Category Archives: Uncategorized

Capitals Play…Headphones

I’m a big fan of Edinburgh based Capitals’ material, in particular their new single ‘All These Years;. it’s upbeat and catchy without being too far into pop – makes you realise how wrong some bands go.

This is their suggestion…Headphones self titled album. I don’t always say this – sometimes I can take or leave what people send in – it is INCREDIBLE.

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WHAT: The record I’ve chosen to talk about, simply titled ‘Headphones’, is one that’s stuck with me solidly for the last four years or so, and still manages to reveal new things after all this time.

WHY:  In essence it’s the work of one man, David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion demi-fame). Unlike his other records, this is a beautifully bare bones electronic album comprised pretty much of one keyboard, one drum set and one incredible voice.  

My personal favourite is I  Never Wanted You, a song so brutally harsh and honest it makes you think Bazan must be a horrible bastard (it transpires the song was written about a friends marriage); but it’s this song that encapsulates Bazan’s total mastery of a simple lyric and a simple melody. Since becoming obsessed with Nick Drake as a teenager, the music that’s spoken to me most often comes from a kind of dark place of solitude, and this record represents a unique take on the old one-man-and-his-mic sort of approach. Buy it.

Listen to ‘All These Years’ by Capitals right here, l like the samples in particular.

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Conquering Animal Sound Play…Stephan Bodzin

Glasgow duo Conquering Animal Sound, who are James Scott and Anneke Kampman,  made me think twice about techno. Never particularly my genre of choice their dazzling tracks are pretty enthralling, so I was pretty keen to see who they themselves would rate highly.

Stephan Bodzin’s “Liebe Ist…”

Anneke and I regularly wax lyrical about this album in interviews. It’s easily one of my very favourite records, and I’m sure that as
long as people are asking us “What are your influences?” I’ll be giving this album a mention. It’s entirely instrumental, it’s dark,
minimal techno, and it’s very, very repetitive, but the layers of rhythm, texture and melody that it contains are breathtaking at times, and I defy you to put on any of the tracks and fail to be moved by it.

Eye opening stuff!

After the success of last year’s Kammerspiel Conquering Animal Sound are busy working on their next album, hurrah! You can find them on tumblr

Plum Plays…a little bit of Grimes

I discovered Edinburgh artist Plum after meeting her alter ego Shona Maguire at a music related shindig in Edinburgh. I love that whenever someone sends you their music you never know what to expect, her album was unexpectedly refreshing: a blend of well executed songcraft, delicate vocals and electro production it’s an all round quite bewitching showcase.

Plum Plays…Grimes, Be a Body

Continue reading Plum Plays…a little bit of Grimes

On Rotation…The Phantom Band

I started to accept that I’m actually an insomniac when I read a collection of short stories on the topic – aptly called Bedlam – and a writer commented that with proper sleep she never would have penned a word. So hello the middle of night/morning, I’m listening to The Phantom Band’s 2009 album Checkmate Savage.

I can’t remember when and where I got the album, have a feeling it was in Avalanche Records on the Grassmarket in Edinburgh. I can remember I went backwards and discovered their second album, The Wants, first.

On this one I utterly adore Island, it still gives me goosebumps and could perhaps feature within my greatest songs of all time. There’s a sailing rhythm to the likes of Throwing Bones and I madly want to sing along to The Howling, it’s so effortlessly random. Not to like overhype it or anything, but in my book the Glasgow band’s musical work is innovative, original and built to last. Live, or relive the album

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My little sister loves…Nina Nesbitt

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Lynn Bell Loves…Nina Nesbitt

There are a couple of reasons I started blogging about music in particular, one of the biggest ones is my little sister Lynn. I share great musical things with her that she ends up loving and might not have found otherwise. I thought if I could do that for more people – help aid brilliant discoveries – it would be pretty good use of time.

We’ve been to see a lot of music together and she has just moved to Glasgow, so I’m sure there will be plenty more gigs a-comin. She loves Scottish singer Nina Nesbitt…here’s why.

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It’s kind of a funny one as last year I was reviewing a band, Dead Man’s Waltz for The List, at Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh and got chatting to a photographer who was raving about this girl. Enjoy!

Coming in the not too distant future, for which band my big sister uttered the words “I haven’t loved a band this much since Boyzone.”

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Cancel The Astronauts play…Pet Lions!

Edinburgh’s Cancel The Astronauts make cheery as hell music, a generally brilliant and bouncy dose of guitar pop-like material. I’ve received a really mixed bag of suggestions from musicians on this journey so far, and on this one there’s a palpable synergy between the music both bands are making. Over to the astros Matt Riley, complete with Easter appropriate chick, to tell us more about a great discovery…

Play a Song For Me…Cancel The Astronauts!

Cancel The Astronauts favourite Pet Lions' EP Soft Right

‘I’d suggest a band from Chicago called Pet Lions, who last year released an album called Houses. I’ve only just picked up on it, despite being a fan since their first release in 2009 – an EP called Soft Right. They’ll appeal to anyone who enjoys chirpy upbeat US garage pop. A lazy way to describe them would be to say ‘The Strokes with synths’, and I’ll stick with that – though to be honest the album is much more nuanced; a lot of quiet moments, chiming guitars and pretty beach boys harmonies on this one. The EP, which I actually prefer to the album, is more four to the floor INDIE-POP. There’s also the odd very noisy soundgarden, like on the the first track The English Room, and while I’d have enjoyed a few more pumping up tempo numbers that they really excel at (Roman History or Propeller Plane off the EP) they obviously have grander musical ambitions than keeping me happy.

Check out the utterly brilliant video for Cancel the Astronauts single Intervention below, I love, love love the vintage footage…

It’s from the band’s new EP which also includes ‘Echoes of Love’ and ‘The Hardest Thing’, an unexpectedly stunning love song.

Happiness in the Eye of a Scottish Storm

I should really have left the house already, but it’s one of those horrible Scottish days where the wind’s been howling for hours. Instead I’m listening to Dark Was The Night, one of the best compilations I believe was ever made, and in particular Riceboy Sleeps Happiness .

The photo behind the CD is the Firth of Forth, on a far sunnier day than this!

Hello World(press!)

Play a Song For Me has been living over on tumblr since its inception last August, I just looked back at the start and the first song I posted was Mr Tambourine Man (for the title of course). The idea was to champion new music as much as possible and facilitate discoveries. I love doing a photo blog, but I wanted to be able to share more than one piece of content at a time, hence why I have ended up over here too.

It will be changing form slightly – from a fairly straightforward music blog to a treasure trove of suggestions which I’m in the fortunate position of being able to curate. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

So…let’s set this thing off and see where it takes us!