It was 4am and the light was grey. Like it always is in paperbacks.

Oh there just aren’t enough words to describe how much I love this song.

In a strange way I think it’s one of the most melancholy songs I’ve ever heard. Even the great Elliot Smith didn’t manage sadness in quite this way.

Current favourite aspect:
It’s this magnificent trumpeting of sexual bravado.  And then it ends with this fantastic line that completely undercuts it.  It is the dictionary definition of loneliness in just over 2 minutes.

And available to buy here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/whip-smart/id724446333#

 

Don’t think I’ve recommended a YouTube channel yet. I’ve been watching quite a few recently. They’re a whole new interesting thing, I find, and there are so many people making really well-researched, punchy short films that tell you fascinating things about the world.

This is by a guy called Josh Pelton – for more info on him have a look at this interview. He mentions in the first episode that he doesn’t know anyone that he can discuss his passion, philosophy, in depth with. So he decided to create a YouTube channel to start the conversation going.

Be warned, though, he puns like his life depends on it.

Current Favourite Episode:

The one above, on problem-solving.

Second recommendation of the month.

There are a number of musicians I know who are clearly fictional characters.  People who you wouldn’t be at all surprised to find have actually been played by actors all along.  Jessica Law is definitely one of those.

She was born in the late 1800s, became part of the Midlands contingent of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and then died about 1910.  Probably of consumption.  And then, thanks to some sinister backroom scientific experiment, was brought back to life and condemned to spend the next 100 years or so walking the earth and singing songs about death and revenge on a resonator ukulele.

Think of her as like The Woman In Black, only every time she appears a child doesn’t die.  Instead, a borrowed library book completely disappears from the face of the earth, cursed to never be returned, stamped and reshelved.

Current Favourite Track:
Six Years (“Well I never had the health to ruin myself…”)

The first recommendation of the month is the Gjermund Larsen Trio from Norway teaming up with his Swedish neighbours Nordic for this rather wonderful… well, kind of polska, I suppose.

A friend, Charlotte Robinson, recommended it to Hannah, who recommended it to me, and I’ve been listening to it on loop since then.

Current Favourite Aspect:

How comically nordic they all look – particularly the guy on the harmonium (piano-type thing), who I’m sure was in A-Ha.  My brother and sister-in-law live in Sweden, and every once in a while I’ll get a YouTube link to a Swedish comedy show, and the first time I was watching this I was sort of expecting to see the camera pan to one of them with a viking helmet and big blonde pigtails.

Also the tune.

Second recommendation of the month: another local favourite, Bug Prentice.

Every time I see a Bug Prentice poster around town or on social media (they’re actually on the cover of next month’s local Nightshift magazine), I get a twinge of embarrassment, on account of having booked songwriter-in-chief Ally Craig to play a gig last year that proved to be a catalogue of disasters.  Ally was graceful as ever of course, in the face of a rainy miserable evening playing to a virtually empty room.  But as a sometime event promoter, I always worry more about not giving an act a decent-sized audience than I do about the money.

My ears might be deceiving me, but I do get the sense that Ally’s songs are actually getting a little more cheerful as the years roll by.  Parts of this EP even sound jaunty.  (Apologies, Ally, if this is a heinous slur.)

Current Favourite Track:

A joint-winner this time.  ‘Lee Miller’, because she’s always been a hero of mine.  And ‘Don’t Be That Dude’, because, seriously, don’t be.