Myra Ellen Amos turns 48 today.
We know her as the esoteric and enigmatic pianist and singer-songwriter, Tori Amos. I discovered Tori, as some of us might have, at the beginning of her career with her break-out song, ‘Crucify...’. Her 1992 debut album, Little Earthquakes, was a glittering work of masterful songwriting.
A musical prodigy, Tori began composing pieces on the piano at the early age of five. She formed her first band in 1986 called, Y Kant Tori Read, an allusion to her dislike for reading sheet music while playing. The eponymous debut album is now a rarity but bootlegs might just be found online.
Tori is one of my favourite contemporary female artists. Her penchant for esoteric lyrical imagery and equally enigmatic sonic landscapes have been my friend through many a creative block. Songs like, ‘Code red...’, ‘China...’, ‘Talula...’, ‘Fast horse...’ and ‘Silent all these years...’ among many others continue to put that little spark of brilliance in my mind when it’s most needed. And as I await her next work, Night of Hunters, which is due in September, may her inspiration continue unabated… If I may say so.
Here’s what you want on your iPod, recommends Luke Kenny:
Proud To Be Here
Country music is alive and kicking, even if it doesn’t travel beyond America these days. But then, it never did anyway. However, that doesn’t stop stellar artistes from making their mark and adding to the ever-growing pantheon of the genre. Trace is a multi-platinum selling artiste and this is his tenth album since his debut in 1996. It hit the top five on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart upon release in early August. So here are 10 songs about love, faith, God and plain gratitude.
Rating: 2.5 One of the oldest country bands in the US, America has 16 albums to their credit since 1971. And although they haven’t had a hit since ‘Young moon...’ in 1994, they have steadily been recording, releasing and touring much to the pleasure of their many fans. This one is a collection of classic songs covered by them. Selections from Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan among others make up this satisfying collection of songs.
Watch The Throne
Jay Z and Kanye West
This is the future of hip-hop. The first superstar collaboration features two of hip-hop’s biggest artistes. Jay and Kanye roll out the cavalry as they fire deep rhythms, hard rhymes and killer bass lines left, right and centre. And what we get is a no-holds-barred unleashing of musical ideas that leave no hip-hop stone unturned. And even though it seems too much at times, no one is complaining. Kanye brings the vibe fresh off his Twisted Fantasy album, while Jay-Z channels a lot of James Brown (the one and only) with special guests Beyonce (no brainer), and the late great Otis Redding.
Raing: 3 There is scarcely a metalhead out there who would not have heard of Trivium. It’s one of the primary metal bands in the world, a compendium of styles that oscillate between alternative, progressive, death and thrash metal. Trivium have a firm literary ace up their sleeve as well, drawing lyrical inspiration from Greek mythology, current affairs and such. But most progressive metal today suffers from excessive production and while the aggression comes hard and fast at times here, the band also sits back and throws in melodies as well. Hardcore fans can look out for the 18 track deluxe edition of the album.