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Monday, 1 December 2008

The Monthly - November 08

Here it is, my pick of the best songs I've discovered this month...

1. Bobby Goldsboro – I Can See Clearly Now New To Me
This is a nice way to start a compilation in dreary, cold November. When this song kicks in properly at about the 40 second mark, it brings with it such a sense of joy that when it cropped up on my iTunes I genuinely stopped what I was doing and just listened. I think I even smiled. The man himself was active in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s and was never the most critically popular, but what the hell, this is a lovely little track to kick us off with.

2. Bellamy Brothers – Let Your Love Flow Reissue
No, you haven’t accidentally tuned into regional radio. This tune rocks – in a soft kind of a way. As the soundbed to the new Barclaycard advert (where the guy gets the water slide home from the office), this has inevitably been re-released as part of a Bellamy Brothers push in the UK. It was originally a UK top ten (and US #1) hit for the Florida brothers in 1976.

3. Richard & Linda Thompson – When I Get To The Border New To Me
Teddy, son of Richard & Linda, is currently enjoying much success with his own music career, but I’m more interested in his folk parents. Richard was a member of Fairport Convention (a central group in the late ‘60s UK folk scene) before he spent the ‘70s recording with his wife Linda. This track stuck out on their best of, not least because Richard does a remarkably good job of evoking ye olden ways for a guy born in Notting Hill.

4. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Magick Hot Off The Press
Back to the present day, and it’s good to have a new Ryan Adams album out, it being all of a fortnight since his last one (or something). As ever, there’s a lot of top class acoustica on the new Cardinology album, but this electric number stood out for me.

5. Morris Tepper - Mescalito Hot Off The Press
Morris Tepper played with crazy-but-enormously-influential rock dude Captain Beefheart in the 1970s, but is now releasing a new album of his own, playing every instrument. It’s a dirty track with lots of Nick Cave vocals, Queens of the Stone Age Guitars and Iggy Pop attitude.

6. Deep Purple - Emmaretta New To Me
If, like me, you thought Deep Purple were a poor man’s Black Sabbath, then the recent discovery of several excellent psych-rock tracks like this were a real eye-opener. This is from the same period (late ‘60s of course) as Hush, their track that featured in a car ad recently and had the honour of Kula Shaker covering it in the ‘90s.

7. Battles - Atlas New To Me
Crazy, crazy, crazy. Battles are often described as an ‘experimental band’, and while that might make a lot of people run a mile, this kind of loopiness serves them well. The album came out to much critical acclaim nearly two years ago, but I’m only just catching up with it.

8. Crazy P – Stop Space Return Hot Off The Press
Okay, let’s leave the guitars for a moment. Disappointingly, the P of Crazy P’s name stands for Penis, which from the quality of this track I’d have hoped for better. But that’s probably just me getting old. They’re a British dance production duo and this really stuck out for me – they’ve got a big cult following in clubland and it’s easy to see why with good shit like this.

9. Metronomy – Radio Ladio Hot Off The Press
Staying on the dancefloor for a minute, here’s another UK dance act, this time from Devon. Metronomy have had more good press for their Nights Out album than a lot of bands hope for in a career, so I was compelled to investigate. I have to say I was disappointed. But then this track got under my skin, and when the chorus kicks in after you’ve heard it a few times, then you might be won over too. Or skip it, see if I care.

10. Kid Sister – Get Fresh Hot Off The Press
Chicago’s Kid Sister keeps chucking out great tracks, and here’s the latest. She’s featured on the monthly CD before so I won’t repeat myself here, but if she keeps putting out tracks of this quality she’s got a serious chance of replacing Santogold and MIA in my lady MC affections.

11. Chuck Berry – Memphis, Tennessee New To Me
What all the best “old” tracks lack in production and sonic oomph, they make up for in charm and character, and that’s never more true than for anything by Mr Berry. Thanks to the free CD with Uncut magazine for this pick (as chosen by Paul Weller, no less).

12. The Acorn – Flood Pt. 1 Hot Off The Press
I’ve name-checked the Rough Trade Album Club before and this is another product of that. It’s a hit and miss process, but when Rough Trade get it right, it’s a good feeling. This album sat on my desk for a couple of weeks before I bothered putting it on (having never heard of The Acorn) but as soon as I did I knew it was a good ‘un. Canadian Rolf Klausener is behind this loose concept album based on the life of his Honduran mother, and for my money, with a few more listens I think it will rank up there with the other excellent Log Cabin albums of 2008 (as I like to call them) – Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and Port O’Brien.

13. Mark Kozelek – Lazy New To Me
The eagle-eyed among you may recognise the name Mark Kozelek from June’s Best Of, then recording under the Sun Kil-Moon name, but here he is in solo guise. I still don’t know much about him, but this cover of Low’s Lazy is a great track, and as I know there are a couple of Low fans who get this CD, I thought it well worth including.

14. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run Rediscovery of the Month
Wow, what a way to finish. Sure this will be a hit for a lot of you. Couple of reasons why it came up for me this month. First, the 30th anniversary reissue of the album (which came out a couple of years ago) was only £9 in Fopp (and comes with some excellent DVDs and sleevenotes along with the album, all in a big box). And secondly, I’ve always, always felt that this has more than a touch of the Christmas song about it. It’s the ding-dong percussion, for sure. But as I’m sure all of our thoughts are turning to the fast-approaching yule tide, I thought it a perfect way to end November’s CD.

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