Well My Left Hand’s Free

A band’s second album is a big hurdle, I dare to say. Especially when the debut album has rocked the reviews and created a major fan base, expectations for the next albums are high. Many bands simply don’t make it. The second album is what makes a good band a great band. The xx, for example, did not make it. Nothing’s lost yet, but you know.

The expectations, generally, are mixed. We loved that first album. We know the words to all the songs, we have danced to the remixes and we want something similar. We want an album just like this. But also not. We also want something different, we want the band to evolve, grow.

Alt-J has done it. Their new album is similar enough to remind us that we love them, but they were brave enough to go further. “Left Hand Free” is perfect proof of that.

B x

Radio Times

There’s a song by P!nk (I like to spell people’s names right) that says “count your blessings now”. Now, this song is outdated in the way that it hasn’t quite acquired the status of a classic jam, but it is also way too old to be called ‘new’. So exacty the kind of spong that they never play on the radio. You would think so. My friends, I have news for you: German radios defy all conventions. If they like a song, they just keep playing it, for years and years. Until now I have had an ambivalent opinion about it (after all they seemed to keep playing exactly the songs you did not want to remember from an era), but I think I am now ready to embrace it.

In the UK, I always found it hard to find a radio station that I could listen too for a longer period of time. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent stations there, but they just don’t have the qualities that my homemade playlists had: Variety, most of all. If I listened to BBC Radio 1, I was always exposed to super hip music, Radio 6 played extremely alternative and indie music 24/7. Now, I think even Australia’s Triple J, which I just adore, could be improved by a more diverse repertoire. I must admit, they are doing it pretty damn good already, with rap music (the good kind) alternating with pop tunes followed by alternative rock. But, you know, how about inserting some 80s tunes into the mix? Or the best of the last twenty years? Okay, I can’t help it, here is my list of the top 10 songs that I’d like to hear on Triple J, jumbled in between their usual mix:

  1. Toploader – Dancing In The Moonlight
  2. Nelly Furtado – Promiscuous
  3. Men At Work – Down Under
  4. 50 Cent – In Da Club
  5. Jlo – Jenny From The Block (or was it ‘Da Block’?)
  6. Foreigner – Cold As Ice
  7. Toto – Africa
  8. Anything by Blondie or the Bee Gees
  9. Anything by Britney, The Black Eyed Peas, Natasha Bedingfield, Shakira, Backstreet Boys or Sean Paul (remember that guy?!)
  10. Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra

So here I am, counting my blessings. One of them is definitely the defiant manner of German radios, playing all the gems (and everything else that couldn’t exactly be described as such).

B x

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire…

So, here we go: Appropriate to the time of the year and the music currently playing on the radio, I’ve chosen to share with you some festive tunes, that can serve you as an alternative to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” on a loop during the next few days. This is the best Christmas album I have come across so far and it is excellent. You know how you have to be in a certain kind of state to enjoy the Sinatra Christmas classics and the new auto-tuned, dolled up versions they play on the radio get old pretty quickly (plus, they all sound the same!), this album is the answer.

It is such a nice, laid back, but still merry collection of some of the best classic tunes: They do a smashing cover of Madonna’s “Santa Baby”, and have included everything from “Baby It’s Cold Outside” to “Silent Night”. My personal favourite is track number seven, but please, please listen for yourself and make up your own mind.

You can download the whole album here, and another great thing is that there is no set price!! This means you can literally pay what ever you think is appropriate and if you’re too broke (or too stingy, no judgement..), just put “0”. Hint hint: This also makes a great present.

Wild Child – Christmas Mixtape, Volume 1