Friday, July 25, 2014

Gut Feeling: King Creosote - From Scotland With Love

King Creosote – From Scotland With Love
Domino, 2014
It’s always been that I’ve found my favorite albums by accident. I stumble over them like a crack in the sidewalk. Last year’s album of the year—Frontier Ruckus’ Eternity of Dimming—was discovered via watching their AV Club Undercover video for Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life.” 2012’s album of the year—Father John Misty’s Fear Fun—was in one of the myriad flats of CDs I was pricing in the basement of the Half Price Books in St. Louis Park. I put it on because I liked the cover, and then listened the CD at least once a day every workday for the next two weeks. I’m not saying King Creosote’s soundtrack for a film about Scotland in advance of the 2014 Commonwealth Games is my favorite album of the year, but it’s definitely on the list. And I only listened to it because I mistook it for a new album by English singer-songwriter King Krule. Happy accidents.

I have just spent a lovely sunny summer Sunday afternoon with this album as my soundtrack, and I am pleased. More than pleased. At ease. Do you know how hard it is for me to be at ease? I live with my in-laws because I barely make any money. I mean, it’s not that I don’t make any money, it’s just that the money I do make is siphoned off by massive student loan payments, health insurance, car insurance, car payments, and the various things needed to ensure the survival and happiness of a four month old girl child. Almost all of my free time is spent worrying about money. Sure, there’s happiness in the form of severe love from and for my wife and daughter, but perpetual stress is as close to a modus operandi as I get. So being able to spin an album of lush, gorgeously crooned melody drenched folk songs sung heartily with a Scottish lilt and feel relaxed is as close to pure mental wellbeing as it gets around these parts.

From Scotland With Love is absolutely fucking lovely. And it’s the most recent release in Kenny Anderson’s sprawling discography. He has been releasing records (initially in the form of CD-Rs) since 1998 and I feel flabbergasted that, as someone who considers himself to be pretty in the know in re modern music, I would have failed to have heard of someone who has been making music for 16 years. Even in passing. Ok, he’s only been releasing albums-proper since 2003, but still!

From Scotland With Love is a delight. The tracks run the gamut from quietly beautiful (“Something to Believe In,” “Pauper’s Dough”) to sunny and upbeat (“Largs,” “For One Night Only”) to string-laden showstoppers (“Miserable Strangers”) and the shifting texture, sonic diversity, and overall quality makes it surprising that this is a soundtrack for a film and not a standalone master class in nostalgia and pleasantness. 

"Something to Believe In"

"Miserable Strangers"

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