Sorry I’ve not been around much lately, I’ve been on the beach. Well, today anyway. So in the spirit of sacking work off mid afternoon and bolting for some sunny sandy fun, here’s a super up happy vibes tune from someone I just stumbled over online. I know nothing else of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down at all, apart from this song. If you have a passing interest in Feist, you may like it, if not, you may like it anyway if you like being happy. Cheers!
Part of the idea of spending a couple of months in Germany this year – besides improving my German, and doing some work, obviously – was the hope of being able to catch some of my favourite German artists who haven’t shown any signs as yet of making it over to the UK, and generally soaking up a bit of the music scene. Delighted to find that my beloved Zentralquartett are celebrating their 40th anniversary when I’m in Berlin in July with a cabaret extravaganza – radical poetry as well as anarchistic free jazz – and I grabbed a couple of tickets the moment this month’s pay went into my account. Last night, however, it was the turn of the Julia Huelsmann Quartet, a new partnership of the brilliant piano trio (there’s at least one person on this blog who shares my opinion on that, I know) with the British ex-pat trumpeter Tom Arthurs, playing in Bunker Ulmenwall in Bielefeld. I’m not sure I know of a finer jazz club, and certainly not one with this sort of history… Continue reading
My favourite description of Trwbador’s music is still the one offered by Radio Wales’ Adam Walton about their first EP: “There’s a wide-eared wonder and playfulness to their sound as if they were deserted at birth and raised by the instruments in the school music cupboard.” Their early songs were gorgeous but fragile, a delicate balance of Owain’s guitar and Angharad’s voice with subtle beats underneath, feeling like they needed cosseting from the big bad world – rather like new-born giraffes, matchstick legs sticking out at unusual angles. As their career progressed, the word ‘quirky’ was definitely called for: the mixture of Welsh and English, the juxtaposition of lovely pop/folk melodies and throwaway electronic experiments, the occasional lapses into giggly silliness (Google It) and unusual cover versions, generally featuring glockenspiel (Army Dreamers and Only Trust Your Heart), plus a guest spot on Cornershop’s 2012 Christmas single, Every Year So Different.
Now at last their debut album is here, and they’re all grown up…
As mentioned previously, I’m having to spend this month with my head down over the computer, meeting contractual obligations (20,000 words and counting…). This means that I have to ration not only my internet time, but also my music-listening time – generally I find listening to music helps me compose, but only certain sorts, and only if it’s already very familiar. New music is out.
So it’s absolutely bloody typical that this month seems to be bringing one album after another that I’d really like to explore. I got the new Tomasz Stanko for a birthday present yesterday, and haven’t yet managed to hear it all the way through (it’s a double album, which doesn’t help); one and a half listens of Wayne Shorter on Spotify, one listen of Mogwai, partial listen of David Bowie, and now I find that Brandt, Brauer & Frick, the German classical-meets-techno meisters, have released a new record as well, with more vocals than usual. It’s not fair…
As Director of Studies at the school I work for I’m quite used to interviewing people who include phrases such as “Play bass in a blues band at the weekends” or “Have released a couple of self-produced songs via the internet” and will admit to having a predisposition to listen to these candidates because I think the “front” it takes to do this sort of thing marries well with the type of work we do and is an indicator of the sort of confident and outgoing character I am looking for in potential colleagues. So when I met with Aaron Thomas a few weeks ago and invited him to work with us his “Professional musician: about to release my third album” on is CV was a pretty good clue as to how the interview would end. My colleague, Javier, who handles pay roll and contracts and was a concert promoter (still is part time) mentioned that Aaron’s name rang a bell but we didn’t investigate further.
Turns out that Aaron was being just a tad modest. He’s just released his third album and spends most weekends out of town on tour. He’s well known and well respected on a live music scene that unfortunately I just never seem to find time to investigate these days. He’s from Australia but has been living here in Madrid for a number of years now. He’d like his music to reach an English speaking audience and that’s why I’m posting this here. Let him know what you think in the comments. I hope he’ll have the chance to get back to you.
Another from the maki files. This is from last year, maki faves Reina Republicana vs Is on a neat coloured vinyl 7″. 3 tracks from Reina Republicana and 4 from Is. Here’s two from each.
Partly because it’s more or less the only song I could think of that’s on topic, but as I thought of it quite early on you may have missed the link to the rather amusing video, and partly to celebrate the start of Trwbador‘s album launch tour, which began in Carmarthen last night…
I woke up this morning to new My Bloody Valentine music, 22 years after they last released something. Thoughts?
I’m trapped in an abandoned building
Come find me now
We’ll hide out
We’ll speak in our secret tongues
Will you come back to my corner
Spent too long alone tonight
Would you come brighten my corner
A lit torch to the woodpile high
My current earworm is the Frightened Rabbit song, above, I love the you-and-me-against-the world lyrics, a bit soppy maybe but it’s the certain romance that appeals to me, I’ve always believed companionship to be the most important thing – so here are the woozy romantic questions:
1. What’s the sweetest, or most romantic thing you’ve ever done?
2. What’s the sweetest, or most romantic thing that’s been done in your direction?
3. What’s your favourite thing to take the edge off?
4. Did you ever run away anywhere? Where did you go, how far did you get, were you with anyone?
5. I know I banned music questions from EOTWQ, but what’s your favourite romantic lyric?
So last time I went all crowd-pleasey (or as crowd-pleasey as I can manage) with tasteful eclecticism. And this time… well, this time I’ve probably swung too far in the opposite direction and won’t be pleasing anyone whatsoever. Yes, folks, I’ve gone pop. Mainstream, well-known, pure and simple every time. Forgive me my synths, I know exactly what I do. Sadly…
Track and artist names (and a few short attempts at justification) after the jump…
The Black Angels: I dig their droney psyche doom pop the most, ya know?
This song is the first inkling of their fourth album, “Indigo Meadow”, which is agonisingly not out ’til April.
The Black Angels’ first album was also my 3rd favourite of the noughties, list fans.
Unrelated, but we are now only 9 posts off the 2,000 mark, so if anyone has any ideas about how to mark this, um, landmark – please say so in the comments. Cheers.
Remember 2012? Seems like a long time ago now doesn’t it? My plan was to post Part 1 followed shortly by Part 2 at the end of December. It then shifted to the beginning of January and I managed to post Part 1, confident that Part 2 would follow just a few days later. Anyway here it is. Part 3 is a theoretical possibility, depending on youtube links, but don’t hold your breath…
Due to popular demand, we are going to ‘Spillover….The Lemonheads!
For the most part (The) Lemonheads became in later years Evan Dando, and whoever he was hanging out with at the time, so we can also take Evan Dando solo songs too.
There are nine Lemonheads albums to choose from, plus singles, EPs, and lots of good covers to boot.
So, to perfect the perfect Lemonheads playlist, please nominate one or two tunes in the comments with a youtube or spotify link, please. I’m allowing more than one nomination, as possibly they may not be as well known as other bands we’ve ‘Spilt-over like the Stones, or Elbow.
So, do you like early noisy Lemonheads? Mid period strummy grungey Lemonheads? Quiet countryish Lemonheads? Acoustic gentle Lemonheads? Funny, romantic Lemonheads? Or the one about the gas man taking Evan’s old stove away?
Please also share any Lemonheads memories, ephemera, anecdotes, trivia, or nonsense.
I’m a massive fan, and have kicked off noms with an acoustic version of a song from their 4th album. The acoustic version was a b-side, but ended up on their greatest hits too. My favourite version of “Ride With Me” is a live acoustic one I taped off the radio back in 1992, but I’m not sure where the cassette is.
I never got round to doing a post on my albums of the year last year. I’m sure this was a profound disappointment to everyone, so here are 11 tracks from records I liked which I don’t think featured on the Festive ‘Spill (my own choices apart) or other people’s list.
You know the rules. Pick your favourite, pick your 11th favourite. And please feel free to mention any songs or albums from 2012 to which the Spill’s collective attention should be drawn.
As we’ve not had a post for today, I thought I’d sneak one in before bedtime. “The Mother We Share” by Chvrches has snuck up on me, catching it on the radio, then finding out that there’s some ‘Spill Scots indie faves in the band, specifically one former Twilight Sad member, and one from DsD’s besties list, the mighty Aereogramme. There may well be a glut of bad 80s influenced electropop kicking about at the moment, but this is simply a fab song, with a wee hint of the old Scots melancholic beauty to boot.
There’s a new (!!) Suede song here. It’s called “Barriers”, a taster for their new album which is due in March. I know there’s a lot of Suede fans on The ‘Spill, so I’m most interested to see what you think. Let’s discuss in the comments below!
I placed one of their songs on my festive top three for 2010 and some of you may remember their power-pop piano-based glory. This is songwriter Mike Lord’s first video, to his own song, the opener from their 2nd LP Colour Me Red. Pop sensibility 2013 style.
I’m sure you’ve all been wondering that. The answer is more of the same of course. There are ageing punks out there still releasing records, and that’s what I’ve been buying. That said it’s not been the best year for me for music. Part of that has been due to wyngate jnr of course, who is generally either wanting attention or asleep – neither are ideal for giving a pile of 7”s a proper listen (7”s still a favourite format for old punks). For some reason it also seems to be getting harder to find stuff with the continued rise of the internet. I know the opposite is supposed to be true, but the diy distros that stocked loads of stuff have gradually disappeared and everything seems to be more fragmented. I’ve also not heard many new bands that have done much for me, and those that have are usually new bands formed by people who have been around for years in other bands so that doesn’t quite count. Anyway here’s some of the stuff I’ve been sneaking off to listen to on flimsy pretexts
Former Beta Band frontman Steve Mason’s 2010 album was voted best of the year in the ‘Spill album of the year awards, and now he’s back with a follow up. In revolutionary mode, “Fight Them Back” is primo Mason, with the signature dual vocal melody outro in place and a scathing Tony Blair sample to finish with. I bloody love it, goosebumps time, and yeah it’s about time the corrupt capitalist system got a boot in the face.
Earlier today, at a hastily assembled United Nations summit, Blimpy’s nether regions announced their favourite albums of the year. Which are as follows:
1. “Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose” Beth Jeans Houghton & the Hooves Of Destiny
2. “Secret Soundz Vol.2″ The Pictish Trail
3. “Lonerism” Tame Impala
4. “Tramp” Sharon Von Etten
5. “Pop EP” Carousels
In summary; a good year overall for skewed psychedelic wonk-pop, noise, & yearning. Cheers!
Counting down the hours until this evening’s Spill Awards ceremony, to be beamed in from a top-secret location (still making final arrangements with NASA, Deutsche Bahn and First Capital Connect to get all the special guests there more or less on time), I haven’t forgotten that I promised to give everyone the chance to mention stuff you’ve discovered or rediscovered in 2012 that was released some time earlier. For me, it was Blanck Mass; never heard of them before the Olympics, and to be honest at the time their song didn’t particularly stand out compared with all the other music at the opening ceremony, but a few days later I came across a reference to the sheer weirdness of giving such a prominent role to a side project of a group called, of all things, Fuck Buttons (nope, hadn’t heard of them neither), and just had to give it a listen. Magnificent stuff, and for a change I’m only a couple of years late in picking up on it…
So, what about you?
The ‘Spill is a member of the Scottish Bloggers and Music Sites network, and like the last three years, were invited to vote in this years best record poll, run by the always excellent Peenko blog. Previous winners were The National, Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells, The Phantom Band. It’s an interesting poll, as it’s taking the views of 40 odd Scottish music sites, it often times throws up some interesting, otherwise obscured, albums.
- Chris Devotion & The Expectations – Amalgamation & Capital
- Paul Buchanan – Mid Air
- The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know
- We Are The Physics – Your Friend, The Atom
8th – Admiral Fallow – Tree Bursts In Snow
7th – Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
6th – Miaoux Miaoux – Light Of The North
5th – Errors – Have Some Faith In Magic
4th – RM Hubbert – Thirteen Lost & Found
3rd – PAWS – Cokefloat!
2nd – Django Django – Django Django
You can hear music from all the artists over on Peenko as well as read an interview with Neil from Meursault accepting the award (yes, it is BAMS Buckie…)
One of the ‘Spill traditions is of course to note the passing of great musicians, and others, in the last twelve months – normally, with the effect of shocking us all at (a) how many, and (b) what amazing, people have died. It does feel as if 2012 has been a particularly active year for the grim reaper; I’ve gone with just two who meant a lot to me, and I’m sure there are loads I’ve forgotten. Which of this year’s sadly missed touched your life the most?
I think my love of Fence Records is shared by a good few ‘Spillers, so let’s draw some festive attention to a new release from them. It’s a split 7″ with previews from two of Fence’s top artists of their forthcoming LPs. The Pictish Trail has moved to the Isle of Eigg and has finally managed to follow up his amazing Secret Sounds Vol 1 in his Eigg caravan. That’s him there with his new flock. “The Handstand Crowd” is a slow burn beauty with King Creosote on the accordion. It’s not as immediate as the sublime “Michael Rocket”, a contender for tune of the year (if it’s not in Saneshane’s Festive ‘Spill I will be very surprised) from a few months back, but it is lovely. I saw Pictish play live last, backed by Eigg’s own metal band Massacre Cave (not bad considering Eigg has a population of just over 100), and it was stupendous. They really were his (metal) Crazy Horse.
The flip is new material from Kid Canaveral, which I am so glad to hear. I love them, I really do. A long time coming, but well worth the wait. Yearning, anthemic, fab, and gets better with each listen. It tackles the current drawing in of the light hours up here in Scotland as we descend into another dark season of the soul.