February has been and gone. Despite it normally being such a grim month and such a short month I have been besieged by amazing releases this month. Check the playlist here as we start off with some gentle ambient rock before winding up the pace and the intensity. Then I take you down to the ultimate chill and some of the most beautiful songs ever.
Rocksteady- By the Rivers
Starting off this month is some Leicester relaxed ska. ‘Relaxed’ referring to pace- there’s an extremely tight brass section and although it’s not strictly new (2003!) it’s new to their online library and a great tune to begin with.
All This Love- The Landed
An actually new track is All This Love, (released 23/02). It’s great gentle melodic rock- punchy delivery on the vocals based around a noodly indie recurring riff.
Chaser- Night Flowers
A Night Flowers track was part of the first ever playlist I made (now removed). It was titled ‘to read to’ but don’t let that put you off this great band. This new indie release (pay what you to download here) fits right into their unique brand of shoegazer, anthemic rock.
Burnt Out- Elka
Next up is a contender for ear-worm of the month. Fresh from debut album (released 09/03) you’ll struggle to get the chorus line out your head for weeks. A sweet breakdown and tasty bass on this track hints that the album will be one to look out for.
SPiLL has come back after a long break away and tantalisingly says that this ambient glitchty masterpiece is but a taste of what is to come. As a free download you can’t go wrong, and the samples are guaranteed to get you mildly twitching.
Quasimondo- Scant Regard
The twitching will only continue with the latest from leather and scary guitar riff lover Scant Regard (scantregard.com) I’ve no idea how such a simple song can be so hypnotising and intimidating. A great contrast to his work with Adam Ant.
Maintaining this feel, the new mix by Mista Noisy is a lyrical whiplash of a track. I’ve no idea how this can be performed without asphyxiation, the barrage is constant and annihilating. Notwithstanding the references to Sean Connery and the Wizard of Oz, this is definitely the least ambient track this month, in a great way.
Drown Me Out- She Makes War
Drown Me Out is loud and emotional and yet immensely strong at the same time. Nothing is held back in the delivery, and yet all the energy is channelled expertly. Check out this link for more free tracks and take a moment to look at the great accompanying art work.
Closer- Cape Cup
Another contender for ear-worm of the month. This song is a great stirrer of emotions yet nicely chilled at the same time. Released 8/2.
States of Emotion- Back to Back
Crashing symbols, gentle background synths and heart-wrenching vocals that give you no option but to let it wash it over with you. Warning- may induce slow head-banging.
GraceSarah gives us a bit of a respite with this lovely floating track. I can’t help but think of a sunrise whenever this comes on, perfect tune to end the night on.
Little Darling- Heidi Brown
A great bluesy swinging soulful rendition from multi-instrumentalist Heidi Brown. This is from her latest album, out on iTunes from the 14/2, and like the others I’ve heard it’s got the potential to be a real weeper.
Time- Beth Porter & The Availables
I love hearing well-arranged strings. In this tune they interweave and mesh beautifully with Beth’s lovely voice. Fans of Cate Le Bon drop everything and stop by here.
Runaway- Anna Pancaldi
Singer-Songwriter Anna Pancaldi has a lovely smokey rusky voice. Fresh from her ‘Dear Joey’ EP this track is powerful and clean, building to a choral climax that just sounds beautiful.
February 14th- James Cook Music
I first came across James Cook with his wonderful version of Kraftwerk’s Neon Lights. This track as part of his 3rd Solo Album ‘Anti Love Songs’ is just as thoughtfully arranged- orchestrated pop at it’s best.
Sigh No More, Ladies- Wesfinch
Another playful response to Valentines Day came in this form from Wesfinch. Halfway between folk and singer-songwriter, only Wesfinch could get away with phrases like ‘Hey Nonny Nonny.’
How Not To Woo A Woman- The Bookshop Band
A return to more traditional forms of British Folk with the Bookshop Band. The lyrics tell a lovely little story in the midst of strings, and choral style backing vocals. It conjures lovely images of some of the smaller, close-knit festivals.
Stone- Apples of my Eye
To my deep shame I haven’t yet made it to a gig by these guys. Youtube footage from Union Chapel London shows that they can put on a gorgeous live performance and this track is full of their harmonic layers of voices and strings. Modern folk at it’s finest.
Quietly- Sophie Morgan
Lovely gentle soothing flowing folk from Sophie Morgan that is deliciously melancholic. Impossible to not become lost in, carried carefully downstream by the melody and orchestral accompaniments.
Thoughts Underground- Mike Vass Ft Yoann Mylonakis
Mike Vass takes us even further down the soothing flowing road with his magically ambient piano. The beauty numbs my brain every time – this one you’re going to have to listen to for yourself.
Surfer Girl- Happyness
My favourite cover this month is the Happyness version of the Beach Boys track. They somehow manage to retain all of the chill from the original despite using just one laptop mic. Not for the audiophiles, but great quality all things considered and a lovely lovely cover.
Shame- Ciaran Lavery
Ciaran has exactly the right voice for this type of song- coarse yet tender in a way reminiscent of Willie Nelson. Full of feeling and great to wrap yourself up in.
Wolves- August and After
New to me are August and After. I really loved this track, constantly swelling and crashing alongside gorgeous string and piano accompaniment.
You’re Alright- Eva Stone
I’m a real sucker for the type of sunny optimistic vocals jangling about here. Enthused with a laid-back samba beat this tune is exactly right to wake up to on a Sunday morning.
The Child in Me- Mildred’s Diary
My favourite this month is Mildred’s Diary and their wonderful Scottish indie-folk. Every time I listen to this I find something new I like- the whispered background vocals, the layers of percussion, the touching lead vocals delivery. This is more story than song, but one you can’t help but sing along to.