A LACK of action on the live music scene has forced me to find other ways to amuse myself of an evening.
At first, this meant spending way too much time being humiliated by fleet-fingered kids while playing the infuriatingly addictive Fifa13 online – but after a long, protracted battle to wean myself off of the crack cocaine of gaming, I’ve started making better use of my downtime.
That’s freed up time to give overdue spins to some of the many new albums that were starting to gather dust on my shelves.
Probably the one I was most excited about was The Strokes’ fifth offering, Comedown Machine.
Like Angles before it, it isn’t the album to get the New Yorkers’ post millennium rock revolution back on track (face it, it seems highly unlikely they’ll come close to matching their brilliant 2001 debut, Is This It) – but it’s not a bad album. Far from it.
An NYC band going in the opposite direction from The Strokes – on the upward trajectory – is Vampire Weekend, four Ivy League-educated musicians who write songs that are as intelligent as they are infectious.
The Brooklynites’ third album, Modern Vampires Of The City, has taken a giant bite out of my time and I’ve no hesitation in saying it’s the album of the year so far.
On second thoughts... that honour goes to Laura Marling, another artist who just gets better and better.
Always a bridesmaid when it comes to dishing out the Mercury Music Prize, I have a strong feeling she’ll win it next time for her soaring fourth offering, Once I Was An Eagle.
Its 16 songs bleed into each other, the majority featuring little more than acoustic guitar, percussion, strings and, of course, that otherworldly voice of hers.
When Marling released her last album a couple of years back, I said in this space that I was clean out of fresh adjectives for the Hampshire lass.
Well, perhaps it’s time to invent a few new ones – because here we have a singer whose comparisons to the greatest songwriters are wholly justified.
And to think she’s only 23.