Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5 from My Wishlist

So the 2014 Welsh Music Prize shortlist was announced yesterday, and while (as predicted) American Interior and Futurology did indeed make the cut, so did ten other albums with which I am not familiar.

Here's the thing, though: I'd dearly love to repeat my WMP odyssey of 2013, but purchasing the nominated albums that I don't already own would cost me the best part of £100. I simply don't have that money lying around at the moment, and even if I did, there are several other CDs that are significantly further up my wishlist than anything on the shortlist.

So, no - barring the possibility of an unexpected windfall, I won't be reviewing each WMP-shortlisted album in turn like I did last year. Sorry, but if I spent all my money on Euros Childs and The Gentle Good, I'd have none left for...

My Favourite Faded Fantasy by Damien Rice
Mere weeks ago, the idea of a third Damien Rice album seemed like a pipe dream. We hadn't seen hide or hair of Mr Rice since 2006 (the year when the criminally underappreciated 9 first saw the light of day), and it was looking increasingly like we'd never hear from him again...until news of My Favourite Faded Fantasy broke and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

I've kept away from the album's single (I Don't Want to Change You, already available to hear online), simply because I want the album to be a surprise when I finally do hear it. I'm hoping for something that's just as good and as emotionally wallopy as 9 was.

We Come From the Same Place by Allo Darlin'
I loved Europe, the previous Allo Darlin' album, and I've been eager to hear its follow-up since before it was even announced. If We Come From the Same Place has even one track that's as good as The Letter or Still Young then I'll be more than satisfied.

Fingers crossed, eh?

At Best Cuckold by Avi Buffalo
Ah, another act that I thought I'd heard the last of. Avi Buffalo's self-titled debut was something of a cult hit in 2010, but the prolonged gap that followed suggested that AB may be one of those one-album wonder artists (like Jeff Buckley, except with a low-key retreat into obscurity instead of a tragic death).

But no - the Buffalo  is back! In fact, At Best Cuckold was released some months ago, but I suppose I've just had other priorities (new albums from Interpol, Jenny Lewis, Leonard Cohen, et cetera have really eaten up my CD budget). Now, though, I'm eager to hear how, exactly, one follows the whip-tight (yet somehow endearingly loose) indie rock collection that so charmed us all back at the beginning of the decade.

Crush Songs by Karen O
The sad thing about this album is that I know it's probably not that great. I've seen some distinctly average reviews, but moreover, it was recorded by Ms O in her bedroom, so we're not going to get any of the sky-scraping brilliance that her band are usually so happy to dole out.

But, damn, I'm still going to buy it. It's a Karen O solo album, and while that would have probably been enough to secure my cash on its own, you've also got the statement that KO made to accompany the release:

"When I was 27 I crushed a lot. I wasn't sure I'd ever fall in love again. These songs were written + recorded in private around this time. They are the soundtrack to what was an ever continuing love crusade"

Sold! How could it not be?

...And Star Power by Foxygen
Foxygen's last album (the adroitly-titled We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic) just barely missed out on my Top 10 list last year, and so I'm hoping that its follow-up will be strong enough to go that little bit futher. An overlong double album that's packed with some crazy combination of classic rock and psychedelic freak music? Sign me the devil up!

What albums are at the top of your wishlist right now? Share your 'must-buys' in the comment section!

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