What a strange spring and early summer it has been. The major life events of other people have caused me to look at time and its passing in a different way, reminding me to notice subtle changes like how lush and green this country is in July. Now that I’m getting a little older and the years are speeding up, the change in season is something I want to grasp and hold onto. Summer seemed to last forever when I was little but now it goes by in the blink of an eye.
In the past few weeks I’ve been in my own head too much, feeling more observer than participant. Uninvited unburdening aside, I think this weird mood has influenced my music choices recently. I’ve had to abolish the categories I usually adhere to in order to make room for multiple ‘new finds’ this month. As ever, links will take you to the official home of the music on YouTube.
The New Find: Sex, Death and Landscapes by Tom Rosenthal
Sex, Death and Landscapes is a hauntingly beautiful track from Rosenthal’s 2013 album Who’s That in the Fog? It’s peppered with such brilliant lyrics as ‘I fell for you in the summer, And that was a bummer, ‘cos you left in the spring’. I love the layering of violins, piano and whistling. As Luck Would Have It is another standout track and less twee than some of the others. His latest album Bolu came out in April but I’m still busy catching up on the back catalogue.
The Other New Find: Vox Dei by Philip Wilby
At the beginning of the month I watched the service at St. Paul’s commemorating ten years since the 7/7 bombings on TV. It was incredibly moving. Relatives of those who were killed, survivors and the emergency services involved that day were present. As I watched a flutter of red and white petals tumbling from the vaulted dome of the cathedral, catching the light, I thought about how we use art as a way to heal. St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir performed Philip Wilby’s Vox Dei and it seemed like the most perfectly pure expression of beauty. But then again maybe I’m just an overly sensitive soul. You can watch their performance here.
Apart from heavy metal, which is just a bad noise to me, my taste in music is quite eclectic. I’m not averse to a bit of choral music now and then so this has been added to my playlist this month.
Yet Another New Find: Fake Words by Henry Hall
I found Henry Hall after watching this gorgeous video about the birth of Casey Neistat’s daughter, which Hall provides the backing track to. (Sidenote: Casey’s videos on YouTube make me want to move to New York).
There’s more than a hint of Jeff Buckley to his sound and his vocal style has something of that languid, Chet Baker delivery which I love. Fake Words will be stuck in your head for weeks, in a good way, and See the Sun is another more rock-influenced track.
The Album: Wildheart by Miguel
I caught most of Annie Mac’s interview with Miguel on BBC Radio 1 a few weeks ago and was intrigued enough to check out his new album, released at the end of June. It’s stonkingly good. I find myself gravitating again and again to coffee, what’s normal anyway and the soaring face the sun (featuring Lenny Kravitz). There are elements of 80’s rock, Frank Ocean style R&B and synth pop throughout, but this album has a unique brand of LA cool which is all Miguel’s own.
You can still catch ‘One On One Off’, where Annie and Miguel pick tracks to play at their perfect house party, on iPlayer for a limited time.
The Classic: Lovely Day by Bill Withers
Pure summer with a ’70’s twist. The message is upbeat but the melody and tempo are more casual than nauseatingly perky. Pretty much guaranteed to lift your mood whether you want it to or not. Best enjoyed in warm sunshine with chilled apéritif in hand.
[Feature Image: Me! July roses in bloom.]