Ben Watt: My Early Morning Alarm Clocks

The former Everything But The Girl man releases a new album today, so should be caterwhauling out of bed. Normally, however, he likes to rely on this eclectic selection of tunes to get himself going in the am...
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The former Everything But The Girl man releases a new album today, so should be caterwhauling out of bed. Normally, however, he likes to rely on this eclectic selection of tunes to get himself going in the am...

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As Justine sang in Elastica ‘Waking up and getting up has never been easy’. Couldn’t agree more. Here are a handful of tunes I keep on my phone to get me out of bed. For a while I tried rousing stompers but I just used to mute them and to back to sleep. The gentle but insistent touch works best.


Bon Iver-Holocene

It’s all about the cycling cystalline guitars on the front, rotating like sunlight through curtains. Slide guitar, bells, falsetto. This is a big favourite.

Quincy Jones-Cast Your Fate to the Wind

From Quincy Jones’ early 70s period, the gentle horns and Fender Rhodes keep it smooth and sensual. You probably need a shagpile rug to step out onto to experience the full effect of this one.

Au Revoir Simone / Through the Backyards

Primitive light drum machine, swirling soft synths and those gorgeous voices. It is almost a reverie in itself. This is a good one to put on snooze then let it wake you again ten minutes later.


Sufjan Stevens / Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois

The aching piano, the feathery flutes, the odd bar lengths and the soft sound of Sufjan Stevens whispering in your ear, this was probably written as alarm clock music but he forgo Best to tell us.

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Iron and Wine / Fever Dream

Like ‘Holocene’ this is for fans of benign acoustic guitars tapping you lightly on the shoulder and saying things like ‘You are beautiful, I have a lovely cup of tea for you on the bedside table.’


Kool and the Gang / Summer Madness

The ultimate alarm clock for the frazzled DJ. The hazy vibrato-driven Fender Rhodes has been sampled so many times that it oozes a killing familiarity, but you can doze in the knowledge that you are listening to THE SOURCE.


Brian Eno / Becalmed

I use this after a really heavy night. It creeps in slowly but surely, merciful but ultimately insistent. Those 1970s polysynths buzz and sing sweetly in your ear. But be careful - it’s easy to go back to sleep during this one.

Jon Brion-Theme from ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

This sounds great on one of those bedside sound systems with good bass response. The woody upright bass pulses warmly and compassionately while the piano lines circle like a flickering ferris wheel.

Wake Owl / Candy

Richard Swift produced this track recently for Wake Owl. It has one of the loveliest of modern intros. A sweet soul guitar, artificial strings and a tapping hi-hat. The groove kicks in after about a minute and half so you might want to be up and about at this point.

Talk Talk / New Grass

This is the ultimate Sunday alarm clock, when you don’t actually really need to get up and can just lie dozing in and out of a lovely piece of music. Incrementally beautiful. Allow yourself a full ten minutes for this one.

John Coltrane / Central Park West

Coltrane on soprano and at his sweetest and most mollifying. I like this track so much that I usually just lie and listen to the whole thing and marvel at it for a while until I realise I am late.

'Hendra' is out now on Unmade Road.  You can buy it here