Category Archives: obsession

Cool Things I Found

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It’s summer! In Scotland. Finally. Some sunshine appropriate tunes…

This mix from Self-Titled Magazine is very good…

As is Willis Earl Beale’s Film Principles of the Protagonist: ‘a short film that’s actually about something’. I tried to embed for you lovely people it but it isn’t working for some unfathomable reason, so watch it via Exclaim! I’m a big fan of Beale’s music and illustrations, he’s a stunning raw talent. Here are some tracks for your listening pleasure.

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Cool Things I Found

A few cool things I wanted to share with you this week

The Joy Of A House Concert

I went to an amazing house concert in Edinburgh last week and it occurred to me how valuable it is to have that type of small, informal space for musicians to play in. It felt just like a really friendly community of people who love music and get to witness nicely intimate performances.  I wish the council system here was more supportive, my understanding is they’re trying to shut down shows on the grounds that’s it’s ‘a venue’. The organisers don’t make any money, sell any drinks (you take your own) or receive complaints from the neighbours and they clearly invest a huge amount of their own time in creating events and giving musicians exposure. We’re supposed to be the ‘cultural capital’ of the world, it’s so sad seeing grassroots arts events disappear all the time. From a music fan’s perspective I think house concerts often happen organically for musicians and without knowing where to go it becomes an experience we can be locked out off.

Read more on the Soundhouse website, here’s a clip from one of their upcoming acts.

Almost at the same time I was mailed with the news Damien Jurado is doing a series of house concerts in America. I suppose these are different shows in the sense of being outwardly publicised and ticketed but I’m pleased it’s becoming a trend artists of his calibre are supporting.

Fleetwood Mac’s New Song

Aaaaw ain’t it catchy? Skip the chat and Sad Angel is the first track to be shared from Fleetwood Mac’s upcoming EP. They’re also playing Glasgow in October – points for not skipping Scotland off the map.

A band called Mice Parade

I discovered Mice Parade on my weekly reading of the excellent Said the Gramophone blog. So far I know only that their album Candela came out on Fatcat in March and I like their music, in particular the live tracks below. Take the journey with me…

The Weekend Edition

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AroarA

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.

Jason Molina

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.

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’….

 

 

If You Listen to One Thing This Week…Make it Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

The new song from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds was realised yesterday, titled ‘We Know Who U R’ it comes with a video in the format of a wavering, scrawled out page of lyrics.  It’s a stunning first glimpse of the new album, Push The Sky Away, which will be released in February the band are also undertaking a US/Canada and Australia tour next year.

Album Trailer

Some of the back catalogue for good measure…

‘The Weeping Song’

An extremely good live version of the track, from 1990 album The Good Son

‘There She Goes My Beautiful World’

One of my personal favourites, from 2004 release Abattoir Blues

Burnin Hell’ – Lawless Soundtrack 

If ever an artist was made for a movie…

Papa Won’t Leave You Henry

The recently remastered version of a track from 1994 album Henry’s Dream 

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:

Obsessive Habits…New Band of the Day

Right now I have really annoying obsession. I am literally fixated by the Guardian’s New Band of the Day feature. Fixated.

I’d heard of it before, but never really checked it out for some reason- WHAT an oversight. I stumbled across it properly before I reviewed Brooklyn ‘band of the moment’ Friends and noticed they had been featured a while ago – and they’re pretty good right? So I thought I’d take a look and see what else I might have missed. The thing is almost all of it is good. Really. I’m not lying. I even read the story of the chap who writes it all. He hasn’t had a holiday in forever.

I’ve only been through about thirty articles and there are over a thousand, but I feel like I might miss something really good if I don’t listen to everyone I haven’t heard of. Plus, of course, the new band each day. This could take a while…so in the meantime here are my current top picks

Blondes

Much of the best music comes out of Brooklyn, roll on in dance duo Blondes. There’s something about them I just LIKE.

Bluebell

She’s the daughter of late Monkee’s singer Davy Jones and I like her voice

Zeus

Hand me some alt-rock and funk it up a little, why thank you Canadian’s Zeus

Blood Diamonds

Found myself head bopping to this track, from Vancouver based artist Michael Diamonds