This has been a summer of unexpected treats and great new music from the well-kent and the brand new. What you are about to listen to shows this off to full effect, but then we would say that. Suffice to say that it is all killer, no filler, and this list could have been twice the length it is. However, we prefer to keep things short and sweet.
To kick us off, it’s our album of the month, and one of the best of the year. It’s Sister John’s Returned From Sea, and it’s a delight from start to finish – a proper album where each track feeds into and enhances the rest. Comparisons can be made with the albums of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, but I was also put in mind of Conor Oberst, Micah P Hinson and even Joan Baez. If the music which has become know as Americana is your sort of thing then Sister John are the band for you. But you don’t need to take my word for it as they are undergoing a short tour, with The Braemar Gallery gig promising to be extra special, so get tickets while you can. In the meantime, this is ‘He Came Down’:
As regular readers will know, we are huge fans of Errant Boy who always seem to make the music we need to hear just when we need to hear it. They are back with arguably their best single yet, ‘Means’. It’s a treat and a treasure for indie kids of all ages, bringing to mind Josef K, Echo and the Bunnymen, and The Go-Betweens, but with Sean Ormsby’s unmistakable vocals to make it unmistakably Errant. It’s a song to fall in love with and to – simply thrilling, honey. This is ‘Means’:
While we’re talking about falling in love, few bands have captured our hearts as easily as L-space. Their ethereal electronica takes its time to unfold and reveal all its treasures, offering up something new with each listen.This has never been demonstrated better than on their latest release ‘Aloe’. There is undoubtedly a hint of Julee Cruise’s ‘Falling’ but contrasted with a grittier feel as the song progresses. If Twin Peaks had been set on the east coast of Scotland this is the theme tune it would have had:
There are few things better than the joy of the new, and Out Of The Swim are new to SWH!. I could have picked other tracks to feature, so go listen to their Soundcloud page for more, but I’ve gone for ‘The Change’. If you know the work David Sylvian did with Mark Isham and David Torn then you’ll have an idea as to what you are about to hear. If you don’t, you should. ‘The Change’ is not only unlike anything you’ve heard this year, it’s more then likely better than anything you’ve heard this year. I’d put money on it:
Robin Guthrie‘s credentials are impeccable, as any fule kno. As well as his work with the legendary Cocteau Twins, alongside Simon Raymonde and Liz Frazer, he has also worked with Harold Budd, John Foxx (Underpass!) and Siobhan de Mare as part of Violet Indiana as well as regularly making beautiful soundscapes all on his own. He has recently lent his magic touch to Canadian/Russian duo Ummagma, remixing their track ‘Lama’, and what magic it is. If you like his previous work then this is right up your street. It’s dreamy in oh so many ways, and makes you eager for further collaboration. While we wait for that, this is ‘Lama’:
All things Edinburgh loomed large last month, and highlights of the festivities included Lomond Campbell and Modern Studies at the beautiful Stockbridge Church, with the Pumpkinseeds Chamber Orchestra, as part of the Sounding series of multimedia shows. We bow to no-one in our admiration for Modern Studies and Mr Campbell, both of whose albums were among our best albums of 2016 and which continue to get regular rotation to this day.
Howeverm, in the unlikely event you aren’t yet convinced then the perfect place to start is the release of the 7″ single, released on Triassic Trusk, which has Campbell covering Modern Studies’ ‘Father Is A Craftsman’ on the A-side, and Modern Studies returning the compliment with their version of Campbell’s ‘Every Florist In Every Town’ on side AA. Both songs are just beautiful, as you would expect, as everyone involved bring the best out of each other and the songs:
The music has been mostly mellow and contemplative this month, which may be a sign of the times. But to shake you from your slumbers let us introduce The Rah’s and their single ‘The Time Is Now’. It’s reminiscent of SWH! favourites Mummy Short Arms, but also Queens Of The Stone Age and Foo Fighters. It’s an instant earworm if ever you heard one, guaranteed to get your body parts moving. Clap your hands, stamp your feet:
There goes the summer, but have no fear – September has already offered up some great music for your consideration, but you’ll have to be patient to hear who makes the final cut. In the meantime, why not go to the top of the page and start again…