Apologies in advance if none of the new stuff in this list is not actually new to you. I’m not one to read those lists that every magazine, newspaper or website (sorry, Oliver) insist on publishing at the start of every year as if our listening habits are pre-ordained or that we’re too stupid to choose for ourselves so they take it upon themselves to tell us what we will like. The worst of these has to be the BBC Sound Of… poll which gets a ridiculous amount of column inches (and bandwidth) but all it’s telling me is that I’m going to be listening to Jessie J in 2011. I can assure you I’m not. This is the same BBC that was telling me for the last god knows how many years that I should be watching Last Of The Summer Wine or, worse, Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps. And guess what? I never watched those either. None of this takes into account that most music is found via a series of happy accidents, finding this band through that band and working your way back to the source of it all. Surely this thrill of discovery is what it’s all about? With that in mind, most of my listening this month has been discovering things I should have listened to last year but the BBC forgot to tell me to. I love the debut record by Tamaryn, The Waves. It’s incredibly in thrall to the shoegazers of yore (Slowdive in particular), but for once it’s done so well that it really doesn’t matter. And never was a title so accurate, for this is music that just consumes you, throws you around and spits you out again. Incredible. Tamaryn’s label Mexican Summer seem to be mining a rich seam of music that I like at the moment, especially Montreal/LA duo No Joy. Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast tweeted that they were the “best band ever” which is stretching it a bit, but their album Ghost Blonde is brilliantly grungy noisy shoegaze, with Jasmine White-Glutz and Laura Lloyd’s dreamy vocals way down in Sune Rose Wagner from The Raveonettes’ mix.   Like Sune, I’ve been obsessed with The Jesus And Mary Chain for too many years to remember, but until this month I never knew that – on the B-side of one of the FOUR different seven-inch singles for ‘Head On’, ahh the golden days of multi-formatting – they covered the brilliantly short and (bitter) sweet ‘I’m Glad I Never’ by the legend that was Lee Hazlewood. I’m glad I know that now, because it’s lovely.     No reason for the next one, other than it’s Fairport Convention covering Jackson C Frank’s ‘You Never Wanted Me’ for a BBC session in 1968. And it’s amazing.     SELF-PUBLICITY ALERT! Last, but certainly not least, here’s the title track from the new album by Sarabeth Tucek that is coming out on Sonic Cathedral on April 4. Not one person included this in their previews of 2011, but I think some might have it on their end-of-year lists. It’s a truly incredible, important record and I’m so proud to be releasing it. This song is so emotional and personal I can’t really do it justice by a mere description, although someone else said it sounded like “an ascension to heaven whilst painting the sky with stars accompanied by Mazzy Star and Cat Power” and that’s pretty good.
Written by Nathaniel Cramp of Sonic Cathedral. Make sure you head to the Sonic Cathedral website (www.soniccathedral.co.uk) and buy all their releases.