Scrambled or Beaten

So, with September’s Quiff just a few moments away (I’ll post again when it goes live) it’s time for some new tunes.

Some songs beat you around the head with sharp riffs and effortless yelps, others quietly shift in the background, slowly but surely moving their shit into your house until one day realisation hits and you know they’re here to stay. A third type, are sweet and gentle, almost harmless looking. These are the ones that are here to take you down, that scramble your mind, that leave you beaten but with no bruises. They are sad and beautiful. They are heart-breaking and necessary. Truth be told they’re the songs that are closest to my heart. Near the top of my list would be All There Is by Gregory Alan Isakov, Fade Into You by Mazzy Star or What If My Heart Never Heals by Chris T-T  – and a hundred other songs I’ll one day get round to covering in this blog.

A couple of these types have been introduced to me over the last month. Amanda Shires (a quiet, alt-country stalwart who also happens to married to Jason Isbell – a moment of thanks for The Drive-By Truckers, folks) has a new album on the way with the lead track Harmless.There are plenty of songs about forbidden love or unrequited love so it’s got to be good. But, she has quite the way with words (‘your eyes a shade of wonder, like if thunder had a colour’) and I love her a little bit:


My Piece of Land is out next week but there’s plenty of material to drown yourself in on her website, if you can’t wait.

Keaton Henson has broken me even though I wasn’t a particularly big fan of this when I first heard it. Stylistically it reminded me of Tobias Jesso Jr (in particular the wonderful True Love) but without his casually perfect imperfections. Then I started to hear it: the story of a break-up that is both sad and necessary, playing on the idea that you’re alright, just about, now  but that this other person is more than alright if only it worked out. It a wonderment  of emotional balance that I can’t do justice to. A couple of lyrical outtakes:

You and I are monsters
We’ll not find another
Cannot be together
Lest we eat each other
Don’t make me leave

And you’re more than alright

Come and meet me in the trenches
I’ll be taking cover
You can load the guns, and I’ll hide behind the others
Always been a coward

And of course, the song:

Keaton’s new album: Kindly Now Order, is out in a couple of weeks and available on pre-order from his website.


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