Set The Record Straight: June

Music of Mourning

In November, I received the devastating news that I had lost my best friend. Throughout our entire relationship music had been at the core. Whether it was hip-hop or psychedelic indie-rock – we could talk about it all, and in fact: I think we probably did. This was a thing common between myself and most of his other friends in the room at his funeral, music was central to his core. These songs (alongside a number of others) have soundtracked the months that followed his death, and have helped to remember and to mourn his death.

The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun

Music had always been a central part of our relationship, but for a long while – I was the only one of the two of us that had an interest in playing anything. That changed when one Christmas, my friend got his first guitar. I’m yet to meet someone who was as big of a Beatles nerd as my best friend, so where better to start learning guitar than with this absolute classic? At the funeral, plenty of people referenced hearing him try and learn the song – at the time I would laugh at his efforts, but to this day I still struggle. Fair play, man, fair play.

LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great

The first time I heard this song after the untimely news, I immediately attached the emotions in the lyrics, the fact that “someone great is gone”, to what had happened. The weird thing was, I thought about the song’s origins I 100% was under the impression it was about a breakup. One of the first things I said to my friend’s dad was that “I love your son, I’m just not sure whether I love him more like a brother or a boyfriend”, so I was off the hook.  Then I found out that the song was actually about the passing of Murphy’s therapist, something of a role that my friend played in my life. A girl I used to be very close to once described the role my friend had as helping to “make sense and explain” my mind to her. I didn’t realise I was that complex, but I guess now – without my friend/therapist – I sort of really do see that.

Bob Seger – Night Moves

Before we could legally drink, we wouldn’t know what to do with our evenings. On weekends, we could drink at my house or at whatever house party was going on, but during those boring Cheshire weekdays – we had nothing. Well, we had nothing but each other. What we would do is walk around, aimlessly, for hours on end either talking the big talk or talking about nothing at all. We would call these long, completely fucking freezing adventures our “Night Moves” a name that I borrowed from this song. I will always crack a smile when I hear that acoustic guitar kick in.

Joanna Newsom – The Sprout and the Bean

It should come as no surprise that when two complete music nerds come together – they just try and constantly provide the other with recommendations, and we certainly did a lot of that. The last time we got to do that was last summer. I remember recommending him Conor Oberst, Elliott Smith, and Bonnie Prince Billy repeatedly as I was convinced that he never actually went away and listened to any of them. However, the recommendation of his that really stuck with me was Joanna Newsom – particularly Emily and this song. I was blown away by the beauty of her voice and the delicateness of the soft harp sounds. In fact, I fell in love with her so much that I drunkenly sent her PR rep an email the other week, but that’s my fault. It’s his fault that I have been playing this song on a regular basis.

 Sparklehorse – Wish You Were Here

The song title is pretty much how I feel. There must be very few people who are as big of a fan of everything Thom Yorke as my best friend was, so this version of the song featuring my favourite person’s favourite person is one that always remains present with me.

I absolutely do wish you were here, pal. I love and miss you. Whether it’s through tears, or through smiles – with these songs I can always enjoy a little slice of my best friend, and carry him with me in my heart and in my ears through every day.

Set The Record Straight: May

This week I celebrated my 22nd birthday. So as I enter the 23rd year of a life soundtracked by a wide variety of music. Some phases have lasted a couple of months and others a lifetime, but regardless of length – the diversity of the music that I have listened to has been incredible. Although I was going to go for just out-and-out celebration music, I think I should probably also celebrate some of the questionable decisions in my musical past. Fortunately for my feelings of embarrassment, any songs I have recorded with a variety of bands, I no longer have available so I don’t need to show you those questionable decisions. Anyway, enjoy laughing at me and maybe even a little boogie in the process.

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Set The Record Straight: April

I suppose given my current stateside nature, I should probably do a bit of a nod to that in this month’s Set The Record Straight. As I pointed out in the last post about the contents of my bag, I am quite a large fan of a lot of the music that has come out of New York. So for this month, I am going to give a monster edition of a carefully sculpted playlist that spans the genres and gives an introduction to the New York music I love. Also, beware I will start to bang on about the whole “ooh look at me, I’m travelling around the USA” thing quite a bit, but at least I’m not banging on about Spike Jonze anymore…

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Set The Record Straight: March

I was going to drop the themes this month and just start drip-feeding the songs I’ve discovered instead. But then I thought “it’s a bit late for that, you’re two months into a themed feature – you can’t go back. Just imagine how fragile you’d look if all two people that read your blog posts saw the doubt in your mind” so here we are month three and without a theme.

At least that was the case until my laziness in writing another post about a subject other than music left that subject matter open to treat as a theme. Although the world won’t be getting the joy that is my Oscar on the Oscars post where I review the films I’ve watched that year (maybe 2019, hey?), you certainly will be getting my film-themed Set The Record Straight.

A good selection of music is always something that can improve a film for me, and then the very same music can improve my day-to-day life as well. So here’s an insight into just some of the songs (and the films they went with) that I’ve kept with me since watching (and listening).

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Set The Record Straight: February

Oh February, the second of all the months
January has gone and now it is your turn
You are also well short
Oh what it would be to be February
I Love Pancakes and February But Mainly Pancakes by Oscar Reed

That’s right, with such a beautiful poem dedicated to the most romantic of all the months to kick off this blog post dedicated to music (a thing that I love) – you’ll never guess the theme of this month’s Set The Record Straight… It’s fucking heartbreak!
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Set The Record Straight: January

Whatever bollocks you all decided you were going to claim to try and do for 12 months, I’m actually sticking to my resolution (although it is pretty much a whole month late) – I’m going to give you all the low-brow content you could ever dream of for the rest of time.

There’s a lot of things I love in life, myself not being one, but probably at the centre of a lot of the things I love – skateboarding, film, art, running, etc. – is something else, and that something is music. Honestly, the number of hours I’ve spent searching for or crafting the perfect playlist for the mood I’m in at that exact moment that I will never feel again is unreal.

It’s not something that makes me particularly special, but I do just bloody love music. And I bloody love discovering new music, which is why I want to share that gift of stumbling upon a set of bangers old and new each month through the rest of the years. It’s not a mix or a playlist as such, but rather a collection of songs I’ve found a love for in the month, and naturally the year kicks off in January – therefore so does this monthly blog post.

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