April 2020

April has been another unprecedented month for us all. The cloud of Covid-19 has made normality a thing I think we all now crave and long for. Those moments that we took for granted – a quick visit to a record store, a gig or a few beers with mates seem further away than ever. In these times, music has become even more important than before. An escape, a celebration, a release, music is the vehicle that allows us to draw breath and relax.

Rest assured these things will return in time and scanning the vinyl stacked shelves of our beloved independent record stores will again become a weekly highlight. For now, maybe we can help you with just a few of our favourites from a month of outstanding musical output.

Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Secret Meeting says:

‘It’d be easy to lose sight of the simple brilliance of this album among the hype and critical acclaim it’s received. It’d also be easy – too easy, even lazy – to say this is a statement album for the post #MeToo era, or the ideal introspective soundtrack to a global lockdown. But Fiona Apple has understood the importance of the voice of women, and of spending time with yourself – even the ugly, unforgiving parts of yourself – long before Fetch The Bolt Cutters’ release. It is, somehow, the perfect balance of rawness and polish, of rage and quiet, and of looking deeply inward and gazing steadfastly out’

Born Ruffians – Juice

Secret Meeting says:

Juice feels like the kind of record that is quintessentially Born Ruffians. While some of the rough edges have been smoothed over, and Luke Lalonde’s vocals have shedded a layer of their exuberant brattiness, their ear for melody and knack for making complex pop music sound devilishly simple is as sharp as ever. Over 29 minutes, Born Ruffians showcase their mastery of songwriting in a maelstrom of whip-smart, jagged punk (Dedication), 50s-style doo-wop (I’m Fine), and spacious, psychedelia (Hey You). Juice is an exercise in brevity; its nine songs are as focused as anything they’ve previously released, as lean as you like, each one burning itself onto your cortex after just a handful of listens’

Laura Marling – Song for our Daughter

Secret Meeting says:

Song For Our Daughter is another masterstroke in the already enchanting development of one of British music’s most mesmerising talents, and provides a shift in identity that Marling was aiming for in its curation. Fearful of becoming the ‘writer that will write the same book over and over again’, she has consciously liberated her songwriting from her own preconceived expectations.  An album created for the first time while not touring other work, Marling reports a greater feeling of serenity than ever before. Many musicians will be looking on with envy as Marling once more shifts the goal posts and shows herself as one of the pre-eminent leads in modern songwriting.’

M Ward – Migration Stories

Secret Meeting says:

‘In so many ways, Migration Stories is not too dissimilar to a number of Ward’s nine previous studio records – but then, at the same time, something here also feels wholly different. And it is that inability to pin down and explain exactly what is so engrossing about it that makes it such a special record. My advice: go spend some time with it – and see if you can figure out its enigma out for yourself.’

Hamilton Leithauser – The Loves of Your Life

Secret Meeting says:

The Loves of Your Life is a magical expedition through the hustle of New York City. An opus brimming with the successes and failures of humanity, the songs perfectly reflect characters and the intensity of the city in which they are based. This should be the record that finally pushes the songwriter over to the masses, and although it probably won’t, it definitely proves him to be one of the most consistent artists of the past two decades.’

While this article is termed album of the month, we felt that we just could not ignore the majestic self-released debut EP from San Francisco’s Zelma Stone.

Zelma Stone – Dreamland EP

Secret Meeting says:

Dreamland is the perfect isolation partner: nostalgic and immersive – a lie back and watch the clouds kind of record. There are also some great live versions of these tracks, played with only guitar and pedal steel, on You Tube – that demonstrate how the songs stand up stripped of their production – a testament to the quality and versatility of Studebaker’s writing.’

Happy listening & take care,

Secret Meeting Team x

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