"I can't get around the bends in your brain, and your elaborate pain makes me tired..."
Yet another roulette, from your favourite blogger...
Sarah Blasko - Always On This Line [What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Take, 2006]
These past few days, I've been rediscovering the joy of Australian Sarah Blasko's last album, the stunning What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Take. I underrate this album terribly, and while I may go gaga over the Begin to Hopes and Yes, Virginias of this world, I can't forget the downright amazing, but less replayable, work Blasko does. Her work is so heavy, with such substance, that her music often doesn't get the plays others' do, and that's a shame. She's got an amazing voice, and her lyrics are superb. This song is a standout on a stellar album.
Annie - What Do You Want (The Breakfast Song) [Don't Stop, 2008]
Annie's sophomore album is probably the singularly most disappointing release of 2008 so far. The entire album doesn't have half the heart of "Heartbeat" or "Me Plus One", and that is epitomized in "What Do You Want (The Breakfast Song)", quite possibly the most banal, irritating song I have ever had the displeasure of encountering. I have never made it to the end of this song. After the first two attempts, I just gave up.
Cloud Cult - Journey of the Featherless [Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornados), 2008]
In stark contrast to the above disappointment, finding this gem was mostly by accident. I knew I liked the Cult from "Everybody Here is a Cloud", but I hadn't yet heard this extremely charming little tale. It's just so delightful, a tale of a simple soul trying to find his way to heaven and getting lost amongst the clouds. It's wonderful.
Yoav - Adore Adore [Charmed & Strange, 2008]
An evocative, almost seductive song from London-based Yoav, who croons a dark tale from the point of our favourite Lucifer. What could come off as a cliche actually comes off as well-done; Yoav's devil is a charming brute, with a wink in his eye as he leads you into the darkness.
Lisa Hannigan - Teeth [Sea Sew, 2008]
Lisa Hannigan, Damien Rice's better half (musically, kids, not romantically), recently split with the Irish heartthrob to make her own music. I've long been a fan of this quirky, waifish singer (see my praise of the fantastic "Sea Song" demo) and Sea Sew was one of my most anticipated releases before it was confirmed to even exist. Does it live up to the hype? Well, nothing could, but we've got a beautiful album here that is still in the process of growing on me. One standout is the melancholic "Teeth", an epic, beautiful showcase. (Longtime fans of Hannigan's should recognise it as the song once known as "The Bottle")
Sara Lov - My Body is a Cage (Arcade Fire Cover) [Young Eyes EP, 2008]
A cover of one of my secret favourites from Arcade Fire's repertoire, it takes their full organ church sound and translates it to piano, strings and Sara Lov's surprisingly vulnerable voice. While Win Butler infused the original with chain-shaking agony and unfulfilled rage, Lov seems to be singing as a caged bird with a quiet strength; two cages, two prisoners, both as interesting as one another.
Alanis Morissette - Not As We [Flavors of Entanglement, 2008]
One of Canada's best exports, the lovely Alanis Morissette released her seventh album, and somehow made it better than most of her output over the years. One of the standouts was this track, a song of rebirth and recovery after her public separation with actor Ryan Reynolds. I've heard the end of a serious romantic relationship can sometimes be likened to mourning a death, and Alanis is in full mourning garb here, trying to understand a world as an 'I' and 'not as we' for the first time in recent memory.
2008, though I've been a little hard on it before, has been a damn good year for music. Though it was missing heavy hitters like Andrew Bird or Tegan and Sara, there's amazing solo work being done from old favourites (Amanda Palmer and the above Lisa Hannigan), and plenty of fantastic new discoveries (Why?, Emily Wells, Caroline Herring, Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip) that have made this a surprisingly good music.
And don't forget, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.
Just a test
11 months ago