For no particular reason I missed Young Fathers. I knew they were from Edinburgh, I also knew they had won the Mercury Prize. Both of those things haven’t really gone together before. For some reason I still just didn’t listen to them. That changed yesterday when my wonderful friend sent me loads of new music. I have now decided they are rather awesome.
Check out the KEXP session below, it’s a fine afternoon for it.
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.
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…
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 –TeamWhen 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 FireworkPure 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!!Placebo – Pure MorningEverything 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 Rabbit – Late March Death MarchOnly 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 bikeRoger and The Gypsies– Pass The HatchetThis 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 DownNo 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!
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.
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’
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.
Right now it’s New Year’s Eve and I’m up, thinking about all the music that meant a lot to me this year. Personally it’s been a year of flux and over the last few months I haven’t been able to keep up writing as I would have liked, let alone include so many of the great year end releases. So to round things off in a semi-reasonable fashion – and before we plunge into January – here are a few of the songs I’ve loved along the way…some old, some new, all worth a listen.
Videos included at the bottom and there’s a Spotify playlist here with some more tracks
Dark Dark Dark ‘Patsy Cline’ 2013 was the year I discovered the stirring, intense folk of US band Dark Dark Dark. Lyrically their songs are stunning. This one resonated on a personal level, it’s poignant without being self-pitying and I’ll always remember it.
Damien Jurado ‘Yuma Arizona’ I posted this song for my friends on their wedding day, it’s an older track but so incredibly pretty. I think I heard it covered live, one of my favourite ways to discover sometimes overlooked or forgotten tracks.
Low ‘So Blue’ The first time I heard this song, from ‘The Invisible Way’, I was sucked in to how insanely powerful it was…for that reason it stayed with me
Frightened Rabbit ‘The Oil Slick’ When it comes to Frabbits I’m a massive fan girl. This is my favourite track on their 2013 release ‘Pedestrian Verse’
Melt Yourself Down ‘Fix My Life’ This is song is completely crazy, an erratic blend between gypsy jazz and dance – synths, brass and whoops all the way. It never fails to cheer me.
James Brown ‘I’ll Go Crazy’ I love James Brown but I’d never heard this song. It is INCREDIBLE.
Fleetwood Mac ‘Go Your Own Way’ – Fleetwood Mac are a band I go back to time and time again, I beliver this song to be one of the greats.
Bob Dylan ‘Hurricane’/Daft Punk ‘Get Lucky’ – An unlikely combination I’ve included both of these because my friend plays them on guitar and we all sing. Those moments are the best, I wish I could bottle them.
Mogwai/Explosions in the Sky/Yo La Tengo – I’m not going to choose anything in particular from these three, except to say they make for the best studying/working music I’ve ever found.
Lau ‘Throwing Pennies’ – Oh how I love Lau. The Scottish folk trio fuse traditional folk influences with an Orcadian beautiful vocal, original melodies and experimentation.
Hiss Golden Messenger ‘Drum’ – I got this on my ipod about a month ago, such a sweet and uplifting song.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra ‘Swim and Sleep Like a Shark’ – Eeeek I like this band a lot. It reminds me of sitting with my very good friend, saying very little.
That’s what’s in my mind right now…happy new year when it comes!
As is Willis Earl Beale’s Film Principles of the Protagonist: ‘a short film that’s actually about something’. I tried to embed for you lovely people it but it isn’t working for some unfathomable reason, so watch it via Exclaim! I’m a big fan of Beale’s music and illustrations, he’s a stunning raw talent. Here are some tracks for your listening pleasure.