As restrictions have prevented many Old Year’s Eve celebrations (not that I really had any) I have decided to end 2020 with some of my favourite songs that I have shared over the year. This isn’t a top-ten pick of songs released this year, but rather a selection of personal favourites.
I thought I would share a recent album from one of my top Aussie bands to emerge over the last 20 years, The Cat Empire. I have featured tracks from them in the past, but want to focus on the last album, Stolen Diamonds, today. It was released at the beginning of last year, and although dedicated Cat Empire fans are likely to know (and enjoy listening to) the three tracks I’m featuring today, this is a heads-up about a fantastic album from a brilliant band for those who may have missed out
Three very different new albums crossed my path recently and today I am featuring a track from each. The first is from a band we looked at earlier on this year after the release of their album, the aptly named The Unravelling. I’m talking about Drive-By Truckers.The topics covered were a hard-hitting social commentary about American life at the time.
Amongst the musical confusion that began the 1970s there were a few shining lights that clearly showed where the future of popular music was headed. Roxy Music was one of the brightest. It is said that Bryan Ferry, the enigmatic vocalist, had the highly stylized look of the band, as well as the artwork for their initial album, planned and ready before they had even been offered a recording contract.
It’s high time that I did a feature about one of my favourite bands and their new album. I’m talking about the Swiss duo or Boris Blank and Dieter Meier, otherwise known as Yello.
I don’t often do a feature on Top 40 songs, but it seems that the lockdown has been inspirational to many of our South African musicians, which has resulted in some really good songs receiving well-deserved airplay at the moment. I know that many of our local followers will have heard these tracks, but today is for all the ex-Pats out there who are craving some sounds from home.
When I that heard that AC/DC had released their first new album in 6 years I was sceptical as to whether they could possibly ever capture the sound and energy that they had always been known for. Also, was the question of who would be in the line-up? After all, founder member Malcolm Young had passed away from dementia in 2017, Brian Johnson’s hearing had deteriorated to a point where struggled to hear, let alone tour, and Phil Rudd was facing major legal issues in New Zealand. The future of AC/DC hadn’t looked very bright for quite a few years.
I am taking a bit of a chance today with this mini-feature, but I want to express up front that this is a post about the art of good parody and NOT a political statement. Having said that, I wish I had come across these clips a few months ago.
Parody and satire differ in that parody uses a known song, whereas satire is normally an original work. My recent mini-feature on Tim Minchin is a perfect example of satire. Last night, after a long day of concentrating at the computer, I checked my YouTube notifications and this popped up in the sidebar.
I featured a new song from Tim Minchin about a month ago not realizing it was a teaser track for a studio album of non-theatre songs that was released yesterday. I’m a huge Tim Minchin fan and within hours of the launch I had notifications from Tim’s YouTube channel giving me the heads-up on the new uploads. I knew it was going to be a good listen. I wasn’t wrong, but what surprised me most was the amount of serious songs included in the 11 tracks of Apart Together. I know so many of the songs from his shows already, the idea that this is basically a debut studio album from someone who has been around for 15+ years is quite strange.
The replicating of the group’s blog archives for our new site is progressing well and as I read through the hundreds of mini-features I am blown away by how much information I’ve shared over the last 15 months. Today’s ‘share from the vault’ is an article I wrote about one of my favourite bands of recent years, Vampire Weekend. Their Father of the Bride album found its way onto my daily playlist and I am happy to re-share this mini-feature with you all.
I have a conflicting like for Alanis Morissette’s music. I think she’s a superb singer/songwriter who touches on very awkward topics that tend to pick the emotional scabs of her devoted following of listeners. And therein lies my conflict. Do I want my emotional scabs picked quite so well?
Someone messaged me to ask if I had ever featured Balkan Beat Box. I certainly have and I promised to Glen that I would track it down. Happily I keep a spreadsheet of what I posted when (I’m such a Virgo!) and found the piece I did in March. As I have a bit of a work deadline looming I have chosen to re-share some info and tracks of one of my favourite live outfits. Enjoy!
Today’s mini-feature tells the story of what I once thought of as a South African band, but on researching found that they had roots stretching back to the early 60s to Britain. I’m talking about Ballyhoo and their success in South Africa is only a part of their fascinating history.
There are certain singer/songwriters who become a deeply ingrained part of your life. The kind that helps you through teenage self-doubt all the way to the retrospection and hindsight that comes with the ‘Autumn’ years. Joni Mitchell is one of those people and, as it was her 77th birthday yesterday, it is only fitting to pay tribute to one of the true greats with a personal selection of three songs.
Today I am not so much featuring an album or particular artist, rather than a series of recordings under the label ‘Jazz is Dead’. The series was launched earlier this year and there are four releases so far, each of which is set to become collectors’ items for Jazz fans.
It’s time to go local again today with a band from the ‘90s that you’re bound to remember, Urban Creep. When Durban boys Brendan Jury, Chris Letcher, Ross Campbell and Didier Nobila formed in 1993 I doubt if they realised the impact they would make on local music.
I’ve always been a Crowded House fan since first hearing them and was fortunate enough to see them live at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg on their South African tour. Being such an avid follower I was saddened when they disbanded in 2005 and overjoyed when they regrouped for two more albums (2007 and 2010). A few days ago I got the heads-up of a new single, ‘Whatever You Want’ and that sparked today’s theme, Ladies & Gentlemen, Crowded House.
The New Radicals could easily have been included in my recent feature about one-hit-wonders. Although the band were only active for two years the hit single that came from their one album, ‘Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too’ caused quite a furore in the media. Those of you who may not recognise the band’s name will more than likely remember the song ‘You Get What You Give’ which topped the Canadian and New Zealand charts, peaked at #5 in the UK and made the Top 40 in the States.