Tag Archives: Scout Niblett

30 Day Music Challenge: Day 4 – A Song That Makes Me Sad

Scout Niblett – Wolfie

Not an easy choice to make, but this is one of the only songs in my library that no matter what mood I’m in, will give me a moment where I’m not as far away from the reasons it gets to me as I thought. Scout…her voice, the words, that utterly searing guitar and the raw simplicity of the song – she strips away every moment in the distance between now and then.

I don’t think it’s necessary that I say any more about that.

I do think it’s necessary to say that I think we all know that the world is larger than the tiny part of it we inhabit, greater than our thoughts and the thousands of things that only affect ourselves. We know that our lives take on one small thread in a vast amount of time. It’s easy to keep that thread bound tightly in a small circle, for everything we experience, see, hear and learn we must bring back to ourselves in order to try and understand it.

The sadness that this song evokes is somewhere near the centre of my circle, perhaps obviously a personal one, but it is small. Sadness itself seems like a very small word these days.

The streets I walked down yesterday were quiet. There were no dogs barking, no children playing in their yards. Passers-by were solemn and seemed contracted. It was as though the world is so moved it’s people find it hard to move, as though the world has been stilled to balance the devastation of it being shook.

But we must not keep still.

It’s impossible to know the full extent of what Japan needs right now, but they need us to be moved in more ways than one. If you have money, donate it. If you have clothes, blankets and shoes, then find somewhere that will take them. If your organisation has medical supplies, then send them. If you have faith, then pray. If all you have is a moment, then use it to tell someone else this message.

The earth, for better or worse, will continue its motion. So don’t stop,  and do what you can to bring everyone with it.

Digital ways to donate to Japan disaster relief. (Via Sydney Morning Herald).



Theme Songs for Favourite Things

This is a blend of a few different ideas I had that never quite came to fruition, but simply, for me, a good opportunity to think about music and the way I relate to it in a different way, as well as – every so often and hopefully, draw some attention to some of the other awesome things that are in this world. I have pretty much a neverending supply of favourite things, so the idea is to make this a (probably sporadic) permanent feature.

Favourite Colour – Purple

Just about everything looks awesome in purple, so I doubt much more explanation is required. And, surprise, the theme song for purple is not by Prince or Jimi Hendrix, but the infinitely beautiful and long-treasured song Purple People by Tori Amos. I first heard this track nearly 15 years ago and I still love it. The lyrics in the final verse – thunder wishes it could be the snow / wishes it could be as loved as she can be / these gifts are here for her, for you, for me – are made beautifully ambiguous by the vocal. If you listen to it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.


Favourite Animal – Lion

Yes, I have something of an obsession with lions – their symbology, mythology and the pure, primal nature they represent; which I reference on a continual basis in other writing endeavours. There is nothing more awesome on earth than watching a lion take down its prey – raw and savage power not always driven by need. Thus, the theme song for lions is The Resonance of Goodbye by The Angelic Process. (Contrary to what the vid says, the song is from the album Weighing Souls With Sand).


Favourite Sandman Character – Delirium

Pretty much one of the greatest fictional characters. Ever. It’s simply impossible not to adore her. She is one of the seven Endless – siblings in The Sandman comic series by Neil Gaiman. She often comes across as a child – confused, whimsical, innocent and a little bit odd, but the perfection of her character (to me) is that her thoughts, where they come from and where they go, are simply unthwarted by the things we get taught “should be”, which  often ignores  possibilities. I highly recommend the comic series, and for more on Delirium specifically, check out this  awesome blog dedicated to her. The theme song for Delirium is Fishes and Honey by Scout Niblett.



The Calcination of Scout Niblett

Rock & Roll Alchemy

Cover for The Calcination of Scout Niblett

The first time I heard The Calcination of Scout Niblett I had the almost irresistable urge to visit Scout’s Last.fm page and just leave a “Scoooooouuuuuut!” post – my version of a greeting as well as nod of approval for the album. Seemed a bit silly, so I had to ask myself where that urge came from. The answer, I believe, is familiarity.

Listening to Calcination… is like listening to a friend sing rock and roll campfire tales, which is where the warm, inviting familiarity comes from. The songs are stripped bare in typical Scout style, which  most commonly means just a guitar, drums and her unmistakable voice, making it an intimate album in terms of instrumentation and subject matter – both of which fluctuate effortlessly between mellow tales to tracks with out-and-out rock/punk attitude, quite often within the same song. If it were to garner any comparison I would say it has most in common with 2005’s Kidnapped By Neptune (which happens to be a particular personal favourite – perhaps not for long because this album is just that good).

The album keeps pace very well, and the final four tracks are absolutely stellar – Ripe With Life and Meet and Greet being notable highlights. The latter (which is the final track), is a very welcome bluesy number which could almost double as the torch song right before the final battle in an old western.

I’m going to divert for a bit now and talk about the album’s title. Admittedly, I had to look up just exactly what calcination meant. (I’m glad I did because I was a little off-base in my initial understanding). Calcination refers to a process of heating materials, either in order to effect phase transformations or to remove volatile elements, as well as occurring naturally beneath layers of hot volcanic ash. With all this in mind the album’s title is rather apt.

So, then, what does The Calcination of Scout Niblett produce? Utterly heartwarming and charming rock and roll , which is both stark and beautiful – that kind of alchemy is quite rare indeed.

Visit betterPropaganda to get a free MP3 of the title track.

Alternatively, visit Rough Trade or Drag City to buy a copy of the full album in various formats.


Miss In Love With Music

I’ve been in all sorts of odd moods today. Last night, and most of this morning, I was pretty focused on one thought, and I was humming “Miss In Love With Her Own Fate” by Scout Niblett over and over. Like most of the songs on the album (I Am), instrumentation is sparse – at best – and very beat driven, but still so easy to hum, which is a nice acheivement, I think. Anyway, it was the line “Ma, this boy is driving me wild” that I kept humming.

I was scouring YouTube for the song (I have the CD, but I wanted to post the song here) but alas, like so many other songs I look up, it’s not there. (I should maybe do something about that one day). So then I looked through all the stuff of hers that is, and got thoroughly immersed in the live renditions available of Scout singing the track “Nevada”.

And just like that, the sadness, the heaviness, I was feeling before I logged in just melted away. My mood turned and the purpose of this post changed – maybe it has no point anymore, or never did, but I’m still humming and now it’s with a smile.

This is why I love music.