Category Archives: rock

LISTEN UP! MOGWAI’s RAVE TAPES

Rave Tapes A recent conversation:

My friend: I always thought Mogwai were a rubbish indie band.

Me: No they’re not.

My friend: I know. I’ve been listening to them. They’re really good.

Me: Yes. Yes they are. They’re new album Rave Tapes is awesome.

Both: Nod heads with quiet satisfaction.

Stream it here, as a pointer ‘Replelish’s’ spoken word sampling and eerie melody are spine-tingling.

 

 

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Pick Of The Past

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 Son(s) recommend Richard Swift and Tim Weary
The Son(s) recommend Richard Swift and Tim Weary

The Son(s) Play…Tim Weary & Richard Swift 

The first ever post I received was from Karl of The Son(s), whose music is beautiful.

Mike!

Mike Nisbet Plays…Townes Van Zandt

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.

Tommy-Johnson_ALCORUB_Delta-Haze

Adam Stafford Plays…Tommy Johnson

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.

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Olympic Swimmers Play…Richard Youngs 

Without a doubt my favourite picture submitted, Glasgow’s Olympic Swimmers wrote a beautiful piece on Richard Youngs.

Early Birds

Human Pyramids Play…Mum

A close contender in the picture stakes, Human Pyramids shared a love of the glacial Mum.

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State Broadcasters Play…The Bhundu Boys

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.

One for the Week…The Besnard Lakes

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Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO

The Besnard Lakes new album Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO came out  this week on the Jagjaguwar label, keepers of an roster including the excellent Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Sharon Van Etten. The space related title might reflect the album’s atmospheric soundscapes, ever so delicately woven.

Here’s what I know…

The Montreal born soft-rock act was first formed in 2003 by husband and wife duo Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas who later fused with now longtime bandmates Kevin Laing and Richard White. Their fourth album it was recorded in Breakglass studios, Montreal and features several accomplished musicians.

Top Tracks…

All eight tracks hold something distinctively their own. At almost seven minutes long – an duration average of the album – ’46 Satires’ might not be the most obvious choice for an opener, however it’s entrancing  undulating melodies spin round an ethereal vocal. ‘The Specter’ has echoes of dusky eighties melodies, while ‘At Midnight’ builds into cleverly effective penetrating vocals. First single ‘People of the Sticks’ is the most commercially friendly choice, while closer ‘Alam0gordo’ leans towards a darker sonic instrumentation that proves oddly captivating. 

Listen When…

Your world is one of unrushed daydreaming.

Also…

The band play Stereo in Glasgow on 24th May, as part of their European tour. Teeny venue = likely to be a great show.

Check out the band’s website for more.

 

Listen Up!

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Howlin’ Wolf

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.

Radio Silence

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Hey there music fans! Over the last month things have been so busy that everything I have been meaning to post has just ended up in as sporadic notes on my computer, instead of here for you all to read it.

It’s one of the great thing about being a blogger: you don’t have deadlines, there’s no recompense due if you don’t file something on time or the word count’s over – the downside being it’s too easy to put things on the back burner, the longer you leave it the easier it is to let things pile up.

Enough of my prattle – here are some things to get your ears wholly stuck in to.

Eliza and The Bear

There are certain festival’s whose line up I will always have a good rummage through, as they are sure to possess great up and coming talent. Brighton’s The Great Escape is one, where I discovered folkish ruffians Eliza and The Bear. Listen to the single Brother’s Boat below, which you can also download as a freebie.

 

Cloud Boat 

On the subject of boats here’s a second one I plucked from The Great Escape’s sea is electronic duo Cloud Boat, this track I Left For a Reason (It Escapes Me Now) is certainly bewitching stuff.

 

Biffy Clyro 

The band’s new double album Opposites is a collection of standout rock rooted tracks that are a happy progression from the pop friendly Only Revolutions – more a move back to the band’s glory days. Surefire hit ‘Biblical’ will leave you wanting more, while the bluesy ‘Trumpet or Tap’ and the eighties tune melancholic ‘The Fog’ are highlights. All round there’s a compelling narrative and the trio’s drumming and guitar riffs alone make it a winner. Succumb now.

 

Joy Formidable 

Wolf’s Law is the title track from the Welsh act’s recently released second album and it’s incredibly purty. Overall catch the whole record, out on Atlantic, for upbeat beginnings, a gorgeous vocal from frontlady Ritzy Brian and scattered, emotional strings.

Songs for Your Soul

As we hurtle towards the end of the year I’ve been getting returning to listen to things I really loved over the last twelve months. It’s not quite a best of list as I find it hard to narrow things down that far, rather just a rundown of great songs…Merry Christmas Eve!

 Scottish & Sublime

Meursault – Dull Spark/Flittin’

These tracks are both from Neil Pennycook’s alternative folk band Meursault’s stunning 2012 album Something For the Weakened. Amongst a number of accolades it’s received it just topped the Scottish BAMS, an award set up by the great Peenko blog and voted for by Scottish bloggers including me, you can read the full list of winners here.

 

Lament For a Teenage Millionaire

 

Adam StaffordVanishing Tanks/Russian Glass 

Both of the these tracks from Falkirk musician Adam Stafford’s spilt single, released on independent label Gerry Loves Records are so well crafted I’ve listened to them many times.

 

Human Don’t Be Angry –  1985 

I bought Malcolm Middleton’s first Human Don’t Be Angry album on CD in Inverness, because it was playing in the shop and even though I had it on download it sounded too good not to own. Stunning instrumental guitar…

 

Three Blind Wolves – Sound of The Storm 

Having first seen Glasgow four piece Three Blind Wolves live in May, I then listened to their joyous, country rooted album ‘Sound of the Storm’ on repeat for many weeks after.

Dream A Little Dream Pop For Me

Tennis – It All Feels The Same 

Husband and wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley released ‘Young and Old’ in February, blissful sugar pop to make you happy.

Beach House – Myth

The first track which was released from the band’s album Bloom, it’s a beauty.

New American Idols

Sharon Van Etten – Leonard

An album which is amongst the best releases of the year (and has indeed appeared near the top of many tastemaker album lists) US singer-songwriter Van Etten’s Tramp is sublime. This is the video for ‘Leonard’…get to listening!

Loch LomondWhite Dresses

The most poignant and unusual kind of chamber folk from the Oregon ensemble Loch Lomond, this is the title track from a European EP produced exclusively for Chemikal Underground. It’s a tearjerker.

 

Father John MistyHollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

For ex Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tilman his 2012 album ‘Fear Fun’ is likely to define the point where people had begun to listen to his solo work. This is the first track I heard from it…

Damien Jurado – Maraqopa

Watch this video and I’d defy you not fall in love with Damien Jurado’s latest record.

 Magical Music

The Dirty Three – Towards The Low Sun

Australian prog-instrumental rock trio The Dirty Three just seem to get better and more distinctive, their quivering instruments conjuring a rugged, turbulent landscape.

 

The Tallest Man  on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

If you like properly old fashioned song writing, this release from Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson is just plain good.

 

Francois Atlas & The Mountains – Gold Mountain (Slow Club Cover)

Two excellent bands, one reworked song.

Discovered Discoveries

For non regular readers Play a Song For Me is mostly about asking musicians and people involved in music for their suggestions on something which is great, new or rare. Of all the great submissions I’ve had this year there were a couple which really stuck out for me, I hope if you haven’t heard them already please click on the link!

John Knox Sex Club: Submitted by The Last Battle

Six track ‘album’ Raise Ravens came out from the Glasgow folk-rockers in September, check it out….

Tommy Johnson: Submitted by Adam Stafford 

Blues legend Tommy Johnson, whose songs are timeless.

Miss Irenie Rose: Submitted by Rachel Sermanni 

A young, supremely talented Scottish singer

Arran Arctic Plays…Buffy Sainte-Marie

With the catchy, winter appropriate alias of Arran Arctic ‘D.I.Y. pop, folk and electronica’ musician Arran Southall is a man who hails from Northern Ireland and now lives in Edinburgh. He contacted me with his new album, titled Like Lovers, a lovely collection of delicate, experimental tracks often with an orchestral depth, which will capture your attention.

You can stream it in full the bottom of this post, first he’ll tell you about a classic influence and a little piece of musical history…

The Artist: Buffy Sainte-Marie

The Album: Illuminations 

Not On Vinyl

I first came across Buffy Sainte-Marie and her album Illuminations on Stuart Maconie’s great BBC 6 Music Show The Freak Show (the best weird and wonderful music you’ll find on a weekly basis) and I was blown away by her cover of Leonard Cohen’s God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot. I got my spade out and dug a little deeper into her history and back catalogue. And she’s just amazing! Her career spans 5 decades, she’s won an Oscar and she even appeared on Sesame Street for a while!

Illuminations is a departure from her usual folk, soul and rock output and actually alienated a number of her fans when it came out in 1969. The record sees Sainte-Marie electronically manipulating both her guitar and vocals to create a sparsely populated eerie landscape. 

But there are also a number of rocky foot stampers such as ‘He’s a Keeper of the Fire‘, which have caused some to retrospectively christen the album the first “goth” record!

I just love this album and have championed it before on the excellent blog Scots Whay Hae!. It’s appeal is not only because of the fantastic tunes but also because of the balls it must have taken to make and put out there. Everyone needs a bit of Buffy Sainte-Marie in their lives.

About-Image

Arran’s album Like Lovers can be streamed and purchased on his bandcamp, his personable and playful website – from which I pinched the above illustration – is also well worth checking out. Choral title track ‘Like Lovers’ is a highlight, fusing a boy/girl vocal with an almost cinematic soundscape, there’s lots of tinkling goodness in the fleeting ‘Wound’ and climatic  lullaby ‘Slumber’.

A low key, monochromatic video for bewitching earworm ‘Covers’….