Shameless Tuesdays: Livre 68 | Léanie Kaleido
Léanie Kaleido has always had the power of music to help her through the day. Whether it was blaring Ride or PJ Harvey for all to hear or hearing the strumming of a guitar from her father (and original Yardbirds member) Top Topham, Kaleido felt the magic of melodies flowing through her very essence. She was destined for the musician's life, as she took to the mic with either a piano to tickle or a guitar to sling over her shoulders.
In her fiftieth year, she was given the chance to work with one of her heroes: Ride's Mike Gardener. The end result is her latest record How To Weigh A Whale Without A Scale. Dealing with dark themes like drug & liquor abuse ("Codeine"), Buddhism and Shakespeare-based hope ("Kite String Mantra"), and -- well -- a missing hat ("Hat Thief"), Kaleido flows through every song with grace and beauty. Sometimes it's attached with a smile, and other times a somber frown. Whatever the mood, How To Weigh A Whale Without A Scale showcases how magnificent of a songwriter Kaleido truly is. And to keep on with the sea mammal-measuring, Léanie Kaleido has arrived to take on this week's Shameless Tuesdays!
Here's what Léanie has to say about this week's playlist, which she's given the title of "Lockdown Life":
Hi. I’m Léanie Kaleido, a singer-songwriter from the south east of England. I’ve just released my third album, "How To Weigh a Whale Without a Scale", recorded at OX4 Sound with my musical hero, Mark Gardener, frontman with RIDE, my all-time favourite band. When I was asked to create a playlist, I was really excited as I’ve never had to do this before. Then I realised how tricky it is to choose the tracks! Sticking to a theme helped though. The overriding theme for this playlist is deliberately broad – LOCKDOWN LIFE.
The pandemic has brought about a loss of our freedom and control and, along with that, has brought with it, feelings of disorientation, irreverence, fear, frustration, alienation and the loss of hope. People struggling with addictions and domestic abuse have suffered more. Relationships have floundered. Some have blossomed. The loneliness for some has been unbearable. But some acts of kindness and indomitable spirit have filled us all with hope. So, this playlist covers all those feelings and situations – and it’s cathartic, at least for me, and I hope for you too.
My taste in music is eclectic but on the whole the stuff I really love differs from my own songs. However, I’ve included a few of my own tracks as they definitely look at issues such as domestic abuse, addiction, loss of freedom and feeling alienated. I’m hoping there are enough uplifting tracks so that no-one goes away crying. Enjoy!
FEELING LOST & ALONE/MENTAL HEALTH/FRAGILITY/ADDICTION
"Cannonball" – The Breeders (one of my top 10 tracks of all time – strong, talented women wanting to be heard!)
"In This Room" – RIDE (proof that the band getting back together was SO worth it!)
"A Lucid Dream"– Fontaines DC (I’m insanely in love with this song and its feeling of disorientation and irreverence)
"Aladdin Sane" – David Bowie (insanity wrapped up in an utterly genius song)
"Kaleidoscope" – RIDE (I loved this song so much when I first heard RIDE’s debut album, that I changed my surname by deed poll to Kaleido. True story.)
"Castles Made of Sand" – Jimi Hendrix (such a poignant song, but sung so sexily it makes me go a bit gooey)
"Someone’s Daughter" – Léanie Kaleido (a song about feeling lost and alienated)
"My Bag" – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (another all time favourite about drug addiction)
"Chained"– Mark Gardener (gorgeous track) (this track is on Bandcamp)
"Hey Ma" – Bon Iver (how does this guy make such strange noises work so well in his songs?)
"OX4" – RIDE (a song about the end of a party, wanting to get to the door but being too off your face. I miss parties!)
"Destroy Us" – Beachy Head (a new band formed by members of Slowdive and Flaming Lips)
"The Whores Hustle & The Hustlers Whore" – PJ Harvey (a deeply dirty, dystopian track)
"Armageddon" – Voice of the Sea (friends of mine – their brilliant recent release – it’s on Bandcamp and Soundcloud)
DOMESTIC ABUSE / SEXISM / MISOGYNY
"Kiss with a Fist"– Florence & The Machine
"Luka" – Suzanne Vega
"Sheela Na Gig" – PJ Harvey (I first heard this track on the John Peel sessions sitting in my room at university and it blew my mind!)
"Codeine" – Léanie Kaleido (about a very, very emotionally abusive relationship and how people turn to drink, drugs, whatever, to shut out feelings rather than deal with a situation that is in itself addictive. It starts off a bit tongue-in-cheek, with me talking to my plants, but evolves into a pretty dark song).
"Romance"– Ex:Re (despite the title, this song describes a rape. Pretty brutal)
LOVE & LOSS
"Magdalen Sky" – Mark Gardener
"Human" – Daughter
"Sleeper Service" – Punctures (while I was recording at OX4 the extension had been built and this young guy, a friend of Mark, was helping paint the outside and we got chatting. Turned out he’s in a band and when I heard their track, I loved it.)
"No Rest" – Dry The River (I love the way this song progresses into something you’re not expecting. It’s insanely good.)
"Down to Zero" – Joan Armatrading (I’m a huge Joan fan and I’ve never tired of this track)
"I Wear Your Ring" – Cocteau Twins (reminds me of waking up with the sun shining through the curtains as their album was playing on loop all night and whenever I hear it, it lifts me up.)
"We are the People" – Empire of the Sun (Uplifting and sad at the same time and a genius chorus)
"Gold Skies" – The Jemima Price Band (These guys are friends of mine. Jemima’s voice is pure gold and her partner Mirek plays some beautiful guitar)
BEING STRONG / KINDNESS
"All The Things I’m Made of" – Léanie Kaleido
"Offence" – Lil’ Simz
"Flood" – Vagabon (this track is very new to me. We don’t hear many women of colour in the indie scene so she is a breath of fresh air)
"People Help the People" – Cherry Ghost
Kite String Mantra – Léanie Kaleido (I wrote this using all the quotes and mantras I’ve turned to, to get through the hard times. It’s quirky and fun and the lyrics are inspired by Shakespeare, my favourite film Withnail & I, and my practice of Buddhism. I’m a rubbish Buddhist though)
Promotional consideration provided by Shameless Promotion PR. Check out the 2020 Shameless Tuesdays playlist curated by their founder here!