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  • Alistair Braidwood

Midsummer, Nice Dreams: The Month’s Musical Roundup…

Last month may have been wetter than a haddock’s bathing costume, but there has still been some great music to lift the spirits and soothe the unseasonly fevered brow. I have to admit that I’m in a very fine state of mind, thanks for asking, and that is partly down to the following sounds.

The musical roundup for June has a little for everyone from beautiful, shimmering, sunshine pop to something very dark indeed, and all shades inbetween. There’s also a great new video from one of my favourite musicians, and hopefully future podcast guest.

First off is the most appropriately named band for this summer for at least a couple of reasons. Olympic Swimmers released their album No Flags Will Fly, and people who have been following their career can finally find their favourite songs in one place. If you have never listened to them before then this is the place to start, it perfectly matches the current climate in that it seems to sparkle in the rain. There are heartwarming melodies, and bittersweet tales, but when they come together something magic happens. When a band can make sadness elegiac, well it doesn’t get much better for me. I often listen to music that I want, but every now again I come across something I need. Soundtrack not only to the summer but the rest of the year. This is the beautiful Apples and Pears:

Talking of summer soundtracks, another of the best releases of last month was Light of the North by Miaoux Miaoux. Julian Corrie, for it is he, is a man who obviously lives and breathes music. The album is a collection of all the best sounds that electronic music has given us in the last 40 years, from Kraftwerk to yesterday. There are tracks that sound as if New Order and Mantronix had been mashed together by Trevor Horn, which is the sound I’ve been trying to get in my head for years. When Chris Ward, sometimes of this parish, and I agree on the worth of an album, I have to say there can be no mistake. This is pop at its very best, and few things make me happier. But don’t take our word for it. This is Better for Now:

Let’s keep the pop fires burning with the welcome return of Honey, a band that I hope you’ve already taken to your hearts and heads. Their’s is a gentle wall of sound, one without the guns and murder. Imagine a Jesus and Mary Chain who liked each other and you’re close. Early morning, no sleep, sunrise? Honey are the perfect accompaniment. This is Fantasist folowed by Cape Canaveral:

But it’s not all summer sunshine round our way, oh no. Sometimes you have to go back to black, and there are few as black as Sacre Noir. Alexis Beattie suggested I might like their gothic cabaret. He is correct. I believe you can never have enough theatre in music, and after watching the video for She Can’t Take It I look forward to seeing them live, and if you’re in Glasgow on the 28th of August I’ll meet you in Pivo Pivo to see if my hunch is correct. This is that video:

I had never heard of The Irrepressibles, which surprises me when a brief search proved to me that these were people who know who and what they are. This is orchestral pop music at its best, with songs which are reminiscient of Anthony and The Johnsons, the more string led end of Pulp, and Rufus Wainwright. It is music lush beyond belief, and one look at the video for Arrow makes you realise that this is a band who have complete confidence in their music and vision. Did I mention there was a lot of great music this month? Here’s further proof if it is needed. This is Arrow:

Finally, earlier this year the fabulously monikered Eugene Twist released one of the best albums of the year with The Boy Who Had Everything. If you don’t have it you can buy it here. It is a collection which references jazz, beat, Beatles and even John Barry. Well, he has a new song which is the perfect way to round up this roundup. Listen closely as he writes some of the best lyrics around. This is Bohemian Hotline:

Another mighty fine selection of diverse and yet complementary sounds. I can’t end without saying a fond farewell to Favourite Son, a blog which brought to my attention more good music than almost any other. You’ll be sadly missed and I hope it won’t be too long before we read your wise words, and listen to your fine musical choices, again.


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