As the summer nights fade away and the lazy autumn days approach here’s a last look at the music of my summer. This follows earlier posts from the start of the summer “When I’m 81, #SgtPepper75” and “Summer Music”. Now that the eclipse has come and gone, here’s a brief look at the last of my summer music, what is new, and what drew me back to the past for great music.
I get hints and tips for new music from many sources and I first saw London Grammar on the shelves of Compact Music in downtown Ottawa. The title caught my attention, “Truth is a Beautiful Thing”. “Truth”, it turned out was the bands’ second disc. The person, who I assume manages the store, told me that it he had not listened to it yet, but based on his favourable opinion of their first disc he was looking forward to this. I asked that he let me know when I came in the following week. Not a few days later, Q on CBC Radio One featured an interview and in-studio performance. Now that I’ve had a few listens to “Truth” the late evening summer vibes of London Grammar fit in perfectly with balcony lighting and conversation. It is reminiscent of newer female vocalists Lorde, Halsey and established voices like Annie Lennox and Dido. I am tempted to pair Lennox’s latest CD Nostalgia with “Truth is a Beautiful Thing”. It would be as tasteful to the ears as a good Merlot is with a perfectly BBQed sirloin steak.
The Barenaked Ladies and The Persuasions
In what seemed at first to me to be a throwaway effort of music turned out to be a fun listen. I waited, hummed and hawed before picking this up. This is an assembly of BNL tunes rearranged for an a cappella performance and it sounds like it should, a microphone set up and friends gathered around it together and sing. It’s great to hear old favourites with that new twist. Some arrangements require a second listen, but when you get it, it’s fabulous. I’ve treated this as an opportunity to re-hear how songs written, in what seems like a musical generation ago, sound new and re-imagined. Is it a grab to bring fans back? Possibly, but after the first listen you forget about it and rediscover the fun of BNL, with just a bit of “Persuasion” added.
Who says you always have to get something ‘new’? Sometimes a purchase to pad the collection has to be made. It’s not so much about getting music that I’ve forgotten, but it’s because some really good music was made. The Very Best of the Doors was released on the 40th anniversary of the Doors first Lp (and purchased by me on the 50th anniversary). Listening to this collection is a reminder of how hypnotic Jim Morrison could be lyrically and how mesmerizing the band sounded. I won’t have this in constant repeat , but knowing I have it is a relief because sometimes going back in time is all you need. Really, for the end of summer there is nothing better than a romp through the 60’s and 70’s, even if it is a seven-minute romp of ‘LA Woman’.
Whether it was Haircut 100, or his solo discs, Nick Heyward is one of those artists that I always follow and have a keen interest in. From the one Haircut 100 Lp to his first three solo discs I’ve loved the breezy light infectious pop he always produced. I became aware of Woodland Echo through Heyward’s Instagram account and his pledge music drive to fund the making of the record. I was in! I pledged the 25 pounds that would get me a signed copy of the CD fresh from the UK and waited. There were snippets of the music online, it was trademark Nick Heyward. Woodland Echo is Heyward’s first new set of music on disc in 18 years and my first new Heyward music purchased since 1988’s I Love You Avenue. As I waited for my copy of the new disc I prepped myself by revisiting the disc ‘North of a Miracle’, ‘Postcards from Home’ and ‘I Love You Avenue’. 18 years on, his song writing remains as I recall it with a bit of swing, easy to sway to and English pop. It fits in perfectly with the rest when I have all Nick Heyward’s music on shuffle. My signed copy, number 6 of 1500, will be a long listening fave. I hope I don’t have to wait another 18 years – that would put us both in our 70’s. NOTE: Paul McCartney is writing and performing in his 70’s, so maybe I can expect that from Nick Heyward.
The Beach Boys
Does any music say summer more than the Beach Boys? My intrigue this summer with Pet Sounds comes from watching the 2014 biopic on Brian Wilson “Love and Mercy”. The movie is about the indulgence of Brian Wilson making, actually change that to creating “Pet Sounds”. For all the personal struggles that Wilson was going through in the months of producing a summer classic, he did just that. A masterpiece was made and in was summer wrapped up in under 3 minutes. With ‘Wouldn’t it be nice’, ‘Sloop John B’ and ‘Caroline No’ and ‘God only knows’ my summer of ’17 was nostalgic and memorable.
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