new music to beat the january blues

Hello. So, here we are in January, and it’s been an electrifying start to the year. I got some great books for Christmas (including Laurie Lee collection and Owen Jones). Aside from the Year 2/Year 3 work I do, this month I’ve started the breakfast club at school too. Sadly it’s not like the film, but like Gordon Brown once said, it certainly wakes you up in the morning.

I don’t have any new year resolutions. I’ve not read a single magazine article about losing weight or going to the the gym, work out, whatever. I don’t have time for that right now, besides I got a wearable step monitor for Christmas, it’s fun but after a while it bores me as I don’t particularly care if I’ve done 5,000 steps or 8,000 or even 1,000 (hey it’s Sunday!). No resolutions as such, but I do however have some poems I need to put together, and I’m continuing the writers course down by the seaside so hope to keep writing fiction.

But perhaps what I’m most excited about this year is the amount of rad music due in the next few weeks! I can’t remember a year I was so excited about new albums in the first couple of months. Unless you count the new New Kids on the Block album when I was 10 🙂

So, here’s a list of just a few of the coolest records due out very soon.

  1. Jesu/ Sun kil moon – yes, this is Mark Kozelek’s latest. Yes I spent most hours listening to his songs, so of course I’m excited about this. I don’t care the Koz-Cats saying it’s going to be rubbish and “this is the first mark kozelek album I’m not going to be buying and I’ve bought everything since 1989”.  This one is out on 21st Jan you can listen to a song on the sun kil moon website here it’s very “dear diary, today I thought life is sad but I try to look at the nice rainbow and then I feel happy again”, but I like that kind of thing
  2. Nick Zubeck “skydiving” – Ok, I’d not heard of him before, but he plays with Mark Kozelek so straight away he gets my attention. Turns out his music is also pretty nice too. Slow, rich and comforting with the right about of heartache and confusion to make things interesting.  Out 11th March
  3. Lily and Madeline “keep it together” – They make really beautiful music, “the wolf is free” from 2014 was my favourite single of the year, it’s all kind of bleak but if your heart is broken there’s nothing better than music like this. Out 26th February
  4. Julie Ruin “???”. Kathleen Hanna. A new record! Nobody knows anything about it, but it’s recorded and ready to go
  5. The Welcome Wagon – If, like me, you really struggle with church check this out. If you dig reading the bible and praying, but find yourself feeling uncomfortable in church and with religion, this is the music for you. It’s, err, Sufjan Stevens’ church pastor and his wife and they make the coolest music (including this one, which is one of my all time favourite songs. Makes me cry every time…but let’s move on)

Finally, I just got the new album from a band called hop along. The singer has a terrific raw shrieking voice, the coolest voice I’ve heard in a while. She’s like a younger cousin of Corin Tucker. Cool name too. It’s worth checking out, so here’s a song to enjoy.

Catch you later…

 

 

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music video of 2015

I’ve had a busy week at school, there’s probably nowhere that’s more fun (or exhausting) than a primary school over Christmas. I spend my evenings listening to Mark Kozelek’s Christmas album and I’m half way through my end of year review.

So far we’ve had EP and single, this week it’s time for my favourite music video of the year. It’s not just a nice video you can watch in some awful clothes shop to pass the time, it needs to fit to the music. Nothing does that more than Lily and Madeline’s “Blue Blades”. L+M are so talented it scares me how effortless they seem to make such haunting and delicious music. One of these days I hope they play in England so I can go and see them. Until then enjoy this stunning video.

Next week it’s album of the year.

 

song of the year

Trying to think of the best song of the year was pretty hard. My only rule was that it had to be released as a track, a 7 inch single, download, whatever. In the end it was down to three – girlpool, Hannah Cohen and the new Lily and Madeline which I only heard today but has me all excited about music in 2016.

Yes, all females. Boys with guitars bore me these days. 🙂

The winner is…..

 

next week > music video of the year.

If you’re looking for something fun, Mark Kozelek’s review of the year can be found here!

songs and books

Aside from collecting first edition Richard Yates books, I’m also enjoying Dave Eggers. I’ve occasionally read his magazine, and ended up listening to some of his novels on cd back when I was driving for hours all over the place for a fun but temporary job I did a while ago. Now I’m reading “the circle” and it’s the best modern book I’ve read in a long time. It’s a book I find myself thinking about when I’m away from home, working or doing shopping or walking the kids to school feeling excited for the evening to come so I can read the next page. Like a modern 1984 a stark warning about the dangers of internet obsessed society, and it’s funny/sad and makes your heart beat super fast. The writing is crisp, clear, intelligent and the dialogue is spot-on. I’m reading it along with a non-fiction book called “the internet is not the answer” and those two books together make a pretty compelling case for just dropping out of internet life and trying to find Walden Lake in 2015…

There are three songs I listen to over and over again at the moment that I hope to get you into too. The latest NOW music compilation is the biggest selling album of the year so far here in the UK, but I say forget the boring repetitive crap you hear in the charts, this is where it’s at.

1. Lily and Madeline “blue blades” – I’m so in love with everything about this little band. The words, the melody, the lush harmonies and sad reflections of nature and broken hearts. I’ve just downloaded their new EP too.

2. Puss N Boots “down by the river”. Ok, so I own the entire Norah Jones back catalogue, and not many people bought her folky-country band puss n boots, but guess what? I did and this is my favourite song on it.

3. Libertines “Gunga Din” Ok, so they are pretty much on the cover of NME every week, and will outsell most albums this year, but this song makes me happy. Maybe it’s because those last two songs are kind of depressing that you’re ready for the party to begin. And I know I want to go a party put together by Pete and Carl….

4. Mark Kozelek “Caroline” – If I had to throw away my record collection and never restock it, but could keep one thing it would be my Mark Kozelek records and cd’s. This song is about as perfect as it gets.

another girl band

These days I only listen to female singers. I don’t know why exactly, but these last few months the coolest music has been girl-led. Feels good the world is waking up to this, today in good old Boston it is official Riot Grrl Day. Which seems like a crazy joke, but is true. The Boston mayor Marty Walsh said this “The riot grrrl philosophy has never felt more relevant, with misogyny still rampant in many cultural spaces.”

You tell ’em, Marty.

Here’s some music I’ve been listening to these last few days, it’s all freedom rock. You can listen to them all below but first here’s why :

MournJack has the best opening line I’ve heard for years “You think you’re awesome, I say you’re boring…” Break ups never sounded so much fun.

Colleen GreenPay Attention Ok, you might have heard this on the radio. It feels like 90’s veruca salt at the start.That’s ok with me 🙂

Lily and Madelinethe wolf is free This is the most beautiful intoxicating song I’ve heard all year.

Joanna Gruesome –  last year Whirling guitars with an angry singer is always a hit in my house.

Girlpoolblah blah blah Another hip band. I’m sure this band are going to be huge.

Juliana Hatfield Threeif only we were dogs. I was really into this band back in 1993. This is their second album, released this year. A long time, but they sound as fresh as ever to me.

Speedy OrtizThe Graduates I’ve always liked the lyrics to Speedy Ortiz. The songs are all like little short stories that keeps you hanging on ever word.

Emma KupaHalf Sister I liked Standard Fare, and this is her first solo album all about her family. It’s sweet with just enough frustration and despair to keep things interesting.

PINStoo little too late I read about them in the Guardian, who know far more than I ever will on any subject, and they call them some kind of all girl punk revolutionaries so I’m not going to argue with that.

AlvvaysArchie, Marry me is really just such a great pop song. It makes me wish it was 1978 and I’d have this on 7 inch and play it again and again until it got scratched or Archie really did marry her.