One of the great things about this exercise is discovering new artists: Nadia Reid, Pale Waves, Marlon Williams and Spanish Love Songs are four that I discovered from this batch. I also loved revisiting Pink Floyd’s legendary Dark Side Of The Moon, and Sepultura’s finest album Roots.
046 Tame Impala – The Slow Rush (2020). I can’t say I enjoy this as much as the previous couple of albums from Mr Parker, but its fine – at its best when it sounds more organic, as on tracks like “Breathe Deeper” and “Is It True”, the latter of which is probably my favourite track here. (February 15, 2021)
047 Various Artists – True Colours, New Colours (2021). Thanks to Mr Chris Schulz who mentioned this one on his blog; I wasn’t aware it even existed. True Colours, New Colours finds a group of current Kiwi and Aussie artists covering every song from Enz’s classic album True Colours, which I listened to a couple of weeks ago. For the most part, it is pretty middling – Shihad turns in a fairly bland cover of “I Got You”, while Stan Walker does his best on “Poor Boy” and Bernard Fanning tries to milk something out of “I Hope I Never”. The album is fortunately saved by The Beths’ “What’s The Matter With You”, Busby Marou’s “Missing Person”, and Lime Cordiale’s “Nobody Takes Me Seriously”, all of which give new life to the songs they cover. (February 16, 2021)
048 Pale Waves – Who Am I? (2021). Wikipedia describes Pale Waves as an indie pop group, which they probably are, but I don’t know how “indie” it is to create an album that sounds like it could have been released by Avril Lavigne after “Sk8er Boi” but before “Girlfriend”.
(February 17, 2021)
049 Nadia Reid – Out Of My Province (2020). Recommended by Maria. I was actually semi-familiar with Nadia Reid’s work – I’ve not made an effort to seek her out, but have heard her before – most recently as part of the APRA Silver Scrolls, where the closing track from this record (“Get The Devil Out”) was nominated. This album is gorgeous – minimalism in both instrument and voice, but occasionally rising up with strings, or vocal layering. Just beautiful. The track “Best Thing” is probably the best example of what I’m saying. (February 18, 2021)
050 Ben Platt – Sing To Me Instead (2019). Recommended by Rhianon. You may recognise Ben Platt – he played Benji in Pitch Perfect, the friend of the romantic interest guy who did magic tricks. Look, I love my wife, and I respect her taste in music, but I just didn’t enjoy this album – I think the songwriting talent is there, but I mostly found this to be over-produced and over-stuffed in an effort to push it into pop territory; maybe it was that I had just listened to the perfectly balanced Nadia Reid the day before, but Mr Platt could learn a few things from that album. The track “Grow As We Go” is cute though, and shows the potential inherent in the music. “Hurt Me Once” is a good’n, too. (February 19, 2021)
051 Spanish Love Songs – Brave Faces Everyone (2020). Recommended by Richard, who called this one of his favourite albums of 2020. I’ll be honest: I had no idea who Spanish Love Songs were; I assumed, from the name, that I was going to hear some kind of classical acoustic guitar. Imagine my surprise when I found out they were a fairly aggressive punk-pop band. I thoroughly enjoyed this album – the music is tight, the sound is interesting, the vocalist is doing some intriguing work. My favourite tracks: “Self-Destruction (As A Sensible Career Choice”, “Beachfront Property” and “Losers 2”. (February 20, 2021)
052 Sepultura – Roots (1996). This is the final album featuring founding member Max Cavalera – he left after a management disagreement and founded Soulfly in 1997 – and it turns 25 years old this year. I mentioned earlier in the year that Chaos AD was kind of Sepultura’s pinnacle, but Roots is by far their best album: it draws on their Brazilian heritage to create a kind of tribal/metal mash-up sound, and it totally fucking works. I mean, if you like heavy metal music. Opener “Roots Bloody Roots” and single “Ratamahatta” (which features then-Korn drummer David Silveria) are the highlights, but this is a solid album from start to finish. (February 21, 2021)
053 Various – Inside Llewyn Davis OST (2013). Recommend by Nick. Inside Llewyn Davis is kind of the forgotten Coen Brothers film, at least for me – its good and all, but when you’re talking Coen Brothers, my mind immediately goes to Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou, No Country For Old Men … this one is way down the list. It does have a great soundtrack though: Oscar Isaac broke out in this role, and did all his own vocals – alongside co-stars Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Adam Driver (yes, Adam Driver is in this film). Isaac is the star though, his performance on “Green Green Rock Road” is so great. (February 22, 2021)
054 Marlon Williams – Marlon Williams (2015). Another recommendation from Maria, who suggested this album back when I reviewed Marlon’s later album Make Way For Love. I think this was a better album – certainly a little more upbeat, and Marlon sounds a little more raw, especially on the opening tracks. My favourite on the album is probably the second song “After All”, but I didn’t find anything here that I enjoyed as much as Make Way For Love’s “Love Is A Terrible Thing”. (February 23, 2021)
055 Keaton Henson – Monument (2020). Mr Henson is something of a beloved figure in our house – Rhianon was already a huge fan of his work when we met, and I’ve developed into a pretty big fan as well. Monument is an album that does all the things Henson does and does them well, but it doesn’t offer much new beyond atmospherics, which isn’t exactly surprising given that he has been writing movie soundtracks. It is incredibly sad though, written and released as his father was passing away from illness. Still, a good listen, but not his best work. (February 24, 2021)
056 The Mint Chicks – Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! (2006). I have never understood the appeal of this album. They can play their guitars fast. They can sing fast along with them. The title track is pretty good, I guess. But I don’t get it. (I should add that I saw the Mint Chicks live twice and was impressed both times. Maybe they’re just a better live band than a recorded band?) (February 25, 2021)
057 Daft Punk – Discovery (2001). I’m not sure what it means that Daft Punk decided to split on/near the 20th anniversary of (probably) their greatest album. While I actually prefer the musicality of Random Access Memories, Discovery is clearly their masterpiece, and the most interesting album the duo created – and it holds up spectacularly. (February 26, 2021)
058 Mogwai – As The Love Continues (2021). I was aware of Mogwai before this, but it was their soundtrack to the brilliant French series Les Revenants which made me a fan. This album isn’t drastically different from their earlier work – but the ambient noise they create, aggressive at times, calming at others, makes for a fantastic soundtrack to your day. (February 27, 2021)
059 Mac Miller – Circles (2020). This one was recommended by Brooks. Mac Miller passed away in 2018; Circles is a collection of tracks he was working on at the time of his death, complete posthumously by producer Jon Brion. I can’t say I particularly like Miller’s flow, but this album is undeniably funky. I enjoyed it! (February 28, 2021)
060 Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973). As I said when I listened to Fleetwood Mac, I don’t think I could put together a Top 5 Albums Ever list, but Dark Side Of The Moon would be in the discussion, maybe even for the top spot. Endlessly inventive, and lyrically confronting, this is a challenging but rewarding listen, and it holds up. (March 1, 2021)
This post is part of my ongoing effort to listen to a new album every single day of 2021. If you have any suggestions on what I should listen to next, send them through to firstname.lastname@example.org.