Archive for November 2009

The List is done!

28 November 2009

 

So, finally my  2009-list is done, a bit later than last year. Listening to all the stuff from this year, I had a mixed feeling… there were not as much outstanding records as last year, and a lot of bands I really looked forward to disappointed me.

That being said, I’ve got a really amazing number one, which I will reveal in the course of the following weeks, hoping to have finished before or just after Christmas. I also will try to finish my best of the decade list by then, so I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Anyway… the albums that you won’t see in my end of year list (that you would’ve suspected in the first place)

Islands – Vapours: Vocoders are there to be destroyed. This band is finally over for me. I won’t be trying any next stuff.

Devendra Banhart – What will we be: Banhart’s first major label release, and you can hear that. All the fun is sucked out of his songs. The promising future turned into a bland present.

Monsters of Folk: Though they gave a great show (and I got wronged by Oberst and James about how they suck these days), the sum isn’t nearly as good as the separate parts. At least on the record.

Micah P. Hinson All Dressed up and smelling of strangers: I like cover albums, but i have no idea what Hinson was thinking with some of these versions.

Findlay brown: I don’t even wanna remember this. From superfolkie (and a high spot in my 2007 list) to Phil Collins’ evil stepbrother. Yuk. (I’m not even giving the name of the album, because I wanna spare you guys that).

Misophone – I sit at open windows: I once asked them if they would release their old material, and i think this is one of the albums preceding “Where has it gone, all the beautiful music of our grandparents? ..” The bad thing is you can hear that they’ve not grown to their full potential on those albums yet. Guys, ignore my request and just start recording new stuff.

Grizzly Bear– Veckatimest: i must say it was on the shortlist for quite a while, but in the long run it just wasn’t good enough to obtain a place in the top 50. The Same for Castanets, Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, Bonnie Prince Billy, Hallelujah The Hills, Why (my number one of last year!) and Noah & The Whale.

Wilco – Wilco (the album): the last three albums of this band are probably all in my top 50 of the last ten years, and although this one has enjoyable songs, It’s just a bit below Wilco-standards. There isn’t one song no it that would end up on my Wilco best-of mixtape. This hurt probably the most this year. Ouch Wilco.

So, now you have a small overview on what’s not there. Keep checking the blog for the Yes-list.

Yes!

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What have I been reading?

16 November 2009

Time for yet another episode of the ‘What Have I been reading’-lists I’ve been keeping. I use a little booklet for this, and I’m already dreading the day that the book is full. Most of it is written in pencil, so that I could erase it, but maybe I’ll just make a 900 pages long notebook myself, in which I meticulously keep listed what I’ve read in my life. My children, or my parents, my friends will find this list one day, thinking that I spent too much time reading and too little time living. But They don’t know that that’s just the same. By the way, no Amazon links this time, cause i think you all should start to buy at your independent or secondhand bookstores. Go for it guys.

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David Eagleman – Sum

This is one of the best books I read this year, I think. Eagleman, a neuroscientist and writer, comes up with 40 short tales (microfiction it is called) about how the afterlife would be. Especially the first ones made me gasp for air, admiring the great train of thoughts Eagleman is taking in all these little stories. On his website you can read a few sample stories. They are not all as great, and I think I read the book in a too short time. You should be able to just read one story a week, so you’ll be amazed for forty weeks. I tried to keep it to 3 stories a day, but ended up finishing it faster than I could.

 

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Richard Brautigan – The Abortion

A story from the sixties about a man who works in a library for unwanted books, hooks up with an unwanted writer, gets her pregnant, and they decide to have an abortion in Mexico. The plot is a perfect recipe for melodrama, but Brautigan, the hippie that he was, makes into this sweet love story. There is this lack of tension, which makes it a good in-between read, but I’m not sure if Brautigan will ever become my favorite sixties writer (he has to compete with people like Vonnegut and Tom Robbins)

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Paul Auster – Timbuktu

I’m a big Auster fan, and this was one of the few books i hadn’t read yet, but it quite disappointed me. I love the beginning, when Mr. Bones is still around his excentric boss, Willy Christmas, whose job it is to spread the merry Christmas thought, after Santa Claus himself told him too. I loved the hobo monologues. But then Willy Christmas disappears from the story, and you get this tale of a dog looking for a new home. It was just too much a disney story to me. It hadn’t the same depths like other Auster books. The main character being a scruffy dog just didn’t work for me. I can remember I felt the story had a bit a too much constructed plot, just because you’re dealing with a dog here. Making the dog able to understand people? It’s a bit too easy.

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Alex Robinson – Box Office Poison

This was my Graphic Novel portion for this month – I have no graphic novel buying frenzy planned for the following weeks, so there probably won’t be one in my next list, though you never know off course how much i break my own promises – but boy did I love it. It wasn’t too alternative underground this time, although it still had this typical American “look at me, cause I’m neurotic feel to it”. Box office poison deals with the life of twenty-somethings in New York, growing up; It was like a more serious version of Friends in a way. One of the main characters is a comic book artist (see, it’s all self-indulgent), and ends up working for this guy who invented a famous super hero, but doesn’t get the recognition for it. But it’s also about friendship, relationships… really nice one…

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Hugo Claus – Friday

Hugo Claus is supposed to be one of the finest writers to have ever lived in Belgium, the one Belgian writer ever been named for the Nobel prize, but I never had read something from him before. Excuse me: I had tried, but put the book away after 10 pages, cause it bored the hell out of me. Friday was okay, because it was a play, and because it was short. It’s about this man who returns from prison where he has been because he supposedly sexually harassed his own daughter. His wife in the meantime got pregnant from the man’s best friend. The emotional relationships between those three characters, the doubt about the guilt or innocence from the father..it was quite interesting. But there are so many referrings to a world in Flanders that no longer exists, that it also seemed archaic… I guess that most people nowadays will think this is just out of time.

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Magnus Mills – The Scheme for Full Employment

Magnus Mills is a British writer, who is writing about absurd situations. Not very high-brow literature, but just a writer who likes to amuse his audience. I read a few books of him, and quite liked this one. It’s about the Plan, a sort of government business that involves people riding down in vans from one storage place to another, being on very tight time schedules. People that are part of the plan get payed good, have job security. But then there is this feud about the time schedules, and everything starts crumbling down. Witty stuff.

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Mario Reading – The New Prophecies of Nostradamus

I’m interested in the obscure, and Nostradamus has fascinated me. But,  I also think it’s a lot of bollocks. Mario Readings thinks it’s not and tried to interpret quite a few of Nostradamus’ predictions. I bought this book from a friend who works in a secondhand bookstore, and texted her just a few hours later that this is probably the worst book I’ve ever read in my entire life (well, no..nothing beats Siloam in Dutch translation) . You see, Mario Reading’s readings are laughably far-fetched. He connects dots by pulling a curly line from point A to point Q, to end up at point B. If he reads about burning suns, he’ll look up some sort of mythology, going from Egyptian to Persian mythology, and then come up with an interpretation that makes me think the writer’s a bit schizophrenic. This book got released in 2006, and the fact that every interpretation thus far, is completely wrong, proves my point. Don’t buy this junk.

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Michel Tournier -The Ogre (book cover is in Dutch, exactly like the book I have)

Classic of the month. Don’t know how I do it, but I always end up reading at least one novel that is part of world literature a month. Anyway, this one definitely deserves to be there. It’s perhaps quite the dramatic, baroque and intellectual – with all the cultural references – story, but it touches a strange nerve that only classics are able to touch. I don’t know. These books have proven themselves, and though the status of this book is probably not that big in Anglosaxon parts of the world, it is also a book of a certain status. The story is quite hard to just put into a few words, but it’s about this man Tiffauges, who has his own garage on the dawn of World War 2, but has this urging sense of some sort of holy mission in his life. I don’t wanna spoil the rest of the story, but the outcome seems to be quite gruesome. It’s an allegory about the dark sides of life, without even realizing it until you finish it.

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Brian Evenson – The Wavering Knife

This guy was on my list for a long time, as many others, but I finally decided to buy a copy of one of his books. Based upon reviews I read about other works of him, I had suspected more something in the line of Chuck Palahniuk, but Evenson is gruesome in a different way. He has this aura of intellectuality over him, which i like at times, and deals not so much with typical american themes. That being said, some of his stories are hilarious, e.g. the one where a disgruntled German man writes an essay about a travel guide his grandfather has written about mexico. He’s raving about the poor English translation by this American writer, but it turns out the English book isn’t even close to a translation. It’s a different book all together. Very nice one. Really makes me wanna read one of his novels.

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Ian McEwan – Amsterdam

A modern classic perhaps, but one that didn’t appeal to me that much. Just up until the ending, when I decided that i was curious enough to read it all the way to the end. Here, the artifial atmosphere of intellectuality quite bothered me. An editor-in-chief of a news paper, a classical composer… I normally don’t care about jobs and lives, but I always have a hard time if books have characters of a certain standing (That’s why victorian novels don’t appeal to me at all). That being said, I think the book had some interesting themes, and the ending was quite surprising. I just think it would’ve worked better as a short story though.

Things I am reading now, but haven’t finished yet, are: Roland Topor, Daniil Charms and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Enjoying all three of them.

See you next time.

An Inside Out Sock’s best of the Decade list: 26 – 20

14 November 2009

So, I can’t even keep up with regular posting on this blog, but I decided to chip in on the trend to, now that 2010 is only a month and a half away, reflect on the past decade. In terms of society, we’ve entered a new Dark Ages as far as I’m concerned, but because one of my mission statements for this blog was to not talk about me, I’ll only bother my friends in the bar with that. I don’t consider myself important enough to be sharing my opinion on everything that’s going on.

So, let’s talk about music then! In my list there will be no Wilco, no Arcade Fire or no Radiohead. The first two surely would be in my traditional decade list, but I decided to focus on those bands that aren’t in any lists, albums that have been ignored or forgotten, or albums people have never even heard about. 26 albums precisely, and I believe all of them are timeless. At least to my ears, because I give them a spin all too often.

Making this list sucked. I had to leave out a lot of favorites. And quite a few of the bands have featured on this blog before. I won’t upload new songs for them, unless the uploaded songs are from another album.

Anyway..here is number 26 to 20. Oh yeah, no albums from 2007, 2008 or 2009. I wanted to make it really obscure.

26. Hudson Bell – Captain Of The Old Girls (Upperworks, 2002)

captaincover Sounds like: A nineties indie-retro melancholy soup

Hudson Bell is one of those bands I got to know by just downloading everything that was in my way. Ninety per cent of those songs disappear into the Microsoft Trash can, where it will be monitored how much illegal music I have once owned, so that it can be used against me. Hudson Bell is the bastard son of Neil Young and Built To Spill, but just a little bit sadder then. I wrote about them here. You can also find some songs there. And release that new album man.

25. Arab Strap – Monday At The Hug & Pint (Chemikal Underground, 2003)

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Sounds like: Scottish pub-sadness, but as long as there is beer in the end, we’ll be happy.

Arab Strap wasn’t known for their happy songs. The collaborative project of Adrian Moffat (who released a fine album this year by the way) and Malcolm Middleton (who has been releasing good stuff since he started a solo career) was all Scottish melancholy. It was rough, but musically amazing. The Mumbling of Moffat, combined with the sometimes uptempo melodies, makes this album a master in duality. Ok, this is crap, but it’s really good. As an extra I’ll add a song of a sideproject of Moffat, The sick anchors, where he sings a cover by Atomic Kitten in his own amazing way. If you have that single, I’ll marry you.

Arab Strap – The Shy Retirer

The Sick Anchors – Whole Again (Atomic Kitten cover)

24. the Love of everything – Handjob Community ( Redder Records, 2004)

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Sounds like: Daniel Johnston’s squeaky basterd nephew, but even worse at singing.

I have not known the Love of Everything for more than a year, but already they are among the most played bands on my last.fm pages the last six months. It’s got this sincerity I’m looking for in music. Anyway, i wrote about the band not so long ago. You can download some songs there.

23. Havergal – Lungs for The Race (Secretly Canadian, 2001)

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Sounds like: The Postal Service who didn’t care about being poppy. Why, but not Why?

Havergal..damn, i wish he would resurrect from whatever grave or coffee bar he’s in, to release something new. He made two albums and then kind of disappeared from the face of the earth. the last login on MySpace is from beginning of 2009. Maybe i should become a documentary maker and then go on a search for Havergal. Anyway,  I wrote about him here.

22. Black Bear – The Cinnamon Phase (Baskerville Hill Records, 2006)

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Sounds like: Casiotone for The Painfully Alone, you’d better watch your back.

Another project that hasn’t been heard of after this album. Too bad, cause I think this is one of my favourite bleep-bleep indie squeak bedroom projects. I wrote about this project here. Download those songs.

21. Chauchat – Chauchat (Free digital release, 2006)

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Sounds like: the sadcore indie project no one knows about, but everyone should know, cause it’s fucking underrated.

I don’t use the word ‘fucking’ that often, but in regard to Chauchat, it’s necessary. There is no vessel in my mind that would doubt that this band can be really big with the american indie crowd. It’s got all what indie bands need. Damn. Luckily, it’s not too late to discover, cause this album can be found for free on the internet. And therefore I applaud them even more. Also try out their other stuff. And by writing this, I found out they released a new album for free this year, to be found on Last.FM.

Chauchat – Olde Smuggler

Chauchat – Young And Dethroned

20. Okay – High Road (Absolutely Kosher Records,  2005)

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Sounds like: A cricket singing about heartbreaking emotions.

This cd was rediscovered by me the last week. It’s been my wake up-cd. The unique way with which Okay connects the sad lyrics (and voice) with poppy melodies..It breaks my heart each and everytime. another bastard son of Daniel Johnston, with the ability to unite melancholy with uplifting indie pop.

Okay – Compass

The rest is for later this week! (or two or three or four. Eventually I’ll get there)

 

Met dichten en rijmelarij, maakt de mensheid ons blij: Sammy Deburggraeve

14 November 2009

(This is about a Flemish Poet, so it will be in Dutch, for all you foreign readers. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask for more information, or learn Dutch in order to know what this is all about)

3D62797D-A3BA-BFA4-10E25574ECAA90D6Wie? Sammy Deburggraeve

Wat? De man die zijn volk leerde dichten, naar verluidt.

Wat precies? Vetzakkerij, humor en diepgaande emotie lopen hand in hand op straat, terwijl ze elkaar edelmoedig in het gezicht slaan.

Ik heb ondanks mijn literaire ingesteldheid niet erg veel met poëzie. Net zoals ik met mijn muzikale ingesteldheid weinig heb met klassieke muziek. Misschien ligt het aan mijn gebrek aan intellectualiteit, of ben ik gewoon te dom om me in te leven in het overkoepelend spectrum van hoogdravende emoties. Ik heb mezelf al vaak mijn non-intellectualisme verweten.

Nu zijn er wel een paar gedichten die ik in de loop van mijn leven toevallig tegenkwam, waarvan ik even stil werd. Het zijn de bekende dingen als Robert Frost. Nu is de daad van het stil worden, overmand worden door emoties dat je alleen nog maar kan zwijgen, alleen in literaire betekenis significant, en toch… Bij de persvoorstelling van Sammy Deburggraeves dichtbundel ‘Vlezige Verzen’ in de Arenbergschouwburg begin deze week, was ik ook stil. Vooral omdat zo doorheen de show praten je niet in dank wordt afgenomen door de rest van het publiek, zeker niet als dat vooral gevuld is met sympathisanten.

Sammy Deburggraeve is enerzjids dichter, met daarnaast iets dat in schabouwelijk Nederlands stand-up comedian genoemd wordt. Maar toch vooral dichter vindt hij zelf. En hij kan het nog wel ook. En dat zeg ik niet omdat hij me anders op mijn gezicht zal slaan of omdat ik hem toevallig ken. Hij is er in elk geval als eerste poëet in geslaagd me 15 euro te doen ophoesten voor een dichtbundel. Godbetert.

Polderdichter

Ik dacht dat eerst uit sympathie te doen, van beginnend schrijver tot beginnend poeet (al is hij dan al 5 jaar bezig), maar de eerlijkheid gebiedt me te zeggen dat Sammy echt een dichter is. Vanuit hun hogere zuilen zullen stadsdichters en Poëzieprofessoren afkeurig naar de ‘rijmelarij’ van mijnheer Deburggraeve kijken. ‘t is vies, ‘t rijmt, ‘t is traditioneel in post-postmoderne tijden. Maar in de kunst, de creatieve sector, de wereld die dweept met kunstmatigheid, gebruikt eenieder het medium en de vorm die hem het best ligt. Ik heb het er met Sammy al eens over gehad. Hoe hij vindt dat poëzie moet rijmen, omdat het anders te nietsig is. En hoe ik, ook al laten gedichten me veelal koud, vind dat eenieder zijn eigen vorm moet kiezen. Dat alles moet kunnen in de creatie.

Sammy staat vooral bekend als vetzak, en heel wat zijn gedichten borduren verder op dat thema. Zo bezingt hij de vlezige vallei van vunzige viesdoenerij, in zijn reeks poldergedichten. Die maakte hij als polderdichter van de gemeente Stabroek. Ieder dorp of gehucht heeft recht op zijn eigen dichter, al zullen de mensen van Stabroek het zich misschien beklaagd hebben dat Sammy carte blanche kreeg:

De vlezige vallei van vunzige viesdoenerij

O gij, vurig ros met blonde manen,
‘K zag uw vleze op de koer
En in de stallen bij den boer,
O gij, gij polderhoer.

Vervlezing mijner dromen van maagdse meiden die uit poldergronden komen.

O gij, inspiratie en bron van lust,
Gij, die me in m’n dromen heeft geblust.

Aan de beest’n op het veld,
Heb ik ‘t voor ‘t eerst verteld,
Ik ben een boer en echt geen held,
Doch… ik zal u nemen met grof geweld!

Kommt hier spezig spekkezwijn das ich ihre kottelett’n konsummeer;
In die stallen oder auf das velt;
Ich neime dich, keer nach keer…

De sprankelende waterval der hartstochtelijke passie is m’n dagelijks bad,
O wee dat mooie meisje op m’n nachtelijks polderpad…

Reeds vele jaren hunker ik naar natte spleten,
Maar enkel kermende kalv’ren heb ik reeds versleten.

Met hoge hakken triomfeerde haar trots,
In mijn bevlekte boerenbroek geen baksteen maar een rots.

Bevangen door haar bloemzoete boezem volgt ied’re boer bedwelmd haar spoor,

Bevangen door haar bloembloesembollen gaat ied’re dag de oogst teloor.

Godvermiljâârdenondedjû!

Ik ben vol van verlangen en’ t vee vol van mij,
O gij,
Vlezige Vallei,
Van Vunzige,
Viesdoenerij…

Sammy is echter niet alleen een viezerik – al zullen mensen die hem kennen hier misschien wat vreemd opkijken. Hij is ook rudimentaire eerlijkheid, en weet die ook in zijn gedichten te leggen. En als er één ding is dat ik wel een vereiste vind in kunst, literatuur en muziek, dan is het dat. Niet iets maken omdat je denkt dat het zal scoren bij het publiek, maar eerder als gevolg van een altijd opnieuw bloedende wonde, een noodzaak die zich aan jou opdringt in plaats van omgekeerd. Dat ontroert me in sommige gedichten van Sammy. Het is niet alleen seks en kak. Ergens diep tussen de plooien van die vetzakkenfaçade zie ik een jongeman aan een bureautje schrijven in het midden van de nacht. En als zo ‘s nachts, terwijl iedereen slaapt, hij enkel op zichzelf toegewezen is, dan durft hij te kijken naar wat er in hem bloedt. Dan is het leven even een dagboek in plaats van een speeltuin. Dan schrijft hij liefdesgedichten of existentiële poëzie. Kak en seks kan morgenvroeg ook nog.

Vergaan met man en muizenissen

Ik gooi mijn schip op haar zandbank voor anker;

Ik meer nu aan in haar havengebied;

Mijn ziel is dood en het lijf rot van kanker;

Maar één traan van haar doet me veel meer verdriet.

Ik zag in de verte het licht in haar ogen;

Door stormende regen en windhuilen heen;

Maar zij en haar blik nu die bleken bedrogen;

Dus ik voer als een wrak op haar klippen uiteen;

Ik weet niet eens meer naar waar ik moest varen;

ik weet niet eens meer waar ik ben gestrand;

In het oog van de storm zag ik haar naar me staren;

Ik dacht dat ik verdronk maar ik was reeds aan land;

Ik kan geen dag van een nacht onderscheiden;

Ik zie dat ze huilt en ik denk dat ze lacht;

Als zij met haar tong nu mijn hart uit wil snijden;

Heeft ze me weer op een dwaalspoor gebracht.

Als een inktvis als Kraken komt zij me omarmen;

En trekt ze mijn boot naar de dieperste zeê;

Ik smeek om vergif’nis, ik smeek om erbarmen;

Mijn hebben en houden trekt zij naar beneê.

Als een meermin zo lokt ze me met haar gezangen;

Door scheurbuik verteerd ja zo volg ik gedwee;

Speelbal van ‘t lot in de golven gevangen;

Zo neemt ze mijn hart naar de eeuwigheid mee.

Ik zag Sammy Deburggraeve voor het eerst aan het werk in dat ene tv-programma op VT4, supertalent in Vlaanderen. Eerlijk? Ik vond het vreselijk. Het stond mijlenver van de hippiewereld waarin ik leefde. Toen dacht ik nog intellectueel te kunnen worden. In tussentijd heb ik hem persoonlijk leren kennen, en zijn de vooroordelen die ik op die 5 minuten me had gevormd helemaal verdwenen. Opmerkelijk hoe snel je een mening over mensen hebt, als je ze niet kent.

Op de persvoorstelling vorige week maandag was de pers massaal afwezig. Jammer, want Sammy verdient meer aandacht. Zelfs voor mensen die net als ik geen verstand hebben of willen hebben voor poëzie, is zijn boek iets waar je af en toe in bladert en dan licht glimlachend of met het schaamrood op de wangen omdat je nu ook weer niet dacht dat het zo vettig ging zijn terug in de kast zet. En voor de analfabeten zit er een cd bij, waarna je het boek dan misschien kan gebruiken om haring in te rollen.  En laat het dan zo ver komen dat de slogan die in het groot op de voorkaft staat ook werkelijkheid wordt. Dat Sammy Deburggraeve zijn volk leerde dichten. (je kan zijn boek kopen in de betere boekhandel. Onder meer in de Groene waterman is hij al gesignaleerd. Wil je liever contact met de meester zelve, dan kan dat via zijn website. )

Oh, de cd is trouwens een soort Bart Kaëll from hell. Hier nog een clipje:

The Trade Machine: Portrait of David

2 November 2009

1275531752_lWho? Portrait of David

What? Melancholic Slowcore

Sounds like? Low, Spain, The White Birch

So, I started this way too confusing attempt to trade all my unwanted cds that keep piling up in my room for ones that are more suited to my taste, and I had no reponse this far. Logically, cause it’s way too confusing. And the list is too long.

So i decided to just introduce all these bands on my blog, so that if you listen to this, and think “Wowww, i like this!”, you can perhaps dig in your own pile of unwanted stuff (books, cd’s, dvds), and offer me something in return. And, as said before, I don’t need one on one trading. You can have two (or even three!) things of my list, for just one thing in return. Not that I accept everything, but I’m a very willing guy.

Anyway, first album featured here is Portrait of David – These days are hard to ignore. A typical slowcoustic album from Ola Flottum, who is also part of the band the White Birch, which is perhaps more known to some of you guys.

I’ve never been too much a fan of slow stuff like this, but if you are, it’s highly recommended, cause it’s undoubtedly good. As you can check for yourself with these mp3’s. If you like this, you could perhaps trade it together with Savoy Grand or Ida, which is the same genre.

If you’re not really eager to trade stuff, just enjoy the songs then!

Portrait of David – Beautiful flimsy Kite

Portrait of David – Nine-Day Wonders

I’ll try to write about bands I do like later this week.

 

PS: latest additions to the Trade list

Retribution Gospel Choir (sideproject of Low)

Radar Bros – The Fallen Leaf Pages

Sarandon – Kill Twee Pop

Von Spar – A. XAXAPOYA

Tortoise – It’s All Around You

Ida – Lover’s Prayer (promo)

Savoy Grand – People And What They Want