WHEN YOU LISTEN / 10

20140602-230122-82882434.jpgCurrently deep into these sounds – four new(ish) releases from four of my long-time favourites. One of my oldest friends and favourite dames happens to manage Lykke Li, so I've been onto her kick-arse talent for years now. Her last release really floored me, less disco than her first and so much more heart. This one is even better again. The songs feel more grown-up - intelligent and fully-felt pain and wonder.

I saw Ray Lamontagne several years ago at the Beacon Theatre in New York. It was the night before I was due to fly home, and the show had long since sold out. Dressed and about to head out for drinks with friends in the Meat Packing District, I jumped on the subway at the last minute to head uptown to see if I could rustle up a ticket to the show. It was a long shot, and a long ride from Brooklyn and then back downtown for nothing, my friends warned, but I just had a feeling. And so glad I did – I got a ticket at the door from some guy whose friend couldn’t make it, had enough time for a gin before the show and then settled in for one of the best concerts I’ve known. It was the first time I’d been to a show by myself, and I felt kind of amazing. Like I’d stolen a moment by myself and a moment I wasn't intended for. It all felt very right. This new album is less blues-y and raw than his older stuff, but I’m finding I don't mind it.

Beng a child of the 90s, Blur were a pretty big part of my formative years. I loved their sense of fun and Damon Albarn’s songwriting has always been something special if you ask me. His songs are like stories, narratives about the quirks of life. This album is lovely - his writing and especially his voice. It feels so familiar and warm, and the new tunes are a real dream.

And last, but golly not least, is the new Conor Oberst. I've been listening to this one on very heavy rotation. It just hands-down, above all others makes me feel GOOD. Whimsy and passion and heartbreak, but all kind of sweet with a little rocking / pop-ing beat. Please and thank you.