WARMER MIXTAPES #806 | by Alec Snook [Zoon van snooK]
1. These Animal Men | Hammond Heavy (Emptyheads)
This was a B-side to the Life Support Machine single in 1997 (my Speed-Chic Indie days!). I'm a sucker for an Instrumental and this is a great Progression. It is, of course, the Keyboard parts that I Love especially - just great Playing and Improvised sections. My friend and I were stopped by the Police for stealing TAM posters when we were younger - we both panicked and instead of giving someone else's name, gave each other's...
2. Martha Wainwright | Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole
One of the two songs on the list that makes me do a little face-leak every time I hear it. I was put on to Loudon Wainwright III by my boss while I was working in the Record Shop in Bristol (1996-2004) - one of many things that I owe Mike Brosnan for. Knowing Martha's background, these lyrics just tear right through me - the delivery is as if she is singing it for the first time. On a more Personal level it reminds me of certain aspects of my mother's life.
3. Faces | Bad 'N' Ruin
I'm a huge Small Faces fan, and it was a close run between this and Whatcha Gonna Do About It by them. The whole Long Player album is great, but the Laziness of this riff is so infectious. You've got clean and filthy Hammond from McLagen (one of my favourite players) and then it builds into Kenny's amazing Drum break - which draws you in - and then *boom* the slide up into the Key change. Topit off with a gradual Decrease in Tempo into the clean Rhodes part at the end and you've got one of the best songs ever written!!
4. Super Furry Animals | Slowlife
It's no secret that this mob are my favourite band. Specifically Cian, the Keyboard Player/Writer/Vocalist/Techno Monster, has influenced me more than any other Contemporary player. It was a toss-up between this tune and [a] Touch Sensitive - which I still want played at my funeral! Slowlife is a behemoth of a song, incorporating so many Different Styles, Instruments, Feels and Techniques. Cian's Multitude of Synth parts coupled with the String arrangements are Immense, especially interspersed with the ubiquitously Melodic Verse sections. It's just a Masterpiece of How to Structure and Build a Song, never using the same Section Arrangement again. The Rhythmic build at the end and then the final String drop - Stunning. They really do know how to arrange Strings those boys. I was really lucky to be able to work with Sir Doufus Styles for the first single from my new LP; his remix of Slowlife on Phantom Phorce is also Amazing.
5. Penguin Cafe Orchestra | Perpetuum Mobile
I have loved this song since hearing it when I was in School - probably on an advert. I think it's the Time Signature of the Piano part that has always fascinated me (I think it's a bar 7/8 and then a bar of 8??). But really, it's when the String swell first comes in that my heart melts. I Love all of PCO's stuff and saw Penguin Cafe (a line-up headed by Arthur Jeffes, founder member Simon Jeffes’ son) live in Bristol a couple of years back; Portico Quartet supported which, in truth, was a very hard act to follow - literally.
6. The Pogues | And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (Eric Bogle Cover)
This song has been covered many times but, given my half-Irish heritage, it's this version which I keep coming back to. I didn't really know much about Gallipoli before hearing this song, but was - and still am - haunted by it nonetheless. After subsequently researching the harrowing accounts of the campaign, the lyrics became even more resonant. One of my favourite lyrics is a line from this song: Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head, and when I woke up in my hospital bed, and saw what it had done, well I wished I was dead. Never knew there was worse things than dyin’.
7. Sigur Rós | Svefn-G-Englar
I bought this album on spec, having not really heard of the band before. This song just stood out immediately. I hadn't heard anything like it before; I really loved Post-Rock bands like Slint and Mogwai - but this was otherworldly. I think the fact that they were singing in Hybrid Language Hopelandic made it all the more beguiling. We saw them supporting Radiohead the following year, and they blew us all away. I've since seen them another few times. No other band makes me feel the way they do. It's the type of Noise that greets you in the Afterlife I reckon (if it exists).
8. Get The Blessing | Music Style Product
This band, despite winning BBC Jazz Album Of The Year for their first album, are Hideously Underrated. The band features the Rhythm section from Portishead (Clive Deamer and Jim Barr), Trumpet Player Pete Judge and Saxophonist Jake McMurchie. I had the privilege of playing with these guys when I was in a Live incarnation of Malachai (Domino). This track has got one of the best Riffs ever written, and I dare anyone to hear it and not agree!! I normally describe the band as Jazz-Zeppelin, but this doesn't really do it justice.
9. Jon Hopkins | Vessel (Four Tet Remix)
So this is the other tune in this list that makes me do a boo whenever I hear it. But whereas it's the Lyrics and Vocal delivery of Martha's song that affect me, the Emotion I feel when I hear this song comes solely from the Arrangement, Instrumentation and Rhythm. It's very seldom that an Instrumental song affects me like this one. Jon is another Master of the String Arrangement and Kieran is Unsurpassable at creating Simplistic Complexity in Music - it's always Interesting Melodically, but also possesses the Rhythmic Groove that means you could listen to one song for two hours without getting bored. Both guys are just Brilliant Producers, Sonically.
10. The Books | Smells Like Content
There are few bands that make me shout YES! every time I put on any of their records. The beauty lies in The Books’ ability to create their songs from Found Sound, snatches of Dialogue and chopped-up Audio, without rendering it Inaccessible. I had finished my first 12" EP Interviews & Interludes for Cookshop, which was built around rhythms made from Books Slamming, Pages Flicking, Biscuit Tins, Candlestick Holders, etc. and my friend, who had played some Charango on the record, put me on to this band. The Bass Melody on this song is simply heartbreaking; the Resolution at the end of each section is Stunning. The Lyrics are Captivating in a way that perhaps shouldn't work. It's half spoken, and half sung, with the meter of each line overlapping certain Musical motifs, but always resolving beautifully in the right places. Although the underlying sentiment of each stanza resonates with me for different reasons, the overall meaning of the song still escapes me, which I Love. It can mean different things to me on different days.