As a new month begins I always think I’m going to struggle to fill this monthly roundup with music that I really want to listen to more than once and can honestly recommend, then by the third week I realise a cruel cull is required just to keep things manageable. There’s a lot of good music being made and May was no exception as a late flurry of impressive tunes entered the Scots Whay Hae! mailbox to make the final cut.
Add those to those new releases from favourite bands and I fear this is going to be another bumper selection, although I’m never quite sure until the end. Let’s begin.
First off are French Wives who have released some great singles and EPs over the years. May saw the release of their long awaited debut album Dream of the Inbetween and it continues the good work. They make the sort of guitar based music that music journos used to label ‘angular’ and ‘spiky’. They could definitely do you a mischief. From the album this is Numbers:
Maple Leaves are a band who have a wonderful way with a melody and a confidence in their music which belies their small recorded output, and in singer Anna Miles they have simply one of the best voices around. Their 2010 EP Golden Ether was one of my favourite releases of that year, and it has seemed an age waiting for the follow up. It has now arrived in the shape of the EP Robots, from which this is the title track:
After that fairly gentle start, next is a magnificent slab of noise which shuffles towards the heavier end of shoegazing. The band are Sonic Heart Foundation and I’m reminded of Curve, Bauhaus, My Bloody Valentine…actually, using a very specific reference, this track is like The Jesus and Mary Chain covering The Sisters of Mercy. This is The Storm:
Some of the most evocative and beautiful music is placed under that much derided label of folk. It’s an attitude which I’ve never understood. We’re all folk. Those who dismiss the music are only harming themselves as they are missing out on the work of James Yorkston, Alasdair Roberts, Meursault, Luke Joyce (I Build Collapsible Mountains) and so much more. This month the singer/songwriter Gary Stewart was brought to my attention and this is his EP Year And A Day. I think it’s rather gorgeous:
Next is a piece of melodic guitar pop that reminds me of lots of records which I have sitting on my shelves, the sort of sound that Scots bands seem to excel at. It could have been made at any time over the last few decades, which in this case is a good thing. From their debut EP Misery Lake, out today! (1st June),this is Yesterday by The Seven Deadly Sins:
Capitals release All These Years, their second single in as many months (you can hear the first by going to mad-march-hae). It’s more lovely electronic pop music that is perfect for the recent weather. The B-side (you know what I mean) Ode To An End is a more melancholy track which is unexpected and which suggests that they are going to make a great album someday. Working as fast as they seem to I hope to hear it soon. Here are both songs:
Stupidly, I kind of dismissed Human Don’t Be Angry after seeing them play live at this year’s Margins Festival. Although I enjoyed the set, I didn’t think it was anything special and thought that I’d heard similar music done better by the likes of Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai. I was persuaded to give the album another chance, and thank god I did (cheers Rodge) as it has been played here, there and everywhere over the last month. To be fair, what didn’t come across in that Arches gig was the influence of the electronic music of the late 70s/early 80s. There’s some Tubeway Army, pre-Dare Human League and the electronic drum sound that typified much of that music. But dinna fash Middleton fans, there’s still the melancholy, guitar and reflective lyrics that you have come to know and love. As if to make my point about the importance of the 80s, this is the single 1985:
The other albums that you should consider which were released in May are Old Jack’s Windowless Playhouse from Mummy Short Arms, Mid Air by Paul Buchanan and Tree Bursts in Snow by Admiral Fallow. I’ve written about the first two a lot over the last few months so I won’t labour the point except to say they’re both excellent, but I have to post the video for Admiral Fallow’s Tree Bursts as it’s an absolute corker:
That’s a lot of music, but there was more good stuff that didn’t quite make it, something which is always a good sign. Now, what’s next?