LISTENINGS 18/07/2012

OLD, NEW, BORROWED AND BLUE

Here we go, a quick round-up of some of the music that has been floating around my brain for the last few days. It’s a relatively mellow collection of four, loosely bundled into a four heading structure with links, videos and blurbs. This’ll be a recurring round-up, though who can know what form future editions will take? Let’s begin by seeing just how much one man with a microphone, a violin and a loop machine can accomplish in seven minutes. Quite a lot, as it turns out.

OLD

ARTIST: Andrew Bird
TRACK: Plasticities
ALBUM: Armchair Apocrypha
SECOND BITE: Masterfade (from A Mysterious Production of Eggs)

Long before KT Tunstall sprang to fame with this Jools Holland performance, Andrew Bird was perfecting the art of building huge sounds solo with loop machines, a guitar, a violin, a great voice and an absurd talent for whistling. This video is from his From the Basement performance in 2008. The two minute orchestral outro is shockingly beautiful. That kicks in at about the five minute mark.

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NEW

ARTIST: Alt-J
TRACK: Tesselate
ALBUM: An Awesome Wave
SECOND BITE: Intro

Word of Alt-J’s stand out Latitude performance recently put me on to this four piece out of Cambridge. The album (free to listen too in its entirety via the Soundcloud link above – all bands should do this), is well worth a proper sit-through if you enjoy Tesselate, below. It’s about a man who likes triangles and tessellating, and probably also spoons, and spooning. The lyrics evoke a confusing sequence involving shapes, sex and sharks. The video, meanwhile, provides “a twist on Italian Renaissance painter Raphael’s ‘The School of Athens‘, set in a modern day gangster’s paradise.” Smash all of those concepts together in your mind with the aid of this:

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BORROWED

ARTIST: Chew Lips
TRACK: Karen
ALBUM: Chew Lips
SECOND BITE: Salt Air

By a breath of fortune the band supporting Metric in London a couple of weeks ago happened to be excellent. They’re called Chew Lips. Bad name, good band. By force of sheer passion, singer ‘Tigs’ blasted through traditionally muddy support act mixing to deliver a great set, which made yoinking a flyer feel like a good idea. Karen felt like the “in” for me when I remembered to follow up on that performance with listens at home, so I’ve embedded the video below. It features an androgynous bloke and a girl frolicking in an apartment with a dove. I’d suggest that we need sturdier rules concerning the use of doves in foreplay, but check 1:10, that bird dives right in of its own accord, the frisky avian.

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BLUE

ARTIST: Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo
TRACK: Nostalgia
ALBUM: Despite The Snow
SECOND BITE: Pause

Wallander is back on the BBC! Good news for fans of existential angst, murder, bleak monochrome landscapes and lovely, sad folk music. Wallander’s intro theme is a specially recorded version of Nostalgia, which I couldn’t find, so I’ve slotted in the original version instead. It does the job quite nicely. The second bite, Pause, was the theme for glacial BBC murder thriller, The Shadow Line, which doesn’t help the vague feeling that I’m about to be serial-killed to death whenever Emily Barker pops into an iPod playlist. Your experience may differ.

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