Tag Archives: alternative

Generation Belle & Sebastian

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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.

 

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.

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

Sweet Blue Eues

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Aram Bajakian is an incredible guitarist from New York who’s toured with the late Lou Reed, Diana Krall and many other infamous musicians. ‘There Were Flowers Also in Hell’ is a solo album I first heard today and instantly fell for. ‘Sweet Blue Eues’ (track 5) is a slower, thoughtful track, set to a glorious foundational rhythm.

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.

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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.

Crushing On: Dark Dark Dark

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Like most music fans I listen to a lot of new things. Some of it’s understated, some of it’s try hard, some of it sounds like that band you loved ten years ago, some of it’s great, memorable or beautiful and of course ends up here.

Rarely does it happen that I love something new instantly. Yesterday I heard a song by Dark Dark Dark on the radio and it torpedoed right into me, demanding to be listened to. I’ve discovered they are from Minneapolis, have a massive following (oops, late to the party) and are also described as a ‘folk band’. For me the music goes much deeper, it quivers with an orchestral intensity that you don’t tend to encounter in the genre and proves the accordion is an excellent instrument. In terms of lyrics they clicked with me, I get the songs and the songs get me.

I’ve now listened to their entire back catalogue, which feels like journeying through a black and white gypsy circus. Check out album Who Needs Who below, hope you enjoy.

I like a lot of music but I love this.