I’ve been threatening to do this for a while, in response to Mr Wistow’s excellent “Nineties Music Monday” posts, and now seems as good a time as any.
Since Simon is firmly stuck in the music of an increasingly distant decade, the premise here is simple: to highlight interesting artists and tracks which are, ahem, somewhat more recent. Using the same meandering-narrative-spliced-with-Youtube format which has served him so well.
How recent is “more recent”? I’m starting with a “last 5 years” rule-of-thumb, hopefully with a heavier emphasis on new(ish) releases, as and when I get my hands on them.
We’re kicking off somewhere completely arbitraty, mainly because this song happens to be the current one which I can’t skip past if I see it skit by on the iPhone.
Behold, Shearwater’s “Rooks”!
It’s beautiful, wintry, evocative, and depressing as fuck. Key “stuck on repeat” moment: 1:37 in when the lyric “we’ll sleep until the world of man is paralyzed” crashes into a mournful New Orleans trumpet line which would be startling if such things hadn’t been done to death by Beirut recently (more on them next week).
To be honest, the track is very much the stand-out on the album (“Rook”, Matador, 2008), which is certainly listenable, but not worthy of many repeat plays as a whole. Shearwater are often most interesting when they remind you of someone else.
“Home Life”, for example, makes me think of the interminable “Natural Beauty” which closes Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”… not that it’s a musical reference which everyone is going to leap at, but it reminds me of sitting in a field in the middle of nowhere watching the sun go down when I was 15.
“The Snow Leopard”, on the other hand, spends a whole five minutes threatening to turn into Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song”, which is just odd.