Monday, January 19, 2009

time for new music?

I have not bought any new music in over a year*. My CD player broke in January 2006 and somehow I never got round to buying a new one. And there wasn't much point buying CDs with nothing to play them on. Then I got a laptop, but little tinny speakers aren't the same as big ones. And then I got ill and depressed and wasn't interested in much. But now I'm feeling better and I have a CD player again (courtesy of the previous inhabitant of my current room) and the hi-fi system in the living room has a handy audio cable to connect up laptops to. So, I'm thinking it's time to buy music again. (Not that I have any money, but we'll let that go).

So what should I listen to? Any recommendations?

Things I like:
Belle and Sebastian (I'm a sucker for stories and vignettes and I love the way their arrangements are sweet without being twee.)
The Divine Comedy (I could listen to Neil Hannon sing anything.)
Interesting 20th century classical music. I had a bit of a Kurt Weil phase.
Ella Fitzgerald (I'd love to sing like her)
Blur (and most things involving Damon Albarn)
Ben Folds (more vignettes and wit and piano amazingness)
Bjork (bonkers but brilliant. Medulla is spine tinglingly beautiful)

Things I don't like:
Twee female singer/songwriters - Joanna Newsome, Feist, anything involving skipping and fluffiness and fragile blondeness. (Not quite sure why. I think it just sets my teeth on edge like too much sugar)
Dance/trance/all those sorts of music that sound computer generated and moronic but I can't keep track of their names anymore. Maybe to dance to in the right setting, but not to listen to. Not that I'm opposed to electronica, more that I don't like the sort of things that get called 'club anthems' and boom out all summer from boy racers' cars.

Things I thought I liked, but got sick of:
Sufjan Stevens (I bought and initially like Seven Swans, but after a while got completely sick of it)
Guitar bands. Maybe I'm growing out of them. I have in my collection and sometimes still listen to Athlete, the Bluetones, Space, Franz Ferdinand. (Though FF probably should be in the top list).

Things I think I like, but don't know much about:
Northern soul
Jazz - the sorts of things that involve tunes. Not trad, not dixieland, occasionally big band and swing, anything singable, I can just about recognise a Miles Davis track on a good day. Jazz is like poetry, in that I'm intrigued, but a bit intimidated by it.

Random CDs I have in my collection but am not sure if I like or not:
Tom Waits - Alice (I listened to it once, it scared me, then my CD player broke)
The Fall - 50000 Fall fans can't be wrong (Bought under the influence of watching The Manchester Passion)
Aimee Mann - Lost in Space (I can't remember why. After watching Magnolia probably)
Tori Amos - To Venus and Back (Bought for Cornflake Girl, but very rarely listened to)

*Almost true. Actually I bought a Guillemots album on iPlayer just before Christmas. And a few random songs I was learning for a gig in October. And Tchiakovsky's Liturgy of St Chrysostom in about May.


Nathan said...

Nick Drake. I've got Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter, which are both good. Proper purists say the best album is Pink Moon, but I'm a pop-tart who listens almost exclusively to guitar bands and dance music (hence why I won't be *much* help in answering your question), so it's a bit too sparse for me. Bryter Layter, in particular, contains At the Chime of a City Clock, which is quite the best song about London ever written. Yes better than Waterloo Sunset, yes better than anything on Parklife. Just lovely.

Also, which Guillemots album did you get? If the second one, then I do like it, a lot, but the first might be more up your street.

Amrita said...

I too don 't like sugary female singers - even Christian ones.

Light rock
Black Gospel
Traditional hymns

I don 't know any of the singers you have listed

Pig wot flies said...

I've got Pink Moon and love it. Yes, more Nick Drake would be good.
I've got Through the Windowpane and it's gorgeous. Your fault for putting sparks and shining dragons in your status and making me wonder what on earth you were going on about.

Thanks Amrita! The popular musical landscape probably looks very different from where you are.

Nathan said...

Also: get some Ray Charles in your life. I bought the album that tied in with the movie, so I don't know the name of any actual Ray Charles albums (I guess he was before albums really happened, though, wasn't he, mainly), but he's good fun. I owe him everything in terms of playing style. What's interesting is I'd never heard him or realised my whole style was a copy of his until I saw the film. Odd. Shows how influential he was, I guess.

Christine Hughes suggests:
KT Tunstall: she is, admittedly, a girl with an acoustic guitar that's bigger than her, but she is in no way skippy or fluffy. She could beat me (Nathan) in a fight, easy, though that's probably not the highest of praise.

The Wombats: they are a guitar band but their lyrics are witty and fun. Plus they're named after the internet's coolest adventure-loving stuffed animal.

Lara said...

I'll second the KT Tunstall recommendation. Have you heard of Brooke Fraser? She's a female Christian singer from New Zealand (now based in Sydney), but I don't think she's sugary. Also Sarah Blasko - an Australian singer/songwriter, also not sugary, but a little bit Bjork-lite from time to time. The iTunes music store is awesome for trying snippets before you buy!