Brian’s Monday Playlist #4: Conkers and Blusters

Brian’s been distinctly chilly this past week, and the leaves of his oak tree home are slowly browning and making the journey from branch to forest floor. Sad as it is, FFS’s resident owl has sniffed the turn in the seasons. Therefore, playlist #4 is Brian’s nod to autumn – bonfires, harvest festivals, woolly jumpers and conker fights abound, and they’re all things worthy of celebration.

Single: Noah and the Whale – Blue Skies

It’s hard to isolate “Blue Skies” from its album, “The First Days of Spring”, but seeing as it makes such a beautiful single, it’s worth a shot.

Noah and the Whale (namely Charlie Fink) have evolved massively as songwriters since last year. This is something “Blue Skies” optimises perfectly. The track builds up an air of expectant hope, not only in the lyrics (‘Blue Skies are coming/But I know that it’s hard’) but also in the opening bars of music that peak into a soaring chorus and then ebb back into place.

Mumford and Sons unveil Little Lion Man Video

Verge-of-a-breakthrough band Mumford and Sons have released their debut video out into the internets.

The foursome, who FFS interviewed when they were just six months old, play to an empty venue with as much vigour as they played to a packed borderline this week in the video, which is available on their myspace.

Interview: James Yorkston on…

“Even though I am not a very good singer, my voice is my best instrument, I prefer to sing than to play guitar, to tell stories, I write the lyrics in my notebook and then I put them to music, the lyrics always come first.”

Album: Andy Nice – The Secrets of Me

Andy Nice has played cello with screaming gothic pervs Cradle of Filth and bald techno ravers Orbital, and is currently in string + dance combo Instrumental. He also has a name more suited to a particularly over familiar used car salesman.

Ignoring the fact he’s currently touring with deep-voiced chamber-pop stars Tindersticks and the embroidered patch on the front of the cd, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s not much here for the good people of FFS. But press play and an entirely different sound to that expected issues forth – arresting, emotional, complex yet melodic cello music. And it really is cello music, pretty much just that instrument, with songs formed from layer after layer of rich string sound.

Album: The Dodos – Time to Die

There are some astounding duo acts out there, and The Dodos’ 2008 album Visiter easily set them apart from the rest. This year’s Time To Die does not disappoint and sees the duo become a trio, introducing vibraphonist Keaton Snyder into the mix with exciting consequences.

Album: Dust Poets – World At Large

Murray Evans really needs a redneck drawl, a proper Bible-belt country style voice, because it would really fit a lot of the songs on World At Large. Having the voice would definitely do something for the album, which otherwise is a little lacking. Evans puts on a fairly good redneck impression on the track ‘Codeine Dreams’ and it improves (perhaps that’s not the word I want – affirms?) it greatly.

Album: The Cave Singers – Welcome Joy

There is something rather comforting to this album, an almost homely feel to the slightly country influenced brand of folk that The Cave Singers create. Perhaps it’s the acoustic simplicity that gives this air of unassuming naïvety to the album, or perhaps it’s the hint of a croak in lead singer Pete Quirk’s voice; either way the music is trustworthy.

Album: Theoretical Girl – Divided

When I looked up Theoretical Girl, (AKA Amy Turnridge), on wikipedia they described her music as Chamber pop- an odd explanation, but probably the most accurate! My description would go more like this: ‘50’s style romantic pop mixed with folk, electro and angst’. On the whole the album is sweet and full of catchy chorus’ that come off as innocent pop. However, after a closer listen you realise Amy isn’t all sweetness and light. When you really listen to the lyrics you hear lines such as “You’re the biggest mistake I ever made”…. “I should have loved you more”….. and “My love is unrequited” – suddenly she isn’t this little girl with cute ditties and romantic tales- she’s you and me.

Album: Julian Plenti is… Skyscraper

So Interpol’s frontman Paul Banks has joined the growing ranks of blokes in bands releasing solo records, but does the world need another outlet for his creative juices?

On first listen, and particularly on first track Only If You Run, you’d have to say a big fat ‘no’. It plods, it whines, and it lacks any of the tense energy of Interpol at their best.

Daniel Johnston to release first new album in six years.

Lo-fi legend Daniel Johnston has turned his back on his traditional homemade recordings and teamed up with Beck and Paul McCartney producer Jason Falkner for his forthcoming album Is And Always Was.

The album, which will be released 6th October, has high-level production and features Falkner on guitar, bass and keyboards.

On the back of the success of 2006 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Daniel has also signed independent filmmakers Regererate to make a feature length film about his life.

Brian’s Monday Playlist #3: Imitation and Flattery

Brian’s been a bit of a lazy owl this morning after a rather hard night on the acorn juice. But here, better late than never, is his third Monday playlist — with a lovely bit of Ane Brun, Dolly Parton, The Decemberists and Jenny Lewis – to make the start of the week that little bit brighter.

Q&A with Schmercuries nominee Roddy Woomble

Over the coming weeks FFS will be submitting the same set of questions to the Schmercury nominees. Today, Roddy Woomble answers on behalf of Drever McCusker and Woomble, who are nominated for their album Before the Ruin.

The Schmercuries is FFS’s best album prize (apart from there is no prize other than the glory of being deemed brill, ace AND skill by our lovely readers). You can see the nominated albums and vote for your favourite to win here.

Jeremy Warmsley announces various projects and tour

Jeremy Warmsley’s never been one to rest on his laurels, but the man’s really excelling himself in the next few months. Not only is he debuting his new band, Acres, Acres, this week at two London venues, producing lovely covers with the Little Words, and taking himself off to the big apple, he’s also putting together a tour for October. Fwooft.

Album: Sam Baker – Cotton

In 1986 Sam Baker was blown up Peruvian terrorists. He spent days in hospital unable to move, he underwent weeks of surgery including on his brain and treatment for shrapnel and gangrene. After the explosion Sam had to learn to walk and talk again. He’s deaf in one ear and the loudest sound in the other is ringing.