Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Ghosteen’.
Nick Cave has been on my radar on and off for years. He’s not someone I can listen to all the time, so small doses of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds is all that it takes to be reminded of his genius. More recently I check in to read his Red Hand Files website, where he answers questions from fans, which I highly recommend even if you are only a half-hearted fan. A few weeks ago, a fan asked Cave “When can we expect a new album?” You know, Cave will answer almost anything, and to the surprise of many, he announced his new double album Ghosteen via his website, in which we learn that Ghosteen is describes as ‘a migrating spirit’. There is also a curious “children”/”parents” description of the double album that feels so Nick Cave. In short, Ghosteen is Nick Cave at his best. While I wont pretend that I wholly understand Ghosteen’s existential and mystic world, his poetic lyrics are still worthwhile trying to decipher. If anything the blissful soundscape of cinematic sounds of Ghosteen is breathtaking, especially Cave’s deep dark vocals, something that still haunts and amazes me all at once.
Purple Pilgrims – ‘Two Worlds Apart’.
The haunting vocals and otherworldly electronic sounds reminiscent of Enya, knock the wind out of your sails on Perfumed Earth by Purple Pilgrims, the experimental dream pop project of New Zealand based sisters Clementine and Valentine Adams. In short, if you are expecting cheerful undertones, I’m afraid songs about life and death, even loneliness permeate throughout the album lyrically not too unlike our friend Nick Cave. On Two World’s Apart for instance “I was born to live alone / The only life I’ve ever known” gives you a hint of what to expect. But don’t be put off, Perfumed Earth (which was released back in August) is still wonderfully ambient and contemplatively rewarding at the same time. It’s a sleeper that probably most of the big wig music publications won’t give a second thought to review, but for my mind Perfumed Earth is an incredible album.
Angel Olsen – ‘Lark’.
During the initial recording process of Angel Olsen’s fourth studio album All Mirror, Olsen picked up her guitar and recorded solo versions of all her songs. Nothing new, nothing exciting there, right? But soon after she did something almost completely out of left field even by Olsen’s standards. In a rewarding layered approach to recording she took up a curatorial role with an array of collaborators, some of them in different countries. Out of the process, Olsen created an epic orchestral-filled album where string sections often build and boil over such as on Lark. Lyrically Olsen focuses her attention on things such as love, self awareness and the destructive nature of toxic relationships. As much as I am a sucker when it comes to Olsen’s guitar driven indie rock sound, I have to admit I really like what Olsen has achieved here on All Mirrors. There is no point going on and on about all the particulars. Lets just say it’s bloody epic and arguably her best album yet.