Tuesday, 30 December 2008

December, forever ago.

I've been listening an awful lot to William Fitzsimmons and it got me to thinking, whether certain artists replace others in your life. I hold my hands up guilty as charged with regards to being as obsessive as they come with music, but with that obsession comes a certain amount of fluctuation. I'm a phased obsessionata. Ha, that phrase makes perfect sense to me. I get hooked on something play/read/watch/talk/drink/make/eat it over and over again, until I take a breath and leave it for a while and then come back around.

After procrastinating about this for a bit, I think what I was initially trying to say was the about impact of artists, as apposed to the artists themselves. There will never be another Jeff Buckley, for example, but there may well be people who punch my heart with the same ferocity.
Fitzsimmons is having an early Damien Rice, Bonnie Prince Billy, Iron & Wine type impact on me right now. Him, The Weepies & Bon Iver are defining my December.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Old vs. New

I've got very loose definitions of old and new music because they interchange for me so frequently. I'm often finding old, new music and new, old music. It's with this thought that I want to avoid the 'albums of 2008' post that staples itself to spaces on the internet at this time of year. I'd quite like to talk about my albums of 2008. Some old, some new, some re-discovered in no order other than they way they come into my head.

Ray Lamontagne - Gossip In The Grain
'Let It Be Me' is all strings and magic. Ray's voice on this record just pushes its way through every sigh and every word, sharpened or smooth. The lyrics are flawless, the stories are dusty and beaten but with drum brushes of hope. I really, really, really like it.

Edie Carey - When I Was Made
I'm not sure where I even heard this first. It might have been from CDBaby (http://cdbaby.com/). It ties in with my new found appreciation for Americana - I heard about 8 seconds of a song and went straight to Amazon new & used to dig out a copy. Her voice got me in the door, but it's her lyrics that made me stay and take my coat off. There are two songs, 'Open Wide' and 'If I Start To Cry' that make me stop typing and hold my breath, so I don't miss the words.

Ed Sheeran - Want Some? & Nizlopi - Make It Happen.
Ed is to Nizlopi as Cheese is to Marmite. Each taste perfect on their own, but together there is some kind of amazing taste explosion. Nizlopi are Marmite, Ed has a little way to go before being entitled to that crown but none the less.. he's still full of B Vitamins. It's bittersweet that this is Niz's last full studio affair but it's packed with old, new and the poetic justice they fight so hard for. Everytime the bass introduces 'Start Beginning' I have to turn the volume up, it stays up until the aptly named 'Drop Your Guard'. Love is... well, is all about this.

Sara Bareilles - Little Voice
The album doesn't do her voice justice, but when I first heard Vegas I was there. I was dreaming of quitting my job and moving to New York, that lyric threw itself into my stomach and got lodged. Gravity is a perfect, perfect song.

Jamie Lidell - Jim
Pure, unadulturated, 'I'm going to strut whilst walking' SOUL. I don't like the whole album, but the majority of it just makes your face break into smiles. This is what summer should feel like. This used to make being at work at 7am in the morning the best part of the day.

Laura Marling - Alas, I Cannot Swim
Voices. Female voices. I think at any other time I might not have been quite as receptive to this album, but her voice just makes the fact that it rains lots in this country okay.

Patty Griffin - Living With Ghosts
I've talked about Ms P. Griffin previously, but this album from 1 to 10 is just full of something raw that I wish I had in my pocket for so much longer.

Susie Suh - Susie Suh
A recommendation from a friend, and now something that I cannot stop listening to. I can't figure out exactly what I like about it, because in some ways it's like I've heard it all before - her voice is so old, so fragile it's like it's been picked up from a vinyl, dusted off a little and laid over the songs again. You can hear her singing with her eyes closed, you can see the songs in her head. It's simple stuff really, there's no huge instrumentation, but her voice makes everything better. Oh, so much better.

William Fitzsimmons - Until When We Are Ghosts
I was 'had' about 43 seconds into hearing this album, and then I just kept getting 'had'. He has such an interesting story to tell, and listening to him sing about it almost feels like you're being sung to sleep by a bedtime story. It's so intensely personal it's hard to listen to sometimes, it's hard to listen to his breath catch over a word and not feel it. Hearing this album made me buy everything he has ever done, turn all my lights off and sit at dusk with a cup of tea and closed eyes.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


Now, 'shuffle' is one of those oxymoron functions - it's decided yet indecisive; controlled defiance of order, almost. I sometimes like it, I sometimes don't. I depends what it throws up. I've just put my whole itunes account on shuffle to see where I get taken for 30 minutes. I press shuffle on the tube a lot, and because I don't like getting my ipod out in large groupings of people (ha, check out my paranoia) I generally don't hit skip that often. The thing I love about the function are the hidden surprises, those tucked away songs that get lost owing to the fact that you blur out half the A-Z when you're scrolling. But, there was always going to be a but, it's not a mix-tape, nor a playlist, it is what it is... a random continuation of songs. At present, I've gone from 'Oratorio - Hundred Reasons' to 'Strawberry Street - Jeff Buckley'... now that makes sense, or at least sense in terms of volume.... and then, oh good, 'Pain - Jimmy Eat World'. Okay, my arguement is unravelling. Normally, it's the volume of songs that gets to me. I've gone from Pixies to Sigur Ros before. I don't like that. It scratches.

Ha. Now my point is proven, I've just been presented with '2.45am - Elliot Smith'. Following Jimmy Eat World. That makes me start to itch. Maybe it's my need for balance, because I can't exactly blame the function seeing as it's only doing as it's told - shuffling my songs. If anything, I should blame my eclectic music taste, I've now got 'Eloquence & Elixir ' The Kissaway Trail' as the soundtrack to this part of the story. I like flow, I don't like erratic. However, I do enjoy giving the control away at times. Sometimes you want itches to scratch, because the relief they bring has a tendency to last just that little bit longer. And with that, here's that hidden track I was talking about... 'North Hanging Rock - British Sea Power'.

Sunday, 14 December 2008


I've got this weird love/hate relationship with quotes.

There are some I read that articulate what I was trying to say with such clarity it's not only frustrating but blinding. Then, I just get annoyed that I didn't think to use the adjective in the first place. Why should one word win out over the other? What makes that particular word resonate?

"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." Oscar Wilde said this, and I adore it but it ties in with my disdain for cliches. Cliches are such a wasteful way of saying something, it's like cheating your way around a sentence.

However, sometimes, something just throws itself at you and sticks.

"Don't let anyone, even your parents, break you. Find good people who care about you and surround yourself with just them. If you can't find them at first, find good music and fall into it, let it hold you until they come." As said by Davey Havok (don't worry, I had to Wikipedia him too). Someone told me this quote about three years ago, and it made so much noise inside my head that I never forgot it.

I guess the point of this late-night-ramble is that quotations are lyrics, just in a smaller box.