100 for 2000 – #92. God Help the Girl – God Help the Girl

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2009 – #2.  God Help the Girl – God Help the Girl
(Rough Trade)

Stuart Murdoch of Belle And Sebastian heard a song in his head one day. It was suited to a girl, so he put out a call for girl singers in a local record shop. He found a handful of fantastic singers, and then started developing a new batch of songs around a movie script. The new band, their debut album and that movie are all called God Help The Girl.

That story means very little to me. It’s a curious fact, but this album is lovely without it’s backstory. Murdoch later lamented the boy’s party vibe of the last Belle And Sebastian album, the Life Pursuit. He readdresses that balance here. And stunningly well.

Girls. The central dilemma of the pop fanboy. How does Murdoch do it? He wrote every song here on the album, and manages to come up with an amazing point of view. OK, so I’m not a girl, so I don’t know if girls really relate to this. But I see these songs in the girls I know and have known.

I really can’t think of another song like I’ll Have To Dance With Cassie. Finally, I understand why girls like dancing with other girls. But who would write a song about that, from such sweet, irony-less compassion? Throughout the album there’s songs about dying hair blond, of the vulnerability of a drug come down, of being contrary – all from a female point of view.

It’s a nice little trick. And somehow this album hit me really hard. I’m still listening to it on a regular basis, when so many albums from 2009 have started to fall away. And it’s these girls. These fascinated women. I can’t work them out – I’ve never been able to – but god I find them fascinating. Even though these songs are written by a man.

Maybe it’s a Salinger thing. That very classic Salinger ingenue.  I see her in Act Of the Apostle – fragile but tough runaway, buying a Guardian newspaper on the train to fit in, coming up with an incredible backstory in case anyone asks. The sunshiney girl who meets the dog on the street, and has an imaginary conversation on If You Could Speak is another great example. Who are these girls? I’d love to meet them, and unravel them. But I know I never will – just like how Seymour and Buddy Glass never could.

Something else though. It’s British girls. Young, quirky, tough, beautiful London girls. They come from all over, they a cosmopolitan, yet working class roots. A pretty second hand dress and a pint of beer. A favourite Oasis song and a favourite French New Wave director. She can quite Eastenders and Oliver. The faces of all the crazy, captivating girls I’ve met in London breeze by as this album plays.

Finally, all the boxes are ticked in their regular sense. The performances are great. It sounds extraordinary – the detail in the production is best heard on headphones. Those intricate harmonies have to be heard.

Who knows about the movie. Or if they will ever do a proper gig. This album is a perfect mystery.

God Help the Girl performing God Help the Girl, a track from their album God Help the Girl. First of two such trifectas!

The Great Leap Forwards Top Ten Of 2009 (so far)

Lily Album - Its definitely her

Lily Album - It's definitely her

We are a blog after all. So lets make some lists.

Top 10 albums of the year so far

1. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You
2. God Help the Girl – s/t
3. Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications
4. Bell X1 – Blue Lights On the Runway
5. Rhett Miller – s/t
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz
7. Wilco – Wilco (the Album)
8. The Mummers – Tale To Tell
9. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
10. Bob Evans – Goodnight, Bull Creek!

We’ll leave the full babble for the end of the year. But Lily Allen‘s new, confident, mature, nasty, fun record has topped our list so far, with Stuart Murdoch’s new project God Help the Girl coming in a very close second. Jarvis Cocker starts all over as a British Nick Cave figure. So far a wonderful year for music and so much more to come.

So many albums only just missed out. Here’s our top 10 songs not on our top 10 albums list.

1. Phoenix – Lisztomania
2. Yves Klein Blue – Getting Wise
3. Regina Spektor – Dance Anthem Of the 80s
4. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – A Teenager In Love
5. Casiotone For the Painfully Alone – Natural Light
6. Franz Ferdinand – Katherine Kiss Me
7. Doves – 10:03
8. Camera Obscura – You Told A Lie
9. Gomez – Airstream Driver
10. Jason Lytle – Yours Truly, The Commuter

Tuesday Tunes Bonus: God Help the Girl – Funny Little Frog

God Help the Girl - Funny Little Frog

God Help the Girl - Funny Little Frog

When we decided to do this Tuesday Tunes column, we thought we might struggle to find one free legal download a week by established bands. Right now, we are looking at doing two a week. There is so much great music being given away for free in the world. We love it.

We can get away with calling this a bonus track because we’ve already posted a free track from God Help the Girl. It’s the new music/film project by Belle And Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch.

Their self titled album is fast becoming our favourite album of the year. This track is a particular highlight, having already been a favourite of ours from the last B&S record, the Life Pursuit. This version is slower, sexier and more dangerous.

Get the track here – http://godhelpthegirl.com/news/56/funny-little-frog-mp3
More about God Help the Girl including some great videos can be found on their site – http://www.godhelpthegirl.com

Tuesday Tunes: God Help The Girl – Come Monday Night

God Help the Girl - out 23rd June

God Help the Girl - out 23rd June

God Help the Girl is the new project by Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch. It has been in the works for quite a few years – in fact it was made concurrently with B&S’s 2006 album the Life Pursuit.

The key change here is the vocalists. Murdoch himself said that their last album was lacking a girl vocal. With God Help the Girl, it’s an almost all girl affair.

The history goes something like this; Murdoch had some songs that he felt would be better if sung by female singers. So in the modern day and age, he basically put the word out far and wide. A good old fashioned audition process led to a set of new female voices, mostly backed by Belle And Sebastian. It’s a very 21st century way of making an album.

The final part of the story has not happened yet, which is a Murdoch penned film which ties all the songs together. It is due to start filming next year.

Pretentious? Of course it is. But Murdoch is such a nice, self depreciating guy, it’s tough to hold it against him sometimes. Having been such a long time since the last B&S album, we’re eagerly awaiting this album.

You can download ‘Come Monday Night’ at http://www.godhelpthegirl.com/