The Sunday Shuffle – #19

Bathed in Light – Gengahr (2014, Transgressive Records)

Todays randomly shuffled track comes courtesy of the iPod Nano which was keeping me company as I wandered around Newton Abbot trying to find a present for a 7 year old. My decision was that I would post the first song that came on after I had bought this present.  The problem is the shops in Newton Abbot are largely terrible and there only about three shops that are worth going into and one of those is a record shop, and great as it is, I’m not sure the new Yard Act is all that appropriate for 7 year olds.

Land of the Blind – Yard Act (2022, Island Records)

In the end I play it safe and buy a book about school dinners being disgusting, and press play on the iPod.  I am met with the flickering organ synths, squealing guitars and twinkling falsetto vocals of possibly the finest band to ever be named after a Pokemon, Gengahr.

‘Bathed in Light’ has this dreamy quality to it, but it’s a dream with a slight edge, because underneath those little hazy organ synths is something harder waiting to pounch.  You get a hint at the songs snarling underbelly in the very first line that singer Felix Bushe utters, which is “the smog in your voice makes me vomit”.  It sounds like a lyric that should be snarled, but its more crooned that anything else, and then as the final minute of the song approaches, the guitars become completely soaked with effects which cut through the haze

‘Bathed in Light’ was the B Side to one of the bands early singles ‘Powder’, which is also rathe lovely

Powder – Gengahr (2014, Transgressive Records)

The Best Stuff I Have Heard This Year #3

Poerty and rock music, do they mix? Well the evidence is not convincing. Some chumps out there will tell you that Lord Byron was the first person to combine poetry with the rockstar lifestyle. They would of course be wrong, Byron was a syphilis addled drug addict whose behaviour these days would perhaps be considered boorish or possibly linked to the Bullingdon Club.

Fast forward about 150 years (I have no idea when Byron died) and a band called Trampolene were for about ten minutes considered to be the future of rock because their singer recited poetry (that he had written) to the backdrop of riotously scratchy post punk. They were ok at best.

In 2020, an actual poet, well more than a poet – the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage formed a band, a kind of post rock band called LYR, and they were signed before they’d even played a gig. The reason, they are amazing. Armitage delivers his poems, in his glorious Northern voices, which a piano and slow moving electronica sweeps along behind it. Their single ‘Never Good With Horses’ is both sad and beautiful at the same time.

Never Good With Horses – LYR (2020, Single, Mercury KX Records)

Bands with singers who spoke rather than sang were rather fashionable this year, with a who raft of them coming out of the woodwork. Dry Cleaning were perhaps the most successful, with Florence Shaw acting as a narrator rather than a singer on most of their tracks and it is all types of wonderful.

Scratchcard Lanyard – Dry Cleaning (2021, 4AD Records, Taken from ‘New Long Leg)’

Another act who are talking at us rather than singing at us is Self Esteem who earlier in the year released the fantastic ‘I Do This All The Time’. Lyrics about moments of social awkwardness and humiliation are slowly narrated over downtempo beat before bursting into a chorus that encourages women to stand tall and proud.

I Do This All The Time – Self Esteem (2021, Fiction Records, Taken from ‘Prioritise Pleasure’)

And finally, if spoken word is going to be 2022’s ‘Big Thing’ then the year will surely belong to this lot, because they are absolutely vital.

The Overload – Yard Act (2021, Zen FC Records)

And todays Christmas song is not very Christmassy – at all

No Christmas, Whilst I’m Talking – The Walkmen