Soundtrack to February

Album of the Month 

Album cover is an abstract painting with black, yellow and pink shapes hovering above what looks like a green sky and green and blue landscape below

Tanya Donelly, Swan Song Series (2016)

This three-CD set brings together all the Swan Song series releases. In style, I’d say the music is a combination of the more poppy Lovesongs for Underdogs and the melodic, country-inflected This Hungry Life.  It’s a wealth of gorgeous songs.

Top tracks: Making Light, Why So Sad, VivaKaraoke

Album cover is a colour photograph of Marianne Faithful looking directly at the camera. She is holding a cane in the foreground.

Marianne Faithful, Negative Capability (2018)

I wrote about this here. Loved it.

Top track, The Gypsy Faerie Queen (feat. Nick Cave) 

A;bum cover is an abstract painting of patterns facing into blackness on the left hand side

Kristin Hersh, The Grotto (2003) 

The most stripped down and fragile of Kristin Hersh’s solo albums. Just piano, violin and guitar. It sounds like the even sadder and lonelier sister to Hips & Makers. One I only ever listen to during the winter.

Top tracks: Sno Cat and Arnica Montana

Album cover is a sepia toned photograph of Leonard Cohen's reflection in a mirror. He is wearing a black suit and adjusting his tie.

Leonard Cohen, The Best of (or Greatest Hits) (1975) 

This collection introduced me to Leonard Cohen’s earlier work. Until I bought this, I’d mainly been listening to the eighties stuff and had rather bad memories of my Dad playing Songs of Love & Hate when I was a kid. Every song on here is a classic.

Top track: Famous Blue Raincoat  (because it’s just so Leonard)

Album cover features of a painting of a man turned away from the camera, apparently naked from the waist up

Bruce Springsteen, The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995) 

I’d forgotten how much I like this album. It was one of the albums that started to get me into americana and alt country.  So atmospheric.

Top tracks: The Ghost of Tom Joad and Youngstown

Album cover is a colour photograph of Nick Cave sitting at a grand piano with four little girls in ballet clothes listening to him play

Nick Cave, The Good Son (1990) 

I hadn’t listened to The Good Son for ages. It was a favourite album the year I went to university in 1995. This album is lighter (relatively!) and more melodic than a lot of the earlier work. It’s still a bit biblical, but it shows the softer, more romantic side to Nick Cave that would flourish later.

Top track: The Ship Song

Bonus points to The Weeping Song for having one of the most ridiculous videos ever made.

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