It’s officially Spring! According to the clocks anyhow, we’ve lost our obligatory hour. Although it’s been freezing – to your bones – cold the sun’s out, so there’s progress. Some songs I found that will make you feel you are on the cusp of summer.
Mikal Cronin – Weight
Surf pop track from American singer songwriter Mikal Cronin, who I discovered today. His album (nice artwork) MCII comes out this May on Merge Records, keep an eye out.
Jovanotti – Bella
I know absolutely noting about this artist, but I love his enthusiasm. In the absence of a more technical description it’ll make you’re on holiday, in a really fun bar.
Phosphorescent – Sun Arising/It’s Hard to Be Humble
The blissed out closer to Phosphorescent’s album Muchado, Bon Iver with power. It’s followed by a riot of an older, strongly country influenced track, the opener to the previous release Here’s To Taking It Easy. If you don’t know it check out both albums.
I still love this song as much as I did ten years ago.
Prog-rock from Singapore: Anechois
When I’m in study mode I listen to only instrumental music, I exhausted Mogwai and Godspeed pretty quickly so I tweeted asking for suggestions. A kind sir passed on Anechois whose EP, A Shadow of a Sound, has been nice to listen to, there’s a little bit of funk in it to. Check it out for yourself…
I have an insane love for both New York and art galleries, although I don’t go to either often enough. Once I took a week off work to go to Edinburgh Art College and study pastels on a large scale. My teacher tended to sigh at me and ask me why I always made things so difficult for myself, sitting at a really weird angle, trying to paint through glass or holding my pastels funny. I liked massive abstract things, so he told me to look up Richard Dieberkorn, an American artist influenced by German Expressionism. I still have the piece of sugar paper he wrote the suggestion down on in 2B pencil.
This week I ended up on the MOMA blog, which has a whole exhibition on German Expressionism. Random but I’ve very much enjoyed flicking through the works and thought you might like it too.
I’ve been on a ban from buying CDs. I know it shouldn’t really matter. You can get pretty much anything through Spotify (though increasingly considered the devil’s work by many) and the plastic little cases AREN’T VINYL but I’ve never had a record player. I really miss picking my way through random albums in a shop. Therefore I’ve decided to revisit the music I have, thinking maybe you’ll still discover something you’ve never heard of, or might want to revisit.
First up is an album from one of the most incredible Scottish guitarists of all time, the late Bert Jansch. His album Black Swan was released in 2006 and features Beth Orton on three tracks. Personally I’d forgotten about this really lovely CD, a contemplative and accomplished collection which easily rubs shoulders with more famous contemporaries like Neil Young. Listen to the hazy and pretty ‘A Woman Like You’ instrumental ‘Magdalina’s Dance’ and duet ‘Watch the Stars’.
In 2008 from FOPP on Rose Street Edinburgh. The album cost £3 which is why I bought it, an absolute bargain. It comes inside a paper sleeve, a satisfying addition. I wholeheartedly miss FOPP, f there was something I wanted I’d never leave that shop with fewer than four CDs at a time – plus a two buck novel for good measure.
More Like This
An article from The New Yorker published atfter Jansch’s death in 2011
A performance of four live numbers for the telly, 1975
A beautiful song. Full Stop.
Unlike his solo material Pentangle, Jansch’s band, verges on too traditionally Scottish for my personal taste but if you’re not from here you might feel differently. In any case this is worth listening to for the guitar alone.
A couple of tracks from The River Sessions, a most excellent album recorded in the seventies at City Hall, Glasgow.
AroarA is the work of husband and wife musicians Andrew Whiteman (Broken Social Scene) and chanteuse Aerial Engle, if you’re curious about appearance the cute pair are permanently dancing on their website. Their affectionate In the Pines EP recently featured on famous music blog Said the Gramophone and I’ve since discovered the duo have been on the SXSW trail this year. Very well made, stirring music which I’d bet you’ll like.
Hugely sad news that lauded singer songwriter died at only 39 this week, personally I wasn’t that familiar with his material but have since been hearing some beautiful songs. You can stream his entire back catalogue for a limited time at http://live.magnoliaelectricco.com
Damien Jurado – Yuma Arizona
This is an older song from Damien Jurado, Yuma Arizona. I’m putting it on here for my very good friends who are getting married today (in a matter of hours I’ll be sipping champers in their honour) because it’s really, really beautiful.
This week I rediscovered some slightly cumbersome Sennheiser headphones I bought about ten years ago and was too self conscious to wear on the street plugged in to my ‘portable CD player’. The quality, perhaps therefore due to restricted use, is still great and the first thing I listened to on them was the new Low album, The Invisible Way.
You need to know
It’s the tenth album in twenty years from the Sub Pop signed Low, who hail from a place called Duluth Minnesota. An emotional, often poignant journey based on writing and recording strong, beautiful songs I’d possibly say it trumps all of the others. We’ll see how it stands the test of time.
‘So Blue’ is absolutely beautiful – listen!
The previously released ‘Just Make it Stop’ and closer ‘On Our Knees’ are more of my favourites.
You have time, as soon as you have time in fact.
For a sporadic history read an interview from 1996 here, a site which has lots more random press on the band.
It was also the year that Low’s SXSW performance was overpowered by a neighbouring hardcore band, Ramones fans rioted in Argentina after queueing overnight for free tickets falsely promised by Coke a Cola and David Bowie’s ‘Telling Lies’ was the first song to be released as a digital single.
As I only feature music I generally like I’ve decided rating releases is pointless. It has a mighty Play a Song For Me seal of approval!
It’s only Tuesday but the weather in Edinburgh is shocking this week, the kind of winds that whip round your face, bring freezing rain/sleet/snow and make sure you never see the sky. Here is a round up of some things which have made my week metaphorically brighter…
Fleamarket Funk Mixes
For no particular reason I’ve been in to discovering blogs dedicated to soul and funk music lately and Brooklyn based Fleamarket Funk has superb monthly mixes to get your ears into. Check them out on the blog’s Mixcloud page.
People Who Go the Extra Mile
I love people. I read this Dust and Grooves feature on Patrice Calliet, a Parisian record collector, and absolutely wished I had met him. Together with the writer they created this impromptu art exhibition outside his house, who does that happen to? Read the full article here.
Ernest Hemingway Booting Beer
My friend posted this, allegedly Hemingway’s favourite picture of himself – booting a can of beer. Very cool.
It’s Friday and instead of doing anything practical or useful I decided to make a list of songs I have on rotation for you. Kidding, this is probably the most practical and useful thing I could do with my time! Enjoy some great tracks, freebies and the beginning of your weekend.
Sparrow and The Workshop – Shock Shock
The first single from Sparrow and the Workshop’s upcoming album Muderopolis, out on Song, By Toad this May. You can download entirely for free via the Glasgow band’s sound cloud link. It’s really very good.
The Twilight Sad – Tell Me When We’re Having Fun
There’s something about The Twilight Sad, they’ve been around for the a decade and although I’m not a fanatic there are moments when sinking in to their semi-dark, progressive Scottish rock is incredible. This tune is another one you can get for free, via the band’s label Fatcat
Low – So Blue
I like Minnesota’s Low. Their stunning new album The Invisible Way will be released literally in days from now, you can listen to it in advance via NPR and in the meantime check out this heartily beautiful new track So Blue.
The Postal Service – Tattered Line of String
Perhaps the appeal of the new Postal Service track is that it reminds the more mature amongst us of listening to them the first time around? Thoughts on a postcard please.
I started listening to Blues maestro Howlin’ Wolf by accident this week, and have since been working my way through his back catalogue. A new animated video of ‘Evil’ and live performance for your eyes and ears.
Loch Lomond are an ensemble I’ve featured before, they hail from Portland, Oregon and are makers of a unique breed of chamber folk. Their latest LP, the illustrious Dresses, is one I whole heartedly encourage you to cherish.
You Need To Know…
A dark and slick progression from Little Me Will Start a Storm the new album is an extension of their touring White Dresses EP, recorded for the band’s UK label Chemikal Underground and the band recently toured Europe. It’s rare and beautiful, haunting and mellifluous, the type of music which will spin inside your head, in only a good way. The enigmatic Ritchie Gray fronts most of tracks with an evocative vocal, often bound with choral backing, lilting harmonies and well strung together melodies.
Gems from the original EP include ‘Kicking with Your Feet’ and fondly written closer ‘Black Dresses’, wonderful songs which don’t tire themselves out. On the new side of things the choral ‘The Wedding’ builds in substantial vocal curves and orchestral strings, there’s wanderlust in ‘Virgin Mountain’, which spins in capturing melodies and ‘Spray Painted Drums’ brings an offbeat optimism.
Two echoing instrumentals ‘1000 Drums’ and ‘1000 Lakes’ punctuate the record with a considered, peaceful reflection.
You aren’t on the verge of tears but ready for some deep thinking, considering the world and listening to beautiful, unusual music.
Ethereal video from Brazilian cellist and singer Dom La Nena, No Meu Pais, meaning ‘my country’ or ‘myself’. It’s from her newly released album Ela, which came to my attention via an Other Music Review (their mailers are great for looking at new releases). On first listen the songs, sung in Spanish and Portuguese are wistful, meaningful and quite simply beautiful.