Download these songs this month…
LCD Soundsystem, Song: Tonite
From album: American Dream
The path of musical history is littered with the corpses of great bands that have split up, either in a fit of acrimony or with great celebratory fanfare, only to return later as shadows of their former selves. Pale imitations seeking to retain what made them who they were, while ‘modernizing’ their sound in a vain attempt to appeal to a new audience, typically achieving neither. Not so for LCD Soundsystem. After bowing out gracefully following a farewell concert held in their beloved New York in April 2011, they’ve returned. American Dream is their comeback album, and it’s a triumph. The dance-punk/new wave style remains intact, and James Murphy’s lyrics continue to plow the themes of depression, friendship and love, but there is a new edge. With a track dedicated to David Bowie and lyrics intended to be sung by Leonard Cohen (who died just before recording started), age, fallen heroes and the passing of time provide the main subtext here. Tonite is the 2nd single off the album and is already a classic. An anti-hipster, doom laden tune that you can dance to.
(Also download these songs from the album: Call The Police, Oh Baby, American Dream)
Frankie Rose, Song: Red Museum
From album: Cage Tropical
Frankie Rose leaves behind her new temporary home in LA to craft an album as 80s as shoulder pads. Think A Flock Of Seagulls meets The Cure meets Cocteau Twins meets Tears For Fears. Full of glistening synths and sumptuous harmonies, the album Cage Tropical presents only a small tweak on her previous work. But it’s an important one and the song Red Museum, like much of the rest of the album comes across as sweetly as the album title itself suggests.
(Also download these songs from the album: Trouble, Dyson Sphere, Love In Rockets)
Brand New, Song: Could Never Be Heaven
From album: Science Fiction
If your taste leans towards the dark, brooding ballads of Metallica circa The Unforgiven, then the latest from Brand New is for you. If you think Sylvia Plath’s love poems would make great lyrics, then that’s a bonus. The New Yorkers surprise with a new album after an 8-year hiatus and then promptly announce that it will be their last. And what a way to bow out. Moving ever further from their emo beginnings, Science Fiction is a set of menacing tracks, many of which sound like they’re just about to explode (some do). Could Never Be Heaven is a pretty-on-the-outside ode to family. Plucked acoustic guitar serves as the primary backing.
(Also download these songs from the album: Lit Me Up, Waste, 137)
The War On Drugs, Song: Holding On
From album: A Deeper Understanding
A return of widescreen Americana as only Springsteen was capable of in his heyday. With most tracks sprawling out beyond the 6-minute mark, The War On Drugs have mastered the art on 4th album A Deeper Understanding. Adam Granduciel’s vocals have the tone of a well-worn favorite jacket as he weaves his tales over a deeply layered, beautifully played backdrop. The second single Holding On opens with a jaunty synth refrain before stepping back into a relaxed groove coupled with vague ‘road trip as metaphor for love wasted’ lyrics. Melancholic and haunting stuff to listen to. With headphones on or open road listening; either way, you’ll get swept up in its grandiosity.
Also download these songs from the album: Nothing To Find, Thinking Of A Place, Strangest Thing)
La Torre Ibiza, Volumen Uno (2016)
La Torre Ibiza, Volumen Dos (2017)
In the early 90s a small beach cafe in Ibiza started releasing compilations of their sunset DJ mixes. The Cafe del Mar albums would soon be heard everywhere; from trendy restaurants to the wash bays at hair salons, and Sunday afternoon braais. And so, the Balearic chill-out sound was born. While that series still trundles on, the approach has become a bit formulaic. A new compilation series has now filled the gap from La Torre, a small inn on Ibiza’s west coast. They present a much more interesting and eclectic proposition, with tracks spanning old movie soundtracks, global chants from as far afield as Senegal and Hawaii, Italo-synth cheese and 90s indie. The 2 volumes that are available so far are stunningly compiled and perfect to soundtrack our Spring-Summer. No specific tracks recommended here, just put them on, pour yourself a glass of your favorite cocktail and let them play out.
In case you missed it…
Stevie Wonder, Song: Higher Ground
From album: Original Musiquarium (from 1982)
Unlike other greatest hits collections Original Musiquarium was no career-spanning summary of Stevie Wonder’s 22 albums. Rather, this was a collection bringing together the best tracks of his untouchable and imperious era. The 10-year stretch from the release of Music Of My Mind in 1972 to Hotter Than July in 1982, produced 7 near-perfect albums where Wonder turned his handicap into deep introspection. Higher Ground was a single from 1973’s Innervisions, where Wonder plays all of the instruments himself, drums included (no handicap there!). Over a distinctive wah sound (achieved by playing a clavinet through an effects pedal) Wonder sings of reincarnation. Poignantly, a near fatal car crash left Wonder in a coma shortly after the song’s release – he regained consciousness while tapping his fingers along to the tune being hummed into his ear.
(Also download these songs from the album: Superstition, Master Blaster (Jammin’), Superwoman/Where Were You When I Needed You)
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