What I’ve Been Listening To – February 2016
And so we come to the end of the sophomore month of the year. The days are really beginning to draw out and the weather is beginning to warm up just a tad before making the full on rampage towards the freshness of spring. It’s time for another helping of music, so buckle in and lets get rocking.
N O U S – Diane Birch
Right off the bat on the 1st February we get a new EP released from the astoundingly talented Diane Birch. I’ve been a big fan of both her work and her exceedingly mellow voice since her first album, Bible Belt. In her second album she mixed up her style completely, gaining a much more pop-centric sound and she’s done it again. This time around, she’s gone for a piano heavy minimalist sound that really lets her voice have the room it deserves to shine. The self released EP is available to listen to and buy on Bandcamp, so I highly recommend checking it out. If forced to chose a favourite track, I’d have to opt for ‘How Long’, however playing ‘Hymn for Hypatia’ before it is just beautiful.
Chris Hadfield, Barenaked Ladies and the Wexford Gleeks – Is Somebody Singing (ISS)
With Major Tim Peake currently on orbit in the ISS, it seems like the UK is currently experiencing a whole new, renewed interest in space things. It’s due to this, and my unabashed adoration of former ISS commander, Chris Hadfield, and Canadian alt-rockers, Barenaked Ladies, I give this tune another listen. I really would love to see this tune released on iTunes / Spotify. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. This tune is not only beautiful in arrangement and subject matter, but it’s a self affirming anthem of how amazingly special our home planet is when set against the inky blackness of space; a message that could definitely to with spreading. Thank you to CBC Music for making this amazing collaboration happen.
Queen – Hijack My Heart
Another Queen song that you probably haven’t heard. This is a lesser heard B-Side from 1989s The Miracle. This is a rare opportunity for Roger Taylor to have a punt at lead vocals; a duty he performs with aplomb.
Steven Page – Surprise Surprise
Just as I get into the groove listening to some BNL, the former Barenaked Ladies singer rears his head and announces the release of his new album, which I’m greatly looking forward to. Steven Page’s solo work has generally stayed well clear from his alt-rock roots, tending more towards quirkier, more intricate compositions, however this one has a distinctly rocky sound to it. Considering the direction of this new song, I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the album when it drops on 11th March.
Lissie – Don’t You Give Up On Me
Once again, Lissie comes back to my music feed with a new album, My Wild West, chocked with great new material. From Daughters, a sincere anthem of female solidarity, to this more radio friendly helping, Lissie and her very powerful, distinctive voice are a pleasure until the end. Whereas her previous two albums, Catching a Tiger (my personal favourite) and Back to Forever (which contained the excellent tune Further Away (Romance Police)), have a more pop orientated sound, this really gives off the vibes of the more secluded lifestyle she’s chosen.
Big Giant Circles – Shepard of the Galaxy
In my previous post I mentioned another song by this chap. When I dug a little deeper I found that Big Giant Circles has actually released an album of mostly unused material from the Mass Effect games. This series has an absolutely stellar soundtrack. It’s one of the many reasons it holds a warm place in my heart. When I found out about this combo it was impossible not to recommend it. The track in question is actually a tribute track where a load of the leitmotifs and phrases from the actual soundtrack have been merged into one instrumental glob of joy. All the elements of the soundtrack merge together seamlessly. It’s just a really lovely piece of music. For those in want of more, the album this is from is called Legacy and I highly recommend it. If that wasn’t enough, BGC has also done another Mass Effect themed album filled with remixes, called Max Effect, which is available on Bandcamp.
Robyn – Hang With Me
I actually heard this really catch little synthpop tune while on a Valentine’s day trip with my girlfriend. This came on the PA in a cafe while I was eating what could possibly be the worlds most insanely large chocolate milkshake (it was 2 pints, y’know). The layered synths are really nice and the vocal harmonies are nice as well. The whole song is just nice.
Betty Wright – Shoorah! Shoorah!
For the last month or so, I’ve been re-designing my band‘s website. This means I’ve been combing over the contents of the old one, looking for bits and pieces to port over to the new one. Among this site is a treasure trove of old snippets of songs that I’ve uploaded over the years to be featured on the media page. One of my personal favourite songs that we’ve played. It’s a really groovy tune.
Florrie – Little While Lies (Florrie Remix)
This one has been a long time coming. This shows the power of Spotify. Florrie has been appearing on my recommendations consistently for at least the last month or so, so I was bound to pay attention sooner or later. This Bristolian drummer come songwriter come guitarist come singer come remixer (come model) certainly has a lot going for her. If being a sensational drummer wasn’t enough, she’s also got a talent for writing catchy songs and remixing them. I’ve embeded the original song below, which is damn good in its own right, but what I really liked was the remix, which can be found on Spotify. She manages to get the remixing just right, because it’s really easy to overdo and that just puts me right off.
Thanks for joining me for another months worth of my most listened tunes. I’ll be sure to be on the listen out for more in the coming weeks, so in the mean time keep safe and I’ll see you in April.