2 Jul 2010

TOW on 6 Music Introducing: Sylvia Hallett and Susie Hug

Every week TOW is lucky enough to pick two songs for Tom Robinson's brilliant BBC 6 Music show, the spot goes out every Monday morning at around 2:30am.

Pick 1: Sylvia Hallett and Mike Adcock - Betty Martin

Sylvia Hallett and Mike Adcock's album Reduced, recently released on experimental Orchestra Pit Recordings, is for those who are looking for more than just a catchy tune to tantalise your ear drums. Featuring violin, accordion, percussion and a bowed bicycle wheel, this record takes you on a journey that's quite like being on your bicycle in London. One minute you are breezing along a quiet road in the sunshine, the next you are swerving a double decker bus, swearing at a black cab driver and bouncing over pot holes. It's one helluva ride. Hallett has worked both nationally and internationally as a composer and as an improviser, and for those mad keen cyclists out there - here's what she likes about playing the bowed bicycle wheel: 'The bowed bicycle wheel is also somewhat unpredictable. The spokes are not tuned so each one gives a different set of eerie harmonics. Rather like bowing a cymbal, you can never be quite sure which harmonic will sound; it will often skip to the one above or below the one you are trying to play! Similarly the rotary knobs on an old digital delay box are refreshingly imprecise. Some might call this lack of precision infuriating, but I find it stimulating.' And there you have it. I couldn't find anything from the new album on Youtube, but head to her myspace for that.

Pick 2: Susie Hug - Shed A Tear

Another one for the nineties music geeks - remember The Katydids? Susie Hug was the lead singer of this highly underrated group. Having previously collaborated with the likes of Fatima Masions, Ian Broudie and Travis (they've been her backing band donchaknow), Hug has headed West to seek out the woozey alt-americana stylings of Calexico. Recorded in Tucson it's sounds just as it should, like you're sitting in the only spot of shade on a hot dusty desert afternoon, with an ice cold beer in your hands. Shed A Tear is TOW's favourite song on the album, the rest runs much along the same lines - but this is the one that rolled around in our heads all day. Vacilando 68 Recordings is another revelation to us, an imprint of Orchestra Pit and a good home for Hug's West coast sunshine pop - did I mention she was born in Japan? She just gets more and more interesting...