Every week, I’ll share an album or two I’ve been listening to. Feel free to list your favorite recent releases in the comments below.
Tweet your current favorite albums to @SeanMPhipps or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week saw the release of an excellent new folk record from U.K. singer/songwriter Laura Marling. Fans of Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt should take note. Also released was an album from post-dub step (what does that even mean?) band Mount Kimbie, which should find the kids getting down with their bad selves. Other albums of note are John Fogerty’s “Wrote a Song for Everyone,” featuring a ton of special guests, like Kid Rock and Dawes; Tricky’s new album, “False Idols,” which features that Massive Attack sound he’s so famous for; and Alice in Chains' new full-length called “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.”
What are you listening to?
See the Spotify playlist below for more tracks from this week.
Notable albums next week:
“'Once I Was an Eagle' is a work that demands to be taken as a whole, another reminder of the peculiar power of the album form, despite frequent premature declarations of its redundancy.”—The Independent
Laura Marling is an English folk singer and former member of the indie rock band Noah and the Whale. “Once I Was an Eagle” is her fourth studio album and is being considered one of the best folk albums of the year. Marling, now 23 years old, draws comparisons from some of the greats; Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt immediately come to mind as far as the Laurel Canyon sound. Musically, the unusual dropped guitar tunings of Mitchell are present, but so is a much more interesting playing style reminiscent of John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Despite the comparisons, Marling’s music is all her own. The first few tracks on the album flow together with a similar sound. On the title track, Marling sings, “I will not be a victim of romance ... chance or circumstance or romance or any man who gets his dirty little hands on me.” Themes of romance, the devil and hope appear throughout the album. Like Josh Ritter’s “The Beast in Its Tracks” from earlier this year, Marling’s release is separated into two parts. The first part of the album contains a guitar sound and vocal that sounds much darker than the second half, which is filled with bright chords and masterful fingerpicking. “Once I Was an Eagle” is a sprawling 63-minute epic in which all of the vocal and guitar parts were recorded in a single day. Laura Marling is fearless. I highly recommend. Highlights are “I Was an Eagle/You Know,” “Undine” and “Love Be Brave.”
“Ultimately, 'Cold Spring Fault Less Youth' is a fascinating record, a series of varied and elaborate soundscapes that find the right balance of mood and melody.”—Pretty Much Amazing
English electronic music is all the rage among music fans and at the salons these days. Mount Kimbie is a London-based duo comprised of Dominic Maker and Kai Campos. “Cold Spring Fault Less Youth” is their second full-length album. According to AllMusic.com, Mount Kimbie is “with familiar beats underneath otherworldly productions ... arguably responsible for the birth of the term 'post-dub step.'" This is all very confusing for the uninitiated (and to be honest, I’m not even sure what I would call this type of music), so I’ll just say that Mount Kimbie borrows a lot from several genres. Fans of bands like The XX and James Blake would no doubt enjoy the ambient dance music Mount Kimbie provides. Mount Kimbie is to dub step what Portishead was to hip-hop. This music lives and breathes in the air. You want to move but just a little slower than you would at, say, a Daft Punk show. Even the more upbeat songs like “Made to Stray” seem to somehow float more than they drive. This is for fans of The Knife, The Burial and Portishead.
Sean Phipps is a writer, tobacconist and ghost tour guide living in Chattanooga. Originally from the Tri-Cities, he spends much of his free time smoking cigars, awkwardly embracing his girlfriend and torturing his therapist. He has no criminal record. You can contact him via email and Twitter with comments and questions. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.