I don’t think I’ve ever done a full music post before, but there’s so much good stuff going on right now by people I like that I wanted to do a wee run-down of some of the new albums I’ve been listening to!
I was utterly delighted to be at the Washington Irving boys’ first gig in 18 months on Saturday, for the launch of their new album, ‘August 1914’, which was a wee while in the making. Recorded in New York (as you do…!) three years ago but with the release held up for various reasons, the album is a concept album on war and scarily reflects a lot of what’s going on at the moment.
It’s very Washington Irving; a mix of thrashy folk numbers you can lose your shizz to (We Are All Going To Die is my personal favourite) and slower, but still powerful, songs like Philistine, the album definitely struck a chord – hawhaw – with me and I am super chuffed for them, having first been to see them about 3-4 years ago! They’re originally from Oban but have lived in Glasgow for a while now, so it’s always additionally nice to see a local band doing so well 🙂
The gig was cracking! I was there with my best buddy Fi who is a mahoooosive fan of theirs and introduced me to their musical offerings. We had a brilliant time, singing and dancing to the setlist made up of new tunes and a fair few from previous releases: Palomides Volumes 1 and 2, including my very very favourite Bealach-an-Righ – yep I absolutely had to check the spelling there… – which always makes me feel The Most Scottish!
I’ve been a Gorillaz fan pretty much since the beginning (my parents wouldn’t let me have the first album because it was Parental Advisory and I was 10…) but clean versions of their tracks were always on the radio when I was younger, plus the fact they’re animated was no doubt part of the appeal. Their female Japanese guitarist, who also happened to be “10 years old”, absolutely sold it for me – Noodle has definitely always been something of an inspiration and a middle finger to “girls can’t…” for me, even though she’s fictional.
The new album ‘Humanz’ follows along the same vein as Plastic Beach, which I have to admit I liked less than the first two but was a total grower, so I’m imagining this will be similar. It’s not my usual thing (much rap, so hip-hop) but as far as I’m concerned Damon Albarn can do what he wants because he is an actual musical genius, so I’m giving it time. I’m also always open to artists experimenting and growing – I’m not one of those people who expects groups to keep peddling the same stuff forever and ever, so I appreciate when they evolve!
Overall though I do like it – stand-out tracks for me personally are Strobelite, Momentz and Andromeda, but there are a fair few other choons on the album as well! They’ve upped their collaborations (and number of tracks!) again, this time throwing Grace Jones(!) and Carly Simon(!) into the mix, along with a whole bunch of other peeps, most of whom I’m ashamed to say I’ve never heard of but am enjoying listening to.
And finally, Maxïmo Park are back!! Yay! They’ve released ‘Risk To Exist’, which is extremely politically-charged right from the start, calling out politicians for problems they’re causing in the world and generally not being fantastic human beings. This has been a recurring theme in a lot of artists I’ve been listening to recently (see above if you missed that the first time round…!) which is undoubtedly a good thing, because they have the power to get people interested in world issues who might not ordinarily care.
Lyrical content aside, the album is full of excellent tunes and overall it feels different but still very Maxïmo Park. The title track is pretty much what you would expect from them – punchy indie you can jump about to – and I’m already imagining the moves Paul Smith will be pulling when I go and see them next week! It also has one of the strongest messages on the album, about the plight of refugees, along with What Did We Do To You To Deserve This? (no explanation needed there). I also particularly enjoy What Equals Love, but the whole album is very high energy and I really like it!
The aforementioned Fi (and possibly her sister who’s back visiting from the US!) will be joining me again at the Maxïmo Park gig since we’re huge fans. Fi and I must have seen them at least 5 times by now, so I absolutely can’t wait as they always put on an amazing show and are totally brill live!
There ya have it! I feel like there should be pretty much something for everyone in those albums so if you’re looking for something new, I highly recommend all of them 🙂
Til next time,