I noticed it’s December. That means it’s nearly the end of the year…because time moves at a different pace in the silly season, doesn’t it? Anyway, feeling a little bit retrospective I just thought I’d share a little round-up of some of my favourite new things I’ve heard this year. I mean, REALLY favourite.
Let’s go in chronological order. I came across Merrill Garbus (aka Tune-Yards) in April, when I saw the video for her song Bizness, which I think is absolutely brilliant. It’s a lot of fun to sing along with (I often find myself morphing into a saxophone) and I love the sunny aesthetic of the video (especially the Keith Haring style stop-motion figures).
I was lucky enough to catch them playing live at Primavera Sound in Barcelona in the summer, which was so much fun. Their live shows are just incredible (and there’s plenty of live footage of them kicking around on the internet if you can’t make it to one).
Next up is someone I met when I was gigging a lot in London, and we shared a gig at the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green, which is a lovely little venue. She’s called Samantha Whates, and she writes some beautiful songs. I think she sounds a bit like a Scottish Laura Veirs, so it’s really no wonder I like her music so much. Her debut album ‘Dark Nights Make for Brighter Days’ came out in October, and I was so pleased that I happened to be in London the night of its release. Here’s a video of ‘Village Kids’ performed by Samantha and her band at the launch show in Christ Church Spitalfields. Magic!
You can get hold of a copy of her album here.
And lastly, something I’d been looking forward to for quite a while… Kate Bush’s new album ’50 Words for Snow’. I’ve still only listened to it a few times, but that’s taken huge strength of will. You see, I’m saving it for when we have appropriately cold weather. But all the same, it’s absolutely captivating. I think my favourite song might be the title track, which features Stephen Fry listing Kate’s 50 made-up words for snow. It reminds me a bit of ‘Pi‘ from Aerial, in that it’s an almost academic list-making exercise set to song. It’s so much fun! But I’m actually going to share a different song here… mostly because I can’t seem to find a version of that one (hint: but the album!). But here’s a segment of Wild Man with a cool animation to accompany it. Poor old Yeti.
What have you been listening to this year?
By the way, New Hampshire folk: I’m playing at Fritz’s Restaurant in Keene next Thursday 15th, onstage at 6:55pm. To be precise. It would be great to see you there!
And stay tuned for a festive-themed song coming soon… !