MARCUS DOO AND THE SECRET FAMILY: Songs for summer, and every season after

By Elia Maqueda. May 19, 2012


Eyes all lit up like Christmas. Worlds filled with the things that kill us. Sighing princes and dying kingdoms. Eagles passing while we look down at our hands. Those are some of the images we find in Memorials, the new EP by Marcus Doo and the Secret Family, a band that is a world. That is Marcus’ voice trembling on the Highland cirrus clouds, that is the primitive reverberation within Fabrice's drums. That is the tempest in Dave’s guitars and that is the sparkle of all the instruments that Xisco has brought into the secret family. That is the echo of Rocío's voice that still inhabits the corners of the songs.

Marcus Doo and the Secret Family will be presenting Memorials next Friday 25th at El Perro (Madrid). At ten o’clock. This band is worth seeing live, and all of us going to this concert will be able to store it in the memory to set up that vital ground that makes us individuals.

Until then, we leave you with a selection of secret songs compiled by Marcus:


Canciones para el verano y las estaciones posteriores
by Marcus Doo

Hamish Imlach - Cod Liver Oil and Orange Juice: I chose this one because Hamish was one of those mythical folk legends my dad listened to when I was young. My dad actually appears in the background on one of his album covers. He was actually born in Corsica, but Hamish was the leader of the 60's underground folk scene in Scotland and the unofficial spokesperson for the for workers rights at Fairfields shipbuilders on the Glasgow Clyde along with the leader on the union Robert Gillespie senior (whose son Bobby would, incidentally, grow up to be the lead singer of Primal Scream). Any song by Hamish sends me to a beautiful warm memory that can even turn rainy Glasgow summery :) Cod liver oil is what the nurses used to give pregnant woman to induce labour; this song is about going out, getting drunk, finding a girl... and all the consequences of a good night out in working class Glasgow.

The Sea and Cake - Jacking the Ball
: The Sea and Cake have many great songs and Dave and I have been fan for many years. This one is perhaps the most accessible song they ever had "the hit" if that’s possible to say. Listening to it always puts a skip in my step and it’s a wonderful summer song. Perfect example of the boys intertwining guitars and drums to make that unique song that only they can. Also fantastic lyrics -as always- reminds me of our time in Chicago.

Migala - Your Star, Strangled
: One of the best bands in the last 20 years for me, for sure. Great lyrics, beautiful music. People here always ask the Spanish bands why they sing in English, but I think sometimes there’s a poetry, a certain unusual turn of phrase, that someone singing in a language that’s not their native one. I’d use Migala to prove this point - no native speaker could have written the lyrics to "Your Star, Strangled" and it’s all the richer for it! Great lyrics, wonderful feel. One of the reasons why I now live in Madrid. We discovered them in Glasgow years ago when Dave’s Galician flatmate lent us one of their cds. This one is one of my favourites from La increíble aventura. Difficult choice - they have many great songs. I know Dave’s favourite from this album is "Gran miércoles". Great memories.

Silvio Rodríguez - Parte de Noticias
: I realised, years ago, when my cuñada gave me this song by Silvio Rodriguez that there is a whole wonderful world of poetic beauty closed to the guiris to which Silvio and people like him are closed. This stuff never comes on British radio. I wish it did. I know there are so many great songs by him, this one is my favourite.

Brian Eno - The Big Ship
: The perfect mix of sound and composition, and demonstration of how to use the synthesiser to emotional effect. Heralded the dawn of a new era in instrumental ambient rock music which influenced many groups decades later.

Red House Painters - Grace Cathedral Park
: I can't get enough of Mark Kozelek’s music, whether it be his work in this band or his solo project Sun Kil Moon. Always very humble, evocative songwriting and beautifully arranged guitars.

Epic45 - Winterbirds
: This band make incredibly illustrative music, often referring to the English countryside or childhood memories, and use a variety of electronic and acoustic sounds to transmit these sentiments. A perfect blend of post-rock and "pop".

James Blackshaw - Infinite Circles
: A genuine master of the 12-string guitar and also a great composer of folk and modern classical songs and there is something mysteriously engaging about this song. As the title suggests, a never ending journey of interwoven melodies and repeating phrases, shifting patterns and time signatures.

Kath Bloom - The Breeze/ My Baby Cries
: One of the most honest most beautiful songwriters I’ve ever heard. This is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. Kath Bloom kills me. There's not much more to say than that.

Silver Jews - The Frontier
: One of the best lyricists I’ve ever heard, met him once in a bar in Edinburgh (he was playing with my friend Ali Roberts) and I asked him how he managed to write them. He said "standing up". May he keep standing, may his legs never tire. This is one of my favourite songs. I’d recommend his poetry too. Actual Air is a beauty.

Fabián - Nieve en el tejado
: Fabián is a new discovery for me. Xisco knows him very well. He came to our concerts in Leon. He does some wonderful stuff. I’m a big fan.

Medelia - Row to Hoe
: This is my favourite from the new album. I chose this because they have great songs. They have a great energy live too. I saw them in Sonorama last year... they had the audience captivated. We played a couple of shows together and I’ve always really enjoyed them. Were also studio mates, they recorded their album in the same studio as our EP, and they sang on our first album! Great band, great guys.

Sparklehorse - Cow
: When my brother came back from Virginia, he gave me vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot as a gift. I’d never heard of him before that. This song made me think: bloody hell, this is what its about, this is what you have to find in yourself when you sit down (or stand up, in the case of the Silver Jews) to write a song. His untimely passing is a great great loss. Wonderful artist, wonderful musician.


Listen to the playlist here.

*These songs are not on Spotify. You can listen to them by clicking on the link.

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