After my last choice led to accusations of my being ‘wilfully eclectic’, I am heading back onto safer territory with Future Islands, a band most right-thinking people seem to have a soft spot for. After the success of Seasons (Waiting On You), with ‘The Far Field’ they’ve recorded a whole album of songs in the same vein. All twelve tracks sound near identical to the extent at one point (tracks 5 and 6) I thought that I had switched on the repeat by mistake. And yet.. and yet.. since it came out in the Spring I play it to the point of obsession. For me it is the sonic equivalent of a nice warm bath, as the 80s synths swirl mistily over the galloping baselines. I won’t paste the official video for Caves as I am sure you want to enjoy the incredible dancing and Vic Reeves pub singer stylings of Samuel T Herring in a live environment. As ever, some ‘interesting’ vocal choices, particularly around 1:35 – 1:45.
Note at the start how, with Samuel T. careening around the stage like a tipsy dalek, girding his loins ready to spring into action as the baseline kicks in, the director switches cameras at precisely the wrong moment…
This next track comes from a critically acclaimed female solo artist, who is taking her obvious influences (Madonna, Bowie) and creating music that, while it is most definitely ‘pop’ also has a left-field ‘otherness’ about it. Number 11, St.Vincent, ‘Los Ageless’ with possibly a first for this site (?) a live performance from the Ellen Show
My number 11 is “Redemption Blues” from Alejandro Escovedo’s new release “Burn Something Beautiful”. A 65-year old alt-country, former punk band guitarist, Escovedo is well known within the US indie scene but rarely elsewhere. He comes from an extended family of musicians (including, amongst others, niece Shiela E.) and is a regular collaborator with REM co-founder Peter Buck. I was first introduced to Escovedo’s work over a decade ago via a tribute album called “Por Vida”, in which other collaborators and admirers like John Cale, Ian Hunter, Charlie Musselthwaite and alt-country legends Son Volt performed Escovedo’s songs to raise money to support him as he recovered from a near fatal bout of Hepatitis C. The fact that he is alive and well nearly 15 years later is a testament to the man and his friends. While many of Escovedo’s songs could be Springsteen or Tom Petty with an Hispanic twist, the chosen track has a clearer blues influence. The tune starts about 2:30 into the clip, but the first couple of minutes are worth listening to as Alejandro talks fondly about his father.
You may remember I was bemoaning the lack of female singers on my list earlier on, but I’m pleased to report that the balance is slightly redressed with my number 11 selection, courtesy of Clementine Creevy and her band from Los Angeles. Going back all the way to January, we find a song from their sophomore offering, “Apocalipstick”. I can’t tell you much more other than they supported Slowdive on their North American tour, but more of them later! Finally, for those of you not keen on gruesome videos then I’ve included the audio, which is far less bloodthirsty. Number 11…