The summer’s almost here and the time is almost right for dancing in the street – but not quite yet, and this month’s music roundup reflects this as great big pop tunes and excellent electronica mix with more reflective musical musings.
It’s also a welcome combination of old friends and “new to us” acts, but what unites them all is that they will bring you joy. In fact, I would venture to say that this is the most purely pleasurable roundup we have posted in some time, if not ever. It’s certainly been one of the most played. It’s all about the balance, and the following is just right…
First off is ‘Good Reason’, from HQFU‘s new mini-album. This is one of the most anticipated releases of 2016 for those with a love of the melodic, electronic and magic. It’s the sort of record that made many of us fall in love with dance music in the first place, enticing you in with the opening bars and then proceeding to throw you around the room in a manner that can only be described as gay abandon with a hint of menace – and those are the best nights, right?:
How to describe Dundonian band the Sinderins new single ‘Fayre’? It’s both nostalgic yet utterly contemporary, bringing folk/rock kicking and screaming into 2016. Singer David’s voice is comparable to Jon Anderson, Geddy Lee, or even old ‘Percy’ Plant himself, and the rest of the band are equally memorable with some assured playing which shows restraint in a genre rarely known for it. I’ve had enough conversations about folk music over the years to know that this won’t be for everyone, but for those who get it I doubt you’ll hear many things finer this year. On this evidence they are already standing shoulder to shoulder with the legendary Trembling Bells in terms of modern folk rock, and that’s fine company to keep:
Everyone loves Happy Meals, don’t they? In our Best of 2016 podcast the unanimous decision reached was that if Kathryn Joseph hadn’t deservedly won the 2015 Scottish Album Of The Year then Happy Meals would have been worthy alternatives with Apero. If you are not aware of their work then this is a great place to start. Making electronic music with an indie sensibility and a lightness of touch that is as rare as it is welcome, you could think of them as Glasgow’s version of Stereolab. They are as good as that bold claim suggests and we are lucky to have them. Pop life? This is how you do it. This is ‘If You Want Me Now’ from the forthcoming Fruit Juice EP:
Talking of Kathryn Joseph (unintentional yet welcome segue ahoy!), she is just one of the very special guests on RM Hubbert’s new album Telling The Trees. When two of your favourite musicians decide to make music together you can’t help but get excited, and their song ‘The Dog’ won’t disappoint. Joseph’s heartbreaking vocals working in perfect harmony with Hubbert’s inimitable guitar and his own understated singing. It’s something to treasure.
Telling The Trees also features Kathryn Williams, Anneliese Mackintosh, the aforementioned Sarah J Stanley (HQFU), Rachel Grimes, Karine Polwart and many more, all of whom are amazing in their own right. If you can judge someone by the company they keep then RM Hubbert is a fine fellow indeed. There is no need for such conjecture about his music, however. It continues to dazzle. Here is ‘The Dog’, with a fantastic video by Graeme Roger and Kevin Reid as well:
If you don’t yet know the music of Divides, then, for as contemporary a comparison as I can muster, think Churches meets Vukovi and you’ll have a good idea as to what to expect. They make an unforgettable and uplifting noise; a band to play as loud as you can take as you want your ears ringing afterwards to remind you of what you’ve just heard. Singer Tasha’s vocals are a force of nature all on their own, the rest of Divides provide the perfect accompaniment, with the excellent production allowing every instrument to make its mark while combining to make an even greater whole. As an aside, the following track has drums to die for. But you don’t need to take all of the above words for it. You could simply listen to new single ‘Bad Day’ now and make up your own mind. But I’m right, you’ll see:
Kris Drever is best know as a member of Lau, but you should check out his solo material as it is equally fine. You now have no excuse not to do so as he has a new album out. It’s called If Wishes Were Horses, and it shows off all of his considerable musical gifts. Rightly lauded as a fine musician he is one of my favourite singers – his is a voice you want to go for a pint with. Somone once described Kris Drever to me as Scotland’s answer to Ryan Adams. Ryan Adams wishes. This is the title track from If Wishes Were Horses, and it’s a record which gives you more with each listen. Sheer class from beginning to end:
Last year we were lucky enough to attend the inaugural New Lanark Live Music Festival, and the highlight of the day (alongside the Begbies, more of whom soon) were Ursula and Courtney, better known as duo Light Arrows. Although this was an early performance, all those listening could tell that their songwriting and harmonies promised something rather special. This time, I can claim we were right as their debut single ‘Girl’ makes good on that promise in spades. It highlights a harmony the two have which is not confined to the vocals alone. It’s a great pop song, addictive and layered, and you can’t ask for much more than that, except much more of that. Watch this space…:
That’s all for now, but we’re currently compiling the next roundup which already poses us difficult choices as to who to include. You can always make those choices even more difficult by sending your music to firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything gets a fair hearing here, you know…