So taking a leaf out of my favourite, and now regrettably less active, music blog FWBA, I am producing monthly (he says) mixes to go out at the beginning of every month. Now most people’s mixes are ultra clued in with the latest tracks you’re supposed to be listening to. My stance is that a mix should be something evocative of a time and place so should obviously include music you were listening to at the time, regardless of it’s altitude in the blogosphere.
As some of you may know I’m leaving the South-West behind to study a Masters degree in Edinburgh. A huge loss for Somerset but a massive gain for you as I will now be able to blog from an actual scene where actual music is getting made by actual people and there are, y’know, actual gigs and shows to go to. The plan is to produce some small fanzines (because I love inDesign) to accompany these mixes which will feature exclusive local talent so keep your eyes peeled for that man.
Anyway this mix is filled with tunes I’ve been listening to lately as well as some hastily selected music from the fairer, if colder, country in the British Isles. Along with the collection of Frightened Rabbit and My Latest Novel is some of the stuff I’ve been listening to whilst getting ready for this period of my young vagabond’s journey. And by journey I mean an 8 hour car drive with my Dad who still can’t get over how great AC/DC were. So naturally it’s a little ponderous and slow, sorry. There’s some newer stuff but the majority is historic, I promise I’ll get more cutting edge guys.
Red House Painters | Have You Forgotten (Vinyl Version)
Belle & Sebastian | Wrapped Up in Books
Hiss Golden Messenger | Brother Do You Know The Road?
Admiral Fallow | Guest Of The Government
My Latest Novel | Two Headed Boy (BBC Session, Neutral Milk Hotel Cover)
RHODES | Breathe
We Were Promised Jetpacks | Quiet Little Voices
Frightened Rabbit | Floating In The Forth
Raury & Vancouver Sleep Clinic | Superfly
Mo Kenney | Telephone
The Twilight Sad | Cold Days From The Birdhouse (Live)
Soak | The Mother We Share (CHVRCHES Cover)
Fiancé | Ivy
NICO | The Fairest Of Seasons
I’ve been a little slow on the new music discovery train recently due to endless amounts of packing required for my imminent move to the Scottish landscape that is Edinburgh for my Masters degree. I’ve seen Raury posted around a little but haven’t had the wherewithal to actually check it out until I saw him partnered with one of my all-time-favourites Vancouver Sleep Clinic, who is something of a Boin Iver-elect. Anyway, Raury’s debut EP (love Eps) is available here with a points target, because who doesnt love a game? And it’s an ideal procrastination effort for those of you stuck in an office all week ignoring co-workers idle chatter.
I was a little late to the party for Hong Kong, only getting in on the action as he announces his debut album “High Noon” scheduled for release on the 1st of September on Thumbs Off Records. What’s even better is the complete album is available to stream right now and I’ve included a link for all you lucky duckies. A must listen for those of you who ever listened to Elliot Smith and thought he personified your gawky teenage years. I’ve also included a link to the single “Late Bloomer” for those of you with short attention spans or little time.
So my listening history is best described as melancholic. I don’t know why but I just seem to be drawn to misery and despair in my heroes. That’s probably really unhealthy. However despite my love for Elliot Smith, Frightened Rabbit and other purveyors of all things sad I do often need to take time out and actually put on a track that doesn’t upset everybody.
“Whyte Horses” The Snowfall is the perfect end of summer track. It’s unpretentious and fizzes with that energy we all have once the impending reality of school/work dawns and we squeeze every last penny out of our wallets to waste on an incredibly good time.
The single is out on the 22nd of September on CRC Music.
RHODES are great. I remember hearing “Your Soul” on Soundcloud and shoving it on endless repeat (bit of a theme there) in the photo studios at university. The “Morning” EP was great and I’ve always felt that EP’s are an underrated format for music to be released. It’s like a light lunch. Small but delicious. Breathe is off the new EP “Home” and will be released on the 19th of September on his own “Rhodes Music” imprint so make sure to check it out. It’s ideal for the typical August rains we seem to be drowning in.
According to The 405 these are his upcoming tour dates:
Wed 17th LONDON, Koko (Supporting Hozier)
Thurs 18th PLYMOUTH, Pavillions (Supporting London Grammar)
Mon 20th LONDON, Oslo
Mon 27th MANCHESTER, Deaf Institute
Tue 28th NOTTINGHAM, Bodega
Thu 30th BIRMINGHAM, Hare & Hounds
Fri 31st GLASGOW, King Tuts
Sat 1st LEEDS, Brudenell Games Room
Sun 2nd BRIGHTON, Sticky Mikes
Wed 5th BRISTOL, Lantern
It’s not very often that song comes along that I continually procrastinate to press play again. Considering I’ve subjected my boss to the line “If I had another lover could I keep you on the side?” I’m pretty sure he’s going to kill me. The trade off here is that she’s inconceivably close to my own age which makes it impossible not to look at my own life and think “hmm, not quite enough effort there Steve.”
Kenney’s new album is out on September the 30th on Pheromone/New Scotland Records and can be preordered here.
I’ve always listened to music seasonally. I don’t know what it is but I have to match my music to the mood. I guess I’m not alone, you don’t see many people singing Jingle Bells in June. August for me has always leant my ear towards Americana. Once over the manic July party month August was always a moment of relaxation before the inevitability of education reared it’s head again. It would always allow me to retire into an idealised America of road trips, State lines and pancakes with bacon. Probably down to the fact that I’m English and so I haven’t had my “America Dream” crushed by cynical reality (we can still have the alfalfa Lenny).
“Field Report” are a band fronted by Chris Porterhouse, a former bandmate of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. “Home” is a gorgeous track from the upcoming album “Marigolden” out on October 7th on Partisan Records. It’s just ideal for that moment when you can leave for those idealistic and inevitably false pastures ahead. So listen hard and dream of apple pie amigos. Or, if you’re not an English idiot who read too much Kerouac, just listen to the song.
Okay so it’s time for my first ever album review so everyone strap in because it’s going to be Kubrick-esque in it’s originality and style. Only joking although I will almost certainly spill bias ebullient praise on this album as, and most of you will already know this, I am a huge fan of Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchinson.
Owl John for those who aren’t aware is Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchinson’s side-project. The self-titled album was released on the 4th of August (I would have been more prompt but Budapest has lousy wifi) and was the product of a needed creative output after extensive touring and recording. The clear need for creative output is evident in that it was only recorded in 2 weeks. I don’t know about anyone else but in 2 weeks I achieve slightly less.
As expected the album is no confident stride through 60s indie pop but a melancholic exploration for those of us who find black moods more of a permanent climate than passing cloud cover and it radiates with Hutchinson’s usual wit and subterfuge. “Cold Creeps” opens the album with subdued pianos and messy feedback guitars with Scott crooning over the top in his melancholic brogue “Cold creeps through my fingertips like the frost in the night” before building in a rousing progression.
Their are the more bombastic songs that we associate with Frabbit’s measured aggression in “Hate Music” and “Red Hand” but it’s in the details that “Owl John” really sets itself apart. “Songs About Roses” exemplifies Hutchinson’s perspective on current music and the false charade performed by our musical heroes. Lyrics such as “Chloroform the singer who has nothing to say and stare in wonder as the masses sing along anyway,” really ram home that their is a commodifying of false connections within the music industry which has been alluded to in many of Hutchinson’s interviews (if I ever interview the man I’ll buy every reader of this blog a beer.) The standout track though closes off the album in “Stupid Boy.” Stupid Boy resounds with crackling drums and melancholic piano as Hutchinson laments “How can I be such a stupid boy?”
Overrall the album is a worthy inductee into the great side albums and elevates Hucthinson’s musical canon much like “The Postal Service” did for Ben Gibbard or “Broken Bells” for James Mercer. It doesn’t depart dramatically from the music that made his name but Owl John develops a frustrated poet and places him amid an unfolding landscapes of otherworldly slide guitar and distorted vocals offering a more personal landscape in which to carve our melancholy.
The album is out now on Atlantic and is available to buy directly from the website.
So right now in the UK everyone’s going nuts on Adult Jazz. It seems this happens every summer, a band comes out of the woodwork just when you need it to inject some real phoenix-style revitalisation into your summer listening habits. In the NME (The Daily Mail of music journalism according to a good friend of mine) Adult Jazz are the next Alt-J. I get the comparison. Both play technically superb and subtle guitar based “indie” (gross word) that entwine with improvisational and superb lyrics. Both are from Leeds and both have the potential to strike the Summer sound waves with a flag of their own.
The difference is that Alt-J in Summer 2012 felt everlasting. That they would go on dominating forever and then as quickly as they shot onto the scene the slid off the map. Adult Jazz feel, at least to me, to have less a point to prove. Alt-J have already paved the way and Adult Jazz are able to release themselves from any and all boundaries and produce music really expansive without having to justify themselves. But hey, don’t take my word for it, listen to the track below and see why my opinion is gospel.
The album was released on August 4th 2014 but as I’ve been in Europe for 10 days I’m unfortunately a little late.. Get your perfect drinking companion straight from Adult Jazz.
When looking at Seafret’s sound cloud profile their description reads as follows “Acoustic duo, making songs for your ears.” I don’t know about you, but to me these sound like musical brewers making the perfect musical IPA for your Summer evenings.
I’ve always been partial to a simple acoustic track, I can’t help it I’m a melodic man. After finding the track on the excellent Scientists of Sound it’s been doing the rounds at the Beer for the Ear office (aka my childhood bedroom). It’s the kind of track that I pick up hundreds of on my sound cloud and play over and over again consistently as I work and study. The build up is perfect and the ease in means that it has both the potential to wash around as background music or swell into the forefront of your musical inebriation (the amount of beer puns this blog will be awash with is going to get silly). However it’s easy to separate the wheat from the chaff with these tracks, if they force you to put down your pen and replay it over and over then it’s a winner, if not then its basically hipster Enya. Fortunately this is in the former category, it’s fantastic.
Expect to see it on their debut EP to be released soon sharing the track name “Give Me Something” to be released on the 21st of September.