Heirs of Nick Drake
Looking for more of doomed, melancholy folkie Nick Drake? Fans knows that there is precious little of the real commodity: three proper albums, a fourth of outtakes, and a highly questionable and utterly irrelevant fifth, consisting of Nick's mom Molly taking a star turn and the 9-year-old Nick tootling on his clarinet. But for music in a similar lovely, brooding, melancholy vein, you could hardly do better than Irish duo Tir na Nog, pictured on the left. It's like two Nicks for the price of one. The self-titled debut, A Tear and a Smile, and Strong in the Sun, all from the early '70s, might be a little hard to track down, but are supremely worth the search. And if you're willing to venture a bit wider, several of the recently deceased Scots folkie John Martyn's early albums -- Bless the Weather, Solid Air, and Sunday's Child -- will call to mind Drake at his jazzy, meditative best. A little closer to home, Scott Appel's Nine of Swords is both a touching tribute to Drake's music (Appel covers several of Drake's best-known songs) and a logical continuation of Drake's music if he had lived.
Most Pointless Band Reunion, Ever
-- It's hard to blame the old coots; the economy's bad, and you still have to put the Swiss cheese on the table. But of all the pointless musical reunions, that of Focus may be the most pointless of all. You may or may not recall Focus and their one and only hit, "Hocus Pocus," from 1972. To refresh your memory, and to help you recall what you may long to forget, "Hocus Pocus" remains the only Top 40 hit to feature yodeling. Here they are in 2008, back together again after all these years, and reprising their hit.
Best Power Pop of 2009?
Anacortes, Washington's The Lonely Forest are about to release the best power/indie pop album I've heard thus far this year. It's called We Sing the Body Electric (h/t Walt Whitman), and it's full of memorable hooks, indelible melodies, and loud guitars, just the way I like it. Check out their MySpace page to listen to the wondrous first single, "We Sing In Time."