I’m having one of those weeks where I can’t seem to get anything done. There are no less than 8 reviews sitting in draft form waiting for me to finish, and every time I look at that list of drafts I feel bad for the bands that sent me something, that I promised to listen to and write about. Then I try and write them and the words won’t come. The self loathing increases a stage.
There’s at least a dozen emails that I should really reply to. There’s another few folders of music that I’ve not even touched yet. There’s a bombsite of a bedroom to tidy. There’s jobs to be hunted. Add to that the small matter of a gig to promote and tickets to sell and I can feel the walls closing in on me. Yet what do I find myself doing, instead of all those things? Anything but those! Pissing about on Facebook and Twitter. Making endless cups of tea. The slightest distraction is enough to throw me off.
Yes, I think it is one of those times that I need to stop for a little while, take a step back, and let my head clear a bit. Close the email for the night and don’t even think about everything that needs done. Get a bit of perspective. I’m meant to be doing this because I enjoy it after all. It’s either that or the next time I’m out the house everything could go a bit Falling Down.
So tonight I’ve been giving myself a bit of time off. I’m listening to music for enjoyment instead of critically. Yet, funnily enough it’s an email I got on Tuesday that’s helping me relax and stop the mad panic better than anything else.
The email was simple enough, it was from Euan McMeeken, giving me a heads up that Conquering Animal Sounds will be releasing their debut album in September through his label Mini50, teaming up with Gizeh Records. Great stuff, I thought. I’ve not heard much of them, but what I’ve heard I liked. I thanked Euan for letting me know and went back to staring in anger and despair at the stuff I wasn’t getting done. Hearing Mogwai’s Batcat on Hollyoaks was a fun digression though. I don’t watch Hollyoaks, honest, I just hadn’t changed the channel from The Simpsons.
Fast forward a few hours and Conquering Animal Sound are providing the music I’m losing myself in to save my sanity. They are Anneke Kampman and James Scott, and as it turns out I’ve heard more of them than I first though. Between their mix tape and a live set from last year’s Trampoline all dayer there’s a good hour worth of material to just switch off and drift off in. And boy, is it gorgeous.
James and Anneke use a variety of instruments, tools and toys that my non technical mind can’t even begin to figure out to make beautiful, dreamy sounds. Loops and layers and beats and samples build up and wash over the listener, while Anneke’s vocals evoke Bjork’s without trying to copy them. Conquering Animal Sound make music that really is perfect for losing yourself in, Otherworldly even.
After clearing my mind of clutter and just letting myself listen to them I feel much better. Much happier and calmer. Clearly it helped shake off some of that writer’s block too, even if they have mostly inspired a post about not writing.
While there won’t be a Conquering Animal Sound album until September prior to that there’s a split 7″ release with Debutant. If you are the kind of person – like I usually am – that will sometimes be resistant to buying a 7″ because you don’t have a record player you should still consider going for it anyway. Your purchase includes a free download of both tracks, plus an exclusive extra track from each artist which are only available with a vinyl order. I felt particularly flush when ordering my copy and went for the deluxe package, since I’m a sucker for extra stuff.
There’s a couple of launch gigs for the single at the start of April, followed by a tour in May, visit the band’s MySpace for all the details.
Now for more downloads, streams and links than you’ll probably need, but more than enough to keep you busy while I carry on trying to save myself from slipping into madness.