Summer Love-In: The Hubster's Summer Playlist

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yes, that's right. Today's Summer Love-In post is brought to you by none other than the Hubster himself. I'll give you a moment to absorb this exciting news.


Absorbed? Ok? Good.

When I first introduced Fin to this blog a few months ago, I mentioned that he was really into music and that, if you were very lucky, he might come back and give you some hot picks one day. Well, my friends, that day has finally come.

Fin is actually a big part of why I started blogging. Not because he is a loving, supportive husband who saw that I was crying out for a creative outlet and encouraged me to give voice to my inner turmoil through the medium of blogging. No, it was because he started a blog first, and I was damned if I was going to let him get away with THAT.

However, while Fin might be comfortable sharing his views on the Italian Gallo horror film movement of the 70s and 80s (erm, what?), he was not so confident about baring his soul to my discerning readers. I assured him that he could just share a few tracks, no pressure, but oh, he went so much further than that. I won't deny that I felt a little teary the first time I read this. A few of you have commented on the relationship I am lucky enough to have with my mum; here, in all its messy, heart-wrenching glory, is the relationship Fin has with his dad. The other side of my coin. 

Please, please, give Fin a warm welcome in the comments; this was scary biscuits for hum, but I think he's done himself proud. Oh, and there are some top tunes too. Enjoy.

Most of my favourite memories of my dad involve music. My parents divorced when I was 9 or 10 and as result I moved back to the UK with my mum. Every summer, I visited my dad in the US for the eight weeks of the school holidays. Music permeated those long warm summers with my dad and if I think back to when I was most happy, it was often sitting alongside my father as we drove somewhere listening to Springsteen, Ian Dury, Robert Johnstone, Belle and Sebastian or any number of amazing bands and artists that my unschooled, youthful ears had never heard. A large part of my enjoyment was hearing these new sounds, but an equal if not more important part of the experience was just shooting the breeze with my dad. 

I have often heard that people growing up as teenagers are at some point embarrassed by their fathers - I have never had that. I always thought my dad was the coolest guy in the world (and kind of still do). When my dad was at work, I would leaf through his huge tape and then later CD collection [Edit: right this second, Fin is listening to his dad's iPod. Plus ça change.]. During those warm, lazy days I remember listening for the first time to legendary albums like The Clash's London Calling, Joy Division's Closer, Talking Heads' Speaking In Tongues and tons more. To me, it was a brave new world, and my dad was even cooler in my mind for having discovered this world first. 

As I grew, I developed my own tastes and with my friends fell in love with bands that weren't in my dad's collection - The Cure, The Chameleons, The Dead Kennedys and many more – until, when I was 17, a year before I met Kirsty, I fell head-over-heels in love with the other love of my life: Morrissey. 

Maybe it's sign of me approaching 30, or simply because it's true, but I cannot help but feel that pop and indie music are in terminal decline. It seems like nobody has any ideas anymore and the love and passion inspired by the great bands my father introduced me to, and the ones I discovered as a teenager, is impossible in this over-stimulated, confused world of ours. Maybe its just because I'm an adult and the world doesn't shine like it used to. 

But whenever I speak to my dad on the phone, one of the first things we ask each other is, “What are you listening to?”. Perhaps because of him, and because of the memory of being 17 and hearing How Soon Is Now for the first time, I still trawl the internet and music magazines looking for the new Moz or Strummer. So when Kirst asked me to write a blog post for her summer lovin thing [It's the SUMMER LOVE-IN DAMMIT!!] I knew it had to be about music. So, I thought I would introduce for you a few of the bands I think are worth a listen.


I thought I would start with a couple of Scottish bands, just to represent a little. The Twilight Sad have been working away for a few years now without really breaking through. They are about to release their third studio album and are really worth a listen. The band use the everyday experiences of growing up and small-town Scottish life, and combine this with a frantic rhythm section, overdriven guitars and the sentimental but enigmatic storytelling of lead singer James Graham to create something pretty powerful.


Another Scottish band, and one that has had a pretty dramatic last couple of years, taking in high critical praise for their first album, the mental breakdown of their frontman and the backlash associated with being hailed the best band in the universe ever by the now totally discredited NME. However, Glasvegas is a band that deserves more attention than many of the bands championed by the NME (The Vaccinces, anyone?), most of which soon disappear into the pit of mediocrity from whence they came. 

Hailing from the deprived east end of Glasgow, the lead singer James Allan represents an older form of working class British identity that rejects the swaggering, lager-swilling, masculine idiocy and arrogance represented by Oasis and their underclass-inspired spawn like Hard Fi, Kasabian and The View, and instead harks back to the days of working class pride and solidarity. 

James Allan is a charismatic, enigmatic frontman who, at his best, is the one of the finest songwriters around. Songs like Daddy's Gone and Lots Sometimes are truly excellent; this songwriting, combined with the Roy Orbison-inspired 50s vibe and the Phil Spector wall of sound, makes an amazing racket. Glasvegas are often criticised by hipsters for being over-emotive, but when everyone else seems to be falling over themselves to prove how little they care, Glasvegas are a refreshing change. Finally, a band you can believe in again.

[Kirsty: This song contains some of my favourite lyrics ever. Example: "I wish you were here with me nocturnally". Love.]


Beach House have quietly been improving their craft over three studio albums but it is in their latest album Teen Dreams that they really hit their peak. Teen Dreams is one of my favourite albums of the last ten years. Beach House make Kirsty anxious, or what she describes as "the opposite of relaxed", and while I disagree I kind of understand what she means - they make woozy, dreamy pop. In some ways you have to be in a Beach House kind of mood to listen to them, but if you are in that type of mood then no one can touch them. Victoria Legrand's plaintive vocals work perfectly with droning keyboards and guitar to create a truly distinctive sound.


While we're on the beach theme, I thought it would be worth mentioning Beach Fossils. Beach Fossils are a Brooklyn band who at first listen sound like many of their low-fi contemporaries, a sound that seems to be everywhere at the moment, but give Beach Fossils a chance and you realise they have more to offer than your average shoegazer. What separates Beach Fossils from many other similar bands is the guitar work on show. Somewhere between Johnny Marr and Sonic Youth's Moore and Ronaldo. This guitar-driven sound gives Beach Fossils more energy and drive than many other low-fi bands. Definitely worth a listen.


Hard Mix is the pseudonym of Noah Smith, who can kind of be described as "Moby, but not totally crap". Smith takes a variety of old recordings ranging from old soul songs to dialogue from Disney films and mixes it with interesting and diverse electro beats to create a fuzzy and emotive sound. His first album was released a few months ago and is worth checking out. It is not a perfect album by any means, but with Smith's young age this is to be expected. Its high points, however - Now Her, Memories and number of other moments - are an exciting basis for Smith to build on. Hard Mix has the potential to make a truly great dance album.

9 boats moored

  1. The description of Noah Smith made me snort coffee out of my nose.

    I love, love, love this. I love the way you word your connection with your dad. Bt the part about pop and indie music being in decline; that makes me sad. I think five years ago it was. Now, I disagree.

  2. Nice work Fin! This post will be my playlist of today's stressful day at work. Although it would be better if Spotify hadn't got crap.

    I'm also fast approaching 30 (not sure how that happened) and have lost a lot of interest in the bands of today that the young kids are listening to! Or maybe it's just because I used to have time to listen to and find new music and now all I seem to do is work, eat, sleep and plan a wedding :)

  3. what no Taking Chase!!!!!!!

  4. I will have to listen to these once I get home, but it does look like the players embedded and working ok. cool post Fin! I'm going to show this to my husband, he is the music guru in our house.

  5. Fin, I'm intrigued. I've never heard of any of these bands (I'm also fearfully out of the loop these days), so I definitely plan to listen to the songs you listed when I get home.

  6. I don't know that current releases are in terminal decline so much as there are ebbs and flows. I still seem to be able to find interesting things to listen to - sometimes new, sometimes filling in gaps from many moons ago.

    The Twilight Sad tracks were encouraging, I'll keep an eye out for the new release. As someone whose iPod has the Delgados, Teenage Fanclub, Glasvegas, Frightened Rabbit, the Vaselines, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Jesus and Mary Chain, Mogwai, Taking Chase, and Pummel, I'm always happy to rep Scotland. A quick trawl through old CDs would yield not just Belle and Sebastian but BMX Bandits as well.

    I draw the line at the Proclaimers though.

  7. Love Beach House so will be trawling through the other recommendations today (woop, ready made Friday playlist!). My 'dad' bands are Queen, Pink Floyd, Rainbows and The Strawbs.

  8. Nice post Fin! Saw both The Twilight Sad and Glasvegas just the other weekend.....does that make me really cool now?! k x

  9. Rosie (aka Kirsty's Mum)25 June 2011 at 06:44

    Great post Fin - what a team! But there didn't seem to be a mention of Steps..... xx


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