Soundtrack to last week

Image shows the cover of Lauryn Hill's album The Miseducation of Lauryn hill. The cover features a sepia headshot of the artist

Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)

I hadn’t listened to this for years. The production is amazing and it still sounds incredibly fresh and vibrant, but you can also hear the influence its had on a lot of artists since it was released. A classic album. Top track, Ex-Factor

Image shows the cover of the Bonnie Prince Billy album, Ease Down the Road. It is a photograph of an empty green field on a cloudy day

Bonnie Prince Billy, Ease Down the Road (2001)

This isn’t one of my favourite BPB albums, but I like it. It’s mostly about sex and is fairly upbeat for Will Oldham. Top track, At Break of Day

Image shows the cover of Pulp's album Different Class. It is a photograph of a wedding party with a black border

Pulp, Different Class (1995)

Woah! This was a nostalgia trip and a half. Some of the lyrics seem a bit dated and immature now, but these are still great songs. I saw Pulp live twice, once when they played the entirety of their grim This is Hardcore album, and a second time when they were a lot more friendly! There was nothing like a storming ‘Common People’ encore. Tops track, Something Changed (because I am a sap).

Image shows the cover of Morcheeba's album Big Clam. It is a photograph of a blond white woman relaxed in a chair listening to a record player in a red room.

Morcheeba, Big Calm (1998)

I’d forgotten how much I like this album. It’s warm and comforting and lovely. I saw Morcheeba live once too and they were brilliant. Top track, Part of the Process 

Image shows the cover of Mary Gauthier's album Drag Queens in Limousines. It shows a blurry, sepia toned photograph of the artist reflected in a mirror

Mary Gauthier, Drag Queens in Limousines (1999)

I first saw Mary Gauthier live back in 2003 in a tiny coffee shop. It was incredible, everyone was crying and I was so drunk. I’ve seen her three times since and she’s always fantastic. This is a great album, sad but full of life and compassion. I love every song, so it’s very hard to pick a fave, but I’ll go with Our Lady of the Shooting Stars

Image shows the cover a greatest hits collection. The cover features three black and white photographs of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, Respect: The Very Best of

I had to listen to some Aretha #RIP

Grey Hair Goals

One of my ambitions in life is to have amazing grey hair.  I stopped dyeing my hair three years ago, but the result cannot yet be called “amazing”.  It’s …. on a journey I guess, an interesting one which I would like to write more about at some point.

When I feel insecure about it, I’m going to look at this picture of Natalie Merchant from the cover of her retrospective collection.

Image shows a black and white photograph of the songwriter Natalie Merchant. It is a head and shoulders shot with her long, grey hair tumbling down her shoulders as she looks directly into the camera.

This is everything and I’ll be happy if I can get my hair to look half as good.

Gillian Welch’s hair is looking awesome these days too

 

Soundtrack to the Week

Image shows the cover of the Be Good Tanyas album Blue Horse. It is a painting of a steam train travelling through a dark night

The Be Good Tanyas, Blue Horse (2000)

This is an old favourite full of lovely covers and interpretations of traditional songs. It was one of the first albums I bought when I started getting into Americana. Top tracks, The Coo Coo Bird and Light Enough to Travel

Image shows the cover of Joan Baez's album Diamonds & Rust. It shows a photograph of Baez in a black v-neck blouse with the sun behind her.

Joan Baez, Diamonds and Rust (1975)

I generally prefer Joan Baez’s later work, but I really like this album of covers and her own compositions. The title track is just one of the best and most beautiful break-up songs ever. Top track, Diamonds & Rust

Image shows the cover of Ferron's album Phantom Center. It is a black and white photograph of the artist sitting on the ground leaning against a tree

Ferron, Phantom Center (1990)

You probably won’t have heard of Ferron unless you’re into niche lesbian music (like my partner is), but she’s big in the women’s music festival circuit and has influenced songwriters like Ani DiFranco and Mary Gauthier.  Top track, White Wing Mercy

Image shows the cover of First Aid Kit's album Ruins. It is a black and white photograph of the artists faces and hands

First Aid Kit, Ruins (2018)

Beautiful album that drew me into First Aid Kit fandom. Each of their albums has a distinctive feel and I think this one is the most country-influenced. Top track, Rebel Heart 

Image shows the cover of Ani DiFranco's album Red Letter Year. It shows a photograph of the moon on a plain red background

Ani DiFranco, Red Letter Year (2008) 

Confession: I’ve never managed to get into Ani DiFranco. I’m not sure what it is because I can hear the amazing talent there. I’ll keep trying and maybe one day I’ll get it. I do like Red Letter Year, which is her (relatively) happy “I’m in a good relationship and had a baby” album. Top tracks ‘Emancipated Minor’ and ‘The Atom’.

Soundtrack to the Week

Album of the Week

Image shows the cover of Janelle Monae's album Electric Lady. It depicts Monae and five identical women dressed in black and white stripes. There is a skull in the lower left hand corner.

Janelle Monae, Electric Lady (2013)

I’ve been listening to this a lot recently. It’s a life-affirming joy of an album. There are so many great tracks here (‘Given Em’ What They Love’, ‘Q.U.E.E.N’, ‘Electric Lady’, Dance Apocalyptic’, ‘Ghetto Women’), it’s hard to pick a fave, but right now I think I’ll go with ‘We Were Rock and Roll

Image shows the cover of Ladytron's album 'Light and Magic'. It features an abstract design with purple and pink lines on a black background.

Ladytron, Light and Magic (2002)

I can’t say this one does a lot for me, but it’s fun electronica. I usually have it on in the background when I’m doing something else. Top track: Seventeen

Image shows the cover of the album Raising Sand. It features a black and white photograph of Robert Plant (L) and Alison Krauss (R) standing in a desert, both looking away to the left

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand (2007)

A lovely collaboration from two brilliant vocalists, plus a fantastic production from T. Bone Burnett, results in a very satisfying listen. Top track: Please Read the Letter

Image shows the cover the Townes Van Zandt compilation album Drama Falls Like Teardrops'. It features an oval sepia toned photograph of Townes on a white background.

Townes Van Zandt, Drama falls like Teardrops (2002)

Epic compilation with almost forty tracks. I love Townes Van Zandt, but I have to say, this album is a lot of Townes in one go and I find it a bit of a slog to get through.

Image shows the cover of the collaborative album Case/Lang/Veirs. It features an abstract image that conveys a sense of icebergs, seas and mountains

Case/Lang/Veirs (2016)

This is a regular listen for us. It’s a beautiful work from three amazing vocalists and songwriters. I particularly like how you can tell who led on the writing of each song, but it’s still a coherent album. Top track: Atomic Number

 

Soundtrack to the Week

Album of the Week

LP

LP, Lost on You (2016)

LP has been around for ages. My girlfriend saw her play live about twelve years ago. She finally seems to be getting some traction as a purveyor of upbeat, lesbian pop/rock. I’ve been listening to this all week. It’s more bluesy than her last album and is full of catchy tunes like ‘Muddy Waters’, ‘Lost on You’, ‘Other People’ and ‘Strange’. A lot of fun.

Top Track, ‘No Witness’

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