the key for the success of this album lies in the absolutely gorgeous melodies he's been able to produce all these years as a recording artist. That's the basis and sine qua non of the perennial charm of his compositions. Hats off, then.

I leave you with the song that most of us got introduced to his very own particular brand of music: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. Enter bliss.

Aural Labels: , 0 comments | edit post
Sonic Reactions: 
Linus
A classic. Dusty Springfield at her very best and released when she was at the top of her game. I came to it because of my love of her cover version of the bewitching Windmills of Her Mind, which I consider at least as good as the original if not even better in parts. See what you think by pressing the "play" button below.

All the tracks on Dusty in Memphis are winners in their own right and you can really tell that there was a thorough and quite criterious selection of tracks by the producers involved to best suit her unique voice. What really surprises me is that apparently she didn't like her voice and when singing in the booth, she'd ask for the music on her headphones to be as loud as possible so that she could not hear herself singing. Can you believe that? Some people just don't know how good they really are.

Fortunately, that didn't stop her from singing for many more years and from releasing a string of hit albums, though this particular one is viewed as her apex, both artistically and career-wise. If you still don't have this album, I heartily recommend it to you. You will not be let down. Not in the least.

Aural Labels: , , , , 0 comments | edit post
Sonic Reactions: 
Linus
There are very few bands that are able to get such high accolades and recognition with their first album. American debuters Fleet Foxes have done just that. And for once, the praises are completely worthy.

Their self-titled first album is simply that: an instant classic. Perfect songs, beautifully sung, exquisitely performed and lovingly produced. I wonder if they already feel the pressure of the dreaded sophomore album syndrome. I honestly hope not because I can only see them going even bigger from here, actually. Debut single, White Winter Hymnal is one of the most bizarre first singles ever released: barely 2 1/2 minutes long, almost no instrumentation whatsoever, big vocal harmonies and a sound that is everything but hip. Yet it worked wonders and still sounds great after many listenings. Brave little bastards, they are.

The rest of the album continues the trend: not a dud in sight, and although the influences are reasonably obvious (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, etc.), their sound is unique and distinctive. I leave you with the album opener proper: Sun It Rises.

Aural Labels: , , , , 0 comments | edit post
Sonic Reactions: 
Linus
Pure melodic perfection. No prizes to whom guesses what my next post is going to be about. Stay tuned.

Aural Labels: 0 comments | edit post
Sonic Reactions: 
Linus
It's funny the way I find myself approaching some things. I remember seeing the cover for Camera Obscura's Let's Get Out Of This Country album on a store somewhere and thinking, "that's a really cute cover". Nice wallpaper, too. And I also remember thinking that I would someday get to hear it but just not that day in particular, even though I perfectly could have. Well, that day has come.

I guess some things you have to ready for. And now I am. This is a perfectly delightful record and one of the most upbeat albums I've ever heard without it being too irritating. You know what I mean, I'm sure. The singer, Tracyanne Campbell, delivers her vocals in such a nonchalant way, as if she doesn't care, that the overall effect is one of sweet freedom and carelessness. The production is also one of its major assets, reminding us of the big band sound that used to be the trademark of one Phil Spector.

The whole album is a winner but to get you in the mood, I'll leave you with one of the best singles this part of the 21st century: Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken. Enjoy.

Aural Labels: , , 0 comments | edit post
Sonic Reactions: 
Linus
Apologizing in advance for the lack of recent updates, I come back with a great excuse for a post. Remember when I told you in the post below that one of the major forces behind Françoise Hardy's La Question album being one brazilian singer and musician by the name of Tuca? Well, I was intrigued and I wanted more. And so I went searching for her.

She recorded no more than 3 albums worth of music and left an indelible mark on everyone that got to know her by dying very young due to a food disorder. A real shame because she must be one of Brazil's best kept secrets as her music still sounds strong after all these years she's been gone. The album I chose to highlight in this post is her third and last: Dracula, I Love You (an odd name choice by any standard). Her first two are very melodic incursions into the very rich world of Bossa Nova and her voice throughout those two outings is very relaxed and soothing. This one, however, finds Tuca stretching herself both as a composer and as a singer. Featuring lots of scat, demented improvisations, space-age sounds and schizophrenic thematic structures, Dracula, I Love You is proof that she was capable of reaching amazing musical heights in the course of just a few bars.

The music is very chalenging, though and it requires a few listens before it all starts to make sense. A grower, then. I leave you with O Sorvete (The Ice-Cream), one of the many centerpieces on this amazing album.

Aural Labels: , , 0 comments | edit post
Sonic Reactions: 
Linus
Her most beautiful album ever and a testament to her enduring popularity and charm, Françoise Hardy's La Question marked the end of an era in her career and also a magnificent collaboration with a key element in the creation of this pop masterpiece: brazilian female singer and musician, Tuca.

Tuca was the driving force behind this record and co-wrote most of the songs with Hardy and other musicians. And what a record this is. From beginning to end, it envelops you in such a relaxed mood with the strangest chord progressions you'll likely to hear in a long time. At times, you feel as if you're listening to a strange mix of bossa nova with chanson française, which is exactly what this is, hence its peculiarity.

Ever since receiving this little wonder on the mail yesterday, I just couldn't stop listening to it. Every song a small masterpiece of breathy vocals and deeply felt lyrics which have always been Hardy's trademark. I wish she could have collaborated more with Tuca. The possibilities were endless, at least judging from this incredible track here below: Chanson D'O.

Aural Labels: , 0 comments | edit post
Sonic Reactions: