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Category Archives: Folk

The weird, the dissonant, and the blissful

WOW, IT’S BEEN A REALLY LONG TIME SINCE I’VE  POSTED ON MY BLOG. I’m ashamed of myself, I must say. I’ve let down my legions of readers sorely…………Auntie Noreen and whatchamacallit who filled my car up at a Canadian gas station in 2010, I apologise profusely.

Any road, let’s talk about one of the best compilations ever made, for which I have the Welsh brothers Price to thank for introducing to me. The Sounds of Monsterism Island is completely erratic, loopy but incredibly good,  assembled by (or for) Monsterism toy maker and DJ Pete Fowler through the label Forever Heavenly.

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You’ll be hard pushed to find a mix of tracks that bring together psychedelic folk, fuzzy compressed riffs, shimmering funk and soft freak outs in a cohesive manner. Martin Denny’s Sake Rock sets the tone rather aptly, an exceedingly pleasurable plodder of a tune that cannot help but make you smile.

From the opening bass slide, to the staccato horns and tasteful wah wah guitar solo, Black Rite by Mandingo has aged gracefully as a catchy, percussive funk number. Check out the horns riff from 2.42.

Their one and only hit, The Witch by The Rattles has everything – energy, tone, creepy strings, hysterical laughing and that intro guitar riff.

Sickly sweet beyond belief, Cotton Candy Sandman (Sandman’s Coming) by Harpers Bizarre is exactly what you would step out to on the most disgustingly happy, stereotypical summer’s day you can imagine. However, it is beautifully constructed and the melodies are second to none. Hats off.

And finally, the piece de resistance, East of Eden’s Jig-A-Jig. The bass line! The ratcheting up of pace and drum beat at 0.53! The violin! Why am I liking traditional music all of a sudden! If you do anything today, then listen to this song once through. It is worth it for the break down at 2.44 alone.

There is so much more to quaff from The Sounds of Monsterism Island, truly a compilation that has to be listened to from start to finish. If you obtain a copy, you will not regret it. Enjoy!

The beauty of music all around you

The pub and the television – two of the greatest inventions of all time? Perhaps. Aside from the obvious drinking and watching capabilities they respectively possess, they also usually provide a wealth of music I have yet to hear, filling me with glee and childish excitement.

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First up is the glorious track Everyone Is Guilty by Akron/Family, the opening track from their 2009 album Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free.

I chanced upon this track at my local watering hole, The Lamb, not too long ago, and have constantly had the album on the burner ever since. The band’s music is mainly rooted in harmonized math folk, but there is so much more to explore throughout the album. This track has it all however – the brilliant, jarring funk riff which opens proceedings; the contrasting vocal lines that skit between tuneful yelling and soothing harmonies; the heavy breakdown with Rolling Stones-esque ‘woo wooos’. I love this track and I owe it all to my thirst for delicious porter.

And as for my other example? Breaking Bad is the show which I have to thank for introducing me to Vince Guaraldi.

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I am going to rashly assume that most people have watched Breaking Bad and therefore will have heard this tune, but that can only be a good thing. Taken from the album From All Sides, recorded with guitarist Bola Sete, Ginza Samba has a piano melody which will not leave your brain at any point in the near future. Extremely tidy and tasteful playing combined with a feeling of pure bliss marks this track out, with the rest of the album providing similar joys.

As if we needed any more excuses to go to the pub or sit in front of the box………enjoy!

Why didn’t I bother listening to the rest?!

My hunt for music yet to reach my ears sometimes goes no further than my external hard drive. Nor is this a “new” find by any stretch of the imagination, in the sense that I have not heard a certain artist before. In fact, I would deserve the strange looks offered to me by my admission that I had not really listened to Nick Drake.

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Having heard the track Day Is Done many moons ago, I would have thought that I followed it up by giving the rest of the album a whirl. After all, I remember listening to said track and thinking it was brilliant. However, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I have only recently gotten around to listening to the rest of Drake’s debut album Five Leaves Left.

It is, without a shadow of doubt, one of the best folk albums I have ever heard. I’m equally sure that I am not alone in thinking that either. Five Leaves Left is a showpiece of fantastic songwriting, expert fingerpicking and Drake’s wonderful voice.

The album’s strongest composition, River Man, is a feat of dark genius. Incredibly haunting, the strings arrangement and 5/4 timing jars the melody into your head and will stubbornly stay there.

Next blog stating the bleeding obvious…..perhaps how great Bowie is??