Tuesday, 30 June 2009

SOTD 14: The Tallest Man On Earth - Into The Stream (2008)

Forget the Bob Dylan references and enjoy this artist as he is. That is my firm advice when approaching The Tallest Man On Earth. "Into The Stream" is as honest and true as any of the songs on Shallow Graves and it, especially, features some of my favourite lyrics from TTMOE.

"Our dog dog will drink
Till the oceans gone
And he will pull
Till the collar breaks"

The song seems to be about striving to get away from the beaten path and a journey through life that may be deemed as 'boring'. The message is conjured beautifully with everyday imagery and accompanied by acoustic guitar, itself very central to the song with TTMOE's hard picking and the bright recording.

The Tallest Man On Earth - Into The Stream

Monday, 29 June 2009

SOTD 13: Bjork - Alarm Call (1997)

12 years ago is a long time in music but this song proves how many people are just playing catch up in the music business. "Alarm Call" catches Bjork in playful mood and as forward thinking as ever. It came on shuffle for me the other day and my immediate reaction was "YES!!", I was genuinely ecstatic at the shuffle function on iTunes for treating me so well.

This is one of Bjork's most optimistic and anthemic songs and it works equally well as a feel good summer song, or as part of the fantastic Homogenic.

"I want to go on a mountain-top
with a radio and good batteries
play a joyous tune
and free the human race from suffering"

Bjork - Alarm Call

Thursday, 25 June 2009

SOTD 12: Friendy Fires - Paris (2007)

Today I have spent a lot of time driving and therefore, with the radio on. This is how I was reminded of this song. The first time I heard the Friendly Fires, to say I was unimpressed would be an understatement, but over time, this song just kept creeping into my life.

Eventually, I conceded defeat! It is too catchy and the production is fantastic. I think the time I decided I actually liked it was on last year's BBC Glastonbury coverage where they performed a stripped down version. I'm not sure if I'm correct, but it also seemed they had improved a lot in a short space in terms of their performance and tightness as a band. Anyway, without further delay, enjoy this perfect slice of summer pop.

Friendly Fires - Paris

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

SOTD 11: American Football - Never Meant (1999)

These melodies will open you up completely. American Football & Owen completely changed my outlook on music like nothing I've listened to in the past couple of years (probably until I started with Bjork). I know I'm not the first plaid shirt wearing 20 year old male to say this, but I can't really express how much I like this song with a standard breakdown of it's parts. All you need to know is, it's hyper melodic, has the Kinsella stamp all over it, and is about as pure as music can be. The guys in American Football created these songs and found these sounds because they were in complete control of the procedure, as writers and, as very talented musicians. Here is not a song that is "made" by studio trickery, and the opposite is true, through honesty it retains it's innocence and beauty.

"I just think its best
Because you cant miss what you forget"

American Football - Never Meant

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

SOTD 10: Tubelord - Night Of The Pencils (2008)

This is an addition to number 8 and that fantastic gig with Colour. Tubelord are another up and coming band from the Kingston area of Greater London and they are staying together for the time being. Great news!

The band headlined last Thursday and my personal favourite song of their set was "Night Of The Pencils", available on their Feed Me A Box Of Words 7" or through more sinister methods *evil laugh*. Their blend of three-piece rock owes much to Reuben & Biffy Clyro et al, but the band has a command of light and shade that, it could be argued, has the potential to exceed both of these bands. They are already garnering much attention and with riffs like the one that kicks off this song, it's no surprise. Most of all, they know how to back up the recordings with tight and fun gigs that remind you that you're not growing up as fast as previously thought.

This song perfectly sums up Tubelord so far. A clever riff, duel-vocals, switched up time signatures, chantable chorus & a slow melodic section that makes you want to hug friends and shout lyrics. Wow, i'm out of breath. You will be too.

"We're bigger than Memphis
You only exist when I want you to"

Tubelord - Night Of The Pencils

Sunday, 21 June 2009

SOTD 9: Hot Water Music - Sunday Suit (2001)

I was only a late convert to Hot Water Music, around 18 months ago, but they have fast secured themselves as one of my favourite rock/punk bands with top-notch albums like Caution and A Flight And A Crash.

"Sunday Suit" is a great rock song, it's trademark HWM, and Chuck Regan delivers the lyrics with typical venom. Lets not forget that growling bass riff either. This is one of their best songs and a rousing punk song for a warm summer day.

"Sunday suit never fit quite right
Maybe why I never saw your light
Fear had its grip for quite some time
So I obeyed and lied"

Hot Water Music - Sunday Suit

Friday, 19 June 2009

SOTD 8: Colour - Run Like You're Being Chased (2009)

Today's post is tinged with sadness as Colour, in my opinion one of the best young bands in the country, have recently announced they are to split. Luckily I got a chance to see them last night in Nottingham at the Social and they didn't show any signs of strain, putting on a great show for the lively crowd.

The highlight of the set for me was "Run Like You're Being Chased", the b-side to their last single, "Unicorns". The song itself is a typically energetic effort from the Kingston four-piece, combining lots from their seemingly large bag of tricks. My highlight is the bridge which uses a super-melodic bass riff with broken drumming and minimal guitar to create a sweet groove.

The band show a great deal of imagination and talent for writing original material, especially when compared with many of the new bands springing up around the country. They combine sweet harmonies, mathematical guitar work & intricate rhythms to craft songs that are never short of energy or hooks. The easiest comparisons would be to bands like Minus The Bear but to simply see them as a copy-cat act isn't doing the band justice at all. To see them live you wouldn't realise the shortness of their career, they really are very tight, especially considering the intricate nature of their songs.

Hopefully they will now move on to applying their obvious talent in further musical projects and I wish them every bit of luck in doing so. For now, I'm enjoying songs like this and appreciating my chance to have been part of the wave for a little bit. Enjoy!

Colour - Run Like You're Being Chased

Thursday, 18 June 2009

SOTD 7: Jeffrey Lewis - The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song (2002)

"If i was leonard cohen
Or some others song writing master
I'd know to first get the oral sex
And then write the song after"

I managed to see Jeffrey Lewis at the Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds & today's song is a tribute to a fine gig and Jeff's many wonderful and vivid stories that are told in his songs and elsewhere. Enjoy!

Jeffrey Lewis - The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

SOTD 6: Sleater-Kinney - Jumpers (2005)

Although perhaps not the most cheerful subject matter, "Jumpers" is another track which proves how hard Sleater-Kinney rocked, and how sorely they are being missed in the indie-rock business. Sleater-Kinney are never too verbose, they make every line count, and in this song the lyrics are so strong and powerful. The imagery created is beautiful;

"My falling shape will draw a line
Between the blue of sea and sky"

Janet Reiss is one of my favourite drummers and her style really moulds the song together. She is restricted in the verses, building up the tension before gradually building into her trademark frantic and tom-heavy style. Of course, the guitars are excellent, as is the singing, so best to just give this one a real good listen and also check out the official Sub Pop video.

Sleater-Kinney - Jumpers

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

SOTD 5: Built To Spill - The Plan (1999)

This is another band I only got into recently, but as I read on audiophinyl, Built To Spill really did lay the foundations for bands like Death Cab for Cutie. I'm a big fan of Death Cab, but Built To Spill definitely let go a little more and this is very evident on "The Plan". Today's track comes from the album Keep It Like A Secret which is a must have for any fans of melodic rock.

"The Plan" is a really well composed rock song, but the stand out, like in so many BTS songs, is the guitar work which really brings the song into a new league. It's not just effects, Doug Martsch and Jim Roth both have really cool styles and that is evident here in piles. The song is built on a really nice, lazy groove which keeps it rolling along.

Most of all, this is a sweet and melodic song. Lyrically it seems to point to people, the world over, speaking of plans and never following them with actions, and you can view that however you like. Is it a political statement? I don't know. But I do know this a great song to enjoy through the summer!

(This video shows clever usage of the song, so I thought I'd choose this over some video of the band captured on a mobile phone. Also, I don't know much about skateboarding, but I do know Marc Johnson is cool as hell and seems like a decent bloke!)

Built To Spill - The Plan