SAM MORRELL


ASTROPHYSICIST

What I’ve Been Listening To – October 2015

November 1, 2015   |   Reading time: ~8 mins
MusicPostOctober2015

A view over Exeter from my desk. You can see the pristine weather, ideal for observing. In the foreground is the Forum, Great Hall and other buildings in the University of Exeter. Behind that the rest of Exeter. Way off in the distance you can even make out the estuary of the river Exe, stretching out towards Exmouth, and to the English channel beyond. – 28th September 2015

Yes, I know, I’ve been a little quiet on here lately. To remedy that let’s have a good old fashioned music post. What with now being an office dweller, and occasional observatory dweller too, I’ve had plenty of time to listen to music over the past month. Thanks to Spotify’s excellent discovery features that’s made easier than ever. Here are some of my most cherished discoveries and old favourites from this month.

On and On and On – ABBA

This often ignored classic came up while out in the observatory running labs. Nothing eases long, cold nights observing with undergraduates like an awesome ABBA disco tune! A big thank you to Dr. Jennifer Hatchell for having an iTunes library filled with ABBA.

As a sneaky little bonus, while I was hunting for On and On and On I came across this, which is quite possibly the most absurdly brilliant, reference filled music video ever.

Rollercoaster – Bleachers

Coming bang up to date now. From Bleachers, fronted by fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff, comes a new album filled with covers from their last album. I know that sounds thoroughly disappointing on first glance, but all of the songs have been completely re-imagined with collaborations with the likes of Sara Bareilles, Charli XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen and Sia. Although there are currently none of these songs on YouTube, the originals from Strange Desire are, so here’s the video for Rollercoaster to whet your appetite.

If you enjoyed this, the entirety Terrible Thrills, Vol 2 is available to listen to on Spotify.

Something in the Way You Move – Ellie Goulding

I’ve been following Ellie Goulding since the Lights days, and I can’t say I’ve liked everything that she’s done since, but she’s certainly had some excellent tunes. This is one of them. The production and arrangement is excellent, and the layers of vocals only add to the effect.

New Americana / Roman Holiday – Halsey

This is an output of Spotify’s Office Stereo playlist that I decided to listen to a few weeks ago. The lyrics are catchy, the vocals are expressive and interesting and I found myself singing the chorus back to myself for days after hearing it. The mark of a good song. The impressive thing is that Halsey’s vocal dexterity carries over to live performances as well, as you’ll be able to see in this video.

The song is from Halsey’s debut album Badlands. I had a cursory glance through and the other tunes are very much like New Americana, which definitely isn’t a bad thing. However, there was one that stuck out, Roman Holiday, so I figured I’d do a two-for as the live performance is also great. I’m such a sucker for layers of synths, it’s unreal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEVZMph-s94

Seven – This Century

This Century’s previous album, Biography of Heartbreak, was an album that I’d put on loop while working because it was just so nice to listen to. I found out earlier this month that they’d actually released a new album and it’d slipped me by. Not only that, but it’ll be their final album, so I had to put it in here. The entire album is really good, but Seven ticks all the boxes for me. The album is called Soul Sucker and it’s available to listen to right over here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKJkYanA4I8

The Devil Is A Lonely Night – The Pierces

You know how you really loved the ABBA that I put at the top of this post and you’d really love to hear more things that are like ABBA? Don’t worry, I got your back. There are parts of the newest album by The Pierces where they sound like the spit of the famous Swedish quartet. Definitely worth giving it a listen if you love some harmonies.

Power of Love – Huey Lewis and the News

Yep, I’d be crazy to leave this one off my list. Given that it was Back to the future day 21st October, I’ve been listening to this a fair amount. Revel in the glory of 1985 all over again with the official video of Huey Lewis and the News performing Power of Love, featuring Doc Brown as well. I actually had a marathon evening and watched all three of the BTTF films on Back to the Future day, so you nearly got a load more songs, but fortunately I managed to restrain myself.

Dancing on Glass – St. Lucia

I became smitten with these folks as soon as I heard their songs All Eyes on You and Elevate. They’re just gearing up for their second album now, and the first single dropped a week or so ago. If they keep following this thread I’m going to enjoy listening to it. I’m always keen on well executed 80s style synthpop, and that’s just what this promises.

Astoria – Marianas Trench

I’ve been waiting for this one for ages. This is the big one! It has finally dropped! Marianas Trench are a supreme pop-rock outfit from Canada who are so unknown it is painful. Their last two albums Masterpiece Theatre and Ever After have been totally awesome. After these you could understand how I was so excited about their new album, Astoria, after four years in the making. This month it finally hit. I cannot stress enough how much you should go and at least take a listen to the opening track of the album. It’s simply a masterpiece. If forced to describe it, I’d have to say that there are many moments in this album which sound like Queen were they let free with modern production techniques, which is an excellent thing! To whet your whistle I’ve included one of the released singles, which for my money is actually one of the weaker tracks on the album. However, it’s independent release makes sense as it stands on its own rather than as part of the album.

If you won’t take my word for it, take a watch of this review. He’s more or less bang on the nose.

Anyway – New Motion

You can once again thank Spotify for this one. It flagged up their Anyway EP on dicover for me to take a listen to. Long story short, it’s really good. Both this and their more recent Kiss feature some really good, solid pop with a really nice twist on it that I find rather appealing. If I had to compare them to anything, they take the overall style of the 1975 and combine it with the best parts of Fleetwood Mac; which is as awesome as it sounds. The main thing that appeals to me is that it’s well arranged and produced. They choose just the right synth patches where needed to add that little extra special. It’s also not over produced, which is an easy trap to fall into. On a final note, I’d be remiss not to mention that the panning on some of these tracks has a tact that is often missing in similar records. Overall, a really solid find and I look forward to hearing more from them.

Boomerang – She is We

This an interesting one. For about three years now I’ve liked the works of the band He is We, particularly the album My Forever which has some excellent tunes on it. He is We is the winning combination of singer Rachel Taylor and Trevor Kelly. However, after a rather messy split in 2014, it didn’t look like we’d ever see any more material come from this band. However, despite my misgivings, a new song from the newly rebranded ‘She is We’ dropped a little while ago and it’s pretty. I’ll be intrigued as to where this is going to go with the new album.

 

That just about does it for this month. There should, all being well, be more of my picks for next month, but until then thanks for reading.

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