Albums: The perfect presents – pop and classical
Not sure what music to buy as a present? Andy Gill helps you decide with his guide to some of this year's best albums
Friday 17 December 2010
If they like The White Stripes, they'll love The Black Keys. On their latest album Brothers, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney conjure up burly boogies and haunting blues moans from spindly guitar and brooding organ riffs. An idiosyncratic new branch sprouting from this gnarliest of rock'n'roll roots.
If they like Mumford & Sons, they'll love Laura Marling, whose second album, I Speak Because I Can, confirmed her as the most intelligent and provocative talent of the recent folk revival, one capable of bridging the gap between modern insights and traditional methods.
If they like Prince, they'll love Janelle Monáe, the outrageously-talented young soul diva whose sci-fi-themed debut album The ArchAndroid incorporated a mind-boggling range of styles and influences, including soul, glam, jazz, folk, psychedelia, classical and film music.
If they like Bach, they'll love Teodoro Anzellotti's transcription of the Goldberg Variations for solo accordion. The instrument's warm timbre serves the material surprisingly well, with the longer delay-time of the reed notes emphasising the way the lines interlace and intertwine.
If they like Emmylou Harris, they'll love Caitlin Rose, whose debut album Own Side Now reveals a voice as sweet as Patsy Cline's but a songwriting eye that brings a worldly frankness to country music's standard romantic fare.
If they like Fleet Foxes, they'll love Midlake, this year's most intriguing Americana export. Their latest album The Courage Of Others reflected the influence of British folk-rock, both in its sound and its themes of affection for antiquity and spiritual connection to the earth.
If they like soul music, that sweet soul music, they'll love Mavis Staples, whose smoky tones have rarely been better showcased than on her new album You Are Not Alone, a sublime mix of traditional gospel songs, original material, and unexpected covers of Randy Newman and John Fogerty classics.
If they like Stravinsky, they'll love Gustavo Dudamel's 'Rite', which pairs The Rite Of Spring with Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas' Night Of The Maya, which occupies similarly pagan territory, the Simó* Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela attacking both pieces' intense rhythms and discordancies with gusto.
If they like Burt Bacharach and Karen Carpenter, they'll love Rumer, whose debut Seasons Of My Soul features oozingly sensual but emotionally vulnerable performances of melancholy adult soul, set to coffee-toned horns, sweetened with strings in the Bacharach style.
If they like Gnarls Barkley, they'll love Cee-Lo Green, whose album The Lady Killer confirmed him as R&B's renaissance man, blessed with a musical imagination as big as his statuesque physique, and a vocal presence twice that size.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 3 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 4 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 5 UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
Exodus: Gods and Kings banned in the UAE for 'religious mistakes'
Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
Doctor Who and the BBC 'promoting a gay agenda', viewers complain
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk