Well, the great new albums of 2014 are already arriving, the year's barely underway - when you take out all the holidays and people fluffing about, pretending to work but still acting like they're on holiday. But in terms of the calendar we're nearly at the end of the second month of the year already. Frightening. And, as I said yesterday, now's the busy time for gigs. From now on through until April/May - after that it tends to go a bit quiet in the Southern Hemisphere.
But the great albums are starting to pour in.
Just this week I've reviewed the excellent new one from Angel Olsen. Definitely worth your time.
And then there was the latest from Tinariwen, perhaps their best. And that's saying something given their albums are always a great listening experience.
I've also managed to get a few words down about Suzanne Vega's new album - another triumph in a career of strong albums. I've already written about how I'd love Vega to visit New Zealand. So it's extra salt in the wound if she doesn't come, having heard the new album now.
I'd like to turn your attention too, to Seeds of Orbit. This New Zealand band's debut self-titled EP will have you nodding along whether you're normally at the Deep Purple or Tame Impala ends of the almost-psychedelic rock spectrum. And in fact for all the people anywhere in between. It' s a wee ripper.
Also at Off The Tracks I've welcomed a new guest blog series where Jeremy Taylor of Slow Boat Records will share favourites old and new. His first post is about a brand new album, the latest from Sun Kil Moon. The album (it's called Benji) is amazing. Jeremy is quite right I think when he suggests that we're unlikely to see (and hear) a better album this year. And that the only thing that might beat it will be the next Sun Kil Moon album. It's really a giant, jaw-dropping wow of an album. A masterpiece. The playing and singing are wonderful - but the writing! It's amazing to think of this guy as such a great songwriter - arguably peerless - when in fact you could never actually imagine anyone covering the songs from Benji. You wouldn't want to hear them; they are pieces from his life, pieces of his life. Almost uncomfortably autobiographical - it really is breathtaking, so beautiful, so sad, the bittersweet memories and bittersweet function of memory. I know we're only just easing into the year and all but that Sun Kil Moon album is my most played record of 2014 already.
And the hits - and non-hits - just keep on coming. Next week a new one from Neneh Cherry and soon a new album from Prince.
I get the feeling that 2014 is going to surpass 2013 - and that was a wonderful year for music. There's always old music too - it doesn't matter when you hear it, just so long as you hear it. I enjoyed Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm's A Black Man's Soul as much as any other record I listened to this week. It had been a while since I'd listened to anything from Ike - ignore the stories around his (despicable) behaviour, he was one of the greats of rock'n'roll and soul and funk and gospel music. A legend.
Going back to only a week earlier there's the new solo album from Nina Persson of The Cardigans. Another wee (low-key) gem.
What new albums are on repeat play at your house? What's in your ears from this year already? And see anything here that you think you might like? Share one or two old or new releases that are new discoveries for you.
Postscript: I'll be playing some records at Motel tonight. Come on down...come and say hi.
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts