Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Always With Us

Paul Simon‘s one-and-only Graceland is the defining album of my childhood. More than any other music, those 11 tracks transport me back to our rickety Volkswagen bus: the brothers “grab-assing” as we slowly traversed the arid Central Valley – Yosemite so close, yet so far for an incorrigible seven-year-old. From 1986 on, there was one cassette perpetually in our tape deck, various Beach Boys mixes came and went, but for me, Graceland is, and will always be, the best album of all time.  Continue reading “Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Always With Us”

Emily Loizeau: Mothers & Tygers

Emily Loizeau is French, and, not unlike our very own Jerracid, was born of mixed parents, who, simply through the logistics of raising a daughter with family spanning the English Channel, ultimately exposed her to a great deal of cultural diversity. Good for them.

Loizeau’s music, while staid, is easy to listen to. She is a less moody Cat Power; An odd cross between Regina Spektor and Madeleine Peyroux – Regedeline Peyrektor; At times she may even pulls in the sounds of Paul Simon, Vampire Weekend, or .

Mothers & Tygers is her third album and is well produced. It’s certainly worth listening to if the last 10 posts have done nothing for you. Perhaps in the future, as fall turns to winter, PaisleyTunes will pull together a seasonal playlist, one for when the moribund autumn sky delivers only a fraction of the solar warmth required to stave off insanity & depression.

Until then, enjoy.

Islands: A Sleep & A Forgetting

It’s true that I have been craving some new Islands music since posting about Cuff the Duke at the beginning of January. Finally, the Canadians have come through for me. This Valentines Day they will be releasing their fourth album entitled, A Sleep & A Forgetting (for some reason I have yet to pick up Vapors, their 2009 release).

Frontman Nick Thorburn began composing the album a year ago Valentines Day at the end of a relationship and after moving from New York City to Los Angeles. Writing songs mainly about love and loss on a borrowed piano, Thorburn cites heavy influence from classic soul albums released by Smokey Robinson and the symphonic pop sound of Roy Orbison, while his darkly beautiful ballad Lonely Love eventually gives way to a Paul Simon-esque refrain, “I don’t want no part of this lonely love, I don’t want no part of this love”.

Despite its depressing subject matter, A Sleep & A Forgetting is on occasion cheerful, summoning an optimism associated with a scorned lover’s transformation into a reinvigorated and rejuvenated version of him/herself.

The album was recorded quickly over the course of two weeks “live, with hardly a single overdub”. It was the minimalist recording process that ANTI- records* (sister label to Epitaph Records) credits with giving the album the “stripped down.. and beautifully understated sound which.. reinforces the confessional content of the lyrics”.

A Sleep & A Forgetting illustrates a personal journey we have all undertaken, many times not by choice, but almost always for the best. Islands reminds the lovelorn that, if breaking up can sound this good, maybe life isn’t as bad as we thought it was.

[itunes id=”482475636″]. (Full Album Due Feb 14th, 2012)

*ANTI- Records has also represents Mose Allison, Michael Franti, Tinarewan, Galactic, and Mavis Staples, amongst others.