Weekend Wind Down
Music can evoke memories much like smell. Ben Folds Five’s ‘Brick’ reminds me of my red-head twin friends (one of which is a huge BFF fan) and their indoor swimming pool. Ben Lee’s ‘Cigarettes Will Kill You’ reminds me of a party my sister threw in the backyard, where I threw a sparkler into the air and lit the tree on fire. When these songs play the memories come unbidden, just as the smell of mangoes recalls Christmas.
And so I wonder, what if we missed an important song? And it was a song that everyone else knew? Okay, so the playing field has been levelled since the nineties, and it’s much easier to miss a song. But there is still a hyped world of music and it moves fast. For this wind down mix I have plucked out some songs I think I’ve missed, recently. Other songs are a return to artists I think the public has kinda missed. Pausing for thought can be useful, even if you feel like a dag when you realise Sia has released TWO singles this year already.
The name Wye Oak jumps out at me, and so it bloody should. The duo supported The National, and their debut album Civillian is very guitar focussed; tender, blissfully flawed and vulnerable. The recent follow up, Shriek, which moves into new territory (as it should) lacks the approachable charm of the first. So here I share the song that was apparently on ads for The Walking Dead and probably played in the background while a patient died in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Now this is a weird one because I actually saw Blood Orange supporting Florence and the Machine. I went with my boyfriend at the time, and we had decided on delicious Mamak for dinner because it was close to the venue. We didn’t want to miss any of the show so we got to Mamak early, bottle of wine in tote. What we didn’t anticipate was that Mamak is a ridiculously well-oiled machine and so within ten minutes all our food had arrived. We hurried down the food and wine, and with time to spare made our way to a nearby pub. We drank some more and then got more drinks at the venue to further wet our whistles. And then Blood Orange came on.
It suffices to say we didn’t really “get” what Blood Orange was trying to do and in some ways, despite repeated listening, I am still unsure. But I heard this song very recently and something finally struck through. I wonder if he played it at the gig all that time ago?
These guys don’t seem terribly appreciated by enough, and it took me long enough to listen. I stumbled across the video for ‘Never/Figure’ and it reminded me a bit of Health. Nice! But there’s a richer funk, if you actually take the bloody time to LOOK INTO THEM. So I saw the cool video and loved the song ‘Never/Figure’ and then probably made some toast and tea and just forgot about it until I stumbled across a Twin Shadow remix of No Love last week. My 2013 may have been totally different if I’d sung a mantra like “this time no love’s what I need”.
Hjaltalin released the cutest, loveliest song many years ago, and sadly the band never quite took flight. ‘Traffic Music’ had a way of effortlessly lifting everyone’s spirits. I mean how great is the chorus line: “If you paint a turtle red it won’t go faster. It’s best to leave it be and keep it green”!
While their music stays lovely, it’s not usually quite so whimsical, and maybe that’s why I stopped following them. But I recently looked them up and they’re still going, yay! It looks like they’ve been doing music for a silent feature film?
They’ve also recently played for KEXP (see below). Still great!
There he always is, artfully plucking and waving his arm back and forth, singing his quirky tunes. But is anyone apart from musos listening to Owen Pallett? Because you should be! He manages to stay a little under the radar. I remember going to see him perform in Sydney and he was masterful. But around that time The National were performing too (all as part of the Sydney Festival) and I’d chosen Owen over The National (having to choose because I’m perpetually broke). But I’d seen The National in Brooklyn so this seemed like a no brainer… Until Owen told us he was supporting The National.
The understated beauty in San Mei’s music can’t be ignored, and yet she is still relatively “lesser known”. There is a beautiful peak moment in Wars which reminds me of Siouxsie & the Banshees. I’ve blogged about San Mei before but here she really takes off, and shows she is just as relevant as BANKS.
There is something to be said about how well Soundcloud is doing, and I worry about it remaining ad free. But one thing I especially love about it is that artists pop mixes up all the time! And some of the mixes are pure genius. I highly recommend the Slumber Sessions on i-D’s page and the Monday Morning Mixtapes by Stamp the Wax.
And it was on one of the i-D mixes (by someone called Sega Bodega) that I first heard Kwes (opened with the song ’36’). Such soul! I went off and found ‘lgoyh’ (let go of your hurt) and now it’s probably the most circulated song in my library so far this year (despite it being a few years ‘old’).