Weekend Winddown 4

Ben Harper – Morning Yearning (Alternate Mix) [buy]

I’ll admit I like the original version of Ben Harper’s “Morning Yearning” better because I just like strings in any song, really. But subtract that and the guitar becomes more prominant and there’s some nice guitar work in this song.

Clare Bowditch – The Thing about Grief [buy]

Clare Bowditch has some new stuff coming out on 13th October! Perhaps because she won an aria award sometime after her last release the wait for new material hasn’t seemed too long. I’m definately excited to see what she’s written! She seems to develop in leaps and bounds between albums, creating catchier and more melodic music!
You can hear a new track on her myspace page.

Lior – Grey Ocean [buy]

Lior’s music is now available overseas via itunes, yay! His album, Autumn Flow, had me entranced for ages! I was just meditating on his sound. I saw him live once with my sister and brother-in-law and the crowd were so still when he played. His voice seemed to crack when he told us how sick of the war in Iraq he was. He’d just heard backstage that there’d been terrorist bombings in London (we found out after the show from my mother). This news gave his music strength though and made it all the more heartfelt.
He’d opened the set with this song “Grey Ocean” which is the first of his I’d heard. I love slow sad music so I was in pursuit of Lior’s music long before I could buy the album.
Can’t wait for new stuff from him!

Basia Bulat – Snakes and Ladders [buy]

I was a little disappointed with the whole album but perhaps it’s just taking a while for me to get into Basia Bulat’s Oh My Darling. A few songs have really stuck out for me though, particularly “Snakes and Ladders.” I’m not a fan of country music but the slight warble in her voice doesn’t deter from the tune. In fact it’s matched well by the intense violins and piano, which retains a continuity through the song as layers of instruments explore beyond the core melody.

PJ Harvey – Silence [buy]

This woman can sing! I didn’t realise it before this album. I always had an annoying dislike for Harvey’s usually sardonic vocals. Annoying because everyone else seemed to like her. Every now and then I’d hear a song like “This Mess We’re In” and realise that amongst the almost grunge influence weighing down her songs was a beautiful songstress in Harvey.
The new album sees her stripping off her monotone mood and breaking forward with a soaring range of highs and lows. The only likeness she seems to maintain with her old sound is the darkness in her music. It works well.

Jenn Grant – In a Brown House [buy]

This woman doesn’t write songs with clear choruses and verses. You might tap along thoughtlessly to one of her songs before you find yourself caught up in a different mood sometime through the song.

What really makes “In a Brown House” special is the background vocals. Beautiful simple song.

The National – Racing Like a Pro [buy]

Whenever an artist I like recommends a band I always seem to get off on the wrong foot with the recommended artist.
Let me explain. Final Fantasy does a cover of The Destroyer’s “An Actor will Seek Revenge” and I figure I might like The Destroyer. Turns out, I don’t, but Owen Pallett (aka Final Fantasy) does more justice to “An Actor” than the Destroyer.

So when Menomena say they’re listening to The National I figure I’ll give them a go, expecting the worst. And, to be honest, if the free mp3s on The National’s website were anything to go by I might still not like them much.

However, their new album has blown me away. Not sure how I can describe it. The songwriting is beautiful, the deep Nick Cave/Lambchop-esque voice works, the piano is irresistable and all other instruments used at exactly the right moment. The album collaborates a variety of moods without taking away from the album as a whole too.

I’ll never get sick of “Racing like a Pro.”

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