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January listening

3dp_soundwaves_soundWhat I did and didn’t listen to last month.

Can’t Get Enough


David Bowie, Blackstar 

RCA

Blackstar_album_coverWell, duh, everyone was always going to listen to a new Bowie album. Though since he died, the radio hasn’t been taking any chances over making sure his final album is given the consideration it is due, so I’ve been force-fed as much Blackstar as I have Ziggy Stardust over the past fortnight. Which is great, it’s a great album, but it’s not exactly easy.

I actually quite liked 2013 comeback The Next Day, and on the surface, Blackstar is similarly full of slower, darker and, well, older sounding tracks, though it seems to have a bit more welly behind it. Lyrically it is quite challenging, full of codes to crack, and the mash of genres is a bit disorientating at fi
rst; he’s got ballads with jazz sax (and I hate jazz) – even stretches of angry rapping. But, if you work at it, you can appreciate the artistry in the unique and meaningful music Bowie has managed to create, again.


 

Lonelady, Hinterland 

Warp 

Lonelady_-_Hinterland
I hadn’t thought much about Lonelady aka Julie Campbell until Hinterland was came out last year; it then took the release of a steady trickle of singles from the album for me to finally pay attention.

I thought she sounded a bit like Grimes back on ‘Groove It Out’, but this album is more about the post-punk guitars than electronica. In ‘Silvering’ you really get a sense of the Manchester cityscape Lonelady hails from; it has that industrial feel, but it’s got funk and is pretty dancey too. Very cool.


 

Avoided


Daughter, Not to Disappear

4AD

daughter-not-to-disappear.jpg

Seeing as they have won over a small army of adoring fans since their last EP, I have wondered if I need to re-evelauate  Daughter…but I can’t get past the fact that I just don’t like them.

I  watched them play Latitude festival back in 2013 where they packed the tent and didn’t put a foot wrong. But whatever everyone else was feeling just went straight over my head. I know that the sort of ambient thing they have going on can be beautiful, and from what I have heard of Not to Disappear, the new tracks seem to have a bit more substance than The Wild Youth (worst title of 2015?) but still Daughter are missing something for me.

I find it all a bit overemotional, and I don’t think the music is quite powerful enough to get away with it.


Kanye,  Waves/Whatever 

GOOD/ Def Jam

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The latest track listing teaser posted on Twitter

Nope. Between the digging out old tracks, changing the  title, sparring with Wiz Khalifa and Father John Misty (!?!?!) and intermittently declaring and renouncing it as the best album of all time, I’ve stopped caring about his upcoming album/baby/religious work.

In fact, the only reason it’s still on my radar is because of Kendrick Lamar.  I thought ‘No More Parties in L.A.’ was everything you would want their team effort to be but I would honestly rather listen to Kendrick solo.

So long, Kanye.


 

On the Fence


This is the Kit, Bashed Out 

Brassland

homepage_large.f6b825d5Usually I find music that’s super stripped back too much like hard work to really bother with. Though, I attitude Kate Stables has towards making music and I like her lovely voice.

Although folk music often has a lovely earthy authenticity, I can’t help but miss a more complex rhythm section – sometimes a voice and some jingly jangly instruments aren’t enough and, Bashed Out doesn’t quite escape this, however sweet some of the songs are.

There is certainly something memorable about the album but I just think I would enjoy it more if it wasn’t so determinedly simple. It’s a pretty sparse collection but it includes ‘Silver John’ and ‘Magic Spell’ which have been getting a lot of airplay at the moment. I will listen to Bashed Out, but I’ll have to be in a good mood.

 


Lena Dunham Women of the Hour podcast 

Soundcloud

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 18.41.35

A friend recommended this to me because of our shared fondness of Girls. The TV show is about as far as I’ve stepped into Lena territory – I haven’t read Not That Kind of Girl-  but nonetheless I think she’s an interesting and entertaining person and a podcast is a pretty friendly way to get your millennial feminism.

A bit like Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, I’ve been finding it hit and miss. What’s great about it is that, unlike most radio shows, the contributors aren’t usually promoting their new book or film appearance, so what they have to say generally seems quite sincere. Though, a lot of Lena’s friends do happen to be celebrities. Good ones, mind, but I think that it can sometimes hinder the relate-ability.

This agenda-less-ness might be Women of the Hour‘s best and it’s worst quality; each episode looks at a hugely vast issue – bodies, sex, friendship; it’s a mixture of feminist theory and Everyday Feminism, as well as Lena’s eloquent (and painful) honesty in her personal insights.  Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes hard-hitting and serious, and I think to be able to pick out the wisdom properly, you need to have more patience than I do.

 

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