Saturday, 29 August 2009

10 songs I love right now (8) - 28/08/09

Belle and Sebastian - Act of the Apostle II

The sound of the summer. Along with Song for Sunshine, this song has taken the credit for all the happiness recently. With wonderfully sardonic self-critical lyrics, it bounces along with upbeat piano chords and gentle dual vocals, until the original tune of Act of the Apostle returns, seamlessly, and the softness of edgy melancholy returns. Very pretty, but multi-layered.

Helsinki - Cheer Up Goth Kid

The title of this song is quite ironic, with this being one of the most emotionally tense and 'black' tracks Drew McConnell has ever aired. Surprisingly Biffy Clyro-esque in lots of ways (instrumentation, vocal layering, dynamics, the 'aaaaaah' section towards the end), Cheer Up Goth Kid sums up an emotion perfectly, I think. When he sings "December", I actually feel for him, deeply. Ask me if you want this track, I can send it, I know it's pretty rare.

Louise Attaque - J't'emmène au vent

This French song came to my attention via a Helsinki live cover, and it's very upbeat and lively. The lyrics are charming but uninspiring end-of-relationship lyrics when translated from French, but it's the fun folk-rock backing with fiddles, and the novelty of the strong French voice, which make this song great for me.

Reuben - Stealing Is Easy

From the new rarities album We Should Have Gone To University, Stealing is Easy has soundtracked a difficult little patch of my existence with its unsympathetic-yet-empathetic lyrics and loud guitar parts. Thanks Reuben.

Sonic Youth - Shadow of a Doubt

I am glad Kim Gordon is in Sonic Youth for this track alone. Usually, her breathy vocals and simple lyrics seem to add nothing to records, but on EVOL, she stands out more, and with better results. This track in particular is made superbly atmospheric and unusual by her sighs and whispers and yelps, and the simplicity of the lyrics describing the strange scene on a train. I love it - percussive sounds and an oriental edge perfect what is already very enthralling.

Belle and Sebastian - We Are the Sleepyheads

We Are the Sleepyheads encapsulates what Belle and Sebastian do so well: put melancholy and bitter lyrics over upbeat and uplifting music. Because of the relentless guitar strumming and cheery rhythms and harmonies, the line "We've been in this town so long we may as well be dead" actually brings a smile to the face. You can think 'so true!' without it bringing you down.

Amy Winehouse - Me & Mr. Jones

I wasn't impressed with this track when the album Back to Black came out, but I've come to realise it's a good song. It showcases Amy's voice and her talent as a songwriter: it's angry, witty, sarcastic and flirtatious all at the same time. Like a strong woman - like Amy Winehouse minus media image.

The Libertines - Dilly Boys

If you don't particularly like the idea of Pete Doherty dressed as a rent boy ("hands on hips, pout on lips") then don't worry, this song has much more to offer. An uplifting chorus that has you smiling along, and then a soft, tender bit at the end, and rather poetic lyrics in the verses which withstand some, if not too much, thinking about.

Reuben - Ways of Staying Pure

Opening with Jamie Lenman's terrific voice singing, rather sexily, "Yesterday was quite a day, and I've been a bad boy", this song is killer, no filler, all the way through. As if I'm not hooked in already, it's packed with loud/quiet sections, a 'big' guitar sound, brittle yet rich harmonies and a wonderful gentle part past half way through with a round of "Oh-ooh-oh-ooh" and then screaming! Excellent! For similar brilliance (with more 'emo' tendencies, however), see Words From Reuben.

Bright Eyes - Coat Check Dream Song

I'm not as impressed by Bright Eyes as I'm told I should be, but I like this track. More atmospheric and more enticingly sung, it is my favourite on the album, and also the most experimental (less Bob Dylan copying, in other words.).

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

New Reuben Review at The 405

I have officially posted my first ever 9 out of 10 on The 405. Reuben's new album, a B-sides and rarities release, is definitely the best album I've ever got for free! I made my love clear here at The 405.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Other Language Music

I don't listen to a huge amount of overseas music, mainly because I only speak other languages poorly, but I do have recommendations if you feel like branching out.

The first is a band gained from my mother, a German punk band called Ton Steine Scherben. Their message was decidedly anti-establishment, and if you speak German or fancy a day on Google translator, you can hear a million and one topical references of the time. I haven't translated every song, but I still enjoy them for their punk energy and the different sound of German vocals.

The Tropicália movement stands out next. Originating in South America, it was a 1960s Latin/Rock fusion movement, as well as an Art movement, again very against the dictatorial governments of the time. It's exciting because it was so disallowed, so new and fresh. Virtuoso musicians play Beatles-and-Stones-esque rock over Latin beats, with some really poetic Portugese lyrics (they even sound poetic.) Probably my favourite of the artists is Caetano Veloso: his music just stands out to me as the best, and he also sings in English from time to time.

A more recent one now: Louise Attaque. They're a French folk/rock band who write lovely little ditties. I like their late nineties music particularly, eespecially the wonderful track J't'emmène au Vent. The lyrics of that are repetitive enough to pick up as well.

Lastly, I'm going to give you a free download. I don't think Drew McConnell would mind so much - it's a testament to his brilliant Spanish. This is Helsinki - Lagrimas de Oro (Golden Tears), live. Love it.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Sound of the Summer

Undoubtedly, some artists have a talent for making music for the summer. I was only ever a casual Zutons fan, but they are just made for soundtracking the sun and the picnics and the joy of summer days out. I also feel that about The Coral (don't tell me you haven't smiled from cheek to cheek listening to In The Morning on the radio), The Holloways and the fantastic Yeti. There are others, but those sound like pure summer to my ears.

This year, it appears Belle and Sebastian are going to take the credit for the sunshine. I am several years late (again), but if you haven't heard them, I'd really recommend giving them a listen, while the sky's still blue and evenings are still light. They're 'harmless', if you want to be condescending...but I don't. They're indie pop at its most charming, lively and summery.