WARMER MIXTAPES #633 | by Sez Wilks [Kikuyu] of The Surly Mermaids, Aleks And The Ramps and James Kenyon
1. Al Bowlly | Guilty
Al Bowlly is a total crooner. I love late 1920s and 30s crooners. The way they sing makes me feel wistful and warm. I discovered this song through the soundtrack to Amélie. I like cooking to it, it helps me put Love in the food. When I first heard the Amélie soundtrack I was 19. I bought a ripped copy on holiday in Thailand prior to the film's Australian release. Hearing the soundtrack before seeing the film changed the whole Cinema experience for me – it became fuller and richer. Same with Philip Glass' music for the Katsi triology. I've discovered some of my favourite pieces of Music through Film.
2. Yo La Tengo | Autumn Sweater
This song reminds me of living on-campus at university. My room was on the third floor of a huge sandstone college and I'd hung up purple door beads that boys liked to kick their football into and tangle. Hearing this song makes me feel nostalgic for the time I started studying, discovering new ways of Learning, new responsibilities, a new city and new friends. It marks my first autumn in Melbourne. The persistent warmth of the organ tone makes me feel snug and safe. Like being in the company of an old friend – you don't have to speak to each other, you can just sit with each other and enjoy being.
3. The Organ | Brother
I heard this song live when The Organ toured Melbourne with fellow Canadian band The Dears in 2005. I'd finished uni and was juggling three casual jobs, living in a share-house and writing Music. I spent any spare cash going to gigs and dying my long hair white-blonde. I was inspired to see an independent, all-female band touring Australia. I thought, they're not much older than me... I think then the cogs really started moving and later that year I started my first band. I bought Grab That Gun on the way out of that gig. Listening to it makes me feel Young and Adamant. As soon as I heard them onstage I dug their sound. It seemed to grab the jangle of New Order and the Pop melodies of The Cure and spit them feistily out from the mouths of young women. Plus one of them played an organ! I was hooked.
4. Feist | My Moon My Man
The Simplicity of this song floors me, I love it. At its crux it’s four piano notes, doubled on electric bass and repeated. Hearing it makes me feel like strutting and stomping, just like Feist in the song’s video clip where she’s frolicking on an airport travelator. I’m a big fan of her vocal harmonies and the ones that come in toward the end – my moon, the moon’s my man – make my heart soar. A few years back I was in a band called The Surly Mermaids and we covered this song live once. We played it halfway through a set in a tiny bluestone cellar venue and we were wearing Winnie the Pooh costumes. I was dressed as Eeyore. It didn’t make any sense, but it was fun.
5. Young Marble Giants | Wurlitzer Jukebox
An old bandmate introduced me to Young Marble Giants in 2007. We both loved their stripped back songs and home-made drum machine. Hearing Alison Statton's wavering voice helped my tolerance of mistakes, bum notes and Naivety. Although I like a lot of Post-Punk bands, for a long time I was a prude about singing off-key.
6. Kate Bush | Cloudbusting
Kate Bush writes songs based on books. 'Nuff said.
7. Wintercoats | Unbearable Thinking
I first heard this song live when I opened for fellow Australian musicians Wintercoats and Oliver Tank in Melbourne. It’s Cinematic, Intriguing and had me immediately hooked. Wintercoats is a Melbourne loop pedal artist who layers strings and vocal harmonies over percussive noises coaxed from his violin. The song gives me the sense that I’ve been crept up on, caught and cleverly swept off the floor.
8. Ludwig van Beethoven | Piano Concerto No. 5: II. Adagio Un Poco Mosso In B Major
I came across this Classical piece through the 1975 Australian film Picnic At Hanging Rock. Because of this it conjures Mystery, Romance and the Sun-Thrashed Australian bush. My grandmother was a keen pianist and as a toddler I’d dance around the lounge room while she played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
9. Melanie Safka | What Have They Done To My Song Ma
When I was 12 I answered a pen pal ad in an Alternative Living magazine and a guy called Matthew started writing to me. After a couple of years we started sending each other mixtapes – he sent me Melanie's album on cassette. It was around then that I discovered my mum was reading all of our letters! I decided the only thing to do was to stop having a pen pal, so I quit writing altogether. For months I received upset letters from him asking what had happened, what was wrong… Had I moved house? I felt terrible. Through this song I could imagine another place where I had power to protest, to be raucous and in charge of my own life. I dug the scrambling honky tonk piano and the warmth of its oom-pa baseline – plus the French lyrics in the middle made me feel super worldly. I'd copy the sounds of the words and sing along in terrible faux French.
10. Four Tet | Circling
This song is beautiful and light. The other morning I worked out how to play the arpeggios on my Portasound.