Tag: david gray

365 Albums In 2021: #061-070

The finest Metallica album, a couple of classic NZ records, and a work of genius from Radiohead make up the core of this lot. Also, for some reason that Nick Cave and Warren Ellis album was one of the best reviewed of the year, even though I thought it sounded like rubbish.

061 Chris Whitley – Din of Ecstasy (1995). This one was recommended by Scott. I wasn’t familiar with Chris Whitley until I met Scott, who is an evangelistic fan of the late singer-songwriter. Din Of Ecstasy is universally agreed to be his best album, and its easy to hear why: Whitley captures the post-grunge sound of the time brilliantly, and the resulting album sounds of a piece with the likes of Soundgarden’s Superunknown. My favourite track: “O God My Heart Is Ready”. (March 2, 2021)

062 Metallica – Master Of Puppets (1986). Metallica’s magnum opus turns 35 years old this year – I reckon it might be their best album: coherent, clear and driven in its writing by the militaristic messaging, innovative in its musical composition – at least “Disposable Heroes” and “Leper Messiah” rank among their best songs – and original bass player Cliff Burton is at is his best here, especially on instrumental track “Orion”. (March 3, 2021)

063 The Mutton Birds – Salty (1994). Funnily enough, Salty sounds like kind of a companion piece to Chris Whitley’s album from Tuesday – though where Whitley leans into hard rock, McGlashan and co. lean in to the softer side. The other thing I noticed about Salty: it holds up really fucking well – hits like “The Heater” and “Ngaire” sound at home in 2021, and “Anchor Me” deserves its place as one of NZ’s best songs ever. My personal highlight: the absolutely gorgeous “When The Wind Comes Round” (March 4, 2021)

064 Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – Carnage (2021). I’ve never really understood or learned to appreciate Nick Cave. Adding Warren Ellis into the mix did nothing to change that. (March 5, 2021)

065 Kings Of Leon – When You See Yourself (2021). Ailish recommended I check this out way back in January, months before it came out. I haven’t kept up with Kings Of Leon since their “Sex On Fire’ heyday, but this album is fine – it sounds like them. But the album got overshadowed by the bizarre way they are selling it, summarised by David Farrier here: (March 6, 2021)

066 Phantogram – Ceremony (2020). I really dug this album – electronic beats overlaid with some really gorgeous vocals, and occasionally rock guitars. (March 7, 2021)

067 Sinead O’Connor – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1991). It had been a while since I checked out this album, and I had forgotten how heavy it is. But it is – artistically – a solid piece of work: it defies categorisation, landing all over the map in terms of genre, and is interesting throughout, even if it now sounds a little bit dated. (March 8, 2021)

068 Anais Mitchell – Hadestown (2010). Mitchell’s concept album eventually led to a Tony-winning Broadway show which, in my opinion, is not as good as the original. This is a funky, soul-infused indie folk album that tells the mythological tale of Orpheus, Eurydice and Hades. It is absolutely beautiful at times, and it drags at others. But it is a very good album. (March 9, 2021)

05069 Tim Minchin – Apart Together (2020). One of my most enjoyable shows of 2019 was Upright, a comedy series created by Tim Minchin in which he travels across Australia with an upright piano on a trailer. This album builds on the emotional cache of that show, and it is better for it. My favourite track is probably “Absence Of You” (the one-shot music video for which is incredible), though I’m also a sucker for the studio version of Upright’s hit “Carry You”. (March 10, 2021)

070 Split Enz – Waiata (1981). Another week, another iconic Split Enz album turning 40 years old! Waiata is not as good as True Colours; that isn’t opinion, it’s a fact. But the biggest songs from this album – “History Never Repeats” and “One Step Ahead” – are two of the groups best. (March 11, 2021)

071 The Whitlams – Torch The Moon (2002). Interestingly, Torch The Moon is maybe the most accessible of The Whitlams albums – but after listening to Tim Minchin a couple of days earlier, it was clear how influenced he must have been by The Whitlams, and this album specifically. Rhianon recommended this album and she was right to do so: it is a brilliant record, a lot of fun to listen to. Recommended. (March 12, 2021)

072 Chris Cornell – Songbook (2011). This is one of my sister’s favourite albums so it made sense to listen to it on the day of her wedding; she even walked down the aisle to his cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You”. I actually remember seeing Cornell on the tour that spawned Songbook – he played at the Aotea Centre, and it was a life-changing experience. RIP Mr Cornell. (March 13, 2021)

073 Radiohead – The Bends (1995). This one was recommended by my bro-in-law Derek, but the joke is on him – I was already planning to listen to this album because it is AMAZING. Also, Radiohead turned their official website into a free-to-access collection of their music – split by album, there is every song, every b-side, music videos, live shows, photos and more. One of the internet’s very best time-sinks: (March 14, 2021)

074 U2 – The Joshua Tree (1987). Even though U2 are a bit naff in 2021, this album is iconic and enduring. Also, fun fact: I once sang “Where The Streets Have No Name” during a church service, and opened by explaining what the song was about, then was corrected by the pastor, who was fucking wrong. (March 15, 2021)

075 David Gray – Skellig (2021). I love David Gray; his album Life In Slow Motion is one of my favourites ever. But this album is boring – there is no variance within each song, and they all run for 5-6 minutes apiece, and there is a ton of them. (March 16, 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

365 Albums In 2021: #001-015

For some reason, this year I decided to try and listen to an album every single day – a different album every single day, to be clear, so no repeat plays, and no thrashing my favourites every day. It has turned out to be a helluva lot of fun, so much so that I’m already planning to do it again in 2022.

The albums I listened to weren’t just my own choices. I took to Facebook, asking for requests from friends, so a lot of albums came from them. I looked at the release schedule and tried to listen to plenty of new albums. I added albums I’d not heard from a list of the Best Of 2020, and from Rolling Stone’s 500 Best Albums Of All Time list. One friend suggested a Kiwi album at least once a week, so I worked that in too. I posted the results on Facebook regularly for everyone to see and weigh in on.

But to be honest, it wasn’t until December that another friend suggested posting all of this somewhere other than on Facebook. And since he attached that suggestion to a compliment, here they are. Since we’re nearly at the end of the year, I’m going to break these into groups of fifteen albums, and back date the posts to when I actually listened to the albums. Enjoy.

Written on December 14, 2021.

001 Deftones – Black Stallion (2020). This is the remix album of their classic White Pony, and it is pretty great. My favourite is the remix of “Knife Prty” by a duo called Purity Ring, which introduced me to the concept of ‘witch house’, which is house music with an occult leaning, but I don’t think I like that. (January 1, 2021).

002 Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia (2020). Holy shit, the songs on this album are so catchy! I think my favourite is “Don’t Start Now”. (January 2, 2021).

003 TesseracT – Sonder (2019). This album has been in my rotation for a while now, since I discovered the song “King”. But my favourite is the brutal closing pair of “Smile” and “The Arrow”, which must be listened to together. (January 3, 2021).

004 Deftones – Ohms (2020). The groups most recent new album came out in the middle of 2020 and it is fantastic. Its been on high rotate at my place since. I even pre-ordered it on vinyl. (January 4, 2021).

005 Sepultura – Chaos AD (1993). Maybe the most iconic album by Max Cavalera and co, Chaos AD is like 27 years old now. Sadly it shows. I loved this album as a teen, but as an adult I’m struck by how simplistic the arrangements are, and how disjointed some of the songs are (like, the breakdown in the middle of “Refuse/Resist” honestly sounds like a different song). (January 5, 2021).

006 David Gray – Life In Slow Motion (2005). David Gray’s earlier album White Ladder gets all the dues because of the songs “Babylon” and “Sail Away”, but I think this is his best. My favourite is “Nos Da Cariad”. (January 6, 2021).

007 Troy Kingi – The Ghost Of Freddie Cesar (2020). A recommendation from Maria, who challenged me to listen to one Kiwi album a week as part of this challenge. I enjoyed this one; not exactly my bag, but I did like it – especially the songs “Through My Venetians” and “Nam Must Stay” (and the bassline in “Chronophobic Disco” is dope). (January 7, 2021).

008 Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour (2018). A recommendation from Katherine – this was the perfect soundtrack to my morning, easy to listen to and not too taxing. The opener “Slow Burn” is gorgeous. (January 8, 2021).

009 Muse – Absolution (2004). One of my favourite albums ever, I discovered over the weekend that it is also one of Rhianon’s favourite albums ever, so we listened to it on a drive up to Whangarei. I’m still a sucker for “Hysteria”, but this album is packed. (January 9, 2021).

010 Dream Theater – Images And Words (1992). A surprising album that Rhianon is fond of – or was for a time. I was never a big DT fan; I lumped them in with acts like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and gave them a pretty wide berth. Incredible musicians though; as I said to Rhianon, you get the sense that where Iron Maiden are metallers who are good at music, Dream Theater are insanely good musicians who tend toward metal most of the time. Favourite track: “Take The Time”. (January 10, 2021).

011 A Perfect Circle – Eat The Elephant (2018). Over the weekend, my friend Jamie was running me through a list of songs and played “So Long And Thanks For All The Fish”, the lead single from this album. And I realised I hadn’t listened to the full album, released in 2018 and APC’s first since 2004. It was pretty good; the reviews I read said it showed increased musicianship and experimentation from the band, but I thought it sounded pretty similar to the slower, more melancholy tracks from Thirteenth Step. Interesting lyrics though, very end-of-days, especially in a song called “The Doomed”: ‘Behold a new Christ / Behold the same old horde / Gather at the altering / New beginning, new word / And the word was death / And the word was without light / The new beatitude / Good luck, you’re on your own’. (January 11, 2021).

012 The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You (2020). I can’t lie, I did not enjoy this album. It was half decent when people like Perry Farrell, Jamie xx and Neneh Cherry (their track “Wherever You Go” is easily the highlight for me) started showing up, but the first and final thirds are just not my cup of tea. Oh well. (January 12, 2021).

013 Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream (1993). This is (in my opinion) the pinnacle of Billy Corgan and company’s musical output, but nowadays, when I think of Smashing Pumpkins, I think of The Simpsons. “Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.” “Homer Simpson, smiling politely.” (January 13, 2021).

014 Supergroove – Traction (1994). I somehow ended up listening to the re-release version on YouTube Music; it has “Next Time” as the fifth track, which wasn’t included when the album was first released (it first came out on an EP a year later). I think the album holds up pretty well, but listening to it now, I’m struck by how the highlight tracks are all led by Che Fu (formerly Che Ness); songs like “For Whatever Reason”, “Your White Shirt” and “Sitting Inside My Head” are easily the highlights all these years later. All respect to Karl Steven, the other vocalist, but the songs where he takes the lead tend more toward a post-grunge sound in keeping with the time. (January 14, 2021).

015 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell (2003). In a mysterious piece of serendipity, Rhianon ended up listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs – specifically the highlight from this album, “Maps” – at about the same time I was listening to this album. I don’t know if I like it necessarily, but listening to it threw me back to the early 2000s explosion of indie pop rock (in my CD collection see also: The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Interpol). (January 15, 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

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