I don’t know a whole heap about Paul Thomas Saunders. I couldn’t write his biography or even his Wikipedia article. I couldn’t introduce him before he gives a guest lecture to earnest young students. But he’s writing some excellent music, and he deserves to be heard by your ears. He’s a singer-songwriter with a guitar, and I think we need more of them, but he has a desire to flesh out a whole song rather than leave it skeletal and malnourished; think Bon Iver, Bon Iver rather than For Emma. Not that he really sounds like Bon Iver—I guess he’s more Ben Howard—but he’s certainly worth your time, especially if all your time includes at the moment is you sitting at your laptop.
Here’s his latest track.
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I’m an honest guy. And I’m the first to admit that once or twice (really not very many times though) I’ve written about an artist or a song and then never really listened to them again. But tonight as I let the fresh new German psychedelic dance-pop outfit Roosevelt threaten to disturb my sleeping neighbours, I knew this would be one of those artists that would make it to the iPhone. You’re right, I probably could’ve just said phone.
I was watching an interview tonight with a former German footballer, Michael Ballack, and was astonished by the quality of his English, apart from his tendency to say ‘far too less.’ But hey, he probably only says that because he’s picked up on how people say its antonymous cousin far too much.
Here’s the first Roosevelt track I heard which should also be the first Roosevelt track you hear. That guitar tone that kicks in after a while is the sonic equivalent of the first woodfire of a new Winter.
You might remember Broken Bells, the collaboration between Danger Mouse and James Mercer of The Shins fame. If not, you might remember Garden State, the Zach Braff film that gave The Shins a chance to be heard in a slightly Queen Amidala context. If not, you might remember Zach Braff making the right decision not to appear much in the final season of Scrubs. And what’s one thing you’ll probably never need to scrub off a television screen? That’s right, a broken bell. And that brings us full circle and back to the music.
You’ve at least probably heard The High Road, the most popular track from their first album, but if not, that doesn’t matter, because here’s a fresh start. They’ve released a new song from an upcoming album. The track’s Holding On For Life, and the album’s After The Disco.
If you’re thoroughly underwhelmed by the new song, then here’s a chance to hear New Slang one more time, which no-one should ever turn down.
“oh to stare into the void / and see a friendly face / and find meaning in a word / in a moment of rare grace”
The lyrics above are unlikely to ever win a prize for profundity (isn’t that an ugly word, and isn’t a profundity prize an excellent idea for an accolade?), but even I have managed to descend from my tennis umpire chair of soaring snobbery and appreciate that even a simple, somewhat cliched sentiment can be enjoyed. After all, cliches become so for a reason, right? Mutual Benefit lather some quieter Dodos vocals over a High Highs track and imbue it with the spirit of what I imagine went through the mind of a 16 year-old Sufjan. Advanced Falconry’s the track, but Love’s Crushed Diamond is the album, recently released for your listening benefit. Actually, for some mutual benefit, as the musicians will profit financially. Hello capitalism.
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If you can name a less-than-excellent Arcade Fire album then I’ll give you a special prize.
Ha, that’s impossible, so I guess my favourite sweater is safe. I’ll still give you a prize anyway though; here’s the new Arcade Fire album, Reflektor, streaming in full.
They’ve been described (in that bastion of truth: the press release) as producing ‘seductive nocturnal music,’ and that’s not too far off for Sydney-based trio Movement. They may have a thoroughly un-Googlable name, but they combine that with that rare ability to repeat a musical phrase or idea without letting you get distracted by that nail that’s slightly too long.
I just spent about ten minutes trying to ascertain who they sound like, but had to conclude is that I’m having flashbacks to when I first heard their track Feel Real a few months ago. That’s the sort of quality journalism you get at this establishment folks: ‘They don’t sound like anyone, oh except for themselves.’ But I guess you could compare them to an Olympic Ayres trying not to wake their sleeping grandma in the next room. Like most of the less flashy Modular artists they don’t seem to be all that fussed about releasing volumes of music or information about future releases, but this top new track is called Us.
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Dan Croll’s a chap from Liverpool who makes really enjoyable music. I’ve featured him here before, and he’s just released another great song—the sort I think my mum would appreciate. He seems like a top bloke, and the new track’s called Home and that’s special to me because I’m not home at the moment.