You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


So it’s winter. It’s cold, it’s dark, the sky is grey, the SAD syndrome excuse is being banded about and the chunky knits are out in full force. But it’s not all bad.

The upside of winter for me is that some music finds its home in this season. Someone once told me they loved The Cooper Temple Clause, but could only listen to them when it was a grey day. I knew what they meant.

A walk or drive in the cold, with a really affecting piece of music playing loud, is maybe the best thing about winter for me. If there is snow, even better. I love nothing more than walking through deep snow playing Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) by Arcade Fire while staring at that strange orange colour the sky goes.

In the same way Let’s Go Surfing by The Drums benefits from being played whilst driving in the sun with the windows down, some music is enhanced when the surrounding world is bleak and uninspiring. That isn’t a slight on the music at all, its just obvious some music doesn't fit a sunny day. Kate Bush’s new album is one I look forward to putting on if it snows this year, I'm not sure I'll put it on at a BBQ though.

If music was put into a colour spectrum, wintery, washed out earth tones would almost definitely be my choices. The soft browns of acoustic and folk, the greys of minimal indie and electronica. I like them all year round, but they resonate most in winter.

So what songs, bands and albums are good for making it through the long dark British winter?

The band that inspired this blog was The National, whose High Violet album I’ve been listening to a lot this winter and did last year. It’s bleak imagery, the baritone vocals of Matt Berninger, the atmospheric, building sound that they create, it all works on a grey day.

A reasonably new album that has also dominated my listening this winter so far has been Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm. It’s a fitting title, and his echoing, whispery vocals and delicate acoustics certainly capture a wintery sound.

Other favourites include the aforementioned Cooper Temple Clause, in particular their second album opener The Same Mistakes, James Blake’s sparse debut, Radiohead’s desolate Kid A, Fionn Regan’s charming The End of History, Bon Iver’s flawless For Emma, Forever Ago, I Break Horses’ Winter Beats (in name and atmosphere) and Warpaint’s dark The Fool.

So enjoy the winter while it lasts, there’ll be plenty of time for Best Coast and Vampire Weekend in the summer.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Happy New Year.

Having had a break over the Christmas and New Year period, Something For The CV is back with a damp squib, bloated, tired and in need of a new years diet. But I haven’t rethought, rebranded, redesigned or repurposed anything. It’s very much a case of groggily soldiering on, realising that this blog is very much like sitting in a dark room talking to myself. Oh well, I enjoy it.

So, with an increasing lack of free time brought on by various developments (my new Kindle I’m looking at you), I hope to write more posts this year, but make them shorter in length. Short and sweet, less is more etc. As well as trying to secure more high-profile interviewees.

And so onto 2012, and I’m in a reflective mood. I didn’t receive any new music for Christmas, and haven’t heard anything new I’m particularly excited about since being back at work. So nothing to report there.

The most contact I’ve had with music recently was a large amount of time I spent creating a playlist for a NYE party I attended. My obsession with sharing music with others is well documented on this blog and this party was another opportunity I couldn’t resist, though I wish I had.

Caribou's Odessa made the playlist, but did anyone else notice?

Here is what I learned, the good and the bad:

• Old music unites people far more than new music
• Hardly anything I liked from last year reached a mainstream audience
• It probably speaks more about my taste but most of what I enjoyed last year wasn’t suitable for a NYE party

And a few tips for any other playlist makers:

• Don’t spend large amounts of time cutting out gaps in between songs, no one will even notice the transitions you have worked on and think are amazing
• Don’t take out a song that you think no one else will like – you’re the only one paying attention anyway
• Equally, don’t include something you hate to please others, again they probably aren’t listening
• Why bother? I mean really, why bother?

And a few musical resolutions too for good measure, this year I will try to:

• Buy more vinyl
• Go to more gigs (Ben Howard + Daughter, Florence + The Horrors and Summer Camp tickets already booked)
• Listen to more new music
• Spend less time on playlists
• If a playlist does need making, make it self-indulgent beyond belief

Happy New Year.