Listened Strange Little Girls – Wikipedia by an author from Wikipedia

Strange Little Girls is a concept album released by singer-songwriter Tori Amos in 2001. The album’s 12 tracks are covers of songs written and originally performed by men, reinterpreted by Amos from a female’s point of view. Amos created female personae for each track (one song featured twins) and was photographed as each, with makeup done by Kevyn Aucoin. In the United States the album was issued with four alternative covers depicting Amos as the characters singing “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”, “Strange Little Girl”, “Time,” and “Raining Blood”. A fifth cover of the “I Don’t Like Mondays” character was also issued in the UK and other territories. Text accompanying the photos and songs was written by novelist Neil Gaiman. The complete short stories in which this text appears can be found in Gaiman’s 2006 collection Fragile Things.

These reimaginings by Tori Amos are somewhat uncanny. Unlike other covers, such as Mark Ronson’s Just, where there is a respect to the original structure and sound, Amos reimagines just about every facet of the songs in question. It is easy to listen to many of these tracks and not necessarily recognise the original track.
Listened Hi Viz (album) – Wikipedia from en.wikipedia.org

Hi Viz (typeset as HI VIZ) is the fourth studio album by Australian electronic duo The Presets. The album was released in Australia by Modular Recordings on 1 June 2018.

This album starts off where past offerings have finished. Driving beats, grinding synths and Julian Hamilton’s voice. However, there is the additional of guest vocals from Alison Wonderland and the DMAs. It is interesting how this provides a different flavour.

I would place this on the shelf between Jacques Lu Cont and the Chemical Brothers.

Listened God’s Favorite Customer – Wikipedia from en.wikipedia.org

God’s Favorite Customer (or Mr Tillman’s Wild Ride) is the fourth studio album by American musician Josh Tillman under the stage name Father John Misty. It was released by Sub Pop and Bella Union on June 1, 2018.

There is something compelling about this album. It’s sorrowful hope really grabbed me. Made me stop, listen and reflect.

I would place it on the shelf between Augie March and Mercury Rev.

Listened Feature Album: Amy Shark’s anticipated debut album from triple j

On her long-awaited debut album, the Gold Coast success shows off different sides to her sound and showcases the songwriting that’s made her such a relatable success.

Love Monster is a bit of a roller-coaster – in a good way. One minute you can imagine Amy Billings singing the songs accompanied by an acoustic guitar, then the next minute the drums and synths kick in. The sound never quite settles.

Being her first full length album I wonder if this mix of styles and sounds is a consequence of time. I would probably put it on the shelf somewhere between Of Monsters and Men and Lorde.

Listened The National: Boxer (Live in Brussels) from Pitchfork

In 2017, the National revisited their 2007 classic Boxer at a show in Brussels, and the set has been packaged for a Record Store Day release. You had to be there…

I must admit that I came to The National on the hype of High Violet. As with going back to The Bends after discovering Radiohead (other than Creep – which does not seem like the same band), it is interesting listening to this live recording of Boxer and reading the Pitchfork review of the album. I think that it would be different listening if I had seen them live, but in lieu of this, it is an enjoyable listen.
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

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.