Things that are making me smile No1: Sun Kil Moon ‘UK Blues’

So. Sun Kil Moon lyrics have been making me smile recently. I love his style of story telling. There’s a bit of ‘novelty’ about this track but it never fails to make me smile. I really like his voice. The album is really worth a listen. Its not a stone cold classic but if you like this then it be worth a listen.

Lyrics below – track on video.

UK Blues by Sun Kil Moon

Arrived in Helsinki, tired and sticky
My body hit the bed, I almost fell dead
Got to the venue, they ink-stamped my wrist, waitress asked me Mark…
Meat or white fish?
Got up on the stage, the sound it was ok
But I struggled like a marlin on an unlucky day
Tried a few new songs, they looked at me like what?
Where’s Katy Song, Mistress and Grace Cathedral Park?

Finland, Finland
So many trees, John Denver would be pleased
Finland, Finland
Cold as ice but the waitress she was nice

Met a Finn after. She was thin as a waif.
Big viking stepped in, big old oaf named Leif
Went back to my room, alone and I cried
been a year to the day, that my Kit Kat died
Left Helsinki, the next stop was Aarhus
A taxi, two airplanes, and a fucking shuttle bus

Denmark, Denmark
Everybody’s white, everyone rides bikes
Denmark, Denmark
Everyone rides bikes, everybody’s white

Left for London via Copenhagen, for a concert in the park at 1:30pm
Got up on the stage, people gathered round
Retro 80s band… drownded out my sound
went and got my check, went back to my room
Feeling suicidal, feeling full of gloom
Turned on the TV, there was rioting & stuff…
As if this city isn’t depressing enough

London, London
It’s all the rage if your favorite color’s beige
London, London
Look right, look left, makes me think of death

Off to Manchester, then to Bristol
Had a show on a boat, it was half full
Guy in the front, heckled me all night
Skin was a sickly mix of grey, pink, and white
Went back to my room, more riots on the news
Homesick as fuck, I got the UK blues

Bristol, Bristol
Cobblestone streets, people missing teeth
Bristol, Bristol
Is this really what people eat?

Back to London, then to Belfast
Had to catch a plane, had to get there fast
Had to get a room, had to change my clothes
Had to change my strings, check my sound and play a show
Had to meet some friends, had to take a bath
Had to catch a flight, going home at last.

Belfast, Belfast
Out the taxi window cows sleeping on the grass
Belfast, Belfast
Out the taxi window cows sleeping on the grass

February: Mutual Benefit: ‘Love’s Crushing Diamond’

Mutual Benefit: 'Love's Crushing Diamond'

As you all know I’ve deliberated considerably over my choice for this month’s album. I don’t know why cause as I write this, I am listening to my choice and it enchants me.

The first time I heard it I had decided it was my next album of the month. Why did I question this? I think cause I approach these album choices with a different head on each time. Of course I want to bring music I love to the table but I also don’t want to bring something that brothers find impenetrable. I don’t think anyone could describe this as impenetrable but learning as we go with different choices, our reactions can be quite unpredictable.

As I said, this album enchants me. I find it a little magical. It feels special to me. I hope that these descriptors don’t sound like wanky hyperbole cause I have chosen them quite carefully.

This is, as far as I can make it entirely analogue in its instrumentation but there is something to its richness that reminds me of atmospheric electronica. There is a lot to listen to but it is not dense or murky in its spacing (or lack of). There is separation between sounds, instruments and the many vocal tracks. I know I always say this but this deserves to be listened to through headphones.

You’ll notice I’ve not linked a video or track. I’ve not mentioned a genre though my discussion of instrumentation may lend some clue as to what is coming. I hope you enjoy coming at this one fresh.

Brother Guy, you’ve mentioned listening to our albums on the way to work. This is the kind of music I love to listen to while walking, tubing etc in London. Serenity to match the mad dash of rush hour. I hope that this is a fine accompaniment to the commute.

Be still my beating Beck heart

Too many people still associate Beck with the stoner/turntablist sound of Loser/Odelay, or maybe his Prince-lite Mindnite Vultures persona. Me, I’m all about the exquisitely chiselled, swoonsome misery of the melodies of Sea Change, which iIMHO was one of the finest records of the Noughties (ach, such a terrible word. Why isn’t there a better one?). Anyway, the rumour is that the new album is a return to that lush introspection and if this first song is anything to go by, count me *excited*!

East India Youth

So 2014 already has its first great album. Found this via a recommend from a music journo on Twitter. It is INCREDIBLE. E I Youth are a one man outfit who runs the gamut from soaring synth pop anthems to Bowie in Berlin style moody instrumentals and anxious housey workouts. It’s a proper album and I’m LOVING it.

Bangers!

MeatTransmission

I’ve started doing a radio show on Meat Transmission, which is part of the Meat Liquor stable, in Hoxton. It’s a mate of mine, Tom Real, and me, playing just big party records, or BANGERS. It started off as a night at the Big Chill (which got WAY out of hand usually), but it’s translated as fun fun fun to the radio. It’s not serious, unless having a hilarious two hours is serious. SonOfBangers is two shows old, and on every other week in 2014, and it’s just 120 minutes of us playing a loosely thrown-together mix of hip-hop, house, d’n’b, rave, funk, soul, disco. You name it.

Have a listen, hope you enjoy it.

January 2014: Lorde’s Pure Heroine

 

So, I’m late to Lorde’s album, only by a couple of months, but it’s been worth the wait. The hype’s been around for months and months, following her single, Royals, earlier in the year, which I’d realised had permeated my brain thanks to the peerless 6Music, which seems to sow the seeds of records I like without me even realising it on a weekly basis (see also: Midlake).
Let’s look at the facts: Lorde is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor (yeah, Lorde’s easier, isn’t it?), a 17-year old New Zealander from Auckland. She first came to prominence with her Love Club EP back in the second half of last year (when she was still 15!), and this album was produced by local Joel Little. What’s it like? Well, it’s very modern electronic pop, if we’re going to get all genre-y. You can see the influences – she’s often cited James Blake’s sparseness – and it’s pretty stripped back, with clever, barbed lyrics, very much showing a love for hip-hop, but putting it in the prism of a girl that, at the time, had never left her home country, it’s pretty startling that it’s actually written by someone that’s tucked away in the end of the southern hemisphere. And that’s not being patronising, it’s just that it’s an unlikely result of such a situation, especially in terms of her age (one lyric on the album states “pretty soon I’ll be on my first plane”, which says it all).
But it’s a great example of lyrics and songs that a 25-year old over here may have written, but likely with songwriters and other producers behind her, as soon as the hype machine took hold. While those not in the know (or too lazy) dismissed her as another record-company construct, she’s the opposite, arriving as a pretty fully-formed artist, most likely a product and a benefit of the cultural or musical isolation of sorts. There’s hints of stuff like James Blake, Massive Attack’s more Spartan arrangements, Lana Del Rey’s languid style (which she’s also stated as an influence) and most obviously the xx (minus the guitars). Most of the album’s dubby pop, but there are a few dancefloor moments too. And there’s a good slab of irony in there, which sings to my ears. Having been to NZ a few times – and this is no slight, as it’s an amazing place – the ennui that also sits throughout the album isn’t faked. Small-town life out there is pretty dry when you’re near to Auckland, let alone coming from London.
I’ve only had a week or so with this album, so my opinions aren’t fully formed yet either, but it’s clear that Lorde’s a precociously talented artist. There’s a bit of a dip in the middle of the album, but then considering that I was busy drinking cider and scooting around Surrey in my Mini at 17, and she’s writing music like this, I can’t really get my head around just what it must take to do that at that age. And most of all, it’s refreshing to have someone emerge like this from an unlikely location, without the taint of record companies and hype or being pushed to work with producers or use songs written for her. Only time will tell how she develops, and one would hope that, while she absorbs the expanding world around her, it doesn’t affect her ability to do what she does.
She’s touring now, especially in the States, where I think her songs will go down as well as they do in the UK, and I can’t wait for her next album.
Enjoy, brothers!