Gray Days and Gold May 2020

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all doing well. Existential threat lunges from every headline, but Gray Days and Gold is here to whisk you away to a lovelier place for an hour. (If you’re just discovering Gray Days and Gold, here’s an introduction that explains the show’s raison d’être.)

Near the bottom of this post, the Appendix contains a little roundup of musical miscellany I’ve enjoyed lately.

But first: lead me in with a count of seventeen, Mr. Stapleton, then wave your baton—it’s the sound of May on Gray Days and Gold.

You can listen via the embedded player just below in this post—if you don’t see it, try turning off your ad-blocker then reloading the page—or on the Mixcloud website, via the Mixcloud mobile app, on your Sonos system, etc.

For those who prefer Spotify, there’s also a more bare-bones iteration of this episode’s playlist here (minus my commentary, as well as any songs that are missing from Spotify’s library).

Gray Days and Gold, May 2020

  1. LAKE, “Roundelay” (2020) • BUY
  2. Jon Brooks, “Fonn” (2020) • BUY
  3. The Lilac Time, “Mayfly Too” (1999) • BUY
  4. Orwell, “Rien Ne Pourra Me Rendre Sage” (2020) • BUY
  5. Alexander’s Festival Hall, “On Peacock Island” (2019) • BUY + his book Not From Above!
  6. Nap Eyes, “Fool Thinking Ways” (2020) • BUY
  7. Le SuperHomard, “Springtime” (2019) • BUY
  8. Marker Starling, “Drop and Pierce” (2020) • BUY
  9. The Cleaners from Venus, “The Days of May” (2014) • BUY
  10. Brendan Eder Ensemble, “Sing Your Heart Out” (2020) • BUY
  11. Alex Rand, “Boyhood Places” (2018) • BUY
  12. Jens Carelius, “Amur” (2019) • BUY
  13. George Ogilvie, “Mid-Air” (2020) • BUY
  14. Jack Sharp, “May Morning Dew” (2020) • BUY
  15. Ben Osborn, “The Only Thing” (2019) • BUY


COVID-19 isolation has got housebound musicians tackling projects for which they might not otherwise have found the time. Here are a couple of my recent favorites.

The Divine Comedy: “Outside”

From their respective homes, Neil Hannon and co. gathered in a virtual meeting space to record a lovely song called “Outside” (which had originally been slated for inclusion on last year’s Office Politics album).

Kevin Godley’s video archive

I’ve long considered Kevin Godley a musical treasure based on his years in the original lineup of 10cc, before he and Lol Creme left the band. But while I knew that Godley & Creme then had a third career as music video directors, I had no idea that they’d directed some of the most famous music videos of the early MTV generation: Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film,” Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Two Tribes,” the Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush duet “Don’t Give Up”… the list goes on.

During lockdown, Kevin’s been organizing his video archive and sharing behind-the-scenes stories on Instagram. It’s hugely enjoyable to read his comments and then watch the videos on YouTube with new context in mind. Click the image above—his post about “Fade to Grey” by Visage—to visit his Instagram account.

My LP Wall, Coronavirus Edition

I maintain a display of nine LP covers on the dining room wall, an ever-shifting assortment to pay tribute to a certain artist or highlight all the releases celebrating, say, a forty-year anniversary. Since the Coronavirus lockdown began, I’ve been using the display to express the phases of the crisis. Here are the first two editions: the many moods of being stuck inside, and the world without us.

LP Wall: the faces of isolation
LP Wall: the world without us

That’s all for this month; I’ll see you again soon. Oh, and if you’d like to receive these posts by email, please sign up for my newsletter. Thanks, as always, for listening.

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    Gray Days and Gold