This is the second half of Sam’s epic. The first part was yesterdays post.
One artist I do consider great is the one and only…Johnny Flynn.
His latest album Been Listenin’ didn’t fail to disappoint though it did differ from his debut A Larum. The tracks on this video features vocals from Laura Marling and I think the voices together are heavenly. There is a lot to be said for a stripped down version of any song, I find they contain a raw emotion which is lost in a studio version. The reason I posted this particular version…it contains a cover of ‘Travel Light’ straight after ‘The Water.’ This is in my view a lovely touch, as we go from deep contemplation of life to a much more jovial tone…and I LOVE IT.
I have as many misgivings about this ‘new folk’ stuff as the next person; but I do firmly believe that Johnny and Laura have carved something wonderful out of it. Mainly because of Johnny’s skill as a songwriter both musically and lyrically, it is a fascination with being something else that allows Flynn the freedom to create good music (as his debut proved.) There is no great attempt by Flynn to evidently put personal experiences into his songs, each song is a great narrative and has a life devoid from him. This is probably best shown on his recent E.P. ‘Sweet William’ the four tracks: The Mountain is Burning, Sweet William, Trains and Drum are all pleasant enough and lines within ‘Sweet William’ could easily have been written down in poem form by Yeats or another Gaelic poet post 1916. So if you can, check out more Johnny Flynn
I hear the cries already “NOT ANOTHER INDIE BAND!!!” But the next track ‘Precious Time’ by the Maccabees is actually one of their worst
However, as this live version shows this isn’t a bad thing. It’s a great thing! They are undoubtedly indie BUT they have a certain swagger and charm about them. For me The Maccabees stand out; In a genre packed full of Libertines wanna-be’s who all follow the same generic path and sound the same The Maccabees have proven themselves to be a band who are happy to diverge from this path. As this clip from Reading ’07 shows their debut album Colour it in was full of tracks (19 in total) that you could sing along with and crucially jump around to! I recently saw them at the Manchester Academy and their performance (like both their albums) was second to none. Energetic, good fun…Indie with a twist is how I’d describe the Maccabees. I’ll probably get away with too, as now the second album Wall of Arms was quite different from the first…AND contains Sax!
A friend introduced me to Nouvelle Vague proclaiming “they are the best cover band in the world!” This version of ‘Teenage Kicks’ made me agree.
I love Bosa Nova, and this album made me love it a tad more! What I love about Nouvelle Vague is that they took the raw sound of the Undertones and gave it a genuine, dreamy warmth. The song is given a new lease of life by people who love the song as I do and some tracks like their cover of ‘Love will tear us apart’ sit quite awkwardly with the bossa nova but not Teenage Kicks. I love this song, it makes me happy and smiley every time I hear this version. I’d suggest this album to anyone, whether they have knowledge of songs from the post punk period doesn’t matter. However if you like smoky french female singers and an unremitting bossa nova beat to your music this is HEAVEN for you.
Next up my favourite ‘Red necks’ OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW
The track ‘Down Home Girl’ has been keeping me amused for years. Aside from the comedy factor provided by the lyrics (which are meant to be taken seriously) the musicianship on display is of a decent to good standard! I can’t help but love the Blues Harp that is so prevalent on this track. It, like the keys in ‘Rock the Casbah’ is just SOOOOOO CATCHY! So please people if you can…Forgive the poor political views, cocaine addiction, southern accent and sideburns. Instead, just listen to the track and smile for a while. This track got me smiling from Zagreb to Venice.
Yann Tiersen is one of the finest musicians to grace the Earth recently. He famously created the Film score for ‘Amelie’ but crucially for us, plays about a million and one instruments in a million and one unconventional ways. This track ‘Sur Le Fil’ is a classical composition of his and is just so raw and powerful it’s unbelievable.
Maybe it’s the Violin strings flailing out, maybe it’s the concentration upon his face, maybe this is the perfect violin piece. This performance of this track amazes me no end. I’ve spent hours watching this 3 minutes and 18 seconds over and over again. It stupefies me every time. Yann Tiersen seems to be in total harmony with his instrument feeling every beat, every coil of the string as it breaks. It’s raw and powerful – exactly what music should be, and for the duration of the music…not one word is said. ‘sur le fil’ can thankfully be summed up in one word, that word is amazing.
Now, I am aware this post is dragging on. Thus I shall conclude upon the high note that is Yann Tiersen’s ‘Sur Le Fil.’ There are ten other songs I intended to write about but I feel that a blog can only go on for so long before it becomes tedious. Now I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post and hope you thoroughly enjoyed reading it and vitally that someone out there discovered a new band/artist today that they can go away and fall in love with.
OVER AND OUT!