MARCH PLAYLIST 2017
Well, it seems we’ve soared head first into Spring. I’m currently sat inside whilst the sun shines brightly outside, and already the fleeting visit from the blossom trees is almost over. This means that it’s time to talk about some music I’ve been listening to throughout March.
FLEET FOXES – THIRD OF MAY/ ODAIGAHARA
In my last playlist post for February I talked about a Seattle based band called Fleet Foxes, mentioning there was soon to be an album release. Little did I know that their first single from this new project would be released only days after I had chatted about it on here! Third of May/Odaigahara is their first offering from forthcoming album Crack-Up which is to be released in June. It seems that quite literally the 3rd of May is of importance to the band, as it is that day 6 years ago that they released their last piece of work Helplessness Blues. After this, much of the band went their own ways, personally and musically, but thankfully they have reunited and graced us with their presence once again.
This time Fleet Foxes have worked on something a little more experimental. The first half of the song keeps to an original Fleet Foxes vibe with its rural and pastoral sound created through the folk instrumentation and their well-known harmonies. During the second half of the nearly nine minute song however, the music twists and turns into a magical and mystical instrumental, enhancing their melancholy tone. This half of the song flutters between several sections conjuring feelings of chaos and excitement, with its dissonant string sections and the use of a classical guitar all the while still maintaining their unique sound. The changes in the song reflect heavily on the lyrical content of the track, exploring the changes in relationships in the band, combined with the changing of seasons, with a nostalgic ring to it. Upon listening to the song it’s actually hard to depict whether the track is indeed a sad or happy one, but this to me is what makes it exciting, as much as it is Fleet Foxes sounds it has evolved in a way that makes the listener uncertain where the song will take them. I hope that the album will follow the same path.
FIRST AID KIT – YOU ARE THE PROBLEM HERE
For Internationals Women’s Day this year, Swedish folk sisters First Aid Kit released a new track, You Are The Problem Here. Taking a completely different direction from their usual sound, the song is an angry message to men who commit rape and sexual assault. On release of the single First Aid Kit explained themselves what the song is about:
“It’s angry and direct. It’s a song written out of despair. After reading about yet about another rape case where the perpetrator was handed a sentence which did not at all reflect the severity of his crime we felt upset and vengeful. We were, and are, sick of living in a society where the victims of rape are often blamed for the horrible thing that has been done to them. Our message is clear and should not be controversial in the least: if you rape, you are the problem.”
I was surprised when I first saw their release post as firstly, I did not know they had plans to release a new song, but mainly because I had not expected them to make a declaration so bold, but heck, I love them for it! The track is a powerful one, not only for its lyrical content and the message behind it but also the instrumentation itself. It’s clear to see they have taken on rockier influences, with the electric guitar playing power chords as the backdrop to the song. Their vocals, although still including their harmonies, are far more authoritative and angry to convey and enhance the strong message “You are the problem here, no one made you do anything, and I hope you fucking suffer.” Indeed.
You Are the Problem Here is available digitally and a portion of the proceeds will go to Women for Women International
LAURA MARLING – SOOTHING
I know that only recently I talked about British Folk songwriter Laura Marling when I attended her gig at the Albert Hall in March, but I still wanted to give her a little mention today. Soothing from her latest album Semper Femina is a song that has grown on me over the past month. The album concentrates on the perspective of observing women,which she originally intended to write from the male’s gaze until she realised she could admire them as a woman herself, and so her sixth album was born.
It’s the double bass that holds this piece of music together, and is really the hook of the song. The verses are almost angular in sound, slightly jilted weaving around the tribal and spacious drum sections, and its the rhythm that plays a large part in this track. The chorus takes a step back from this as it reaches a smoother and ‘soothing’ sound when the string instruments glide in. Her voice is both haunting and calming, slinking and slithering over the instrumentation, on occasions sounding as if she is speaking the words as opposed to singing them and it sits perfectly with the prowling rhythm sections. The soundscape is almost sparse yet proves to be dramatic, moody and alluring and it’s strange that the song is so much like Marling, and yet in so many other ways not at all.
What’s your favourite song at the moment?