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Frightened Rabbit’s Pedal Power

Cycling 1100 miles in 12 days? Aye right. Why would anyone of non- Olympian pedigree take that on?

I’m talking about this May’s Great Big Cycle, where ten amateur cyclists, including Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit fame,  covering of the UK and Ireland. They’ll visit five capitals over 12 days and cycle about 100 miles a day. The reason? A really important cause.

Frightened Rabbit Playlist

Grant’s brother and lead cyclist Neil’s three year old daughter, Morven, suffers from a rare genetic condition called  cystinosis that can cause growth impairment and kidney problems. At the moment there is no cure. The cycle will aim to raise a mighty £100,000 for Cystinosis Foundation UK, a charity who research the disease and how it might be treated in future. Ahead of the cycle Grant shared the power tracks on his playlist. Read about the reasons below while listening to the Spotify playlist…

And really it’s an incredible feat for a really important reason. Please spread the word by sharing this link where you can learn more and donate: http://www.greatbigcycle.com  or http://www.justgiving.com/greatbigcycle

You can also suggest a song to add to the playlist and spur them on by leaving a comment here or on Facebook!

Grant’s Great Big Playlist

Lorde Team
When you’re on the bike for a few hours it’s important to have a collection of melodies that don’t really get tired and this something that Lorde does pretty well on Pure Heroine. It’s also great if they’re fairly simple otherwise you’ll have one line going round the whole time because you can’t remember anything else! This track is probably my favourite because of the harmonies and the beat but I’m a fan of them all so they’ll all be going round my head a fair amount.
Katy Perry Roar and Firework
Pure unadulterated pop that gives me great motivation. The classic breakdown and finale is something that will never get old and the lift created by it is incomparable. Roar is Eye Of The Tiger for the tween generation but has just as much of an affect on me!!
PlaceboPure Morning
Everything about this track is just so menacing and whenever I want to feel like a hardman(which is not often I should add) I’ll stick this on and get my swagger going!! I was a huge fan of Placebo growing up and again the simplicity and repetitive nature of this track makes it perfect for the ride. It’s so rhythmic too which is obviously important for turning the pedals hour after hour, day after day.
Frightened RabbitLate March Death March
Only because it is Morven’s favourite song and will act as a reminder for the whole reason for doing this when times get dark on the bike
Roger and The Gypsies Pass The Hatchet
This is all about the drum beat in this song. Once again the rhythmic nature of it is great and I just love how happy the vocals sound. It creates a great image of that time of dance halls and making music for people to get up and move to which is something you see less and less these days especially with live bands.
London Bridge Is Falling Down
No idea why but it regularly pops into my head when I’m on my bike.
The Felice Brothers – Run Chicken Run
I love the ramshackle sound The Felice Brothers are so good at creating. This song is just so frantic and it moves in such a great way that just makes it impossible to stay still when it’s on. It has a great feeling of community too. Like the whole band are just in the one room playing along and shouting out harmonies that come in to their head and that’s something that will be important on the ride too. There are 10 of us taking part for the duration and we’ll have to work together a whole lot and really help each other through it and I expect we’ll become a very tight knit group.
Wintersleep – Archeologists
I just bloody love these guys. When we toured with them it was like we’d known them forever and I remember those tours with such fondness that to not have them in here would just be a travesty. They are all absolute dicks though!
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Music to work to

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I like working when there’s music. Spending loads of time writing, studying and making things for work is great but if there’s one thing that makes me restless it’s silence.  The right soundtrack is a delicate thing: lyrics are distracting, for real concentration I have to veto any kind of radio and tracks that are too upbeat set the rhythm all wrong (sorry Motown, I’ll see you later). Here’s where I got to: the finest instrumental alt-rock and acoustic albums to help lift productivity – along with mood and general life happiness.

Yo La Tengo 

American’s Yo La Tengo are an insanely good band. Last year they released some shimmering pop in Fade, my top album for sitting studiously is 2008’s They Shoot, We Score.

Mogwai 

When it comes to Mogwai the only thing to say is their an incredible, continually evolving band. My favourite album to work to is A Wrenched Virile Love, all too often I have ‘Rano Pano’ on repeat. 

Explosions in the Sky 

Stylistic bedfellows of another act I revere, Godspeed You Black Emperor! Explosions in the Sky’s music a swirling pool of instrumental joy. Back-catalogue wise Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is a solid shout.

Remember Remember 

When Remember Remember released their 2011 album The Quickening I slid right into it. Think Mogwai with a xylophone and jingle bells after they’ve eaten too much sugar.

William Tyler 

Tyler’s music is a hypnotic haven: what one man can achieve with an acoustic guitar the stuff that spurs dreams.

-What’s that I hear you cry?

-A Spotify playlist would be insanely handy?

-Good job I made one

Things I found on bandcamp

Bandcamp

This week I’m living a bandcamp renaissance. Forgot how much you can discover in a very short time, and how easy it to flick through their catalogue. If you haven’t been on for a while check it out here, the handful of discoveries below might get you started.

In a Lonely Place – ‘Mess’ 

I wonder if they are named after the Humphrey Bogart film. A six track release.

Cloud – ‘Cherry Dip’ 

They remind me of ever-loved Neutral Milk Hotel, that’s just a general win.

Wolf Cottage – ‘Glow’ 

Describing themselves as a cross between National and Youth Lagoon is certainly an attention grabber. I know I listened to this song and liked it, but I can’t for the life of me find the link. On the plus side while searching I also came across a three year old Chelsea Wolf album, ‘The  Grime and The Glow’

Listen Up! Bill Callahan

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I heard this version of Kath Bloom’s song ‘The Breeze’ for the first time this morning, as I was getting ready for the day. The lyrics are strikingly honest, I wrote the line (above) I like best the-book-where-I-write-things. Bill Callahan’s version, which featured on a tribute album to Bloom, is compassionate, thoughtful and shimmers with emotional fragility.  Hope you like it as much as I do.

Bye Bye Love

Bye Bye Love
Bye Bye Love

It seems like so many great musicians have passed away recently, a sadness eased in part by a then abounding celebration of their music. When I heard about the Phil Everly’s passing I thought immediately of this song, ‘Bye Bye Love’. My first memory of it is finding myself singing it on a subway in Hong Kong, en route to take me back to China (where I was living at the time). Coming from the grit and grime of Chinese streets Hong Kong seemed like paradise, a place where it was easy to be (if a lot less fascinating). When I was homesick it reminded me of home, when I left its glimmering harbour this song summed up how I felt.

I have no idea when I actually first heard it, most likely a decade before. I think – for my generation at least – so many of The Everly Brothers songs are the same; they seem to have travelled osmosis into your head and your heart. What a great legacy.