fredag 30. januar 2015

Rhiannon Giddens and Iron & Wine - Forever Young

I have never seen the TV series Parenthood, but maybe I should have? Possibly or possible not, but this recording made especially for the series finale tells me I might. When two such gifted singers as Rhiannon Giddens and Sam Beam (a.k.a. Iron & Wine) pair up to sing such a beautiful version of Bob Dylan's classic "Forever Young" as this, there is good reason to stop and listen. Giddens even throws in a violin solo that lifts the song into the heavens. I mean, wow!


Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk

I have no idea why, but I was a little slow in "getting" this. I'm a fan of British producer Mark Ronson, I'm a fan of American singer/songwriter Bruno Mars, and when the two pair up I should be ecstatic by default. Why I didn't really pay attention I can't say, but while I looked the other way, the single has become a huge hit, reaching the coveted number one spot in both the US and the UK, and generally been awesome. Well, I have now seen the error of my ways, and all I can say is "Uptown funk gon' give it to ya". Ronson (and Mars) channel the best of 70's disco and funk, turning it into a 21st century wonder. Amazing!

Watch and listen

Mew - Satellites

Whew, finally a great new Mew track! "Satellites" is officially the first single off the Danish prog rock band's forthcoming sixth album, the proposed April 27 release titled +-, which is their first in almost six years. This is essentially all things Mew rolled into one six minute plus song, featuring several different time changes, melodies, structures and rhythm patterns, all of them assembled perfectly and energetically into one exciting piece of music. There is nothing not to love about this track.


Crosby, Stills & Nash - Marrakesh Express

Graham Nash found his inspiration for the song "Marrakech Express" on a train ride from Casablanca to Marrakech in 1966. Starting out in first class and soon being bored with it, he left the blue-haired ladies for the more "common" people in the other carriages, becoming fascinated by what he saw and experienced. The song were eventually recorded and released in 1969 on his and partners David Crosby and Stephen Stills' first album as a trio, the eponymously titled Crosby, Stills & Nash.


Jim Croce - Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)

"Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)" is as sad a song as they come. The narrator tries to get hold of his former girlfriend who's hooked up with his "best ex-friend" through a telephone operator, telling his sad story through the song. In the end he decides he doesn't want to talk to her anyway, thanking the operator for her time. Jim Croce, genius singer/songwriter died in a plane crash in 1973, the year after this was a hit, along with his musical partner Maury Muehleisen, also seen in the video below performing this ridiculously beautiful ballad. It was released as the second single from the album You Don't Mess Around With Jim. Diana Krall does a brilliant version on her brand new covers album, Wallflower, and you should check that out as well.

Watch and listen

Frank Sinatra descending on London - an essay

In 1962 Frank Sinatra went to London to record an album, the first and only time he did so outside the USA. The result, Sinatra Sings Great Songs From Great Britain, may not be among his very best albums, but it's not bad at all, and has been turned into a fabulous box set featuring three CDs and a DVD containing shows he did in the British capital, in 1962 and 1970. I have written an essay on commission from Universal Music, in Norwegian, that is. If you're not fluent in my language, please access our good friend Google Translate, or follow the link below just to listen to the music and see a few videos.

Read, watch, listen

Calexico feat. Amparo Sanchez - Cumbia de Donde

"Cumbia de Donde" is the first track to be released from Calexico's forthcoming album Edge Of The Sun, which is ready for an April 13 release. Spanish singer Amparo Sanchez, formerly of the brilliantly titled band Amparanoia, guests for a duet with Calexico's Joey Burns. It's a latin-tinged track with a great melody and a certain party vibe. Other guest singers on the album are Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), Neko Case and Ben Bridwell (Band Of Horses). A record to look forward to, I imagine.


John Mellencamp - R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A. (A Salute To 60's Rock)

Woohoo! It's Fabulous Friday again, and today we're celebrating the approaching weekend with John Mellencamp's fabulous tribute to 60's pop and rock music, "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.". Lifted from the decidedly political Scarecrow album, released in 1985 when American farming communities all over the country died slow painful deaths, Mellencamp also found time to celebrate the music he grew up with. This is the kind of songs that screams to be played loud at a party as soon as possible. Have a good one, y'all!

Watch and listen

torsdag 29. januar 2015

Björk - Crystalline (Omar Souleyman Remix)

This remix from Björk's last album, 2011's Biophilia, was done by Syrian singer/musician Omar Souleyman who I was lucky enough to see live at last year's Øyafestivalen in Oslo. Björk's original version of "Crystalline" is a sparse, naked, theatrical affair, the Souleyman remix on the other hand invites the listener to a huge party in a desert camp with a great big bonfire, belly dancers, local musicians and a vibe that sits firmly in your gut. Amazing stuff!


The The - Uncertain Smile

"Uncertain Smile", lead single off The The's 1983 album Soul Mining, was originally released in different form, but the album version includes an absolutely stunning piano solo by Jools Holland, part-time member of Squeeze and present day host of the brilliant TV show Later... with Jools Holland. For the last half of the song he plays the hell out of both the piano keys and all the other musicians in what is a true tour de force of brilliant musicianship. I can only imagine how thrilled Matt Johnson (who basically is The The) was when he heard what Holland came up with in the studio. It's the recording of a lifetime!


onsdag 28. januar 2015

Frank Sinatra - For A While

1970's Watertown is an unusual Frank Sinatra album, a touching concept album in which the narrator experiences a tragic story of personal loss, more than believably performed by "Ol' Blue Eyes". The entire album's worth of soliloquies was written by The Four Seasons' Bob Gaudio and his songwriting partner Jake Holmes. "For A While" is my favourite piece on the album, a wonderful and sad song that carries small glimpses of well-being when the narrator is "lost in day to day" and "forget that I'm not over you for a while". Nina Simone has recorded the song as well, but nowhere near as good as Sinatra.


Feelgood heroes

At the moment there is cold, dark, wet, slippery winter in my hometown, so without some good music to lift me up, I'd struggle quite a bit. Thank God for a handful of feelgood songs that I play a lot right now then, two of them in Norwegian, the third an American tune called "Hero" by Family Of The Year. It features prominently in Richard Linklater's film Boyhood which I unfortunately haven't seen yet. The other two are by Norwegian acts Daniel Kvammen and Arif, both uplifting songs with the capacity to take you away from the dark and the cold. Each one a masterpiece in their own right, songs that I am truly grateful for.

Family Of The Year - "Hero"

Daniel Kvammen - "Du fortenar ein som meg"

Arif feat. Magnus Eliassen - "Kanke gi opp"

tirsdag 27. januar 2015

Family Of The Year - Hero

I have fallen head over heels in love with this song. Unfortunately, I have not seen the latest Richard Linklater movie Boyhood yet, but was still alerted to this song through its soundtrack. The American band Family Of The Year and the song "Hero" that features both in the film itself and its trailer is a semi-acoustic pop masterpiece, a melancholic and deeply moving song about growing up and establishing your place in the world. It makes me instantly happy, and is the most perfect feelgood song I have heard in quite some time despite its serious subject matter. The sing-a-long chorus that starts at 2:12 lifts the song to the heavens, it just makes you feel incredibly good all over, inside yourself and around yourself, a beauty of a song if there ever were one. It's taken from Family Of The Year's second album to date, the 2012 release Loma Vista. Below are two music videos, the first is the original, a beautifully shot little film from the American rodeo circuit, the other newly made with scenes from Boyhood interspersed with pictures of the band. Watch both!

Original video

Boyhood video

mandag 26. januar 2015

Honningbarna - Prinser av Sarajevo

Den nye singlen til Honningbarna er så jævlig fet! "Prinser av Sarajevo" har det tøffeste punkriffet og det råeste drivet på denne siden av Dead Kennedys eller mine gamle helter i UK Subs, og er tre intense minutter fylt av pur, ungdommelig energi. Kristiandsandbandet har til og med spilt inn videoen i Kabul der de har besøkt Skateistan, en organisasjon som jobber for å fremme skating og utdanning for unge mellom 5 og 18 år, og har en egen skatepark i Kabul. Her har både gutter og jenter lov til å delta, og videoen viser bilder av skatende barn og ungdom klippet sammen med hverdagsscener fra den til dels svært herjede afghanske hovedstaden og viser noe helt annet enn de som regel dypt deprimerende nyhetsreportasjene vi er så vant til å bli presentert. Så ja, det er en politisk video, men den er også veldig fin og viser hvordan mennesker er mennesker, uansett hvor de er fra. Som vokalist Edvard Valberg sier til Aftenposten: "I Honningbarnas ånd ville vi vise frem de som er gisler av disse galningene, nemlig folkene som lever livet sitt og har det gøy. Dette bildet av jenter og gutter som har det kult sammen som likemenn, drukner helt i mediebildet." "Prinser av Sarajevo" er hentet fra bandets fjerde album Opp de nye blanke som kommer på fredag. Skjønt album og album. Det inneholder seks låter og klokker inn på snaue kvarteret. Bandet tilhører nemlig den fløyen som ikke har så stor tro på albumets fremtid som sådan: "Det er kort, ja, men det er jo ingen som hører på hele album lenger, kun singler. Dette er låter som alle står likt", sier trommeslageren Nils Jørgen Nilsen til Aftenposten.

Se, hør og les mer

søndag 25. januar 2015

Dave Alvin - From A Kitchen Table

This is the kind of song that perfectly explains why I love country music. Dave Alvin's 1998 composition "From A Kitchen Table" is like a short story set to song, an incredibly moving tale where the protagonist is a sorry and pathetic man who writes an imaginary letter to his one-time sweetheart from the kitchen table in his mom's old house where he still lives. This is classic, sad and very good country music, in every way an absolutely brilliant song, lifted from the album Blackjack David.


Kate Bush - Babooshka

I just had to post a Kate Bush classic. The 1980 single "Babooshka" from Never For Ever is one of my favourite songs of hers, a strange and quirky pop song, that reached number 5 one the UK charts, and as such making it one her biggest hits. But does it sound like a hit single? Not really, it just sounds like Kate Bush, wonderful as she is.

Watch and listen

The Waterboys - Every Breath Is Yours

The Waterboys' 2003 album Universal Hall contains some truly great songs, but is not that well known. "Every Breath Is Yours" is a wonderful ballad, a love song of the kind that Mike Scott seems to excel in, such as "She Is So Beautiful" and "How Long Will I Love You", songs about undying, eternal, at times even spiritual, love. This one is as beautiful a love song as can be written, with simple words about true devotion, repeated again and again, with an enticing, irresistable melody. Mike Scott at his best.


lørdag 24. januar 2015

Bruce Springsteen - No Surrender

"We learned more from a three minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school". That's one of the best and truest, most condensed, song lines Bruce Springsteen has ever written, and that says a lot. The statement speaks volumes of the power of pop music, the impact and influence it can have on our lives. I'm sure I can say exactly the same about many of Springsteen's own songs, including "No Surrender", which may or may not be the best track on his classic 1984 record Born In The U.S.A. This is pretty much as good as it gets!


Conor Oberst - You Are Your Mother's Child

Conor Oberst, sometimes singer/frontman and/or member in Bright Eyes, Monsters Of Folk and many other bands, released his sixth solo album last year titled Upside Down Mountain. It's a wonderful collection of songs, including the quiet ballad "You Are Your Mother's Child", on which his only accompaniment is an acoustic guitar. There's something almost eerie about Oberst's voice that speaks of infinity or the eternal heavens, and when it's as naked as here, it's hauntingly beautiful.

Watch and listen

fredag 23. januar 2015

The B-52's - Love Shack

So, it's Fabulous Friday, and even though I've got a slight cold at the moment, that won't stop me from posting a classic party song to celebrate the onslaught of the weekend. Today we're going for one of the best ever, Athens, Georgia legends The B-52's and their super happy, dead intoxicating party anthem "Love Shack". Lifted off the 1989 album Cosmic Thing this is about as good as any dance song gets. No wonder it was their biggest hit. Especially when accompanied by the awesome music video, "Love Shack" simply screams "good times" - forever and ever!

Watch and listen

torsdag 22. januar 2015

Daniel Kvammen - Du fortenar ein som meg (med video)

Da er videoen til Daniel Kvammens fantastiske "Du fortenar ein som meg" klar. Første smakebit fra det forestående debutalbumet til Kvammen som kommer 13. mars er noe av det flotteste jeg har hørt av norskspråklig popmusikk på en stund, og den Synne Øverland Knudsen-regisserte videoen gjør så visst ikke skam på låta. Linken nedenfor sender deg direkte til videoen og litt info fra NRK P3. Jeg nøyer meg for øvrig med å gjenta det jeg har skrevet om låta tidligere:

"En av debutplatene jeg gleder meg aller mest til for tiden er Daniel Kvammens Fremad i alle retninga. Høsten 2013 ga den unge Geilo-mannen ut vinylsinglen "Ingen vega utanom"/Alt for mykje tå altfor lite", raskt etterfulgt av den digitale julesinglen "23. september". Under en forrykende konsertopptreden på Øyafestivalen i sommer viste Kvammen at han og bandet er noe adskillig mer enn Bjella 2.0 med et utsøkt sett med noe som kan beskrives som dritfet countryrock på hallingdøl. Og nei, det låt ikke som Hellbillies heller. "Du fortenar ein som meg" er noe helt annet enn det igjen også, en låt han spilte på Øya, men som nå har fått et nytt, supercatchy poparrangement. Om den breiale tittelen sier Kvammen følgende: - Vi lever i et samfunn hvor alle skal fremstå som tilsynelatende vellykkede, og "du fortenar ein som meg" virker for meg som en virkelig 2014-aktig ting å si. Men dette er først og fremst en låt om to relativt dysfunksjonelle parter i en relasjon."

Se og hør

The Decemberists - Make You Better

Yesterday I suggested that Rhiannon Giddens' forthcoming album Tomorrow Is My Turn could possibly be the first really great album of 2015. Well, it is a great album, but I hadn't taken into account the new album by The Decemberists that I had only briefly listened to, and I can say that the record, titled What A Beautiful World, What A Terrible World, is really, REALLY great! The songs are immediate in nature, highly melodic, and the arrangements are rich and nuanced, and may very well constitute the Portland, Oregon group's finest album to date. I'm in awe! Here then, is the first single off it, "Make You Better", with a very funny video featuring the comedian Nick Offerman from Parks & Recreation.

Watch and listen

onsdag 21. januar 2015

Rhiannon Giddens - She's Got You

More Rhiannon Giddens! How lucky I feel to be able to post her marvellous version of "She's Got You" from the upcoming Tomorrow Is My Turn album. The song was written by Hank Cochran and originally turned into a Patsy Cline hit in 1962. Giddens totally excels here, and don't forget to listen to her versions of "Don't Let It Trouble Your Mind" and "Shake Sugaree" and "Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair" as well. Release date for the album is February 9.


Morten Abel - Annabelle

Nå som stormen har stilnet litt rundt krangelen mellom VGs Thomas Talseth og Morten Abel, er det tid for lansering av musikkvideo for Abels nye single "Annabelle". Ikke bare kan vi gratulere Morten med årets hederspris under Spellemannprisutdelingen sist lørdag, han har også gitt ut sin første norskspråklige solosingle, og den er veldig bra. Det er i bunn og grunn en grisecatchy soul/poplåt, fullstendig uimotståelig og utspekulert dansbar. Videoen, regissert av Haavard Hana og inneholdende Morten Abel, "Annabelle" og et kobbel av julenisser og rugbyspillere i et trangt butikklokale, er simpelthen veldig morsom, med en løssluppen "story" som kler sangen perfekt. Veldig godt jobbet på alle hold. Det er nok all mulig grunn til å se frem til den Odd Nordstoga-produserte I full alvor som utgis 2. mars. Det er Abels første album siden Some Of Us Will Make It fra 2006, med andre ord på høy tid!

Se og hør

Bob Dylan - Stay With Me

I'm really excited about Bob Dylan's upcoming Shadows In The Night album on which he tackles 10 songs associated with the great Frank Sinatra. Last May the track "Full Moon And Empty Arms" was surprisngly posted on YouTube, and yesterday Dylan's version of "Stay With Me" was published as the second track from the album that will be released on February 2. It's a ballad written by Jerome Moross and Carolyn Leigh, and Dylan sings it beautifully. In a statement about the new record, his first since 2012's Tempest and first covers collection since 1993's World Gone Wrong, Dylan has said the following:

"It was a real privilege to make this album. I've wanted to do something like this for a long time but was never brave enough to approach 30-piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a five-piece band.... I don't see myself as covering these songs in any way. They've been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day."


HIT ALERT! Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue - Right Here, Right Now

After Daft Punk brought legendary producer Giorgio Moroder back from oblivion for a collaboration on the 2013 album Random Access Memories, he's been re-entering the music business in a way that suggests an exciting "second life". He's currently working on a brand new album, and released the new single "Right Here, Right Now" yesterday, with Kylie Minogue stepping up for vocal duties. If this is not a hit, nothing is. It's a dead catchy disco tune, old school in nature, but sounding really fresh. I love it!


Rhiannon Giddens - Don't Let It Trouble Your Mind and Shake Sugaree

February 10 sees the release of Tomorrow Is My Turn, the Carolina Chocolate Drops singer Rhiannon Giddens' solo debut, which is one hell of a good album. I received an advance copy of the 11 track covers collection yesterday, and can only say that it's truly wonderful. Giddens tackles two songs made famous by Nina Simone, a mesmerizing, string-laden version of the title track and a hip hop-inspired take on "Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair", as well as those of a wide range of other songwriters. By following the link below you can listen to a further two tracks, great versions both of Dolly Parton's "Don't Let It Trouble Your Mind" and Elizabeth Cotton's "Shake Sugaree". Combined these three tracks somewhat show the diversity of the album, but not quite. You'll be surprised to hear the breadth of Tomorrow Is My Turn, expertly produced by T-Bone Burnett, and possible the first really great album of 2015.


tirsdag 20. januar 2015

Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train

"Crazy Train" is probably Ozzy Osbourne's best post-Black Sabbath song, taken from his first solo album, Blizzard Of Ozz in 1980. The main draw is co-writer Randy Rhoads' amazing guitar playing which is simply mesmerizing. It's a frenetic few minutes of guitar work, where Rhoads blends his signature heavy metal playing with his classical training, creating a melodic, high-strung and adventurous piece of music. "Crazy Train" indeed, this is marvelous stuff.


mandag 19. januar 2015

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions box set coming up - here's "Lost Weekend"

Great news for all Lloyd Cole fans, as he's currently compiling a large box set collecting all three of Lloyd Cole & The Commotions' albums in remastered form, as well as a disc of B-sides, one of rarities, and a DVD featuring TV footage and promo videos. Debut album Rattlesnakes (1984) is the established classic of the band's three albums whereas the follow-up, 1985's Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley-produced Easy Pieces has got a more dubious reputation for reasons beyond me. It has only briefly been available on CD so I really welcome the upcoming box set. The final Commotions album is 1987's Mainstream. There is no release date yet, but as far as I can tell the box set will be released through Universal in the course of 2015. While we wait, here's the exemplary pop song "Lost Weekend" off Easy Pieces.

Watch and listen

søndag 18. januar 2015

Redbone - Come And Get Your Love

"Come And Get Your Love" was a huge American hit in 1974 when it peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April. The band Redbone may be largely forgotten but were a Native American/Mexican American rock band that released seven albums in the 70's. This was their biggest hit, and it keeps on popping up on compilations, in films and elsewhere. For good reason too. It's a fantastic pop song, with some clever 70's disco strings thrown in for full effect, lifted from their 1974 album Wovoka.

Watch and listen

Depeche Mode - Behind The Wheel

Depeche Mode had a rather long transitional period, if transitional is really the right word. What I mean to say is that the Basildon Four spent quite some time between their poppy 1981 debut album Speak & Spell (written by Vince Clarke who left to do other things) and the rock superstardom that came with 1990's Violator album - and what they produced beyond that. The years inbetween were spent making albums full of "industrial" soundscapes, featuring pictures of hammers and anvils as part of their image, and slowly, in a large part I think thanks to Anton Corbijn's grainy black and white videos, building a more organic whole, as evidenced both in images and sound. "Behind The Wheel", one of their greatest singles - lifted from 1987's Music For The Masses - stands firmly in the middle of this transition. On one hand, it's a perfect melancholic synth-pop song, but with a rockier edge and a video that points toward Americana but is still very European in atmosphere. On the other hand, it's a perfect example of stadium- or arena-friendly pop music that they were right in the middle of buidling at the time. In any case, this is a true classic.

Watch and listen

The Police - Message In A Bottle

"Message In A Bottle" still shines, more than 35 years after its September 1979 release. It's a hell of a good, quirky pop-reggae song with an amazing melody, a great sing-a-long chorus and some really nice hooks. The musicianship and overall sound is absolutely faultless, and it's rightly regarded as a classic. It was the first of several great singles off the trio's second album, Regatta de Blanc.

Watch and listen

lørdag 17. januar 2015

Nina Simone - That's Him Over There

My ongoing infatuation with Nina Simone now takes us back to 1959 and her first album for the Colpix label, accurately named The Amazing Nina Simone. "That's Him Over There" is a short, seemingly simple song about accidentally meeting your ex when you're still not over him or her, however much you have tried to fool yourself into believing you actually have. Nina tells you it isn't so, singing a wonderful song written by Lew Spence and Marilyn Keith. Pure genius!


fredag 16. januar 2015

Janis Ian - At Seventeen

Janis Ian's 1975 album Between The Lines is her masterpiece, a record that shines ever so brightly in a catalogue full of great music. Of the 11 songs on it, there is of course one that stands firmly above the rest, the single "At Seventeen", a song about teenage angst and insecurity that has probably never been bettered. It hurts to listen to Ian's song about the cruelty of her peers, but as most of us know, it gets better, and the good ones win in the end, somewhat like the song hints at. Besides the insightfulness of the topic, the actual melody is also incredible, a slow bossa nova both intoxicating and soothing. What a piece of art this is!


Marina And The Diamonds - Happy

Marina Lambrini Diamandis, more commonly known under the moniker Marina And The Diamonds, is a Welsh singer/songwriter with more than a small modicum of success with hit singles like "I Am Not A Robot" and "How To Be A Heartbreaker", and April will see the release of her third album Froot. The title track was released as the first single in October, and the ballad "Happy" in December, drowning quietly in the Christmas preparations. "Happy" is definitely the better of the two, a sensationally pretty ballad that sounds like a cross between Lana Del Rey and Cyndi Lauper. This is just plain Beautiful, with a capital B, a grower of a song that in a perfect world would be a huge hit, sounding as it does like a truly timeless ballad. I simply adore this song!


HITVARSEL! Arif feat. Magnus Eliassen - Kanke gi opp

Arif (tidligere kjent som den "kontroversielle" Phil T. Rich) er ute med en ny, dødsfet låt, "Kanke gi opp". Det er første livstegn siden den supersløye sommersinglen "Lowkey" fra sist juni, og denne gangen har han fått hjelp av Magnus Eliassen fra Sirkus Eliassen. "Kanke gi opp" er en deilig, oppstemt forsmak på debutalbumet High-End Asfalt, som bør få mye oppmerksomhet og bli en aldri så liten hit.


The Cure - Friday I'm In Love

Inspired by my favourite radio show P3 Morgen at the Norwegian broadcaster NRK, I hereby launch a new feature - Fabulous Friday. That means that (hopefully) each Friday I will publish a song that specifically feels like something that signals the upcoming weekend. Silje Nordnes and Ronny Brede Aase in P3 Morgen play the Eurovision classic "Opa Opa" by Greek/Swedish act Antique each and every Friday, and also do a bingo where each of them has picked one song they feel like listening to, with one lucky winner of course. But here at Erik's Musical Diary, there will be one specific song each Friday and what better way to start than with The Cure's awesome 1992 single "Friday I'm In Love" off their less than great album Wish. So, from me to you, good Friday, everyone!

Watch and listen

onsdag 14. januar 2015

The Jayhawks - Better Days

After their fourth album, the masterful Tomorrow The Green Grass, founding member Mark Olson left The Jayhawks in the hands of his former band and songwriting partner Gary Louris who took the band away from their country rock sound into a more straightforward 70's style rock direction that had previously only been hinted at. The two subsequent albums, Sound Of Lies (1997) and Smile (2000) are different beasts, but in my opinion as good or even better that the band's previous critically acclaimed albums. Of the many excellent songs off them, I hold the Smile track "Better Days" in especially high regard, a sort of Badfinger-esque power ballad with a lot of punch and a melody to die for.


The Waterboys - Glastonbury Song

A new Waterboys album generally fills me with joy, and Modern Blues, out on Monday, is no exception. You can listen to it here to see just how good it is. Essentially a rock album, it's Mike Scott and friends' heaviest album since 1993's Dream Harder, from which I felt like playing the astoundingly beautiful "Glastonbury Song".


mandag 12. januar 2015

The Margarets - Alain Delon

OK then, time to get serious. A recent result of pure madness was when some friends and I made our individual best of lists from each decade, starting with 50 songs from the 1950's, then a 100 each for the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's. Any of these lists can be accessed in WiMP by clicking on the tags, but now I just felt like concentrating on what I regard as the best song of the entire decade spanning 2000 to 2009. That title goes to Norwegian band The Margarets who recorded four albums before disbanding some years ago, and I fully expect most people in the world to totally disagree with me. But needless to say, I'm a fan, equally needless to say, I regard "Alain Delon" as their finest moment. It was released as a double A-sided single along with "Rubber Rubbish" in 2001, and both songs - excellent as they are - popped up on their debut album What Kept You? in 2002. To me, this is pop music as good as it gets. Now, the good news is that three of the core members of The Margarets are back together under the moniker Giske (the name of the island on the west coast of Norway where they hail from) and will release an album this spring. I can't wait.


Gyllene Tider - Du måste skämta

Gratulerer med dagen til Per Gessle, som fyller 56 år i dag. Gessle er simpelthen å regne for en popgud, ikke minst gjennom sin posisjon i Gyllene Tider, kanskje det beste svenskspråklige popbandet som noen gang har eksistert. Med bena godt plantet i en klassisk pop/rocktradisjon som favner bredt, fra Buddy Holly og Eddie Cochran til T. Rex og David Bowie, videre til pubrockere som Dr. Feelgood (hvis hit "Roxette" ga navn til duoen Gessle utgjør med Marie Fredriksson) og Rockpile, og innom alt mellom himmel og jord underveis, er Gessle en ekte poptyv. Han låner/stjeler her og der, og han får det meste til å låte helt perfekt og superfresht. "Du måste skämta" er en av favorittene mine, hentet fra 2004s comeback album Finn 5 fel.


Slowdive - Ballad Of Sister Sue

Amazingly I had never heard the music of British shoegazing band Slowdive until this summer when I saw the reformed outfit perform a mesmerizing concert at Øyafestivalen here in Oslo. I totally fell in love with their atmospheric music, so here's a song off their 1991 debut Just For A Day, called "Ballad Of Sister Sue". It's so beautiful I almost feel like crying.


Listen to the new Waterboys album in its entirety now

Modern Blues is the title of The Waterboys' new album, in shops both physical and digital next Monday, but from today you can stream it in full via the Mojo website. The nine track album was recorded in Nashville and is The Waterboys' 11th official album, excluding two solo records by Mike Scott.

Stream album now


søndag 11. januar 2015

Nina Simone - When I Was A Young Girl

Forgive me if I go on a bit too much about Nina Simone these days, but I just can't help myself. She was a singer and piano player beyond most of her peers and competitors, a performer that, when at her best, was almost otherworldly. Just listen to this haunting take on the traditional "When I Was A Young Girl" that appeared on her 1964 album Folksy Nina. You can feel the emotion in every note played, in every line sung, and mysteriously you simply end up as a participant in the song, rather than a listener. This is the kind of performance that inhabits you, more than it simply entertains you. Masterful, in every which way.


lørdag 10. januar 2015

Michael Bublé - Haven't Met You Yet

One of the happiest songs I know, "Haven't Met You Yet" is a track off Canadian pop/jazz singer Michael Bublé's fourth album, 2009's Crazy Love. It's the perfect song about the person you have yet to meet and that will change your life completely, overly romantic and upbeat, a feelgood song for the ages. In the music video the love interest actually is Bublé's then fiancée and future wife, Argentinian singer and actress Luisana Lopilato. It's a knock-out song that always makes me smile broadly. I love it!

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Gloria - This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

After being alerted to it only a year ago, the Swedish group called Gloria's 2003 version of Talking Heads "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" has become one of my all time favourite covers. Adding further lightness and an updated production it doesn't differ wildly from the original, only emphasizing the song's qualities. Having said that, this is still among my favourite David Byrne songs, a piece of stunningly brilliant and original pop music. Gloria's version is from an album titled People Like You And Me, and either way, this is classic stuff!


Van Morrison - The Way Young Lovers Do (live)

In 2008 Van Morrison revisited his landmark 1968 album Astral Weeks, performing the eight songs live, starting with two shows at The Hollywood Bowl on November 7 and 8. These concerts were recorded and subsequently released both as a CD and DVD. Of the shows Morrison said they "gave me a welcome opportunity to perform these songs the way I originally intended them to be." Here's "The Way Young Lovers Do" in all its newfound glory, the fifth song of the album, and originally the first track on side B for those who think this matters. Enjoy!

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Rod Stewart - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Congratulations to Rod Stewart, who celebrates his 70th birthday today. In honour of the great man I'd like to share one of his best-known songs, the disco spoof "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" from his 1978 album Blondes Have More Fun. It was certainly not enjoyed by everyone as it was a major departure from Stewart's blues-rock background, although that had already been deluded quite a bit on his last few records, but growing up I loved "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" and I still do. I think it's an amazingly fun song that improves any party. Happy birthday, Rod!

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Rhiannon Giddens - Black Is The Colour

Rhiannon Giddens is known as lead singer, banjo player and violinist in the old-timey band Carolina Chocolate Drops, who gained a certain amount of fame and recognition with their version of Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style" off their Grammy winning 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig. In February she releases her T-Bone Burnett-produced solo debut Tomorrow Is My Turn, after having collaborated with him on The New Basement Tapes project last year. The album title is that of the Nina Simone song which she covers, alongside another Simone staple, the great "Black Is The Colour" that you can listen to by following the link below. Amazing version that she totally makes her own, and the album also includes songs written or performed by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Elizabeth Cotton and others.


Valerie June - Workin' Woman Blues

"Workin' Woman Blues" is a track off Valerie June's fourth album, 2013's Pushin' Against A Stone, the one that made her a semi-household name, gaining praise from critics and audiences around the world. It's the kind of blues that sounds as if it was written during the 1930's, but is in fact an original, and the trumpet solo towards the end of the song is what really nails it. A stand-out performance from everyone involved.

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