Category: Stephen Dalrymple

Iron and Wine “Kiss Each Other Clean”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#571 in the Series) is Iron and Wine, Kiss Each Other Clean (Warner Brothers US, 4AD Worldwide) Sam Beam is a chap who may have sneaked under your radar (he did mine for a while), mainly because Iron & Wine is not the type of band to receive mass airplay on radio or T.V.  What they are about, fortunately for us, is crafting superb albums full of beautiful, heartfelt songs. First some details. Iron & Wine is one of those bands that isn’t really a band at all. It’s basically one man, Sam Beam, who writes and sings and plays on everything. It’s pretty much Sam and whoever he chooses to work with...

The Low Anthem “Oh My God, Charlie Darwin”

      Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#552 in the Series) is The Low Anthem, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin (Nonesuch (US), Bella Union(UK)) For this , their 3rd album (but first to be widely available), The Low Anthem really surpassed themselves, conjuring up a magical album, full of ghostly otherworldly ambience, with the odd wonderfully raucous detour thrown in for good measure! The sleeve states that it was “recorded in the solace of a Block Island winter” and that’s entirely fitting, there’s a distinct chilly, spectral feel to the full thing. I suppose it’s a folk album really, just not the kind you’ll have heard before. Probably. They’ve taken some well-worn ingredients, given them a good...

Robert Ellis “Photographs”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#547 in the Series) is Robert Ellis, Photographs. (New West Records) The name Robert Ellis is new to me and all I know about him is that he’s 22 years old, hails from Houston Texas and made quite a reputation for himself at “Whiskey Wednesdays” in a place called Fitzgerald’s. Oh, and he’s just made a totally brilliant album! Now some albums have you hooked from the first few listens whereas others take time to grow on you, working their charms at a nice sedate pace. This one manages to pull off the unique trick of doing both. He’s done that by making a record that has the feel of a defiantly...

The Beach Boys “Smile”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#541 in the Series) is The Beach Boys, SMiLE Is SMiLE a magnificent work of inspired musical genius or an over-hyped load of half-formed, unfinished nonsense? You decide! Rumour, speculation, lies, half-truths, assumptions, deliberate misleads and red herrings, guesswork………it seems that SMiLE has been, and no doubt shall continue to be, the subject of all of the above and lots more besides. For many people, their opinion of this album (regularly cited as “the greatest lost classic” of all time) depends on not just the music which has crept out over the years, but also upon just whose version of events they choose to believe. And everyone involved with SMiLE seems to have...

Elliott Smith “Either/Or”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#522 in the Series) is Elliott Smith, Either/Or The one that almost got away. When I bought this album it was a new release and the critics were raving about it, the praise was effusive, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands (and ears!) on it. Turned out they were all wrong…………… This was the first I’d ever heard of Elliott Smith and he did absolutely nothing for me. After the first plays I just thought that it all sounded the same, nothing really stood out and it just sort of washed over me. I played it a few times but quickly lost interest. It slowly moved towards the back of the...

Patricia Barber “Nightclub”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#504 in the Series) is Patricia Barber,  Nightclub A dark , delicious delight of an album. Take a look through Patricia Barber’s career and you’ll quickly see that she likes to be adventurous and do her own thing, rarely the safe option for her. Most people blessed with a voice and talent like hers would settle for a nice, comfortable career, the easy money. It’s to her credit that she tries not to go down that road too often and it’s her questing spirit which results in wonderful releases like this. It may also be the reason that you might not have heard of her! The aim on this recording was to...

Van Morrison “Astral Weeks”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#500 IN THE SERIES) is Van Morrison, Astral Weeks. Astral Weeks by Van Morrison is the greatest album ever made. By anyone. Ever. A bold statement to make, given the vast amount of albums that Iwould consider “classic” but I’m willing to stand by it. I’ve loved this album for many years, can still listen to it without feeling it’s overfamiliar, and can still marvel at the sheer beauty of the music, the lyrics AND the singing. It’s a shape changer. For the first few, I dunno, hundred?, thousand?, listens you simply don’t know what’s coming next, where the music’s going to go, what flights of lyrical, poetic fancy Van’s going to take...

Dion “Wonder Where I’m Bound”

Today’s Cool Album of the day (#490 in the Series) is Dion, Wonder Where I’m Bound When is an album not an album ? Well, in this case it’s when an artist’s old record company decides to gather up a bunch of previously unreleased tracks, recorded years before, and rush-release them to cash in on the artists current success! That’s exactly what happened to Dion in 1969 and, let’s be honest; it was probably no surprise to anyone, just the kind of stunt that record companies pull all the time really. This time around it proved to be a great move though, “Wonder Where I’m Bound”, the album of material they’d rejected before, turned out to be better than...

Roddy Frame “Surf”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#479 in the Series) is Roddy Frame, Surf I think it would be fair to say that Aztec Camera were one of the very best bands to ever come out of Scotland. Their first two singles were released on the tiny (and now legendary/very influential) independent label Postcard, swiftly followed by a move to Rough Trade. Debut album High Land , Hard Rain (1983)was an utter classic and possibly even the best debut album by a Scots act. That particular gem has already been featured on this site, so its merits need not detain us here. Suffice to say its well worth anyone’s time and attention. The second effort (1984’s “Knife”, produced by...

The Waterboys “This is the Sea”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#476in the Series) is The Waterboys, This is the Sea. Hands up all those who remember “The Big Music?” Don’t worry, you could easily be forgiven if you don’t! You’ll know the bands associated with it though. The Big Music was a description thrown about in the early 80’s (here in the UK at least) and it was applied, mostly, to a small grouping of bands who were just starting to make an impression on the music buying public and who were all deemed to be making a similar grandiose, epic, “reaching for the sky” type music. You or I would probably just have settled for the term Stadium Rock to be honest...

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