Iron & Wine – Call It Dreaming.
I first discovered Sam Beam back in 2007 and for a while drifted back and forth revisiting some of Iron & Wine releases over the years. I can’t say I am a big fan but when I was asked to listen to Iron & Wine sixth album Beast Epic, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do so. With eleven tracks on Beast Epic it looks back on adulthood and evokes plenty of emotions, especially feelings of sadness. For the record, Beam’s 2007 single Boy With A Coin is still one of my favourite tracks, but Call It Dreaming from his new album is equally delightful. The echoes of his acoustic guitar still ring in my ears as I write here and his songwriting is still as good as anything currently out there in folk rock circles. I must admit listening to Sam Beam’s calm soothing vocals still put me at ease. Makes me wonder why I stopped listening to his records years ago. I am certainly glad I was encouraged to revisit this modern day singer songwriting genius.
London Grammar – Rooting For You.
One of the surprise acts of the past few years has to be London Grammar, right? They have been gradually making inroads into our consciousness with their celebrated trip pop since 2013. Just ask their loyal fan base what they love most about London Grammar and they might say Hannah Reid’s soaring voice. It’s fair to say I jumped on the London Grammar bandwagon last year with their sophomore album Truth Is A Beautiful Thing. It’s intense, somewhat personal and impressively executed with Reid’s emotive and amazing lyrics. From it comes Rooting For You, my introduction last year to Reid and her breathtakingly soulful voice that easily rivals the Adele’s of this world. Enjoy!
Paul Kelly – Before Too Long.
Paul Kelly is an icon of the Australian music scene. Like Bob Dylan, he straddles folk, rock and country with ease and grace. I first remember hearing Paul Kelly and the Messengers song Before Too Long, a catchy three-minute gem and quickly coming to appreciate his quiet genius. That being said, he has survived an avalanche of change in a music landscape, nowadays ruled by the Taylor Swifts and Ed Sheerans of the world, to release his 23rd album Life Is Fine. Interestingly, last August his new album debuted in top spot on the Australian Record Industry Association charts, edging out Ed Sheeran’s Divide from the No.1 position.
Life is Fine provides another strong platform to what is already an illustrious career (some forty years) for Paul Kelly. It contains some of his finest songs in recent years which include Fire and Candles, Rising Moon and Josephina. There is a very slight departure to some of the sounds that made him famous, but the guest vocals of Vika and Linda Bull, on two of his tracks on the album, is a clever nod that brings back fans to some of the familiarity of his work. Most of the hallmarks of his sound that were groundbreaking in the 80s are still there, especially the twang of his guitar and his knack for writing about the mundane images and nature of life and places. In short, Paul Kelly seems to be mischievously enjoying a nice little renaissance here, showing a younger generation that this old dog still has plenty of new tricks.
If you want to check out some of his new songs from Life Is Fine click here. But I want to leave you with the song that started it all for me Before Too Long, a wonderful breezy ’80s pop song.