May was a hell of a month, and this is a bumper roundup to prove it. Even then there is a lot of great music which missed out from featuring for reasons of time, space and sanity. As well as what follows there was a return to form from Primal Scream, a fantastic Optimo compilation, a swooningly gorgeous new album by The Pastels, and Young Fathers, who featured in last month’s roundup, and who finally got their debut album Tape Two released
But that’s what you could have won, this is the stuff that moved me, shook me and turned me upside down over the last four weeks, a month that saw winter become summer with apparently no need for spring in between, which, oddly, is reflected in the following choice of songs. There is light, but also plenty of shade; just as it should be.
First off is EP of the month. It’s from Glasgow’s Fake Major, it’s called Have Plenty of Fun, all four tracks on it are just terrific, and I urge you to get yourself a copy. You won’t regret it. There’s a hint James Yorkston, and a bit of Kid Canaveral, but Fake Major have hooks, melodies and tunes which are all their own. Here’s the first track on the EP, this is Little Researchers:
As someone who used to consider Wednesday as his favourite day of the week because that’s when the music weeklies came out, I’m well versed in the music mag cliche. Those people who are the ‘love-child’ of ‘insert singer A’ and ‘insert singer B’, guitars which are ‘angular’, malnourished singers who are described as ‘waifs’ or, worse, ‘willowy’, and many bands who were ‘seminal’, (Ughh!). But I embrace such cliche, you may have noticed, and the term ‘sonic cathedral of sound’ could have been coined for the music played by Sonic Hearts Foundation. They have a new single out, and it is loud, proud and fabulous. This is Northern Lights:
King Eider play the blues, and if you’re feeling that way too then this will soothe and inspire you. Wonderful music, with some of the loveliest harmonies I have heard in a long time. I listen to a lot of music for this roundup, and you know something’s good when you stick it back on immediately to hear it again. The playing is just superb. I even detected a hint of The Waterboys in there, and I don’t praise higher than that. Have a listen and see that I’m right. This is Drink Me Dry:
Woodenbox are the latest band to be released on the always tasteful Olive Grove Records, and, whisper it, but they could be their best signing yet. Or maybe their Young Soul Rebels era Dexys crossed with Little Feat sound fitted the sunshine of the last week, or maybe I’m simple addicted to hyperbole. Judge for yourself, but if this doesn’t raise your spirits and move your extremities I would contact your GP as soon as possible. From the album Endgame, this is Roll For Me:
Sparrow and the Workshop are back, a reason for all to celebrate, but they have obviously been to some dark and scary places since their last album, as this is more atmospheric and gothic than I remember previously. Luckily, this feel adds extra depth and a sense of danger to their pop sensibilities. If you want some touchstones, think Sons and Daughters produced by Phil Spector with Poison Ivy on guitar and you are getting close. Or, imagine True Blood had been set in Lanarkshire instead of Louisiana, this would be the soundtrack. It unsettles, but in a wonderful manner. Don’t believe me? You will after watching the video for The Faster You Spin:
And now, as the sun beats in the window, the perfect song and video to cool you down. This is a beautiful, fragile, song from Edinburgh’s The 10:04s, who seem to have taken influence from some of my favourite bands. There some Icicle Works, Talk Talk and Echo and The Bunnymen in there, I’m sure of it. Add to that the fact that I’m a sucker for a video shot in the snow, and they really couldn’t lose. This is the single, Throes:
If you like your pop of the classic, 60’s influenced, west coast variety then the new release from Attic Lights could be your favourite album of the year. It’s certainly vying to be one of mine. Super Deluxe is up there with Superstar’s 18 Carat or even, wait for it, Teenage Fanclub’s Songs From Northern Britain. It is the perfect record for summer, and it could just turn out to be a classic all of its own. From the album, this is Don’t You:
While we are talking classic summer pop, I’m going to finish with my favourite song of the month, as I want to leave you with a smile on your face, a spring in your step, and your hat on the side of your head. This does that for me. It’s catchy as ought and once heard cannot be forgotten. It’s Dead Hip from Blood Relatives, and it is simply marvellous:
And that’s your whack for another month. Once again, apologies to those who sent music which didn’t feature. While I would love to be able to reply to every email, it would mean giving up work or sleep, and I need to spend time doing at least one of those a day, but every correspondence is appreciated.
Until next time…