A belated Happy New Year from me! I’m looking forward to lots of new music. Let’s start with WOLF, a Scottish artist I saw and loved last year at Summerhall. Her Black Rabbit split single was released yesterday and it is lovely.
I saw the beautiful Anais Mitchell live at Summerhall, Edinburgh. She played beautiful songs you can sink right into. I also her love her image – effortlessly cool 90s grunge. Listen to this one from her new album Xoa. It sends shivers.
I also recommend Why We Build the Wall
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
This song from 25 year old Danish singer Majke Voss Romme hit my inbox this week, great listening. Her album comes out in April via antirecords.
American singer-songwriter Angel Olsen is an artist I heard of last year through her 2012 release Half Way Home. New album Burn Your Fire For No Witness is one of the best records I’ve stumbled on in a long time: it begs to be listened to all the way through and is wholly addictive. I’ve listened to it over and over again – it makes you want to even though you know you shouldn’t because eventually you might ruin it for yourself.
Olsen’s voice goes from honeyed to wild, fierce and rasping, her lyrics project straightforward truths, her musicianship is crafted and poignant. Like all great music emotions – heartache, loneliness, desperation, anger and serenity – ring right through it.
Burn Your Fire For No Witness a subtly dazzling collection of songs with a rare and beautiful kind of timelessness. Befriend them.
This is really very good.
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 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.
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!
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’.
2010, a time when I used to spend all my lunch hours in Fopp. The 2CD collection comes in a pretty fold out box.
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
Singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni hails, like me, from the Highlands. I’d heard her name on blogs and gig listings for a while before I managed to properly listen to her music, in the form of the beautiful Eggshells and Black Currents EPs. Hers is a beguiling influx of delicate melodies, strummed out acoustic guitar and divine vocal wrapped around fresh, honest lyrics. I lent both CDs to my little sister (see previous post), proof I think her music is pretty special.
Here Rachel talks about her admiration for a musical contemporary – Miss Irenie Rose…
Rachel Sermanni plays…Miss Irenie Rose
I first met this lady on the Island upon which she lives, Lewis. One of Stornoway’s pubs was hosting an open mic. This is when I first heard her play and since then I have been enchanted. When you listen to her songs you feel like they have been with you always and that you don’t know how you lasted so long not realising. They are beautiful and true. Just like her.
We spoke about wanting to become pirates and, at the same and parallel moment, wanting to become ladies of effortless elegance (we’re both a bit trampish). Then when she started singing she became more woman than every other in the pub… man. Woman.
She has ONE EP just now. On it are the songs Rascal, River, My mamma Says, Blow away…
Miss Irenie Rose also has a quite lovely session in the Wee Studio, featuring another song of hers ‘What You Fancy’…
As f0r Rachel Sermanni’s lovely music watch The Waltz, this song is sublime…
Also I love The Fog. Once ran down the street to the chorus with my eyes closed. I see your dubious face, but this you should try.