There’s truly no tonic for one’s ills like music, and what better time than a lockdown to rediscover the magic of enjoying an album from tip to tail. We’ve been digging through the crates to curate a selection of stone-cold classics, black sheep and forgotten gems - all ripe for exploration, reappraisal and just plain enjoyment. Time to drop the needle!
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Déjà Vu
A landmark album by any measure, Déjà Vu sees Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the absolute peak of their powers. From the climactic harmony of opener ‘Carry On’ to the rambling ‘Almost Cut My Hair’, it’s a record rich in detail and brilliant songwriting. And of course the gentle, domestic ode ‘Our House’ has never felt more relevant or affirming.
Bryan Ferry - Bête Noire
Ferry’s follow-up to his seminal Boys And Girls saw him doubling down on what worked, building an album of sleek, shadowy pop - all smoky 2am synths and hypnotic, Afrobeat-inspired rhythms. Both Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and The Smiths’ Johnny Marr are on guitar and co-writing duties. Marr’s distinctive staccato playing in particular is all over the album, especially the co-penned album standout ‘The Right Stuff’.
Orange Juice - Rip It Up
The Scottish post-punk band Orange Juice never really got a fair shake. Fronted by Edwyn Collins (later of ‘A Girl Like You’ fame), they put out two excellent records of droll, self-deprecating and incredibly catchy post-punk with a lick of early ska. The band helped lay the groundwork for much British pop and new wave of the early 1980s (UB40, Madness and The Style Council, I’m looking at you) and as well as the title track, rightfully their best known song, Rip It Up features a slew of bangers - especially 'I Can't Help Myself' and the spiky ‘A Million Pleading Faces’.
Miles Davis - Filles de Kilimanjaro
The bridging point from the bebop of Davis’ late Fifties and early Sixties output (think Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain) and the experimental jazz fusion of In A Silent Way and Bitches’ Brew, Filles de Kilimanjaro sees the maestro testing the boundaries of his sound without fully abandoning the core of his foundational work. The result is a subtle affair but deeply rewarding - Davis’ questing, nimble playing is the obvious star as you’d expect, but experiments with electric bass, guitar and keyboard flourishes add richness and texture to his sonic palette.