Songstruck: ‘Constantly’ – Emmy The Great

Me and my other half went to see Emmy The Great last week in Amsterdam. She performed in a lovely little venue called De Roode Bioscoop and she was amazing. Her one-woman set was simple and relaxed, and beautiful and heartfelt at the same time.

We had her album Second Love playing most of the weekend. It’s a wonderful album. Have a listen! She started off her set with a Chinese version of ‘Constantly’, the melody of which has been stuck in my head ever since the gig. I thought I’d add both the English and Chinese versions.

Chinese:

English:

Have a wonderful week!

Kris x

Songs that make me feel…

For me music is divided in three categories, irregardless of genre: songs that make me feel, songs that sound right to my ears, and songs that do neither.

Today I want to write about some of the songs in the first category. I can react quite strongly to music and it can influence my mood profoundly. I guess that’s why it means so much to me. Music can lift me up, heal me, or let me wallow in misery when I need to.

Some songs feel like a deep breath of air to me that fill my chest with joy or determination. Some make me feel defiant or proud of the person I am. Some make me feel heartbreak where there is none. All of those I love, because emotions are the fabric of life. Without them you might as well not be alive.

I thought of this when I was watching Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron with my daughter. It is probably my favourite animated movie. If you have not seen it, watch it! It’s great, even if you don’t particularly like horses. Even my husband loves it and that’s saying something. It is full of wild emotions. Longing, hope, sadness, determination, love…  greatly enhanced by a truly fantastic score by Hans Zimmer and songs by Bryan Adams. Now, I have never really cared that much for Bryan Adams, but some of these songs are spot on. None more so than the first song I want to discuss, which inspired this post in the first place.

‘Sound The Bugle’ – Bryan Adams

The perfect song about being broken and defeated and remembering the reasons you were fighting in the first place. It brings me close to tears every time. Such an emotive song and it was perfect in the movie. Even without the video this song pulls on my heartstrings.  The juxtaposition of the feeling of defeat in the first half of the song to the hope and determination in the second half is so well done. It breaks my heart and manages to heal it in the duration of a song. It’s absolutely masterfully beautiful. I will never say a bad word about Bryan again.

‘Neon’ – Ash

Any excuse to talk about Ash, but there is a reason why I have so much love for them. Tim Wheeler is one of my favourite song writers, who has managed to weave his songs into my heart many many times, and to me this is one of his best. Now, this is definitely a not a well-known song. It was part of their A-Z series of 26 singles that they did in 2009-2010. It’s not a typical Ash song with its synthy beat, but there is something magical about it. The words just resonate with me for some reason. The first verse ‘Faint glimmer of the stars, the entrance of the night. Shadows fill my heart, the moon is on the rise. Yearning with desire to feel a spark inside. Illuminate this void, set the stars alight’. Somehow I know exactly what does words mean. Of course I cannot read Tim’s mind, but they mean something profound to me that I recognise, that searching for something meaningful, for the reason for being, then the realisation that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be at that moment. I’ve been there, I have felt that and on some days when I feel a little lost in this big old world, I listen to this song over and over again and somehow it makes everything ok. It makes me feel that spark inside! How does it do that? It’s magic!

‘Ready To Start’ – Arcade Fire

As soon as this song starts I perk up and my heartbreak quickens. There is something about the beat of this that just pulls me in immediately. Even when I am sitting perfectly still inside I am dancing like a loon to this, defiance rising curiously in my soul. The music in combination with the lyrics makes my heart soar in the most wonderful way. It makes me want to throw my hands in the air and sing along at the top of my voice. ‘If I was scared, I would. If I was pure, you know I would. If I was yours, but I’m not. Now I’m ready to start!’ God, this song is amazing. It does wonderful things to my brain.

Of course there are plenty more, but I will leave those for another time.

Let me know what songs make you feel!

Kris x

My (musical)2016

2016 will be remembered as the year many of our cultural icons died. David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, George Michael, Mohammed Ali, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher and the list goes on and on. I won’t dwell too much on that, because many others have done that for me. Let’s just hope 2017 will be kinder on our heroes.

For me 2016 was quite a nice year, not least because we completed major building work. But musically, there was much to enjoy. I got the chance to see favourite bands like We Are Scientists and Ash live, but also saw some new bands like Hidden Charms and Yak. I got to say hi to WAS’ Keith Murray and also to the Ash guys, which was good fun. I have a faint memory of telling Tim Wheeler drunkenly that he was not as short as I remembered (met them before in 1996). Yeah, definitely a dubious highlight. Seriously though, the guy wrote so many of my favourite songs and I am glad I got a chance to tell him. Such a nice guy too. It’s wonderful when your heroes don’t disappoint you (and when they’re taller than you thought :p).

Some new bands that caught my attention in 2016 are pretty eclectic bunch. The pop punk of Asylums set against the laid back psychedelic sounds of The Vryll Society could not be more contrasting, but that does not mean I can’t love them both. Also worth a mention are Let’s Eat Grandma and Sundara Karma, who I have enjoyed listening to. When I saw Ash last month they were supported by Indian Queens, who I thought were pretty amazing as well and I am hoping to hear more from them.

As for my top 3 favourite 2016 albums, in no particular order:

  • Helter Seltzer by We Are Scientists (because it makes me happy)
  • Killer Brain Waves  by Asylums (because I love playing it very loudly)
  • I, Gemini by Let’s Eat Grandma (for all its wonderful weirdness)

There are plenty of other albums that I have listened to and even more that I should have listened to that I haven’t yet. You can only listen to so much right? But these were the three that most caught my attention. If there are any you feel I SHOULD listen to, please let me know!

Looking forward to 2017:

I have only a couple of gigs lined up. Jose Gonzales and the String Theory in January and Emmy The Great in March. Annoyingly the Jose Gonzalez gig later clashed with an Asylums gig that I really wanted to go to, but I already had those tickets and fingers crossed I will get to see Asylums later in the year (I better!!!!). Again, Jose Gonzalez and Asylums, day and night, right? 🙂

I am hoping 2017 will bring new albums by Ash and hopefully The Vryll Society and Alvvays may grace us with albums as well. Sundara Karma’s album Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect is out later this week and I am looking forward to that one. Circa Waves has a new album out in the next few months as well, which I hope is good.

I hope I will be discovering more new music in 2017, but not too much as I still have way too much 2016 stuff to listen too!

Fingers crossed too that I will be able to breathe new life into this blog thingie.

Happy New Year!

Kris

 

Songstruck: ‘A Perfect Rhythm’ by The Vryll Society

Much can be said about 2016; many icons left us, the world is an absolute mess and I was terrible at posting, well, anything.

But some good things also happened. I saw some wonderful live music, met some of my musical heroes and discovered some fantastic new bands.

One of those new bands that I have a feeling may well blow up more than I would like to is The Vryll Society. There is a touch of the Roses and the Charlatans about them at times and I love every song I have heard by them! Their songs just worm their way into my heart. Fingers crossed I will get to see them in 2017!

This is their latest and it’s a mighty fine tune!