2019 Mixtape

Here are the tracks I had on repeat during 2019.

Anna Calvi & David Byrne, ‘Strange Weather’ (live)

This song is just so melodramatic and the live version with choir takes it to new heights. I love it!

Wake up slowly, there are blue skies
Cutting white lines in black matter
I see them shinin’ through your drunken eyes
Carving silver in strange weather

Marianne Faithful (Feat. Nick Cave), The Gypsy Faerie Queen

A beautiful song. I get chills when Nick Cave joins the chorus.

And I follow, follow, follow
The gypsy faerie queen
We exist, exist, exist
In the twilight in-between

First Aid Kit, Wolf

This is one of my favourite tracks of the last couple of years and I’m still not tired of hearing it.

Wolf-father, at the door
You don’t smile anymore
You’re a drifter, shape-shifter
Let me see you run, hey-ya hey-ya

Thea Gilmore, Grandam Gold

I could have picked several songs from Thea Gilmore’s lovely album, ‘Small World Turning’, but I think this delicate melody with tough words is my top track.

Like those who before us full well understood
We’re told that the poison is for our own good
While they dry up the seas and set valleys on fire
The coins on the hill pile higher and higher

VRi, Cob Maltreath

Absolutely beautiful Welsh folk music.

Anna Calvi, Wish

The second Anna Calvi track to make the list. Sexy and slightly menacing.

I got one more wish before I die
So please don’t you stop me
No don’t you stop me
I got one more wish before I die
So please don’t you stop me
No don’t you stop me

Veruca Salt, Alternica

I love the way this builds to a huge musical climax.

This is Alternica
Desert and the plains
And the ocean waves
Oh brave Alternica
Remember what you know
And you’re not alone

‘The Body Electric’ is a powerful song for our times, as well as a brilliant response to Johnny Cash-style murder ballads.

He shot her down, he put her body in the river
He covered her up, but I went to get her
And I said, “My girl, what happened to you now?”
I said, “My girl, we gotta stop it somehow”

Melanie Safka, Dust in the Wind

I’ve done a lot of reflecting on meaning and loss this year, sometimes accompanied by ‘Dust in the Wind’.

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

The Albums that Made Me #6 – Kate Bush, ‘The Dreaming’ (1982)

Album cover is a sepia-toned photograph of Kate Bush. She is holding the head of a man who is facing her and she seems to be leaning in to kiss him, but her eyes are looking away to the left. There is a chain and padlock on the man's shoulder.

I’ve written about The Dreaming before, so this is a bit of a repeat post, but I just had to include it on my ‘Albums that Made Me’ list.

I can’t overestimate the influence The Dreaming has had on my taste in music and, possibly, in shaping aspects of my personality. I must have been around six years-old when I started listening to it. My Dad was a Kate Bush fan and we always had her albums around the house.

The Dreaming is probably the album that first sparked something in me which could be called a sense of “taste” in music. I loved it, but I was also quite terrified by songs like ‘Get Out of My House‘. I was fascinated by the soundscape and the way Kate Bush manipulated her vocals on different tracks. I was slightly outraged that a woman could sound like that! In summary, it got me to start thinking about music.

I would play it in the kitchen and dance madly to ‘Night of the Swallow‘, ‘Sat in your lap‘ and ‘The Dreaming‘. That’s what I mainly remember. Dancing, dancing, dancing until I was exhausted. One time, I ran up and down the room so wildly, I winded myself on the kitchen sink.

As an adult, my favourite Kate Bush album is Hounds of Love, but I still have a very special place in my heart for The Dreaming.

Lesbian/Queer Women Link Love #9

Thea Gilmore Live & New Album

The cover of 'Small World Turning' which features a painting of a face in profile, with splashes a vivid colour for hair, against a black background.

I first heard of Thea Gilmore sometime back around 2003 when my friends were sharing round a copy of The Lipstick Conspiracies (2000). I didn’t really get into her music until I heard the album, Rules for Jokers (2001), which I loved. Since then, she’s been putting out consistently excellent albums.

Thea Gilmore has a beautiful voice and writes catchy, melodic, socially aware folk/rock songs in the tradition of people like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Sandy Denny and Billy Bragg, but with very much her own distinctive sound.

There’s been quite a lot of buzz about her new album, Small World Turning and I finally got to see her play live last week. The gig was as good as I expected. New songs featured heavily, with ‘Cuttleslowe Walls’, ‘Glory’, ‘Don’t Dim Your Light for Anyone’, ‘Grandam Gold’, and ‘The Revisionist’ all being highlights. She also played ‘Saviours and All’ and ‘This Girl is Taking Bets’ from Rules for Jokers, and ‘Old Soul’ from Liejacker. There was a lovely cover of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ and a great song I hadn’t heard before, ‘The New Tin Drum’.

I’ve listened to Small World Turning a few times since the gig and I think it’s one of her best albums, a gorgeous collection of songs for our time. This is even more of an achievement when you realise that Gilmore did almost all of the work herself after three record companies pulled out.

Here’s to another seventeen albums!