living is a gamble baby, loving’s much the same: last month’s mix, november 2010;

love is an act, faith is an ability

In which, even when she is being the world’s most rubbish and lazy music blogger, Lis puts together a selection of songs that have caught her attention through the joys of iTunes shuffle this month.

I’m cheating a little tonight: now that this month’s mix is slowly uploading, I’m listening to somebody else’s. For much of my life I have been lucky enough to know people with the lyric for the right occasion, and when to hide the track listings. A good Doctor knows how to fix what ails you, or at least to put it to the side for a while. I think of the most significant mixes I have received over the years: the ones whose creators paid more attention than I ever thought I merited, the ones with stickers and badges and handmade cover art, the ones who found me new favourites, the ones that broke my heart with every choice. I suck in the tracks, but they need to be listened to in the order the compiler intended.

You can’t replicate that so well on a general selection like this, but I like to think that there’s a reason I pulled each of these songs out of the pile and presented them to you.

There’s a moment this month where Franz Nicolay sings about how cold it gets in August; I wanted to take the line but it sounded silly because November’s frozen streets can’t compare. It’s a struggle to believe that another year in mixes is over. I haven’t started thinking about listing. I don’t know where to begin.

With Frank Turner on Thursday night if the snow lets him up I guess. We’ll take it from there.

When You Leave, Leave Something Of You With Them: last month’s mix, November 2010

1. Bobby Baby: Lucky Moments
So there was this one time I left this festival early, but when I told the frontman of one of my favourite Scottish bands that I blogged about it he recommended one of the acts I had missed. You don’t say no to that sort of thing.

2. Jenny and Johnny: Big Wave
Jenny Lewis is a “fuck yeah, redheads” category all of her own. The sometime Rilo Kiley frontwoman has made an album with boyfriend Johnathan Rice – I haven’t heard it yet, because I can’t find it anywhere. Other than iTunes, obviously, but I still like stuff. It’s a silly thing. My superbestestfriend says I’m the only person who still buys him CDs. Glasgow, get your act together.

MOAR LYG:  last year's jams: is what it is;

3. Sleigh Bells: Rill Rill
The cherry-picking blogging mentality doesn’t always work. This album is an example of hype I didn’t get, until I heard the full album a few times on repeat at work. It’s bonkers and brilliant. The Christmas playlist goes on once I hit “post” tonight, and I’m tempted to sneak it in on a technicality.

4. Tommy Stinson: One Man Mutiny
The greatest bass guitarist of our generation takes a break from propping up an increasingly geriatric Axl Rose (and introducing cool kids on social networking sites) to make some music under his own name again. You can grab it as a free download and watch some behind-the-scenes footage here.

5. Drive-By Truckers: Steve McQueen
I still haven’t reviewed their show from earlier this month, because I am a bad and busy girl, but I don’t think it’ll ever matter where I am: Drive-By Truckers will always remind me of the Den, mispronunciations on an answering machine and friends too fucking far away.

6. The National: American Mary
They didn’t play this one the other night – in fact, with the exception of “About Today”, they didn’t play anything old at all – but the last time I tried to post something recent I got Web Sheriffed and besides, this is my favourite these days anyway.

7. Franz Nicolay: Felix and Adalita
This is the sort of love story somebody might tell you in a bar sometime, long after the event, about the people you never knew you never knew. It’s from an album I need to give the time of day to, because I’m starting to suspect there’s something pretty special in there.

8. Gregory and the Hawk: A Century Is All We Need
About two years after the event, the little feature I posted about Meredith Godreau’s debut is still one of the things that pulls most random search engine surfers to this blog (that, Gaslight Anthem themed tattoos and “last year’s girl’s neighbour” for some reason…). She’s still got that childlike innocence on this year’s follow-up.

9. Laura Marling: Blues Run The Game
Those proper, cleaned-up versions often lose the nuance of live, but at least Marling’s take on the Jackson C. Frank original now lacks a yobbo crowd cheering the songwriter’s alcoholic demise, eh?

MOAR LYG:  bury me, marry me to the sky;

10. Elliott Smith: No Name No. 5
Did you know there’s an Elliott Smith compilation out just in time for Christmas? Not that anybody shouldn’t own the originals, of course. I’ve been on a kick recently.

11. JJ Bull: Capital City
Have you watched the video yet? You haven’t, have you?

12. Randolph’s Leap: Going Home
One of my current favourite Scottish bands, who manage to pull off that “ageless folky sound yet youthful lyrics” thing very well. I wrote about them, the EP this track heads up and the wonderful new record label who put the thing out, here.

13. Fog: 10th Avenue Freakout
I pick up recommendations in many ways, but what I love about 2010 is that I can buy them on iTunes on my way home (or note them down, in case I forget later). This one came up during a conversation with Mitchell Museum, and the Springsteen reference meant I was a goner.

14. Evan Greer: I Want Something
This one’s courtesy of my good friend Mr Dave Hughes, who covered it during his recent performance with the Indelicates at the 13th Note (more on that soon, I reckon). Lyrics on a bathroom stall? I get it. And you can pretty much download everything he’s ever done too.

15. The Dresden Dolls: Sing
It was Amanda Palmer’s fiance Neil Gaiman’s epic piece on the band’s reunion for Spin that made me want to revisit their incredible discography. You should read it if you haven’t already.

DOWNLOAD: When You Leave, Leave Something Of You With Them [zip]

Monthly Most Played, yeah, the usual.

Monthly Most Played as of November 2010:
1. Marah, “Walt Whitman Bridge” [=] 2. The Gaslight Anthem, “High Lonesome” [=] 3. The Gaslight Anthem, “We Came To Dance” [2] 4. The Hold Steady, “Banging Camp” [=] 5. The Gaslight Anthem, “Old White Lincoln” [=] 6. The Gaslight Anthem, “The ’59 Sound” [=] 7= The Hold Steady, “Hurricane J” [8] 7= The Hold Steady, “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” [7] 9. The Gaslight Anthem, “Great Expectations” [8] 10= The Gaslight Anthem, “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues” [=] 10= The Hold Steady, “The Weekenders” [NE] 10= The Hold Steady, “Lord, I’m Discouraged” [=] 10= The Hold Steady, “Magazines” [RE]



  1. December 1, 2010 / 2:46 am

    #5. Sigh. RIP Den. They closed down for months and it ended an era. Now they are reopened in a new location, but people have kids, there are friends I’ve not seen for 4 months and I think I never want to go there again just to keep the old den in my memory. I’ll never forget the 3 generations of 365ers photo either.

    #15. So true. That same piece got me into Dresden Dolls (but for the first time, I don’t know how I never heard of them until now).

  2. December 1, 2010 / 2:52 am

    lastyearsgirl_ Why you gotta be breaking mah heart? GET ON MY CONTINENT.

  3. Shelley
    December 1, 2010 / 9:17 am

    I’m off to see Jenny and Johnny tonight in Manchester, haven’t managed to find the album either, but I’m sure I’ll love it all the same! She has that kind of quality 🙂

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