Ramblings | December 19, 2014

New Music Discoveries

Since freeing myself from either listening to Patchwork Cacophony or wanting a break from thinking about music I’ve been immersing myself in new bands and albums. Rather than do a full review of everything I thought I’d just do a quick round-up of things that have been catching my ear recently.

Carise Blanton - Not Old, Not New Hounds of Love Fifty Words for Snow The Star Diaries machines_dream The Man Left In Space Capacitor

First up is Carsie Blanton. Her album Idiot Heart is solid Nashville country stuff, but it’s her Not Old, Not New album which I’ve played a few times now. It’s very laid back jazzy vocal stuff and not something I would normally listen to.

Staying with female solo artists for now, I’ve finally discovered Kate Bush. For years I thought of her as talented but Not Really My Thing. I always intended to listen to her though and I’ve finally got around to it. Starting with Hounds of Love, and in particular her Ninth Wave suite which is a masterpiece. I’ve also dipped a toe in Fifty Words For Snow which is almost ambient in style. Again, not my usual thing, but it’s so well done and the title track really grabbed me.

I had actually intended to listen to mainly lesser known artists, partly out of solidarity and partly out of a growing realisation that the music industry has a toxic effect the creativity of a lot of people and there’s so much more to hear if you stray off the beaten path. A first mention then goes to The Star Diaries with Summers In Andromeda whose relaxing acoustic guitar and synth sound reminds me slightly of some of Marillion’s more laid-back output. It’s for the most part a very gentle and slowly developing album and it’s been growing on me since my first listen.

Machines Dream are a Canadian prog-rock band and I first heard a few weeks back. They’ve a new album out — Immunity — which is pretty good, but my current favourite track is Toronto Skyline from their self-titled debut album. It reminds me of a cross between Pink Floyd and Steven Wilson.

And last, but very definitely not least, Cosmograf. A one-man powerhouse of progressive rock concept albums (these days regularly featuring special guests such as Nick d’Virgilio of Spock’s Beard fame), this is something I only came across today but have bought both his recent albums The Man Left In Space and Capacitor. The latter is a concept album about “storage of the human spirit, and how the imprint of our lives is left behind both in a spiritual and technological sense,” but it’s not the sort of thing where a heavy-handed concept gets in the way — the music is excellent.

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