Sunday, 6 March 2011

Been Listening


Yesterday I went to see one of my all-time, desert island top ten,  favourite bands The Decemberists play the Barrowlands in Glasgow. Having seen them a healthy handful of times (the first being in 2004 at a rather strange church hall/social club in Bristol) I knew what to expect and, of course, was not disappointed. Few bands know how to do all-consuming, heart-swelling joy like the Decemberists. This wee illustration (for Eastwing) is based on me remembering discovering them as a eager teenager desperately lapping up new music in her bedroom.

Anyway doing this got me to thinking about my music consumption (this might be a long post) From about aged 14 to 21 I was a rabid seeker of new music. I read magazines and blogs and visited record stores weekly, thoroughly raiding the racks for obscure treats. When I moved to Edinburgh from Plymouth (where decent live music was hard, nay impossible, to come by) I feverishly attended gigs both here and in Glasgow to ensure I made the most of my proximity to good live venues. Briefly I even co-ran a club night, dj-ed and organised gigs. I was obsessed (and, as any devoted indie fan usually is, I was probably a total music snob).
  In the last few years this has waned somewhat. I buy fewer albums and never really read music blogs anymore. The days of visiting Pitchfork on a twice-daily basis are long gone. In a way that's a relief. My poor computer is grateful of the hard-drive space and having my ipod on shuffle is less of a risky business now that I know that everything on there is from a carefully curated selection of favourites rather than my entire music collection. For the past couple years I've stuck to releases from tried and tested favourites (Grizzly Bear, the Mountain Goats, Radiohead, Why, the National, St Vincent for example) and made way for only a comparative few new finds (DM Stith, Ramona Falls, James Blake, The Unthanks, The Dodos and a few more). I suppose this is part of growing up; no longer needing to sum myself up with a music library, neglecting my mix cd making and generally feeling like its ok not to be on top of whats new/cool/going to be Pitchfork's album of the year. I'm ok with that really, I can't afford to buy records like I used to! But a part of me doesn't want to give up too soon. I still am still floored by good songwriting and I will never fail to swoon at good use of a brass section on record. I guess what this boils down to is what do you fine folk recommend? What albums have had you in raptures recently? What's gotten your toes tapping and your head bobbing? Only the best please. I need quality goods to lift me from my rut! GO GO GO!

19 comments:

Lucy Eldridge said...

Ah, the National are amazing; It's always interesting to think how music influences creatives and their work.

If you didn't know already, check out Peter Broderick, Múm, Helios, Trentemøller and Jon Hopkins!

Daria Hlazatova said...

i have to listen to Decembrists after this post! :) also i love you illustration so much and your post reminded me so much of me!

Livi Gosling said...

Andrew Bird never fails to get my toes-tapping and a few ideas flowing :)

hellojenuine said...

glad you enjoyed the gig, it sure was a good 'un - i very briefly saw you in the sea of people leaving the ballroom! are you going to see the mountain goats/the national in may/august?

Lindsay Grime said...

I think you might quite like Avi Buffalo... Also Beach House, Gayngs and the new Sufjan Stevens and that Pj harvey I was telling you about! I can make you a disc if you like? good to see you friday! x

littlebirdbigcity said...

This is such a small world. The drummer for opening band for that show, Blind Pilot, is my roommate and old friend. I'm glad the show was fantastic, the Decemberists have been plugging away at it for a long time and really deserved their #1 album spot they recently received. Ramona Falls are also friends of mine, I just saw them play last weekend with another local band Loch Lomond. You should check them out as well. Menomena is another awesome Portland band, as well as Nick Jaina, Laura Gibson, Laura Viers, Typhoon, and the Head and the Heart from Seattle.
As you can tell, I'm a total local music nerd.
Good luck!

Eleni said...

This certainly struck a chord with me - and I'm afraid I have no new music suggestions to offer for that very reason. However, here's a little something that never fails to transport me back to my radio-under-the-duvet music obsessed youth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6Pla-HfGAs hope you like it x

Clara said...

Ah, The Mountain Goats and The Decemberists are fantastic.

I've been listening to a lot of Laura Veirs, Eels (especially 'End Times' and 'Blinking Lights and Other Revelations'), The Weakerthans, Selfish Whales and Pygmy Lush ('Mount Hope' is amazing).

I'll go and check some other bands you mentioned now...

mydeerfriend said...

Strangely enough, I had this exact same thought just yesterday (honestly!). I used to be so switched on with music that new music used to just find me. For the past year or so I've suffered a real draught for new stuff, and have been left hoping that old favourites will generate some new material...

So I have nothing new for you, but perhaps you're not familiar with Kings of Convenience, Taxi Taxi!, The Tallest Man on Earth or Jono McCleery?

On the other hand, please throw names our way!

mydeerfriend said...

Oh - and myspace.com/robbravery
A local boy to me, but seriously worth a listen!!

Fiona Purves said...

ahhh, I have also been in a bit of music rut of late, and also becoming more reliant on Spotify which I need to do something about... But it can be good for finding new bands.
Enjoying Maps & Atlases, though you might have (probably) heard them already. Enjoying a bit of M. Ward too, and revisiting bands like the Pixies, The Velvet Underground and early Flaming Lips stuff. Oh, and Cloud Control and the Superhumanoids are good too.
(And, the new Dodos album is reaaaaaaally good. http://hypem.com/#!/artist/The%20Dodos)

Tom Mcphee said...

Icelandic singer/spngwriter called "Ólöf Arnalds". Wonderfull, the album Innundir Skinni is incredible.

Mat Pringle said...

I'm afraid I've spent the day listening to various Guided By Voices lps, Tom Wait's 'Bone Machine' lp and some Big Star so I can't help you with anything hip, new or contemporary.

That said you should have a listen to Jane Weaver's beautiful and relatively new album 'Fallen By Watchbird'.

Googlover/keishua said...

First, you have wonderful taste in music. Secondly, I love your work. This illustration is perfect.

andrea said...

this is just a phase! some 2010 albums I loved: superchunk, nana grizol, mixtapes (very teenage like!), cheap girls

Stephanie Webb said...

villagers album is very good. fiona's right about the dodos, i like them a lot. Also PJ Harvey's new one is worth a listen; thank goodness for spotify!
If you like The Unthanks, you may enjoy Mountain Man...

Jessica said...

I'm with Livi, Andrew Bird never fails to provide a rush of inspiration.

Grand Salvo, El Perro Del Mar, Julianna Barwick, Timber Timbre and Destroyer are all masters of brilliance. Plus Frida Hyvönen :)

Happy listenings. x

kristenmakes said...

Just found your blog, its fab! I live in Edinburgh to (from Florida originally) and my husband and I really really wanted to go to that Decemberists concert, but were just too busy. I'm glad they put on a good show. I've seen them before and they are so happy and truly enjoy what they do.

moondrinker said...

If you needed to listen to (and see)just one new thing, that would be this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPcsMWXIwQg