The last six months (roughly) of 2010 didn't blow me away as far as new music around the world went - in my ever-present search for something to blow me away I instead received quite a few breezy tunes but nothing that got my passion riled.
This could be because, unlike a lot of critics and John/Sarah Smiths out there, I don't possess a huge liking for the trendy low-fi punk pop sounds that abound, along with synth-pop anthems and DJ-driven dance opuses (anyone know the actual plural of an opus?).
Yes, I quite liked Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, The National's High Violet and Kings of Leon's Come Around Sundown. All of these were critically acclaimed (Kings of Leon less-so) but I just didn't get THAT excited about them.
I expected more from the likes of Blitzen Trapper, Band of Horses and Aloe Blacc whose albums were completely fine but didn't deliver me any magic apart from maybe one or two songs each.
With this yawning gap in top quality albums, I took the time free and decided to look back and delve into artists who I had never had the chance to explore, though should have much sooner.
Artists who I knew the prominent songs of, but not the catalogues, like Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake, Tim Buckley and The Beach Boys.
Or just older acts who I had only ever heard of like Mad Season, Screaming Trees and M83.
What I can say, after exploring, is that all of the artists I mentioned above are worth every minute of your listening time. And all I can do really is show you a glimpse of each, so their craft speaks for itself.
So if you get a spare hour sometime, listen through the songs below and go on your own missions to hear the rest of their catalogues and let some of the great artists of our distant and not-so-distant past have their way with the soundtrack to your life.
AND - the only stream I can find of my favourite Screaming Trees song is via Hype Machine, so here's a link, please listen: Screaming Trees - Julie Paradise