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Roddy Woomble – My Secret Is My Silence

27 10 2010

Listened: Wednesday October 6

This is one of those albums with a cover that successfully telegraphs the content within – it really sounds like a beardy dude in a beenie sitting in the Scottish countryside. Obviously then, Roddy Woomble’s solo album My Secret is My Silence is very different in sound than classic Idlewild albums (Roddy is the singer from Idlewild).

Most of the songs are very British-trad in instrumentation – twangy and folky with flutes – as opposed to the shoutiness of early Idlewild and the REM-like rock of later records. Additionally, quite a few songs have female backing vocals or even a male-female duet, something which Idlewild never uses.

That said, songs like As Still As I Watch Your Grave or From The Drifter To The Drake could be at home on Idlewild records, so it’s not a total departure. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased, since it had been some time since Idlewild had released anything.

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Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career

27 10 2010

Listened: Wednesday October 6

My Maudlin Career was the first Camera Obscura album I acquired. I’ve since acquired others.

My Maudlin Career like ear crack. I sing songs like French Navy, Away With Murder, Swans, and James to myself for hours afterward. I’ve never been a big fan of breathy female vocals, but Camera Obscura do it so expertly I can’t help but love it. The sixties-inspired instrumentation with Belle & Sebastian style strings tie it all up with a big bow.

I subsequently downloaded their other albums when Amazon went crazy and had them all on sale for $5!





Beck – Mutations

27 10 2010

Listened: Tuesday October 5

I casually enjoyed Beck’s singles on the radio, but I’ve never been a big fan. I think maybe I thought he was too popular? Which is an odd statement, coming from someone who fell so in love with U2, I realize.

That said, I love Mutations. I don’t know how or why I got this album, it was probably very cheap somewhere. I love the Eastern sounds and the mellow tone of most of the songs. It’s a lot more relaxed and eager to please than Odelay.





Various – Music Of Croatia

27 10 2010

Listened: Tuesday October 5

Occasionally Amazon gives away random non-mainstream albums for free. Having visited Croatia and the Balkan region before, and being a fan of the neo-gypsy music craze, I jumped at the chance to get Music of Croatia for free.

I knew nothing about the artists on the album (I’ve since read up on them on Wikipedia, if I could find English-language articles), but they seem to span older styles of Croatian music to modern-day examples. There’s rock, reggae, octet acapella, and very traditional-sounding instrumental songs. It’s quite catchy and does fulfill the need for Gypsy Soundz.





Nirvana – MTV Unplugged In New York

27 10 2010

Listened: Tuesday October 5

It took reading wikipedia’s article on Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged album for me to grasp how unique it is. Since I grew up with it, it was a normal part of history for me, and I hadn’t really thought about how odd it was that they played relatively few of their own songs, and almost none of the big hits at all.

They play songs by David Bowie, The Meat Puppets, The Vaselines, and Leadbelly. These are probably artists and songs almost no mainstream rock fans were familiar with at the time.

I heard this version of The Man Who Sold The World before I ever heard the Bowie version, and as a result, I prefer it. It’s one of the spookiest songs I can think of, second only to Ghost Town by The Specials. (My Mind Playing Tricks on Me by Geto Boys is on that list too.) As a rabid reader of rock magazines, I had heard mention of the Meat Puppets before, but was totally unfamiliar with their music before hearing this. The covers of their songs are some of the best on the album.

The capper to all this is Leadbelly’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night – which Kurt totally tears up like probably no one else could. He gives us the 90s punky version of the blues, which works out perfectly. Even more so than his own songs, it gives us a glimpse of the struggles he was going through at the time.