Grouper – Heavy water / I’d rather be sleeping (Matty Graham guest post)
My name is Matt and I know Rob from my extremely productive and relatively short time working for Tesco. Since then we have regularly shared our taste in music, with our recommendations usually falling on deaf ears, with an occasional exception.
This song is one of those rare exceptions and is by a woman called Liz Harris, who releases music under the name Grouper. It comes from one of my favourite albums, with the cheery name Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill which, according to Wikipedia, was described as “devastatingly beautiful” by one enthusiastic reviewer. I don’t know if I concur with that assessment but this track is quiet and simple and one of the most soothing I know.
I was initially sceptical when Rob told me that listening to one track over and over again is a valid way to spend my time, but since discovering this I’ve come round to his way of thinking.
Finally, one of comments on the youtube video leads me to believe that it has been played on a Skins, and to save face I must add that that wasn’t where I heard it first. Unless Skins is cool, in which case I did hear it there.
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Morning of Our Lives (Brian Reddy guest post)
I’m Brian, I live in Sheffield and I’m doing a PhD here. Musically I’ve noticed an increasing bias for the stuff just either side of punk. I have no doubt this intro will haunt me some day. In the meantime it’s a pleasure to meet you.
Jonathan Richman has been the revelation of 2011 to me and by some distance. This doesn’t make huge sense, really on paper it just shouldn’t work – his music is naive to the point of being saccharine, and often so catchy it sounds like children’s TV. But there’s also something so adolescent – just a surging, euphoric melancholia- to his work; something nostalgic and truthful and hysterical that almost makes me want to be a teenager again. [This is despite the fact I was effectively a walking, dripping pritt stick of nervous grease.] I do my best to avoid flowery language and I’m effectively gushing here. For some reason I just get this, on a level that I haven’t with music for quite a while. It’s verging on a mancrush.
So if I’d the chance to effectively spread the message of one act (even regardless of not repeating Rob’s fine choices), it had to be Jonathan. The Modern Lovers are my Wyld Stallyns; I half expect societies of the future to be based around this music. There are any number of songs to choose – this is probably the finest pop song under two minutes I have ever heard, this is the most enthusiastic song I’ve ever seen on TOTP2. But people simply should know about the song above, they should have it their back pockets for the next time they need it. We’re young now, right now’s when we can enjoy it. Make the most of it.
Dr.Carter – Lil’ Wayne (Jimmy T guest post)
Hello out there in cyberspace. I am Jim Tracey; Australian, debonair, late twenties living in London, friend of RJ and lucky guest contributer to “sounds of science” or whatever Robbie likes to call his mental (in a good way) blog. I wouldn’t be as vain to describe my taste in music because as my old school teacher Danny Hasler used to say ‘you should never put anyone in a box’. He was brother of famous rugby player Des Hasler, the first words I ever heard him say were “2 bucks for one of my brothers’ autographs, one for me and one for my brother” and also “where’s my pen?” it was lost in his crazy birds nest of hair, he was truly a “child of time” (from album: Deep Purple in Rock)
I like music that reminds me of a time and a place. Q-tips “Amplified” was one of the first cd’s that I bought, and the first hip-hop album, marking a musical evolution away from bands like Offspring and Presidents of the USA who are far too angry and silly (respectively) for me at the moment. It also takes me back to when I was 17, and had my first taste of independence, back then I looked to the future and thought “anything is possible” and looking back I can certainly say that the possibilities have been realised, but not in any way that I could have then imagined back then.
I like this song for two reasons: the tribute to coffee which is my favorite drink. The following quote beautifully sums up a day in the life of me (if you were wondering).
Doctor: “Where’s my coffee?”
Nurse: “It’s going to be a long day”
Doctor: ”Another one?”.
And I also like the beat, old school, along the lines of Q-tip’s “let’s ride” (you gotta post this song Robbie!) You just can’t go past jazz loops and live jazz drumming (syncopated) to hip-hop rhyming.
Summary: Dr. Carter is a life saver, so you have to tip your coffee mug to him.
I picked up The album The King Is Dead from a friend before I left to travel in Southern Africa for three months. On arriving I found myself stranded in Cape Town watching thousands of pounds leak away in oil through a cracked gasket on my 4×4. This song is a tale of disaster, making the best of it and remembering to have a sense of humour even during the dark days. It’s upbeat and uplifting; lyrically it’s clever; and the refrain sticks to the inside of your head. I spent two weeks running past manicured lawns in Constantia with this tune in my ears and will forever associate it with the feeling of impending doom and the challenge of relaxing in the arms of the angels.
Air – Alone in Kyoto (CJK Guest Post)
Colin Kenny, Rob’s Dad and originator of the cassettes-in-the car-to-play-on-long-holiday-road-trips that Rob refers to. Electronica/chill-out/instrumentals are sadly lacking in the blog thus far, so this track from Air’s album Talkie Walkie goes some way to righting that wrong.
The music by the hip French duo is used in a short scene from the film Lost in translation
. Like a lot of contemporary films we are expected to suspend disbelieve – that if you were married to Scarlett Johansson you would abandon her in an hotel in a foreign city for a week. She and Bill Murray share an edgy friendship as both battle jet lag and culture shock. The extract from the film where the track is used captures the feeling of alienation perfectly, with the music acting as an ideal compliment.