2018 music highlights


Apple Music

KT TunstallAs someone who pretty much shuns the mainstream for the corporate beast it has always been in favour of the less celebrated or lesser known artists, this year a few albums have been in heavy rotation on my iPhone.  Firstly the return of KT Tunstall with her surprisingly enjoyable and polished album ‘Wax’ which harked back to that skillfull song writing that made her name in Eye To The Telescope, and well just has some really good pop-rock songs on it.

PearlHartsThen we come to the stripped back, moody guitar simplicity of ‘Glitter and Spit’ the brilliant debut from female duo The Pearl Harts, who initially grabbed my attention when they supported Garbage during part of their UK tour in 2016.  This album has a resemblance to The White Stripes but also adds gritty punk rock to it that made me think of Suzy Quatro.  The guitaring and the attitude driven vocals make for a very promising start to a career in my book.

ChvrchesChvrches impressed me previously with their excellent second album Every Open Eye, and even if their latest ‘Love Is Dead’ seems overly mainstream and a little bit lazy in places, it still has a sheen of slick production and Lauren Mayberry’s angelic vocals to carry it through.  Not a massive highlight but an album I’ve enjoyed none the less.

Against The CurrentAgain favouring a more mainstream sound than their last records, Against The Current still delivered a polished and entertaining second album in the shape of ‘Past Lives’ which features several decent songs even if some of their punk-pop sensibilities are mostly absent.

For a re-issue Garbage’s 20th anniversary of ‘Version 2.0’ not only brought with it a stellar remastering that made the album sound amazing, but a wealth of quality b-sides that made for a hell of a package.  Version 2.0 is not only my favourite Garbage album, it’s my favourite album … period.  So this version, despite some odd tinkering on certain tracks was a genuine highlight of 2018 for me.  Add to this the fact I got to experience it’s entirety live in concert at Brixton Academy, and well I think you can guess how happy that made me.

Garbage

Music for me is certainly still a difficult hobby to truly embrace.  I find myself trapped in the 90s or only listening to the same handful of artists.  We live in a culture that favours repetition and mediocrity and worships heavily promoted familiar names rather than promoting the freedom to go and seek out something ‘different’.  I feel it’s the only entertainment industry that really shuns creativity in favour of whatever music execs and narrow-minded radio stations consider the current cool trend, and so finding music that I can identify with and appreciate gets harder and harder every year.  The above named albums seemed to stick with me this year and stood out when so much else just felt boring.

Craig.

Still not a music blog


A sort of follow up to that other blog post I did a while back regarding the music that has shaped the person I am today, but focusing on what music I’ve been listening to of late.  Garbage continue to be at the forefront of my thoughts of course, they’re my favourite band and continue to announce new things, touring and most recently an autobiography.  However Tuesday marked the release of their latest music video, namely for the song ‘Magnetized’ … not my favourite from their recent album ‘Strange Little Birds’ but has grown on me over the last couple of months with this perfectly freaky and bizarre video only adding to it’s growing appeal.  It’s certainly I’d say the best video the band have released in a along time, and it seems with this album Shirley Manson and the guys are really pushing the boat out.  See for yourself below.

Outside of Garbage I also recently went for the 3 month free trial of Apple Music and am finding it a great way to discover new music and listen to albums I’d previously been hesitating over, finding some real gems along the way.  The one album that has particularly impressed is ‘Every Open Eye’ from Scottish threesome Chvrches.  Electro-pop feel good anthems backed up by Lauren Mayberry’s amazing vocals and some technical wizardly with the music.

every-open-eye_thumb.jpg

Also I am really enjoying the similarly synth/electro vibes of Kristin Kontrol’s ‘X-Communicate’ (for those unfamiliar, Kristin was formerly Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls and also supported the aforementioned Garbage during some dates of that band’s current tour).  As if going for a hat-trick too, another electro-pop album I’ve been enjoying is Ladyhawke’s ‘Wild Things’.

The above has been a good, if slightly similar start to trying to explore music more, have a little more variety and well, just have a good time with what is feeling like a bit of a new world for me … so, you may start seeing more music themed posts in the future.

This is still not a music blog though.