July 2010


Jun 28 2010, 14h47

The idea is for a journal for every month listing new albums I listen to and what I think so that when I review the year's music in December, I will have a handy reminder. I will add to this as the month goes on. Suggestions welcome.

Play the radio: My Gang Featured Albums 10

January 2010 | February 2010 | March 2010 | April 2010 | May 2010 | June 2010

w/c Mon 28 June:

The Morning Benders - Big Echo
Released months ago in the States, I had to wait for the UK release before I could hear it. Incredible buzz around this album. Couldn't wait to hear it. And when I did, my first reaction was that of disappointment. Stayed with it and after a few songs, really got into it. Look forward to getting to know it better. My favourite - Pleasure Sighs - for its Cocteau Twins dreaminess and shimmering guitars.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Scissor Sisters - Night Work
Album of the week. They're back. Music to escape into. Personal favourite - Invisible Light, the gay 'Thriller'. Sleazy, sexy and confident electronic disco. Good range and variety in styles and pace. Stands up to back-to-back repeat listening. Nay, demands it.
BBC Review | Electroqueer Review
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Hey Marseilles - To Travels and Trunks
The Seattle popsters' 2008 debut gets a national rerelease. (Spinner) The opening and closing instrumental tracks are the reason I gave this album a second chance. Vocals aren't my favourite style but the gorgeous chamber pop, orchestral and piano passages more than make up for them. Indulgent in parts but overall, a great debut.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Eric Bibb - Booker's Guitar
Released Feb 2010. Acoustic blues, sparse, minimal, downtempo. Soft blues ballads, all originals except for the traditional folk song Wayfaring Stranger and Blind Willie Johnson's Nobody's Fault But Mine. Soothing and hypnotic. And beautiful.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Akala - Doublethink
Released 3 May 2010. The third album from UK underground rap, grime, hip-hop artist. Mixes up heavy rock, metal with trip-hop, classical, orchestral... multi-genre and lots of samples. Intelligent, non-mainstream, non-commercial hip-hop. The album opens and closes with gorgeous orchestral pieces that threaten to outshine the rest, much like Hey Marseilles new album (see above). Before you listen to this, begin with Shakespeare from the in the opinion of the BBC, landmark album, his debut, It's Not A Rumour.
The Independent: British hip-hop heads out of the underground, 30 Apr 10
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

INU - Not For Anyone
The San Francisco trio creates lush soundscapes on its first LP. (Spinner) Alternative, electronic, rock. Downtempo, leaning towards ambient or post-rock, then goes a bit shoegaze. Heavy, solid sound, as if anchored to the ground. Vocals are slow and heavy, it's the guitars that shimmer and bring some light. Lovely album. Band members: San Francisco based producer Count (Radiohead, DJ Shadow, New Order, Halou, Galactic, Frank Sinatra), Zoë Keating (Rasuptina, Imogen Heap, Dresden Dolls) and Tim Hingston (Nyles Lannon). This is their debut.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Robby Krieger - Singularity
The former Doors guitarist releases his first solo record in 10 years. (Spinner) One of the greatest guitarists. This is a must. Album is all instrumental and the music is varied and wide-ranging, crossing genres, countries and time. Incredible music.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Alejandro Escovedo - Street Songs of Love
The Texas-based singer-songwriter examines love with guest help from Bruce Springsteen. (Spinner) Ooh! Bruce Springsteen! And Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople! And related to personal hero Sheila E! who is Santana percussionist Pete Escovedo's daughter. Album is produced by Tony Visconti. Could there be more cred? Proper rock by proper people.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Peggy Sue - Fossils And Other Phantoms
Debut album from artists formerly known as Peggy Sue and the Pirates and Peggy Sue And The Pictures. Engaging British indie folk that's sometimes bluesy. Lo-fi homemade sound, gorgeous melodies and subtle harmonies, lyrics you want to learn.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Wilson's Reservoir - Wilson's Reservoir
The Indiana band mixes old American with modern rock on this debut album. (Spinner) Alternative, folk, country. Raw, live feeling to the recording. Vocals crack with emotion, lyrics and music are dark. Wasn't sure about this on first listen but found I liked The Crook very much. Just on that, it gets a second spin. Music is traditional and old-fashioned via Radiohead.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Jackie Greene - Till The Light Comes
The California roots rocker brings a more mature sound on his latest effort. (Spinner) My first thought was Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, it's a similar flavour of pop and rock, although it's probably not a fair comparison. Mainstream, radio-friendly for the most part, an easy listen. Favourite tracks: Medicine for the music and 1961 for the story.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

The Harvey Girls - I've Been Watching A Lot of Horror Movies Lately
The Portland, Ore. husband-and-wife duo brings sample-heavy psych-rock on its latest release. (Spinner) With influences as disparate as The Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart and The Muppets, this was going to be a little mad, and it is. Lo-fi, slightly rough finish on the production, it sounds like a 'happening'. Lovely harmonies with funny squeeees in the background, odd instrumentation, and good fun. I like this a lot.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Graham Czach - Graham Czach: "Lucid"
The multi-talented artist and Chicago Music Award winner blends his eclectic rock sound with a little humanity on his solo debut LP. (Spinner) From the very first note and the opening bars, I didn't like this. It's annoying in the same way Mika is - he's good, knows he's good, loves how good he is, hey everybody come see how good he is. See the press release.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Maps & Atlases - Perch Patchwork
The Chicago math rockers hone their songwriting chops on their full-length debut album. (Spinner) Math rock meets the Fleet Foxes. With added silver bells. Had to listen to the second track, The Charm, immediately again before moving on. Slightly ugly on the ears but absolutely beautiful all together.
Reco of the Week - The Charm
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

w/c Mon 5 July:

Fol Chen - Part II: The New December
L.A.'s masked art-pop band returns with another quirky concept album. (Spinner) Listened to this all week but it really doesn't reach me till the last two tracks, They Came To Me and The New December.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite
The Aussie pop star's 11th studio album is her first since 2007's 'X.' (Spinner) Good fun.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Miss TK & The Revenge - The Ocean Likes To Party Too
Check out this new album by the dance-punk six-piece a week before its release. (Spinner) Cute, sleazy, upbeat and cheerful. Enjoyed this.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Prince - 20Ten
Given away free with the Daily Mirror (UK). Prince being Prince. Favourite track, the secret one at the end, track 77 Laydown. He's not loving the internet, so don't expect this to be streaming anywhere.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

w/c Mon 12 July:

Seth Lakeman - Hearts & Minds
Folk, singer-songwriter. This is Seth's fifth album. Less drama than earlier works, more maturity and sophistication instead. Wants more plays if just to listen to those stories again. Wonderful.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

School of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire
The New York trio releases its second album of dream pop and shoegaze. (Spinner) Pure Cocteau Twins. Ethereal, dream pop, gorgeous. Beautiful harmonies. Downtempo and soothing. Music to disappear into.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Frazey Ford - Obadiah
Solo album from Frazey Ford of the The Be Good Tanyas. Not my favourite style of singing or voice but the music and soothing tempo make up for it. Canadian folk.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

I Am Kloot - Sky at Night
Guy Garvey of Elbow had a hand and you can tell - proper gorgeous. Sublime.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse - Dark Night of The Soul
The duo's collaboration released after Mark Linkous' tragic suicide in March features guest vocals including Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, the Flaming Lips and David Lynch. (Spinner) Don't know what I was expecting, but I don't think I was expecting anything beautiful or gorgeous, which this is. And really moving. There's tenderness in the music that's touching, knowing the backstory.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Crowded House - Intriguer
The Australian rock band's latest release is the first to feature all four members on every track. (Spinner) Includes contributions from Jon Brion, Lisa Germano and Neil Finn's son Liam Finn. It's not Woodface or Together Alone, but repeat listens reveal its subtleties. Very pretty, and a pleasure.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Hey Champ - Star
The '80s-influenced synth-rockers' first album features the lead single 'old Dust Girl.' (Spinner) Meh. Patchy. Some of it is quite good, the rest, lifeless.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

The Innocence Mission - my room in the trees
The quartet, featuring husband-and-wife Karen and Don Peris, releases its eighth studio LP. (Spinner) Such a relief after the abomination above. My initial perception may be biased but first thought was, "Aaah". Very sweet folky stuff. Mile-Marker is my favourite.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Chatham County Line - Wildwood
The North Carolina quartet blends Americana, folk and rock 'n' roll with traditional bluegrass music on their latest album. (Spinner) Put track 1 on thinking if I didn't like it, I would move on swiftly (my default mode). Next thing I knew, I was looking at the last track. No sensations per se, just rather good.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

R.E.M. - Fables of the Reconstruction (Deluxe Edition)
The legendary alternative rock band's third record get a re-mastered and re-issued for its 25th anniversary. (Spinner)

We7 | Spotify | MySpace

w/c Mon 19 July:

Marconi Union - A Lost Connection
Originally available on the band's website as digital download, now on general release on CD. Manchester band with a great reputation just got greater. Put this on on Sunday and pretty much listened to it on repeat for the next 24 hours, and it's still not enough. Warm and welcoming ambient soundscapes. Perfection.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Mountain Man - Made The Harbor
Mountain Man are three sweet-voiced girls. Intricate harmonies and acoustic, minimal accompaniment characterise their music. This is their debut. Reminds me a lot of Mariee Sioux in their americana, old time country. Peaceful and sublime.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Dan Sartain - Dan Sartain Lives
Old fashioned blues garage rock. Good fun, but nothing new.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

These United States - What Lasts
Jesse Elliott and company return with their fourth album of genre-blending indie rock. (Spinner) Sounds like Lloyd Cole & The Commotions. Still good, though.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Kristin Hersh - Crooked
The Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave singer's latest album is accompanied by a book featuring artwork, essays, lyrics and commentary on each song. (Spinner) Liked this immediately, but then I've been listening to her half my life. Has she always sounded a bit like Marianne Faithfull? Book is hardcover and you can download another two EPs. Bargain.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Frontier Ruckus - Deadmalls and Nightfalls
The Michigan-based folk rockers return with their second full-length studio album. (Spinner) Very grand banjo music. Epic, dramatic, a bit mariachi, a bit Arcade Fire.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Grand Mal - Clandestine Songs
After 15 years together, Bill Whitten's unheralded rock outfit releases their sixth LP. (Spinner) It's all in the songwriting and Bill Whitten's voice. Uncommonly good. Draws you in then shows you all its gems. Clever word play, unexpected rhymes. Something to be admired.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Jimmy Gnecco - The Heart
The Ours lead singer played every instrument on this debut solo record. (Spinner) Much to like and much to be challenged by. As one reviewer puts it: more Radiohead - The Bends than Radiohead themselves. Gnecco has an incredible vocal range but mostly prefers the upper ranges. Music is stripped back and minimal, one man and his guitar. Emotional, melancholic, heartfelt. Kept turning the sound down, it's not a beautiful listen but turned down, it seems to blossom. Loved I Heard You Singing.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

The Jim Jones Revue - The Jim Jones Revue
Former Thee Hypnotics frontman Jim Jones gets in touch with his rock 'n' roll roots on his band's debut album. (Spinner) 2008 album reissued. Good old fashioned 1950s rock'n'roll.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Keegan DeWitt - Nothing Shows EP
The singer-songwriter follows up his 2009 debut album, 'Islands,' with this EP inspired by English poet Philip Larkin. (Spinner) Lo-fi indie folk. Not doing much for me. Find it dull and uninteresting, but maybe it requires a quiet moment. Music for daydreams maybe.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Kenseth Thibideau - Repetition
The Pinback and Three Mile Pilot member takes the DIY approach on his first solo LP. (Spinner) What I like to daydream to. Opening track Black Hole absolutely gorgeous. Disguise is the song Ian Brown hasn't done. Lo-fi whispery spacey loveliness. Repetition - it's an instruction.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Halsted - Life Underwater
The sophomore album from singer/songwriter Ryan Auffenberg features a wide range of genre-defying musical stylings. (Spinner) Musically pleasant but the vocals are annoying, keep going off. Winced through them. Quiet lo-fi acoustic indie folk. This isn't whispering well.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

The Gypsy Nomads - Happy Madness
The New York-based Celtic cabaret duo Frenchy and the Punk serve up danceable goodness on their fourth album. (Spinner) Siouxsie sings Gogol Bordello. Like it. Sleazy, dirty cabaret. Naughty, naughty, naughty.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Pegi Young - Foul Deeds
The second album from the acclaimed singer/songwriter features tracks written by notable artists such as Lucinda Williams and Devendra Banhart. (Spinner) Neil Young's wife, of course it's good. It's better than good, it's a delight. Folk rock, americana, country, soft and soothing. One for late nights and quiet moments, and over much too quickly.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

J Roddy Walston And The Business - J Roddy Walston And The Business
The Baltimore quartet takes its straight-ahead rock 'n' roll sound to new levels on its second LP. (Spinner) Undemanding music for undemanding people. Exactly what it says on the tin. Good on the radio, good in the car, good pretty much wherever you are. With added twangy guitars.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

w/c Mon 26 July:

Jesca Hoop - Hunting My Dress
Tom Waits' singer/songwriter protege releases her sophomore album in the U.S. Released in the UK towards the end of 2009.
Eerie folk, dark, complex, dramatic and full of mystery. Reminds me of Soap&Skin in places. She's come a long way already. Guy Garvey of Elbow duets on Murder Of Birds. Four Dreams is cute.
BBC Review
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Tom Jones - Praise & Blame
Before the album was released, an email was leaked to the Sunday Times that a senior executive at Island Records wrote "this is some sick joke???" Island have since apologised, claiming it to be a publicity stunt. The 'row' was over Tom Jones's return to his roots, recording this album of bluesy gospel. The album is superb, receiving great reviews across the board. So who knows.
We7 | Spotify | Official Site

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Not what I was expecting. Polished, rounded sounds, calm and sophisticated. No jagged edges or exuberance and therefore an easier listen. Sunday Times album of the year and rave reviews across the board.
BBC Review
Full stream on NPR
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Stornoway - Beachcomber's Windowsill
After hitting No. 3 on the UK indie chart, the alternative folk outfit releases its debut album in the States. (Spinner) Didn't like this at all on first listen. Second listen, it's still a bit fisherman's friend, but maybe not so bad.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

Hafdis Huld - Synchronised Swimmers
Didn't blow me away, but I didn't press stop or look for something else to play either. Charming and sweet pop.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace

The R.G. Morrison - Farewell, My Lovely or Farewell My Lovely
Second album from Rupert Graeme Morrison, recorded in a remote house in Devon with no central heating. (Sunday Times says "sort of Bon Iver, but with cream teas"). Old suitcases used for percussion. Lo-fi, gritty, Morrison's voice cracks and goes off tune, mournful ballads are sometimes too slow and drag. I didn't like Bon Iver, so this did nothing for me.
We7 | Spotify | MySpace


  • timorningbender

    Thanks Babs, The Morning Benders appreciate it! :)

    Jun 29 2010, 0h58
  • Babs_05

    Ooh! Forgot you were here, lol. : ) Yes, been waiting ages and ages to hear this. There's a part about half way through that's really gorgeous, it sort of shifts gear from the opener and just shines. But I need to get to know it better, it's not a one-listen album.

    Jun 29 2010, 1h01
  • Babs_05

    Ahaa, thanks for the link, it wasn't there when I looked yesterday. I listened on repeat last night. I kept thinking of the Beatles and the Monkees as well as Grizzly Bear.

    Jun 29 2010, 15h51
  • Babs_05

    lol yes, apparently none of the band except Jake liked the album cover at first but gradually came round to the idea.

    Jul 1 2010, 16h46
  • ryue65

    Thanks for heads up on Seth Lakemans and School of Seven bells

    Jul 16 2010, 17h06
  • Babs_05

    you're very welcome.

    Jul 16 2010, 18h20
  • CvaldaVessalis

    Jake would like that album cover, wouldn't he!? ,':^/ Hey Babs; past the halfway mark and more albums than anyone could possibly shake a stick at. Listened to Glitch Mob at your recommendation and am completely sold on them; likewise Divine Comedy, but then that was a mere inevitability, eh? Really like the Kylie album (but then, I would!), and almost got a little teary when I first heard All The Lovers hit that gorgeous middle eight... No /\/\ /\ Y /\ on here yet though; what did you think of that? Seems everyone's primed to slate her right now but I like the paranoid frenzy mixed in with the lovely touches. I'd also recommend Cerulean by Baths and Into The Great Wide Yonder by Trentemoller; Baths is what Owl City should sound like if he was actually any good at all and Trentemoller is just gorgeous, a mix of techno, trip hop and lo-fi electronica. Still have Scissor Sisters, Lakeman and Seven Bells to listen to, but will start writing my latest journal entry this month for the end of August, so will let you know how they fare then!

    Jul 19 2010, 11h31
  • Babs_05

    Hiya! Good to see you. If it wasn't for Jake, I think there would have been a different album cover, for sure! Can't believe half the year's gone already. Glad you liked my recommendations. I heard MIA on her MySpace, most of it if not all. She hasn't done anything new, just more of the same. She's still very exciting and vital, and there's no one who can touch her, she's so out there. Maybe I was expecting too much, I'll be listening again when it's streaming everywhere. Something average from her is still above-average in real terms. lol yeah, I can't stand Owl City! I'll give Baths a spin, thanks. And I adore Trentemoller, which I'm sure you already know. Can't wait for you to hear School of Seven Bells! Seriously. It's pure Cocteau Twins. And Lakeman is just dreamy. Looking forward to your next journal. I saw your last one, impressive as ever. :)

    Jul 19 2010, 12h19
  • IanAR

    I'm loving Erland and the Carnival's [i]Was You Ever See[/i] & [i]Tramps and Hawkers[/i], from their new s/t album - while in a new folky vane, Leddra Chapman's [i]Summer Song (Acoustic)[/i] is a current smiley fav'e :) Ian

    Jul 21 2010, 12h01
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