Gryph Picks: The October Edition
We like music over here at the Music section. In fact, we’re downright music nerds. So much so, that we – your fave Gryphon Music Eds – decided to make a playlist of all our favourite tunes from the past month to help give you an insight as to what’s been on our ipods lately. Let the madness begin…
Every time somebody says “Bon Iver’s new album was disappointing”, a fairy dies. But I don’t believe in fairies, and I was disappointed with Bon Iver’s new album, 22, A Million. However, there is one song that has haunted me since I first excitedly donned my headphones to listen to the long-awaited record: ‘00000 Million’. Oh my Lord. This song sums up so many emotions in one mesmerising yet so simple piano chord progression. It pulls on your heart strings in a way that only Bon Iver can, and takes you to a whole different dimension.
One band that has really caught my fancy recently is Magic City Hippies. Their EP came out last year but lead track ‘Fanfare’ is an absolute funk-fest that contrasts perfectly to the laid back and soulful ‘Limestone’. Their music is harmonious, sharp and groovy, everything you want in a new band. Lewis Del Mar also released their debut self-titled debut album earlier this month, and nothing sums up the abstract nature of their sound better than ‘Painting (Masterpiece)’. They have an extremely good blend of acoustic and electric vibes that give them a unique and intriguing sound.
If you haven’t listen to Glass Animals latest album How To Be A Human Being, then ‘Youth’ is a good place to start. It’s one of the best albums of 2016 so far, so is definitely not to be missed. The same goes for Michael Kiwanuka’s ‘Black Man In A White World’, which is one of the smartest and more soulful politically charged songs that came out this summer.
I was also very lucky to see one of Leeds College of Music’s finest, Cara Hammond, earlier this month. Releasing her EP Ray, Cara Hammond was a radiant performer with a beautiful and strong voice, that worked so perfectly in the stripped down track ‘Ray’.
Tracklist: Lewis del Mar – ‘Painting Masterpiece’, Leonard Cohen – ‘You Want it Darker’, Bon Iver – ‘00000 million’, Green Day – ‘Too Dumb to Die’, Cara Hammond – ‘Ray’
Like every other self-respecting music wanker, I started the month listening obsessively to Bon Iver. 22, A Million presented an unexpected, yet ingenious dive into the studio, immersing listeners in a world melding indie-folk origins with autotune and electronic samples. It’s difficult to pick a standout, but the slow swell of ‘8 (circle)’ officially won me over. Losing yourself here would be all too easy, had Slaves’ bitter sophomore Take Back Control not been there to punch you with reality. With distorted riffs and flaming lips, the duo continue to blast a larger than life sound, forcing you to belt out the lyrics to ‘Rich Man’ and wish you could smash all the Tories’ self-satisfied faces in (starting, of course, with Jeremy Hunt).
As always, neo-soul provided the perfect outlet to wind down. Underground gem Mali Hayes launched her gorgeously jazzy EP Quiet Silence last month at HiFi, a musical moment fans of Lianne La Havas or Hiatus Kaiyote shouldn’t miss. Try ‘This Feeling’ for starters. Politics then resurfaced, as controversial Russian rockers Pussy Riot released a loaded new single, ‘Make America Great Again’. Pussy Riot’s reworking of Trump’s catchphrase is worlds from their earlier output, with raucous guitars and screamed vocals replaced with shushed sarcasm and a funky, Latin groove.
Finally, the month closed with DMA’s gorgeous cover of Cher’s ‘Believe’. More than a chance to relive some 90s cheese, the Australian lads’ stripped back version really hammers home the heartbreaking lyrics – sometimes wanting someone is a complicated situation. And that’s a month in the life of this music wanker; until next time!
Tracklist: Bon Iver – ‘8 (circle)’, Slaves – ‘Rich Man’, Mali Hayes – ‘This Feeling’, Pussy Riot, ‘Make America Great Again’, DMA’s – Believe (originally by Cher) [live on triple J]
October has been hard. There has been essay crisis after essay crisis after general degree crisis. The arrival of Bon Iver’s new album 22, A Million was therefore a light in dark times. It was a gift that that was as unexpected as it was sublime. To sum up, Bon Iver’s latest release saved me during my caffeine-filled late nights in Eddy B. While it may not have been quite up to the standards of For Emma, Forever Ago and Bon Iver, it was still a welcome gem that has come to define my month.
To save me from becoming too immersed in the whole ‘sitting in a cabin in the middle of nowhere staring out of the window’ vibe that Bon Iver captures so well, New York’s latest guitar-fuelled indie band Public Access TV was here to provide me with some much-needed mindless indie. Be warned: ‘End of an Era’ (the title track of their debut album) is an energetic track which will only ensure that you abandon all work in favour of jumping madly across your room.
At the end of the month, Birmingham band Jaws released ‘Just a Boy’ ahead of the release of their second album on 4th November, Simplicty. Combining an angst-filled pain with a hard-fought sense of optimism, the track comes as a welcome maturity in comparison to the more laid-back sounds of their debut (even if the track does owe a lot to The Cure). And where would a roundup of the month’s music be without talking about Pussy Riot’s ‘Make America Great Again’? The feminist Russian band this time directed their activist efforts towards the terror that is Trump. Anyone who is willing to make a comedic yet musically-pleasing song that says ‘fuck you’ to Trump, is a hero in my eyes.
So, October: keep up the musical standards. It’s been a pleasure.
Tracklist: Bon Iver – ‘33 GOD’, Public Access TV – ‘End of an Era’, Jaws – ‘Just a Boy’, Bon Iver – ‘8 (circle)’, Pussy Riot – ‘Make America Great Again’
October has been a month of madness: a deluge of incredible album releases, a metric fucktonne of gigs to pick from, and getting settled back into uni life all combined to make it a whirlwind of a month. To get me through, my trusty iPod and discounted Spotify membership (yes student life) always had my back.
Solange’s new album made for chilled listening for the morning after the night before; I can’t quite get over the incredible collabs, with everyone from Q-Tip to SBTRKT’s muse Sampha. And where would an October round-up be without mentioning Bon Iver. Although I’m actually supposed to be quite good at this sort of stuff, I physically cannot summon the words to get to grips with how stunning the new album is. ’33 God’ is my personal favourite; the lyric, “I’d be happy as hell if you stayed for tea” makes me grin at every listen.
A re-watch of Stop Making Sense prompted a deep delve into Talking Heads’ back catalogue, and seeing NAO at the union meant that I’ve been dancing in my mirror for a week to the 18 song masterpiece that is her debut album, For All We Know. A last-minute drink at Wharf Chambers lead me to discover Brighton DIY band Bloom, potentially one of the cutest and feel-good funky bands I’ve ever had the pleasure to stumble across. October has been hectic and jam-packed for music in all the best of ways.
Tracklist: Solange – ‘F.U.B.U’, Talking Heads – ‘Psycho Killer’ (the acoustic Stop Making Sense version), Bon Iver – ‘33 God’, Bloom – ‘Not Enough’, NAO – ‘Get To Know Ya’
Want to check out our October Playlist? Well, here it is! Make sure to follow us on Spotify @ TheGryphonMusic for all our monthly playlists and much more…
(Image: Else Manario, expertly edited on Microsoft Word Doc. by Juliette Rowsell)