Currently Listening

Another RSD purchase. Bought this on the strength of loving Queen of Denmark, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s 5 songs recorded with other artists. My favourite is the Sinead O’Connor one, but they’re all good.

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This is highly recommended. Mick, formerly of the Pale Fountains, Shack and the Strands) is 60 this year, and has had a colourful life. This all comes out here. Record of the year so far for me.

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The first of my Amazon order to arrive is the debut album from Alvvays which was played at full blast in my car on the way to work today. I first got into them around September of last year. I’ve listened to both of their albums as well as their cassette only b-sides collection online so listening to this record at maximum volume on my car stereo system for the first time was nothing short of cathartic. Perhaps even more so than the only two live shows (Lilly Hiatt, Drive-By Truckers) I’ve attended since the pandemic began.

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First listen but still a bit too early to say much about it other than I agree with what others have said in that this one is going to take some time to sink in. Leading up to this first listen I’ve avoided digging too deep into the album beyond a few songs. Same for reading too much about it, though a lot of that is unavoidable to a degree. There’s no going back to it without a self-imposed social media blackout but I sort of miss the days when I knew next to nothing about an album prior to its release other than maybe hearing a single or reading a review. I say that only because I believe sometimes knowing too much about an album beforehand might alter my initial impression of it. On the other hand, sometimes it may be helpful. In this case, I’ve read some things about a few of these songs ahead of time that I doubt I would have known about otherwise or would have figured out on my own just from listening to them.

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I’ve had a really crap day. Won’t go into that, but I’m drinking an imperial stout and listening to Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb. I’ve just listened to Queen of Denmark by John Grant. Both albums are sufficiently beautiful and melancholy to make me feel a bit better. Though I guess it might be the beer…

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I kinda miss the days where a new album by a favourite band was predominantly brand new. It used to be that only the lead single would be heard before the album release. I still remember the joy of falling in love with Automatic for the People, a song at a time, over a period of weeks after the release.

That said, I loved what R.E.M. did with Accelerate, 90 Nights and all that. Lots of teasers. It was a lot of fun, though there wasn’t an awful lot left to hear once the album came out that we hadn’t at least had a preview of. Or heard via bootleg recordings from the Olympia.

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With Sharon Van Etten’s new album she didn’t release any singles, just b-sides as she wanted fans to hear the album as a whole upon its release.

These days I don’t mind hearing two or three songs before an album comes out but in most cases I don’t want to hear the entire thing beforehand even if I have the option to.

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It takes a lot of self-control not to listen to something new by someone you love! I tried it with Collapse Into Now and failed spectacularly!

Love Sharon Van Etten’s approach to her new album. It’s on my list of things to listen to. I’m not hugely familiar with her work but I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve heard.

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Parts of this are country tinged as expected but is pretty much on the mellow side throughout. I’ve only listened once so far so perhaps I’ll warm up to it but at this stage I’m preferring My Woman which is the only other Angel album I own.

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Another artist on my list of people to listen to. Liked the song with Sharon Van Etten, and the Tiny Desk that you posted a while back.

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I’ve been a fan for a while but the only album I have by her so far is Tramp.

I became a fan of the Texas goth rock band, Rosegarden Funeral Party, a couple of years ago. I finally saw them in concert on Tuesday when they opened for Gene Love Jezebel.

Leah Lane, the singer of Rosegarden Funeral Party, has a great Siouxsie Sioux vibe.

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Serena Maneesh I got several years ago, haven’t listened to this cd for a while, and my new arrival, Sierra Ferrell.

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This certainly is a party.

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I love Sierra but haven’t seen her in concert or picked up any of her albums yet. A friend introduced me to her music a few years ago via some of her videos on the Gems On VHS YouTube channel.


Heartless Bastards - A Beautiful Life

I’ve been aware of Heartless Bastards for years but didn’t check them out for the first time until a few years ago when they came to Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC. After the show, my friend that had encouraged me to attend the show gave me a copy of their Arrow album, which I love. My next purchase was lead singer Erika Wennestrom’s debut solo album, Sweet Unknown from 2018 which resonated deeply with me largely because I was dealing with some of the same issues Erika addressed on the album (more on that here for those that may be interested). A Beautiful Life is her return to working with Heartless Bastards. I’m only one listen in but it immediately strikes me as a strong effort, one I can’t wait to return to. It’s also a reminder that I still have some catching up to as far as the rest of their catalog.

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Alvvays - Antisocialites

On first listen I’m not loving this as much as Alvvays’ debut. Understandable as they set the bar high with that one.

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A blurb from Uncut piqued my interest in Margo late last year. Based on the 2 or 3 songs I heard beforehand I’m loving this as much if not more than I was expecting to.

I had a listen to Erika Wennestrom’s debut album last night, and liked it. I’ll have a listen to Margo Cilker tonight.

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On the Erika Wennerstrom tip, I remember when she posted this but I just checked out for the first time a few minutes ago. It’s funny, my friend that turned me onto Heartless Bastards said she wasn’t all that fond of Erika’s solo album. I guess it didn’t rock enough for her. It was not a knock against them, but my friend said it reminded her of Mazzy Star. I can’t say I notice the influence but there it is at #6.

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After listening to this I’d have to say I’d put James McMurtry in the same category as Guy Clark and John Prine when it comes to the level of consistency of their entire recorded output.

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Automatic, a Los Angeles post-punk band, played a great set early in the day at the Cruel World Music Festival last month. Here is a song from their new album, which I already have on pre-order.

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