Tired of fighting….

I normally love the changing of all the seasons, yes even the freshness of winter – and spring is normally a time of new beginnings, new hope, new love and a couple of wild birthday parties thrown in too for good measure. This year, it’s harder to be happy with a terrible war raging just a few hundred miles away from my cozy living room. Hard to be happy with the “cost of living crisis” and hard to be happy when doctors and specialists telling you you need to watch your own mental health…but happiness is here, if you look for it, it’s all around, and like always normally it’s being here in nature, feeling free in the wild, that means the most to me. City life, i love you and I love visiting you, but my God I’d be so lost if I didn’t live in the countryside with all it’s intoxicating charms and freedom. Nothing can beat being free and being brave. I don’t think you can live better than by being free and being brave.

One thing I’m also incredibly happy about is the easing of all restrictions. It means I’ve been able to visit Germany already a few times this year, and I’ve had the most beautiful and fun times over there. I take back goodies too to remind of these good times when I’m missing my “big boys”. It means I can drink cool stuff like organic “spring” tea (Frühlingstee) and read little Conni books to the little kids here. I told someone in Germany that my 4 year old daughter probably knows more German than I do just from watching Conni cartoons.

Sometimes though it’s good to just embrace the melancholy, and Angel Olson cetainly does that in her new song “All the Good Times”. It’s a haunting epic breakup song, one of the best songs I’ve heard this year. Don’t be afraid of the sadness. The video is great too. If you looking for happy scroll down to the next track….

When I was sick with a fever and in bed for 2 days with covid earlier this year, I had Virgin Radio on all the time. I’d drift in and out of sleep waking up to some 80’s power ballad. Something comforting about Virgin Radio especially when you’re ill, it’s like tomato soup. The presenters don’t really talk much they just play feelgood college rock. This song by Morgan Wade is super pop, but it’s rich and she tells a great story in this little tale of a young girl dating an older “reformed” guy without it sounding cheesy or creepy but somehow pure.

Sticking with the radio stuff, when I head to the city my car radio picks up NME radio. They play a real eccentric mix of songs, old and new. This one came on today, and I’ve just been humming it all day long and singing it to my confused kids.

Soccer mommy is someone I’ve recently “discovered”. I think I read an interview with her and she sounded totally nuts, which is how you want rock stars to be, and I was pleased to see that I really also enjoyed her music. She’s got a new album out that looks cool, but I’m going back to this little one from a few years ago before she became “cool” it’s all about lost love and a boy who broke hear heard whose name happened to be Jacob. It’s raw and it hurts but that’s where it’s power is.

Bryan Ferry is a guy I’ve followed since my dad use to have his tapes as we drove around too fast in his sports car when I was 7. Roxy Music have released some of the best records I’ve ever heard – country life will blow your mind even in 2022 – and now old Bryan has a little EP out of cover songs of very old songs I’ve never heard of. Anyway this isn’t the best Ferry, but who cares, I’m happy he’s still releasing anything. It’s a song called Love Letters. It’s a song to play when you;re about to go to bed, as I am now. Good night stay safe remember love always wins xoxo
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things are changing

i had to escape. I moved far away, to a very old house down a little lane, where there are no cars, and not many people either. I live here where when you wake up, and it’s snowing outside, there’s no button to press for heating, you’ve got to go outside and gather some logs to make a fire to keep your family warm. It’s so quiet here, it’s a cottage lost in time. A place where you heat the water with coal, and a beautiful area where I’ve got a job at the little rural school across the fields.

It’s not a place to hide away and accept loss, and to cry about things gone wrong, it’s a place to re-connect with the world around you, and to be creative and to fight for believe in life and in love.

I feel home here. It’s where I’m suppose to be, hidden in a country cottage reading newspapers, writing poems, listening to music and embracing life for what it is, not to call it harsh or hard, but to accept the beauty of a single day. Walking home from work, I’ve never seen such epic stars above me which illuminate life. I have no choice but to look up and lose myself in the wonder of it all and marvel at Creation and Gods love for all of us.

Then there is music. I can’t get by without it anymore. We drove into the city today, for I still love the pulse of  electricity around me, and I picked up these albums.

 

the best thing about today

I’ve just come back from a mini adventure in Sheffield, lots of walking and hanging out in the best children’s book shop I’ve ever been to, which I’m also pleased to say is not only jam-packed with radness  (we picked up “chitty chitty bang bang”) but also hasn’t updated it’s website for over a year which gives it extra points for me 🙂

I’m in Sussex for a couple of days then off to Norfolk for a while, where I’ll be buying the wonderful Eastern Daily Press every day, and catching up with old friends. Back just in time to go and check out the Wizard of Oz play down the road, where the waitress from my favourite local café is playing Dorothy!

Anyway, unless you happen to be visiting either Sheffield or Uckfield that’s of little interest, but I will say both books – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Wizard of Oz are exciting and spectacular. Doesn’t matter if you’re 9 or 89, they’re worth reading…

And Sarah Blasko is worth watching too if you can. She’s a super-talented Australian singer, I listen to her records a lot. She’s going on tour around Europe from May, including London (10th May), Brighton (16th May), Paris (19th May) and Berlin (31 May). I haven’t heard her new album yet, but I’m really looking forward to watching her live as she’s original as you can see yourself from this live video from a few years back

Before that I can’t not mention the upcoming Mark Kozelek project. It’s a covers album,  and it’s out next month. If, like me, you can’t wait that long you can listen to his version of a song called “Amanda” originally sang by some cowboy guy I’ve never heard of. Doesn’t matter, because this is beautiful.

If you’re looking for something more upbeat, one of the best American girl bands around, Bleached, have a new album out too which I’ve been listening to every day. Good old NPR is streaming the entire thing, and there’s a song below too. If I tell you they wrote it after the singer broke up with her dead-end boyfriend it’s no surprise to find it full of angry garage pop songs, but what makes it different is the a sweet upbeat outlook on the future, trust me this record will make you feel happy to just be alive and like Brayn Ferry once sang “love me, leave me, do what you will – who knows what tomorrow may bring?”

Until next time enjoy these songs!

https://soundcloud.com/proxymediapr/amanda

single of the year

In those carefree childhood days before everything got crazy, I always use to tape the top 40. I also wrote down every week in my little book the top 10 singles, and all I knew about was pop music. Even now I’m amazed when I meet people who said they “Got into Bob Dylan” from going through their parents record collections. We didn’t have any records. Or tapes. Or cd’s. Actually my dad did have a Queen tape and a Bryan Ferry tape in his car. It was in the late 80’s so this was a long way off from “For Your Pleasure”. Anyway so pop music and singles were my world back then, so even now I can’t entirely shake off my love of a good short pop single.

But strangely, this year, some amazing albums have been released (you’re get to see my no.1 next week), but I’ve really wasn’t sure who to put down as my favourite track of the year.  Some great songs have been on albums, but none were released as singles. I also looked through the Pitchfork’s tracks of the year and found it boring and predictable. So I had to dig a little deeper and I got this gem, released back in February and yes, I did buy the 7 inch, and it sounds strangely 1988-esque.  It’s the guy from Hefner and the girl from Standard Fare. It’s a breezy light song, but I always think singles should be fun.

Here it is

Next Week – Album of the year

Catch up

EP of the year

Video of the year

more than this

I’m always searching for sounds that will transform my little world, shake things up a little in my rural East Sussex hideaway, it doesn’t really matter if that’s by someone who has sold gizillions of albums or somebody who has just a few cd’s for sale at the Buxted village hall – if it grabs my attention I’ll absorb it’s radness and then write about it here….

I’ve just watched a Roxy Music concert from the early 1980’s, and I was transfixed with the seeminglybferry effortless coolness and beauty of it all. I have a bunch of Bryan Ferry cd’s and throughout the years I’ve picked up the Roxy Music vinyls, and they have become the most played records I own. The atmosphere and the elegance, with the glitzy and lost Fitzgerald-esque lyrics just blow me away every time. So, ok, Bryan Ferry has a new cd out on 17th November called Avonmore. I don’t know if it will compare to “Country Life”, but Ferry is the kind of singer you can’t have to much of. Even if his last one “Olympia” was kind of boring, this new one has Johnny Marr and Flea on too so I live on hope. Also a nice little interview with JM in NME this week too.

Something which I can promise you isn’t boring is the new release by a small, butfoxes super talented, band called Foxes in Fiction who I discovered one night drinking too much green tea whilst reading the Pitchfork website and it seems to be only out on tape and record – but wait, don’t let that put you off! It might be enjoyed by American hipsters in Corduroy, but trust me It’s really glorious and sad and slow, and perfect for driving about in your car too. I think the tapes have now all sold out, one of which is whirling its way across the Atlantic to me, but you can get it as a 12 inch or for a while you can get a  free download too (you lucky people!) at the Orchid Tapes website.

something old, something new

As I was driving back from the teen club where I work last night (!?) the radio played an old Shirelles song “Will you love me tomorrow” (Bryan Ferry also did an amazing cover of this about 10 years ago too) and then played Erykah Badu “On and on”, two perfect songs for cold autumn nights, especially when you’ve been hanging out with a bunch of teenagers all night.
 You can listen the the shirelles below, but I also wanted to have something new here, so aside from the Shirelles  I’ve also put on a cool little song by an Australian singer called Courtney Barnett who is taking that whole Kate Nash thing to another level it seems. Kate Nash has anyway strangely become some feminsit riot grrl but anyway let’s not dwell on that…

Also NME has a new look. It had David Bowie on the cover too.

Here are the songs, I hope they make you feel as happy as they did for me!