Tag Archives: Tracks Of My Teens

Tracks Of My Teens: Melis

23 Sep

Welcome once again to our occasional feature where we delve and rummage in the psyche of some of our favourite musical people. This week we have a very special treat as the divine Melis celebrates the release of her latest, oh-so magical, tune “Sober (Over You)” by sharing three tracks of her teens. More about “Sober (Over You)” follows but first, enjoy Melis’ selection of important and favourite songs from her younger days.

The Libertines – “Music When The Lights Go Out”

I was 12 years old when this song came out. It was the first thing I learned to play on my guitar which makes it special to me and to this day I adore it. The songwriting is amazing. I was always mesmerized by the UK indie music scene, back in that time it was all about the british ‘boys in the bands’ and I loved it. Pete Doherty was the worlds’ best poet/writer, and generally, it’s around that time I first started to realize that I wanted to write music, too. It’s also where my obsession with moving to England came from. I followed that dream straight after finishing high school.

Stornoway – ”Coldharbour Road”

I was 16, it was Easter 2012 and my BFF Cassie showed me this song. I remember having it on repeat, walking around the city (Prague) and balling my eyes out like a real teenager. This song touched me in a way a very few in my life had. I still feel something when I listen to it, despite having heard it so many times. The whole Beachcomber’s Windowsill album is amazing, actually. It’s on my all time faves list. I felt very connected with the emotions they captured through the heart-warming instrumentation and vocals. I was really sad when the band announced their split last year.

Cold War Kids – “We Used To Vacation”

I have a wonderful memory hearing this song for the first time. I was in Lübeck, Germany with some lovely people I met in a music competition I had participated in. We all came from different countries but the love for music connected us. After a long day, a couple of us went out to a very cool indie pub (I think it was called Sternschnuppe. I wonder if it’s still there..?) We were all underage but they served us beer anyway. As we were drinking and talking, the room was illuminated by fairy lights. They were playing one amazing song after another. Until then, I had never experienced such a great atmosphere. As far as I knew, there wasn’t a place like this in Prague. I felt like I fit in there, which was really nice. As this song came on, one of the guys told me it was Cold War Kids. It’s a simple but powerful memory, thinking back of how uninhibitedly naive and young we were…

A huge thank you to Melis for taking part and taking us on such a fun and personal trip down her memory lane. Thanks as well for continuing to make and share such gorgeous music as “Sober (Over You)”. Her voice is utterly heavenly. A pure crystalline gem of rare beauty, as she sings these heartfelt lyrics, it thaws the crisp and icy electronics to reveal an added, hidden layer and depth. From moments of minimalist, jewelry box melodies building to rich and full synths and sharp digital production, the whole thing is yet another example of why so many people are (rightly) getting so excited about Melis’ solo career.

”Sober (Over You)” is taken from Melis’ debut EP, ‘Parallels’, which is available for pre-order now.

Get to know Melis: Facebook / Twitter

Tracks Of My Teens: – Flying Vinyl

12 Aug

Welcome once again to another edition of Tracks Of My Teens. This is the place where singers, artists and others in the industry can share three special songs from their youth with us, and describe what it was that had such a profound impact on their life or that they associate with special or important memories.

This week we are delighted to welcome the founder of Flying Vinyl, Craig Evans to ABHQ as we delve into his mind, rummage around, and pull out three fantastic songs.

Pink Floyd – “Time”

Dark Side of the Moon was released long before I was born but I remember discovering it in my teens when my dad played it to me during that period where rap and hip-hop subculture was changing the way people thought about pop music. So, at that point I really felt like we were living through this incredibly disruptive time in music, which we were, but I didn’t consider that people had been pushing the boundaries of art long before my peculiar little generation and there was this whole world of mind-blowing stuff out there. It’s one of those great ‘staring in the mirror’ moment of realisation songs that as long as it feels when you’re young, life is short.

Nirvana – “Come As You Are”

It’s weird to see kids that are so eclectic now, because of technology they listen to all these different genres. I was a teen when the Internet was just starting to disrupt music (illegally) and people were still very genre-orientated. I remember I listened to a lot of grunge and Kerrang TV but I did-so in a really closeted way. It’s funny to think about now but I was deeply embarrassed to relate to that music, because that was for the kids at school wearing Slipknot hoodies who hated their lives and I didn’t feel like that. I’d listen to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with my headphones on and that led me to “Come As You Are” which I used to just play on repeat for hours on end.

Kanye West – “All Falls Down”

I like Kayne West. I know that’s not a particularly popular thing to say. He was possibly one of the first of that new wave of rappers at the time whose lyrical content was actually relatable to middle class white kids who were suddenly consuming the genre. I think Kayne West was an innovator in that sense, he really brought that kind of music to a wider listener. To this day I listen to his work with my jaw on the floor – mainly because of his genius as a producer and ability to sample records in a really stylised way. I respect his views that art comes first and commerce comes second, I respect that he’s dived into different fields and though I think he often sounds like a bit of a tool, he’s certainly one of the most important producers in the world.

A superb and eclectic selection from Craig, though given his role in the industry, we are not surprised. Flying Vinyl is an amazing monthly vinyl subscription service that sees members receiving five 7” each month, from some of the best up and coming bands around. The service features a multitude of genres and has already established itself as being one of the best places to discover new music.

More details about the service and what prompted Craig to set it up are included in this great interview he did with The Von Pip Musical Express.

If you are interested in becoming a member (and you really should) then you can sign up at flyingvinyl.co.uk.

Tracks Of My Teens: Queen Alaska

29 Jul

Welcome one and all to the revival of a fun feature we last ran back in 2013, back when the world seemed a much simpler place, Tracks Of My Teens.

The concept is fairly straightforward, all of us love music for one reason or another and there are often particular songs that sparked that off. Tracks Of My Teens is a place where singers, artists and others in the industry can share three of those special songs with us and describe what it was that had such a profound impact on their life, or the special and important memories that they associate with them.

Previous editions can be viewed here and to start this reboot we get to delve into the mind of exciting new electro-pop artist, Queen Alaska.

Claude Debussy – “Arabesque”

In my teen years I didn’t listen to a lot of pop music. The songs on the morning radio in the bathroom didn’t do much to me, I rather listened to the french radio of my mother or the very informative german national radio station that my father liked to listen to. What really touched me on deeper levels was the music I got to know through the weekly piano lessons. Fréderic Chopin and Claude Debussy were my favourite composers to play and listen to. I quickly fell in love with the harmonic diversity of Debussy, all his playful layers building soundscapes so modern for his time but still dreamy and sentimental. I guess this is where I developed my desire for layers! The sound aesthetic of the impressionism in general influences my style until today (won’t be able to deny that when the album is out..).

Hearing Debussy’s “Arabesque” makes me remember calm and sunny afternoons at home as a child / young teen. My older sister learned this piece on the piano some years before I did. The melodies were softly dancing from one corner to the other through our wooden-stony house near the forest.

Air – “Run”

Ok, eventually I also discovered pop music for myself! It was after I visited my older cousin Annika and her boyfriend in the big city up north, like I did every summer as a teen girl. For the long train ride back home they gave me some of their CDs, the best ones, they said. One of them went straight to my heart – I had never heard music like this before! And I loved every little thing about it: the sounds of these instruments, harmonic changes, melodies, loops, these beats, the simplicity and complexity at once, vibes… It was Moon Safari by Air. My adoration for analogue synths and electronic aesthetics was born. As well until today a huge influence for producing own music. It is hard to choose only one of the songs – Moon Safari functions as one whole piece. So for now I pick a song from a later album called Talkie Walkie which I loved just as much. “Run” is full of loops, pitched voices, and beautiful harmonic changes – my favourite things! 1:00min – 1:12 -> listen closely, so cleverly beautiful.

Steve Reich – “Music for 18 Musicians”

It isn’t easy to only choose one more piece of music now. I could go further back in time when I was still a child, playing Pachelbel’s Canon on my wooden flute. I seriously loved it and didn’t stop playing it for years. This piece might sound a bit cheesy nowadays but keeping in mind that it was written in the epoch of Baroque around 1690 (!!) – it makes it genius. J.S. Bach’s fugues, like the little one in G minor, attract me because of the same reason: the interaction of different voices that all have the same importance. My song “Fuge” that will be released on the first part of my album Interlude of the Inner Voice refers to that.

I could also pick the song that made me start producing music when I was 18: Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” – just wanted to sound like that. But it is too close to Air so I now choose a composer that I discovered at the very end of my teen years / beginning of ‘adulthood‘ (hope that still counts): Steve Reich. A whole new horizon opened up when I first discovered his sound and his approach to music. It seemed as if he took Debussy’s soundscape and made it into electronic music.. Many years before Techno was actually born. I was lucky to listen to “Music for 18 Musicians” live at Kraftwerk, Berlin, some years ago – the best music in concert experience I’ve ever had.
Here, live in Japan, with Steve Reich on the piano:

A huge thank you to Queen Alaska for taking part and kicking us back off. Her debut single, “Under My Skin” is out below and fantastically, you can actually hear the influence of the artists and tracks above. It’s a multi-layered, glitchy and icy dream world that swirls hypnotically as you listen. We predict big and exciting things for this new artist in the coming months and years.

”Under My Skin” is out now and available to buy on iTunes.Her debut EP, ‘Interlude of the Inner Voice I/II’ is due for release later this year.

Get to know Queen Alaska: Website / Facebook

Tracks Of My Teens: #13 – Olympians

24 Sep

Tracks Of My Teens

Welcome one and all to the latest in our occasional series of psyche-diving and memory rummaging. The latest willing volunteer to join in the Tracks of my Teens fun is one of Norwich’s own Olympians (we still count him as Norwich’s own btw, even though he now technically resides in London) and arch drone-miester, Daniel J Harvey.

Olympians Dan

Super Furry Animals – “Hermann Loves Pauline”

I remember first seeing the Super Furry Animals on a Jools Holland special where he announced the hot new music happening – ‘Brit Beat’ (so close, poor Jools) and SFA were playing “If You Don’t Want Me To Destroy You”. I remember being so impressed with the song (and the length of the title) that I got up extra early the next day and promptly did nothing about it whatsoever. A year or so later however something clicked and I bought their next record, Radiator, from the Norwich HMV (there was only one back then), and it instantly made everything else seem really boring. I’d never really gotten into dance stuff, so this was the first time I’d really heard weird synth sounds and horrible techno squawking. Tiny. Mind. Blown. It’s all pretty amazing, but this song, about Albert Einstein’s parents, was my favourite at the time, from the spoken ranting in the verses (‘Marie Curie was Polish born but French bred’), to the robotic Beach Boys breakdown.

Spiritualized – “Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space”

This record came out when I was 14 years old and my main interest at the time was sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor and pushing the headphones as close to my ears as possible. Sometimes whilst listening to music. I can’t even remember why I bought this record, although the ‘music as drugs maaan’ pill packaging might have been something to do with it. It’s quite difficult to describe how ridiculous it sounded to ears brought up on standard guitar music. It’s just one simple idea, but repeated whilst more and more things are piled on top. The whole record is crushingly tragic, and this appealed to me as an overtly feelings-based adolescent. Apparently this song was supposed to start with a sample of Elvis singing “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” but the sample was denied. When it was reissued years later reinstating the sample was the only thing Jason Pierce could find at fault to change about the whole record. I can’t decide whether that makes the record more amazing or him more of a dickhead. Probably both.

The Flaming Lips – “Race For The Prize”

Like all total losers, I used to endless read and re-read all the information in CD liner notes, so I came to the Flaming Lips after realising they were produced by the chap that had produced Mercury Rev’s Deserters Songs the previous year (which was alright, but spoiled by a slightly cloying Americana-vibe and some unforgivable sax solos). At first I remember hating how cold and detached this record sounded, and how amateurish and clattery the drums sounded, but then it slowly won me over and remains one of my total favourites. This song is all about scientists and the sacrifices they make for the human race, still one of the most simultaneously pleasant and practical sentiments in a song ever. It was a close tie between this one and “Feeling Yourself Disintegrate”, but this one is much more positive and the other is about how everybody is slowly dying.

Olympians’ latest EP, Adventure Gun is out now (review here) and available to buy here.

You can catch them live over the coming weeks at the following venues:

28 September – Brixton Windmill (all-dayer)
12 October – Northampton Labour Club w / Gunning For Tamar
16 October – Open Norwich w / Focus & The Lost Levels
18 October – Fighting Cocks, Kingston w / More Than Conquerors
19 October – Barely Regal Stage at Swn Festival, Cardiff

Stalk Olympians: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr

Tracks Of My Teens: #12 – Lisa Redford

17 Sep

Tracks Of My Teens

More fun for you this week in our occasional series, Tracks of my Teens, as Alphabet Bands (and Whispering Bob Harris) favourite Lisa Redford delves deep into memory bank to share three tracks she loved and was inspired by in her teenage years. Enjoy.

Lisa Redford TomT

Morrissey – “Suedehead”

The Smiths and Morrissey have been a soundtrack to my life ever since I heard The Smiths’ eponymous debut and Hatful of Hollow. There are so many songs to choose from that have resonated with me but “Suedehead” has always been a favourite and reminds me of my first trip alone to the US to visit friends who were living in San Francisco. They’re also huge Morrissey fans and I have fond memories of travelling along the freeways in the California sunshine singing along to that equally summery guitar riff. I also have a soft spot for some of his B-sides and “I Know Very Well How I Got My Name” is a gem which appears on the 7″ vinyl and 4 track CD. I liked that one so much I ended up recording an acoustic version.

I love Morrissey’s unique lyrics and humour and those early solo singles like “Everyday is Like Sunday” and “The Last of The Famous International Playboys” with Stephen Street are excellent. I also really like the poignant video for “Suedehead” where he is in the US on a pilgrimage for one of his heroes James Dean.

It was during the release of my favourite of his solo albums, Vauxhall & I that I first saw him live at Brixton Academy. I’ll never forget the intensity and energy of a live gig and in the heightened excitement I even endured being trampled on by a crowd of ardent fans much bigger than me eager to attain a small piece of his shirt that he’d thrown into the adoring audience desperate to have something of his to treasure.

Kate Bush – “This Woman’s Work”

I’ve had to include a Kate Bush track as listening to her music was also very much part of my formative years. Her music is so unique and has this really magical quality. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. As a young teenager I wore out my parents’ copies of the albums The Kick Inside and Hounds of Love in the days when you actually listened to a whole album from beginning to end and I would love listening intently to each track and enter Kate’s ethereal world. “This Woman’s Work” is one of her very best songs and is just so moving, definitely a song to give goosebumps.

The Supremes – “Someday We’ll Be Together”

I’m lucky that my parents are such huge music lovers as that gave me an eclectic taste. As well as growing up listening to a lot of classic songwriters like Neil Young and Simon & Garfunkel, electronic music, indie and punk, I also heard a lot of soul and Motown. I remember this song being the last track on a Best of Supremes album and it was definitely the one that moved me the most. It’s such a beautiful song with a really heartfelt sentiment. Another soulful emotional track I love is “Abraham, Martin and John” which Marvin Gaye recorded.

I was struck by the lovely melody of the song and the effortless emotion of Diana Ross’s sweet soulful voice. The song has stayed with me and I was recently filmed doing a ukulele cover. The video is filmed in a cafe in Norfolk by local photographer and film maker Claudia Taveria Photography.

Lisa’s latest track, a cover of OMD’s “So In Love”, is available as a free download (below) and you can catch her live at the Norwich Sound And Vision Festival at the Bicycle Shop on Thursday 11 October.
Entry is £5 on the door or FREE with a festival wristband

Read more about: Lisa Redford

Stalk Lisa Redford: Website / Facebook / YouTube / SoundCloud /Bandcamp / Twitter