Look, I know this is such a fickle thing to care about right now, but this week, I have managed to land myself in another quarantine-induced period of comfort listening. My reliable album of choice, you ask? 1967’s ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, which, in one of my many questionable musical opinions that make me rather ill-suited to my job, I believe is the Beatles’ greatest body of work. Sue me!
Forget the age-old debate of whether it can actually be recognised as an LP or not (it was originally released as a double EP in the UK), ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ is an instant mood booster. It’s inarguably joyous, and now, in 2020, works as an instantaneous balm against the constant background hum of anxiety that this global pandemic has flared up for many of us.
Now that my life is devoid of my usual routines for the foreseeable, I am holding on tightly to anything and everything that may spark some sense of familiarity. And guess what? It seems that I am not alone in turning to the Fab Four in a time of crisis.
On May 10, Welsh archivist and artist Catrin Saran unveiled ‘Corona Revolver’, a reworking of the Beatles’ 1966 landmark album, ‘Revolver’, in aid of Tarian Cymru, who are currently raising funds to provide health workers in Wales with PPE supplies throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Here, Saran and a group of like-minded musicians have put together a 14-track, non-profit project that re-imagines some of the legendary group’s finest tunes; Bete Pest spins Love You To into a spaced-out, synth-flecked daydream, Safari Art’s take on Taxman sees the classic hit plod along with a newfound psychedelic gloss, and elsewhere, Plastercast Peacock shakes up the haunting Eleanor Rigby with pitch-shifted vocals and processed beats. And if the whole thing couldn’t get any more ingenious, Cardiff-based artist Rosie Daffern’s accompanying artwork sees the Beatles don face masks, around a collage of all those involved with the making of the album.
It seems that Stockport’s indie darlings Blossoms have also been in a similar mindset of late, made evident by their cover of 1966’s Paperback Writer, which appeared on streaming services earlier this week.
Blossoms – Paperback Writer (In Isolation)
Blossoms are beloved regulars of the British festival circuit, but with 2020 now being called a write-off for practically all mass gatherings (let alone thousands of festival punters in a sticky field), how will the band keep their live act together? With the help of their instruments, various household items and Zoom calls, it seems.
Over the past few weeks, the band have shared a dozen videos via their social media platforms, all of which feature clips of each respective band member jamming out in self-isolation to create note-perfect covers. Paperback Writer is one of the many classic tracks that they have reworked, alongside hit singles from other iconic artists such as Tame Impala, Frank Ocean and…themselves.
They are set to compile these tracks onto a new project titled ‘Blossoms In Isolation’, which is set to receive a physical release later this year, though a final date is yet to be confirmed. Keep your eyes (and ears) out for any news — you will definitely want to add a copy to your record shelves.
Right, enough Beatles talk for now. Believe it or not, I have managed to find just enough listening time to discover some new music too! Bristol singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist James Humphrys’s latest single, Colour, has become quite the infectious earworm throughout the week, often inspiring the odd dance break at my desk.
James Humphrys – Colour
Marking the first taste of Humphrys’s forthcoming second EP, Colour sparkles with indie-pop ambition as it bounces along an addictive, kinetic groove. The funk-tinged track refuses to wear out after repeated listens, partially due to the fact that Humphrys boasts fretwork so nifty that it could rival that of South London’s golden boy Tom Misch.
Colour will certainly whet your appetite for a few more infectious, textual rhythms (complete with a cheeky trumpet solo) from Humphrys, but you’ll have to wait until July 10, when he is set to drop his ‘Memory Place’ EP. Get your dancing shoes ready!