Here’s what you want on your iPod, recommends Luke Kenny.
Dark Night Of The Soul
Danger Mouse & Sparklehouse, EMI
Every once in a while comes an album that regales you with its silent beauty. Mark Linkous was the lead singer of obscure indie band Sparklehorse up until his suicide in March 2010. This 2009 album with another music genius Danger Mouse is a kind of requiem to the musical mind of Sparklehorse. It features a stellar line up of contributors. Iggy Pop, Suzanne Vega, Frank Black (The Pixies), Nina Persson (The Cardigans), The Flaming Lips and even surrealist director David Lynch pops in to lend his zany persona. A collection of such songs comes rarely. So does a collaboration of this stature. This is a soundtrack for all day-dreamers.
Alive Till I’m Dead
Another British rapper hits the scene with ferocity. And British rap brings its own attitude and reflective culture with it. The reflection being the working class attributes that keep popping up with various British artists of repute, be it Mika or Lily Allen. Professor Green is one Stephen Paul Manderson who has become the great white hope of the British rap scene. For a few weeks, at least. Here, he catches our attention with his two singles, Just be good to green and I need you tonight, which sample the original songs by The SOS Band and INXS respectively. But do the original songs stand up for themselves? Yes, I think so, and its just a matter of how long for. Decide for yourself.
When You’Re Strange
The Doors: Motion Picture
The soundtrack to the first ‘official’ documentary about The Doors would be unimaginable without the music of The Doors interlaced with the visuals. So what we get here is the usual hits that we are all so familiar with but with two twists. The first one is that the classic songs are alternate or live versions that have rarely been heard like Light my fire, from the legendary 1967 Ed Sullivan Show or the inevitable ‘Roadhouse blues’ live from the Felt Forum in 1970. The other twist comes in the form of intermittent short poetry readings of Jim Morrison’s by Johnny Depp, who has also narrated the documentary. All of this makes for interesting listening, but we’ve heard it before. So watch the film instead, and enjoy the music alongside.
Murmer (Deluxe 2CD Edition)
It is with much pleasure and joy that I acquired this album. REM have been and still are one of the best true-blue indie alternative bands ever. They have a prolific body of work that defies convention and conformity, while retaining integrity and passion for music and songwriting. Released way back in 1983, this was their debut album that would begin their long-running journey as alternative champions. It was a pleasure for me to listen to this album after so many years. With its crisp and re-mastered sound, Radio-free Europe is euphoric once again.
The second disc contains a live recording of a performance from 1983 which is interesting to hear and reflects on their evolution over the years. This is the first of a series of remasters that have been recently released. I will review the others in the near future as well. Because REM deserve it.