Thursday, March 20, 2008

iPod heaven

A couple of friends hijacked my iPod the other day to check out what I was listening to that was new and fresh. Here’s what they found. The most recent and frequently played 15 albums on my permanent companion - a classic 80GB iPod.

1. The Felice Brothers. Their first live album is Tonight At The Arizona. Almost impossible to find and once found, equally impossible to categorize. And listen to 'Ballad Of Lou The Welterweight'.

2. In the late 60’s I was a big fan of the Amen Corner with their No. 1 hit 'Bend Me, Shape Me' and '(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice'. Over the years their preppy lead singer, Andy Fairweather Low, has made a great living as a multi-talented session musician and writer. Now he has just released a new solo album called Sweet Soulful Music. Perfect lounge/airplane listening.

3. Jan Walker, who works with me at 'Allinspired' in Grasmere, turned me on to British phenomenon, Amy MacDonald and her This Is the Life album. Optimistic. Joyful.

4. Don’t miss The Broken Heartbreakers in their debut album called, originally enough, The Broken Heartbreakers.

5. I’ve been a fan of the Scottish band Camera Obscura for a while. I play two of their albums more than the others. Let’s Get Out of This Country and Underachievers Please Try Harder. And listen to their homage to kooky legend Dory Previn.

6. Bex and Danis went to see Cat Power in Auckland a couple of days ago. Bex saw her in Barcelona a few months back and was entranced. She’s a great live performer and played in the Powerstation, a small venue in Auckland, where she went down beautifully. Her new Jukebox album is her best yet.

7. Bolton is not a very exotic town for a pop career, but I promise you, Cherry Ghost and Thirst for Romance is not to be missed.

8. I’m also listening to two 70’s records from Dory Previn. Mary C. Brown and the Hollywood Sign and Mythical Kings and Iguanas. She was a hippy folk who was married to Andre Previn before Mia Farrow arrived on the scene. I also bought a couple of great books about her search for her father - pure California 70’s.

9. Eliza Gilkyson is a terrific artist who has been around for a while. Her latest album, Your Town Tonight, is real, earthy, gritty and authentic. Her cover of 'Jokerman' is the best yet. For my money, it’s as good as Robert Earl Keen’s live 'Tangled Up In Blue' which I heard at Filmore East.

10. Another 60’s icon for me was Francoise Hardy. I was in love with her breathy French pop. She’s still chic and glam (although silver haired now) and has done a stunning duets album called Parentheses.

11. Bob Latham, a passionate rugby man from Dallas, sent me Ian McLagan and the Bump Band’s tribute to their dear friend, ex-Small Faces rebel rouser, Ronnie Lane. It’s called A Spiritual Boy and it’s not to be missed.

12. The King Creosote Bombshell album is very hip. It’s sort of Ben Harper mixed with Jack Johnson and Ray LaMontagne.

13. When our Saatchi & Saatchi Asia Pacific team gathered a few weeks back we were lucky enough to have New Zealand’s best, Moana, play for us live at my house in Auckland. Her new live album is a classic.

14. Talking classics, I hope you’ve all bought Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, which Danis turned me on to immediately upon release.

15. And finally, having watched Tom Russell live at the Cactus Club in Austin, I’ve been obsessing on his live stuff, particularly the first ever release of a late 80’s concert in Leon. Make sure you get a copy. Lost Angels of Lyon. Punchy stuff, especially the Springsteen covers of 'I’m on Fire' and 'Reason to Believe'.