Five Songs For The Week, January 9th 2019
Cosmo Sheldrake – ‘Come Along’: I know nothing about the young singer-songwriter from England, but I heard this one, and I got intrigued for many reasons, but mostly because of the song’s full orchestration with horns and percussion. The tune feels a bit retro, but in a good way, like an original take on classic or the opening of a new LALALand musical, and the chorus is so catchy that you almost see the dancers wheeling on the set of the revival of a 50s Hollywood production. It’s quite unconventional for a 28-year-old guy but he has declared that his influences range from The Beatles and The Kinks to Moondog and Stravinsky, while his record was also shaped by a trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Sheldrake’s study of anthropology at the University of Sussex as well as his longstanding interest in ethnomusicology. There’s even more to the story – his mother teaches Mongolian overtone chanting and spent four years working with the avant-garde German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen – and the result is a fun and whirling song for an impressive resume.
The Raconteurs – ‘Now That You’ve Gone’: The band is returning in great shape with Jack White signature guitar all over this new one. It has been ten years since the supergroup released its sophomore album ‘Consolers Of The Lonely’, and this new work is welcomed by fans even though a line like ‘Never known such unhappiness’ is not cheering up anyone. It’s a catchy song, but a bit predictable, a retro blues with a slow jam, that makes me think about something from a ‘60s record.
Squirrel Flower – ‘Conditions’: a Boston discovery who is opening for a few shows during the tour of Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker. With a heavy reverb and a slow tempo and an almost solemn tone, the song can give you a certain Angel Olsen or Sharon Van Etten vibe, but it grows into fuzz and rawness with a cold emotion in the vocals.
Anna von Hausswolff – ‘The Mysterious vanishing of Electra’: A composer and singer from Sweden who sings wild and dark songs like the new Kate Bush. Her vocals are quite impressive and almost witchy, while her songs are dramatic gothic pieces with organs built around her fantastic pipes. This post metal piece from the cold touches some krautrock heights without the headbanging, and it’s like nothing else I have heard! On a side note, some of her songs have been featured on Iggy Pop’s playlist for his BBC show.
Low – ‘Dancing and Blood’: This pulsating wonder builds a strange and eerie atmosphere in an invisible cathedral filled by Mimi Parker’s ethereal howl. It is a song from the band’s last album ‘Double Negative’, and it almost sounds like an expansion of something from Radiohead, dark and spine-chilling, minimalist electronica growing into a powerful melodious choir before fading away into a long Monastery om.