Monday, November 19, 2012

Little Wanderer

I am still very much alive, never fear! Not only have I not felt like blogging lately, I keep forgetting to listen to all the new music I've been buying. Ha!

Lately, no music has made me feel like I want to blog about it. Nothing, that is, until I came across the band Lilliput.

It's a funny story how I came across this band. (Okay, maybe it's not that funny...) If you have interacted with me at all in the past 6 months, you'll probably know that I've been voraciously watching the TV series Byker Grove (also affectionately referred to by me as my "children's soap opera"). I merely started watching the show because that's where Ant and Dec's career and friendship began, and before I knew what was happening, I was finishing the the 18th and last series. I love that show, okay. And I'm American so I can't even claim I merely like it for nostalgic reasons. :P

Anyhow, on one of my many walks down the crowded streets of Google, I discovered that Dan[iel] Waterston (who played the character of Mickey in series 15-18 of Byker Grove) was now the drummer in a Sunderland-based band called Lilliput. My hopes were raised when I saw the band's genre described as "alternative folk".

I first watched their video 'Until' and quite liked it, but it was only when I went on to watch their live video for their song 'Little Wanderer' that I knew I had found a new favourite.

Lilliput has yet to release an album or an EP, but you can be sure that I will be waiting eagerly for the day when they do.

(Supplemental link: Head to their official site to join their mailing list and get a free download for their song 'Until'!)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Lullaby to Wander By

I've been absent. Not just here, but everywhere. In my mind,  even. I still feel absent. But this is a lazy afternoon, so I thought I'd write a blog post. I hope to be posting more in September.

My vinyl collection has a grand total of 5 records in it. The only one of these that could be considered rare is Through the Eyes of Terry Bêr, which is by... you guessed it! Terry Bêr.

This album was released in 1968, and it's actually not very hard to get a vinyl copy of it. It has not, however, been released on CD or in any other digital form, officially, which is a shame.

This album was nothing like I expected. I thought it would be more psychedelic folk, but nothing could be further from the fact. It's core genre is folk, but it has influence from Spain. Or perhaps Mexico. I would even say there is a Mariachi influence on a couple of the songs.  Though initially surprised, I've grown extremely fond of this album.

Of the 12 tracks, half of them were written by Terry. Notably, there are two Leonard Cohen covers and also a Donovan cover. The songs written by her are my favourites, though. (They are 'Wouldn't You Loved to Be Clothed Like a Tree'; 'A Lullaby to Wander By'; 'But If You're Lonely'; 'Come on Over to My House'; 'Streets of My Village'; and 'Gemini Gypsy'.) In  case you haven't guessed from the title, my favourite is 'A Lullaby to Wander By'. This peaceful song sounds like the atmoshpere the title conjures. That's all I have to say, really. :)

Have a listen:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Hullo! Though it's a new month, this is not an artist of the month post. If you read the little sidebar, you'll notice it's on hiatus. You'll also notice I've provided one of my SM:TV Live gifs for your viewing pleasure. I have no idea when I'll return to doing the artist of the month. I've bought a lot of new music lately, but I haven't listened to a lot of it. This is a very strange time in my life - you must excuse me. But I shall be posting!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

It's no secret I'm a fan of 60s music, but my obsession doesn't end there. I just want to take the whole era and put it in my pocket. The good, the bad, and the smelly.

I watch a number of television shows from the 60s, and one of my favourites is The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Last month I read Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which is a biography about the Smothers Brothers and their show (mentioned above). Their show aired from 1967 to 1969. It began as a typical comedic variety show, but it soon became too revolutionary for its own good. Tom and other writers on the show constantly fought the censors to say what they wanted to say (whether it be a slightly off-colour joke or social commentary). The war raged on until The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was cancelled after its third series, even though a fourth series was contracted.

Dick and Tom Smothers are (believe it or not) really brothers and their last name is truly Smothers. When I first started watching the show, I assumed it was all a gimmick. :P

I made the mistake of not finishing this post when I started writing it last month, so most of that nice biographical information I obtained about  Dick and Tom is gone. I do remember they started out as a folk trio in the early 60s (and yes there was a third man at the time), which eventually morphed into them doing folk/comedy as a duo, with Dick being the straight to Tom's funny man.

One of our favourite songs the Smothers Brothers do is a song called 'Chocolate' which opens with the line: "I fell in a vat of a chocolate..." Its punchline is hilarious as well. (You have to listen carefully, though, cause Tom says it very quickly.)

They perform it on the second season of their show, but sadly that clip is not on youtube. But luckily, it was also on their 1962 folk/comedy album The Two Sides of the Smothers Brothers, so you can listen to it, at least!

(Supplemental link: Watch them perform 'My Old Man' on the third season of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. I know it must be the third series since they have moustaches. :P)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Paloma Faith

Pardonnez-moi!  I've been terribly absent from everything. Life got away from me. I'm grabbing it for now to belatedly bring you June's artist of the month, Paloma Faith!

Paloma Faith is an English songstress and songwriter of whom I can't get enough these days. I first heard of Paloma when she was a panelist on a show that I shan't admit I sometimes watch. I was entranced by her zany personality and clothing, and was extremely desirous to know more about her. I think I might've even watched her on another show (NMTB, this time) before actually listening to her music, but it's possible I listened to a couple of her songs in the interim between show-watchings. (I can no longer remember.)

A few weeks ago, she released her new album (Fall To Grace), but you must excuse me for I am still stuck on her first effort from 2009, Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful.  I don't know why I used the word "effort" - in my mind that sort of implies it fell short of some undefined mark. It certainly didn't! (Er, doesn't!) Her music is pop/soul that's a little more mainstream than my usual far-off-the-beaten-path choices, but that's not to say her music is akin to the general tripe that shoots so shockingly up the charts. Her songs and whole being are very theatrical, which is hardly surprising considering she is also an actress and has held the various jobs that are theatrical in nature.

My favourite song off Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful is 'New York' - a song that is a plea to a lover whose left for 'another lady' with a slight twist from the usual. I can't stop listening to this, as it combines beauty and catchy-ness into an irresistible combination.


(Supplemental link: Watch a clip Paloma [and Noel Fielding!] being adorable on Never Mind the Buzzcocks here.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Polly Scattergood

I had May's artist of the month picked out before April's. True story. The artist in question is Polly Scattergood, and what happened was this: I bought her album at the beginning of April and fell head over heels in love with it. But I knew all along I would wait till May to make her artist of the month. I have to become acclimated, you see, and make sure my favourite song doesn't all the sudden become my least favourite or something.

Polly Scattergood a singer/songwriter from my the grand old UK (born in Essex, but is now living in London, I believe). Her first album, Polly Scattergood, was released in 2009, and she is working on her second at the moment. Her music is hard to explain... I'm not sure what genre to assign to it. Wikipedia says "Indie pop",  "Experimental", and "Alternative rock". Sure, why not? Why do we spend so much time obsessed with genre anyway? (In my mind I'm throwing my hands around like a self-righteous philosophy student. Ha.)

A criticism I've heard of her album is she bleeds her heartache all over it. Heck, that's why I love it. I'm not even going to pull the female card when I say that. I love the emotion she portrays with her voice, her lyrics, her instrumentation.

My favourite song of hers is 'Please Don't Touch', which was my introduction to her music. I ran into the music video on youtube and took immediate interest. Very soon afterward I decided that, yes, I was a big fan.

Listen to 'Please Don't Touch':

 (Supplemental links: another favourite is 'Breathe In Breathe Out' which you can listen to here.)

This post is disjointed. Sorry about that. I got overcome by my hovering depression while in the middle of writing it and had to walk away. I'm back now - more stable, but not very focused. But I've introduced you to the wonder that is Polly Scattergood, and that is all that matters!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

No One Can Hear You Cry

I think I can just squeeze in another post before April ends! It's on my to-do list, so I better do it, right? I'm extremely strict about such things.... *snickers*

I've been really digging obscure 60s and 70s music again, so appropriately I'm posting a song from an old favourite: Susan Christie.

Susan Christie is yet another talented woman who is terribly obscure and hard to gather information on. I do know she was with a band called The Highlanders, but it was her solo recording of the novelty song 'I Love Onions' with which she gained some footing in the musical world.
She then made her first and only album: Paint a Lady. The album was released in 1970. Or it would have been, at least, had the record company not done what they did, which was limit the pressings of her album to a very small amount, because they had no faith in the commercial possibilities of her material. (I've heard there were only three vinyls made!)

I am amazed Paint a Lady ever got reissued. Amazed, but grateful, I must say. The album is brief, only eight tracks long. As far as I know, all the material is original except for her cover of 'Ghost Riders in the Sky'. Of course, this album does contain the nine minute 'Yesterday Where's My Mind?' An acid folk number that I must confess I've never made it all the way through. (It has a frightening intro!) Of course, I haven't tried to listen to it in years; I might be able to handle it better now. :P

Her songs are full of loneliness, which is quite apparent on my three favourites from the album: 'Rainy Day', 'Paint a Lady', and 'No One Can Hear You Cry'. Being a teenaged girl, perhaps that is why I love all three of these songs. I'm a sucker for a good song about, well, sad things.

The song 'Paint a Lady' is perhaps more indicative of what she is capable of, but I have a soft spot for the song 'No One Can Hear You Cry' so that is the one I'm posting. (But you'll notice I've included 'Paint a Lady' as a bonus on the playlist, if you want further listening!)

This post was actually surprisingly easy to write! I though it would take much longer. (Using the new Blogger was a pain, though.)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Marj Snyder

As the song goes, "April, come she will"... and before I'm quite ready for her. As usual, I deliberated over what artist to make artist of the month, before deciding the only artist I felt like raving over was Marj Snyder.

Marj Snyder... I confess, I don't know much about her. She was a little-known singer-songwriter who released several albums in the 70s. Though few knew of her, those who did were blessed by her music.

The bio for her at states simply: "Hippy lady from California who loves that God." Ha! It's hard to tell whether or not it was a fan who penned that gem; but yes, Marj was from California and she loved "that God". (Read: she was/is a Christian.)
I can't state positively how many records she released, but I know for sure of two: her 1971 album, A Time of Peace, and her 1972 album, My Lifetime Now. (I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Marj was only 17 when A Time of Peace was released.)

I can't remember exactly how or when I came across the music of Marj Snyder. I think it was last summer, when I somehow stumbled across her song, 'God', which is from the album A Time of Peace. Her gentle style and beautiful, thoughtful lyrics grabbed my attention, and the more I listened to the song, the more I grew to appreciate it.
Sadly, except for the song 'God' and another song called 'I Am the Light', I've not heard any more from A Time of Peace. (Ah, the woes of loving obscure music!)

But semi-recently, I was able to find a download of her 1972 album, My Lifetime Now. While it does contain a regrettable foray into country music ('Knees Knocking') and Southern gospel ('For Those Tears I Died') and the inevitable 'Amazing Grace', My Lifetime Now is a fine album. (For the genre complaints, the songs themselves are alright, I'm just not a fan of those two genres.) My Lifetime Now is certainly a million steps above the cookie cutter "Christian music" of today.

I'm posting two songs today; the first is 'Chicago / Walk By My Window' from My Lifetime Now. (Which technically is two songs, but they segue into each other and they were put on the same track in the version I downloaded.) Unlike the rest of the album, they aren't religious. But they are pieces of her life wrapped in the packaging of lovely folk music, much like the second song, which is the aforementioned 'God' (a song of more religious nature, obviously - but definitely worth a listen, even if you're not interested in the spiritual side of life.)

(Supplemental links: Another favourite from My Lifetime Now is the song 'I'm Dying'. I love the pure anguish of this song, which you can listen to here, if you so desire.
Here is the blog I downloaded the song 'God' from and the blog I downloaded the album 'My Lifetime Now' from. Also, one of Marj Snyder's song is on the compilation Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies from the Canyon, which can be bought on amazon.)Link

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coming Up

Nikki, a sweet new reader of mine, has given me an award! Thank you so much, dear!

Here are some instructions:
1. Nominate 15 others for the award and inform them with a comment on each of their blogs.
2. Create a post for the Versatile Blogger Award.
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. In the same post, include this set of rules.

Seven Random Things About Moi:

1. I drink my daily coffee black. Sometimes I'll have cream or sugar, but not often. I like it black. I'm prouder of this fact than I should be.

2. I have library cards for two different libraries, and I'm thinking about getting a third. (I'm not collecting them, no. It's just that even with two library systems at my fingertips, there are still many books I want to read that aren't in either of their collections.)

3. When I was a young girl, I aspired to be just like Madeline (from the books by Ludwig Bemelmans). Mainly, I wanted to be as brave as her. Not sure how well that worked out, but I do attribute my Francophility to those books.

4. Due to the fact I have no life, I read somewhere over 440 books last year. (441 according to my goodreads, but there were some re-reads that weren't entered.)

5. I would rather clean toilets for money than babysit. (I've done both, yes, and I prefer the toilets.)

6. I hate eating in public. I'll eat in restaurants, but at parties or other gatherings - no way. We affectionately call it my "public eating disorder".

7. I often professed a desire towards a medical career as a child, but somewhere in the transition from childhood to teenage-hood, I became one of the most squeamish people ever. (Not squeamish when it comes to cleaning toilets, evidently. :P But if someone starts describing a surgery or something - ugh!)

[I should tag 15 people in this space, but if you haven't noticed, I usually skip that step and say if any of my readers would like to do this on their blog, they are welcome to do so, please!]

To make up for my lacklustre facts, and to make this a music-related post, I am posting one of my favourite music videos: 'Coming Up' by Paul McCartney! I've been listening to a lot of my darling Paulie lately, and I've been meaning to post this video for a long time - so right now feels as good a time as any!

'Coming Up' is from Paul's 1980 album McCartney II. The quirky music video features Paul dressed up as ten different people (including a portrayal of himself circa 1963), and his wife Linda dressed up as two.

And sorry - this song will most likely get stuck in your head...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Though I've been telling myself for the past week or so that I'm still trying to choose March's artist of the month, I've known all along it couldn't be anyone but The Asteroids Galaxy Tour.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour were recommended to me by Artamus, a fellow fan of Laura Nyro that I met through, well, this blog! I am forever indebted to him for revolutionizing my music tastes with this band.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour are a Danish group and the founding members are Lars Iversen and Mette Lindberg. There are quite a number of other bandmates now, but as their website says: "As their name might imply, THE ASTEROIDS GALAXY TOUR are somehow less of a band than they are a many-legged, ever-evolving, constantly moving party machine."
How could I even try to write a mini-bio about such a band?!?

Their new album Out of Frequency came out in January, but so far I've only heard a few songs from it. It's their 2009 album, Fruit, that has been my constant companion ever since I downloaded it in January. Some people (not just my brother this time) complain about Mette Lindberg's unconventional vocals, but I like them. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour is fun and funky, and I love listening to them. Especially when I'm home alone and need something good to "blast".

Picking a song to post from Fruit is really hard... It's one of those albums I like to listen to all the way through every time. According to my itunes playcount, I've listened to the songs 'Around the Bend' and 'Bad Fever' a few more times than all the others.

I think I'm going to go with 'Around the Bend' as its one of the first songs I heard by them. (According to wikipedia it's their most well-known song.)


On another note, have you ever wondered about my post-writing process for this blog? What's that you say? No? Well, allow me to share a story anyway that will shed some light on it. I was going to write this post yesterday, so I looked up The Asteroids Galaxy Tour on wikipedia (my starting, but not ending place, for almost every post), and as I was reading the entry, I noticed Mette Lindberg had been on an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Since I have a thing for British telly, I thought: I'll go watch that! Halfway through the episode, I got distracted and started watching the episode of NMTB with Holly Willoughby, because I think she's lovely. I also watched assorted clips with other favoured celebrities, and by the time I finally went back and finished the episode with Mette, my good intentions were shattered and this post never got written. Well, not until today.

And that is how my writing process works: It doesn't.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It All Got Worse

I feared I wouldn't make it in time (AKA before February ended), but here I am with my last favourite song of 2011 - 'It All Got Worse' by Destry!

According to many sources, Destry is headed by Michelle DaRosa and she collaborates with Shaun Cooper, Sam Means, Nico Childrey, Tyler Odom - all musician who are a part of other bands. Strangely, Destry's official facebook page only mentions Michelle DaRosa and Tyler Odom (who are pictured above). They're usually the only two present when acoustic sets are played on the streets or something so... alright. I'm still slightly befuddled, but that's okay.

So far, Destry has released two albums: their second, Waiting on an Island, was released last May, and their first album, It Goes On, was released in 2009.
For me, It Goes On grabbed my ears instantly. Waiting on an Island, which has a quieter mood, grew on me more slowly. Both albums have a dreamy 60s vibe. Not psychedelic 60s, mind you - earlier than that. Both have a very basking-in-the-sun feeling, but Waiting on an Island has more moments of rain. Nowhere is this more evident than in the my selection today: 'It All Got Worse'.

Admittedly, it was a hard contest between the song 'Alabama' and 'It All Got Worse', but I chose the latter because it has deeper meaning for me. This year I often found myself listening to this song; it offered solidarity, and I loved how Michelle's vocals are so full of the weight of the song's emotion. Perhaps I should have tried to end this "favourite songs thingy" on a happier note, but what can I say? I had a rough year.


(Supplements: Listen to their albums on bandcamp!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mire Kay

"We were all very thankful to tear off JANUARY from our calenders and to look hopefully at FEBRUARY."

-Miss Read, Changes at Fairacre

That quote sums up January for me. But while I was certainly thankful, I was hardly prepared! February has been speeding by, much to my distress. It doesn't help we've had houseguests since Monday. My concentration levels are frighteningly low....

...But not low enough to not want to (at last) bring you February's artist of the month, Mire Kay!

Mire Kay is the duo of Emelie Molin and Victoria Skoglund. They are two lovely, Swedish girls who were originally members of the band Audrey (which is hibernating for the time being).
I swear, there must be something in the Scandinavian water because the acts coming out of there make ridiculously amazing music. Mire Kay is, of course, no exception.
I'm stealing the description of the group from their site because I like it and it's much better than anything I could come up with at the moment:

"When closing your eyes you will never know where you will end up. Maybe somewhere between the roar of a capital city or beneath a bridge where you can hear the water murmur. You will maybe find a link to your home or to the continent, or you might just find the world of Mire Kay. It is a place where things are simple, where fragile sounds whisper in the spruce tops of trees and memories become as real as you remembered them to be. Adorned by luminous and vivid colors, this place is where you will find the presence of our music. Don’t expect to find answers but instead an urge to start asking."

Their debut EP, Fortress, came out last year, and according to their facebook page, they are busy recording their first album. I'm chuffed to bits, as their EP is what I call Good Music. One thing I have to mention that I love about Mire Kay is that their two core instruments are the cello and guitar. (Emelie on the former, Victoria on the latter.) I do adore the cello, and it's not prevalent in many acts.
Anyhow, the song I'm posting today is 'Sea Monster': their first single and the opening track on Fortress. This is also my penultimate "favourite song of 2011". (Yes, that's still going on.)

Listen to 'Sea Monster':

{Supplements: I have some exciting links! You can download their single 'Sea Monster' for free on their bandcamp! And you can watch their beautifully foliaceous music video for their song 'So You Learned' here, and then download the track for free on their soundcloud. Then you can head back over to bandcamp and listen to the whole EP. Okay. C'est tout.}

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Almond Tree

I'm doing these favourite songs rather slowly this year. This partially has to do with the fact I keep changing the list of songs. Shameful, innit? But not atypical, I have to say. I thought I was finally done vacillating, but last night I remembered a song that I knew I could not leave out: 'The Almond Tree' by Hannah Peel.

Photo credit: Hiro Hirata

I don't know much about Hannah Peel or her music. 'The Almond Tree' is the only song of hers I'm familiar with, and I don't even remember how I happened across it. I do know that this song is off her debut album Broken Waves which came out last January and was recorded in three (!) weeks. And interestingly, for live performances, Hannah Peel often collaborates with one of my favourite artists, Blue Roses!

I am working on amending the fact I don't know much about her or the rest of her music; even as I type this, I am listening to more of her album. But anyway, allow me to go back to the reason why I started this post in the first place: 'The Almond Tree'. This song is beautiful, and a bit of a surprise. Its melody and lyrics sound like they could be straight from a traditional folk ballad, and the opening arrangement is suitable to that thought... but then the song takes a strange and sublime turn into less straightforward territory.
This is one of those songs I instantly liked, and I am sorry I forgot about it for so long! (And I'm sorry it took me this long to listen to more of her music, as I am very much enjoying it!)


(Supplements: Download the second song off Broken Waves, 'You Call This Your Home', on Hannah's bandcamp!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fallen Angel

Alright, let's forget for a moment that my favourite band is The Beatles.

Let's also forget that my most favourite famous couple ever is Paul and Linda McCartney.

Now that all that's out of the way, may I introduce my second favourite song of 2011: 'Fallen Angel' by James McCartney.

That's right: The youngest child and only son of Paul and Linda. But remember, we're forgetting how much I adore those two right now.

He's been a musician for a while, playing guitar on various projects of his father's and on his mother's one album; but it wasn't until 2010 he released his first EP, Available Light. I listened to his music an infinitesimal bit, but it wasn't until his second EP, Close At Hand, came out in 2011 that I sat up and took notice. Something about the more personal nature of the music on Close At Hand struck a chord with me. (Pardon - wasn't trying to make a pun. :P) This was actually his intention, according to this quote from his site: "I wanted to follow Available Light with something that showed a progression...that had an even deeper meaning, both spiritually and musically." He has certainly succeeded! My favourite song off Close At Hand is, without doubt, the beautiful track 'Fallen Angel' which offers an interesting contrast to the upbeat song 'Angel': the opening track on Available Light. Interestingly enough, James's two EPs are only available in digital form, but at the moment he is working on bringing them out in tangible form in a two-disc collection that will include new music!

Listen to 'Fallen Angel':

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Well, it's that time of year again! Meaning, time for my 5 favourite songs of 2011!

Alright, one thing I must explain about this (which I haven't in years past) is that quite a few artists I really like released music this year, but since I don't always buy the albums or whatever right away the "favourite songs of 2011" is really a random assortment of songs I loved and bought that happened to be released this year. Oftentimes they are by artists I love, but it's not that I'm surpassing any other artists I really love - I probably just haven't gotten around to listening to their new music yet.

Oh, gosh. That was horribly explained. I have a cold, okay?!? Let's blame it all on that.

And don't forget! It's also time to pick the artist of the month! I am starting off the new year with Matrimony. The band, that is.

What started in 2009 as the husband and wife duo of Ashlee Hardee Brown and Jimmy Brown, has in 2011 grown to include three more members: C J Hardee, Jordan Hardee, and Alex Watson.

Matrimony released their first EP in 2010, The Storm & the Eye and it has been favourite listening for months now. Though upbeat folk/indie pop/Americana for 6 of the 8 songs, it ends on a pleasingly intense note with the rough vocals of Jimmy's 'One Last Dance' as the penultimate song followed by the passionate emotion of Ashlee's 'Who Is Your God' as a glorious end. 'Who Is Your God' is about 6 1/2 minutes, but if it went twice that length I don't think I'd complain; I'd say it's my favourite song on the EP.

If what I've read is correct, the band is currently making new music which I am quite chuffed about! So far they've released one single: a song called 'Obey Your Guns' which is what I'm choosing for a favourite song of 2011. They were offering a free download of it for a while, but they aren't anymore, sadly.
You can still listen to it, though! It's a really fun song and has made me impatient to hear more of their new music.

{Supplements - head over to their bandcamp to listen to their EP The Storm & The Eye!}

That's all for now. This post isn't what it should be, but neither am I - so there you go. Happy New Year, everyone! :)