A monthly mixtape for you featuring some things that have caught my attention this month.
‘MAGINE if I bought a house, saw Sleater-Kinney for the first time in a decade and mah show officially came back all in the same week tho.
March 2015. That was the month that everything Came Up Lis-house. I posted the above to Facebook on the Monday, and by the Tuesday:
— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) March 24, 2015
That same day, I also sneaked a cheeky wee guestie to hear my beloved Frank Turner being all loquacious and hilarious at the Q&A session/acoustic launch gig for his tour diaries. On the Wednesday, a group that I am a part of shared billing outside of the ABC with the most important band of my life, and on the Thursday I slept. On bare floorboards. Because waiting in for the carpet measurers is no fun when you have literally owned the house for an hour and a half and you don’t even have any loo roll yet.
A few weeks on and we’re just about unpacked, and I’ve taken a few days off after payday so I can spend some time framing prints and playing with chalkboard paint and those wall decals I’ve had in a cardboard tube for about a year and a half and getting it just the way I want it. As much as I know that playing house with my favourite will get old pretty quickly – and is based, let’s face it, on how often we make time to wash the dishes and sweep the floors – I couldn’t be happier with it, and I can’t wait to show you all once it’s done.
Wherever Is Your Heart, I Call Home: last month’s mix, March 2015
1. Lady Lamb: “Batter” A Beekeeper no more, Maine’s finest export is still making tangled, witchy, pop-rock songs just as fun to unravel as those on 2013’s Ripely Pine. Plus, After came with this excellent bobble hat that I did not take off for four days. It was that cold in the flat before we left. BUY IT.
2. Screaming Females: “Empty Head” It is probably fair to suggest that Rose Mountain is the most cohesive, immediate thing that Screaming Females have ever done – and “Empty Head”, a ferocious teeth-grit rock song, is probably my favourite track from it. I’ll be starting my short holiday next week in the company of the trio at Broadcast on Wednesday night, and you really ought to join me. BUY IT.
4. Tuff Love: “Cum” “Cum” is a wonderfully sweet song hiding behind a crude exterior – much like this blog’s favourite slacker-pop duo, really. “It could never be ou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ours…” SWOON. BUY IT.
5. Sea Change: “Above” Glacial beats from emerging Norwegian talent Ellen A.W. Sundes. Sea Change plays Glasgow’s Stag & Dagger Festival this May bank holiday weekend. BUY IT.
6. Brandi Carlile: “Wherever Is Your Heart” Since these mixes are rarely themed beyond “here are a few things I’ve listened to this month”, sometimes it can be hard to come up with a title – and, sometimes, the title just jumps out at you. Brandi Carlile’s throaty voice is just gorgeous, as is the striking americana on her new album The Firewatcher’s Daughter. BUY IT.
7. Robert Chaney: “The Cyclist” Because it’s been far too long since we’ve had a good murder ballad around these parts. Despite possessing a voice straight out of the ragged country songbook, Robert Chaney is actually a Londoner – and his debut album, Cracked Picture Frames, explores some deeply uncomfortable themes. BUY IT.
8. of Montreal: “Estocadas” It’s only listening back to this mix that I realise the of Montreal track continues in a similar, albeit it hardly so sparse, vein – it’s still from the chaotic mind of Kevin Barnes after all. BUY IT
9. Pennycress: “All Might” It was hard to find a place on the mix for this Glasgow-based female-fronted punk band, but Pennycress don’t really need spaces made for them – they make them for themselves, noisily and taking no prisoners. The band performed at TYCI’s March event too, which by all accounts was equally marvellous. BUY IT.
10. Tanya Tagaq: “Fight” Yes, I keep harping on about how good this album is, but it’s only because it really is that good! The bonus is that this track – an ominous, violent, swell of a thing – follows on beautifully from the scrappy battles of the one before. BUY IT.
11. Garden of Elks: “This Morning We Are Astronauts” Super-lofi thrash pop on Song, By Toad Records, featuring members of Bronto Skylift, Lady North and PAWS. BUY IT.
12. The Wave Pictures: “Sinister Purpose” Noteable indie eccentrics The Wave Pictures released a new album, produced and co-written by Wild Billy Childish, at the start of this year – but this song, which features on it, is a Creedence cover. BUY IT.
13. Franz Nicolay: “Your Body and the Borderline” Since I cheated and put an older Franz Nicolay song on the mixtape after To Us, The Beautiful! came out, it’s only fair that I make it up to you with one of the prettiest songs on what is hands-down the prettiest record of 2015. BUY IT.
14. Sam Pinkerton: “Part III” I know very little about Sam Pinkerton and this song which, as far as I can tell, I picked up on a free Noisetrade sampler around SXSW time. The Florida-born, Nashville-based songwriter describes the EP from which this track is taken as a “20 minute musical novella” – if so, this is a pretty and desperately sad chapter. BUY IT.
15. Lydia Loveless: “All The Time” You’ll know, of course, that Lydia Loveless released one of my favourite records of 2014 – but that’s no reason to stop listening to her earlier stuff, something that my friend Kieran has been encouraging me to do a lot recently. While on the subject, you really should check out his lutherie blog – a specialist subject, sure, but one he’s so interesting and knowledgable on he scored himself a regular magazine column out of it. BUY IT.
DOWNLOAD: Wherever Is Your Heart, I Call Home [zipped MP3s, 60.3MB]