Monday, 21 May 2018

5 Country Songs to change Your Heart

I've been enjoying curating the Songs of Sunshine & Struggle playlist since late January when the nights were dark and long.

Now it's May and London is getting sunnier, and warmer, days. Much like the changing of the season, there are moments of radiant sunshine, and then long days of darkness and sadness. Which is where this playlist comes from in its outlook.

Here are just 5 of the songs, chosen from the 250, that have really gotten to me. Some are just about having a good time- thats the sunshine!- but some really identify with those times of suffering and trouble.

Meadows spent years trying to escape himself. He's anything but selfish, so he'd find a way to get away-- a bottle, a bag, a sermon -- and he'd share it with anyone. Underdogs is an encouraging clarion call to those who feel like they're at the back of the queue.

This took me straight to mid-west America, a close community, and a heck of a good time on the weekend

The Minneapolis singer takes us somewhere that people arrive and go - The Airport.  Leaving our troubles behind, she suggests we 'leave our burdens at the boarding gate' 

I'm a big fan of Courtney's album released earlier this year. Isn't the world be better with the Kindness of Strangers?

"He ain't coming back here again, they're passengers on a ship that can't go back from where it's come." - Will Overman

Friday, 4 May 2018

Folk Songs to Watch the World Go By

I've really been enjoying curating the seasonal folk playlist on the Bristol Funk channel recently, and over the last 6 months, these songs have really stood out ::

We all have someone we'd like to be at home again

The opening lyrics of Overland, recorded close to Bristol, cut straight to the heart. I love the harmonies and unity of the 3 band members here

As a fan of Agnes Obel and Lisa Hannigan Mree's 'In The Kitchen' really got to me. The chorus is so soothing, like Kate Bush but with a cup of herbal tea. A folk song that starts so light then progresses and builds with a certain depth and increasing purpose. A hell of a record.

"Hate can't be the face of the American Dream" pleads Raye Zaragoza. Herself part Native American Indian, she wanted to re-address the balance and like the classic protest songs of yore, it has as much hope as it does sadness. An under-rated record that deserves to be much bigger than it is.

Cat Stevens was there on so many car journeys with my parents so I was really pleased when he released a new album last year. This was my favourite track from his 'Laughing Apple' album

Friday, 19 June 2015

Too Long (A Short Update)

Hi guys,

It's been far too long since I updated this blog. Truth is life just took over and I found myself with alot less time to write more extensively .

So sadly, for now, this might be the last post for a while,  at least until my end of year  'best of' review in December.

I'm super active over at Spotify on the BRISTOL FUNK profile so feel free to check out this 'Best of the year' playlist and my others..

Feel free to stay in touch by sending a track and a message on Spotify or to my twitter @BristolFunk83 and I WILL reply!

Bless you all,


Recent tunes i've really been enjoying include..

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Ray Gun

Came across this interesting video recently, by Ghostface Killah ft. MF Doom.

As well as sampling an old soul or soundtrack record, MF Doom guests and appears as an integral part of an 80's styled, blade runner esque video - see below. Let me know what you think!

The song is also in the 'approved' playlist.. Follow Here

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Approved Music for 2015

You can follow this playlist on Spotify to hear my picks during 2015!

So far the start of the year has been punctuated with super indie rock from Chastity Belt (Hardly Art), Waxahatchee, Swearin', Natalie Prass and Brandi Carlile!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Albums of the Year 2014

Well it's been a crazy year! Apologies for not updating this blog more, but i've lacked the time, life just kinda took over. As Lennon didn't say, "life not blogging is what happens whilst you're busy making doing other plans things."

So to my fave records and gigs of this year then, in no particular order..
You can listen to some of the music here in this playlist too


Emma Tricca- Relic Straddling a line somewhere between folk, soundtrack and indie, Tricca’s softly spoken east-end melancholy create a perfect soundtrack on which to pause to and consider, or to happily idle away an hour in the afternoon. A beautifully written second album from Hackney's ‘Giallo Princess'.

Honeyblood- Honeyblood
Stina Tweeddale and drummer Shona McVicar are two lasses from Glasgow making some pretty catchy and addictive indie music. Tracks like Fall Forever, Killer Bangs and Anywhere But Here lead the way.
Shabazz Palaces- Lese Majesty Not the easiest of hip hop albums but like Egyptian Jazz legend Pharoah Sanders, you can't just stick this on and let it slip into the background. As the Seattle duo of Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire put it themselves the album is "a series of astral suites, recorded happenings". This 18 track odyssey  more than stakes a claim as the 8th wonder of hip hop

Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics- Jaiyede Afro The Heliocentrics have been busy this year,  and this album recorded with afro-jazz legend and pioneer Orlando Julius has only enhanced his reputation.  Another high calibre release on Strut who had a great 201.

Damien Jurado- Brothers & Sisters of the Eternal Son A real renaissance album from  Jurado, with my personal highlight Silver Timothy.

Jennifer Castle- Pink City
Her sweet pitch is steeped in the spiritual folk of Carol Kleyn and akin; the Toronto singers heartfelt album will have you yearning for the simple life. Highlights include Down River and Sailing Away.

Space Daze- Follow My Light Back Home Delightful, sweet and this years perfect summer record from Seapony's Danny Rowland. A super little album of dreampop - watch out for remixes next year.. 

Jane Weaver- The Silver Globe Picadilly records described this in their end of year list asn " analogue synth-laden pop-krautrock-folk epic." and i don't think i can better that description!

Taylor McFerrin- Early Riser Emotive basslines, zappy moog play and good toplines make this album work to a deeper level, whilst Decisions with Emily King has been on repeat. 

Matthew Halsall- When The World Was One “Grooving through time on the spiritual sunship.” (Mojo), this album of modal, spiritual jazz echoes of Coltrane and the greats that have gone before. A real highlight from A Love Supreme Jazz festival too.

Just missed the list: SZA, Mr Twin Sister, Sharon Van Etten, Merchandise, Alvvays

Re-Issues/ Catalogue

Eddy Giles- Southern Soul Brother (Kent)
2014 saw a bit of a renaissance and focus on Northern Soul, and when i heard Roger at my local record store play this, I had to buy it- super super soul from the singer who is became a preacher man. There's a nice video of the CD here .

Brothers & Sisters- Dylans Gospel (Light In The Attic)
Alongside Strut, Light In The Attic had a good year with this the highlight for me, the 1969 recording by Sam Cooke's longstanding producer Lou Rawls and featured Mary Clayton, Glora Jones and others all taking on Bob Dylan's most stirring songs.

Marshall Allen Presents Sun Ra
Have you heard the latest news from Neptune, Neptune, Neptune? Marshall Allen has and put together this excellent double comp of highlights from the Jazz legends extensive catalogue. Also my favourite artwork of the year.

V/A Too Slow To Disco As purchased from Rise in Bristol this is a fine selection of AOR/Yacht Rock.

Daptone Soul Revue- Academy Shepherds Bush
Beck- iTunes Festival
Courtney Barnett- Islington Assembly Hall
Sharon Van Etten- Koko
Matthew Halsall Band- Love Supreme Festival
Smashing Pumpkins - Lauren Laverne 6Music Session (Bonus)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Mr Twin Sister

With an odd name like Mr Twin Sister (They used to just be called Twin Sister but had to revise), you can expect something a little arcane..

The impassably cool 5 piece are from Long Island , and boy have they crafted a record with some good night groove, perfectly balancing beach-certified moments such as the ambient Blush alongside tracks that borderline house records from Detroit circa 1990 onwards - as evidenced In The House of Yes. With it's subtle disco strings, floor welcoming beat and moody bassline this could well be a keeper.

Opener Sensitive has a hint of Sade with  twinkling keys, brushed percussion and the lyrics 'Romantic Dreaming' topside. After Sade, we go to Rah Band who had a hit with Messages In The Stars in 1983, which could well be the influence for Rude Boy. The pull was so strong that I actually checked with one of the band but they hadn't heard of Rah Band, so maybe a bit of musical osmosis here!

There's a Berlin nightclub moment on Out of The Dark which is a little more DFA but it gives vocalist Andrea Estella another chance to hold everything together with perfect quasi robotic information delivery. The pace picks up even further by Twelve Angels which edges the album closer towards techno and Karl Hyde territory but that intensity they so easily gear up to, is effortlessly let go on the ethereal Medford, which acts as a short interlude before a lovely album closer in 'Crime Scene'.

A beguiling and worthy follow up to 2011's In Heaven, this should appeal to fans of Nite Jewel, Mazzy Star, Gardens & Villa, Rah Band and Cocteau Twins.

Follow & Subscribe to my updated set of Yearly Highlights below!