Cracker by Damian Christie


Monday Lovin' (includes FREE CD!)

I know it’s more traditional to have time-wasting linky love here-are-my-favourite-youtube-clips posts on a Friday, but personally I think some of us are in far more need of that kind of distraction and gentle cerebral massage on a rainy old wintry Monday, when the previous weekend is laughing at you, rather than the new one beckoning.

 So I thought I’d share some new and/or newish music with you, and hopefully you can share some new and/or old music back.  In a non-copyright violating YouTube kinda way.  And in celebration of doing things the right way, I have some CDs to give away. Real CDs, with covers and credits and that sort of thing, not just a selection of 3M disks scrawled illegibly in permanent marker.  And not just any old CDs, but the impressive and brand new Grimes album, on which more soon (o.w.m.s).

 Back story:  I’m a bit crap at keeping up with things.  Regardless of how many I nick from the Koru lounge each week on my way to Back Benches, I find it difficult to get through a magazine each week.  I barely read any blogs regularly, (other than those of my colleagues here at Public Address, of course), and no matter how many people have recommended This American Life to me, I find it almost impossible to maintain a steady relationship with podcasts.  What do I do? Well mostly I work. At present each week I'm doing Back Benches, Q+A, producing a new series of Hindsight (starting April 3) and another project (o.w.m.s.) starting on the first week of April.  I'm not complaining - I love what I do - but she's a busy wee spell from now until the time TVNZ 7 gets kicked to the curb at the end of June. I'm attempting to make hay.

One of the things I do regret though, is the lack of time I have to find new music. So when a friend of mine recommended a podcast called All Songs Considered, I had a listen. And nearly wept.

It's a 30 min+ weekly podcast where host Bob Boilen and friends consider a huge range of new songs and play you their favourites. Some weeks they do different stuff - in the last week they've been doing regular updates from South by Southwest, occasionally they will have themed shows, genre specials and the like. 

What makes All Songs Considered so different - and whether you feel the same is going to come down to how similar our tastes in music are - is that in almost every podcast there are two or three songs by artists I've never heard of, that I instantly fall in love with. It's often skewed towards the alt-country/bluesy/folky sort of stuff, but there's enough variation that you'll find hip-hop, electronica and most other contemporary forms thrown in there. As well as some downright weird shit. 

Unlike the only other podcast I've listened to regularly, Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's BBC 5 film review, I'm not especially enamoured of the hosts. Mark and Simon are hilarious, their in-jokes make you feel part of the family very quickly. On All Songs Considered, Bob and co-host/producer Robin Hilton - particularly Hilton - come across at times a bit cringy, geeky and earnest. You may disgaree of course. But really, it's earnest cringy geeky types that I want choosing my music for me. They put the effort in. 

One artist I discovered via ASC and more recently on bFM is Grimes. Despite the name, she has nothing to do with the Grime genre; if she did I mostly likely wouldn't be recommending it here. Grimes is Canadian, Visions is her third album, but don't be surprised if like me you've come late - the debut came out only on cassette, and this is her first release since signing to 4AD. 

My favourite track on the album is this one, 'Genesis', which they appear to be giving away as a free download on the site.  I think it's what it would sound like if Clannad and Kraftwerk got together for an orgy. Erm, in a good way. It's lovely, girly, electronica. That's what I'm trying to say.

Download and listen to the album version, then watch this more deconstructed version here if you like. And if you really like, then keep reading cos I've got a few copies of the full CD to give away, like I said.


Another artist I'd heard of, but hadn't really listened to at all until ASC came along was Lambchop.  I don't know if this is standard for them, but the vocalist reminds me of The National, my favourite 'new' band of the past ten years.

Then there's Alabama Shakes. Excuse me if I'm not saying anything entirely new right here because they've kinda blown up and received rave reviews and celebrity endorsements - as well as being signed to Rough Trade Records in the UK and a recording session by one Mr J. White, but their EP is well worth a download - and it looks like they've got a couple of tunes for free on their website too, ahead of an early April album launch.  Most seem to agree it's never going to be the most original stuff you've ever heard, but they do what they do incredibly well.

Right. Your turn. Post away, my pretties. Or email me if you're shy, but that's not really sharing now, is it. My three favourite brand new/brand old tune (i.e. new to me) will get a Grimes CD, and you too can be bouncing to the mutant love chil' of Enya and Ralf.

(thanks to Lisa @ The Label for the freebees!)

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