Monday, 27 March 2017

Q#112 February - March 2017

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Q’s Compilations
Volume #112 February to March 2017

The clocks have changed, we’re officially in Spring (though a recent snowstorm didn’t make it seem that way a couple of weeks ago), and most importantly, Oxford United are playing a Wembley final on the 2nd of April. Usually the Feb/March mix of each year is a “crap, I forgot to put this song on the previous mix” but this one has a fair amount of brand new songs.

01) Magaly Fields – These Lights: It probably hasn’t been a while since I used a Chilean band, but it feels like it. Magaly Fields are Tomas Stewart (guitar/vocals) and Diego Cifuentes (drums/vocals). They recently played at SXSW and I was hoping that would mean a show in New York but alas, none so far. This track is considered a “leftover” from their 2014 debut album, Chromatic Days, and was released on a 7” single last summer.

02) Cherubs – Unhappyable: Texas-trio Cherubs released a couple of excellent downtuned noise rock in the early 90s but broke up in 1994 in fairly typical rock-band fashion with an actual fight after a show. They reunited in 2014 and released the excellent 2 YNFYNYTY in 2015. I’ll be seeing them at Saint Vitus in April.

03) Heaters – Kamikaze: I’ve been a fan of Michigan psych-band Heaters for a few years without actually owning anything by them, but finally bought Holy Water Pool in a sale and this track opens the record. They have since released another album, Baptistina, which is also another excellent psych album.

04) Overlake – Winter is Why: On the hunt for something new to listen to, I actually sifted through the myriad of press releases in my inbox and this one caught my ears immediately. While their influences are obvious (you could be forgiven for thinking this was by Slowdive), I’m a sucker for the sound. Overlake’s second album, Fall, will be out in May.

05) Mint Field – El Otro Lugar: I was sad to miss Mexican band Mint Field in New York recently (it was the first time they had played here), especially given the current climate where bands and artists are having a harder time getting visas to play in the US. However, they have been an excellent recent discovery and this track opens their 2015 EP Primeras Salidas. They’ve since released a couple of very shoegaze-y singles which bode well for a future album.

06) No Joy – Califone: No Joy’s most recent release, Creep is their first EP on new label Grey Market. Sonically the band have taken a left-turn and have dialled the treble up from their heavier sound of previous efforts. I saw them recently at Sunnyvale and the new direction suits them (having a Korn concert playing via a projector behind them was a bit confusing, however).

07) Pill – My Rights: I’d been trying to see Brooklyn-band Pill live for at least a couple of years now and had never managed it, but whilst on a weekend break in Nashville I noticed they were playing at Third Man Records, so I finally got to see them! They were excellent and I gleefully picked up their album, Convenience, at the merch table.

08) Robyn Hitchcock – Brenda’s Iron Sledge: Few people are deserving of the term national treasure, but Robyn Hitchcock truly is. I hadn’t seen him perform with a band since 2010 but his recent show at Rough Trade saw him not only play Black Snake Diamond Role in full, but also featured the also-great Yo La Tengo as his backing band. “Please don’t call me Reg, it’s not my name”

09) Kane Strang – Things Are Never Simple: New Zealand often produces quirky songwriters with a keen sense of melody and Kane Strang is another one of that very productive conveyor belt. His first album, Blue Cheese, came out last year and I was bummed I had to miss his recent show at Baby’s All Right (part of his first US tour). “Held her soft and slow, I'll never let you go. I've seen it in my soul, of a boy I don't know and it, Won't work out. Won't work out. Things are never simple”

10) Horse Jumper of Love – Spaceman: Boston trio Horse Jumper of Love have clearly spent a lot of time listening to all the great slowcore bands, a genre I would fully support coming “back”. This track is on their self-titled album, which is coming out in April on a limited pressing

11) Holly Throsby – What Do You Say: Whilst realising I have yet to order the latest Sun Kil Moon album (I can’t remember the last time I didn’t pre-order one), I fell upon this song by Austrlian Holly Throsby, which includes a lovely contribution from Mark Kozelek (quite refreshing to hear him singing rather than the stream of consciousness, almost spoken word delivery he has been doing more recently). “What do you make? I make amends, What do you have? I have my friends, What do you own? I own up to it”

12) Jeff Cowell – And When: Obscure 70s folk album Lucky Strikes and Liquid Gold got the Numero treatment recently. It’s a pretty lonely album and you can feel the weariness oozing out of Cowell frequently over the course of the ten tracks.

13) Molly Burch – Please Forgive Me: I might have found my favourite album of the year so far in the shape of Molly Burch’s debut album, Please Be Mine, which just came out on Captured Tracks in March. Burch’s vocals seem effortless and timeless which fits perfectly with the retro feel of the music. “I met you in the snow, and I thought I could never let you go”

14) William Bell – I’ll Show You: There aren’t too many soul legends left these days, and while William Bell is perhaps one of the lesser celebrated names on Stax, that’s unfair on someone who is one of the true originals. Like most, the quality of his output dipped over the years but 2016’s This is Where I Live was released back on Stax (itself making somewhat of a comeback) and won a grammy. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform at the Appel Room in New York which is a lovely setting, and Bell’s voice is still in great shape. This track is, however, was released all the way back in 1963. “If you let me, I know I’ll show you.”

15) The Magnetic Fields – Be True to Your Bar: Stephin Merritt turned 50 in 2015 and just released 50 Song Memoir, which as the title suggests, is 50 songs, with one song per year of his life. This song features his typical sardonic observations! “Be true to your bar, And don’t let it down, Or else it may not always be around, Be true to your friends, And let your friends know, Without your bar you’d have no place to go”

16) Alex Napping – Living Room: Austin quartet Alex Napping are not doing anything remotely original, and that’s ok when you release tunes like this. I was recently walking to meet some friends in the Upper West Side when this song came out, it was a cold day but the sun was shining and I just felt a moment of contentment, even if this song just makes me think about things I can’t have. This is the lead single from the band’s second album, Mise En Place, out on the 5th of May via Father/Daughter records. “I can dream all day about what it’d be like…”

17) Buffalo Tom – Staples: Boston trio Buffalo Tom formed 30 years ago… and are probably the best example of a “solid” band, they never do anything that’s outside of a 6.5 or 7 out of 10, and there’s something to be said for being that damn reliable. The band’s third album, Let Me Come Over is going to be 25 years old and they are playing a show at Bowery Ballroom in May to celebrate. Having never seen them play, I’m definitely looking forward to it.

18) Suuns – Translate: Hold/Still was one of the un-appreciated albums of 2016 and the band’s third. It sounds all the more impressive to know that it’s almost completely live, with very few overdubs. I’ve just tried to write about this a couple of times while listening to it and all I do is end up listening to the song, and that’s praise enough. One of the most mesmerising tracks I’ve heard in a long time. “When you go, It’s broke you can’t figure, Wonder how i can’t make it, Don’t tell”

19) The Sound – Total Recall: I don’t know why exactly I suddenly had a hankering to listen to The Sound but it did make me realise I was missing a couple of records including 1985’s Heads and Hearts, where this song lives. Adrian Borland is an amazing writer and The Sound had it all really. Unfortunately, Borland committed suicide in 1999 by throwing himself in front of a train, he had suffered from depression for years. “You trace back the seconds, Recall the details, From someone will, to someone does, To someone did, you know I did. Oh there must be a hole in your memory, But I can see, I can see a distant victory, A time when you will be with me”

20) The Courtneys – Country Song 1: The Courtney’s are the first band on Flying Nun that aren’t from New Zealand, and I have to confess that I just assumed they were given how the band’s album, The Courtneys II, sounds (released February 2017). The trio are actually from Vancouver, but the music could hardly scream New Zealand any louder. “I pick my head up off the ground again. I know I’m going but I don’t know when.”

21) Ride – Charm Assault: Oxford legends Ride got back together to play some shows in 2015 but are set to release their first album in over 20 years. Weather Diaries is being produced by Erol Alkan and this song definitely has some hints of Going Blank Again to these ears and that can only be a good thing. “Your charm assault, Has scarred the world, It looks so ugly, As your lies begin to unfurl.”

I guess I was in too much of a hurry when I actually mixed this because some of the transitions are pretty bad… sorry about that, maybe you won’t notice anyway. I hope there was plenty to like on here and I will see you again in a couple of months.

Peace and love

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