“Make the drive to Jefferson – and don’t stop!”

“The Spot” by Your Smith | I’ve decided to park what I was supposed to feature today for next week – I am letting it boil – so instead here’s a song I only heard yesterday. Or did I? Caroline Smith came from Minneapolis, after all. I listen to a lot of the Current; you put two and two together. Anyway, she performs as Your Smith – but only recently – and this is one song of hers, something that feels both familiar and fresh at the same time. Interesting how pretty much everybody in the comments were going “Sheryl Crow!” particularly connecting this to “All I Wanna Do”; I did not get that reference, even if that song was all over my childhood, somewhat. Someone also compared her to something from 1979. So, old references. Not bad. We can always go far with a throwback. [NB]


“I didn’t know you love me so.”

“Let’s Live Forever, Love” by Roman Andrén | A little update about Monocle 24, whose music policy we kind of reviewed three years ago: they seem to have dropped most of the K-pop (save for this song and a couple of others), and focused squarely on the jazzy side of things. It shouldn’t be a problem, if not for the fact that the station sounds a bit more repetitive now than it actually was before. (I wanted you to expand the playlist, not restrict it!) Still I listen in occasionally – it still makes me feel like I am on a business trip, especially when I was on a business trip last week. This song came on while I was dilly-dallying through the morning routine one morning: a track, from three years ago, from Swedish jazz musician Roman Andrén. Sounds right for the morning, really: it swings, and then it throws you back a bit. But then, weirdly, I have more of a thing for the original version with the likely sampled vocals than the more straightforward studio version. But again, maybe it’s the morning talking. [NB]

“They don’t care who’s innocent.”

“Why Don’t You Kill Us All?” by GDJYB | Despite the fact that I have posters of Clockenflap on this blog’s header I haven’t really thought of writing about the acts that visit Hong Kong this time of the year for the annual music festival. Except for this year, because (1) I was just in Hong Kong, and I will be back next week; and (2) I have been reading about this band more than the other HK bands on the line-up this year in the lead-up. Or perhaps it’s because I’m very sure I’ve read about four-piece GDJYB from somewhere before. (I think it’s you, Bandwagon.) Anyway, I’ve rediscovered the group while flicking through the Cathay Pacific inflight magazine last week (speaking of, have you seen Emmy the Great’s essay featuring yours truly?) where they talked about why their (surprisingly contemplative) songs are in a slower tempo than their usual descriptors imply: “Living in this rushed city can be tough.” True. I mean, I’ve known this for a while, having visited the city five times in the past five years, but it only hit home last week, when Shalla and I tried to eat at a noodle shop and felt we were being really slow as a woman took just 15 minutes to finish her bowl. But then, I was enjoying the beef offal… [NB]

“Have you ever felt like you would always be alone?”

“Blush” by Mr Twin Sister | All right, I am still feeling tender, so I am delaying the inbox further. (Actually it’s because I’ve yet to email the artist for more information.) Here’s another one to wake up to, although technically I didn’t wake up to this. Kimbra was interviewed on Zan Rowe’s show four months ago and – this is how busy I have been – I only got around to listening to the whole thing on the way to work today. Imagine listening to Kimbra’s velvety out-of-concert speaking voice at six in the morning, when the skies are still slightly dark but the sun is definitely rising, introducing this song from a band out of Long Island. Good heavens, this is languid and sad, the same way I am not languid but am pretty sad. Amidst the muted saxophones, which are pretty, are these lingering thoughts. Is there more to this? Damn it, Kimbra, I wish I could interview you. [NB]

Things without words #29: How to justify a recent incursion into classical

“Oceanic” by Niklas Paschburg | It’s happened: I have begin listening to more Radio 3. Must be my mindset. I’m still tender, and I’m writing this in the middle of a mood swing (which is also why I’m delaying what’s on the inbox to tomorrow, at the earliest). Well, we did see this coming, right? And also, while I don’t think I’ll ever crack most of what makes classical music intimidating, I can enjoy listening to the late night stuff where classical is a stretch. So, early this week, I woke up to Elizabeth Alker playing this from Niklas Paschburg, who’s from Hamburg, just 23 (or 24) and has both a serene and accessible way with his music. “Oceanic” – also the name of his album, released last February – was such a good thing to wake up to (again, time zone differences) so much so that I was not going to regret my recent incursion into radio geekery in service of my stress levels still being high. And then, hours later, a weird piece comes on and I remember Shalla telling me about why she isn’t going to be into newer composers just yet. [NB]