As we go back into the haul of lockdown, hearts are breaking, tempers are short, and the sense of ‘when in the name of all deity’s will this all be over?’ is apparent beyond belief. So, us empathetic music nerds at The Mancunion decided to share a little list of one of the biggest things that got us though lockdown the first (and the second) time. Music. To us, these albums have lifted ourselves through the total disruption of the world and empowered us to keep on. We hope you, the reader, the listener, will feel the same comfort in chords and words as we did. Enjoy.
‘Hold It Together’ – JP Saxe
A record for anyone who enjoys an acoustic sound and lyrics filled with heartbreak, love and fun. Released in early 2020, ‘Hold It Together’ is JP’s first EP and the Canadian singer-songwriter does not disappoint. While some of the songs are heart-wrenchingly sad, the main emotion that the record leaves the listener with is hope. This is why I would recommend this EP for the next few weeks especially – we all need a little hope.
From the first through to the last song, the record feels truthful, which makes it a delight to listen to every time. It takes the listener to heights of “it really should’ve been us all along” to then plunge them into the emotional depths of “I loved you fully but I’m growing up now; I loved you fully but fully means more now”. Hold It Together feels like a warm hug and a hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day, and like rays of sunshine coming in through the windows in spring.
‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’- Arctic Monkeys
As a big Arctic Monkeys fan, I never really got into ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’- it just didn’t grab me as much as the fast and furious dance floor hits of their earlier years. This lockdown though, I found the smooth, relaxed beats of ‘Tranquillity Base’ the perfect antidote to the anxiety of the news. I played it to death, particularly ‘The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip’ with its whirling electric absurdism. The lyrics seemed alarmingly prescient, from the unfulfilled ambition of ‘One Point Perspective’ (“I’m gonna form a cover band” comes pretty close to planning to learn the guitar, something I try every New Year) to ‘She Looks Like Fun’ (“We moved it all online, as of March”). Not exactly escapism, but it got me through!
‘Moveys’ – Slow Pulp
Finding catharsis in softer and cosier music at this time of a particularly strange year, Slow Pulp’s debut album ‘Moveys’ came at just the right time. The Chicago-based band have emerged from personal trauma during a pandemic with a self-produced record of immense beauty and healing, whilst not a million miles away from their scruffy indie rock beginnings. Stand out track ‘Trade It’ with its raspy, breathy vocals, and warm twangy guitars that build to an uplifting dreamy mix feels like a soothing hug. As a wonderfully-balanced album ideal for chilly afternoon walks and cups of tea, it’s an album that certainly fits the criteria that it was created for: lockdown survival.
‘Four Bibles’ – Hey Colossus
Hey Colossus is a band of note in the English music scene with this being their 12th release. Having been active for nearly two decades, this is a band that took a long time perfecting its craft. There are many reasons why this album can get you through lockdown, from the psychedelic landscapes drenched in sound in the opening track, then bam! The word comes crushing down with dark mystic words and vocals. You’d wonder ‘why have a dreary record on all the time when stuck indoors?’ and well, each to their own. But this entire record can have you entranced. Moving and swaying into each song and is an optimum soundtrack for any part of your day. From getting dressed to studying- put ‘Four Bibles’ on. It balances between immersive and passive and it can help escape the darker moments in your own mind by suggesting ‘here’s an example of how to be creative with it’. The follow up ‘Dances/Curses’ came out this month, so go have a listen to it in this second lockdown.
Cheers to Joey, Tilda, Izzy, and all the others at Mancunion Music Team.