Olympic Swimmers Play…Richard Youngs

Right I’ll start here. I heard Olympic Swimmers at Christmas, when they released a song called ‘Where it Snows’: it’s delicate, beautiful and you can’t fail to love it. The first live outing I managed to catch was at Belladrum this August, a jubilant set showcasing tracks from their debut album No Flags will Fly.

After I accosted them at Bella, Simon Liddell from the band shared this suggestion, a sweepingly beautiful track by Richard Youngs.

RICHARD YOUNGS ‘Soon it Will Be Fire’, from the album Sapphie

I first heard Richard Youngs on a sampler CD from Indianna label Jagjaguwar. The track was ‘Soon it Will be Fire’ from the album Sapphie.’

‘I knew very little about him when I first heard his music, and was stunned to discover he was Glasgow based. I’ve rarely heard a record that comes close to this in it’s simplicity and fragile beauty. It’s almost difficult to listen to, as I know I will never be able to record anything that could touch it. Here are the reasons I keep going back to this record…

Simplicity: It’s just acoustic guitar and a vocal. As a musician, it’s a reminder not to overcook arrangements and saturate a song with different parts / instruments. Even his finger picking style is quite sparse (particularly in The Graze of Days), and the silence between notes plays as much of a part as the instrument itself. I read that the guitar he used is a battered old cheap classical. I like the idea that, to record an album, you would choose an instrument based on sentimentality, rather than tone (although to my ears, it sounds great anyway).

His voice: One of the most mournful, somewhere between Mark Kozelek and Efrim Menuck. The album was recorded in a flat, but the vocals are drenched in reverb throughout, sitting on top of the dry guitar. The most beautiful moments of the record occur when his voice cracks.

The songs last for ages! 3 tracks, 37 minutes…’

Olympic Swimmers released their debut album ‘No Flags will Fly’ earlier this year. The ten tracks are melodic, well crafted and filled with seraphic sounds, fronted by Susie Smillie’s unique vocal. Amongst them are the upbeat ‘Knots’, echoing ‘Apples and Pears’ and triumphant, choral closer ‘Mt Noah’.

Watch ‘Father Said’ at Belladrum…

and I know it’s not winter just yet, but the video for ‘Where it Snows’ makes pretty cool viewing at any time…

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Le Thug Play…Tim Hecker, further & Machines in Heaven

Glasgow duo Le Thug are a band I’d definitely say shouldn’t be judged by their name, just if you were thinking about it. Great instrumental can be a tricky thing to crack and judging by the ear-catching track ‘Sport’ they’ve started with a mighty fine crack at it.

Here they share the love with their Play a Song for Me selection of great music!

Le Thug’s Chilling Selection!

Ravedeath 1972 – Tim Hecker

Electronic but in no way artificial, on this album Hecker creates searing soundscapes which naturally mesmerize you with their intensity.  His Glasgow gig in May at St Andrews in the Square was equally captivating.  Sitting in darkness, on temporarily assembled pews in a converted church seemed the perfect environment for hearing his music at tremendous volume.  As religious an experience as I’ve ever had anyway.

She Lives by the Castle 2 – further

further are a 90s lo-fi American indie guitar band.  I think they contained member/s that went on to form Beachwood Sparks but I much prefer the further material to Beachwood Sparks.  This tune is probably one of my favourites of all time and I’d like others to hear it too.  Guitar is sublime. Outro amazing.  

Machines in Heaven

Machines in Heaven are a Glasgow band who make tremendous post-electronica-dreamcore music .  I just made that genre up, so for a better description of how they sound listen to this superb demo track from their forthcoming album.  In fact, listen to the whole Soundcloud, its really rather good.

Listen to Le Thug’s track Sport right here, part of a forthcoming free EP  Ripping, which will be released shortly.

If you listen to one thing this week…Make it Remember Remember

Hello August!

I saw Remember Remember live for the first time at Thistly Fest last Saturday and sat contentedly silent for the whole set…here’s why I love the Graeme Ronald’s instrumental ensemble:

              Because they’re not afraid of the xylophone             

              Because they have a great drummer   

              Because of the spacey samples

              Because of the really pretty video for ‘Scottish Widows’

              Because their album The Quickening was remixed by Phantom Band and Errors

              Because when you start listening to them you forget where you are

              Because their music is downright magical

Phantom Band remix of Unclean Powers taken from the remix record The Mixening (The Quickening Remixed):

The aforementioned pretty video for Scottish Widows: