Won’t you light and stay a while, love spider

I am a massive fan of Emusic, the online record shop that specialises in independent labels and makes iTunes look like the overstuffed high street retailer that it really is. I love the sheer variety of music I can find there, the online community based around it and the fact that there’s none of this iniquitous DRM stuff embedded in your purchases. It’s also ridiculously cheap, which helps too.

Parker & Lily / The Low Lows

Having said that, I’ve inexplicably failed to persuade anyone else to take the plunge, so it may just be me. But anyway, when I joined, three years ago, they were giving away 50 free downloads (I don’t think they’re quite as generous these days), and I gladly spent a good few of them on this album, by New York crooners Parker & Lily.

It was a little disappointing to hear, therefore, that Lily Wolfe and Parker Noon had called it a day, sometime last year, because Lily was going to concentrate on her acting career. I’ve done a quick trawl on Google and haven’t found anything about Lily Wolfe, so I dunno how that’s going, but I can say that Parker Noon has moved onto new band the Low Lows.

Which is where I came across them, whilst mooching around on the Monotreme site… The Low Lows are named after Parker & Lily’s last album, which was released in 2004. What I really liked about Parker & Lily was their rather grandiose sense of melodrama, and of course those echoey chords that stretched out across their songs, but the new stuff isn’t really like this. You’ve still got the distant, flat voice of Parker Noon but there’s a stronger, slightly frantic guitar feel to the tracks I’ve heard.

So anyway, what I’ve done is upload a track you can find on the Monotreme site by the Low Lows and also a track by from the last Parker & Lily album, The Low Lows, called (you’re probably ahead of me here) “The Low Lows”. (Clever fond, my mother would say…)

The Low Lows – Parker & Lily

Dear Flies, Love Spider – The Low Lows

And then there’s this:

Deep as lakes and dark as stars

Not a lot going on here this fortnight, eh? Just right for a new Lucky Seven.

Seven more tracks that have forced themselves upon my consciousness, mostly new stuff I’ve bought this month from Emusic, though when I say “new”, I mean… well you know, we’ve been through this…

My Rights Versus Yours – The New Pornographers
Chinese Radiation – Pere Ubu
Fleece on Brain – Matthew Dear
Devil’s a Go-Go – Blitzen Trapper
9Samurai – kode 9 and the spaceape
Fire Dub – Israel Vibration
Emily Kane – Art Brut

Particularly keen on the Pere Ubu track from Modern Dance, partly as I remember hearing it on John Peel way back in the day, and then seeing a copy of it in Backstage Pass, the only independent record shop in Gloucester.

And nearly buying it. Ah…

The Art Brut track is also a real belter, as is the whole of their first album (second one not so instantly recognisable, imho). Art Brut, incredibly, are coming to Gloucester in a fortnight.

Lucky Seven 4

Two exits wouldn’t be enough to let me go…

It’s funny how tracks make no impression on you one day and then the next sound incredible. Funny and, if you’re anything like me, somewhat haunting – what classics have I ruthlessly and casually deleted from my PC? Should I go back through my Recycle Bin and listen to everything again? For a moment I am paralysed with a sense of duty…

Don’t worry, it passes. Anyway, a cosier way to look at it is that the tracks that I do return to and hear them in a different light (…if can you do that…) were somehow meant to be. Saved from the delete button by a higher force, maybe. A sense of musical destiny, if you will.

Don’t worry, that passes too. Whatever. I was just trawling through a bunch of tracks I’d snagged off the Asaurus site a good few weeks ago and came across this.

Winter Vacation

Winter Vacation are actually one chap – David Yourdon, from New York who plays in The Pathways and has this as his side project. I need to go and listen to the Pathways records, because these Winter Vacation tracks are terrific. I’ve read a few reviews of The Netherlands, 1980, the Winter Vacation album, and the words “slender”, “fragile” and even “geeky” all seem to come up with some regularity, and you can see why. The tracks I’ve got here are distinctly quirky and have a real home-made feel to them, and the lyrics are worth persevering with.

I’m posting a couple of tracks that I really liked, one from the Asaurus website and one from The Pathways site, but there are other tracks available on both those sites. I’ve picked these tracks because I liked the way that both of them take unexpected turns in the way they are put together.

The Greenest Age

World Colour War

Both tracks come from The Netherlands, 1980 which you can buy here.

Happy New Year!

I’m going to start the new year in fairly typical fashion in that I’m going to post a couple of things I meant to do a few days ago…

Am already regretting my slightly churlish decision not to present a list of 2007’s best releases. Having thought about it there were enough good new releases to make quite a comprehensive list after all – albums by Gruff Rhys, The Besnard Lakes, Deerhunter and, yes, Burial all spring easily to mind, now. But anyway the moment’s gone.

I did want to mention, though, a few new tracks and developments from some of the bands I’ve blithered on about this year.

Firstly I have a track from the new Poq release that was sent to me just before Christmas. It’s actually available on Emusic (God bless ‘em). It’s a remix of the “Disko” track which has been around for a while, but I rather like this new version.

Disko (Lifting Gear Engineer Remix) – Poq

There are also a couple of new tracks available from Birmingham’s Hoden Lane available on their Myspace page, and news of a demo cd which I am assured I’ll be getting a copy of. I’ll post one track, and you can flutter over to their Myspace to pick up the other

Prince Charming – Hoden Lane

Then there’s a couple of compelling, though a little crackly, songs from the great David Thomas Broughton, recorded live with fellow Green Man veterans 7 Hertz (also worth seeing if you get the chance). You can get the other track here.

So Much Sin to Forgive – David Thomas Broughton & 7 Hertz

Broughton has recently released an interesting single with a Swedish electronica producer called Chris Casati, which are pretty good too, and available here (or on iTunes, if you have to…).

Then finally, there’s one extra track available from the sulphurous lair of Michael J Sheehy. He’s also been recording this year, and performing with his brother’s band. See the videos here.

Flyin’ Shoes – Michael J Sheehy

And that’s cleared up all of that. Happy New Year!