Mixtape Mondays | Here. There. Everywhere.

Monday, December 28, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

I wonder if everyone has a story about how they came across The Beatles. Mine starts at 11, and I thought myself way too old at that point. I mean, we're talking about The Beatles! How come haven't I listened to them since I was hmm 6?

When Anthology came out in 1995 I remember - despite mum's many complaints - staying up until silly hour in the morning to watch and record it on VHS! Oh the old days... Back then you could go to video stores to rent cds! Yes, I was the dorky one leaving the shop with a bunch of Beatles cds whilst most kids my age were into... I wouldn't know, I didn't hang out with anyone my age. Blame my older cousins who didn't mind me sticking around.

At 13 I got my first classic guitar and learnt to play In My Life. At 14 I came across a Beatles cover band called "Lissen" (Do You Want to Know a Secret?), with whom I fell in love as soon as I heard them playing Oh! Darling. They had a residency in a venue close to my house and I did not miss a gig with Run For Your Life or The Night Before. I also remember as if today when upon request they've added You Really Got a Hold on Me to their set.

Mixtape Mondays | Here. There. Everywhere.

At 15 I remember starting High School and playing a Fender Squier - really badly I have to say, but enough to think it was a good idea to rehearse in a studio. I absolutely loved to play Day Tripper with a band. I also remember my first Maths year one lesson, which happened around the same time. Our teacher introduced herself by playing two episodes of Wonder Years and asking which of the two types of teacher featured we wanted her to be. I knew I had chosen the right course as soon as A Little Help From My Friends started to play in Joe Cocker's voice.

At 17, when the film I am Sam came out, I was the one crying compulsively at the cinema. Yes, it was a sad story, but the soundtrack did it for me. How can you have dry eyes as Golden Slumbers plays on? (by the way, that must have been the first time I've ever heard this song not followed by Carry That Weight). The versions of Across The Universe and Nowhere Man were also heartbreakingly beautiful. I was obsessed with this album for a while. *

I was about to turn 18 when I decided to be a Paperback Writer. All those diaries kept through the years had to serve to some purpose, right? I went on studying Journalism instead. Uni days had a soundtrack of their own: Revolution 1 had never made so much sense. Neither had Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Those were also the days when I was starting to fall in love with films. So I wrote my grad dissertation on 80s movies. Ironically enough, I chose Ferris Bueller's Day Off - who can forget Matthew Broderick's parade performance to the sound of Twist & Shout? - and Can't Buy Me Love, the film, starring a nerd stargazing Patrick Dempsey. "Any similarity with reality is mere coincidence".

And then Uni went. And I went. As with Travis' lyrics, "but then this bird just flew away / she was never meant to stay / oh to keep her caged would just delay the spring" I got my Ticket to Ride, which brought me to London. And a new chapter started. And I was surprised to find the plane was not an actual time machine taking me back to the 60s. But it soon didn't matter, because Blackbird was an actual sight outside my window. And Norwegian Wood were actually the sounds of the city. And although I've asked myself the lyrics of Eleanor Rigby one too many times, once again I know I am at the right place at the right time. 

* In I Am Sam Golden Slumbers version is by Ben Folds, Across the Universe by Rufus Wainwright & Nowhere Man by Paul Westerberg

Mixtape Mondays | Slow It Down

Monday, December 21, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

This playlist is really personal. And really mellow (you've been warned!). But life's been so hectic lately I thought it appropriate. A few years ago I suffered really bad with insomnia. I always preferred night to the day and never cared for too much sleep, but back then we're talking about no sleep whatsoever. For days. Why am I telling you this story? This playlist's been in the making since.

In order to get my brain to shut down I decided to try to listen to music to sleep. Of course that did not work, but I've since developed the habit of falling asleep to music. And I don't mean it in a bad way. Please don't take this as an insult to these tracks. Far from boring, these are some of my absolutely favourite songs! But they do help switching off before bed.

The Lumineers | Picture by revistakuadro.com

First track, after which playlist was named, is Slow It Down by The Lumineers. It sets the tone but it's also most likely the slowest of the choices. Also from the Lumineers is Dead Sea - a song which I hope Seafret will cover at some point! By the way, further down the list you'll find them too.

Mixtape Mondays | Slow it down

From Damien Rice's first album, O, I've picked a couple: Older Chests and Amie. It really wasn't easy to leave Grey Room, Sleep Don't Weep and Accidental Babies (all from his second album, 9) out, but I kept it to two songs maximum per artist. Not many people I know heard of Russian Red - a.k.a. Lourdes Hernández, a Spanish indie and folk singer-songwriter - but her album Fuerteventura from 2012 is probably one of my favourites ever. Braver Soldier and A Hat are the two oldest songs in this playlist.

Around this time last year I came across Nothing But Thieves. That's when the live version of Lover, Please Stay made into this selection. However, I've since updated it with the album recording and added the hypnotic If I Get High (don't miss them headlining at the Shepherd's Bush Empire on April 1st).

Back with the indie-folk, two José González's songs made the cut: Stay Alive and Heartbeats. I love how rhythmical both of these are, particularly the piano in the first and the guitar strumming and drums in the latter. They're perfect to listen to with the lights off.  

In the sequence, two tracks from my first ever British indie-rock CD, a secret santa gift from back when I was 17! Afterglow and Indefinitely, from Travis' The Invisible Band, surely in my top 10 albums of all time. Travis by the way just released a new single, Everything At Once, and are playing in Northampton and London in January, both dates sold out.

The next 10 songs are a real mix: an eerie Empty Space, by the extinct Air Traffic (I still have hopes the guys from Bournemouth will get back together and release a new album!). There is also Open Season by the High Highs (which often gives me goosebumps), followed by To Build A Home, by The Cinematic Orchestra (a bit cliché, but what can I do? It is a mellow but beautiful song).

Probably the worst camera I've ever owned, but this was such a memorable show I thought worth sharing!

Both from Air Traffic, April 2010, @ Bush Hall, in Shepherd's Bush. Photos by Zaira.

From Paolo Nutini's first album - These Streets - is the melancholic White Lies, followed by two incredibly beautiful and heartwarming songs by Seafret: Sinking Ship - a favourite - and the acoustic version of Oceans. Note they're playing twice in London in the new year, 1st & 3rd February, do not miss them! From one duo to another, Girls, by Nizlopi, is a lovely track (again, another band that hopefully will get back together at some point). Continuing with the series of groups who make amazing music but decide to go on a hiatus, ironically we have Break Your Heart, by The Gaslight Anthem.  

On a happier note, and closing the mix, two new comers: the single Veins, by London based quartet Palace (check their first EP Chase the Light, released last June, it's pretty good!) and, from Tunbridge Wells, Will Joseph Cook's You Jump I Run (looking forward to seeing him live for the first time at Barfly on March 23rd). And that's it, I hope you like this week's playlist, sleep tight!

Fun Fact: This is definitely the most international mixtape so far! From Colorado & New Jersey to Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Australia, many corners of England and Scotland!

Mixtape Mondays | December Gigs

Monday, December 14, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

Despite all the Xmas dos, December has been an incredible month when it comes to finding new music. We're not even half way there yet and I feel like I need to share some of these finds. With the exception of Dan Owen, who you've probably seen featured here quite a few times now - yes, I am obsessed, can't help it, he's amazing! - all others are new to Postmodern Mixtape.

Balloon Ascents lads @ Sofar Sounds, London edition. Photo by Zaira

The first 3 picks came out of Sofar Sounds London edition last week, Wednesday 9th. There is something really charming and psychedelic about the Oxford lads of Balloon Ascents. Although their acoustic performance sounded fairly different from the original versions found in their first self title EP, both are equally worth a listen. When you do, let me know if you think of Beatles as well...

Mixtape Mondays | December gigs

My first Sofar experience had also John Joseph Brill & Hilang Child. Two very different artists, but both had the ability of keeping the audience engaged. John's sad - borderline slice your wrists as you listen to - lyrics accompanied by his precise guitar strumming and in contrast with his raw voice had us mesmerised. On the other hand, Ed Riman's (a.k.a Hilang Child) piano sounded so soft and gentle once could listen to it all night.

Stunning performance by Conor Coughlan @ SETS Showcase. Photo by Zaira

The week reserved a few more surprises. On Thursday, the SETS Showcase Xmas line up, in Kings Cross, organised by Matt Belmont - also in this week's playlist - brought Conor Coughlan and an unplugged performance of his beautiful For You. Conor's stunning voice and passionate stage presence made us fall in love with him. You could hear a pin drop and that's not a figure of speech. The 19 year-old London born singer-songwriter has great melody writing skills. I am still discovering his debut album Give it Up, watch this space.

Not yet on Spotify, notwithstanding one of my favourite December finds, also thanks to SETS Showcase, is Joe Corbin. Watch the video below and you will understand for yourself why Matt picked him to close a night of amazing performances. Stunning, simply stunning.

So little I knew that my week of new found music wasn't over. Through Coughlan I found another interesting line up, last Saturday, at the Rolling Stock, in Shoreditch. The event is organised by platform Untitled. Being brutally honest, the venue is far from ideal for a live music event, it lacks in acoustics and a weird T shape means half of the room can't see the stage.

Having said that, Coughlan and Jake Morell, who followed him, were both brilliant. From Norfolk, Morell's folk & bluesy guitar as well as his deep voice reminded me a bit of the first time I listened to Hozier. So far you can only find two single's of his on Spotify, Fear Struck Wide and Wire & Thorns, both in this week's mixtape. But do check his Youtube channel for more, really worth a listen.

Week was over and time to check what's to come, this Tuesday, at the Time Out Best of Rising Stars. I won't elaborate on it as I intend to write about the gig later this week. However, I can say apart from Dan Owen, I am very much looking forward to hearing the beautiful voice of Emily Lee. Although I am not so impressed by her commercial vein, I think she might surprise me performing live.

A little bit more upbeat than everyone so far, Broken Witt Rebels and The Carnabys sound both really promising. The first, a 4 man piece from Birmingham, reminds me a bit of The Black Keys. Whilst the almost "neighbours" from Twickenham, The Carnabys, went from gigging in pubs to releasing in 2014 their debut album, No Money On The Moon, and opening for the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Kings of Leon and Black Crowes. Just that.

Offstage | Dan Owen

Saturday, December 12, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-


I am so pleased to say first interview up here is with this guy. He's one of the most accomplished artists I came across this year. Beautiful music writing, great voice. I caught up with Dan Owen after his gig at St. Stephen's Church last month, as part of the New Faces Communion Tour, to find out more about how he got into music & what's coming up in the new year. If you haven't yet, check his first EP Bad for Me on Spotify and if you're in London next Tuesday 15th, don't miss The Best of Rising Stars 2015 @ The Jazz Cafe, in Camden **.

♯ You started playing music fairly young. What motivated you getting into it? 
I started when I was 13 down at the pubs. We had a guitar in our house even though my parents weren't musical, but didn't take long for me and my sister to start singing songs together. She was older and a singer.

Dan @ St. Stephen's Church in November. Photo by Zaira

♯ Can you remember the first time you've played your own material to an audience?
It probably wasn't until I was about 18 that I started playing my own music, the years of gigging before were mainly old blues covers.

♯Have you ever considered any other career or has music been always the first and only choice?
I never really thought I could make a career from music, even though I'd always played and gigged. I started training as a carpenter when an eye accident on one of the machines brought an end to the carpentry career, but really pushed me to go full on into my music.

♯ When not making/playing music, what are you usually up to?
I try to get back home to Shrewsbury as much as I can and chill out with mates and usually end up playing more music.

♯Blues has been a big influence and you've included a version of Willie Dixon's Little Red Rooster in your first EP - by the way, brilliant version! Which other artists did you listen to when growing up and have you come across anyone recently who has also influenced you? 
Growing up I listened to a lot of 20s to 50s blues. Now I listen to a lot of the artists in the charts, there's some amazing stuff about now.

♯ If you could pick anyone, who would you like to collaborate with and why?
Randomly Eminem! I think he's an amazing musician and lyricist.

♯ How was touring with Jack Watts, Flyte and Seafret over the last month?
It was really great, me and Jack did about 12 dates together before the New Faces tour. We all still keep in touch.

♯ Are there plans to release new material in the next few months? You've played a couple of new songs recently - Made and Parachutes. Will these be on a new EP?
There will be an EP really soon! We are recording them all this month, I'm not 100% sure when it'll be out, but it'll be within the next few months, which is really exciting!

** Info about line up & tickets for Time Out Best of Rising Stars 2015 here.

Mixtape Mondays | Indie Night Out

Monday, December 07, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

This week's mixtape is a quick one, I blame all the Xmas dos for it, but there doesn't seem to be enough weekends (or evenings for that matter) for all the gatherings which pop in one's calendar in December (and it is only the 6th!).

If this is not the first post you've read, by this point you know I am not the commercial music type of person, so the idea of nights out partying is one which leaves me uneasy and torn - to join the celebrations or not to join? And although the tropical blood in me screams that single digit temperatures are a time to hibernate, mulled wine gets me out of the house. And so does indie rock and places which play the kind of music you'll find in this week's selection.

Arctic Monkeys | They've some of my favourite tunes to dance to

Mixtape Mondays | Indie night out

Originally this playlist was inspired by long gone indie night Bedrock, which for a few years happened every Friday at The Borderline, just off Soho Square. Rumour has it was supposed to move to The Water Rats, in Kings Cross, since the iconic venue - which hosted Oasis' first ever London gig - reopened last September, but we're yet to confirm that...

There are however, other London venues where you can listen to if not all, at least some of these tunes. The Borderline - the dirtiest dance floor in town, no figure of speech here - on Saturdays is still an indie rock night. Venn Street Records, in Clapham South, depending on the night is also an option and although tiny, has a really good vibe. There is also one of the trashiest pub-clubs I've ever set foot on, The Swan, in Stockwell, the weirdest place ever, but the music is alright. Just mind your wallet, it is not unheard of belongings going missing there.

For now I will leave you with a few somewhat obvious, however nonetheless number one party anthems. And although you won't find any electro-pop feel free to dance to it like a robot from 1984 or a boxing kangaroo **. That's at least what I do!

** Watch video below for a visual representation of what's like.