Category Archives: playlist

Scrawls and Bawls Playlist: March 2012

Just a quick one today, as I’m about to to run out the door to catch a flight to a far off land. Here’s what’s been tickling my lugs this month. Some cracking stuff from the first quarter of the year – which has been mighty impressive. One thing I will say: listen out for the monstrous riff on the Islet track (What We Done Wrong), which comes a few minutes in. Enjoy, share, buy the albums.

1. Olafur Arnalds – Film Credits

2. RM Hubbert – V

3. Dirty Three – Moon On The Land

4. Blue Sky Black Death – Sky With Hand

5. Nalle – Iron’s Oath

6. Trouble Books – Abandoned Monorail Station

7. Willis Earl Beal – Evening’s Kiss

8. Marissa Nadler – Ghosts & Lovers

9. Daniel Rossen – Saint Nothing

10. The Shins – Simple Song

11. Lee Ranaldo – Shouts

12. Diagrams – Night All Night

13. Lower Dens – Brains

14. POLICA – Lay Your Cards Out

15. Gillian Welch – The Way It Goes

16. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

17. RM Hubbert, Alex Kapronas, Aidan Moffat – Car Song

18. Islet – What We Done Wrong

19. Orbital feat. Zola Jesus – New France

Listen to the playlist here

Comedy and Chameleons: Playlist for February 2012

It’s been a long time since I posted one of these – probably about two years. Let’s blame the Koreans and their Spotify thwarting ways. Or alternatively, me for being too lazy to find any other way of posting it. Barriers overcome, I’m going to make one of these monthly. The playlist is a mix of old and new songs that have been tickling my lugs through February and the amount of new tracks on there is indicative of what, I think, has already been a great year for new releases.

The Kathleen Edwards record, Voyageur, in particular has taken me in. Justin Vernon’s midas touch hasn’t deserted him and you can really feel his presence at the production desk. She always had fantastic songs, but I think these are her strongest set to date. I’ve reviewed a few of the albums and spoken to a couple of the artists on here, so if you like what you hear, have a wee read.

Some of the older songs contain great memories. Nowhere Again by the Secret Machines reminds me of sitting on a torn seat, with yellow fluff coming out of it, on a bus from Belfast to my university campus. We had to pass a dog food factory en route, but luckily I’m not synesthetic enough to smell the molten “meat” when I play their album. I only realised last week that Benjamin Curtis from the band is one of the main guys in School of Seven Bells, a group I’ve heard great things about, but am yet to investigate.

And then there’s Shack. Ah, Shack. A blast from my Select reading days in the late 90s. I think I heard the track Comedy on a free cd with the magazine and after that got into Waterpistol and HMS Fable. Everything I read about them at the time had some sort of tragedy connected to it. A band member died. A studio burnt down, with their masters in it. Noel Gallagher said they were his favourite band. Tragic stuff. The Head brothers have a nous for brilliantly simple songs. Comedy is beautiful.

Enjoy the playlist and if you like any of the songs, buy them. You won’t regret it.

Listen here (Spotify link)

Comedy and Chameleons

1. Last Days – Thoughts of Alice

2. The Dead Texan – The Struggle

3. Delay Trees – Uni15

4. Clem Snide – The Dairy Queen

5. I Build Collapsible Mountains – Where We Go Tomorrow

6. Perfume Genius – No Tear

7. Tindersticks – Show Me Everything

8. Active Child – High Priestess

9. Damien Jurado – Everyone a Star

10. Shack – Comedy

11. Kathleen Edwards – Chameleon/Comedian

12. Ane Brun – Do You Remember?

13. Shearwater – You as You Were

14. Errors – Magna Encarta

15. We Are Augustines – Augustine

16. Secret Machines – Nowhere Again

S&B Spotify Playlist: March 2010

It’s been a bi-polar kind of month for me, half of which was spent in Manchester, superconnected and the other half, cut-off from the rest of the world in an wi-fi-free Fermanagh (also without my hard drive). It’s funny how quickly I’ve become reliant on my computer and the internet for music. I guess it’s sad, really. I’ve fallen out of the habit of buying cds, granted for financial reasons, but if I were to make a quarter year resolution, then it would be to start up again.
Quarter of a year. It’s not long passing. And this year, I think, has been exceptionally top-loaded with great albums and it’s only going to get better. I had the privilege of interviewing The National yesterday for The Skinny. It’s ahead of the new album, High Violet, which is excellent. I think it’s too early to say whether it’s as good as Alligator or Boxer, given that they were both immensely slow-burning albums, but so far so good. In anticipation, I’ve included Fake Empire from their 2007 classic.

I’ve also been hammering David Thomas Broughton’s album, The Complete Guide to Insufficiency, pretty hard. I see it as a halfway house between Panda Bear and Nick Drake. His subject matter tends to be a tad maudlin, but his voice is overflowing with emotion – as powerful as Antony Hegarty’s. What amazes me is that his debut set was recorded in one take. If you listen to it, you’ll know what I mean. It was recorded in a church, which I think adds a sense of potency or reverence to the sound quality that’s even palpable without knowing where it was laid down. The Complete Guide is five years old now and he’s due to follow it up this year.

I’d never heard of Kath Bloom before this month, when I saw her recommended on a message board, but she’s been releasing records since the 70s. My personal highlight from her new album is here. When I heard this track, I fell in love with her voice. It reminds me of Johnny Cash’s the older he got, in the sense that it’s weary, slightly out of tune at times, but somehow conveys infinite wisdom.

In keeping with the comeback, I’ve included my own highlight from Gil Scott-Heron’s return, the title track from I’m New Here. It’s a cover of a Smog song and when I first heard he was doing that, I was confused and wary: I’m a huge Bill Callahan fan. But it sounds great, and when Gil sings the chorus, his voice doesn’t sound a million miles away from Callahan’s.

Since I’ve spent half the month cut off, I’ve had to make do with the contents of my mp3 player (it’s not very big). I’ve been listening to lots of Electrelane and their first two albums in particular. I think it’s fair to say they got more accessible as they went along. The Valleys, from the Power Out, is the best thing they’ve ever recorded. It’s an operatic choral number that kinda comes out of nowhere. What impresses me most, is how the girls from the band manage to hold their own with the choir. I always thought the vocals on Electrelane tracks were relatively weak. How wrong I was.

There are a few newish tracks here, but most of it is mined from the archives. I wrote about the tragic death of Mark Linkous earlier this month so I won’t do it again. I’ve included a few of my favourite Sparklehorse tracks in the mix too.

Enjoy: Scrawls & Bawls March 2010 Playlist

1. David Thomas Broughton – Unmarked Grave
2. Sparklehorse – Eyepennies
3. Kath Bloom – Like This
4. Jason Lytle – Yours Truly, The Commuter
5. Tindersticks – The Organist Entertains
6. The Unwinding Hours – Solstice
7. Sam Amidon – 1842
8. J. Tillman – Steel on Steel
9. Sparklehorse – Saturday
10. The National – Fake Empire
11. Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here
12. Owen Pallett – Lewis Takes Action
13. The Mountain Goats – This Year
14. Uncle Tupelo – Screen Door
15. Local Natives – Wide Eyes
16. Electrelane – The Valleys
17. Sparklehorse – Wish You Were Here

Excellent Decade Spanning Mixtape from CMG


Coke Machine Glow is a website I read quite a bit. Their reviews are funny and intelligent, if sometimes a little long. I think what separates them from Pitchfork is that their reviews are often quite tongue-in-cheek and self-depreciating. They don’t seem to consider their word gospel, a critique often angled at P4k. Plus, they’ve named themselves after an obscure album from the lead singer of the Tragically Hip. Not many cool points to be earned there.

But CMG regularly release Fantasy Covers Podcasts, on which (I guess pretty obviously) they ask some of their favourite artists to cover some of their favourite tracks. Last month, they released Part One of a decade spanning mixtape / podcast paying homage to the 2000s, entitled Decalogue. It features covers of tracks by some of my favourite artists, including The Microphones, Songs: Ohia and The xx.

I know most people are pretty fed up of the amount of coverage the turn of the decade received, but this is well worth a listen, even if you never listen past the unmissable mash-up intro.

You can download Part One of Decalogue here and I’ll post the other part when it becomes available.

Here’s the tracklisting:

. The Hood Internet :: “Decalogue”
:: (0:01 – 6:19)
:: featuring, in order: 2000 – Dr. Dre vs Radiohead; 2001 – Missy Elliott vs Daft Punk; 2002 – Ludacris vs The New Pornographers; 2003 – Kelis vs The Rapture; 2004 – Twista f/ Kanye West vs Arcade Fire; 2005 – Three Six Mafia vs Sufjan Stevens; 2006 – T.I. vs Peter Bjorn and John; 2007 – Rich Boy vs LCD Soundsystem; 2008 – Lil Wayne vs Hot Chip; 2009 – Jay Sean vs Phoenix

2. Rich Aucoin :: “Human After All”
:: (6:20 – 8:59)
:: originally by Daft Punk, from Human After All (Virgin; 2005)

3. Ned Collette & Wirewalker :: “Come On Let’s Go”
:: (9:00 – 12:43)
:: originally by Broadcast, from The Noise Made By People (Warp; 2000)

4. Yellow Ostrich :: “Cannibal Resource”
:: (12:44 – 16:04)
:: originally by the Dirty Projectors, from Bitte Orca (Dead Oceans; 2009)

5. Touching Earth Made of Steel :: “Party in the Spirit World”
:: (16:05 – 20:05)
:: originally by Miley Cyrus (“Party in the USA”) and Daniel Johnston (“Spirit World Rising”), from The Time of Our Lives (Hollywood; 2009) and 1990 (Eternal Yip Eye Music; 1990

6. The Luyas :: “Motion Picture Soundtrack”
:: (20:06 – 22:56)
:: originally by Radiohead, from Kid A (Capitol; 2000)

7. Mesita :: “Winter on Victoria Street”
:: (22:57 – 26:09)
:: originally by the Clientele, from God Save the Clientele (Merge; 2007)

8. Boats :: “The Glow, Pt. 2”
:: (26:10 – 31:25)
:: originally by the Microphones, from The Glow, Pt. 2 (K; 2001)

9. João Orecchia :: “Two Blue Lights”
:: (31:26 – 35:04)
:: originally by Songs: Ohia, from Didn’t It Rain (Secretly Canadian; 2002)

10. Neil Haverty (of Bruce Peninsula) :: “Teeth in the Grass”
:: (34:59 – 37:30)
:: originally by Iron & Wine, from Our Endless Numbered Days (Sub Pop; 2004)

11. Lackthereof :: “Biblical Sense (White Wine mix)”
:: (37:31 – 43:04)
:: originally by All Smiles, from the Biblical Sense EP

12. Dog Day :: “Ponytail”
:: (43:05 – 44:55)
:: originally by Panda Bear, from Person Pitch (Paw Tracks; 2007)

13. Dirt Dress :: “Healer”
:: (44:56 – 48:59)
:: originally by Chromatics, from Night Drive (Italians Do It Better; 2007)

14. Vitaminsforyou :: “Shelter”
:: (49:00 – 55:20)
:: originally by the xx, from The xx (Rough Trade; 2009)

15 Sewing Machines :: “Clam, Crab, Cockle Cowrie”
:: (55:21 – 59:42)
:: originally by Joanna Newsom, from The Milk-Eyed Mender (Drag City; 2004)

S&B Spotify Playlist: February 2010

From here on in, I’m going to put a playlist on my blog each month which everyone can listen to for free. For this month (and probably next month) it will be on Spotify. After that, I will put it up in the form of mp3s. I am moving to South Korea shortly. They don’t have Spotify there, but they do have 100meg broadband.

It’s not got a lot of new music on it, but stuff I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Some of it, I’m surprised by! For example, since hearing The Winter Of Mixed Drinks a couple of months back, I’ve gone back to listening to Sing The Greys quite a lot. I really like Frightened Rabbit’s new album but don’t necessarily think it’s a logical successor to Midnight Organ Fight. I think there’s as much of their debut set in there as MOF. Anyway, three amazing albums and Music Now is a great track.

Over the past six months I’ve been rifling through Jason Molina’s creative catalogue. I think the guy is a genius. His work as Songs: Ohia is his best and The Electric Magnolia Co is his best album. So understated, effortless and simple. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy comparisons may have been slightly more apt on, say, Ghost Tropic, but with this album he steps out of that shadow and slips comfortably into his own skin. Funny how I’m only picking up on this seven years after the album’s release.

There are quite a few Scottish acts on there… inevitably I guess. Since leaving Edinburgh I’ve trying my best to keep up with what’s been going on. The Withered Hand album, Good News, from last year is one of the best I’ve heard in a long, long time. I’m sorry I’ve never had a chance to see the guy live. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to getting around to his debut. Ardentjohn have a new album out which has been received positively, which I’m happy about.

The Drever, McCusker, Woomble album is one I got my hands on last year, but it’s only been this year that I’ve given it sufficient attention. It really is something else. December saw Idlewild’s 100 Broken Windows voted The Skinny’s Scottish Album of the Decade, but it’s amazing how he has diversified himself over the past few years. Before The Ruin is simply gorgeous. Stripped back, rootsy folk songs, beautifully song, lovingly written and played.

The other tracks are gathered from memories, people and places I’ve loved over the past month or two.

Enjoy (those with Spotify!) Scrawls & Bawls Feb 2010

1. Mason Jennings – Memphis, Tennessee
2. Evan Dando – Hard Drive (Live)
3. The Delgados – Is This All That I Came For?
4. Ardentjohn – Where All Paths Lead
5. The Replacements – Unsatisfied
6. Frightened Rabbit – Music Now
7. Songs: Ohia – Just Be Simple
8. Midlake – Rulers, Ruling All Things
9. Townes Van Zandt – Tecumeseh Valley (Live)
10. Deer Tick – Diamond Rings 2007
11. Drever, McCusker, Woomble – All Along The Way
12. Belle and Sebastian – Sleep The Clock Around
13. Withered Hand – Love In The Time Of Ecstasy
14. Drever, McCusker, Woomble – Hope To See
15. Phosphorescent – Wolves
16. Songs: Ohia – Farewell Transmission
17. Sebastien Tellier – La Ritournielle
18. The Chameleons – Second Skin