Some brief notes of a few records that haven’t been previously noted …. And then on to 2016! The first big release of which looks to be Lucinda’s Ghosts of Highway 20 – the two songs off it she did at her recent Sydney gig “Dust” and the title track are available now and sound great.
50 Million Beers – Welcome Stranger (website)
The Beers are stalwarts of the country and inner western circuit. Although irregulars in the studio, their Ashfield Skyline is legit one of my ten favourite albums ever. “No Cash or Drugs”, Breaking Even”, “I Been Told”, the title track and more – stone cold classics all. Never yet heard any songs that come as close to describing the Sydney I live in. I haven’t spent much time with Welcome Stranger yet but the songs sound great live. And the video for “Queen of the Nile” rather sums up Sydney’s music scene in a swampy three minutes eighteen.
Hamilton Cast Recording
The hottest thing on Broadway and deserving of all the adulation. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius. I hear more and more brilliance every time I listen. The life of Alexander Hamilton – Founding Father, Revolutionary War hero and Treasury Secretary but known to Australians, if at all, as the fella on the US $10 note (or as I like to think of it, the $14.38 AUD note.) It’s done mostly in a hip hop/contemporary r&b style (which works, really) – while as a counterpoint, in my single favourite bit of stylistic inspiration, King George sings his snarky putdowns to the upstart colonials in a British Invasion/early Beatles style. God, it makes me laugh.
Think you can’t rap about the pros and cons of establishing a central bank in way that righteously flows AND actually explains the economic issues? Listen to “Cabinet Battle #1.” I have to skip “Stay Alive (Reprise)” and “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” sometimes because I cry. I derive great pleasure from the sick burns on John Adams, despite previously having no real feelings on him one way or the other. I could go on all day. It’s just fucking great.
There’s not much from the actual show on Youtube – the want you to go see it live, I guess (good luck with that. It’s sold out for the next forever). This is a very early version of the opening song that I still enjoy watching:
Della Mae – Della Mae
One of the quickest ways to my heart is to open your album with a catchy song about female trade unionists and exploitative class relations. Hooray! A very nice album which will appeal to fans of, say, the Dixie Chicks’ bluegrass-inflected country.
Dawes – All Your Favorite Bands
If this album was only the songs “All Your Favorite Bands” and “Things Happen” it would be a fine album but there are also other fine songs. But especially those ones, listen to those ones.