List season is almost upon us. Which is always an odd time for me when it comes to writing this blog, as it’s a film blog and I don’t do top ten films of the year. Mainly because I consider it a good year if I see twenty films I hadn’t seen before. If you’ve been following my ‘12 films’ project then you already know something like 75% of the films I’ve seen this year. I write an annual round up of the documentary features and shorts I’ve seen over the past year, somewhere between Christmas and New Year, and that’s it. (I’ve only seen three documentaries this year, so I see a lot of documentary viewing in my immediate future.)
However, of people who feel moved to email me directly about the blog, almost all of those enquiries are about my rare music posts. So for this silly season only I’m going to do a series on the best musical discoveries I’ve made this year. In another life I’m also a DJ for hospital radio (Radio Royal: plug, plug) where I do a Scottish Music show, which features an unsigned half hour. Unsigned is actually a fairly loose term, but generally means small, fairly obscure or likely to only ever have had radio play on Rapal or Scotland Introducing previously. So my choices are going to skew Scottish, indie and obscure, as they are mostly bands I discovered while searching for new tunes for my show.
First up we have Glasgow based band French Wives. The List once described French Wives as: “a young band with heart, talent and a trombone.” Which I personally find one of the most irresistible descriptions of a band I’ve ever heard, and given that the full blurb that came from makes up the band’s profile description on last.fm quite a few people felt the same way. I first discovered them on the compilation that Have Fun at Dinner put together earlier in the year. Your Friends and Mine was apparently the first song they ever wrote and is definitely an auspicious start. Their recent single Welcome, In The Light features excellent fiddle and some nice harmonising.
The are currently running a project called ‘Home Fires’ where they are giving away a song from their back catalogue every Monday for seven days. Accompanied by little videos of random cover versions and antics from the band.
Speaking of random cover versions, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a cover version of Caravan of Love before and the commentary that accompanied their attempt would suggest why…it is unexpectedly difficult to get right…
They’re bouncy, indie-pop, with witty lyrics and unusual instrumentation choices, just what you need to fight through a gloomy Scottish winter. Songs for days when the heavy grey skies lift to reveal crisp cold sunshine and beautiful blue skies that make being freezing cold all worth while.
Oh and there’s no swearing, a definite plus when I’m picking songs to play on the radio…