This week I have been on a mission to dig into Japan and bring you 4 tunes from Japanese artists. So much of Japanese culture is inaccessible to the non Japanese-speaking world. There are many things that Japan has brought to the rest of the world, from its food to literature and art but still there are many examples in the arts where the language barrier is too hard to climb. This is a shame of course as Japan has much to offer in is musical repertoire. What tends to be exposed on a global stage is the kitsch, the bizarre or the unfathomable. Read More
These have become my goto headphones and I find myself using them nearly every day – be it for gaming, watching TV or just listening to my ‘Four Tunes’ playlists..! (yeah I do that..) They are comfortable, light and the battery lasts for about 20 hours of use between charges. But its the combination of noise cancelling and high quality sound performance that really shines with these cans.Read More
This week the theme is all about the beach. Or in some cases more tenuously linked to the beach. My reason for this is that at the weekend I was in Thailand for a bachelors party and placing to one side the large sack full of cliches which may or may not have been linked to the events that may or may not have taken place, we found ourselves on the final afternoon by a rather select stretch of coastline so some of these tunes came to mind.
Firstly Lana Del Rey. I have a bit of a soft spot for Lana – her whole musical demeanor seems to be straight out of a Brett Easton Ellis novel. The languid, slightly sinister undertones of troubled youth at play. This is track High by the Beach is clearly about getting away from everyone and smashing down a couple of cans of super strong cider whilst the cold East Sussex wind chaffs your face round your wind cheater. Or something like that…
Martha and the Muffins is probably the name of a hipster bakery in Toronto now. I don’t know anything else this band did, other than Echo Beach but then do you need two new-wave classics in your back catalogue? Nice work Marthas’.
Now for something tenuous. On Melancholy Hill is from the Gorillaz 3rd album Plastic Beach. I threw it in here for two reasons: 1.) it would be perfectly acceptable on any beach. 2.) Gorillaz have made some cracking tunes but they seem to age pretty quickly and I forget how good they were. Maybe its Damon Albarn’s voice and that direct lineage back to 90’s Brit Pop. Maybe its just my own opinion. I promise to give them more airtime later this year.
Finally the Beach Fossils with Down the Line. I remember in the summers of my youth, down on the south coast of England, the sandstone rocks at the back of the beach were often abundant with salty bearded men in kagools, shorts and leather sandals. Armed with tiny hammers and flasks of weak tea, they battled the elements to search for and exhume tiny ancient ammonites from their sandy graves. To what end no one is really sure. I wonder if they are still there.
I’ll leave you with that thought…
Ok so this week I wanted to recognise two things.
1.) We are all getting older
2.) It doesn’t matter, because some musicians have written songs that are timeless and therefore multiple generations can sit down and listen and enjoy them together without contempt or embarrassment.
Now I grant you that there are many songs that don’t fit into this category. I will probably grant you a second consent that I haven’t road-tested this theory with a member of another generation yet so it may be completely blown out of the water. I probably won’t ask my Dad, as clearly all music released past 1978 has failed in some spectacular way and the rest of time is just a slippery slope into a mired oblivion where all music is equivalent to the sound of chainsaws dismembering squirrels, played on a loop. Its OK, he won’t read this, as he thinks the internet is some sort of modern fishing tool. Which actually aligns to some forward thinking social dystopian views…
Moving swiftly on to the music. Its been 15 years already since Elliott Smith was taken from us. Bled White is from the 1998 album XO and this tune could easily fit in any line up from the multiple bands he has influenced who are on the scene at the moment.
I don’t really know much about Kid Loco aka Jean-Yves Prieur – I like A Grand Love Theme a lot though and I’ll still be playing it in another 20 years on my airpod45 (whatever).
I don’t know if Air have aged. Perhaps they have. To be honest this song Remember always sounded old to me – with the exception of that cheeky drum riff which could have been stolen from some future dubstep jazz break in 2056.
And to Radiohead with No Surprises. There are unsurprisingly (see what i did there) a number of other tracks from this band that could have made it in. When you define your own style it only ages relative to you and not to the other styles of the time. That sounds like a bunch of chop until you think about it.
This is the first IVTunes post and there for the hook – the taster – the one to bring you back for more.. Not strictly true as I’m actually posting this in retrospect having started this effort on spotify and then realised that there was a word limit on the playlist description list. I also realised that many of my friends don’t subscribe to Spotify which is ok – we are all allowed to be individual within the boundaries of 4 globally available music streaming services. The only major hat tip here is to Ian who asked me to burn him a CD.
What to say about these 4 songs… well I thought I would ease myself in with 4 tunes that just are grand.
We start with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig’s cracking voice literally cracking at the top of the line ‘do you wanna $^*&.’ over some cunningly African jangle pop in Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa Then we head in to some Freazy by Wolf Alice. A record that sounds like it should have been released in about 1989 and carries all of the grandeur of that indie genre with none of the baggage.. After that a toast to the Middle Kids who make me want to be in the middle of a field with 10,000 people with their tune Edge of Town. Finally, The Sundays with Here’s Where The Story Ends a song that is the aural equivalent of a warm happy dog on a winter’s evening.
What is this anyway?
FourTunes is a selection of 4 songs, loosely coupled to a theme of my choosing. New music, beloved classics and rediscovered gems of joy. I use Spotify to compile the playlists and have included some product reviews of audio equipment I have found to be good! if you like what you hear, please subscribe and feel free to leave me comments or suggestions.