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Careless Tracks: September 2017

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It's the final Friday of September and also one week before our new video Heart Goes Wild is released. It's also only one week until our new EP "Microwave Communion" is released so, in summary, just sear 6 October into your brainfruit. Statistically, the quickest way to pass the time until then is to listen to our Careless track selection for this month.

You can check out all of our track recommendations on Spotify:

 

The Beatles - Rain

Ben: "Oh not the bloody Beatles!" someone, somewhere, will say like the massive idiot that they are. Not liking The Beatles is like not liking a cold drink on a hot day. "I'd rather have a cup of tea," they'll say. "It cools you down more". Yes it does, but also stop talking to me and let me enjoy Abbey Road in peace.

The Beatles wrote so many great songs. If you aren't a complete Beatles loser like me (and Rob, and Stu from Lux Lisbon and our former producer and current friend James Barr), then you probably already know most of the singles and have maybe sat down and listened to a couple of the albums. That's only scratching the surface though, because they were churning out 1-2 increasingly seminal albums, four of the finest pop rock singles ever written and a fair number of B-sides a year, EVERY YEAR, for seven years solid. The fact that the quality is so consistently high even as their time was also taken up with relentless touring, two (/three/four/five) feature length films, interviews and just generally being 60's legends is one of the most staggering things about them.

Rain was the B-side to Paperback Writer and is one of the first Beatles songs not written about the theme of love (Nowhere Man from a few months prior was the first, Paperback Writer is also not). Given it's "just" a B-side (albeit a Beatles B-side), they really went to town on making it a stand out song In Its Own Write. A few of the highlights:

The bass - there are three great bits - second verse (under the "slip into the shade" line), the crazily long single G note in the first chorus (that keeps going even as the chords change around it) and the same long G note/chord but now played as arpeggiated triplets in the second chorus. The bass was much higher in the mix in mid-60's Beatles tracks and you can tell Macca is enjoying the freedom this gives his playing.

The vocals - obviously the first backwards music on any song ever recorded is a pretty major box to tick under the "things that are interesting vocally" section. That's even before we consider this is an amazing innovation to use on "just" a B-side. The choruses are pretty worthy of mention as well though. Most of the chorus is a single syllable word ("rain" or "shine"), but they are stretched out over nine syllables (and nearly the same number of seconds). Accompanying that are some unusually raw (for The Beatles) backing vocals, which are actually John harmonising with himself. If you're listening on headphones then they'll be in your right ear. Really nice, especially on the first line of the second chorus.

The drums - top drumming all throughout this song. Loads of interesting fills. Anyone who thinks Ringo can't drum is talking complete b*llocks.

A couple of things to check out in the video too. Paul McCartney crashed his scooter on holiday and didn't have time to get his front tooth repaired before the video shoot. Ooops! Also the Gallagher brothers used this song and video as the basis for their entire career.

EDIT: ARGH, the video isn't on YouTube. Please go seek it out elsewhere, it's great!

Ryan Adams - Fix It

Dickon: Rob nipped in like a silky hummingbird early on in the Careless Tracks process with a Ryan pick, but having just seen him two nights in a row last week (Ryan not Rob – I see Rob every night….. in my dreams) I don’t think I can justifiably pick anyone else this month. My brother introduced me to him in 2011 around the time of ‘Ashes & Fire’. He was pretty ubiquitous when I was growing up (Ryan not my brother – although he was also around a lot) but I never gave him the time of day. I have a habit of refusing to engage with bands/artists until about five years after they break and then spend every waking moment eulogising as if I’ve just discovered them in some grubby back bar in Soho.  I imagine this behaviour might be quite irritating for people other than me. I’m OK with it.

There are a number of things I love about Ryan Adams. His voice live is phenomenal, I mean the best I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand. He is complicated, diva-ish and erratic which means he is always good value when it comes to my endless indulgence of rock mythology. He is an underrated guitar hero, lyrically pure, obsessed with cats, a hopeless romantic, a metal head and an anglophile which means we share a number of UK indie reference points. He blew me away at the Royal Albert hall last week and must now rank second only to the Manics on my Gig-O-Meter (not to be mistaken with Geiger Counter).  My current fave Ryan track? ‘Fix It’ from his 2008 album ‘Cardinology’. Here it is. Lovely Ryan.

 

Bright Eyes - We Are Nowhere And It's Now

RobThis month I’ve opted for this frankly beautiful little number by Bright Eyes, a band spearheaded by the frankly beautiful Conor Oberst. It’s taken from the 2005 album, “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning”.

I got into Bright Eyes at university. I think Dickon had read about them/Conor in the NME, that was singing their/his (I tend to think of Bright Eyes and Conor basically being the same thing…) praises and I thought I would check him out. Limewire to the rescue (this is not an endorsement).

I have never been hugely obsessed with lyrics in songs. Sure, it’s a nice bonus if they aren’t horrendously cringeworthy but, mainly I think I have always been more affected by the music than the words. I think hearing Bright Eyes was the first time I properly appreciated what lyrics could do, and I still don’t think I have found a lyricist with whom I identify as strongly. I think Conor is a remarkable wordsmith. He also writes beautiful music and has a voice that is so very endearing.

He’s been rather prolific over the years, and there are countless songs worthy of mention here. I’ve always enjoyed We Are Nowhere though, and it features Emmylou Harris, so I plumped for it. I hope Dickon gets around to checking him/them out one day…

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