So it’s a Five For Friday with no real theme – if there is one it’s there in the title, these songs – old and new – have all been on my mind and on the turntable over the last couple of weeks. Songs that standout on new releases, or old records I’ve just picked up, gig announcements, and a wee nod to the ghastly St Pat’s Day phenomenon that props up Irish pubs in New Zealand…or used to. Happy Friday. Hope you find something here worth listening to. And better yet, that something here inspires further listening.
1. Laura Marling, Soothing
I’ve been a fan of Laura Marling since her first two records – I discovered them at the same time – and I think she’s managed that rare feat of getting better with each and every album; extraordinary to think she’s just 27 but six records deep into a faultless career. And her new album is quite likely her best, I’m still getting to know it but it captured me straight away, it’s getting 2-3 daily listens…worth listening to for the production alone. Found out it was Blake Mills, so new huge surprise there, I’ve just reviewed the Jesca Hoop album which Blake plays on and produces. He’s an amazing talent also. Anyway, this is the opening track from the first album and Marling directed the video also.
2. Valerie Simpson, Silly Wasn’t I
It’s been a recent purchase, this record and I’m fully bowled over by all of it. So this song is just the obvious pick, could have been any track from this album – again, loving the production. But also this was new to me, I grew up with some understanding of Ashford & Simpson and that appreciation has grown over the years, finding out that they’ve been behind so many great songs – as writers, and/or performers. But clearly the aim, at first was to break Valerie as a solo act. I didn’t know this. This album is on high rotate. I love it.
3. Bill Frisell, You Only Live Twice
The big news last week was that Bill Frisell will headline the Wellington Jazz Festival – already I can’t wait. I love the album this track comes from, the whole album is amazing; most of the records Frisell has made that I’ve heard have had something worthwhile about them. In recent years they’ve all been really great. This also features Petra Haden, she’s coming to New Zealand with his band. Amazing. I’m also a fan of the original piece of music they’re nodding to here too…sure.
4. Ghost Town, Sky Is Falling
Another new/recent favourite – I’ve reviewed the album and then written a Vinyl Countdown post about it too. This is Jed Town (Fetus Productions) gone slightly country, but actually I just hear wonderful pop-rock production and great songs. It’s another on the high-rotate. I look forward to seeing the band live.
5. The Pogues, Thousands Are Sailing
Well, it’s St Patrick’s Day – and way back I used to be tied up with 3-4 gigs on the day and up to 6 gigs across any St. Pat’s weekend. And I don’t miss that at all. Though it was often fun-enough at the time. So here’s a wee nod to it being St. Patrick’s Day – I recently published an “Appreciation” of The Pogues. Playing Irish music in Irish pubs for the best part of a decade really made me hate The Pogues. It was so good to reconnect with exactly what was great about them when I finished up playing Irish music as part of my living.