Arousing Sounds: Songs of 2012.

25 11 2012

You have good years and bad years with music, well life in general. Last year was alright but this year was pretty damn good. I bought more records this year than I did last year. I never have any money, but the money I do have spare goes on music. Rather on stuff I need. Such as clothes, as most of mine are a bit worn out. Or some new boots as my Docs are hanging on for dear life. They’ve been through a lot, but I think I can drag them through hell a bit longer.

This year for all reasons possible was rather good. Ignore all the crisis in the world and how society at times is fucked, then you’re okay. It’s been alright. And there have been some rather wonderful songs to go with it. Now, if this was a list of SONGS THAT MADE OLIVIA HAD A HERNIA WHEN PLAYED IN A VEHICLE, then Call Me Maybe would be my number 1 choice. Quite possibly one of the best pop songs to have been released in a long time. But did it come out last year? I’m not sure. But that song makes me happy, and I don’t even care. We’ve all made our own versions of it. Probably full of smut, but who cares.

So, here’s my list of songs that brought all kinds of joy and various emotions into my ears; and everywhere else. There are so many songs I know I have missed out, but I’ve got a really bad memory and I’ll want to change my mind after writing this. As always.

10. The Creeping Ivies- Ghost Train.Music should have elements that just freak you out. It should make you feel as if spirits are haunting you (I don’t mean a bad glass of whiskey.) It should fill you with sinister vibes that you just cannot shake, but the thing is- part of you doesn’t want to get rid of them. The haunting chills you get from Ghost Train are just stunning. My love for Becca and Duncan is ridiculous. They make me feel I am anywhere but in this time. That’s something that is entirely rare. I have woken up many a mornings where this song is in my head, and stays there for the duration of the day. That’s when I have my good days. The Creeping Ivies just make perfect eerie music that just reinforces my love for music.

9. Swim Deep-King City. I know I could have picked Honey, but King City mentions Jenny Lee Lindberg from Warpaint. That alone makes this song brilliant. It gives you a Summertime feeling, even if we are in the murky depths of November. I remember first hearing it and just being blown away. They have this gentle, euphoric tone to their music that just soothes you. It is like your being swayed. Your worries and troubles mean nothing when you listen to Swim Deep.

8. Jack White-Love Interruption. Anything Jack White does is just a piece of musical heaven. A stroke of genius. He has this way of creating something so insane yet pure. The lyrics to Love Interruption are mighty strange, yet you relate to them. You won’t let love corrupt you in any way, anymore. The music is so simple and stripped back but you can hear such frustration in his voice. A hint of longing just purifies the song. Ruby’s delicate and quivering vocals makes the song a lot more honest and vulnerable than it would be without. It’s just a gorgeous song that sums up everything love should be, and all you won’t let it be.

7. Ellie Goulding-Figure 8. This song pleasantly smacks you in the chops. I wanted to pick Only You, but that’s because I’m obsessed with the drums in it. A tribal feel to it, but I’ve gone with Figure 8 because there is something about this song that makes you feel a bit alive, yet sad at the same time. I think you can take the “And lovers hold on, to everything” in many ways I suppose. In a way, it is like Ellie is telling lovers to hold onto anything and everything. Or maybe she is saying lovers cling onto anything because they do not want to be without. Her second record is nothing like her debut, and that’s why I adore it and why I adore Ellie’s music. She still has such honesty to her songs, and the lyrics are darker; which is probably why I love them.

6. Beach House-New Year. Very nearly picked Wild, but I’ve gone with New Year because it means a lot to me. So does Myth. Myth just breaks my heart. New Year is 5 minutes of hope. In fact, the Bloom record is just a collection of songs that give you hope. It is like Victoria and Alex are giving you life lessons. Words to provide comfort and hope to those who listen. Everything about their music makes you feel as if they are cradling your soul. Soothing and swaying you as you face things you wish you could turn from. It is hard to turn away from some things and some people. Sometimes we can bring ourselves to do so; sometimes we can’t. I make life so difficult for myself (and probably others) but when I listen to Beach House, especially New Year, it is almost as if nothing really matters for that moment. New Year just makes you think about everything in a way you’ve never done before. It opens up your eyes and soul. It heals your heart.

5. Tamaryn-Heavenly Bodies. As Warpaint didn’t release anything this year, I’m declaring Tamaryn responsible for making the most ethereal song of the year, and the most tranquil record of the year also. Heavenly Bodies makes you feel as if you are drifting towards the most perfect and relaxed place possible. It makes you feel alive, even as your eyes become sleepy as you listen to this gorgeous song. You fall in love with everything surrounding it. You notice different layers to Heavenly Bodies as you listen to it through headphones. It is like a magical journey to something so divine as you listen to it. I adore the line, “She’s a fool but time is a thief.” I cannot explain why, but I just do. The song brings out a true sense of inner peace, and guides those gently, who feel slightly lost.

4. Crocodiles-Endless Flowers. The perfect opener to my favourite record of the year. I hold this song, this band and this record very dear to my heart. Their lyrics are romantic. Even when dark, they still have a romantic feel to it. No Black Clouds For Dee Dee is my favourite love song of the year. Yes, it reminds me of the one I love and adore. Endless Flowers is another song that gives you hope. I love the line, “I’ll bide my time swimming in your eyes, on some faraway screen.” It is easy to lose yourself in the one you love, and their eyes. Endless Flowers is a taste of devotion. A wonderful song that makes you wish you could create your own kind of ode to love.

3. Dum Dum Girls-Lord Knows. I’m going to try keep my ramble about this song as brief as I can. Lord Knows offers redemption and comfort in those who have hurt others. “I want to live a pure life” is such a vulnerable line. What I adore about Dee Dee is her vulnerable lyrics. She isn’t afraid to be so open with her words. That takes courage and strength that most shy away from. The intro to the song feels like the sun rising, giving you hope for another day. A chance to be better. The repetition of the chorus is like a chant, a mantra to stop you from hurting those you love. I love love love the line, ” ‘Cause every time you think of me, the black covers what might be.” Lord Knows offers so much solace, much like most of their songs. It is pure and truthful. It oozes out everything you wish you could. I guess next time you mess up, play this song. You’ll be alright. You always are.

2. The Long Wives-Judas Hex. I play this song nearly every day. I listen to The Long Wives a lot. Brandy’s voice is easily one of the best around. Discovering her music this year made everything a bit easier. We all have shit days, and how we get through them should make us tougher. I try to be tough, but I don’t think I have it in me. I don’t see it as a bad thing anymore. I’d rather be sure of how I feel rather than be emotionally numb. Judas Hex is so dark and simple. Just her voice and a guitar. Her voice is so so haunting. It isn’t overpowering at all. You don’t need a grand voice to be heard. Her voice is quietly powerful. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but she has something that no other will ever have. Or has ever had. Judas Hex evokes such devilish imagery in your mind, but they aren’t enough to scare you. You just embrace it, go with it. There’s no harm in it at all. Brandy’s voice lures you in, and once you are there- no part of you can leave. You just don’t want to. She is easily my favourite solo artist of the year. She’s just beautiful in all ways possible.

1. Saint Lou Lou-Maybe You. This song breaks my heart. This song makes me happy. This song is the best song of the year. It is gentle, it is delicate and utterly sad. I do like sad songs, but I don’t like obviously sad songs. Only when you pay close attention to the lyrics do you notice how heartbreaking this song is. What drew me in at first was the music. It felt like being on a bed of water, floating towards a state of bliss. Then I listened very closely to the lyrics and such sadness crept up on me. Since I first heard Maybe You, I have played it every day. I just have to always hear it. I have no idea what their record will sound life, but if it has the same elements as Maybe You (dreamy, blissed-out with shades of sadness) then they will probably become responsible for creating a sound that hasn’t been done before, and is of course, much-needed. I’ve mentioned before in previous posts the line I love the most in this song, but I adore “And if you’ve got an emptiness inside, you should let our worlds recollide.” The song offers reassurance and reconciliation. It’s just beautiful. There’s nothing else I can say about this song that I haven’t already said to anyone who may listen to me.

 

*I’d also like to add that Inhaler by Foals is bloody brilliant and I reckon their new record will be a massive highlight of 2013.





The Long Wives-Dark Horse.

18 11 2012

“He rides a dark horse. Crosses burned in its sides. He rides hooded in the dead of night.”

My love for Brandy’s voice is on a scale that not even I can comprehend. I seem to listen to a few of her songs a day. There is something about her voice and her dark lyrics that bring comfort. Her voice is just utterly perfect. You always find a singer don’t you, that just does something to your soul. Something that you cannot explain. Yet when you try to explain, words fail you. I guess all you can do is share the music in the hopes someone else understands and falls for the music too. In an ideal world, this would happen. Maybe it still can.

Brandy’s been working with Yeah Yeah Yeahs on her debut single, Dark Horse. It is produced by Nick Zinner and Karen O. Brian Chase plays drums, and Nick unleashes his guitar (slide and acoustic) and keyboard skills on this haunting song. You do get a Yeah Yeah Yeahs feel throughout the song, mainly songs such as Warrior and Sweets; the darker songs by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Dark Horse is pure and open. It is the kind of song that you simply must have on repeat (I’ve done so over the past hour, I can’t listen to anything else just yet.) Brandy’s voice sounds as eerie and as divine as ever. It really does annoy me that someone with this amount of talent, how someone so gifted isn’t huge you know? We give out free passes to those who make arses of themselves on reality shows, yet those with such talent are overlooked. It’s wrong. So bloody wrong. This could turn into a rant, so I’ll stop.

Brandy’s words are poems of the soul. Her words are like a cleansing of the soul. When you listen to her, you feel purer. You feel as if you have erased all past sins and you can live again. Her songs feel like you are being redeemed. That although you feel like a terrible person stuck in a dark place, you are probably more alive than most. To be in touch with the side of life that most shun takes strength and courage. You’ll find strength and courage in a song by The Long Wives.

Brandy makes music that gives you hope that out there, someone is still making music with heart and soul. This is music for the soul. This is music that acts like a confession. A step towards a cure for what troubles you.

You can listen to the single here : http://thelongwives.bandcamp.com/album/dark-horse-la-vengenista-single and is available to download and ALL sales of the single go towards Hurricane Sandy Relief. Get yourself a copy. Make a mix CD for someone, and stick this song on it. Tell everyone and anyone about The Long Wives, they just need to know.

I could quite happily sit here and write an essay on Dark Horse, but it’s one of those songs that requires nothing but your attention because words aren’t good enough; they quite simply won’t do it justice.





“Into the night as the stars collide, across the borders that divide. Forests of stone standing petrified, to be by your side.”

29 10 2012

Sadness is something that creeps up on you when you least expect it. Much like love, happiness and rage. Much like any feeling I suppose. There is something about sadness that hits you harder than most and is much more difficult to shake. Some people wish to wrap themselves around it and become self-centered (I don’t get that) and some manage to just carry on as normal. There’s no right, there’s no wrong. But most will say you are wrong. I’ve not felt sad in a very very long time. But I saw something today that reinforced just how horrifically sensitive I am. And how much I dislike it. I’d say it is a negative trait, but I don’t have it in me to be tougher than I am. I’ve tried, and I’ve even tried being cruel. I can’t do it anymore. It just seems pointless.

So today whilst walking home from the gym I saw something on the pavement that made me feel so sad, and quite sick. The way I walk to and from town is basically a country road. There’s a farm on one side, and when you walk past it you get a delightful stench of SHIT. That sure wakes you up when you walk past it. Anyway, this isn’t about the animal shit I get to smell every morning on my way to and from the gym. It’s about what I saw. Anyone who knows me even a tiny bit knows I adore animals. I’m one of those annoying twerps who has conversations with dogs, cats and rabbits, and is convinced they understand. If you have a pet, I will try to steal it from you. If you have a dog, I’ll make it my best friend. If you have a cat, I’ll hold it up and sing Circle Of Life to it. If you have a rabbit, I’ll attempt to steal it. That’s just how I am. Anyway, this morning walking back I saw a dead rabbit on the pavement..right next to me. At first I thought it was asleep, but I realised quickly that the poor bugger was dead. Thing is, it looked at utter peace.

I honestly have no idea what my point is with this. I probably don’t have one. I guess I just believe animals all have the same emotions humans do. Sometimes animals seem more gentle with each other than people do. The way some people are with each other is just disgusting. Have you seen how monkeys look after each other? If that doesn’t melt your heart; then something could be wrong with you. I wish people were more gentle and sensitive towards each other. Being tough is alright when you need to be; but not always. You don’t need to always be defensive, this is speaking from experience. You can’t let the past make you who you are. You cannot blame others for all that may be wrong in your life. Yet it seems easier doesn’t it?

The next person you scowl at or launch vile words at; think about it before you do so. How does this tie in with the dead rabbit I saw? I don’t know if it does. Maybe I wanted to write down how sad it made me seeing that. Maybe there’s more to it. Just be gentle. Be kind. There’s enough shit in the world, don’t add to it.





The Long Wives- The Trinity.

22 08 2012

“Her name is Jezebel, and I once knew her well. But time changes all.”

Some time ago, I wrote about a beautiful singer/song-writer from Los Angeles. Most bands that I love that come from the West Coast have a certain sound, you can just tell they are from there. That’s why I love them. However, with The Long Wives she truly sounds like someone who lives in the depths of a dark and eerie forest. Her music makes you feel like you are the only one that can hear her. That’s she’s all yours. This goes beyond being personal. This is EVERYTHING.

The Trinity is heartbreaking. I’m talking Cat Power’s Metal Heart kind of heartbreaking mixed with Townes Van Zandt’s Waiting Around To Die. The kind that hits you right in the gut. My love for Brandy is based on how dark and open her songs are. She makes the piano sound so desperate and longing. You cling onto every word, because every word resides inside you. Sadness is something we try to shy away from, but sometimes you’ve got to let it happen to you. The darkness is something you can run from. You can let it consume you, or you can face it. Do your worst if you must.

The Trinity shows Brandy’s voice in a way previous songs haven’t. Songs such as Judas Hex (my personal favourite) and Tongue do pour out such raw emotion. All her songs do, of course. But there is something..something about The Trinity that just stays with you. Maybe you see yourself in it. Maybe you can see someone else in it. It makes any hurt you’ve felt in recent times fade away. In time, most things just fade away. Eventually it will all be dust, and a distant memory. Longing, love and lust. It’s there, but not in sight. Just in mind.

I know I’m being biased, but out of all the music I found this year I hold The Long Wives very very dear to me. When you find a band or a singer that can unleash what you feel better than you ever could; that’s when you know you have found something permanent. I know nothing ever lasts, but music gives you hope that it will. There’s something entirely romantic about it all. The Long Wives give you so much. Hope being the main feeling. Something that is needed by most, if not all.

You can listen to this gorgeous and ethereal track here : http://soundcloud.com/thelongwives/the-trinity-the-long-wives





The Long Wives.

1 07 2012

 

Music doesn’t have to be hyped up to high heaven or over-produced in order for it to be nothing short of amazing. It doesn’t have to have so much going on that you lose sight of its meaning. Sometimes when it is so simple and stripped back, you truly see and hear how beautiful something is. You can apply this to anything in life. People, books, places- it doesn’t have to be covered in nonsense in order for it to be the most chilling and haunting thing you have ever heard.

I love voices that are the strongest part of a band. Voices that really lure you in. Voices that make you stay with the band for as long as they are around. When they create a sound that is like nothing else, you find yourself being utterly enthralled by it all. It doesn’t have to posses strange effects in order for it to be the most ethereal thing you have ever heard.

The Long Wives is just one person. One beautiful person who makes music that is glued to your heart. It owns your heart, it is YOUR heart. The Long Wives is Brandy St.John. The Long Wives are one of my favourite acts to come from Los Angeles.

Brandy’s voice is haunting. Her bio says her music is, “Songs about death and love, and the death of love.” Just reading this is enough for me to know I’m going to love her music. As I play her music writing this, I cannot help but wish all music was as bare and as courageous as this. Why isn’t all music as exposed and vulnerable as this? You shouldn’t be scared to cast yourself wide open. Then again, from personal experience I have learnt that being honest about your feelings is never a good thing. Ever.

Then we have artists such as Brandy who make it okay. She sings songs that are about things people constantly fear. Death and love. If anything, the way she writes makes you feel comfortable with these two things. They are the things in life that you cannot avoid. Like it or not, you’re going to die. Like it or not, you’ll fall in love. Not sure how many times or when it will happen, but it will. Sometimes you just have to kick fear in the face. Or walk away. Make the best decision you can for yourself.

Judas Hex is my favourite track by The Long Wives. She writes like Patti Smith. By this I mean, her words are pure poetry. The music is simple and the lyrics are captivating. Everything she does is just a piece of heaven. Every song I have listened to oozes truth. It oozes so much honesty. It is like an exorcism for the soul. With all my heart I’d love to turn my friends onto her music, but as I listen to her I feel like I do when I listen to Warpaint. This is such a private and sacred experience. To share this with anyone may strip away all her music is starting to mean to me.

I know what I want to say. God..I have so much I want to say about this music. It makes me want to put some clothes in a bag, and start my life in LA. I’m giving myself to 30 to make this happen. I’ve got just under 4 years to do this. If anyone wants to help, FEEL FREE. Her music makes me feel like something is going on that..is beyond my understanding. I hope you feel the same way too when you listen to her. You cannot help but feel as if she has got inside your thoughts and turned them into something beautiful; no matter how ugly it may leave you feeling.

Hand on heart, she has a voice that I can say is one of the most stunning and perfect voices I have ever EVER heard. I know I fall instantly in love with bands on what seems a daily basis, but this right here is something I will be still clinging onto in years to come. In an ideal world this would be the kind of music you hear everywhere. But you don’t. Maybe it is a good thing because those who are fortunate to find music as deep and as soothing as this will love it for life.

There’s beauty in the darkness and there is beauty in the feelings that can sometimes petrify us. To allow us to see it sometimes means we have to turn to others to rip it out from us. The Long Wives does exactly this. This is what has left me in awe with The Long Wives. Not just that one person does all of this, but how they do it. I know people throw the word “perfect” about without even meaning it- but I truly do here. Her music is just perfect, and what’s more- you can tell it comes from the heart. A place some of us shy away from and ignore.