Listened Little Man in my Head EP – Cheeky Chalk from cheekychalkmusic.com
I am fascinated by the influence of space. It can be considered as a non-actor, an influence without agency. I often stop and listen to buskers with my daughters when we go into the city. In this circumstance, what is the influence of the open street on the music being played? This is something David Byrne touches upon in his TEDTalk:

This weekend we happened to stumble upon a performance from Cheeky Chalk.

Cheeky Chalk are a two piece, with Mark Chapman on vocals and Mitch Hudson on guitar. Their sound is a cross between folk, reggae and rock. Their EP Little Man in my Head is a mixture of stripped back tunes and full band treatments. What stood out was the sameness to it all. Even with the variance in instrumentation, the songs seemed the same. A good ‘same’, but same none the less.

I was left wonder whether this ‘sameness’ was in fact a product of the space? Even when Chapman sings about lose it is still optimistic. In contrast, when I think of lose and breaking up, I think of The Cure’s “Apart”. This is a song whose lyrics and music drives a harrowing message. The thing is, maybe such messages don’t have a place on Bourke Street? The audience, the space, the dancing, the instruments.

It was ironic that when we stumbled upon the duo they were pumping out a cover of OutKast’s “Hey Yeah”, a song with all its subtle messages still always leaves you tapping your feet.

I would file Little Man in My Head somewhere between Jack Johnson and Pete Murray.

Listened Architecture in Helsinki: Moment Bends from Pitchfork
Australian indie-pop band continues to move away from the precocious and cute toward a more streamlined, highly polished sound.

I think that Architecture in Helsinki are one of those bands divides people. Similar in a way to Sparkadia, people either gel to the sugary synth-pop or are put off. Personally, Moments Bend is one of those albums that feels like a bodily album, in that I often catch myself tapping away to the beat.

For a different take on their music, they also demonstrate the ability to re-imagine things more acoustically:

I would file this album somewhere between Talking Heads and Hot Chips.

Listened Depth of Field by Sarah Blasko

I remember when I first came upon Sarah Blasko. It was a cover of Crowded House’s Don’t Dream It’s Over for the compilation She Will Have Her Way:

One of the things that struck me was the way that she cut things back to basics. Although her work often includes rich arrangements, this never seems over done. Her latest album is no different.

Although her use of synth bass and programmed beats leads to comparisons with artists like Goldfrapp, it never seems to reach the same dancefloor intensity. This mix often creates a feeling of fragility throughout the album. I was reminded in part of my experience listening to LCD Soundsystem’s album american dreams. The more I listened, the more the choice to hold back on elements made sense. I found that it is one of those albums that never seems settled and subsequently hooks you in because of it.

Read Gregory Alekseenko for a track by track breakdown.

Listened Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life by The Wombats from thewombats.lnk.to
Although the catchy synth hooks may have gone, the infectious tunes still remain. Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life reminded me of early Blur, but maybe The Strokes is a better comparison.

Frontman Matthew Murphy told triple j Breakfast that his grand vision:

was to keep it organic and not use too many synths or whatever, like we had done on the last couple of albums… In terms of songwriting, I think it’s a bit of a bangin’ album to be honest.

In his review for NME, Thomas Smith suggests:

There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but little to be ashamed of either.

I think though that Mac McNaughton captures it best in The Music when wonders:

Was that it.

There are some albums that are instantly irresistible, then there are those that are unexpected, taking a bit more time to make sense of. This has been my experience with some of the latter Radiohead albums. Maybe Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life will be the same, but right now. It is not standing up against past albums.

Listened Steel Train, by Steel Train from Steel Train
Steel Train is the third full-length studio album by Steel Train, released on June 29, 2010.[5] The album features an all-female companion album entitled Terrible Thrills Vol. 1, which consists of covers, remixes, and re-imaginings of every song on the album by female artists.

Before Jack Antonoff produced tracks for Pink, Lorde and Taylor Swift, he was a member of Steel Train. I am always interested to listen to how artists evolve. This reminds me of the contrast of the early Powderfinger albums to their latter pop productions. I am also interested where the particular interest in 80’s synthpop came in as it is not really present in these guitar laden tracks.
Listened All Melody by Nils Frahm - Releases - Erased Tapes from Erased Tapes
For the past two years, Nils Frahm has been building a brand new studio in Berlin to make his 7th studio album titled All Melody, which will be released on January 26th, 2018 via Erased Tapes, before Nils embarks on his first world tour since 2015.
I can’t remember when I first came across Nils Frahm, it was probably during my dive into Minimalism – Glass, Nyman, Part – but might have been when I stumbled upon a reworking of the Presets track Promises. His latest album is different from the solo work that I had grown akin to. I think that Philip Sherburne In Pitchfork captures it best:

Across 12 songs and 74 minutes, All Melody functions as a single, cohesive piece of music, with recurring themes interwoven throughout. It’s easy to get lost in the album and then, hearing a familiar motif, come up short, as if turning a corner in a long hallway and wondering if you hadn’t passed the same spot just a moment ago. It’s a pleasantly disorienting sensation.

What stands out is the blend of acoustic and synthetic sounds. This in part reminds me of Nicolas Jaar.

In the Studio: Nils Frahm (BBC)

Listened Oz (Missy Higgins album) from en.wikipedia.org
Oz is the fourth studio album by Australian singer-songwriter Missy Higgins, and was released by Eleven on 19 September 2014. It is Higgins' first cover album, which is accompanied by a book of the same name that collects a series of essays by Higgins; using each song title as a jumping off point. The album's title refers to each of the artists covered being from Australia, as well as being a reference to the land of Oz as established in The Wizard of Oz.
Oz
I am always intrigued by cover versions. Missy Higgins’ album of covers is intriguing listening. She provides her own twist on a number of classic and contemporary Australian artists.