20 Mar 2020

Song Crush: Sufjan Stevens, Chromatics, Cate Le Bon

From Song Crush, 3:18 pm on 20 March 2020

The Song Crush team have some comfort-listening suggestions, as well songs echoing Krautrock, David Lynch, and Italian disco. Host Kirsten Johnstone is joined by Jana Te Nahu Owen, and Waveney Russ. 

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Sufjan Stevens and Lowell Brams - Climb That Mountain

Sufjan Stevens has been my comfort music for the last fifteen years, like an old friend I can count on to put a blanket around me and hand me a warm cup of mulled wine. And now, as if anticipating my every need, he’s released an ambient/post-rock album with his step-father and label co-owner Lowell Brams. ‘Climb That Mountain’ provides the long, twinkly ascent, with a swift release, as if you’ve just hung-glided off that Mountain. 

Nik Brinkman  - Open Roads feat Emanual Lundgren

Nik Brinkman is a Wellington musician who has been in bands since 2003 such as Ejector, Over the Atlantic, Junica, Physical and Bright Music with long time collaborator Bevan Smith who also performs under the moniker ’Signer.’  

Every now and then I think- “I wonder what Nik’s up to? ” And without a doubt he’s got something great on the go. He is so prolific in his musical output, his facebook page is full of tracks he's either been releasing himself or ones he’s collaborated on or produced. 

His music has a certain feel to it, think electro-pop, with jangly reverb guitars, programmed drums and analogue synths. 

For this song 'Open Roads', he’s bought in Swedish artist Emanuel Lundgren on vocals, and it's made for a nostalgia inducing, simple, sweet song. 

 Cate le Bon, Group Listening, Ed Dowie - Magnificent Gestures

‘Magnificent Gestures’ was initially written and performed by Welsh singer-songwriter Cate le Bon on her 2019 release, Reward. In Feb this year, an EP titled Here It Comes Again slipped quietly onto DSPs, marking a collaboration with experimental musician Ed Dowie and Group Listening, jazz musicians Stephen Black (aka Sweet Baboo) and Paul Jones. Group Listening are known for their expansive piano and clarinet arrangements, and the warp of such woven through recorders and synthesisers makes this re-imagining entirely familiar, yet nothing you’ve heard from any of these artists individually before.

Skylar Gudasz - Actress 

With a soaring voice akin to Aimee Mann or St Vincent, North Carolina resident Skylar Gudasz weaves a tale of a waitress’ dream of being an actress with great lines like “practice your acceptance speech / in the stockroom / next to the peaches” set on a hollywoodesque bed of strings. Her second full length album Cinema is out in mid-April.  

Chromatics - Famous Monsters

Chromatics are an electronic outfit from Portland, Oregon, formed in 2001, consisting of core members Johnny Jewel and Ruth Radeleo. Their 2007 album Night Drive is still one of my favourite albums of all time, and it was with this album that they took on a new direction, moving away from their earlier punk sound. 

They make music that could be described as synth-pop, Italo disco and electroclash and it usually has a sinister, eerie, cinematic feel to it, so it's not surprising that their music is often used on TV shows like Bates Motel, Mr. Robot, Revenge, Riverdale, and Twin Peaks

This is the second song they’ve released this year, it’s a ‘4 to the floor’ dance anthem and I recommend everyone at home turn it up and have a little dance around the kitchen! 

Check out the video here directed by Johnny Jewel. 

Legss - Writhing Comedy

Legss are a group of boys from London who released their debut EP Writhing Comedy in September of last year. Seemingly inspired by math-rock peers black midi, their music contains lyrics coined as ‘found conversations’, ridiculing clichés within modern living through lines such as “Yeah sorry mate, you just can’t sit there” and, more frantically, “There’s way too many people in the area”. Narrated from the perspective of an exasperated security guard trying to contain a student protest-cum-riot, ‘Writhing Comedy’ seem adept at picking apart the absolute state of the world right now, painting a vivid picture of the broken to the banal.

Hear it on Spotify here 

Listen to all our 2020 Song Crushes on Spotify here