LISTEN

WHEN YOU LISTEN / 19

image.jpg

I just realised that it's been months and months since I posted about what I've been listening to. Possibly the whole year. That's a while between drinks. Probably another round up coming soon, but to get your started:

* The Kills are nothing new, just new to me. I don't know how I missed them, their particular brand of awesome, but I did. So when Ngaio bought me a ticket to see them at the Enmore last month, I was blown away. I knew they were cool, but my goodness - coolest ever. And so bloody talented. I don't think I've ever felt anything as passionately as Alison Mosshart felt those songs. I've definitely never looked as cool. Ngaio bought a tee when we arrived, and I liked the print so much (Doing it to Death) I bought one too, which seemed a little eager. But 30 seconds into the first song I turned to her nodding and said 'I'm so glad I bought the tee'. 

* Again, nothing new but high on my current rotation is the lovely Devendra Barnhart's Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. It hits all the right soft but charming and off-beat early spring feels when the days are longer and you can leave the doors open and feel uplifted and light. What a man.

* Oh lordy, this album is on repeat right now. Can't get enough. I fell in love with Michael Kiwanuka a few years ago when I came across this clip and love the new direction he's taken with Love and Hate. I mean, it's brilliant. And the clip is a revelation.

* Realised I already wrote about the Laura Jean ages ago, but I've made the image now and the colouring works for me (plus i was listening to it again quite a bit last week) so you'll just have to live with it.

* Julia Holter is all keyboard harmony dreamscapes - pop-like love songs with twitches of synth but in a natural and casual way and bursts of strings and soaring a voice. It's a really lovely album. 

* I first heard hear Willy Mason at my local, Arcadia, on a slow Saturday afternoon, while I was waiting to meet friends for ciders. It's that kind of album. Restless Fugitive is smooth - in no rush to catch you - just a well-paced, rusty and endearing feel. 

* I was raving about Kate Tempest a while back, and have been pretty hooked on her album ever since. It's a nice change to the usual alt-country I drown myself with. She's so sharp and effortlessly cool. I love her confidence and clarity. 

* Speaking of drowning myself on alt-country, or in this case real-country, I give you the Civil Wars. Definitely not everyone's taste, but gosh I love them.    

* Waxahatchee is about my favourite thing this year, no question. She's got a bit of the late 90s Liz Phairs about her, in a stripped back and kick-butt kind of way. I have been listening to Ivy Tripp non-stop since January, it just builds beautifully.  

WHEN YOU LISTEN / 18

image.jpg

Been a while coming, this post. So many new sounds and songs going around in my head... 

* Not a newby, but after seeing Jenny Lewis at the Enmore a month or so ago I can't get enough of her. Her as her, and also her as Rilo Kiley. Arms Outstretched has always been a gem, but hearing her sing it with just a guitar and some sweet backing harmonies was beautiful.

* Best Coast / California Nights because the mornings are lighter and it's just now spring and the jasmine has started. The long, dog days of summer are close at hand and I could't be happier about it. This album sounds like I feel. 

* My big sister put me onto City and Colour when I was home in July and I felt like I was 15 again, with her lending me tapes or CDs and knowing what's what way before I had a clue. The Hurry and the Harm came out back in 2013, but is is such lovely introduction to his stuff that I have barely moved on. It's just such a beautifully crafted collection of songs. 

* That there's a new Wilco album makes me happy. That it's called Star Wars and has a vintage painting of a cat on the front makes me happier. That it's a brilliant listen makes me happiest. I mean, of course it would be - it's all the twang and rock you expect of these gentlemen, with just enough good humour and all that wonderful guitar work. 

* Jess Ribeiro, Kill It Yourself is brand-spanking-new and so-damn-amazing. The title track especially - my friend Em messaged me about it JUST as I was listening to it. I love how dark and moody it is, kind of eerie and beautiful. It was produced by Mick Harvey which gives you an idea of how talented this woman is and seems to me like a brilliant fit. Also, I just love the cover. Reminds me a bit of Exile on Main St and a bit of a few years ago

* Apparently, Tobias Jesso Jr's Goon is 'the most depressingly beautiful album ever written. It's like Elton John and Paul McCartney had a love child, and he knows exactly what a break up feels like'. This, from the last person I broke up with. You get the picture - beautiful, sad, sweet, melodic. This guy is a serious talent. 

* The only thing I don't like about the new Jason Isbell album is that he's not touring it. I hear he and his wife just had a baby, which is lovely, but not much good to me here in Sydney. I saw him support Ryan Adams at the Opera House a few years ago, not knowing what to expect and was just completely bowled over. This new one isn't as heartbreakingly tense as his old one, just that strong alt-country sound with his beautiful voice. 

* Ben Salter's The Stars My Destination is one of the best Australian albums I've heard in a while. Boat Dreams is kind of like 80s Australian rock (and I mean that in a really good way).

* Not sure how I came across Holy Holy, but they've been on high rotation the last month or so. They're playing around the country at the moment, and I'm hoping to make a show - it's kind of melodic and interesting, reminds me of Local Natives in parts. Very smooth and beautifully put together sounds.  

WHEN YOU LISTEN / 17

  * Marlon Williams, real life dreamboat and man about town. I've stupidly missed all of his shows (and I think there've been a few), but have heard he puts in a cracking performance. All charm and old-soul sounds.  * Strange Tails by Lord Huron - I don't know how I came by it but have hardly stopped playing it. From the first listen I was deeply committed. A week later I was writing a very serious and angry email to my ex, but took the time to add a 'PS This is the best thing you'll hear all year, I promise xx'. That says a lot, I think. 

* Ryan Adams Live at Carnegie Hall is of course a feature. How could it not be? All the glory of his beautiful songs (his beautiful songs!) and all the banter between songs. I love the insight into his humour and habits, and such a perfect set list. Solo and solemn. 

* Windfall is the new Joe Pug I'm just getting to know. His voice has a special place in my heart - having seen him in NYC a couple of years ago I played his Messenger album nearly non-stop all the way to New Orleans. I remember sitting in our Savannah studio just before dusk and feeling like life was amazing. This new collection is sounding pretty good too. 

* Andy Shauf is new to me and already dear to me. These songs are swingy and sweet in parts, and more layered and moody in others. His voice gets soft and raspy, a bit of the Elliot Smiths to it, and so lovely at that. A brilliant find for the long hours of travels I have ahead. I can't wait to get to know all the details of the songs.

* Hozier has long rugged hair, an Irish accent and sings about epic kinds of love - total heartthrob situation. I can see why this album is doing so well, powerful songs and a beautiful voice with a nice bit of bluesy, soul. 

* Ibeyi are two wildly talented French-Cuban sisters who are currently blowing my mind. I heard their spectacular song River on Flashdance's May playlist and downloaded the album straight up. You have to get onto this. 

* How do you find words for the new Sufjan Stevens? Probably best to just read Dave Eggers, to be honest (which is good life advice regardless of the question now I think of it). It's so tender and emotive, so beautiful and terribly sad. I love listening to it. 

* Josh Garrels is my kind of sweeping, romantic, guitar-loving listening. It sounds a bit folky and feels really natural. 

WHEN YOU LISTEN / 16

IMG_5948.JPGI'm starting to quite like this round-up idea, the best of what I've been listening to over on RDIO of late... * I have only heard a few songs from Leon Bridges so far, but from the first moment I was in. Signed-up. Done. In love. He's like Sam Cooke but young and hip and just as smooth as you like. Don't hesitate, make this happen.

* A big hurrah for the new Courtney Barnett album. I've been listening to her EP for months, obsessed, so this is a welcome addition. What a babe - so casually amazing, such straight-up brilliant songwriting, an epic sense of rhyme and timing, I can't get enough. Just reading the album title makes me happy; Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit.

* I found the new Death Cab for Cutie a few days ago and have been playing it again and again and again. It's just the kind of tight, beautiful and atmospheric pop that I know and love them for. They kill it, every time.

* No Cities to Love by Sleater Kinney has been a big part of my life this last month. Loudly, and often. Sometimes with anger, sometimes with enthusiasm, sometimes when cleaning my house. It is just kick-arse good times, and a reminder to revisit some of their older stuff because AMAZING.

* Laura Marling continues to make my heart sing and my mind reel. She is some kind of prodigy to me, five albums in and each of them wonderful and impressive and better than the last.  This one is a little slower, and jazzier, if that makes sense, and so personal and expressive.

* I think we're probably all loving Father John Misty right now. All grateful for him and his I Love You, Honeybear. It's one of those I've listened to so much I wonder how I managed without it. Sweet, swoony and full of rough praise.

* I just came across Caroline Smith last week and all I can say is CRAZY / SEXY / COOL.

* Jenny Lewis I love you! This is such a gold-star, amazing album. Bliss to listen to, to sing to, to rock through your day to. I can't get enough of the politics and sweet pop of Just One of The Guys. 

* The New Basement Tapes is my kind of bluesy, alt-country listening. Feels kind of bruised and moody and rough around the edges with lots of soul. It's all buoyed by Dylan's beautiful writing and the kind of supergroup talent you get from Costello, Giddens, Mumford, Goldsmith and James.

CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND

CYGOh man, do I have a thing or two to say about Call Your Girlfriend. Call your Girlfriend is 'a podcast for long distance besties everywhere' that my cuz Lucy put me onto. I always knew she was smarter than me, but this really hit it home. I spent a good week back-listening to all their previous podcasts which was totally hilarious, informative, entertaining and inspiring all at once. Walking to Bronte, on the train, cooking dinner, at my desk, folding washing, all with these top of the pops amazing ladies in my ears. Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman got me down with a whole range of important issues, including low maintenance ladyswagger, athelisure, shine theory, laptovulating, the importance of pie-charts, referring to Ruth Bader Ginsberg as Notorious RBG, and just a whole heap of smart talk about interesting ideas. They are the kind of women you want to be BFFs with, and listening to CYG is the next best thing to sitting down with a glass of wine and your bestie and talking about what matters. Sometimes it's political, it's online harassment and Hilary and changing your name, and sometimes it's menstruation news and dudes in leggings and that's all OK. It's all important talk.

Much like my young cuz Lucy, these women make me feel good about the world. That yes, it's messy and oh, so depressing in parts, but that there are amazing, strong, talented and kind as hell women out there that are doing good things. It makes me want to fist pump and give high-fives all day long…

Don't be a fool, get on it.