This Week's Best Album Streams: 31st October 2012
What have you been up to this week fellow 405ers? Because I just got back from seeing Skyfall and I have to tell you it was incredible. Honestly, the best Bond film of my lifetime (to be fair, that list does include Die Another Day). Not sure I want to do anything else for the rest of the week except for marathoning my way through the rest of the series, in chronological order, skipping most of the Roger Moore ones. Except maybe The Spy Who Loved Me - even then I might just listen to 'Nobody Does It Better' and watch Alan Partridge's re-enactment of the opening scene.
Anyway, I'll set aside the Carly Simon for the time being, 'cos you're probably wanting something newer, eh? (Philistine). Luckily for the both of us, it's been another banner week for album streams, so let's get down to business.
Lindstrøm - Smalhans (FACT)
A lot of people describe Hans-Peter Lindstrøm's output as "dance music for people who don't like dance music," which is exceedingly silly because A - it suggests fans of dance music don't "get" good music, and B - it suggests non-dance fans don't "get" good dance music. And Lindstrøm is most definitely good dance music. Those more familiar with the excellent Where You Go I Go Too might be surprised that this one is a little more disco than spacey, but it's still an intelligent and four-to-the-floor-friendly instrumental electronica record.
Andy Stott - Luxury Problems (NPR)
It's been an especially good week for electronic music, it seems - I guess it's the time of year for those that spend a lot of time inside, tinkering obsessively with samples and drum loops and other things that are as beyond my comprehension as alchemy. Mancunian producer Stott continues to explore the low-end theory with this LP, which is a little like James Blake's debut, shot through with a bit of estrogen - ghostly female vocals float about abandoned soundscapes, occasionally being rudely interrupted by some bass-heavy two-step.
West End Motel - Only Time Can Tell (Paste)
If analogue's more your speed, you could do a lot worse than West End Motel which is... well, I'm not quite sure. There's some warm-toned lead guitar and organ, there's a little programmed trip-hop beat in the background, and then there's some mariachi band-style vocals basting the whole thing. It's pretty brilliant? I think?
Brian Eno - Lux (Q Magazine)
Looking back at the man who paved the way for the likes of Hans-Peter and Andy, electronic music pioneer Brian Eno has popped up with his first proper solo album since 2005's slightly underwhelming Another Day On Earth. Like that record, LUX is almost an extension of his early ambient albums, all wide open spaces, treated piano and synth notes held until the end of time. Prosaic yet pretty.
Calvin Love - New Radar (Paste)
Mr Love uses similar instruments to Messrs Eno, Stott and Lindstrøm, but is clearly on a much tighter budget; rather than lush, sweeping electronic ambiance, New Radar makes its home in simple, lo-fi pop songs that aren't a million miles away from Casiotone for The Painfully Alone (or Advance Base), albeit a little more complex - but no less heartfelt.
Rod Stewart - Merry Christmas Baby (USA Today)
If you find any good album streams this week, Tweet me @tennis_everyone. Hey, I didn't mention Halloween once in this! Dammit.
This weekend has been a welcome lull. After the excitement of record store day it's the last free weekend until, ooh October, because festival season UK is GO. Live At Leeds, Land Of Kings, Camden Crawl this week, then the 72 hour mayhem of The Great Escape, before I'll Be Your Mirror, Dot To Dot...End Of the Road. Lordy. I'll have a cider if you're asking. [read more]
What a week it's been for comebacks! Prince, Parenthetical Girls, Phoenix... yep, the 405's new music section is just dripping in P. So, naturally, absolutely none of the album streams I've selected for you discerning readers and listeners this week are by bands whose name begins with that over-exposed letter. [read more]
I sat down to type this week's feature with a troubled mind; I had just learned that Mick Hucknall was to receive a lifetime award from The Radio Academy. If that bombshell wasn't enough, the same news article plowed in further with small artillery, informing me that over his career the singer has also earned three Brit Awards and two Ivor Novellos. [read more]
I know what you're expecting. I can read you lot like an open book. Or maybe a hacked Kindle book. You think the top album stream I recommend you this week is The Next Day, the new David Bowie album that you can listen to in full on iTunes. But I like to confound expectations, ladies and gentleman, much like a magician, or a cruel parent who promises their child a new games console for Christmas and places a PlayStation Vita rather than... anything else, under the tree. [read more]