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31 January 2017

Life Is Like A Box Of Records: Brave Little Note

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Having collaborated with a number of other musicians, including Idlewild’s Rod Jones, Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Irvine – aka Brave Little Note – has just released her brand new single ‘Grrrl Trouble’. A scathing attack on the new POTUS and misogyny in general.

We caught up with Brave Little Note to find out what songs have held the most importance to her over the years.

‘Homeward Bound’ – Simon And Garfunkel 

My Dad played guitar and sang this to me when I was little. He barely ever played or sang, so I must have been mesmerised to remember it. And I do remember it very clearly. Beautiful and gentle. I loved it. An engineer and sporty sort, I guess this showed me another side to his humanity. It obviously meant a lot to me to see that.

‘What Love Is This Of Thine’ – Kenneth Leighton 

Between the ages of 8 and 12 I was a chorister at St Mary’s Cathedral – there was also a specialist music school there and the level of musicianship was very high. I came from a very ordinary background and it was a totally different world to me. We sang this Kenneth Leighton piece often; it was my first introduction to the heart-wrenching beauty of dissonant harmony. To this day, my insides twist when I listen to it. One of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.

‘Killing In The Name’ – Rage Against The Machine 

We need more of these types of songs – I feel we’ve been lacking in them in recent times. Raw, political, angry, expressive. It’s perfect. It was definitely part of the soundtrack of my teenage years alongside Nirvana et al. I have this CD in my car and have definitely abused it in recent times to get some of my political anger and frustration out of my system.

‘Maxinquaye’ – Tricky

When this record was released (along with Portishead and Massive Attack at the time), the sound immediately resonated with me. It was as if, in some way, they had been written exactly for that moment in my life and it was like medicine to me to be immersed in sound that felt like my insides. When I listen to them now, I still connect with that feeling, although it’s far from my current head space.

‘Little Wing’ – Jimi Hendrix 

I love Hendrix, another musician who you can just connect with heart to heart. When my boys were young, their dad – who played the guitar with spellbinding ease – used to play this all the time around the house. We were listening to Hendrix one night when my son was a baby, having a conversation about whether we ought to turn the music down, and he laughed and said “you can’t turn Jimi down”. He then went to turn the volume down and it wouldn’t! We actually couldn’t turn Jimi down!

‘The Private Psychedelic Reel’ – Chemical Brothers

Glastonbury 2000: still one of the best live shows I’ve ever experienced. The Chemical Brothers were unreal. I hadn’t really experienced a crowd so connected and in the same experience and energy as that before. It was unbelievable. They came on as the sun set and the set they performed unfolded with rising and falling with absolute perfection, taking the crowd with them every step of the way.

‘Golden Slumbers’ – The Beatles 

Singing this song to each of my babies. And then later hearing them sing it, and finding out on that they remembered me singing it to them. Pretty special.

‘Trophy’ – Bat For Lashes

For some reason, hearing Fur and Gold seemed to join up dots for me. For some reason before that I hadn’t connected to the (now obvious) realisation, that I could make any kind of noise I wanted. It didn’t have to be anything else, try to be anything else – it could simply be my noise, however it manifested. I love this record, as it feels like that. Just a direct expression of Natasha Khan in that moment in time.

‘Joga’ – Bjork 

How to even narrow it down to one Bjork track when so many resonate so loudly? This one, though, was one of those moments when a song so literally expresses how you are feeling about a situation in your life that it’s unnerving. You’re listening and feeling, and you realise every lyric and every sound feels like it might have come out of you.

‘Grrrl Trouble’, the new single from Brave Little Note, is out now. 

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