It’s been a few months since the last “Listen To This” but after a few delays I’m happy to welcome Marcy from Lost In Your In Box. Check out her MP3 blog for far more regular postings than you’ll find here. Currently featured are the “fucking fantasticCassettes Won’t Listen, the Top 12 Country Song titles of 2006, and her latest contribution to the Contrast podcast.

Anyway over to Marcy for her first selection: (Part 2 to follow in a few days)
Muncki magic

LOST IN YOUR IN BOX CHOICE 1:

Munck//Johnson“Slavesong” (MP3)

Buy: Munck//Johnson 2nd LP or super cheap compilation featuring this song.

Download: More free MP3’s @ Myspace

LIYIB: I have to say that doing a feature like Listen to This – the chance to discuss in detail exactly why I love an individual song – is a music lover’s dream come true. And this particular song is so dear to me. Why? Well, first, the chords. The vocal harmonies are so dense, so full, and they sit atop a single acoustic guitar being plucked one string at a time. I think there are three people singing, but it sounds like so much more. And then there’s the way they vocalise each word. Sometimes a single syllable stretches over three notes. Another amazing thing is that his song was recorded live, yet it’s perfect in its intonation.

The lyrics are extremely compelling, too. In very few words, it describes the loss of faith and the utter despair of regret. It’s so bare, so exposed, just like your heart is after the realisation of the end of love. Uplifting it’s not, but affirming of how low one’s spirit can sink, it certainly is. You might want to save this one for a really dark day.

MLD: When I heard that this song was recorded live in Djursland, Denmark, my slightly over active imagination got to work. Conjuring up an ethereal picture of a dark misty night amongst the ancient Bronze age burial mounds of the Djursland area. Breaking through the eerily quiet night a distant yet beautiful female voice is barely audible… getting closer you’d discover Søsser – the vocalist on this track – in full voice unaware of the elements swirling around her.

With just a single guitar as backing its a deceptively simple song, but its amazing the emotion that can be expressed with just a slow plucked guitar line, and those multi-tracked vocals. Its not something I’d normally listen to but that’s the beauty of having someone else recommend you some tracks.
It does have to be said that its not a very cheery song, so don’t go asking Marcy to pick the soundtrack if you’re not in high spirits, unless you want a bad case of “I’m drowning here, and all you’re doing is describing the water“. (Jack Nicholson – As Good As It Gets).

No, in all seriousness, a gorgeous first selection.

Dark Art Magic

MUSIC LIKE DIRT CHOICE 1:

Dark Art Magic“Not Wifey” (MP3)

Visit: Dark Art Magic Myspace / Ras Kwarme’s Homegrown podcast

Live: Club L.A – Luton – Jan 12th 07

MLD:Listen To This” was in danger of becoming a little bit like a love in where everyone sits around and applauds each others marvellous tastes (and where’s the fun in that)! So for my first selection I picked out a slice of UK Garage which I originally stumbled across thanks to Ras Kwame’s excellent “Homegrown” BBC 1xtra podcast (subscribe for 100% new UK black music).
While I had my doubts that Marcy was a hip hop or garage fan I do know she loves her lyrics, and on this track the words fly out, tumbling over each another as they squeeze into the 3 minutes. Luton’s Chris Jullien aka Dark Art Magic somehow manages to deliver his lyrics at an amazing speed, while managing not to sound in the slightest bit rushed.

Push comes to shove you’ll probably end up being my youts mum… 3 years, 2 cars, 1 kid and a yard.. but you ain’t my girl

Its essentially a love song, a garage LL Cool J “I Need Love” if you like but with commitment issues. There are songs that are sung to declare love and ask for someone’s hand in marriage… this isn’t one of those. At times you can hear the exasperation as he explains he loves her, but he doesn’t want “No Wifey“. She is however like his “vitamin B.. the strength that I need“, but at the same time she’s not really his girl. Confused yet?… If this was Trisha she’d be banging heads together and packing them off to her team of skilled TV councillors.

Its not just about the lyrics though, Chris has been a bedroom producer since he was 13, and he nails it with this track. A pitched up snatch of female vocal is sampled, and cut up to form the hook, this is perfectly complimented with melancholic keyboard chords. The beats skip and stutter to great effect too.
The song ends with an ultimatum to “his girl”, so until she records the answer record “No Groomy” we’ll just have to guess how it all turned out. On the basis of this track though Dark Art Magic’s musical future should turn out very well indeed.

LIYIB: So my first thought was, MLD picked this song because he KNEW I wouldn’t like it. Oh, I know that’s not true (I think), and it wasn’t quite right, either. Because even though I didn’t love it at first listen (actually, I still don’t), I do like it, although mostly for the music.
As you may know, I’m a lyrics person, so I listen very intently to the words. And they’re clever, I’ll give our singer that, but they’re not very endearing. I can’t say as I much care for this fellow, nor do I have much sympathy for his plight. In fact, if I were his girlfriend, I’d be asking myself, what exactly am I getting out of this relationship? Oh, I kid. I’m not here to judge his life choices or attitude, just the song, right? Except he IS the song. Hmmm.
I think what appeals to me most about it are the rhythmically complex and entertaining drums and little electronic chirpy riffs. And I marvel at how fast he spits out the words, even as I dislike what he says. That said, I’m wondering if I would run out and buy this or tell my friends, you’ve got to hear this? Probably not.

huski

LOST IN YOUR IN BOX CHOICE 2:

Huski“Easy Life” (MP3)

Buy: Huski LP

Live: Madame Jo-Jo’s – London 21st Dec 06

LIYIB: Ah, this song epitomises what I find most appealing about certain music. It’s got an upbeat, uptempo melody all right, but the words are disconsolate and searching and belie the happy-go-lucky instrumentation. The vocalist, Maple Bee (what a great stage name, btw), has this scrumptious, sexy voice that drips sensuality, yet she’s so very discontented. It plays so well against the synths and the pulsating drums, guitar and bass lines. It’s a satisfying sing-along for those days when you can’t seem to catch a break, when even getting out of bed seems to be more of a challenge than you can begin to meet. And I love that warbling whistle-like sound, whatever it is (MLD: sounds a bit like a theremin to me).

MLD:
Another track I’d never heard of, and a fine piece of slickly produced pop it is too. I’m not sure if this was ever released in the UK, but if the All Saints seriously wanted to revive their faltering comeback they should cover this and watch it fly to No.1 (and perhaps the album up to 43 – one song cant do everything!). It would suit them perfectly, but they’d struggle to match the original sultry honeyed tones of Maple Bee.

Easy Life” starts in fine style with a church organ, and proceeds with a very up-tempo happy radio friendly sound, but at the same time there’s a disconsolate air to it all, with the lyrics, and Maple’s treated voice both expressing a kind of sad acceptance.
After doing a bit of delving it seems Ms Bee is a woman of many talents. She’s part of Huski, has a solo album that sounds a bit like Kate Bush doing Portishead covers, and also appears to be part of something called “Mediaeval Baebes” which the press release describes as a “provocative collective of beautiful maidens“. Its very popular with the Daily Express, and Classic FM, but I’m afraid I didn’t make it past the opening Pan Pipes.