Category Archives: Summer

The Month of May

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Pinch, punch first of the month! Inspired by the Arcade Fire tune here are some springtime songs…

Sharon Van Etten ‘Everytime the Sun Comes Up’

It’s impossible not to love this lady’s music. This is a lilting, yearning track from her soon to be released new album ‘Are We There’. You can also watch a live session of it with extra glimmers over at NME.com.

San Fermin ‘Sonsick’

I feel in love with this song  on my iPod. Play it loud, on a sunshine day and feel like the world is better.

John Denver ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free’

This week I have been listening to a lot of old vinyl, this is my most favourite song.

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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.

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…

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

The blog’s been quiet. This is mainly due to manically busy times at life and work (running a festival press office), so I thought I’d spotlight something each week that shouldn’t be missed. I might not write very much – if I rush it I’ll be up nights worried about typos – but in any case the music speaks for itself.

Edinburgh’s Meursault are a phenomenal folktronica band, led by Neil Pennycook’s stunning voice – the kind you can’t ignore: it’s raw, charged and runs right into your bones. Their new album Something for the Weakened  is an absolute treasure, you can stream it all here.

Here’s the wonderful single Flittin’

Catch Meursault live at the one day Thistly Fest, near Dunbar, this Saturday, also featuring Remember Remember, Capitals, Woodenbox, Withered Hand and a session from Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison.

In other news I’m also loving the new Niki & The Dove album, Instinct, this is a standout track called The Drummer:

Plus I found a Bob Dylan song I didn’t know, Idiot Wind, which apparently is about his ex-wife selling their story to the papers. It’s scathing and angry, in a great way.

Check you later musos x

I’m playing…Amsterdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam!

So the title of this might be misleading, the post is actually about a trip I just took to Spain – not eating gouda, drinking Heineken or riding a bicycle over canals. It’s why I’ve been a little quite as a blogger, led by some of my best pals I instead spent hours and hours sitting by the pool, playing poker, playing snooker and opening our outdoor Mexican themed bar post siesta (true story).

We did need one thing constantly in the background – great music.  Conjure images of sunshine, driving through Spanish mountainsides and proper laughs – here goes a musical journey…

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Here is a picture of Amsterdam, March 2012

Peter Bjorn and John, Amsterdam

I’m not really sure how, but Swedes Peter Bjorn and John completely passed me by. I’d kind of heard their name thrown around but never frequently enough to make me want to look them up, I now believe I’ve been missing out big style.

Amsterdam is a track from the trio’s 2006 album, it’s so summery and catchy I can’t quite believe they didn’t release it as a single (ah the magic of an internet search). It’s also the kind of song that you learn all the words to the first time you listen to it. Cue whistling and head bopping…

Ghostface Killah – Kilo

‘I don’t think Jo will really like Ghostface’ was the consensus when I pulled out this CD. True, I’m not known for my love of gangsta rap. But this is a tune.

Calexico & Iron & Wine – History of Lovers

Calexico are just the perfect band for sunshine countries. The Tucson based collective are masters of a kind of cherished storytelling, Spanish influenced melodies and retro rhythms making up their lovely material. We listened to ‘Carried to the Dust’ and this track, which I discovered was a collaboration with the mighty fine Iron and Wine. 

Deerhunter – Nothing Ever Happened

Some of the best guitar you’ll ever hear. This one’s a keeper.

The Shins – Those to Come

Ever had a moment when you realise everyone around you is singing along to something you never knew they liked with total nostalgia? Yes lovers of indie it’s The Shins and more specifically their album Chutes Too Narrow. This is my all time favourite track from the band, the stunning simple delivery and vivid lyrics lending it a surprising poignancy…

French Wives – Younger

I have listened to this song almost to the point of no return, it’s a proper hit in my book. From the Glasgow band’s debut album ‘Dream of the Inbetween’ it’s jubilant and brilliant if you haven’t heard it listen to it, if you have listen again. 

x

Woodenbox Play…One Day as a Lion

Howdy music fans! If it’s your first time here Play a Song for Me is a place where great musicians suggest great music…

Today it comes from Glasgow/Edinburgh based Woodenbox, a folk/rock collective who are also one of the best live bands around. If you don’t believe me go to a show, the music is loud and infectious and people will be dancing.  Having seen them at a couple of festivals their album Home and The Wild Hunt reminds me of summer, great times kicking back in the sunshine.

So let’s serve up a musical treat, a track from the mighty One Day as a Lion, courtesy of drummer Nick…

Play me…One Day as a Lion 

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I’m a huge fan of Rage Against the Machine, let’s face it they are fucking awesome. But that chapter of history is over now. Whilst Tim Tom and Brad went on to form Audioslave with Chris Cornell, front man Zack appeared to have gone into musical hiding. He collaborated with DJ shadow some years back, and also with Roni Size… both sounded awesome. But I was most excited when I stumbled upon this little cracker. Featuring John Theodore from The Mars Volta, whom I regard as one of the most exciting drummers around these days…its just a great combination. Dirty pounding drums, a fender rhodes plugged into a marshall amp, and Zack’s trademark vocal style… I love it.

It’s better to live one day as a lion than a thousand years as a lamb

Woodenbox release a new six track EP ‘The Vanishing Act’ on 4th June and here’s a taster…

Also check out the single ‘Everyone Has a Price’, a darkly tinged circus flavoured affair.

Check out http://www.wdnbx.com/ for details of where you can catch the band live.