Posted by: ben | October 26, 2009

the checkout: september

ShortwaveSet

 

Ben: Oh man, how is it already late October? I kept thinking it must be about time to do a checkout post for September and it’s managed to slip me by entirely.

TS Eliot be damned. September is the cruelest month, not April.

What have Dan and I bought over the past month?

TheGoodNatured

September was a month for me to explore. It’s an interlude between the big releases of the summer and those of Christmas so it’s ideal to branch out a bit to see what else is out there in the big wide world. I went looking specifically for unsigned bands and eventually found four. Two of those had recently released EPs for sale (the other two didn’t: Mr Cheapskate‘s sixties-ish, Bees-ish pop should find a new EP release soon, as should Maple LeavesJens Lekman-inspired story songs).

First up: Talulah Does The Hula‘s Bad Boyfriend EP. I bought this pretty much solely because it was partially founded by the two girls formerly of The Chalets. Whilst The Chalets were all pop and upbeat harmonies, Bad Boyfriend and b-side Those Girls are both quite downbeat and, frankly, not fun. Shame. I’ll be watching them with interest because I don’t think this EP shows off what they can do.

Secondly: The Good Natured‘s EP. A textbook example of coincidence – recommended to me by a Twitterer in Edinburgh, The Good Natured (aka Sarah McIntosh) lives in a village about five minutes’ drive from me and, on the day of my discovering her, released her proper debut EP. And my word, is it brill. It’s very of the moment in a twitch-electro-pop way but the vocals and lyrics are to die for. I want her to be huge. She should be huge. Please – go and explore.

Elsewhere I’ve been very conventional in my purchases. I inevitably purchased three Beatles albums – Sgt Pepper, Revolver and Abbey Road. Sgt Pepper sounds particularly lovely in stereo but the real highlight of that triumverate is Run for your Life. Lennon’s misogynist rant at the end of Revolver is now transformed into a stereoscopic harmonic masterpiece. If you’ve not explored the remastered collection yet, it’s a good place to start.

Wilco

Dan: I’ve not actually bought anything else in September except the expensive, expansive Beatles box set. But if that had been all I listened to I’d probably have gone mad by now. So instead I’ve been exploring too.

Ben mentioned The Good Natured and Maple Leaves and that’s where we overlap this month. While I haven’t bought anything by either of them yet I did pinch their free downloads and they really are rather special. Unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to find The Good Natured’s free EP download link any more so I can’t pass it on. Sorry. Maple Leaves’ offerings are still available though and in spectacular fashion. You can download 2 of their tracks here in formats ranging from bog-standard mp3 to FLAC and Apple Lossless. Well worth a listen.

Other recent discoveries include Noah and the Whale’s second album, First Days Of Spring. It’s a glorious, lilting, orchestral record that I’ll be sure to pick up in the future. I’m not so fussed about seeing the video it comes with. Another band I’ve finally found through Spotify is Saint Etienne. After an afternoon listening to London Conversations, their ‘best of’ collection, I’ve been clamouring for their back catalogue. Their albums have just been re-released in spectacular double-disc deluxe editions, which of course means they’re too expensive for me to pick up at the moment. I also can’t afford Wilco’s latest album, uh… Wilco. I tried listening to it when it came out and I wasn’t smitten. Since then I heard You Never Know from the album and was knocked over. It’s great, and I now need the whole album.

Lastly, a quick word on some albums I’ve re-discovered in September. The Shortwave Set’s The Debt Collection is much more magnificent than I remember it being, particularly the tracks Is It Any Wonder? and Repeat To Fade. I have to confess to Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 getting another spin as well. It’s been 2 years since it was released (obviously) and it’s still as brilliant as it was. It’s possible it’ll still be cool after the end of time. Continuing the pysch-funk-techno-pop theme is The Postal Service’s Give Up, which is also just as amazing as when it was released. As it’s now Autumn, Ben Folds, Jens Lekman and Sufjan Stevens have also slithered their way back into my  iPod. They provide the perfect soundtrack for scuffing up leaves on the long walk home.

Our Favourite 5 Tracks of September

Ben:

1. Talulah does the Hula – Bad Boyfriend
2. The Beatles – A Day in the Life
3. The Beatles – Run for Your Life
4. Ben Folds Five – Jackson Cannery
5. TV on the Radio – Halfway Home

Dan:

Kirsty – Maple Leaves
You Never Know – Wilco
Hobart Paving – Saint Etienne
Repeat To Fade – Shortwave Set
How Can I Believe In You? – The Good Natured

Got Spotify? Listen to 4 of the above 10 songs by clicking here! (Unfortunately,  most of our selection is too indie for Spotify this month – sorry!)

Dan: The choice of video this month is The Postal Service’s Such Great Heights. I’ve chosen it not only because the song is great, but because the video is pretty brilliant too.

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  1. [...] since The Go! Team’s Bottle Rocket. It turns out I like Dance music. Who knew? (See repeated mentions of Alive 2007 on [...]


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