The Easy Gramophone - April

5 songs you can legally download and listen to - free

Feature by Sean Michaels | 16 Apr 2006

1. Hookers Green No. 1 – There is an Equilibrium
Call it the New Sound of Aberdeen. Forget rain! Away, darkness! It's an outer-space jam with a toe-tapping theme; space-age as The Flaming Lips, daft as Daffy Duck. The silver city has produced a band of jazz-cats with rock'n'roll badges, a group that sounds like Clinic after a long road-trip with Charles Mingus. If this seems borderline absurd, you're right – but There is an Equilibrium is marvellous: vibrant, surprising, vast. And certainly not grey.
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2. Aaron MacDonald – Music Editor Blues
Every day, Aaron MacDonald writes and records a new song. On February 27th he read the newspaper and remarked that letter-writers were always complaining about the music editor. So he wrote the man a modest blues. He sang about letter-writers and the weather, he played the harmonica and played a splendid, simple guitar solo. He did it all himself, all in one day, and it's sweet as sweetgrass, fine as china, fitting as a shoe.
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3. Metal Hearts – Socialize
"Pretty girls," sing the Metal Hearts, "are persuasive." They're right. And for a moment it's more than just the drum machine which links this duo with ye olde Arab Strap. But then that's over and it's just two guitars in quiet conversation, two soft voices. Socialize is too sweet for Falkirk, more suited to bland Baltimore, where the wind whips your spirit into something hot and glowing.
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4. Belle and Sebastian – Dress Up In You (instrumental)
The Life Pursuit is an album of sunshiney 70s pop; music for dancing and jukeboxing and keyboard solos. But for the old-fashioned Belle and Sebastian fan, there's one modest offering: Dress Up In You is tender and wistful, suitably melancholy, mostly-but-only-sorta about the departed Isobel Campbell. The band's US label held a contest where they invited people to download an instrumental of the track – piano, bass, trumpet, and not a Stuart to be heard. Fans were invited to sing along, to act it out, to make fools of themselves. I recorded a version with me singing in an absurd French accent. Perhaps you'll be more serious. Perhaps you'll sit on the floor in your room, listening, murmuring along, wafted by nostalgia. Oh, don't be sad. Be glad, be glad.
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5. Angela Desveaux – Heartbeat
A singer from Cape Breton who sings burnt honey country-pop from a grey Montreal building, her song warm enough to heat a drafty room, a gusty heart. This isn't really the stuff of glum afternoons, however; there's lift, here; there's glitter and smile. Better for that long drive to where the lover is, everything twinkling in time with your expectations. Everything wide open and wonderful.
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