New Music

Reading time: 2 mins

Bit of a splurge recently, some current stuff, some not.

Muse – Black Holes and Revelations

First things first, do not let the current single (Supermassive Black Hole) sway you either for, or against, this album. It’s definitely a standout track but it’s not really representative of the album as a whole, which is more of a progression from Absolution than a “new direction” for the band.

So you can expect more grand piano moments, more wailing guitar solos and more theatrics from a band who seem to be falling just short of being REALLY huge. I’m guessing it’s because they aren’t “heavy” enough for some, and too “heavy” for others, as they veer between pounding, screeching rock to some of the lighter tracks which you could describe as “pop music”… almost. They seem to be one of those bands you either enjoy or don’t really ‘get’, but to me they are a natural extension of two of my favourite bands, Queen and Radiohead. They have the drama and theatrics of Queen coupled with the angsty introspectiveness of Radiohead… ohhh and like both bands, Muse can ROCK (not the capitals, that’s important).

I’m still only on first impressions with this album but after a couple of listens it’s already growing on me, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be heavy rotation in the coming months. Ohh and if you get a chance to see them live, grab it with both hands, they put on one hell of a show.

Howe Gelb – ‘Sno Angel Like You

Funny one this, it’s been out for a while and I picked up a copy in FOPP a while back but somehow forgot about it. Anyway, I “discovered” it last week and it’s been quietly impressing me with it’s laidback melodies and general “nice tuneness” – god, I’m the worst music reviewer ever, what the hell is “nice tuneness”?!.

The album ranges through a variety of styles, all underpinned with a simplicity and charm that slowly wheedles its way under your skin, all the while revealing another layer you missed in the last round of listening. A nice lazy day album then, coupled with some Jack Johnson, Corinne Bailey Rae, and maybe a tall, cold gin and tonic. Good stuff.

Nouvelle Vague – Bande A Part
Hmmm, if you don’t know Nouvelle Vague then this may sound very odd. Bande A Part is the follow up to their eponymous 2004 album, and continues in the same vein of providing bossanova inspired covers of well known new wave/romantic tracks. Odd, definitely. Intriguing, of course. But the appeal lies in the approach they take, which is definitely tongue-in-cheek, and slowly you find your feet starting to tap, as your brain double-takes when it realises the track it’s listening to — that slow, acoustic guitar, plodding piano and tom-toms — is New Order’s Blue Monday.

This is an ace album, an excellent background music, especially at a BBQ or something. I’ve yet to try it but I imagine half the fun would be watching people slowly realise that they KNOW that samba track that’s playing in the background.

If you snag a copy of this album give it time, it’s a real grower. The first listen may put you off but I strongly suggest you stick with it and reap the benefits of this wonderful album.

And of course next week I’ll be mainly listening to Thom Yorke’s new album – The Eraser. I’ve heard a couple of tracks already and it sounds great.