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Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes
Rarely been of the Ipod or CD Player - a very special record which takes the Beach Boys tribute and acappella idom to new heights
I'll Be Lightning
Liam Finn: I'll Be Lightning
Everything that might be expected and more from the Finn offspring - if you heard his previous work and where disappointed - lay that disappointment aside and buy this distinctive album - and yes Crowded House fans will enjoy it
The Dodos: Visiter
Deserves all the praise that is being heaped on it by the critics - this US duo offer something refreshing to the indie guitar scene
For Emma, Forever Ago
Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago
Recorded in a log cabin, with the musical simplicity and integrity that is implied - that rare combination of a wordsmith with a distinctive voice
The Kooks: Konk
Just goes to show that there is talent and individuality in the indie genre
Jarvis Cocker: Jarvis
This rare talent produces an album of complete promise and delight
Stuart Murray: Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World (AfterChristendom) (AfterChristendom)
Re-reading what I consider to be the best book about the contemporary British Church and how it engages in mission in our strange new world and culture. Not sure why it does not get more attention, since its perceptions are hugely helpful - far more than those from a US background or others for whom a book is simply a pretence for promoting a particular approach or fresh expression
Andy (EDT)/ Shank, Barry (EDT)/ Toynbee, Jason (EDT) Bennett: The Popular Music Studies Reader
It is also a while since I read anything " serious" about popular music - far to long indeed - so here's to one of the best readers on Popular Music
Barry Shank: Dissonant Identities: The Rock'n'Roll Scene in Austin, Texas (Music Culture)
How does one place suddenly develop as the scene for new patterns of music - Austin Texas is one such place
Duncan B. Forrester: Christian Justice and Public Policy (Cambridge Studies in Ideology and Religion)
It's some while since I read anything serious on the "social gospel" - so a generous donation to the collection from MTS has given me a chance to read something by one of Scotland's finest
John V. Taylor: The Christlike God (Scm Classics)
A serious theological book which is the companion to JVT's classic work "The Go-between God". Anyone who is frustrated by (fellow) Christians that choose to define God so tightly that faith seems impossible, or seem to align faith with "happiness" despite the evidence to the contrary should read how faith is really a mix of " wonder and comprehension, illumination and darkness, loss and possession, abasement and bliss". If you want to stop to "think" about God then this is a book to read thoughtfully in the company of one of great Christians of the 20th Century
Jean Vanier: Community and Growth: Our Pilgrimage Together Revised Edition
A revised collection of the thoughts and ideas of the founder of the L'arche Community - "faith without boundaries". This is a classic book - for everyone seeking faith and to grow in their faith
Rowan Williams: Anglican Identities
As someone who is both a passionate but frustrated Anglican - glimpsing sometimes all that Anglican could be and seeing on a daily basis all that it isn't, this book was a wonderful account of what liberal Anglicanism - tolerant, inclusive, supportive, intelligent and profoundly spiritual, just might be. Of course it is not an easy read - it takes time and effort to grasp what RW is saying but the effort is worthwhile
John Drane : Do Christians Know How to Be Spiritual?
If you are a committed member of a local Church and wonder why others do not see the point - or wonder whether it might be possible to be more spiritual outside the confines then you could read this book which is a thoughtful introduction to what is meant by a post-christian society.
Tom Wright: Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
This is a detailed read from Tom Wright which makes the case for the Christian faith in contemporary society. Its thoughtful, challenging, and gentle.
W.H. Vanstone: Farewell in Christ
Vanstone's final work, which explores the mystery of existence, the mystery of my soul, the mystery of meaning, - and none of this becomes possible without intellectual doubt. Is this what Dawkins et al will never understand?
John Pritchard: The Life and Work of a Priest
This book should be compulsory reading for all enquirers, ordinands, and current clergy - perhaps adding in all elders and churchwardens for good measure. It charts in a profoundly hopeful way the joys and pressures of contemporary priesthood, and avoids the pitfalls of theological bias or the bland functional understandings of leadership.
Timothy Radcliffe: What Is the Point of Being a Christian?
A prophetic introduction to the Christian faith for those who struggle to find God amid the complexities of life
Robert Dimery: 1001 Albums you must hear before you die
Just a great read - extensive intelligent reviews which bring back memories, stimulate to seek out, and inspire to add to the wish list.
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
Probably the best single collection of orginal songs - performed by Bob with his inimitable non-music style - the best produced Dylan album into the bargain
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
I remember the first time I heard this - on a loaned Walkman on a very turbulent flight to Belfast - it has rightly been described as a milestone in 20th century jazz. I remember playing to a group of spell-bound 9/10 year olds in a Primary school music workshop
Every once in while I listen to an album whose orginality leaves me instinctively knowing that music will never be the same - that the goalposts of repetoire have been changed for ever. Dummy is just one of those rare treats
Prefab Sprout: Andromeda Heights
In 1997 I escaped for the afternoon from the madhouse of an ordination training residential to the comparative sanity of my friend Tony's studio. During a tea break in a session, Tony said these imortal words " I've just found this amazing album" and my love affair with Andromeda Heights began - sanity was restored and I completed the residental and training.
Moloko: Things to make and do
Brilliant music within the scope of the dance music genre. Crisp instrumentation, meets cool beats, and the voice of Roisin - how I love Moloko
Craig Armstrong: Piano Works
If I were not Tom Allen ( artistically and musically speaking) I would be Craig Armstrong - from my discovery of him through Massive Attack I have loved and admired his work - and Piano Works covers his repetoire in stunning style
Joe Cocker: Sheffield Steel
The greatest album from the greatest rock intrepreter of them all - genius production meets some of the best songs of all time sung by that voice - I've confess that I have sampled the album to oblivion
Paul Simon: Graceland
Had to be a Paul Simon album and it had to be Graceland. A epoch making album which opened African music to the world but seamlessly combined that music with western rock and pop with songs to die for.
Cosmic Rough Riders: Enjoy the melodic sunshine
Glasgow's finest produce the ultimate guitar-song album of pure delight and of a quality that puts Athlete et al in the shade - shame it was two years too early and the lead singer left after this debut album
Massive Attack: Blue Lines
OK so Bristol has launched Portishead, Tricky and Roni Size, but it was the staggering impact of this debut which created a genre in trip-hop and a collective approach to song-writing, band membership which has influenced a generation and spawned so many other deriratives. From the low-fi paranoia of "Five Man Army" and the unrepeatable melancholic splendour of "Unfinished Sympathy", this is a 20th century classic.