That phase in question is listening to, or rather binging on, the KEXP Song of the Day podcast. It’s a great way to discover new bands, plus most of the tracks I’ve heard so far are good and loud for the morning. If you haven’t already also check out the station’s live sessions, generally awesome stuff.
I saw the beautiful Anais Mitchell live at Summerhall, Edinburgh. She played beautiful songs you can sink right into. I also her love her image – effortlessly cool 90s grunge. Listen to this one from her new album Xoa. It sends shivers.
Last week I went to the incredibly beautiful Isle of Skye. A six hour journey just to get there, we drove over 600 miles in total over four days – the island itself being bigger than we’d bargained for. As you can imagine we were in need of driving music. My pal’s wee fiesta plays CDs only and it was mostly older albums we chose – Peter Bjorn and John, The Beatles, The Shins, The New Pornographers. Then we put on Belle & Sebastian. Listening to a mix of tracks made me think about how much of my life had been coloured by their music – lyrics that would always seem so wry and funny and booming choruses. Their voice – although it wasn’t ours – was superbly young and Scottish, paying as much attention to the mundane, comical and memorable details of life here as we were.
My friend pointed out they formed when we were twelve – a fact which blew my mind. I can’t remember when I started listening to them, their songs seemed to travel to me by osmosis – the radio, American films, a purchase in FOPP and beer-swilling house parties. They’ve also travelled the world with me, in Madrid a bartender played Boy with the Arab Strap as soon as he found out I was Scottish, I went to see them play live for the first time in Brooklyn, Write about Love came out at the exact time I was becoming disaffected with my office job.
Stringbean Jean and Lazy Line Painter Jane are now songs I’ll remember from driving on Skye and I know I’ll love them because of it.
I’m a morning person. I really mean that, I love the morning. I even love that I have to nap later, naps to me are just as good as the mornings.
This morning I woke up at 6.30 because of a car alarm outside my flat. The jarring sound that happened over and over, so I shoved in my headphones and flicked through NPR’s latest first album listens. The first one I found that struck a gentle chord was ‘Passerby’ by a duo called Luluc – wonderfully soothing old fashioned song craft.
Sometimes I can do the embedding of Spotify albums thing, sometimes I can’t. Today is a lucky day.
It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that safari kicked me out of WordPress. This is the fact I faced this morning. Yes there are lots of reasons – mostly that I’ve just BEEN BUSY – but it’s always been at the back of my mind that I need to write something. The thing is that I have an idea for Play which I want to put into action, I just haven’t had the time. I want this site to be a collection of people’s stories about music, people I know and have met and think are brilliant. Kind of like Humans of New York (obviously it’s likely to be on a slightly less world known scale) but about songs. I’ve asked lots of people I know who’ve all said yes, but I haven’t told them what to do.
So I’m going to start today. Hopefully soon I’ll have something really interesting for you to read. That’s what motivates me in the first place to have a blog at all.
For today here’s one of my own songs and where I found it..
LAU – ‘Throwing Pennies’
In October I took my new friend to see Lau at the Queen’s Hal. I was reviewing and didn’t know what to expect, we were both blown away. So much so we decided to plan a road trip to Inverness (where I’m from originally) to see them, cajoling her boyfriend into it too. The day after we went to the beach at Cromarty and had an adventure filled afternoon. The Lau song ‘Throwing Pennies’ had moved me with it’s poignancy the night before, now I felt even more grateful to have new friends who could make me laugh so much.
Today the sun has disappeared and mist is shrouding the sky. I’m continuing to unpack my latest record purchases including this one, a record made in 1963 in aid of the world’s refugees. It feels like it came out even earlier – more outwardly cheerful than you might expect and full of classics. I love records that tell stories. Sink into one of the song; this Ella Fitzgerald number.
There’s an American artist called Dangerdust that I’ve fallen in love with, they produce beautiful chalk drawings of quotes and song lyrics, featured above. For this Good Friday here are some other things to fall for.
It’s Saturday morning, kind of grey and you want to listen to something pretty, but with a bit of punch. Find it in Jon Mckiel’s album Tonka War Cloud. I know very little about him, or the story behind the album, just that it feels like the story of a road trip. A really, really good one – there be angry drums just when you need them. A discovery via the marvellous music blog Said the Gramophone.