Wednesday, March 26, 2008

To listen to in 2008 - Part 3

There are a few conflicting influences at work here and so I suspect this is going to prove rather a strange selection. I'll try and explain why I want to listen to these but even if I fail to do so in a comprehensible way it will possibly go some way to explaining the ways in which I end up discovering new music!
First up is the recently released fourth album by a band that I have been meaning to listen to for ages but for which that has never actually happened:

Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid

I'm afraid I can't yet tell you if I like it, as it is still on order, but judging from the reviews I have read I suspect that I will. The push that made me get it was that they are now confirmed for Latitude 2008 and I know how many artists that I saw at Latitude 2007 I still listen to and that have been mentioned in this blog; many of which I had never even heard of, let alone heard any of their music, before I went!

London has produced a whole crop of interesting and often successful new artists in the last couple of years and one of this year's is widely tipped, well before the release of an album and based mostly on their live following, to be The Clik Clik.

Maya Yianni and Stefan Abingdon share vocals with additional instrumental assistance from two others who play bass and percussion. The result is difficult to describe but is another part of the pop-is-back-in-favour phenomenon. This is organic and messy, even slightly dirty, pop that is also written, mixed and produced by the band; it is meant to be performed and heard live. It mirrors a trend and if I were writing this for a certain national newspaper it would ally with the recent phenomenal rise in the demand for organic food and now also for allotment gardens.

Chance still plays a big part in discovery and while reading some site, having searched for a completely different artist, the album artwork below caught my attention as it so reminded me of some old albums that I still have but have not listened to for years (in some cases probably more than a decade) and I just had to read the whole article. It seems that melodic heavy rock inspired by mythic themes is not dead after all - at least not in America!

The Sword - Gods Of The Earth

Well, all I can say for now is that it made me head for the less visited parts of my music collection and listen to the 1982 album Chase The Dragon by Magnum, which had actually been recorded two years earlier but even then label "issues" were a problem.
What a blast from the past that turned out to be and so I'm planning to get Gods Of The Earth, the sophomore album by Houston-based The Sword, if only to see how a quarter of a century has treated this particular sub-genre. I suspect I might like it too, if only for nostalgic reasons!

Note added 28 March:

As a matter of fact, and due to my curiosity, here is the lyric of 'The Spirit', which was on the aforementioned album by Magnum:

Don't place your trust in foolish promises sworn
Nor cryptic message scrawled upon every wall.
Street corner justice beware -
The spirit will find you, always be fair.
The shallow verse once read means nothing at all
Nor fearful gestures made for instant recall.
In lies your heart will not share
The spirit inside you used without care.

The spirit that guides you, follow it through.
To the spirit inside you always be true.
You know you'll despair
If the spirit inside you is used without care.

The battlefield of glory pales into rust
The river flows much thicker fed by each thrust.
No beast alive does compare
The spirit beside you everywhere.
Let not your head be turned by tainted reward
And dreams of fortune won, forever to hoard.
Your conscience could not repair
The spirit inside you used without care.

'Cause it will be shelter, help you how to decide
And it will be your helper should your loyalties divide.

The ash of pages swept before the cruel wind,
The loss of choices, praises no one will sing,
No clues to how you will fare
The spirit implores you tread where you dare.
The dust lies thick on casket rich or quite poor
Distinction disappears, the worm doth ignore.
The candle burns out once more
But the spirit inside you won't be ignored.

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