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Best of 2017 - Part 3: Pop/Soul/Indie

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Bedouine – Back to you (from the album Bedouine, Spacebomb)
Another wonderful nugget recorded at Matthew E. White’s Spacebomb hub in Richmond Virginia.

The origin though is the voice and songs of Azniv Korkejian born in Syria to Armenian parents but resident in the US for some years.

Her voice is an intoxicating thing. Hushed. Softly spoken. Insistent. Containing something of a Carole King about it. Or even a Karen Carpenter maybe. Another time anyway.

When there was strength in subtlety and soul was in the nuance as much as the decibels.

And the dream of an arrangement behind the perfect match.

Gently enervating brass and woodwind.

Uplifting top note strings.

Beautiful pitter patter bass.

A genius falsetto backing vocal that catches me every time.

She also has a way with a lyric Ms Korkejian.

California city parks
They talk in exclamation m…

Playlist 473 - Jan 9 2018

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Happy New Year to all of you and opening 2018 with a few tasty cuts from last year which you’ll find more on in the Best of 2017 posts on the blog.

Laetita Sadier Source Ensemble is one of those. A lovely groovy kosmische informed by Brazil.
The Clientele is another. Cosmic folk rock with a yearn and a robust jangle to it.
Manu Louis is one. Wonky and very groovy dance music.
Michael Nau. Gorgeous blissed out psych pop.

Plus new music from The Go! Team. Morse code for the dancefloor.
The Altered Hours. Lovely psych drones.
Tune-Yards. A playground chant meets eco themed pop music.

And Spindle Ensemble. Beautiful light touch classical tones from Bristol.

More on these pages.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 473
Tues Jan 9 2018
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.i…

Best of 2017 - Part 2: Psych Pop/Prog/Dance/Jazz

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Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble – Undying love for humanity (from the album Find me finding you, Drag City)
Wonderful Brazilian twist on Laetitia’s signature kosmische.

It’s hard to pick out any one element but I must say the vocals are a particular joy.

Not just the lead which is as clear and pure as the best Stereolab.

But the inspired backing ba da das which drive the playout.

Still sounds fresh as a daisy almost a year after release.



Michael Nau – I root (Full Time Hobby)
Sublime hazy memories of love from Maryland in the US...

... as if Harry Nilsson turned his mind to happier fuzzier times.

There’s very little detail to list here – a one and a half note guitar figure, a snare roll, a ride cymbal, a dream of a voice – but really the story is more to do with the atmosphere.

Languid is a word.

Sleepy maybe.

Intimate for sure.

Whichever …

Best of 2017 - Part 1: Folk/Classical/Soundtrack/Kosmische

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Bill MacKay & Ryley Walker – Spider Beetlebee (Drag City)
Beautiful album of bright and bracing guitar instrumentals from this Chicago duo collaboration.

The range of styles spanned over the course of just half an hour is a clue to the open mindedness and sense of adventure of both musicians.

There’s a real sense of the shared joy in playing about the whole piece.

A gorgeous miniature body of work and in many ways perfect music for this time of year.

SpiderBeetleBee by Bill MacKay & Ryley Walker

Laura Cannell – Lines of copper gold (Brawl Records)
Bracing is also a word to describe this blast of overbowed fiddle from Laura Cannell of East Anglia recorded in a semi ruined church from her current album Hunter Huntress Hawker.

Call it early music. Improvised. Experimental.

It is primal and it is stirring.

It feels essential.

HUNTER HUNTRESS HAWKER by La…

Chloe March - Orchardie (from the album Blood-red spark, Hidden Shoal/Powderkeg Records)

The latest album by Chloe March is another heady trip through electro pop but really that tag doesn't do justice to the range of expression.

The air is thick with atmosphere throughout and March is a masterful creator of mood.

This is just one of the stunning rarefied synth compositions topped with layers of her remarkable voice.

I particularly love the dappled pulse of electric piano when the pace picks up for the chorus.

It is also a beautiful sound somewhere between The Blue Nile and David Sylvian and as that would suggest soulful.

Wonderbar.

Blood-Red Spark by Chloë March

Adrian Crowley – Halfway to Andalucia (from the album Dark eyed messenger, Chemikal Underground)

From his 8th album another haunting number to add to his collection delivered in Crowley’s signature velvet voice which can make men as well as women weak at the knees.

One particularly special moment here where the narrator sings of the funeral following his faked death.

I heard the ceremony was poorly attended
At least did they play my favourite song
Born Free


At which point a vocal chorus lifts proceedings out of the here and now into some higher space.

It is the definition of transcendance.

The fact that it achieves this with reference to a classic pop croon only makes it more profound.

Track 8 in this playlist

Penny Rimbaud – What passing bells: The war poems of Wilfred Owen (One Little Indian)

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A frankly startling album made up of what you might call a jazz trio. (A different brand of jazz trio to your garden variety.)

There’s Penny Rimbaud the co-founder of Crass whose voice is a most effective vehicle for the musical words of Wilfred Owen.

Backing that are the considerable talents of Kate Short on cello and Liam Noble on piano.

It’s world weary with a sly sidelong glance at times. The cello thrums and keens. The piano bypasses chords for the most part playing brilliantly off the rhythm of the words in its restless improvisations.

It presents a compelling picture of war in all its banality horror sadness brutality pity but also starkness stillness humanity.

What Passing Bells (The War Poems Of Wilfred Owen) by Penny Rimbaud