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    Album of the week

    Album of The Week: Madeleine Peyroux - The Blue Room

    This weeks Album of the week is Madeleine Peyroux - The Blue Room

    Here is what independent.co.uk

    Begun as a tribute to Ray Charles, The Blue Room expanded to include more modern songs by Leonard Cohen and Warren Zevon, among others, all treated in Madeleine Peyroux's distinctive languid jazz style. Her covers of Charles's Modern Sounds material are engaging, with the sleek strings and muted trumpet of “Born to Lose” more perfectly perched on the cusp of blues and country than the ungainly “Bye Bye Love”.

    Peyroux replaces Charles's gospelly yearning on “Take These Chains” and “I Can't Stop Loving You” with a more resigned tone that's actually better suited to some of the newer material, particularly “Gentle on My Mind” and a sublime version of Randy Newman's “Guilty”.



    Album of the Week: Masters of Their Craft - Various Artists

    This weeks album of the week is Masters of Their Craft, a compilation of various artists including Clannad, Planxty, Shaun Davey, Stockton’s Wing, Christy Moore, Moving Hearts and many more.

    Heres what Tim Carroll had to say about it:

    Masters Of Their Craft’ pretty much sums up what you get with this compilation album from Various Artists on the Tara Music label. It’s is an anthology of 18 tracks from some iconic names and bands in Irish and roots music. In a lifespan of some 30 years Tara Music has recorded the work of music maestros such as Christy Moore, Moving Hearts, Rita Connolly, Clannad, Davy Spillane, Planxty, Shaun Davey and Liam O’Flynn - and this album showcases some of their best known work.
    So what do you get? Well from the rousing might of ‘The Storm’ by Moving Hearts and the cautionary tale of ‘Ripples In The Rockpools’ delivered by Rita Connolly, through the rabid Bulgarian dance frenzy of ‘Smeceno Horo’ from Planxty along with their definitive version of ‘The Good Ship Kangaroo’ to the haunting ‘Daire's Dream’ by Davy Spillane. There’s a live recording of Christy Moore singing the wonderful ‘The Crack Was Ninety In The Isle Of Man’, Clannad delivering the immortal ‘Mhórag's Na Horo Gheallaidh’ and the echoing simplicity of ‘Beautiful Affair’ from Stockton’s Wing. I could go on but if you know Irish music and Tara Music then you’ll already know these 'masters'.

    Will avid fans of Irish music have most of the tracks on ‘Masters Of Their Craft’ on the original albums? Undoubtedly. Then again, is it worth adding this group of gems to your collection? Possibly. And if you are new to the genre is it a good starting point? Probably. There’s also an added bonus of some comprehensive notes about the artists with details of the original albums.



    Album of the Week: John Fogarty - Wrote A Song For Everyone

     This weeks album of the week is John Forerty -  Wrote A Song For Everyone.

    Here is what allmusic.com had to say about it:

    For a good portion of his solo career, John Fogerty refused to play any of his old Creedence Clearwater Revival songs -- not because he hated them but because he was tied up in a nasty legal battle with Saul Zaentz, the head of his former record label Fantasy.

    After a few decades, Fogerty's position softened and he started playing the tunes in concert, then, after Concord purchased Fantasy in 2004, he celebrated CCR, first with a new hits compilation combining his old band and solo work, then eventually working his way around to Wrote a Song for Everyone, a 2013 album where he revisits many of his most popular songs with a little help from his superstar friends. Savvy guy that he is, Fogerty doesn't place all of his chips on one bet: he mixes up rock and country, old and new, dabbling just a bit in R&B and alternative folk, but preferring to stick to a tastefully weathered roots rock that suits him well. Curiously, there is very little swamp rock to be heard here -- Kid Rock yowls through "Born on the Bayou," but that only helps it sound like it's coming straight out of a trailer -- and the song choice, along with the guest list, skews toward country; with Bob Seger singing "Who'll Stop the Rain" and My Morning Jacket easing back on "Long as I Can See the Light," which leaves just the aforementioned son of Detroit stomping through the bayou, and the Foo Fighters lumbering through "Fortunate Son" as pure rock & roll. Heavy as they are -- and they are, substituting volume for swing -- they're overshadowed by never-ending country-rockers, some spirited enough to enliven familiar melodies, some so sober the whole proceeding winds up seeming a bit po-faced.

    At worst, this means Wrote a Song for Everyone is no better than generic -- it's hard to identify Keith Urban as the duet partner on a too-smooth "Almost Saturday Night" -- but a few of the guests stamp their own identity on the cover, whether it's Brad Paisley twisting "Hot Rod Heart" (the only cover here that can't be called a hit, as it's pulled off Fogerty's acclaimed 1997 LP Blue Moon Swamp) toward his twanging Telecaster territory, or Miranda Lambert stealing the title track from her host and guest guitarist Tom Morello.

    All of this is enjoyable but it's rarely compelling, as very few songs play with the original arrangement in any serious fashion (Zac Brown Band's untroubled "Bad Moon Rising" is the exception that proves the rule). It's telling that the lasting moments arrive either when Fogerty unveils two solid new solo songs -- "Mystic Highway" and "Train of Fools" -- or when he leads his sons through the terrific, bluesy choogle of "Lodi," turning the lament into a celebration. All three cuts prove that Fogerty, no matter how much fun he's having elsewhere on the record, doesn't need any guests to sound alive.



    Album of the Week: Caro Emerald - Shocking Miss Emerald


    This weeks album of the week is Caro Emerald - Shocking Miss Emerald and here is what musicomh.com had to say...


    They love Caro Emerald in Holland. They love her almost as much as they love trance DJs, bridges over canals, and tulips. Emerald’s debut album Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor broke all kinds of records in Emerald’s native country, spending more time at Number 1 on the charts than a little album called Thriller by some bloke named Michael Jackson.While she may not yet be a household name outside of the Netherlands right now, she’s garnered enough attention to sell out the Royal Albert Hall, become a staple fixture on Radio 2 and helped out Jools Holland on his Hootenanny. So it’s fair to say that The Shocking Miss Emerald pretty much deserves the soubriquet ‘eagerly-awaited’.

    The secret to Emerald’s success is easy to identify from the very first notes of her second album. Like her closest comparison Imelda May, Emerald deals comfortably in a retro, nostalgic type of blues-tinged jazzy pop that’s been so successful for her contemporaries. Of course, she could be accused of playing it safe (it’s true that there are no real surprises to be found here) but there’s no denying that she does what she does very well indeed.

    A dramatic orchestral flourish introduces the album before One Day pretty much summarises what Miss Emerald is all about – a sassy, brass-laden strut bearing more than a passing resemblance to Kirsty MacColl‘s In These Shoes. Tangled Up seems to be lined up to be Emerald’s big cross-over hit (bearing the name of a certain Guy Chambers on co-writing credits) and could well be a success – despite some lyrical clangers (“treating girls like a yo-yo is a no no of a monumental kind” anyone?) and some rather over-produced strings, it does have a certain kind of charm, and Ms Emerald splashes her personality all over the song whenever she opens her mouth.

    At times, The Shocking Miss Emerald seems like a triumph of style over content – at 14 tracks, it’s rather too long (a trait in common with many albums these days, to be fair) and for every endearingly daft romp like Pack Up The Louie, there are moments of fluff like The Maestro which just serves to remind everyone that The Puppini Sisters were once inexplicably successful for a brief moment. Far better are the times when Emerald seems to emotionally connect with a song, such as Black Valentine, a beautifully yearning torch ballad, or the smouldering, classy rendition of Paris.

    Stylishly retro and just on the right side of quirky, Caro Emerald fits well into the new breed of post-Amy Winehouse pop star, like Paloma Faith. While her music probably won’t appeal to everyone (and really, what music does?), there is a huge market for this modern spin on a classic sound. Although it may become too whimsical for some, there’s every chance that The Shocking Miss Emerald will see her repeat her staggering success at home on an international basis.




    Album of the Week:Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

    This weeks RTÉ Radio 1 Album of the Week is Daft Punk - Random Access Memories


    Here is what NME had to say about it:

    What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” So said the Preacher of Ecclesiastes. And he said it two and a half thousand years ago, which puts people moaning about things sounding like the ’80s into perspective.

    It’s rare to hear a record that doesn’t sound like anything you’ve ever heard, and rarer still to hear one that also puts a smile on your face. How many great bands turn their backs on putting out the same old shit only to release records so calculatingly ‘out there’ they feel like maths homework? They forget this is supposed to be FUN. Yeah, Radiohead, I’m talking to you.

    Daft Punk have enjoyed near-universal acclaim over 20 years and three albums but ‘Random Access Memories’ is their greatest achievement: an ambitious masterpiece you can’t imagine being made by anyone other than Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.

    Opener ‘Give Life Back To Music’ sets the tone with guitars that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Giorgio Moroder’s Top Gun score. It features Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Paul Jackson Jr, who played on ‘Thriller’, so it’s as funky as you’d expect. The sound of a happy crowd gurgles in the background. The party’s right here.

    ‘The Game Of Love’ slips into a slower tempo, as a melancholy android discovers heartbreak. The record is loosely themed around a robot’s attempt to become human, and if he needs a guide who better than the producer who gave us Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’? ‘Giorgio By Moroder’ is a documentary of sorts, in which the titular hero narrates his life story. When he describes the beginnings of the disco beat, we hear an insistent click track. When he tells us that when we create art there are no rules, the music proves him right. It’s a life-affirming salute to the power of the imagination.

    After this, there’s a sea change. Chilly Gonzales plays a 45-second piano solo that takes us into ‘Within’, marking the transition from the first three tracks. This is a record that’s been painstakingly slaved over. The track itself is restrained, as our robot protagonist begins to realise just how much he’s yet to understand.

    He’ll be hard-pressed to catch all of Julian Casablancas’ quickfire lyrics on ‘Instant Crush’, an instant nightclub anthem. ‘Lose Yourself To Dance’ is paired with ‘Get Lucky’, representing the album’s poppiest moments and featuring the dream team of Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams. Sitting between the two is the record’s startling centrepiece, ‘Touch’. Paul Williams might be best known as a composer for the Muppets, but Daft Punk love him best as Swan, the villainous antihero of operatic horror film Phantom Of The Paradise. His background in psychedelic storytelling is put to use on an eight-minute epic that changes shape every time you draw breath.

    ‘Beyond’ is another melancholy-hearted collaboration with Paul Williams. ‘Motherboard’ is a long, spacey instrumental that sounds as if it’s somehow melting. ‘Fragments Of Time’ is a further glorious high in which Todd Edwards describes his time in LA and makes you feel like you’re driving a fast car down the west coast of the USA. ‘Doin’ It Right’ features Panda Bear of Animal Collective and is the album’s most forward-looking moment; closing track ‘Contact’ is a DJ Falcon collaboration, and an example of pure musical adrenalin.

    By assembling a cast of their favourite musicians and delving into their adolescent memories, Daft Punk have created something as emotionally honest as any singer-songwriter confessional – and a lot more fun to dance to. Go out and rejoice: there’s something new under the sun.




    Album of the Week: Rod Stewart -Time


    This weeks Album of the week is Rod Stewart Time


    Here's what the Guardian had to say about it:

    Rod Stewart's first album of original material in 20 years was prompted, he says, by writing his autobiography, and he wears his heart on his sleeve on wistful, nostalgic love songs (Brighton Beach) and thoughtful divorce laments (the single, It's Over).

    Musically, it runs the gamut of Rod from classic rock (opener She Makes Me Happy and the Celtic-tinged, triumphal Can't Stop Me Now) to the Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? era (Sexual Religion, which boasts a dark disco beat, synths and a throaty sax solo); Finest Woman is the Stones' Start Me Up and Little T&A rolled into one libidinous bundle, while a cover of Tom Waits's Picture in a Frame reminds me – not for the first time – how much the latter-day Mick Hucknall owes to the Rodster. The title track mixes organ, crunchy guitar and sweet backing vocals for the perfect rock ballad.

    Among three extra tracks on the deluxe edition are Bonnie Raitt's Love Has No Pride, with lovely harmonies on the chorus, and Corrina Corrina, which has bluesier harmonica than Dylan's version. His voice may be sounding a teeny bit thin these days (although he still has all the high notes) but if you like Rod Stewart, you will love this album; if not, there are high points which may win you over.



    Album of the Week: Little Green Cars - Absolute Zero


    They made the BBC Sound of 2013 shortlist on the strength of their stunning single The John Wayne , but can Little Green Cars justify our love over an entire album’s length?

    The answer is yes, yes, yes and yes. For five years this Dublin quintet have been percolating away on their sound and focusing on their vision. Their hard graft has paid off in spades – Absolute Zero is an absolute gem of a debut, a record so accomplished and accessible you wonder how they managed to stay under the radar until now.

    Led by the vocals of Stevie Appleby and Faye O’Rourke, and with added vocal backup from bassist Donagh Seaver O’Leary, guitarist Adam O’Regan and drummer Dylan Lynch, They have a big collective voice with plenty to sayabout the naivety of youth, the terror of impending adulthood and the inevitability of death, along with a dash of social self-doubt and a decent helping of young lust.

    The band’s conquest began with The John Wayne , a thumping anthem for anyone who’s been outdrawn in love. But they’ve clearly got more nuggets under their gunbelt. The album opens with the newest single, Harper Lee , an infectious tune that will send you skipping to the library for a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird .

    The transatlantic influences abound: The Consequences of Not Sleeping wanders in a Laurel Canyon dreamscape, and Big Red Dragon is big and deep and wide. But just when you’ve nailed them as the love child of Arcade Fire and The Decemberists, they wrongfoot you at just the right time. Red and Blue uses vocorder to explore a very different soundscape, while The Kitchen Floor echoes the Gallic ambience of Air’s All I Need– except this one’s more All I Don’t Need .

    The last is one of three songs on which Faye O’Rourke handles lead vocals; her most striking contribution is on My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me . It sounds like a gospel-tinged murder ballad, O’Rourke’s voice given added power by the visceral lyrics. I’ve heard of getting dumped, but this one’s a doozy.

    On the lovely, lonesome closing Goodbye Blue Monday , Appleby begs, “And if you run out of space, please don’t erase your time with me”. He needn’t worry. Make room for this album in your head – if this is the sound of Irish indie in 2013, then all is well with the world.



    Album of the Week: Eric Clapton - Old Sock


     This weeks album of the week is Eric Clapton Old Sock.


    Rolling Stone say: 

    There are many Eric Claptons: firebrand electric bluesman, psychedelic jam god, avuncular song historian, easy-listening singer-songwriter. Clapton's 21st LP finds him mainly playing the latter two roles with an all-star crew. The song selection, long on covers, is promising: vintage folk, blues, soul, country and reggae; American-songbook classics by Gershwin and Kern; plus new material written by his band. Of the latter, "Gotta Get Over" is lit by a funky Chaka Khan cameo and the set's hottest guitar work. "Every Little Thing," meanwhile, is a love-is-all-you-need anthem that trots out the Clapton kids and feels like an iPhone slide-show soundtrack. For the Billie Holiday-associated "All of Me," Paul McCartney drops in for a duet that could be an outtake from his recent standards LP; Clapton follows with a soulful reading of "Born to Lose" á la Ray Charles' Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

    But "The Folks Who Live on the Hill" misses the class-conscious irony at that standard's core, and the reggae grooves – a take on Peter Tosh's "Till Your Well Runs Dry" recalls Clapton's hit cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" – are light. Per the title, this is comfort music, made by a guy who seems to be chilling with friends. If it sometimes sounds too comfortable, well, Clapton has probably earned it.




    Album of The Week: Nigel Mooney - The Bohemian Mooney

    Nigel Mooney is widely regarded as Ireland's leading jazz singer and guitarist. A charismatic figure on the Dublin jazz and blues scenes since the early 1980's, his Gripewater Blues Band spearheaded the blues movement in Ireland and drew many fans of both jazz and the blues.

    A self-taught musician, Mooney was influenced by the blues from an early age and his hard-bop style of guitar playing is expressive and melodic with a bluesy groove. He possesses a warm and rich tenor voice and has an almost flawless sense of pitch.

    His first album, "All My Love's In Vain" (Rubyworks) was released in 2005 to critical acclaim and has become one of Ireland's highest selling albums by a jazz artist. The single, "Beautiful Day" charted on the Irish hit parade and still receives regular airplay.






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