Dots Jukebox: Songs That Tell Stories 28 Feb 14

stories

 

Song of the Week:

 

 

Artist Song Suggested by
Guns n’ Roses My Michelle @heathenmofoIain
The Violent Femmes Country Death Song @keithj_gmb
Mott the Hoople Ballad of Mott the Hoople @realpaulmurray
The Wild Young Hearts Katie @nessiholt
Christie Moore The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll @melmarriott
Laura Cantrell Queen of the Coast @sadpad21
The Living End Roll On @southallio
The Hold Steady We Can Get Together @drfilth
Suzanne Vega Tom’s Diner @sparkes74
Billy Bragg The Saturday Boy @garrie_coleman
Otway and Barrett Geneva @robertleith
Gretchen Peters Five Minutes @esther_goodman
Bobbie Gentry Ode to Billy Joe @seanhannam @ciderrose57
Gordon Lightfoot The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald @peterminihane @now_playing_72
Tenacious D Tribute @grantsales
Squeeze Up the Junction @vaguemclarity @spuggy_t @shelljacques
Arab Strap The First Big Weekend @flintsghost
Johnny Cash A Boy Named Sue @laugharne71 @danthompson78
Jewel Painters @davidbridge1985
Stevie Wonder Living For the City @kid76a
Felice Brothers Frankie’s Gun @mattowlgale
Bruce Springsteen Highway Patrolman @jacklondonexile
Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer Willie’s Lady @chops_top_fives
Marianne Faithful The Ballad of Lucy Jordan @sparkypatrick
Robert Wyatt Shipbuilding @paulie9461
Pulp David’s Last Summer @slowthrills
Fay Hield Wicked Serpent @annatheforager
Josh Ritter Another New World @vicaviber
The Decemberists Eli, the Barrow Boy @richard0x4a
Joan Baez Bob Dylan’s Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts @substandardnerd @jamesoldham
Tunng Jenny Again @johnfidler
Galway Farmer Show of Hands @gryfffez
Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells The Copper Top @pswood3
Alice Donut Come Up With Your Hands Out @hodge_nufc
Keith West Excerpt from a Teenage Opera @buttersstotch11
Government Mule Railroad Boy @neilthekid
Jim White The Wound That Never Heals @contra_flow
Velvet Underground The Gift @brianwrose
Bright Eyes Lua @makesleekkills
Simon and Garfunkel The Boxer @clairhorne

Dotty View: Good Romans

Occasionally, I stumble upon music which I find impossible to review in the traditional sense. All I can do for Good Romans new album, “Open This Door, Never Look Back”, is tell you precisely what came to mind when I was listening to it. There are no opinions, no recommendations, no advice to not touch this music with a barge pole, I’m simply telling you where my mind went…

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Ode For Spar: I’m wandering aimlessly through underground tunnels, finally emerging to bright sunlight hitting a tree surrounded lake.

“It’s Just That… I Don’t Love You Anymore”: Suddenly, I’m immersed into a pool of confusion. I’m completely disorientated, and there’s no way out.

“Terrestrial Party”: I have become the lead character in the Silent Hill game.

“Smiling No”: There is a jungle within a concrete jungle. People are rushing, but everything is appearing to me in slow motion.

“Sejm”: On a tightrope over a canyon, I attempt to traverse. I hold my breath the entire distance, taking deliberate steps, and experiencing frightening moments where I think I will topple to my demise.

“Moha Rave”: This is where parrots go to dance. They can be as loud and theatrical as they wish.

Album back cover Good Romans

“Hardanger”: Thousands of people in an abandoned factory, waiting for someone to come to them. Anyone. No-one speaks.

“Alma Mater”: Winter has arrived, people are skating on lakes for fun, and others are frantically trying to get to their destinations through the harsh air, which is freezing directly onto their skin.

“Open This Door, Never Look Back”: From Winter, we are taken directly into Spring – the rising of the sun early in the morning, the opening of the petals of Tulips, the continuous drone of buzzing insects, and doors being flung open to receive the beauty of the day to follow.

Do you recall me saying “no recommendations”? Well, I told a little fib. Pop a few pounds in Good Romans’ direction, and see where their music takes you.

Contact Good Romans here:

Website

Finnish Explosions

Facebook

 

 

Dotty View: Pitch Feather

Hailing from Singapore, husband and wife indie duo Pitch Feather have set up their very own empire within their home. Writing, recording and producing their debut album “Mountains and Tides” was certainly a labour of love, and they eagerly released it in October 2013.

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From the sweetness of “Saints” to the dark, slow temperament of “Painter’s Symphony” to the intricate guitar work within The Odyssey, Pitch Feather have ensured they demonstrate a variety of styles within this album.

This is pretty much the kind of music I feel like I should like, but I have to say I’m not really connecting with it for some reason. I’m waiting for something more punchy, something that grabs me and makes me listen. At the moment, I’d be content to listen to it as background music, but it’s not pulling me to rush out and buy the CD. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike it per se, but it just feels like there’s something missing – I’m not feeling the passion that must have been there to make this music.

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If you want to have a listen, you can do so on bandcamp – no doubt there are many people who will feel differently about Pitch Feather’s music than I do!

 

 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Soundcloud

Dotty View: New Canada

I do love a song that tells a story. That’s why I’m into quite a bit of folk music. My heart does mostly lie with indie and rock, though, so when a band like New Canada comes along, it makes me very happy indeed.

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New Canada is the new venture of Justyn Withay, who is also behind side project Old Bus. He has now enlisted Rousse Taylor and Mike Baxter to take part in this new journey.

They’ve just released their first EP, Popular Baby. At first listen, they reminded me of a cross between Grandaddy and Bright Eyes, both of which are bands who like to tell a tale within their musical offerings.

The EP starts off with Highwayland, a tune that seeps into your consciousness by way of a continual melody akin to a lullaby, along with an intermittent drum roll style beat. This is a stunning song – it’s got me gripped, and wanting to hear more. If I can get past playing this song on repeat, I will do just that…!

Withay’s vocals are so strong – I really adore the slight wobble in his voice, and the American drawl. It’s demonstrated perfectly on track 2, “Charlemagne is Stronger than You or Me”. If I’m to criticise this song at all, it would be to say that there is everso slightly too much in the way of cymbals for my liking. I can get past that, though, as the rest of the song is good and strong, so it can carry the smashing sound!

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Penultimate track “Machu Picchu and Tristan de Cunha” has achieved a superb ambience. I love the vocal effects, and the melodic interludes. The lengthened notes, when sung, make me feel as if I am travelling, and the gentle end as if I have arrived. This is a very intelligently thought out song.

Finally, we come to “Strange Old Dove”, a simple echo of a track that ensures the voice is considered an instrument with which to convey the message “I love you”. Cushioned by the security of guitars, which gently move alongside the vocals, this is an absolutely sublime end to a wonderful EP.

You can buy Popular Baby on Bandcamp:

…and you can contact New Canada by the following methods:

Facebook

Twitter

Soundcloud

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Dots Jukebox: “Gone” 21 Feb 2014

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Song of the week:

 

Artist Song Suggested by
Rainbow Since You’ve Been Gone @clairhorne
Cardiacs Day is Gone @nobrightside
Jesus and Mary Chain Far Gone and Out @vaguemclarity
Minutemen It’s Expected I’m Gone @hodge_nufc
Screaming Blue Messiahs Good and Gone @contra_flow
Joyrider All Gone Away @southallio
Sons and Daughters Gone @grantsales
Sonic Youth Disappearer @rorsdm
The Cure Gone! @1_imaginary_boy
Deacon Blue Real Gone Kid @gurekei
She Makes War Delete @musicvstheworld
Galliano Long Time Gone @instantkarma80
The Avalanches Since I Left You @stfudonny76
Saint Etienne Like a Motorway @big_g_aroo
Everything But the Girl Missing @shelljacques
The Vines Going Gone @chasethegroove
Lynyrd Skynyrd Tuesday’s Gone @buttersstotch11
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Gone Gone Gone @laugharne71 @stiggy_78
Kelly Clarkson Already Gone @tazismad
Cast Walkaway @musicvstheworld
The Beatles She’s Leaving Home @hewnique
Hall and Oates She’s Gone @boxofpeppers
Everly Brothers Gone, Gone, Gone @realpaulmurray
The Zombies She’s Not There @now_playing_72
The Kinks Where Have All the Good Times Gone? @skylarkingmatt
Bob Dylan Going Going Gone @carldogwalker
Pete Seeger Where Have All the Flowers Gone @gryfffez
Vera Hall Another Man Done Gone @andrewlabmonkey
Johnny Cash Delia’s Gone @sadpad21
Tindersticks She’s Gone @damjef @iancpeacock
Suede He’s Gone @heliumdelirium
Beta Band Gone @brianwrose @keithj_gmb
Radiohead How to Disappear Completely @danthompson78
Madrugada Only When You’re Gone @musicvstheworld
Sleeper Click… Off… Gone @substandardnerd

Dotty View: Man Goes Human

I’m about to introduce you to a band who are stretching their boundaries, pushing themselves to the limit and producing truly innovative, progressive music.

I’d love to be able to tell you a ton of information about them, but all I know is that they hail from Delhi, India, and are singing, playing and gigging their hearts out in a bid to break into the world of music.

How they made it to little old me in a sleepy town in middle England, I don’t know, but here they are.

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Man Goes Human.

They’re a mysterious lot – I don’t know which member of the band does what, and they’ve only shared two of their songs with the internet world!

First up, Leave Me or Love Me is completely experimental – a mix of prog rock guitar, jazz like bass and drums, and bizarre sections of sensual vs shouty vocals interspersed with strange sound effects. Quite an odd tune – I’m not keen on the shouty singing, but nevertheless it’s left me interested in hearing more!

The band have now released their first single, Fading:

This is an entirely more mature song, with much improved vocals (the female vocal is absolutely superb – dreamy!) and a format which works musically. It all fits in a pleasing way, and I can see now where they want to go, rather than hearing a mish-mash of different styles. Don’t get me wrong, experimenting is no bad thing, I simply prefer when mixed genres slot in well with each other without the need for extra musical glue.

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Man Goes Human are accessible as a band, having a pretty heavy online presence. I’m hoping they’ll make more of their music available to listen to, and that they won’t leave it too long before releasing an EP.

Listen to and contact the band here:

Soundcloud

Website

Facebook

Dotty View: Soviet Films

Fenlanders Soviet Films have just received their debut album, Victory Songs. So far in their (albeit short) musical career, this band has been described as ‘Prog-Grunge Weirdness’ and ‘Post-Punk, Art-Rock, Hamster-Destroying Epicness’ (I do hope no animals were actually harmed during the making of this record). I think they just mean it’s “Very bloody loud”! As the band themselves say, get ready to rokyorsoksov…!

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Listening to the album, it’s an interesting mix of shoutiness, melodies and crunchy guitar noises, punctuated by intelligently placed, intriguing drum beats, and all important absences of sound.

The song from the album that demonstrates this at its best is Last Request:

 

 

It’s a song that builds layer upon layer, teases a third of the way through when it suddenly cuts off, then comes back in with a crazy, rhythmic, heady rush of guitar and drums. There aren’t many vocals throughout this song, but those present work alongside the music so well, especially when it’s a tad more “shouty”

Another favourite of mine is Scavengers – have a listen:

 

 

It’s actually superb. Some songs are growers. This isn’t one – it arrived already fully developed and ready to interact with my ears!

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Soviet Films recently had a gig at what is quite possibly the smallest venue I have ever been to (see above) – Voodoo Lounge at Mama Liz’s in Stamford, Lincolnshire. I’m quite frankly amazed that the place still has a roof! I’m also gutted I wasn’t aware of the gig, as I’d definitely have been there! I’m certain that there will be more gigs in the pipeline very soon. Can’t wait to be rokinmysoksov!

Grab Victory Songs on bandcamp, and connect with Soviet Films on facebook.

Dotty (inter)View: Jykkälä

Following my review of Jykkälä’s EP, Disappearers, I decided to find out more about the person behind this wonderful music…

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1) You’re very mysterious, and I can’t help wondering about the person or people behind your music… so, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I like being mysterious, it keeps people guessing and retains a certain romanticism too.  I can say that my name is John Sorensen-Jones, the sole full time member of Jykkälä, there are a few other musicians who contribute occasionally to the project.

2) Where does the name Jykkälä come from?
To be honest, I like the word and the sound it makes – I read it somewhere I forget where. I think it is a rare Finnish surname.

2) What’s your musical background?
I had 10 keyboard lessons when I was 10 or 11 years old, I learnt to play Hey Jude and Roll Out The Barrel. Nothing more exciting I’m afraid. I have never studied music theory either.

3) What or who influences and inspires you in your music?
Many artist and bands have influenced me over the years, if I had to choose a few, they would be Sigur Rós, Boards Of Canada, Brian Eno, Múm and M83.  There are many many more.  As for inspiration, I draw from all areas of life, I make notes constantly in notebooks and in my iphone.  Moments, situations, emotions and people.

 


4) Have you played live at all? If so, what’s your best gig experience to date? If not, do you have any plans to tour?
I have played live only once under a different name at a festival last year.  I played on the main stage prior to Public Service Broadcasting, the whole thing was a really great experience.  It would be great to bring Jykkälä to the stage with a full band presence in the future, we’ll have to see how that pans out I think but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

5) What has the reaction been so far to your music?
Pretty encouraging and actually better than I thought it would be. 
I used to make music for other people and for certain markets.  I now make music that I love making and as long as I can touch at least one person emotionally with my music then I am a success.

6) You brought out your last EP, SangeForElskere, on Valentine’s Day – are you a romantic soul?
Very much so, I actually rushed the EP out to coincide, the EP title actually translates to ‘Songs For Lovers’ I kind of felt it needed to come out on that day. I only finalised the artwork 2 hours before I released it!!!

 

 
7) You have a heavy online presence as far as releasing your music goes – this seems to be how things are now, not just how things will look in the future. What do you think about that? Would you like to branch out and release a physical CD at some point, too?
The music industry is in a pretty scary place right now, with everything digital and streaming websites destroying a lot of physical releases. I would like to get my music released physically and that is something I want to work towards with the album, if that works out and the demand is there then I might release a compilation CD of the EPs too.  A real dream would be to release my album on vinyl.

8) How has your music evolved over time? Have you experimented with different instruments and genres at all?
When I first started making music back in 1998, it was very laidback and similar to what I make now. I moved to a more upbeat and dance style in the late 00s right up until last year. I am much happier where I am right now, I’ve come home.

9) What’s next for Jykkälä? I understand there’s an album pending – can we expect a tour?
Yes there will be an album ‘We Came For Tomorrow’ to be released later in the year, preceded by a single.  I’ll probably squeeze in another EP in between now and then too for good measure!

Thanks very much for taking the time out to talk to me – wishing you all the best with your album, and for your musical future! I love your work, and can’t wait to hear more!

Bandcamp

Soundcloud – Disappearers EP

Twitter

Facebook

Dotty View: The Contrast – A Sinister Flick

I don’t know how I’m supposed to fit a band into a genre when they describe themselves as being influenced by pretty much every style of music under the sun, from country to jazz to power pop, so I won’t even try. What I will tell you, though, is that The Contrast’s most recent gig was supporting Mott the Hoople at personal invitation by Overend Watts, and they’ve got a fan in Steven Van Zandt, who signed them to his US label Wicked Cool Records, on which they released two of their first six albums. Pretty damn rock n’ roll if you ask me, and not bad going for four guys from Peterborough!

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Following success in the US with their American label, The Contrast have now signed to UK label Angel Air for the release of their 7th album, A Sinister Flick. Sixteen songs long, and bringing together their penchant for catchy, melodic tunes, you could do a lot worse than be the proud owner of this CD, or MP3 if that’s your bag.

Title track: A Sinister Flick

Kicking off with We Are the Monsters, an echoey, psychedelic style song, this is a really strong album from the outset. It’s clear to me why this song was regularly featured on Van Zandt’s Underground Garage show, and was on the poll for his Coolest Songs in the World 2013!

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My favourite song from the album has to be Mr Antenna – it’s got a bass line to die for, and kind of makes me think of an animation in the form of a song, if that makes any sense to you! I love, love, LOVE the addition of the theremin – it’s a perfect fit. There are layers within this song that aren’t noticed on a first listen, but the more you hear it, the more you can hear of the detail. It’s really quite complex, but has cleverly been made into this catchy little tune. Cracking stuff! Here’s a live version of the song:

Skipping chirpily along with the album, I hear the Beatles-esque pop fest of Days of Wonder, the upbeat yet melancholic style, reminiscent of R.E.M., of Johnny the Torch, and the crunchy guitar sounds of Mr Snake. I feel that I’ve been treated to what I wouldn’t describe as a concept or theme album, exactly, but a characterful, intelligent, humorous, credible album that was put together with thought and care by its creators.

Johnny the Torch:

You can purchase The Contrast’s back catalogue on iTunes or via the Angel Air website, and you can contact them via the usual internet suspects:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Dotty View: Land Lovers & Windings

Dublin band Land Lovers and Limerick based band Windings have joined forces to release a special double A side album, courtesy of Popical Island and Out on a Limb Records. It’s due out on 28th February, and will precede a joint tour within Ireland.

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When released, the Land Lovers/Windings album will be available both digitally and as 12” vinyl, with modern artwork by Bronwyn Murphy-White, which is evocative of the artwork on The Farm’s Spartacus (which, if you’ve not heard it, is an absolutely brilliant album, but I digress!). You can pre-order on bandcamp.

I’ve been lucky enough to hear two tracks from this forthcoming album…

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“Neverwood” by Windings is the band’s first single since their 2012 album, “I Am Not the Crow”. I really like the upbeat turn it takes, and it has an almost prog rock feel in places, which is right up my street. It’s quite different to most of the songs on the last album, which were quite indie with an occasional punk twist, sometimes slightly folk, in style. I wonder if this new song is a teaser for how their next album will sound.

Get in touch with Windings and grab their tunes:

Twitter

Website

Bandcamp

iTunes

 

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Land Lovers’ song for the double A side is Vittima di Cucina, which for me is the stronger of the two tracks. It’s got a fab 90s indie kind of feel – I’m thinking of Teenage Fanclub and The Farm mixed together, and it works. It’s an incredibly catchy tune, a definite foot tapper, and it’s stuck in my head! I can’t wait for BBC 6 Music to get its hands on it! Their last album, Confidants, had quite a similar feel, occasionally reminding me of The Divine Comedy. Full of catchy, yet far from irritating, tunes, this band will go far, I reckon!

Contact Land Lovers and buy their music:

Facebook

Twitter

iTunes

Bandcamp