Tag Archives: acoustic

Bill Callahan is a Genius

Listen to this. That is all.

 

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Luluc: For Car Alarms in the Morning

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.

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

Pick Of The Past

This is little Play a Song For Me’s 100th wordpress post! A tiny figure for some, for me an occasion akin to getting an ice cream on a sunny day.

For those of you who are new to the blog musicians I discover share suggestions of new, rare and important artists/songs/albums. Along the way other things have also evolved – I invent sporadic new features (for the last month I’ve been posting a happy song every day), review new material and spraff on about new discoveries. Other folks stories are at the heart of why I’ve kept up the writing, I always love reading submissions and love to see that people still reading them.

End ramble: to celebrate and in case you missed them here are some great picks. Click the links to take you to the full articles and music!

The Son(s) recommend Richard Swift and Tim Weary
The Son(s) recommend Richard Swift and Tim Weary

The Son(s) Play…Tim Weary & Richard Swift 

The first ever post I received was from Karl of The Son(s), whose music is beautiful.

Mike!

Mike Nisbet Plays…Townes Van Zandt

I’m slightly ashamed to say I’d never heard of Townes Van Zandt before this post from Mike, who himself is supremely talented. Check out the full read here.

Tommy-Johnson_ALCORUB_Delta-Haze

Adam Stafford Plays…Tommy Johnson

A personal story you’ll remember, a blues record you’ll love. Adam has a new album coming out really soon and it’s a beauty. Keep your eye on Song By Toad for more.

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Olympic Swimmers Play…Richard Youngs 

Without a doubt my favourite picture submitted, Glasgow’s Olympic Swimmers wrote a beautiful piece on Richard Youngs.

Early Birds

Human Pyramids Play…Mum

A close contender in the picture stakes, Human Pyramids shared a love of the glacial Mum.

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State Broadcasters Play…The Bhundu Boys

The tragic story of The Bhundu Boys, retold by Glasgow’s State Broadcasters.

Have a root around for many more great things in the friends and contributors section. Listen, discover, enjoy.

Gareth Dickson Plays…Ned Collette

Let’s regale you with a tale music fans! I caught singer-songwriter Gareth Dickson at a recent Edinburgh house concert and was bowled over by the intricate, wistful worlds he conjured with his deft fingertips. An artist who demonstrates incredible skill, his songs have strikingly original compositions and are filled with intricate, mesmerising guitar work.

Here Gareth fills us in on an influence and friend, Australian singer-songwriter Ned Collette.

Gareth High Res

Gareth Dickson Plays…Ned Collette

I have chosen an Australian singer/songwriter called Ned Collette; you can start anywhere with him but if I had to pick a couple of tracks they would be Boulder and The Country With A Smile.

I met Ned in Australia when I was playing there in Vashti Bunyan‘s band. He and his girlfriend came up to me after the gig and we got talking. He told me he was a musician and was planning to come to Europe soon and we swapped email addresses.

For me it’s just great pop music, sometimes he reminds me a little of David Bowie, other times Leonard Cohen, but essentially he has his own voice. It’s usually catchy and melodic but there is always a depth to it as well.

True to his word he came to Europe and actually spent some time living in Glasgow. We met up a few times for a drink and he and his Ozzie pals are among the only people I’ve met who like beer more than Weegies do. I remember one of them in the kitchen at a party completely wasted with his mobile phone in an empty pint glass to act as a kind of bass boost for some awful techno he was dancing too. Hi-tech stuff. They have great phrases too, as anyone else who wasted a good part of their youth watching Neighbours and Home And Away already knows.

Find out more about Ned Collette here and check out a selection of Gareth’s music below! His live set is memorable, catch it if you can.

From My Shelf: Iron & Wine

I’m a fan of American Singer-Songwriter Sam Beam, aka Iron & Wine and have kept an ear into his albums over the last decade. Around the Well is a collection of ‘B Sides and Rarities’ released on Sub Pop, marketed the right way for me as I’m fundamentally against ‘Best Of’ collections (if you like a band you should listen to all their material).  I listened to this again in the supermarket yesterday, a disorientated activity which left me with a random shop!

Iron and Wine Cover

Favourite songs

The first CD offers softer, more pensive tracks including previous single ‘Call Your Boys’, the beautiful, echoing ‘Morning’ and ‘Friends Are Jewels’. On the second I love the guitar on ‘No Moon’ and piano keys on ‘Carried Home’.

Purchased

2010, a time when I used to spend all my lunch hours in Fopp. The 2CD collection comes in a pretty fold out box.

Iron and Wine - Track

More like this

A show for La Blogotheque

A KEXP interview from 2009. The guy has an insanely good beard.

NPR Tiny Desk Concert – because I love these

Playing with Matches

Music fans: you are in for a treat. Recently I was sent an EP from mysterious musician Matchsticker Maker, containing three low-fi songs which are entirely bewitching.  Here he talks about four treasured musicians, just make sure you get to the bottom…

Matchstick Maker Plays…

Stanley

A band from Aberdeen that I know almost nothing about and have never seen live, but whose album “Animals With Amazing Disguises” is incredible. It’s some of the most invigorating and exciting sounds I’ve heard in ages, plus the guy’s voice is heart-stoppingly rich. Check out the album opener “Join Hands” and try to get your vocal chords around the top notes near the end. 
Late one night in May I was driving in the middle of nowhere way up North, with a late sunset burning on the horizon, I switched on the radio right in the middle of that song “Join Hands”. I’d never heard it before, didn’t know who the band was but I genuinely had to stop the car when I heard that melody, and then it turned out to be a live session! Fearless vocals, mind blown. Then they did a brilliant Goldfrapp cover.
(I love this live version)

 

Jonnie Common

I somehow stumbled across the album “Master Of None” just as it came out which is quite rare for me, but I immediately loved it and have pretty much played the vinyl to scratch-laden death since. It’s just great catchy, witty and interesting songs, the track “Hand-Hand” contains the lyric “I can’t skateboard to save my life, but I like to imagine what kind of bizarre scenario might involve me having to do so”… you can’t beat that…  

I was playing at the Jura Festival a few weeks ago and on the Sunday morning someone mentioned that night’s gig involved “Jonnie-something-or-other”. I managed to sneak in to see his set and it was even better than I’d imagined, in a village hall next to the distillery, tiny crowd, cabaret seating, candles, one man and an omni-chord – as far as pleasant surprises go it was way up there. If you’ve got any sense at all, go and see him live.

 

Dead Man’s Waltz

A folk-noir band from Skye. I’ve seen a few great live shows from these guys but the most memorable was when I supported their album launch during a stormy October night in an old stone barn on Skye, a perfect setting for their bleak and majestic soundtrack… (some poetic license and/or altered perception might have influenced that memory a bit but it’s definitely fairly accurate.) 

 

Check out the video for “Swings and Roundabouts”
and Emmeline…

and find their album here

Ben Sollee

I’m amazed he isn’t far more well-known than he is. He’s an American cello-playing singer-songwriter from Kentucky, which is different, and his songwriting is charmingly eclectic & just fantastic. He’s just released his fourth album but I first heard him when a friend played me the song “Panning For Gold” a year or so ago from his 2008 album “Learning to Bend”. The whole idea of the song is beautiful (imagining god as an old man with dementia) and musically it’s heart breakingly intimate.

 

 

Of them all of those above I find Mr Sollee a standout, beautiful song.

And don’t forget to check out the Matchsticker Maker EP right here” The songs were bubbling around in my subconscious for a wee while so, while a storm whipped up outside, I sat by the stove in my wee cottage and recorded them with one mic and a battered old guitar I was given about 10 years ago.” In particular I find Evergreen to be a timeless, beautiful piece of music.