Recently I have been having some trouble concentrating. It could be the weather that has been giving me sleepless nights. I find it hard to read for extended periods, so I've been spending more time listening to music instead.
Instead of books I've been buying a lot of CDs:
This is the new album by Aussie indie singer, Missy Higgins. I like her debut album, The Sound Of White released a few years ago. It was the simplicity of her music ― free of gimmick, just her voice, heartfelt lyrics and catchy melodies that drew me.
Visit Missy Higgins at MySpace
Some time back, I've posted about her solo debut album, Are you Listening. After listening to the full album, I don't see how it's a departure from the previous Cranberries stuff. But it is Dolores O'Riordan, and if you're a devoted fan, you will want this.
An eclectic collection of various established singers performing their creative interpretation of Joni Mitchell songs. A lot of the artistes I admire are involved in this project ― Bjork, (the divine) Cassandra Wilson, (The Artist Who Is Back To Being Known as) Prince, (my beloved) Sarah McLachlan, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang and James Taylor.
The track that stands out from among all these great songs is Sarah McLachlan's haunting rendition of Blue. For me, McLachlan's contribution alone is worth the price of the CD.
4. The Reminder
The new album by Canadian chanteuse Leslie Feist. Her vocals reminds me a little of Cat Powers but Feist resists easy categorisation. She is expansive and playful, switching easily from electro-synth to acoustic to a breezy jazz ballad.
I can easily just set this album on "repeat" and just chill out.
5. Small Gods
I have a thing for women with guitars, in case you haven't realise. ;) Swati came by recommendation from the same people who led me to Kaki King. Swati employs open tunings and plays through an assortment of effects pedals. Her style is strong, masculine, and her lyrics are not delicate either. It all comes together wonderfully.
Visit Swati at MySpace
Tori Amos does it again.
When she's not guest-starring in Stardust as a slightly ditzy-dreamy tree, Tori Amos sings a little, and plays the piano like she's dry-humping it. (Amos herself claims it's almost like a sexual thing when she plays, and her piano is a "dyke" - her exact word) But here she is, an album from the voices of the different personae featured on the album cover. It's lush, it's sultry - it's also kind of odd - everything you expect from Tori Amos.
7. Neon Bible
8. The Story
Last but not the least - the song set most frequently on "repeat" on my mpeg player these days - Brandi Carlile's title track to her new album The Story. My favourite part is when she reaches for the high note: her voice just spins into a ferocious whirlwind - and then it cracks.
I love Brandi Carlile's honest and pure intensity. It comes through so plainly in her lyrics and her voice. Her album is easily my favourite among all those listed here.
In this YouTube clip, watch Brandi Carlile sing the theme to the Neverending Story. She also tells the audience how she much she loved the movie, and that she has two huge tattoos of the Auryn on her shoulders. She closes with a rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.