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

Monday, 15 June 2009

Just so this doesn't get too serious, I absolutely loved this when I was fourteen... (not like I still like it or anything, not at all)

SOTD 4: Jeniferever - Green Meadow Island (2009)

Choose A Bright Morning is fast becoming one of my favourite albums from the post-rock tree and, on first inspection, Jeniferever seem to have made another fantastic record in Spring Tides. Today's SOTD of the day comes from the Swede's new record and is titled "Green Meadow Island".

The track begins with a familiar groove, slow and innocent with the lyrics immediate in their delivery.

"We were princes
For a little while"

Jeniferever are not scared to hold and build on a riff and thus, the initial groove of drums & bass, subtle electric guitar and piano is heavily repeated over the first 2 minutes with only very short breaks for a soaring chorus. Strings are gently introduced before the band flips the track on it's head with a roaring off key middle 8. The heaviness and direction of that section seems like new territory for the band and it is something refreshing for a group that could be sometimes accused of being a one-trick pony. Also, the guitarist, Martin Sandström, totally shreds and his off kilter solo is a much appreciated addition.

So, this track really is a great one to show you some off the possible sides to Jeniferever's music and something different within the post-rock genre.

Jeniferever - Green Meadow Island

Check out more here and you can get the full record on Monotreme Records.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

SOTD 3: Tunng - Hands (2007)

I was very slow to get into Tunng, mainly because I always imagined them to be a euro-dance act, but, when I did, I was blown away by their 2007 album "Good Arrows". My particular favourite on the album is Hands, a beautiful song that grows and builds around a central riff.

Tunng are fantastic at packing so much into their 3-minutes and Hands is a prime example of this. A hypnotic acoustic ditty is mainly accompanied by group harmonies and very little else. The vocals are full of reverb and high up in the mix, meaning that they really stick and provide the focal point to the song.

Lyrically the song seems quite obviously to be about mortality. In the video it is said to be about making the most of every moment of our short lives, but I also believe there to be some feeling of guilt from the character described;

"He crawls into her aorta
To pull him out of his reverie
And mentally puts her back together
With sticks and glue until she breathes"

His state of reverie, absentmindedly dreaming, suggests the man is in a state of shock about what he may/ may not have done to this girl. Even so, the song is full of poignant lines and one where the lyrics really do take centre stage.

Tunng - Hands

Saturday, 13 June 2009

SOTD 2: Fugazi - Latin Roots (1991)

"It's time to meet your makers"

This song features one of, in my opinion, Fugazi's most furious grooves. The last minute kicks off with some deep rumbling bass, those tribal tom rolls that Canty had DOWN, and it sets the scene for the song to explode. Guitars screech, wail and riff, all in accompaniment to the aforementioned lyric. It must be added, that it does sound a lot like "it's time to meet Jamaicans"! I could go on about lyrics, but it's not the reason I usually fall in love with Fugazi songs. So, draw your own conclusions and enjoy. I have a feeling this wont be the first song I blog about from the D.C. legends.

Fugazi - Latin Roots

Friday, 12 June 2009

SOTD 1: Smog - Let Me See The Colts (2007)

This is my first post in a multiple part series I plan to help get me back into blogging on a regular basis. I'm going to try to feature a 'Song Of The Day' every, you guessed it, day. As a huge fan of listening to whole albums, I've taken surprisingly little time in my young life to devote time to single songs and really become enveloped in them. However, during this exam period I started to take more of a concentrated interest in some bands/songs and through heavily repeated listening, thought how nice it would be to write some posts like this!

Let Me See The Colts is from Smog's 2007 album "A River Ain't Too Much" and it closes the album off beautifully. Musically, it's a meandering folk jam which conjures imagery of a late night set in a crowded Midwest bar. You can imagine the musicians just staying up there on the stage, never wanting to come off. Simple strummed chords accompanied by light strings and plodding drums guide the listener through another one of Bill Callahan's fantastic tales.

On a very surface level, the narration gives the idea of a young boy wanting to see the next year's American Football team from the local college. It sparks up ideas in my mind from the film "Friday Night Lights" and that Texan town's obsession with their local team. He even seeks the advice of a wise local gambler, but here lies further meaning.

I personally believe the song to be more about decision making and the future, following one path or another, and the possibilities of leaving everything behind, like a girlfriend, friend and the town one has grown up in.

"Knocked on your door at dawn
With a spark in my heart
Dragged you from your bed"

"We walked out through
The dew dappled brambles
And sat upon the fence"

With a song like this, full of imagery, it is possible to interpret it one of many ways, and I think that is where the beauty lies with this track. It's certainly a song suited equally to listening alone, or with a group of friends.

Smog - Let Me See The Colts