Artist: Bill Callahan
Album: Rough Travel for a Rare Thing
Bill Callahan’s release ‘Sometimes I Wish I Were an Eagle’ was a highlight of 2009 and the kind of album that reaffirms a yearning for simplistic, emotive folk music. Callahan’s music is however far from facile and the songs also exude a melancholic intensity that brings a smile to the chops. If that sounds paradoxical you need some Bill Callahan in your life. This release is a collection of 11 live tracks recorded in an unassuming club in Australia in 2007 and may not be the best introduction to Callahan’s repertoire, but is a must have, beautiful piece of work.
Artist: David Byrne/Fatboy Slim
Album: Here Lies Love
This collaborative concept album by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim is an implicitly implausible package that may have been conceived whilst discussing Southeast Asian politics atop dour donkeys on Brighton Beach with heads full of acid and stomachs gurgling with Bishop’s Finger. The album features 22 tracks dedicated to Imelda Marcos, the crazed Filipina narcissist whose penchant for designer shoes played out while her country descended into poverty and chaos. Intrigued? So was I, but the confusing array of guest vocalists, shabby big beats and blue cheese denigrates this album into a painfully tortuous event, the musical equivalent to the Marcos’s rule.
Artist: David Holmes
Album: The Dogs are Parading
Holmes’ career has been on an interesting trajectory since the release of his 1995 debut, ‘This Films Crap Lets Slash the Seats’ (the lack of punctuation in the title was rendered forgivable by the broad expanse of ‘class A’ Trip Hop contained within). Holmes then went Stateside to record his best release ‘Let’s Get Killed’, a timeless array of disturbing and original tracks. This ‘best of’ collection forms a welcome introduction to Holmes’ back catalogue, containing both vocal experiments from 2008’s ‘The Holy Pictures’ and the more harrowing earlier works which bark at you like a rabid pack of dogs in an empty soi.