This weekend I went camping in a very beautiful place in Scotland. Early in the morning we went walking through the woods. Even though I’d fallen over the day before I clambered down to a tiny patch of sand beside the river and watched it in all it’s beauty. My friend, in her yellow raincoat, played this song on her phone. Life is good.
This is little Play a Song For Me’s 100th wordpress post! A tiny figure for some, for me an occasion akin to getting an ice cream on a sunny day.
For those of you who are new to the blog musicians I discover share suggestions of new, rare and important artists/songs/albums. Along the way other things have also evolved – I invent sporadic new features (for the last month I’ve been posting a happy song every day), review new material and spraff on about new discoveries. Other folks stories are at the heart of why I’ve kept up the writing, I always love reading submissions and love to see that people still reading them.
End ramble: to celebrate and in case you missed them here are some great picks. Click the links to take you to the full articles and music!
The first ever post I received was from Karl of The Son(s), whose music is beautiful.
I’m slightly ashamed to say I’d never heard of Townes Van Zandt before this post from Mike, who himself is supremely talented. Check out the full read here.
A personal story you’ll remember, a blues record you’ll love. Adam has a new album coming out really soon and it’s a beauty. Keep your eye on Song By Toad for more.
Without a doubt my favourite picture submitted, Glasgow’s Olympic Swimmers wrote a beautiful piece on Richard Youngs.
A close contender in the picture stakes, Human Pyramids shared a love of the glacial Mum.
The tragic story of The Bhundu Boys, retold by Glasgow’s State Broadcasters.
Have a root around for many more great things in the friends and contributors section. Listen, discover, enjoy.
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.
Sometimes you get sent something at the exact right time: last week an email entitled ‘Human Pyramids!’ landed with me, literally at the moment I was looking for something new to listen to.
Described by it’s composer and creator Paul Russell as ‘joyous post-rock’ the three song demo is a spirited instrumental business, written in scores and purveying jubilant choral remnants, akin to the likes of The Polyphonic Spree.
Here we go below with the Human Pyramids suggestion, experimental Icelandic band Múm and their 2012 release, Early Birds.
All About Múm
Múm have released 3 albums since then and I have been buying them on the day of release every time. The release of “Early Birds” in June was no different. But wait, its no longer released through Fat-Cat, and its a collection of “lost songs” from 1998-2000? When I hear phrases like “lost songs” I get scared. I imagine its the kind of thing bands use to pad out ropey box sets. Why did they get lost? If they were so good why didn’t they come out at the time? Its obviously filler. But I bought it anyway and I was wrong, very wrong.
These 15 songs show a band experimenting, with potential and most importantly, a band having fun. There is an naïvety and excitement that Arab Strap touched upon in they’re poppier moments. There is the vastness that matches Sigur Rós or Mogwai, and most importantly, there is no filler. It might even be my favourite Mum album.”
This is a sampler of the 15 tracks, they are pretty enthralling…
Human Pyramids! was a move for West Lothian based Russell from writing electronic music:“I wanted to create an album with no electronic sounds. No samples. No cheating. To stop reaching for the drum machines and instead pipe up on a floor tom or a bin lid. I walked around with a handheld recorder for a while. I enlisted the help of flat mates, band mates and friends to play things I couldn’t. I wrote scores for the first time since I left Uni.” .
It caught my attention quickly, what good instrumental should – distinctive, uplifting and likeable, plus the songs tell stories. Stream the first fruits of the project below – on bandcamp for a pay what you will download.
On Saturday I spoke to my good friend if mine who lives in the East Village about which record stores in New York might be a good shout for a new feature. He recommended Other Music as one of the only ones remaining which sells CDs and not just vinyl- apparently it has “a great range of indie and eclectic stuff–even a good world section which includes great music from Nigeria and weird oddities like recordings of insects in tropical rain forests or Thai pop music of the seventies.”
Sounds the business right?
I hadn’t had the time to look it up properly before the hurricane hit, but as I, along with most of the world, continue to fret about everyone over there it’s been in the back of my mind. The store’s located on East 4th Street Manhattan which is out of the evacuation zone, but the website’s down right now so for the sake of research I scooped some sessions from the store instead…
The marvellous Cate Le Bon
The mighty Iron & Wine
The melody making Camera Obscura
Keep your chin up NYC!