Archive for June, 2007

2007: getting better

June 30th, 2007 3 comments

This year is beginning to look good. A few fine new albums that have been released or are still awaiting release will make the wait for the ageless classic bearable (apologies for the links mix-up earlier; the Cary Brothers link is now correct).

Spoon – The Underdog
From Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, which despite its awful title is a glorious album, with all the experimentations coming together just right. “The Underdog” is fantastic; it has horns, acoustic guitars, handclaps, a furious finale, and Britt Daniel sounds as much as Phil Lynott as he ever will. An album to be excited about.

Brandi Carlile – The Story
When I first came across Carlile, I thought her name marked her out as a cheerleader-type pop princess. Goodness, how wrong I was. This woman can sing her folk-rock/ stuff. Hear her roar on “The Story”, the title track from her quite wonderful sophomore album.

Josh Rouse – God, Please Let Me Go Back
From Country Mouse, City House. I like this song’s George Harrison-style guitar and hummable chorus. The new album is a tough one. It’s not as instantly lovable as 1972, not as brilliant as Nashville, not as intimate as last year’s Subtitulo. One knows after one spin that there is much quality here, but it will need repeated listens before this set will click. With Josh Rouse, the patience always pays off.

Kate Walsh – Talk Of The Town
There are so many wonderful women with guitars making wonderful, moving music. Rosie Thomas, Mindy Smith et al. File Kate Walsh in that category. Her debut, Tim’s House, is warm, hushed, consistently beautiful, and incredibly intimate.

Iron And Wine – Flightless Bird, American Mouth
Sub Pop, Iron And Wine’s label, has asked for the link to be removed. Happy to oblige. There are free I&W downloads on Sub Pop’s homepage, including the very wonderful “Naked As We Came”.

Cary Brothers – Jealousy
Like Iron & Wine, Cary Brothers is a Garden State soundtrack alumnus. Their first full album is, er, very nice. Soundtrack-friendly stuff for Zach Braff movies and Grey’s Anatomy, which in my world is a recommendation. This track is more Snow Patrol than the Shins.

Powderfinger – Wishing On The Same Moon
I’ve always liked Powderfinger (a name I seem to never be able to type correctly), but never was a huge fan. Dream Days At The Hotel Existence might change that. Every song is strong, drawing heavily from ’70s rock, as does my album of the year so far, Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky (yeah, right, like fucking punk never happened).

Crowded House – Don’t Stop Now
I’ve mentioned the new album (due our on July 10) before. It’s more a Finn solo effort than a typical CH album. This track is one of those that exhibit the old Crowded House sound.

There's always somone cooler than you…

June 27th, 2007 2 comments

…so you might as well enjoy whatever music you damn well like. Even Foo Fighters, hell, even the Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox 20. Here a few tracks from EPs, b-sides, live bootlegs and who knows where from.

Ben Folds Five – Brick (live acoustic)
Counting Crows with Ben Folds – A Long December (live)
The Weepies – Cherry Trees (live) (Very cool, actually. I love the Weepies a lot)
Kevin Devine – Probably (from the Travelling the EU EP, not the inferior album version).
Ben Kweller – Sha Sha (from the Freak Out… EP, not the inferior re-recorded version from Sha Sha)
Matchbox 20 – Long Day (acoustic)
Foo Fighters – Everlong (acoustic)
Goo Goo Dolls – Slide (acoustic)

Ben Folds Comes Alive

June 25th, 2007 5 comments

My two and a half regular readers will know that I am quite partial to the genius of Mr Ben Folds. I have never had the opportunity to see the great man live (if you’re reading this, Mr Folds, please get your hornrimmed-glassed ass down to the southern tip of Africa, sir, gush gush gush). So his live album, the Ben Folds Five lives album, the few live tracks on the EPs, DVD rips and bootlegs will have to do for me. I have collated some decent-quality live stuff (thanks in part to my friend Mo). And here’s sharing with y’all. I’ve made myself an unofficial live mix-tape (er, CD-R) which includes none of the great live versions below, but other tracks from these concerts (the Perth gig is a DVD-rip from the brilliant concerts with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra). If enough people want it, I’ll post it. Place your desperate pleas in a comment.

Ben Folds – Army (live in New York, Summerstage 2004) “Bah bah bah, babababababa etc”
Ben Folds with Rufus Wainwright – Careless Whispers (ibid.; DVD rip, not the shitty version floating around on the Interweb)

Ben Folds – Narcolepsy (live in Perth, March 2005, DVD rip) check out the opera dude!
Ben Folds – Zak And Sara (live in Perth, March 2005, DVD rip)

Ben Folds – The Luckiest (live In Berlin, 4 June 2005. Soundboard bootleg)
Ben Folds – All You Can Eat (live In Berlin, 4 June 2005) hear Folds speak Deutsch.


June 24th, 2007 2 comments

25 years since1982. Fuck!

Donald Fagen – I.G.Y.
The Nightfly had one of the coolest album covers in rock history: a monochrome shot of Fagen as graveyard shift DJ, smoking a Chesterfield (Warning: smoking is not cool, kids. Only when Fagen does, it is). When the Steely Dan man’s solo album came out, I had to hunt it down; I don’t know if it sold out or whether the record shops were unprepared for the demand it elicited.

Dexys Midnight Runners – Respect (live)
Yeah, a cover of the Otis Redding song (covered as well by Aretha something). This is a bonus track on the special edition of Too-Rye-Ay, one of the finest albums of the ’80s (check out Until I Believe In My Soul). I love the idea of the celtic soul sound infusing the soul classic; it’s the sound The Commitments should have adopted, not the karaoke gig the producers opted for.

Yazoo – Bad Connection
Upstairs At Eric’s came out of nowhere. They were an odd combination: synth boffin Vince Clark and would-be soul diva Alison Moyet. It worked brilliantly, with Moyet investing a warmth in Clark’s cold electronic sound. An album later they were done. Clark reappeared a couple of years later with Erasure, Moyet had a couple of successful solo albums before fading from view. This is the loveliest track on Upstairs At Eric’s.

Toto – Rosanna
Stop sniggering at the back. This is Toto in their pomp, Coke Rock at its best. Written about Rosanna Arquette, you know (as you did). These days retro-minded DJs and VJs will dig out “Africa”, which is a decent pop song. “Rosanna” is miles better: the jazzy keyboard, the coke-fuelled guitar solos, the fantastic horns, and a killer chorus. Toto were never good enough to produce a credible Best Of album, but this (as well as “Hold The Line” and “Georgy Porgy”) would make owning a copy worth the slight embarrassment one inevitably would suffer when pals rifle through one’s CD collection.

Crocodile Harris – Give Me The Good News
A South African classic, but a bigger hit in France (where it shifted 650,000 copies) than at home. The Croc didn’t get another hit, but this one will lasts. On constant rotation on Johannesburg’s Radio 5 at the time, the lyrics were interpreted as a veiled criticism of apartheid. Amandla!

Going retro

June 22nd, 2007 1 comment

Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run (live) (1975)
From the Live At The Hammersmith Odeon ’75 recording which was released on DVD released. One of the ultimate live songs. Who’s Wendy?

Johnny Cash – Ring Of Fire (1968)
Bonus track on the re-released CD of Live at St Quentin. As a kid in Germany, Cash was always on the radio in a context with whoever was uncool. So I grew up thinking the Man In Black was not cool. Lesson: Don’t look at the people listening to the music but listen to the music.

Dexys Midnight Runners – Geno (1980)
Dexys Midnight Runners – Until I Believe In My Soul (1982)
Every two years or so I go on my Dexys trip. In 2005, I revisited the young soul rebel to observe his 25th birthday and that of my weeks-long obsession with “Geno”; in July I shall celebrate the silver jubilee of the most wonderful Too-Rye-Ay. “Until You Believe In My Soul”, from which that twat Sting stole the idea for a jazz solo interlude, features Kevin Rowlands sneering the immortal line: “You have to be fuckin‘ joking”, at a time when swearing still meant something.

Tim Curry – I Do The Rock (1979)
The song from which I learned that John and Yoko lived at a place called The Dakota. Prescient Tim. This song made me into a Curry fan before I knew about that overhyped Rocky Twaddle Picture Show. One day in 1985 he came into a restaurant in London where I worked. Lovely, shy chap. The 80-year-old owner heard that someone famous was at Table 9, so he waddled over, stood for a minute at the table staring at Curry and female companion while rolling his tongue over his open mouth, and the blurted out: “So, you’re famous?” I caught a glimpse of Curry’s totally bemused look before I dashed to the kitchen where I ROTFLed.

Ram Jam – Black Betty (1977)
Those was mentioned on my favourite forum, populated by very clever people who know their music. One confessed that he had heard “Black Betty” for the first time today, on the radio. I associate this, and Bowie’s “Starman“, with the first club I frequented (without mother’s knowledge) as a 15-year-old.

Sweet – The Six Teens (1974)
Too easily derided as bubble-gum glam rockers, the Sweet had some killer tunes. “The Six Teens” had the group all grown up since their “Little Willie” days, borrowing a bit from prog, foreshadowing Meat Loaf’s operatic rock drama, and still sounding incredibly fun! R.I.P. Messrs Connolly and Tucker.

Immaculate Fools – Immaculate Fools
December 1984 in London: my favourite pub in Notting Hill had a video juke box (ooooh!). This was on constant rotation. In Blighty these soft rockers (think China Crisis) were a one-hit wonder. Google tells me that the Fools became so big in Spain that they over there.

Prince – Starfish And Coffee (1987)
From Sign O’ The Times. How was this, one of Prince’s three greatest songs, never a single? The alarm clock at the beginning always gives me a fright. To recreate that effect upon others, I like to put this track first on mix-tapes (well, CDs, these days) for others.

The Stranglers – Nice ‘n’ Sleazy (1977)
This might have been my first “punk” single. This or Sham 69’s “Angels With Dirty Faces”. Other punk rock acts of the time included the Boomtown Rats, Ultravoxx and Elvis Costello, who were to punk what Tony Blair is to socialism. Still, “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy”, with its sneering riff and insolent vocals is a great, great song.

Random songs

June 19th, 2007 No comments

Playing on TV where I live is a commercial for Volkswagen in which a young dude is helping an old, blind man to find his family in the big city. The quite sweet scenes are scored by a song I knew, liked, and was sure I had. On Sunday my nephew told me what it was: I had introduced it to him through one of my favourite movies, Garden State. You know you have a problem when you have so much music, you can’t even remember what you have…
Bonnie Summerville – Winding Road.mp3

Still on the TV tack, if there is one reason to have loved the late O.C., it was for the series’ way of introducing to a wider audience some excellent music that otherwise might have lingered in obscurity (some steaming shit too, but that’s neither here nor there). Several shows have followed the template. Grey’s Anatomy has a particularly fine track record in that regard. One artist recurrently sampled on Grey’s is Emilíana Torrini, from Iceland (the name obviously gives her nationality away), whose tender, fragile songs are just touching. Here’s one, from 2005’s Fisherman’s Woman, which also featured on Grey”s:
Emilíana Torrini – Nothing Brings Me Down.mp3

The O.C. and a host of other shows and movies also introduced the world to Alexi Murdoch through the majestic “Orange Sky”, from the gorgeous Nick Drake-channelling Four Songs EP. Murdoch released his full debut last year, to no hype whatsoever. Time Without Consequence is a very good album, but it fails to equal the exquisite beauty of Four Songs, except on “Love You More”. It also features an inferior re-rerecording of “Orange Sky”, thus continuing a deplorable trend which I flagged here and here). This fascinating track featured on Prison Break (when Haywire jumps off the grain tower thing).
Alexi Murdoch – Home.mp3

I might hate Australia”s cricket team, but I like Australia’s music scene. Crowded House, Missy Higgins, Powderfinger, the Go-Betweens, the Vines…and Ben Lee. The latter was one part of the triumvirate that was The Bens, with the excellent Ben Kweller and the god-like Ben Folds (who is now an Aussie resident), so Lee has the implicit seal of approval by association. That seal is however tempered by a very patchy output: moments of near genius are offset by rampant crap even the singer himself couldn’t have considered to be of any value. But when Ben Lee shines, he does so brightly. Here is one of such bright moments:
Ben Lee – Whatever It Is.mp3

I note that The Fray are having a top 10 hit in the UK with this. I had the album it’s from two years ago already. A solid two-and-a-half-stars-out-of-five effort…
The Fray – How To Save A Life.mp3

I wish Mat Kearney would drop that silly white-boy rapping routine and do more of the John Mayer meets Joe Purdy stuff, like this:
Mat Kearney – All I Need.mp3

TV Themes

June 16th, 2007 4 comments

Here’s the last batch of TV themes, plus all the others previously posted.

Bonanza.mp3 (The all-time classic TV theme, probably. And a great series, too.)
I Dream Of Jeannie.mp3 (Or is this the all-time classic TV theme?)
The A-Team.mp3 (Insert your own joke about pitying the fool here.)
The Brady Bunch.mp3 (Oh come on, it is a wonderful TV theme, a sound that is of its time.)
E.R.mp3 (I’ve never watched E.R., but I do like the ’90s theme)
Dallas.mp3 (One to play when you come out of the shower)
Dynasty.mp3 (Stephen was one of the first openly gay TV characters. But, let’s face it, all the men in that show, except Blake, looked gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.)
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo.mp3 (With Flipper, Lassie and Daktari, TV’s greatest show with animals.)
Full House.mp3 (The show that brought us the Olsen Twin and Bob Saget. Terrible show and a theme song that is so terrible it’s essential. One for the audio trivia quiz)
Pippi Langstrumpf.mp3 (A classic for for the German contingent. Anika was my first TV crush.)

And in previous episodes:
Magnum PI.mp3 (The cowboy from the Village People wanted his moustache back)
Diff’rent Strokes.mp3 (The worst show ever to have such a brilliant theme song. Cheesy, but quite excellent. Earworm ahoy)
L.A. Law.mp3 (Where I lived, Saturday nights began when the car boot slammed down.)
Perfect Strangers.mp3 (Will Cousin Larry be canonised for not bludgeoning Balki to death?)
News Radio.mp3 (Great, short theme. But is it better than WKRP‘s?)
Welcome Back, Kotter.mp3 (I had a friend who actually cultivated Horshack’s laugh. Signed Epstein’s Mother.)
thirtysomething.mp3 (The show that ought to have persuaded us to remain unwed forever.)
Hawaii 5-0.mp3 (The best TV theme of all time. Sampled to death)
Seinfeld.mp3 (Not that there’s anything wrong with it)
Quantum Leap.mp3 (Ah, the soundtrack to my mid-20s. Nice tune, actually)
WKRP In Cincinnati.mp3 (Video portrayed the radio star)
Three’s Company.mp3 (That intro! You’ll want to tag it under Porn Groove)
Derrick.mp3 (Long-running German cop show with another Porn Groove theme)
Sex And The City.mp3 (Did these women ever use condoms, I wonder?)
Star Trek.mp3 (Beam it up, Spotty. A ha ha ha ha and so on)
McGyver.mp3 (The file was broken. I fixed it with a spoon and a bit of candyfloss)
Hill Street Blues.mp3 (my all-time favourite police show)
Fraser.mp3 (I didn’t know Kelsey Grammer is a Republican. Tosser.)
Sesame Street.mp3 (I didn’t know Cookie Monster is a card-carrying ACLU member Democrat. Genius.)
Gun Smoke.mp3 (longest-running TV series ever, I think. Or was it Bonanza?)
Partridge Family.mp3 (Come on get happy. Especially for KP’s GF)
Who”s The Boss.mp3 (We know Alyssa Milano turned out hot, but is the little dweeb still a dweeb? Oh, and stupid Friends trivia: Which hit did Phoebe think goes: “Hold me closer, Tony Danza”?)

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Angel Dust

June 15th, 2007 2 comments

Prompted by a blog I read today, here are a few random songs with the word Angel in the title. I promised the blogger the April Sixth song after he referred to the lyrics of the Hinder song. One thing leading to another, I’ll add fellow alternative rock types Our Lady Peace and Cold to the mix. But then also some Ron Sexsmith and Mindy Smith, to appease the MP3 blog purists that I have not lost my excellent musical judgment. And, yes, I’m quite aware that there are hundreds of other songs I could have used (at least three Dylan songs, Aretha, Minnie Riperton, three Counting Crows songs…or, indeed, Robbie bloody Williams).

I think I’m in love with Mindy Smith. That clear, utterly lovely voice does it for me. This is a really beautiful track from a really beautiful album, 2004’s One Moment More.
Mindy Smith – Angel Dove.mp3

Ron Sexsmith produced one of the albums of 2006: Time Being, a rich, warm set of songs. After more than a decade of making albums, Sexsmith will never break out big, forever remaining the can’t-go-wrong recommendation to the uninitiated. Well, we do hate it when our favourites get discovered, so that’s just as well then.
Ron SexsmithSnow Angel.mp3

I did reveal that Sarah McLachlan is a guilty pleasure of mine. “Angel” isn’t my favourite song by any means (that would be “Ice Cream”). This live version is pretty good though.
Sarah McLachlan – Angel (live).mp3

Suzanne Vega has a new album out. Yeah, I also thought she had disappeared. Yet here she is, thoughtfully contributing an angel song from her pretty good new CD, Beauty And Crime.
Suzanne Vega – Angel’s Doorway.mp3

Crowded House are also about to release a comeback album. And here is Neil Finn with brother Tim as the Finn Bothers on their 1995 album titled…Finn. Lovely Beatles style harmonies on this song.
Finn Brothers – Angel’s Heap.mp3

And here is the alternative quartet (I have an emotional attachment to the April Sixth song). Of each group, there is only one song I really like — all with the word angel in the title. Coincidence, or a celestial conspiracy?

April Sixth – Dear Angel.mp3
Cold – When Angels Fly Away.mp3
Our Lady Peace – Angels Losing Sleep.mp3
Hinder – Lips Of An Angel.mp3

Review: Tim McGraw – Let It Go

June 11th, 2007 1 comment

On Let It Go, Tim McGraw (who is, I must confess, an occasional guilty pleasure, albeit in small doses) does his usually mix of cowboy-hatted shtick and thoughtful, often surprising material.

Opener “Last Dollars” is discouragingly aimed at the line-dancing beer-swilling Good Ole” Boys, and Let It Go ends with a song that cringingly refers to “cowboys” and “shotgun riders” (presumably even a country singer aspiring towards seriousness has to keep the redneck audience happy).

So it is a relief that in between things get progressively better with a clever mix of songs that will satisfy McGraw“s various constituencies.

One of the surprises is “Suspicions”, a very good cover of “˜70s adult-rock semi-mediocrity Eddie Rabbit (whom one may file under the label Guilty Pleasures as well). “Kristofferson“ is an obvious and suitable nod to the country legend of that surname (second perhaps only to Johnny Cash in the genre), while “I Need You” is the obligatory duet with wife Faith Hill, this time dispensing with the customary treacle.

The title track, with its “oh-woo-woh-oh-woo-woh” chorus is hardline formulaic, but a catchy bastard nonetheless. The stand-out track is “Nothing To Die For”, this year’s “Live Like You Were Dying” moment, which kicks off like a rock song and settles in with a kick-ass singalong chorus.

Within its genre of mainstream radio-friendly country music, this is a mostly pleasing album.
Tim McGraw – Nothing To Die For.mp3
Tim McGrawKristofferson.mp3

And here’s the real deal:
Kris Kristofferson – Loving Her Was Easy.mp3
Kris Kristofferson – Josie.mp3

Albums of 2007, so far

June 8th, 2007 1 comment

It is a scientific fact that 78,4% of all MP3 bloggers are busy compiling their top 10 albums of the 2007 so far as we speak. So, before it becomes a bore, I’ll get in early. I might be on safe ground doing so before the first half of the year is up, because I’ve seen no releases for June that would be obvious contenders, other than the new Joseph Arthur album (and I can live without the White Stripes, I’m afraid). So…

1. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
Some Wilco fans have expressed their disappointment with the unpretentious Sky Blue Sky, measuring it against the experimentations of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born. These fans are mistaken to measure Sky Blue Sky not on its own merits. Here, Jeff Tweedy eschews the cacophonic innovations for a straight-forward, mellow rock album that channels the “60s (Dylan, Grateful Dead, Abbey Road-era Beatles) and “70s (Van Morrison, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, Thin Lizzy) without losing its identity as a Wilco album.

Sky Blue Sky is immediate and intimate. Nels Cline”s guitar work is an utter joy. The cadenced dual guitar solo on “Impossible Germany”, the album”s stand-out track, is perhaps the best of this decade.
Wilco – Either Way.mp3
Wilco – Hate It Here.mp3

2. Bright Eyes – Cassadaga
In 2005, I”m Wide Awake, It”s Morning was by far my album of the year, and it remains one of my all-time favourites. It was an immediately accessible album in ways its predecessors, or the simultaneously released (and quite awful) Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, were not. Cassadaga is not as easy to fall in love with as I”m Wide Awake, but once it hits you, it hits you hard. This is a beautiful, richly textured, and cohesive album. I cannot say whether Cassadaga will equal my affection for I”m Wide Awake (which provided the soundtrack for a particularly intense period in my life), but I do know that I will return to it for a very long time.
Bright Eyes – If The Brakeman Turns My Way.mp3
Bright Eyes – Make a Plan To Love Me.mp3

3. Loney, Dear – Loney Noir
The bizzarely named Loney, Dear (real name Emil Svanängen) is a genius working in his Stockholm bedroom studio, in which he conducts an orchestra consisting of himself. Operating mostly under earphones so as not to wake the rest of the household, his songs often start softly before building up to an orgasmic crescendo. For once the critics got it right when they proclaimed Loney Noir a work of genius.

Too often artists who don”t conform to the corporate expectations of the mainstream music industry fall between the cracks, especially when they come “foreign” countries. All the more my pleasant surprise when I caught the video the the utterly stunning “I Am John” on VH-1 a few weeks ago (see the video here).
Loney, Dear – I Am John.mp3
Loney, Dear – No One Can Win.mp3

4. Rosie Thomas – These Friends of Mine
Music at the moment is blessed with a crop of women with guitars, singer-songwriters who take their inspiration from Joni Mitchell and Carol King, not the corporate skanks that populate the Top40. Rosie Thomas is one of the finest artists in that crop. “Heartachingly beautiful” has become a cliché. With These Friends Of Mine it provides an accurate description. On her fourth album Rosie fulfills all the promise she hinted at in her previous efforts: There is now a consistency of quality in her exquisite melody to complement the sheer poetry of her lyrics. The album”s stand-out song, “Much Farther To Go”, features the brilliant Sufjan Stevens on vocals and, yeah, the banjo.
Rosie Thomas – Much Farther To Go.mp3

5. Missy Higgins – On A Clear Night
On her new album, Missy (real name Melissa Higgins, which sounds rather better) cheers up a bit, at least musically, from the quite wonderful The Sound Of White. Where The Sound”¦ was beautiful in its melancholy, On A Clear Night is a little more relaxed in sound, if not lyrically. The excellent lead single “Steer” is a pop-hit-with-intelligence along the lines of The Sound“s hit “Scars”. Higgins” does not sound as pained as she used to and she has thankfully tuned down her distinctive Aussie wicketkeeper”s accent.
Missy Higgins – The Wrong Girl.mp3

6. Maria Taylor – Lynn Teeter Flower
Not quite as wonderful or eclectic as 2005’s 11:11, but there is still a lot to like here.
Maria Taylor – No Stars

7. Brooke Fraser – Albertine
Released in Fraser’s native New Zealand in December, but elsewhere in 2007. I’ll confess, Sarah McLachlan is one of my guilty pleasures (give a woman a guitar, let her record her own songs, and I’m a fan, really). Fraser has some of the McLachlan thing going on. Bonus points for including the names, activities and contact details of several human rights and relief organisations in the liner notes.
Brooke Fraser – Deciphering Me

9. Fountains Of Wayne – Traffic And Weather
Not a Fountains Of Wayne classic, but there’s much to like here. If it disappoints some, then only by the group’s own high standards. FOW are furiously channelling the ’80s. But where those idiots Maroon 5 fail doing the same, our friends from NY pull it off most of the time. And then there is this wonderful song below…
Fountains Of Wayne – Fire In The Canyon

9. Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha
This will rate highly on the top 10s of most of the 78,4%, and possibly higher on those not compiled by the remaining 21,6%. I rate this album highly, and the ubiquitous “Heretic” is one of this year’s stand-out tracks. But, truth be told, I prefer the predecessor, The Mysterious Production of Eggs.
Andrew Bird – Cataracts

10. Crowded House – Time on Earth
Not yet released, and the track sequence of the album we CH fans have been downloading reportedly might yet change, which would be welcome. It’s really a Neil Finn solo album with chums, and it is not entirely convincing, a clutch of very good tracks apart (such as the one below). Still, it is Crowded House and therefore will always be in contention.
Crowded House – Nobody Wants To

Last year at the halfway mark, my interim Top 10 consisted of albums by Joshua Radin (number 1 then and at year-end), The Weepies, Eels, Belle & Sebastian, Josh Rouse, Collective Soul, Counting Crows, Devics, Ron Sexsmith, James Hunter. By the end of the year, only three other albums (Crowded House, Ben Kweller and Snow Patrol) managed to get into my final Top 10. Let’s hope for a better second half of the year.