Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lyrics again... Soleil, soleil

I'm not sure that I was expecting what I seem to have let myself in for here but, suffice to say, there are certainly plenty of song lyrics in short supply! Just like you I'm not able to find most of them either but I'll try when I can. Sometimes I'll even try and figure them out myself in which case, I'm afraid, accuracy is certainly NOT guaranteed and please feel free to suggest any alternatives or indeed bona fide corrections!

This is my latest effort and is from the 2004
ILYA album They Died For Beauty:

Soleil, Soleil

In your eyes I would take my vacation.
Soleil, soleil, soleil
As we wait at the edge of the platform.
Soleil, soleil, soleil

Expresso super-fly, we can do nothing if we try...
Where are you as I walk through the station?
Soleil, soleil, soleil

Still so calm with your karma wrapped round tightly
Expresso super-fly, we can do nothing if we try...
Soleil, soleil, soleil (repeat)

In my eyes I will take my vacation.
Soleil, soleil, soleil
As we wait at the edge of the platform.
Soleil, soleil, soleil
Expresso super-fly, we can do nothing if we try
Expresso super-fly, we can do nothing if we try.

Soleil, soleil, soleil (repeat, then fade)

I'm looking forward to your input and I'm sure I've made at least a dozen mistakes above so please don't worry one little bit about if what you post is not exactly correct!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

They Died For Beauty

Thinking about music from Bristol, as I was a few days ago, leads me to mention a 2004 album that I still frequently listen to. I have not mentioned one for a while but, as the weather is tending towards spring (I hope), it reminded me of another.

Ilya - They Died For Beauty

Released on Virgin/EMI it is certainly one for late at night or early in the morning - nine tracks of chilled acoustica/elctronica, with more than a little of the European lounge influence included on some, of which only two are less than five minutes long. It is however essentially summery as long dark nights don't become it; particularly the wonderful Soleil Soleil but for what my thoughts are worth it is as near flawless as it gets. How were they rewarded for this masterpiece?
You guessed - they were dumped by the label! There is a later album 'Somerset', of which more soon, but the good news is that 'They Died For Beauty' is still readily available (and that includes the 12" vinyl version too) from, or 'Marketplace Sellers' thereon, at a reasonable price. Ignore the currently rubbish illustrations of the album artwork on the above sites; the image above is of my copy of the 12" LP that I bought in early 2005 and it was taken about an hour ago. At almost 49 minutes it is long for a single LP but the quality is still good and to check that I'm listening to it as I write.

Now, if only to avoid misunderstandings, a few words of warning:
There is more than one Ilya! This is not a bad thing but it can be confusing which, I will readily admit, is how I came to discover another! The "Bristol Ilya" have released in the US as 'San Ilya'.

The cover of the US CD version of They Died for Beauty.
It is very easy to forget just how beguiling trip-hop can be!

There is however another, US based, Ilya:
To the best of my current knowledge they have released two studio albums:
  • Poise Is The Greater Architect (2003)
  • Leaving Sans-Souci (2006)
The first is not too hard to find in the UK:
In this ILYA Blanca Rojas does vocals (in place of Joanna Swann, plus Nick Pullin and Dan Brown of the UK ILYA). The songs and sound are certainly not the same but neither are they a million miles apart and whatever the differences I find them all very likable. Like 'Somerset' the US ILYA's second album might well be harder to track down. 'Leaving Sans-Souci' does not seem to be readily available in the UK and don't seem to stock it either. It is available from third-party sellers but at some not insignificant price.
It does however exist and this is my CD copy ---
70% of the total cost was shipping from the US!

Finally there is a third Ilya, apparently quite unrelated to the forgoing, about whom I know nothing more than that which this link provides.

Note added 22 March 2008:

For whosoever searched for the track list of the Ilya album Poise Is The Greater Architect today, here it is:

001. Isola
002. Rana
003. BPD
004. I Want To Know
005. Blatchford
006. Lady Folly
007. Nux Vomica
008. In My Sleep
009. Disturbed
010. Guilty Kisses

And for completeness, here is that for their second album, Leaving Sans-Souci:

001. Baalbec
002. Where Are You Now?
003. I Could Tell You, But Then We Would Have To Kill You
004. Silver Kabko
005. The Magician
006. Hostile Reader
007. Wildflower
008. Wasted Distance
009. Therese
010. Lament
011. Annette

I'd like to work out the lyrics for these albums too but it will take some time! I'm always open to offers of help and you will be credited.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

To listen to in 2008 - Part 2

Too much pop, dance and nu-folk maybe?
I'm not too concerned about that, and can't tell you how good Goldfrapp's
Seventh Tree is... I'm currently listening to it on vinyl. That said wouldn't it be sad if everything sounded this way? Yet another Canadian band ride to the rescue!

Black Mountain come from Vancouver and have released their second album, In The Future, on Jagjaguwar Records who last year gave us the Besnard Lakes' rather surprising second album The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse.

The two are not the same but when it comes to their heavy/progressive rock tendencies there is a point of comparison. In addition both bands continue the now common Canadian tradition of being a collective of musicians who also make use of male-female vocals: in the case of Black Mountain these are (mostly) provided by Steve McBean and Amber Webber and is allied, on some tracks, with a real folk sensitivity.

Black Mountain - In The Future.

In many ways it sounds considerably influenced by the music of the early 1970s but not remotely in a 'tribute band' sort of way; in fact the most derivative 1970s thing about this album is that Jagjaguwar have also made it available on 12"!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Looking forward ... Why does it feel so good?

What is there to look forward to?

Today was a little luxury and I have just spent a couple of hours listening to things that I should have paid more attention to before. I pretended that spring was now here and thus listened to the 2007 'Ys Street Band EP'. You may by now be aware of my various foibles when it comes to music and this conforms to several of them: female vocals, nu-folk and indie to mention just three.

Ys (the album) consists of just five tracks and is not far short of an hour long – but for those who like this kind of music both album and EP come highly recommended.That, in 2007, Bloc Party released ‘Girls Who Play Guitars’ says a great deal about this phenomenon but in this case it does not apply on all levels. Joanna Newsome ticks all the above-mentioned boxes but, elfin though she is, an instrument as small as a guitar simply does not become her. As well as writing songs and singing them she plays harp – the full-size acoustic double-stringed kind – and in popular music that is less common than hen’s teeth! That in itself is odd enough but she is also an accomplished songwriter of what I am currently calling nu-folk; others may know it as freak folk or indeed by another label instead. (I'm not really bothered about what it is called but I'm wondering if there any consensus on this? +++ please let me know+++ If there is then I'll be happy to try and conform to it!)
This EP and its predecessors, The Milk-eyed Mender (2004) and Ys (2006), are in a similar vein and thus not necessarily easy listening for the unwary.

Joanna Newsome Ys (2006). [Click to enlarge.]

It is not before time that Bristol stamped its mark on music again. That ten or fifteen years ago it was famous world-wide, but certainly not for this kind of music, simply isn't relevant any longer; in Beth Rowley it has a new sound. Portishead are threatening a new album but, as good as it may be, Rowley has the ambition to rewrite the the rules on her own terms...

The album Little Dreamer is due to be released on 26th May 2008.

Friday, February 22, 2008

More thoughts on lyrics...

Thank you for the comment by anonymous that has now added an English translation of Hedfan Angel.
Yesterday evening I started to tackle some of the tracks that are not on Laura Marling's Alas I Cannot Swim and, having worked out most of those for 'Typical', I then discovered the site that I was previously unaware of.
The two versions were in good agreement, which naturally pleased me, but what I particularly liked about the site is that, at least as far as I can tell from very limited experience, it is done without most of dubious advertising tricks that many other lyric sites seem to employ. Yes it does have paid-for promotions but they are kept well apart from the main content, so you will only click 'n' see them if you really chose to do so and a good thing in my opinion.

Here is my interpretation of those of the first of the two tracks recorded live for the (2007) My Manic And I EP. I've started on New Romantic, which is the other live track on the EP and, let me tell you it is worth it for this alone: it is proving a really good way of appreciating song lyrics.

Laura Marling --- Typical

Again I let jealousy blind me today.
My oldest friend and I blew her away
Just a few kind words and all I could say
I've known you ten years - it feels like a day.

I watched her cry, torn apart at the hands of a child.

Again I used arrogance as something to depend
Condemned all religion to pitiless end.
A politician's resonance ran through my mind
Patriotic in one sense, the other just blind.

And so many die, torn apart at the hands of a child.

And I keep going on. I've got nothing to lose.
I gave up morals when I took up you.
It's boring to hear of another young truth.
What a typically shit thing to do!

I was shallow to the one man that stuck around.
Sunk so low that I nearly drowned.
I screamed at his heart when he wasn't around
Consoled him recklessly, I knew you were down.

I watched him cry, a broken heart at the hands of a child.

I'll keep on going, I've nothing to lose
I gave up morals when I took up you.
It's boring to hear of another young truth.
What a typically shit thing to do!

Now I have felt heartbreak too
And I know what it feels like.
I have felt heartbreak
Now you can leave me alone, right?

I kept on going, I had nothing to lose.
I gave up morals when I took up booze.
It's boring to hear of another young truth.
What a typically shit thing to do!

Note added 23rd February:
This is so good, and such a welcome comment, that I've now decided to post the above mentioned translation of Hedfan Angel in its entirety:

No answer in my memory, no light in the distance.
I'm here in the darkness, and here I belong.
No word and no reason, nothing
to look forward to,
You've left me here,
And everything's in pieces

A terrible accident and now I am dying,
Are you watching over me as I sleep soundly?

Will you kiss me softly and gently?
Now you've left me here - now
you have flown away

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

France calling...

You can't ignore France for long because there will always be something happening. I don't claim that this is going to change music in 2008, and I haven't even heard it in total yet, but take your ears off the trans-manche scene and the dangers are manifest.

Even if I were to be completely wrong (I certainly do not anticipate being disappointed) then at least I'll have a genuinely original twelve-track CD-R and it costs €10 including postage (as a rough guide £7 or US $14 and you can use PayPal) from the link below...

Anne Bacheley - Headquarters

You can still get your paws on the 2007 Station Life EP too!
NOTE: Please check the delivery charges if ordering from outside the EU.

Lyrics for those who live to ask...

Hedfan Angel

Dim ateb yn fy nghof - dim golau yn y pellter
Yma yn y tywyllwch - ac yma dwi i fod.

Dim gair a dim rheswm - dim byd o fy mlaen
Yma nawr ti wedi fy ngadael-
Yma mae pob dim ar chwael…

Hedfan Angel.

Hedfan Angel.

Ryw ddamwain brwnt a nawr fi sydd yn marw…
Wyt ti'n gwylio drostaf tra dwi yn cysgu yn sownd?

A roi di cusan i mi yn ysgafn dawel?
Yma nawr ti wedi fi nghadael - yma nawr ti di fflio…

Hedfan Angel.

Hedfan Angel.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mercy - it is legal too!

I think that Duffy has today become the first UK female solo artist, never involved in a reality TV show and not previously involved as a regular member in any chart band, to take a self-written single to #1 in the UK before the release of her first album!

I'm fairly sure that no female artist has ever done
that in the UK singles charts in the last 30 years.

That is on downloads alone and also before the release of her first album, Rockferry - released 3rd March, which is currently ranked #1 on sales on!

Please feel free to add a comment or if you suspect otherwise. You can add a comment directly from here; to e-mail me, should you wish to do so, go via My Profile that is at the top left of every page.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lyrics, Lyrics, Lyrics

I have many friends that would have me believe that song lyrics really don't matter much. If the whole thing is rubbish then I'd have sympathy with that but I've long suspected, in truth, that I wasn't the only one who regards the lyric as an integral part of the song. They don't have to be deep and incisive, and it is sometimes better that they are not, but they matter nonetheless.
I am heartened that I am not alone in this belief as - for about nearly a fortnight now - I have been able to see the search-engine enquiries that resulted in visits to this blog and one of the most frequent is a search for song lyrics.
There are a number of sites that do this as a matter of purpose but take care - they do have a tendency to invite you to click links that may be dubious! Less seriously the lyrics are not always too reliable either as I found this evening when I checked out one such site <> to see what it came up with as the lyrics for the for Amy Macdonald - Let's Start A Band, as someone had looked for them today. I can't really recommend this site as the lyric posted was wrong in many rather obvious ways. Here is my version of it done from the CD:

Let's Start A Band
Put a ribbon round my neck and call me a libertine.
I will sing you songs of dreams I used to dream.
I will sail away on seas of silver and gold
Until I reach my home.

Give me a guitar and I’ll be a troubadour,
Your strolling minstrel, twelfth century, door to door.
I don’t know anymore if that feeling is past.
Will it last?
Oh how can you be sure?

And how do I know if you’re feeling the same as me?
And how do I know if that’s the only place you want to be?

Give me a stage and I’ll be a rock and roll queen,
Your twentieth century cover of a magazine.

Rolling Stone here I come, watch out everyone
I’m singing; I’m singing my song.

Give me a festival and I’ll be a Glastonbury star.
The lights are shining, everyone knows who you are,
Singing songs about dreams, about hopes, about schemes.
Oooh --- they just came true.

And how do I know if you’re feeling the same as me?
And how do I know if that’s the only place you want to be?
And how do I know if you’re feeling the same as me?
And how do I know if that’s the only place you want to be?

And if you want it too then there’s nothing left to do…
Let’s start a band.
Let’s start a band.
Let’s start a band.
Let’s start a band.
(Repeat three times)

If you want it too then there’s nothing left to do.

That said I could simply have copied it from the inlay card of the CD in which, my dubious punctuation aside, it is almost identical. If legal downloads don't come with the same information, such as lyrics, that the equivalent CDs do then that is a matter that the labels should address, and pretty smartly too, as it is hardly rocket science.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Whatever happened to Amy Studt?

The album False Smiles (2003): do you remember it? Probably not and I'll forgive you if you don't so
we need an update on another artist who, much like Fefe Dobson, was apparently ditched in the mania that accompanied the realisation that downloading was for real.

Well although the above is an image from her 2003 incarnation, the one at the top of this post is not. She will be back in 2008 with a new album - My Paper Made Man - and Guy Sigsworth (sometime Madonna-producer and, with Imogen Heap, half of Frou Frou) seems to be involved with it too, which is no bad thing in my mind.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hyped, unheard or hated music - I just can't wait!

The music press, even at the most lowly level, is guilty as charged and I'm totally guilty for writing this but you are implicated for reading it!
The whole thing is just a circus and almost always has been; now we can all add to the oxygen of publicity even if our individual contributions are small. On the other hand certain sections of the established music press can come over strange when they perceive an artist is "hyped" and thus no longer a (probably badly kept) secret. This annoys me slightly.
I'm more than willing to seek, buy and then mention music by lesser known artists if their music seems interesting to me (and sometimes only because I think it might) but I'm certainly not going to feel guilty about mentioning any artist in any category.

This artist has been hyped good-and-proper (in the UK at least) but nevertheless I like the album a great deal. If I can I'll still try to avoid borrowing photographs of the artwork by taking my own and happily this time I could.

This is my 12" vinyl version, guaranteed totally free of DRM!

Adele Adkins live in late 2007.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hello again...

If you were wondering why I added a counter to this blog last week please let me explain.

I'm not spying on you (in any case it won't let me), I'm not egotistical to any great extent and I'm not inclined to regard a totally anonymous comment any less highly than an e-mail sent to me (both of which you can do from here) but I was just curious about what you were looking for. Well now I know a little bit more, which is that I'm not the only one with somewhat haphazard tastes in music and that makes me feel better. Some of your searches, which probably took you here, are much the same as those I try myself.

To whoever was looking for the lyrics of Gwenno Saunders' Môr Hud earlier this week: I'm sorry to say that I can't currently find them either (and not for want of trying - they are not reproduced on the CD inlay card, as I have the CD, and I can't currently find them on the internet either) but if I do learn more then I'll let you know here and if you find them then please let me know.

That said this 'Pipette' is busy recording solo again - see here -

The lyrics for Aimée Duffy - Dim Dealltwriaeth (all three tracks) I do have however, if you want them, but the translation from Welsh is up to you!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Alas she cannot swim

While the general release of Alas I Cannot Swim has been delayed until Monday 11th February, the 'Song Box' release was on time and it is stunning - as those who have the 7" 'My Manic and I' EP already knew it would be. If you can find this EP new at anything like the £1.99 (+ p&p) that it cost six months ago then just buy it!

On Friday 1st February 2008, her 18th birthday, she avenged the mishap that befell her in October 2007 at the Soho Review Bar. This time she got to headline inside the venue, which was sold out again, rather than on the pavement outside!

The latest single is 'Ghosts', which is also the first track on the album.The 7" single is b/w non-album track 'Man Sings About Romance'.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Journey Continues... new singles and old ideas.

First is this one and it makes me think that we are now looking at the 1990s revisited but if this is the case I've decided that it might not be so bad after all! Mark Brown may be a 21st century producer and there are others, almost too many and obvious to mention, who are also laudable but this is a fine effort that has become well known because it has been used in a Lloyds TSB Bank advertising campaign. That to some is in itself a travesty but, at least in my opinion, it need not detract from the song as it stands:

The vocalist is Sarah Cracknell: she of Saint Etienne fame and the singer that Cristiano Spiller really wanted to record the vocals for his previously instrumental Groovejet. When she turned the offer down Sophie Ellis Bextor recorded Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) instead and when released in 2000 it went straight to the top of the UK singles chart and, in doing so, prevented Victoria Beckham having a solo UK #1. It is a fluke of fortune that Sophie Elllis Bextor has probably not forgotten!
Another new single that has come to my attention recently is A&E, the first to be released from Goldfrapp's fourth studio album that is Seventh Tree, and it is quite often wonderfully like the tracks on Felt Mountain but even better (and this album is also available on vinyl)!

I'm even thinking about having a minor 1990s retrospective this weekend --- at best the late 1990s were often cheap and trashy but at least Samantha Marie Sprackling (aka Saffron, the lead singer of Republica) was ready and willing to capture it better than many, indeed most.

Republica - Republica (1996).
Someone had to do it and
the iconic track was Drop Dead Gorgeous.