I have many different playlists across various services. On iTunes I have about 60 different playlists currently. I have about 20 playlists on Spotify. Some of these are functional collecting a genre or artist together, some are something more life giving. I have a playlist filled with songs I like driving to called “driving”. I have one filled with songs of that help my think about faith called “Worth”. I have a playlist of fragile songs called “fragile”. On the more frivolous side I have a playlist called “six” that just has the sixth song off of a load of albums and one playlist called “way” that only has songs with the word way in the title. I even have an entire history of a band, the blue nile, or list build from the a set list of a concert I have seen, Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil.
Tonight I have been listening to one of the playlists called “40”. The playlist aims to draw together one album from each year I have been alive that means something to me. (The albums don’t really need to be one a year but roughly so). They start with the music of my father and mother, Cliff Richard, the Beach Boys and John Denver. The music of my brother including the band he sang in. The music of my teenage, my Contemporary Christian Music leanings through to today and the dream pop leanings. I don’t often listen to this list, but tonight it has been on. The Boy has enjoyed it being on.
I have always known that the power of song is significant but tonight it struck me just how much of my belief is informed and reinforced by song. How much I am uncritical of songs but adopt them as my own and have a view of faith I have found through song. I learned and identified with song. In listening to this playlist I have been revisiting my initial thoughts about my theological worldview and discovering how much it has shaped me. I don’t quite know what to think but in the meantime I will enjoy.
The new Laconic Hegemony “part 2(016)” is now out. Laconic hegemony is a small mixtape I put out with my favourite songs of the past year. You can listen to all, some or none of it. it is your choice. All these songs have been songs which have accompanied my over this year and mean something to me in some way, but I am aware they do not currently mean anything to you. Think of it as a c60 (roughly) of goodness to accompany your work rest and play!, and is so inclined, let me know what you like from the mixtape.
Technically my mixtape are hosted by mixcloud.com who provide the free widget above, an app for listening on your smart phone or even using a website, (A website, can you imagine!) The reason I use mixcloud.com is they are free, (which is important) and also they use their advertising income to pay royalties to the featured artists. I guess it is not a lot of money but I like the idea that the artist will make something from this randomly being played on the internet.
In all my busy-ness I realised I needed to sort out my best albums from 2016.
the long list is, (in no particular order). Human Performance by Parquet Courts
Is The Is Are by DIIV
Bitter Charm by Dunes
I Had A Dream That You Were Mine – Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam
Heavn by Jamila Woods
Walls by Kings of Leon
Visions Of Us On The Land by Damien Jurado
Good Grief by Lucius
Vitals by MuteMath
Ballard Of The Broken Few by Seth Lakeman
Front Row Seat To Earth by Weynes Blood
Light Upon The Lake by Whitney
Wow to the Deadness (EP) by Steve Taylor and the Danielson Foil
Colouring Book by Chance the Rapper
Yoncalla by Yumi Zouma
A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead
This is great wee album of post punk beauty which borders on dream pop. Yip possibly my favourite sound in the world. although they are knocked off a point by only releasing the album on cassette.I don’t mind vinyl, but I am not returning to the world of cassettes. Link to the SFsonic review
So in 2015 i got some music and liked a lot of it. here is the long list from which my top three albums of the year will be chosen in some order. As always all musical albums I heard for the first time in 2015 are eligible for consideration and the selection decision is my own.
What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World by The Decemberists
Stranger Kings by Stranger Kings
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Think by Courtney Barnett
Short Movie by Luara Marling
The Shakes by Herbert
The Scene Between by The Go! Team
Growing up is for Trees by I’m From Barcelona
Goon by Tobias Jesso jr
Apologues by Masatoshi Fujita
Song Spells, No. 1: Cedarsmoke by Sea Wolf
Hello I Feel The Same by The Innocence Mission
Eas by Iain Morrison
Amor Supremo by Carla Morrison
Depression Cherry by Beach House
Currents by Tame Impala
and in case you missed it, below is volume 10 of my mixtape series Laconic Hegemony, “20fifteen” containing some of my favourite songs of 2015
The new Laconic Hegemony “20fifteen (volume 10)” is now out. Laconic hegemony is a small mixtape i put out with my favourite songs of the past year. you can listen to all, some or none of it. it is your choice. All these songs have been songs which have accompanied my over this year and mean something to me in some way, but I am aware they do mean anything to you. so feel free to have a listen and let me know what you like of the mixtape. think of it as a c60 (roughly of goodness to accompany your work rest and play!
Technically my mixtape are hosted by mixcloud.com who provide the free widget above, an app for listening on your smart phone or even using a website, (A website, can you imagine!) The reason I use mix cloud is they are free, (which is important) and also they use their advertising income to pay royalties to the featured artists. I guess it is not a lot of money but I like the idea that the artist will make something from this randomly being played on the internet.
This is a brief half-year report on some of the new music I have heard and enjoyed over the last 6 months (July to December 2015). Some are famous, some are not, some you have heard of, some you will not. I hope it is interesting to try to gather them together for your information and delight. If you wish you can let me know what you have been listening to in the comments section. (you can find the january to july selection here.)
The High County by Someone Still Loves you Boris Yeltsin – File under Indie Rock.
Chances by Minipop – File under Indie Rock.
The Fire Inside by Luke Sittal Singh – File under Indie Pop.
I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty – File under Indie Folk.
Totally Mild by Down Time – File under Indie rock.
Lodge by Lone Wolf – File under Singer songwriter.
The Great Divide by Andrew Howie – File under Indie Pop.
Beneath the skin by Of Monsters and Men – File under Pop.
Silverball by Barenaked Ladies – File under Pop.
Sleep by Max Richter – File under Classical.
Trapped in amber by Jonnie Common – File under Electronic.
Wild Knights by Aqueduct – File under Indie Rock.
Simple Songs by Jim O’Rouke – File under Pop.
Surf by Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment – File under Hip Hop.
February 15 Ep by Nao – File under Electronic.
on Thursday evening, I accompanied my wife to see one of here favourite bands in the big town, 4 Canadian middle-aged men in a band called Barenaked Ladies. The gig was great fun with plenty of crowd interaction and making everyone laugh. It was a good show. they played a good range of new and old stuff and people generally seemed to be having fun.
musically the change from a 5 to a four piece has taken a while to settle down. the shows have been good and fun, but this time it felt more confident as a four piece. maybe confident is the wrong word, perhaps comfortable is closer description, in many ways it felt stronger than it had before.
perhaps this feeling has to do with the songs on the new album Silverball. It simple when you know that as a band you will be getting royalties from airplay of “One week” or other american chart single successes, or of course the royalties from the theme tune of TV series “the Big Bang theory”. Yet the writing on the 3 albums since 2010 have been getting stronger, 2010’s All in Good Time is a good album, “Grinning Streak” from 2013 is a very good album, and the current album Silverball is also a very good album. and part of the comfortableness I think I detected was a band who were confident with who they were and how they were doing things and that came across well.
anyway a really good show with Colin Hay of off Men at Work as the support act.
This is a brief half-year report on some of the new music I Have heard and enjoyed over the last 6 months (January – July). some are famous, some are not, some you have heard of, some you will not. anyway it is interesting to try to gather them together for your information and delight. If you wish you can let me know what you have been listening to in the comments section.
In my round-up of 2014, two of my top 10 favourite albums were “Goliath” by Steve Taylor & the Perfect Foil, and “Solid Gold Heart” by Jad Fair & Danielson. I recently had the opportunity to go to New York and by an extreme coincidence I managed to get tickets to see both Danielson and Steve Taylor & the Perfect Foil live, together, in New York people, (thanks my wife for her significant birthday, and subsequent surprise trip to NYC that I organised).
The gig was down on 12th street at Webster hall, the studio room, (think king tuts wah wah hut in Glasgow and you’re not too far off.) We took the subway down and found something to eat before heading to the venue. Where we caught the last two songs of the opening band, who sounded very similar to Franz Ferdinand.
Danielson was advertised as appearing in his 9 fruit tree. Having followed Daniel Smith through his Danielson Famile, Brother Danielson, Danielsonship and Danielson guises I knew what to expect. Danielson Famile started as a masters thesis project in which Daniel wrote some songs and played them live with his family as a performance piece. From that had come an avant-garde series of albums, featuring falsetto vocals, hand-made matching costumes and songs about dragons and the Holy Spirit, and struggle in how to be an artist and christian. You can see the trailer to the 2006 movie about him here (Danielson Movie Trailer). The Danielson experience is creative, otherworldly, polarizing, beautiful and like all the best art in the world, great fun.
They put up the 9 fruit tree, representing the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit, it was so big it was hit the roof from its stage performance and required two tree technicians to assemble. With a guitar attached to the tree, Daniel stands in the tree and sings his songs. The audience participate in this with clap alongs, snap alongs, and during the song “Don’t You Be the Judge”, from the Tri-Danielson-Omega album, we had the audience making up verses and shout/singing them as part of the song. Having seen Danielson hit an unsuspecting audience before (in Glasgow on a UK Tour) I have seen this go not so well. In NYC on a Tuesday evening, it went brilliantly with every verse shouted/sung with vigour, leaving Daniel happy and slightly bemused while the room smiled, laughed, and sung along. This was emblematic of the role Danielson played in setting the right temperature of the room for the next act.
Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil took the stage and started to rock out and room caught it. The band, Steve Taylor (Lead Vocals) Jimmy Abegg (Guitar) John Mark Painter (Bass) and Peter Furler (Drums), are set up as a simple, lean, rock’n’roll band, with drums, bass, guitar and a tall thin singing besuited gentleman. This wasn’t fancy big stadium stuff, it was more a was a grab for the heart of american modern rock. The band sounded great, tight as you would expect from these performers, Steve’s singing is consistently on the money with a great delivery. The songs are mostly straight rock with the odd bit of disco, reggae and a beautiful cover version which perfectly morphs into a live version of “Cash Cow” from the Squint album. it is a thing of beauty and joy. The live version of songs from 2014’s Goliath are awesome, and the songs from the back catalogue are handled brilliantly, Stand outs in the live contact were, “Comedian”, “Moonshot”, “Double Negative” from Goliath and “Easy Listening” and “Hero” also stood out significantly. NB I am pretty sure they played “sympathy vote” and I liked it, but the song kicks set list says they didn’t, so who knows?
As a concert experience it is impossible to ignore the manic, energetic, stage performance of Steve Taylor. Its is a remarkable piece of stage craft which dominated the performance. The Webster Hall studio stage isn’t the biggest in the world, he covered every inch of it several times. This energy complimented the attitude on stage with a real sense of the band enjoying being a band together. It was noticeable that this wasn’t Steve Taylor with some backing musicians, but it seemed like there was a real enjoyment of being together, and working with each other. Creating a space where the songs could flourish grow arms, and grab you into them. It really was a great show, with great music bringing a great big smile for everyone.
Anyway I came away singing “Man makes plans, God Laughs.” from Comedian. My wife came away thinking “Why didn’t he either put a hip out, or fall over from being dizzy?” Both true, both provoked by a fantastic evening.