Linus
Something strange happens when The Divine Comedy release a new album. Unknowingly to the impending release, I start listening to their records almost as a compulsion and then when I go to their official website to find out what they've been up to recently, I discover that they are about to put out a new album in the near future. Serendipity, they call it.

This is their last one and its title - Victory for the Comic Muse - is a nod to their very first and quite rare album - Fanfare for the Comic Muse - a quite different and very indie-sounding recording that is very much at odds with their following releases.

Victory (...) sees them return to their comic sensibility at its best, combining satirical lines with british wit and heartfelt lyrics often through the course of a single song. It's a trait that its mastermind, Neil Hannon, has been demonstrating again and again to be his main gift and reason behind the band's success. And noone does it quite like him. His character driven songs woven through exquisitely melodic songs are quite a treasure in today's music scene. Not to mention his amazing voice, seemingly intact since he started his career.

I'm going to leave you with my favorite song of the album, the affecting Lady Of A Certain Age. Brilliant, that's all I have to say.

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Linus
I love when musicians get all adventurous and grow tired of mainstream acceptance and go out and make the biggest follies that only the most unique minds are capable of. The funny thing is that this sometimes result in the biggest hits of their career. Welcome then to the new phase of Ms. Newsom's musical journey.

Losing her voice and rising up from the ashes with a triple-album (no less) is no mean feat. To anyone's standard, I'm sure. But that's just what Joanna Newsom did and she's receiving high praises from both the critics and (most importantly) the buying public. And although it's a daunting work when one begins to analyse it (and listen to it...), it becomes quite clear right from the start that this lady is special. And that she cooks with ingredients sagely brewed from the most mysterious sources.

It's quite a journey to listen to this album from beginning to end and some might want to take it in chunks. Or one record at a time. But it's in cases like these that I remember my muse Tori Amos' cunning words: "Listening to a record is like making love; if you can't endure listening to a long record, maybe you cannot make love for that long, either". Listen to Autumn. See you soon.

Autumn
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Linus
All good things come in threes... stay tuned...

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Linus
Continuing in French Lands of the Weird Instrumentals, this one I bring you here today is essential listening to anyone interested in Gainsbourg and funky imaginary soundtracks. Confused? Don't be.

Jean-Claude Vannier's L'Enfant Assassin des Mouches (The Child Fly-killer) was recorded during the sessions for Gainsbourg's classic masterpiece, Histoire de Melody Nelson. Vannier being Gainsbourg right-hand man during those historical sessions (he was responsible both for the production and string arrangements), he then went off to make this extremely other-worldly album that is at times innaccessible, bewildering, mesmerizing and polarizing. It's one of those that you have to be in the right mood for it or you'll find it completely bonkers and instantly dismiss it. Which you definitely mustn't.

It's a concept album before concept albums became the "thing" to do and it tells the story of a small child travelling through the Fly Kingdom (concept by Gainsbourg, no less). I'm going to leave you with one of its most accessible tracks: Danse des mouches noires gardes du roi, which roughly translates as Dance of the king's guards' black flies. See you soon.

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Linus
And while we're on synthesizer music around here (see below), why not remember a true classic of the genre? And here it is: Jean-Jacques Perrey's Moog Indigo, a trail-blazing work of unlimited fun whenever you put it on.

Perrey started his career by selling Ondioline synthesizers and from there to making albums with another very famous synthesizer - the titular Moog - was a shortcut. Funny thing is, he never intended or pretended to be part of some kind of avant-garde movement with a grand scheme of things. His only goal was to popularize the electronic instrument and let's just say that he did more than alright with it!

I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite tracks from this enormously influencial album (just ask any rap or hip-hop artist about the Moog and you'll get some pretty awkward smiles in return...) and while I'm at it, I'm going to wish you a great week. Listen to E. V. A..

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Linus
Goldfrapp are seemingly incapable of making a bad record. Head First marks the fifth time they put out an album that is instantly catchy, addictive and barrier-pushing. What are they on and please can we have it, too?

This time around, they're back in time some 20 odd years and it's synth pop and breathy vocals all the way. 80's galore in full-on mode. And amazingly, it works. I have to confess not being particularly fond of that decade, so it's a bit of a surprise when I find that Head First has become my favorite pop record from the 80's, except that it was recorded last year!

Plus, it has the correct total number of tracks - 9, which is all one can take of hearing synthesizers going bonkers and Casio-like beats. The influences are all there to be seen and they do not try to hide them (thankfully) and it makes the record all the more fun for it. I'm going to leave you with Alive, currently my favorite track from Head First and wish you a great weekend - this is the perfect soundtack for that!

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Linus
Camera Obscura's follow-up to the immensely enjoyable Let's Get Out Of This Country finds them again on familiar territory: exploring big soundscapes, keeping in mind the Phil Spector legacy and soothing us with the lead vocalist feminine ramblings on men, love and anything that passes her mind. You don't change a winning team, that's for sure.

My Maudlin Career is a perfectly respectable follow-up to one of the best records of late and, if anything, it even succeeds the impossible: it one-ups it. Maybe the songs are not as easily recognizable this time around but that is just a question of letting them enter your consciousness and soon after, you'll start humming them almost unawarely.

Much like She & Him's recent Volume 2, this album surprises in its unwillingness to change. All they have to offer is more of the same and I, for one, thank them for that. I'm going to leave you with the title track - My Maudlin Career, for those not keeping track... - and wish a great week all around.

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Linus
Camera Obscura are at it again: making blissfully perfect pop songs. Enjoy the video.

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