Ed Lines (Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know)
This song has been around for a while but being traditionally slow on the uptake, and after its recent exposure on XFM, I’ve only just started listening to it. Gotye is Wally de Backer, a Belgian-born Aussie, and this song may well be the making of him. If this song was a time of day it would be early evening. If it was a drink it would be a gin and tonic and if it was an animal it would be a groomed cat.
Harry Harland (EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints)
Past Life Martyred Saints is the debut album from former Gowns singer Erika M. Anderson aka EMA (see what she did there?). It came out in 2011 to some extremely positive reviews, and it’s easy to see why.
The album feels very fresh, almost unique. Despite comparisons to Courtney Love and PJ Harvey, I’m not sure that EMA is particularly well paired with either. Her music is much less polished, much more raw and perhaps resultingly considerably more visceral.
Nigh-on 8 minute-long opener The Grey Ship outlines that this is not going to be an especially commercial record, although it does show the strength and breadth of Ms Anderson’s songwriting. Starting slowly and acoustically, the song builds and crescendos into a mad, spiralling mix of raw electric guitar and violin before subsiding, breathless, to its conclusion.
This madness is followed by three fantastic songs, all of which are totally different. California is an extraordinary song for its ability to hold your attention despite musically going nowhere. This is followed by the Elliot Smith-esque Anteroom and the quicker, snappier pace of Milkman.
The second half of the album delves deeper into the darker corners of EMA’s mind, culminating the disturbing wall of noise that is Butterfly Knife. If you can bear listening to it, there is something brilliant about this song, and in a way that sums up the whole album. It’s not exactly upbeat, it’s emotionally mental, it’s certainly not easy-listening, but give it a few listens and the rewards are obvious.