31 Albums in 31 Days (part two)

So the story continues.  Last week, I rounded up the first four albums of the month that I am listening to for the first time.  Today, it’s time to take a look at the next five, bringing the total to nine albums that I have never heard before.  I’ve got to say, this is one of the best things I have ever done.  And why not do it during my birthday month ey?  So here are the next handful of wonderful albums.

Kendrick Lamar – Damn

RELEASED: April 14 2017

HIGHEST CHART POSITION: 1

Damn._Kendrick_Lamar.jpg

I was watching a video clip show not too long ago and Kendrick Lamar pops up with his “Humble” video.  It was a pretty catchy song and rather interesting clip to boot.  I mean, how can you not resist a rapper hitting gold balls off the top of a car in the middle of nowhere right?  Off the back of this video, I decided to give his fourth and most recent number one selling album a crack and my word, what an impressive slice of work it is!

Lamar strikes me as a man who likes to create original ideas and concepts which is something too many artists today seem non-plussed about which is a great shame.  So, in step Lamar and off we go on a wild adventure that keeps the listener interested from beginning to the very end.  Off the back of this exceptional listening experience, I’m now keen to let my ears discover his previous three long play releases.  Cracking stuff so far Kendrick, cracking stuff old chap!

Rosemary Clooney & Duke Ellington – Blue Rose

RELEASED: May 21 1956

HIGHEST CHART POSITION: N/A

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We’ve moved on so far that often, we forget just how exhilarating the 1950’s was jazz music.  One of the many chief protagonists of this era was Duke Ellington and in early 1956, he teamed up with his orchestra and Rosemary Clooney to record a sublime collection of songs that made the final cut as “Blue Rose”.  The album was one of the first ever records to use overdubbing as a key component of the recording process which is now a normal part of the process for today’s albums.  Recorded in Janaurary at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio, “Blue Rose” has become synonymous with the period for both Ellington and Clooney.  It’s the kind of record you can put on during a lazy Sunday morning and appreciate all the beauty that is encompassed within.

Kate Miller-Heidke – Nightflight

RELEASED: 12 April 2012

HIGHEST CHART POSITION: 2

NightflightKateMillerHeidke

Going back a while now, maybe 2011, I saw Kate Miller-Heidke perform at a local venue and, as the show unfolded, almost every single audience member jumped into the palm of her hand.  It was a truly majestically performance where each song had a prologue and her voice hit notes I had previously thought unimaginable for a pop star.  Then again, Miller_Heidke comes from a classical training background and also honed her skills as a soprano during her formative years.  The album itself is a work of astute beauty.  I guess you could label it pop music for intelligent people.  Is that too harsh on generic pop music fans?  Well, onwards and upwards which is exactly what Kate achieves in large doses with “Nightflight”.  How I missed this album the first time around is well and truly beyond me.

Neil Young – Storytone

RELEASED: 4 November 2014

HIGHEST CHART POSITION: 33

Neil_Young_-_Storytone

Neil Young is still a gifted and progressive musician.  If I am being honest here, I wasn’t expecting a great deal from this album.  When released in late 2014, the critics kind of brushed over it which led me to think twice about buying a copy myself.  Looking back, I think I would have probably not enjoyed it as much then as I did on Sunday night when I heard it for the very first time.  My mind wasn’t perhaps in the right frame back then thought now, I hear so much more depth in music which fits perfectly with this record.

Following the release of “Storytone” and his subsequent marriage break down and burgeoning romance with his new partner, Daryl Hannah, Young stated: “These songs were written during a period of profound change in my life. Everything I want to share is there.”   Having been through a marriage breakdown myself, l felt a sense of deep reflection on where life has led me listening to this beautiful album

Hefner – The Fidelity Wars

RELEASED: 1999

HIGHEST CHART POSITION: failed to chart

Hefner_Fidelity_Wars_Cover.jpg

The second album from British band, Hefner has long been on my “to listen to” list.  We all have one of those right?  Well, after 18 years, I finally got around to listening to this quirky little release.  Not only that, I listened to the 2008 re-issue that included the original LP along with b-sides, demo and rehearsal material.  With 40 tracks, this was a long and joyous treat to my tender ears.

You see, Hefner are one of those bands everyone should listen to but almost nobody does.  Even the British radio stations brushed them back in the day and the music press slated them for the best part.  They are the band that I have enjoyed thoroughly from day dot so if I like them then chances are you will too because we all know I have impeccable taste in music right?  Jokes!  Anyway, I won’t wax lyrical about this one too much but to highly recommend you hook up with Hefner on Spotify and enjoy what too many people have been missing for a very long time.

 

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