Some old, some new and some kinda old/kinda new.
Lost: Susanna and the Magical Orchestra
Oh Susanna! Blessed with a powerful voice so understated and so utterly, utterly melancholy. After Nouvelle Vague did their gimmicky samba schtick to Love Will Tear Us Apart, it took these Norwegians to restore the song’s profound bleakness [YouTube]. That cover joined many other supersad covers on Melody Mountain (their version of Kiss’ Crazy Crazy Nights has to heard to be believed). And now they are back with 3, an album of (mostly) originals. And it’s surperb. Susanna’s spectral, but strong, voice is surrounded by sparse, moody electronics. It may be beautiful, but this is not dinner party music.
Brrrr, is it autumn?
Purchase 3 on iTunes.
Medevac: Siobhan Donaghy
“At this point in time I have no further plans to undertake another record of my own. Ultimately, the true nature of the business side of the music industry is enough to keep me away. Nonetheless, if I find myself in the future bursting with ideas and experiences I feel the need to share through music, I will be back,” Donaghy stated in an interview with We7 in January 2009. What a shame. Back in 2001, when she left Sugababes, would anyone really have expected a popstrel like here to eventually release a lush piece of grown up pop like this.
Listen to Medevac (2007)
Sweet Gospel Music: Prefab Sprout
I’ve been utterly spoiled this year with releases from my favourite acts. The Pets, Mew, Empire Of The Sun… Probably no chance that the Blue Nile or Scritti will crank one out before Christmas, but rivalling both of those in the not-exactly-prolific stakes is Paddy McAloon. He says he’s constantly writing but isn’t much cop at the releasing part. How nice for him, the artiste, but we want to hear these amazing-sounding things you’re doing, damn you! Get a PayPal account and shove them online yourself, man!
Anyway, he’s a genius and he has revisted tracks he demoed in 1992 (!) but then got distracted and put them aside. He’s got someone in to tart them up a bit and are they not glorious. The album is a triumph.
I felt a bit conflicted about sharing an mp3 of the Sprouts. I would hate to think that I would detract from their income, but, you know what, anyone who loves the Sprouts already has this album. I’ve bought it twice (couldn’t wait for the CD I had pre-ordered so I downloaded it from iTunes!). This is mostly aimed at people who don’t know Prefab Sprout, or think that they were just novelty hitmakers (The King of Rock N Roll, UK No 7, 1988 [YouTube]). Listen to this and you’ll get a flavour of the sheer richness of lyric, voice, melody. Get the 38 Carat Collection which has all the ‘hits’ and important tracks and is dirt cheap. Go get now.
Listen to Sweet Gospel Music