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Dummy Demos, Romantic Love and American Dreams...

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So here we are, the month is January, the year is 2012 and the ball is rolling - slowly.

If this post comes across a little disjointed its because it probably is, this time of year has a tendency to do that to me.

I'm back in the studio feeling my way around a bunch of new songs and ideas with the rest of Morning Parade and in all honesty, it's kind of a weird place to be.

Our debut album isn't out for another couple of months (5 March by the way - can't resist a cheeky plug) and we're already trying to work out what we want to do next - it feels a lot like that weird limbo week between 25 December and New Year's Eve.

I've been meaning to get around to writing another one of these blog/post type things but I'm a pretty firm believer in not opening my trap unless I have something remotely interesting worth saying.

It's always around the turn of the year that the majority of media outlets start compiling their best and worst lists, and as you can imagine, I have a huge thirst for knowledge on the top 10 turkey basters/celebrity scandals/TV moments/coolest people/best dressed wags/artists to watch and most hated politicians. Or not.

Admittedly I've never really been one to be phased by trends, and I often discover things much later than everyone else, usually because I rely more on word of mouth than journalists or the people who pick radio playlists, but here are a few of my favourite discoveries in 2011:

Frightened Rabbit - Keep Yourself Warm from The Midnight Organ Fight

It was released in 2008 but only bought to my attention recently, a break up record of immense brutality - "it takes more than fucking someone you don't know to keep yourself warm, oh you won't find love in a hole". True art, true sincerity and real guts to open yourself up like that.

Fionn Regan - Dogwood Blossom from 100 Acres Of Sycamore

I found it at the closing credits of Shane Meadows' This is England 88 and it has been a permanent fixture in my life ever since. Classic song writing, the kind of song I'm jealous I didn't write. His label, Bella Union are also responsible for John Grant who I mentioned in my last post.

Ron Sexsmith - Get in Line

Another discovery from BBC Four's Songwriters Circle. A bit of a 'toe tapper', according to Ron.

So with 2012 finally here I can't help but feel good about the year ahead. 2011 for us was one of the most exciting and intense years we've ever experienced. I really can't say it with words, so here are a few of my favourite memories that were captured.

2012-01-24-MP1.jpg

2012-01-24-MP2.jpg

2012-01-24-MP3.jpg

2012-01-24-MP4.jpg

2012-01-24-MP5.jpg

All photo's courtesy of my good pal Charlie Whatley. You can find his blog here by the way www.charliewhatley.com

So yes, 2012 has much to live up to, but really, what difference does a date make? Quite a lot according to the Mayans and the media that is infiltrating my social network feeds.

When I'm not working on new songs you'll find me lurking around the internet searching for something to entertain my mind and provide a welcome break - and never before have I been made aware of so many protest groups and conspiracy films.

I always try to take things with a pinch of salt but I thought that one of the films I watched THRIVE, made for pretty interesting viewing. Decide for yourself...

I think it's interesting that more of these types of films and documentaries are creeping uninvited into my peripheral, I think people are becoming genuinely bored with being fed junk and feeling so undercut. I'm just glad that they're looking for solutions rather than just someone to blame.

I can't help but think that change can only be a good thing right now, as things aren't exactly rosy when this can be offered as a valid solution to our problems... should we put lithium in our drinking water. Really?

On another of my twilight breaks I stumbled across a talk on the subject of love from Helen Fisher via TED.com

I don't think Helen Fisher would agree with putting lithium in our water. Helen Fisher is a biological anthropologist (what?) who has been studying love and relationships for 30 years, putting lovers inside MRI scanners... Yes, really!

Other than finding out that love and the rush of cocaine encourage activity in the same regions of our brains, she claims her research shows that dopamine plays an important role in humans falling in romantic love with one another. Interesting too then that dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that is suppressed when we take anti depressants (many of which contain lithium). Oh, and they suppress our sex drive too. Tenuously linked - see what I did there?

Tenuous or not, I thought the talk was interesting, and I vote no for lithium in our water... Who's with me?

The whole study of romantic love is an interesting one though; do we really want to know that there is a science to it? Isn't that like finding out that Santa Claus or the Teletubbies aren't real?

I think that might be a discussion for another time. I best get back to writing new songs. We're being let loose in America very soon and we are absolutely buzzing about it, it's the land of opportunity after all!

I think I'll try to make my next post in the midst of Morning Parade attempting to live out the American dream. In the meantime I'm going to crack on with some new tunes, here is a dummy-lyric-demo of a song I wrote over the Christmas period, no idea where it came from, I don't think it's really a Morning Parade song but it might as well get a chance to see the light of day...

Click below for Steve's demo exclusively on The Huffington Post UK - working title Bottom To The Top

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