Looking for the perfect music to take on your trips? Here, our very own TuneSmith, DJ Rob Wood, compiler of the Mr & Mrs Smith: Something for the Weekend CDs, makes his essential monthly recommendations…
ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Blackbelt Andersen by Blackbelt Andersen
When? You are in urgent need of a dose of credibility and a dash of damn fine Scandinavian disco music.
Why? This under-reported gem is already a minor classic for disco dads with an itch to scratch.
In our household, getting a new release from the ever-so-hot Norwegian label Full Pupp is sadly akin to receiving a large parcel in the post marked ‘free booze and money’; ie, it’s a moment of utter joy. Not only is this Oslo-based entity home to plenty of weird, faceless and exotic underground producers; it is most significantly the record label that has birthed the stunning debut long-player from Blackbelt Andersen. If his karate is half as good as his music, I certainly wouldn’t recommend any sudden Kato-style pounces on this fellow. His infectious, understated, but highly groovy tunes fit within the hip nu-disco sound, where echoes of Garage-era Larry Levan, Juan Atkins’ Detroit techno and Thomas Dolby’s synth-pop can be heard wrapping around the nagging basslines. If you thought Prins Thomas and Lindstrøm were the only names you need to drop to impress that friend who claims to be a DJ, think again. Blackbelt Andersen has landed, and he is kicking ass!
THE SMITH CLASSIC
Bare Bones by Madeleine Peyroux
When? Sunday lunch with your loved ones.
Why? This relaxed feelgood collection of songs will have you flicking peas across the room in no time.
You know what to expect with a new Madeleine Peyroux album. It is pretty unlikely that there will be any wild experimentation, electro canoodling or, indeed, a whiff of feedback. In their place, you can count on a wonderful Billie Holiday-esque voice and sweet, retro-style jazzy songs with plenty of gently strummed acoustic guitar. Safe, yes, but charming all the same. Instead of the usual predisposition for covers, the big difference with Bare Bones compared to the million selling Careless Love is that each song is Peyroux’s own. Indeed, this is weekend or dinner-party music served up on a warm plate. But don’t let easygoing jazz music with a clever pop coating strike fear into your heart. The truth is, this is a thoroughly hospitable, playful and ultimately irresistible record. For anyone over 35, resistance is futile.