Lodestars is a playlist of tracks that have been keeping me occupied since the last Lodestars playlist. Take a listen and maybe discover something new.

Lodestars - no.06

Cigarettes After Sex - K.
Holly Macve - Timbuktu
The Handsome Family - Gold
Leeroy Stagger - Little Brother
Ewan McLennan & Tim O'Brien - Jock Stewart
The Transports - The Black and Bitter Night

Another week, another jumbled lot.

I had the pleasure of seeing the production of The Transports last week. The show features re-worked versions of Peter Bellamy's songs, which are used to tell a story of forced migration. Performed by Sean Cooney of The Young 'Uns, and under the musical directorship of Paul Sartin (Faustus/Bellowhead), The Black and Bitter Night was a standout track for me, at a particularly poignant point in the show. 

Also with their horses firmly tied to the hitching post of regional folk are Ewan McLennan and Tim O'Brien. Their hearty rendition of the traditional tune Jock Stewart makes you want to rush to the warm hearth of the closest country pub. 

I happily stumbled across Leeroy Stagger whilst on a sonic expedition into the unknown. His 2017 album Love Versus is a full-on barnstormer, but the melding of unconventional sounds and the tip-top songwriting of Little Brother really resonated with me. I'm muchly looking forward to recording Mr Stagger next week at Coach House Studio

The effortless and floating voice of Holly Macve, the songs of Cigarettes After Sex that sound like they're wrapped in silk sheets, and the Western romance of the Handsome Family have all contributed to making this week a truly inspiring week of listening! 

Lodestars - no.5

Jon Boden - Fires of Midnight
Laura Marling - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
Benji Kirkpatrick - Wallbreaker
Troyka - Magpies
The Myrrors - Somos La Resistencia

After a little bit of a Lodestars break, I appear to have come back with a slightly confused array of tracks which range from the beautifully lush Fires of Midnight by ex-Bellowheader Jon Boden, to The Myrrors' prickly Somos La Resistencia. 
Like countless other people, I heard Laura Marling's cover of the 1963 Dylan classic, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall on the series finale of Peaky Blinders - I've been looking for a gateway into the Marling back catalogue and I think I've now found it. For a dose of mental, I've included Troyka. I really locked onto their unreserved eccentricity. Can't wait to hear more from them!

Lodestars - no.4

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Vomit Coffin
Radiohead - Man of War
Armchair Committee - Virginia Creeper
Sleeptalking - Glasshouse
LICE - The Human Parasite
Turbowolf - Rabbits Foot
Surfer Blood - 6 Flags in F or G

Bit of a departure from the folky musings of last week's playlist. Featuring a load of great bands from Bristol/Bath in Turbowolf, Sleeptalking, LICE and (shamelessly) Armchair Committee. Also features a little band from Oxford you might have heard of, or possibly not if you have existed in a vacuum for the last two decades. Sleeptalking's loud and vibrant Glasshouse reminded me of that time I saw a steam train fighting a pneumatic drill in space. It's topped off with some trashy production that Beck would be proud to call his own. Sweet. 


Lodestars - no.3

Eliza Carthy & the Wayward Band - The Fitter's Song
Johnny Flynn - In the Deepest
Fay Hield - Green Gravel
Nuala Honan - Please Don't Raise Your Voice
Le Vent du Nord - Noces Tragiques
Gillian Welch - Hard Times
Lisa Knapp - Searching For Lambs
Ben Caplan - Drift Apart
Fromage en Feu - Freylekh & Sher

I've found myself being drawn to the more mellow, bucolic-flavours of folk this week. Some of the songs are by artists you will probably have heard of - some of them you probably won't.

Lisa Knapp's Searching For Lambs is a mesmerising and fragile tune which sees the folk-stress team up with Blur's Graham Coxon. Whilst this is a musical setting you would not usually associate him with, the pair's vocals compliment each other wonderfully and the track dangles weightlessly, like a spider suspended by a single thread of silk.

The full album, Till April is Dead - A Garland of May is a true journey. Go listen. 

Lodestars - no.2

Neil McSweeney - Danse Macabre
Martyn Bennett - Move
The Zen Hussies - Life's A Gas, Bill
Dirty Projectors - About to Die
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I See A Darkness
Mark Lanegan - Sister
Patrick Watson - Luscious Life
C Duncan - Who Lost

Much like last week, this week has been a week of great discoveries. Neil McSweeney, C Duncan and Martyn Bennett (posthumously) are all welcome additions to the party, and I finally got round to listening to the Zen Hussies' most recent offering, Charm Account from which I had the tough task of plucking a single tune for the playlist. Worth noting that Zen Hussies double bassist Tom Allen featured on my Underbelly album. I also reacquainted myself with some older classics like Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's I See A Darkness (this is definitely my favourite version), and Patrick Watson's Luscious Life, taken from the genre-defying, boundary-dodging Close to Paradise

Neil McSweeney has been a particularly fresh breath of air. Danse Macabre, from the recently-released A Coat Worth Wearing, is a glimmering display of melody and etherealness, which immediately harnessed itself to my mind. Danse Macabre led me to the full album, which in turn led me to the conclusion that Neil McSweeney needs to be much bigger. 

Check Neil out here.

Lodestars - no.1

Nicholson Heal - Lacuna
SQPR - Plink
Daniel Romano - Valerie Leon
Felice Brothers - Ballad of Lou the Welterweight
The Gin Bowlers - Walking Stick
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins - Bats in the Attic
C.W. Stoneking - Jungle Blues
Possessed by Paul James - When it Breaks

Discovering some amazing new music that was right on my doorstep has spurred me on to creating Lodestars. Featuring - Nicholson Heal, the alt. rock wizardry of SPQR, the unrivalled Scottishness of King Creosote, the tuly unique CW Stoneking, Gin Bowlers, and more.

This week I've had Nicholson Heal's Lacuna on repeat. The track features a powerful and authoritative performance from the band, and a cosmically beautiful vocal melody, all wrapped up in some tight production. This one is safely tucked away in my proverbial pocket, ready for the next time someone tries to tell me that there's definitely no good music around these days, and that they definitely know that as a fact because they listen to Radio 1 and Magic FM all day. 

Lacuna has got me very excited about the prospect of a full-length release from these chaps. Stay tuned with Nicholson Heal here

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