Posted tagged ‘jens lekman’

End of 2009: 40 – 31

23 December 2009

And the list goes on…

40. Andrew jackson Jihad – Can’t  Maintain (Asian Man Recordings)

What? Folkpunk opens their bloody doors to wider horizons.

Andrew Jackson Jihad have made my list before in 2007, cause back then they made a huge impression on me with their Fuck-in-your-face Folk punk. The songs were about murders, misantropy and other difficult words that we can’t spell properly. This year they have released at least 2 albums (but I think more), which shows progression in the musical genre. ‘Can’t Maintain’ is no longer 1.2.3 and then 2 minutes of guitar ragging, but it’s got trumpets and kazoos, and all other instruments. They seemed to have traded in some energy for empathy (i just say that because it sounds good, it does not make sense), and made a good album while doing so. Is that the Mountain Goats yelling “This is our sound!”?

Andrew Jackson Jihad – Sense, Sensibility

39.  Haruko – Wild Geese (Bracken Records)

What? The usual folky woman in my list.

I think that if you compare all my end-of-year lists, you will always find at least 1 folky woman in it. Although I can remember that I once said to one of my friends that I don’t listen to female singers that often (I really don’t), the female artist I do listen to, are mostly mesmerizing. Haruko certainly is. I must admit: I don’t know much more about her, and I haven’t listened to ‘Wild Geese’ that often, cause I only discovered it late in the year. But after a first listen, I decided that it HAD to be in the list. That doesn’t happen that often. For fans of Alela Diane, Mariee Sioux and the rest of the bunch.

Haruko – Goodbye My Love, Goodbye

38. Volcano Choir – Unmap (Jagjaguwar)

What? Justin Vernon’s trip down memory lane

I wonder if ‘Unmap’ would ever had been released if Bon Iver hadn’t been so famous? It wouldn’t be completely fair, cause I’m pretty sure that this album will eventually prove to be more timeless than ‘For Emma, Ever Again’, although that could be because we’ve played that last album a time too many. Volcano Choir is too experimental for most people I guess, with songs that don’t have a chorus or just are based upon sounds, but that also means that there is much more to discover by each listen. Everytime I listen to this, it seems that it’s something I’ve never heard before, like some strange new species that looks a lot like a crane bird or a dog, but just not fits the description.

Volcano Choir – Island, Is

37. Gregory Alan Isakov – This Empty Northern Hemisphere (self-released)

What? Heartbreaking singersongwriter eternity

We’ve been doing for about a century now, or even longer, and still people can pull it off to be amazing. Just making simple songs with guitar and sparse instrumentation, and then still getting to the core of things. Gregory Alan Isakov is a name that has to be known by everyone who loves singersongwriters, because he’s one of the best out there, but no one has any clue about who he is. He doesn’t even have a label (order his cd on CD Baby). The songs are heartwarming, without ever being all that special or weird. Just songs. I like that at times.

Gregory Alan Isakov – Evelyn

36. The Cave Singers – Welcome Joy ( Matador Records)

What? Beard fights!

The beard has become a fashion statement in the indie scene. It separates the city slickers from the hippies, it separates the cool poppunk-sound from the folky-rock sound. It is probably no surprise that the Cave Singers have beards.  Next to folky songs with banjos, they have foot stomping folkrock. oh my oh my, what an amount of foot stomping I have done listening to ‘Welcome Joy’. So hard that my foot has turned into a stomp. Am I by the only one who sometimes has to think of Kings of Leon?

Cave Singers – At the Cut

35. Dent May & His Ukelele – The Good Feeling Music Of Dent May and His Ukelele (Paw tracks)

What? Melo-drama on a ukelele

Guys who play the ukelele are wussies (I play one too, so I’m allowed to say that). They are dreamers, who make cut-out hearts and spread them anonymously in the streets, hoping to find their true love this way. Dent May sounds in love. He’s actually the twin brother of Jens Lekman, who can be sooo amazingly corny that you feel ashamed in his place. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good music. Dent May is this guy who walks in the streets of Paris with Jens Lekman and Stephan Merritt. Actually, a lot of songs of this album could have been one of the 69 tracks on ’69 Lovesongs’ by Magnetic Fields. Oh, and the canary loves this the most so far.

Dent May – Oh Paris!

34. Julie Doiron – I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day (Jagjaguwar Records)

What? Great-Grandmother of female singer-songwriters waves at Kimya Dawson on the bus

Julie Doiron is special to me, but in some weird kind of way none of her previous albums was good enough to end up at my end-of-years list. But this one…oh my, there are no fillers here. It sounds all amazing. It’s especially fun to hear how she pulls out the electric guitar once in a while, to end up with a song that grabs you by the balls (and who doesn’t love that, especially if it’s Julie Doiron). She seems to sound a bit more like Kimya Dawson, with that difference that Doiron can sing. Doesn’t the song Consolation Prize by the way sound like something by Of Montreal?

Julie Doiron – Consolation Prize

33. Intelligence – Fake surfers (In The Red Records)

What? We hired a garage and made ourselves look like retards

Intelligence hired a garage and then made songs the way they have to sound when you’re making songs in a garage. Actually my first plan was to put Eat skull and Intelligence next to each other on spot 33, because of their fake feud this year, but actually ‘Fake Surfers’ was just a bit more convincing than the Eat Skull-record. So flatten your hair, put on your corduroy trousers and dance the polka, you golly fellows.

Intelligence – Moody Tower

32. Deer Tick – Born On Flag Day (Partisan Records)

What? cowboys don’t cry.

Bob Dylan made a christmas album. Fuck. Enough with that senile guy already. No matter how much people say it’s quite good, as soon as you start making christmas albums, you are off my list. Then you’ve got Richmond Fontaine, who didn’t really impress me with their newest album. Luckily there is Deer Tick, who manage to find the perfect balance between Countrysongs and Rocksongs. I guess the singer’s voice has got a lot to do with that. He sounds as if he smoked a pack of cigarettes (and by that, i mean the package instead of the cigarettes). Every album his voice gets rougher and rougher.

Deer Tick – Hell On Earth

31. Phosphorescent – To Willie (Dead Oceans)

What? Even more cowboys!

A Willie Nelson coveralbum! Yihaaa! Phosphorescent turned away from multilayered melancholy and made this album inbetween. You know how cowboys sound. I went to see their show in Antwerp last year, and ran into a colleague there. Then the show started and a couple of days later, the colleague came to me and said “what the hell was that? I felt like I ended up in a redneck bar”. He didn’t enjoy that, but well, he enjoyed the awful opening act (that’s the reason he was there even), so I didn’t take him all that serious. This album is fun.

Phosphorescent – Reasons To Quit

End of 2009: Young Talents

21 December 2009

So, after a lot of procrastination and seeing a LOT of other lists, I finally took up the courage to start sharing my list with you guys. It’s always a lot of work, but in the end very fulfilling.

First start with my young talents list. Last year, I predicted a bright future for Mumford and Sons, and I turned out to be a visionary man (The year before Bon Iver was my number 1). I must admit that I’m not that sure about this year’s artists or this year’s number one. there aren’t any artists that will go into indie mainstream, which doesn’t mean that they aren’t as great. In my entire list (including my top 50), there is one artist who I think will be spoken of a lot next year. I will tell you if we get to the artist.

But enough blah blah. my top 10 promising artists!

10. The Awful Truth – Object Permanence (The Orchid Collective)

What? Twenties anxiety in songs

Most artists start making music in their teen years, when they are full of teenage angst, screaming to become an adult cause their growing brains are killin’ them. As soon as they’re 18, they realize how stupid their grieving was, and they will put aside their instrument to chase a life full of disappointment. But what do you do with the cynicism or regrets when you’re in your twenties? I guess you would make albums like The Awful truth. It sounds like songs from a grown-up, but not yet adult enough to believe that this is well-thought of. It seems to deal with growing pains, but not in the “fuck man, i wanna kill myself” kind of way. The voice sounds a bit like Destroyer, Thanksgiving and Adam Lipman. And maybe a little bit of Love Letter Band. This could end up to be a great promsie, but ‘Object Permanence’ is already charming enough to deserve your attention.

The Awful Truth – Growin’ Old

9. The Daredevil Christopher Wright – In Deference To A Broken Back (Amble Down Records)

What? Stretch those vocal chords and join the circus

Daredevil Christopher wright is not an androgynous man singing about his days at the circus, although you could think that after a first listen. After closer inspection it turns out to be a trio, with vocal cords being stretched like it’s a carnival act. Especially when he’s doing the falsetto thing, you could – this is gonna be a very bad joke and i’m apologizing already – think someone is juggling his balls. (told you it was bad). The music is kind of like a circus too, cause it bounces around like elephants on little tiny bikes that are bouncing around in big circus tents. If I wouldn’t be feeling the urge of talking about circuses, I’d call the music on ‘In Deference to A Broken Back’ theatre. Well-orchestrated stuff, if you know what i mean. There are quite some references to christian things, and having seen the documentary on Danielson just this weekend, i’m kind of eager to use that band as a reference, although it’s not that extreme.

The Daredevil Christopher Wright – The East Coast

8. The Love Language – The Love Language (Bladen Country Records)

What? Cucumber bubblegum chewed by Lo-fi afficionados

I can imagine you reading the description, and really wondering how cucumber bubblegum tastes. I think it’s kind of edgy. And bubblegum is catchy. This means that The Love Language is catchy edgy music, and with a lo-fi feel. Woohoo, it matches my definition of great music. This debut album gives me the happy wave your hands in the meadows on a hot summer day- feel. It’s hard to come up with comparisons, but some of the songs remind me of what Swedish pop people like Jens Lekman & Suburban Kids with Biblical Names would make if they had to live in a basement. I also saw Wavves & No Age pop up as reference, but this is not even close to their kind of lo-fi noisyness. No, this just has a smile your head off while being shot at on a carnival ride-feel. Boat, they’ve got a bit of Boat. And some band I can’t come up with right now.

The Love Language – Sparxxx

7. DM Stith – Heavy Ghost (Asthmatic Kitty)

What? Cabaret is this year’s trend

We’re four bands far in my year list, and I’m already starting to repeat myself. But well, DM Stith is kind of theater as well. He is the arty farty street performer, who can bring ghouls back to life. How that musically can be defined? Well, you all like Grizzly Bear don’t you? It’s like them, but then more  Department of eagles. It makes you dance in a weird standing still kind of way, falling in between the layers of the songs, and then finding out that your name doesn’t have to be Alice to get in Wonderland. You don’t need drugs to see big toads talking to you. A bit of DM Stith will do the trick.

DM Stith – Pity Dance

6. Caddywhompus – EP (Self-released)

What? Morning Benders and Animal Collective have a Love Baby

While Indie kids are jerking off on Animal Collective and other too cool for fools-bands, I tend to take the time to go out there in the digital jungle to find what’s gonna be hot next. It’s not always easy, swimming in a pool of endless music sources, and drowning because the music at the bottom of the pool is pulling you down. But once in a while you find these bands that look like bubbles. You can inhale them, so that you can swim on for another 15 seconds before Game Over appears on the Screen. Caddywhompus, that sounds like a rough version of “Band that is gonna be big next year because they signed to a bigger indie label” Morning Benders. We’ll see them in 2 years, next to Jumbling Towers. Thank Aninsideoutsock for the early Adopter-opportunities. You can tell your friend you knew bands before they were cool, and call them a fool! Oh, and this EP is downloadable for free on their website!

Caddywhompus –  Untitled #4708

5. Lee Baggett (or lee Gull?)- Burn’r (RAD Records through Marriage Records)

What? Electric guitar slacking on the front porch

Is it weird to find out that Lee Baggett is part of Little Wings? Not really. He’s got that strange charming monotony that only real music lovers love, cause other people think it’s deadly boring (that’s what some of my friends would say). I think Baggett recorded this album while he sat on the front porch, a long extension chord coming from his amp inside. And while watching the sun setting and the three-legged dog slumping to his drinking bowl filled with multiple layers of dust, he just starts jamming and singin’ with his friend.  And without even knowing it, ends up with extremely catchy songs. (Though next time, keep low on the solo instrumentals).

NOTE: he doesn’t seem to have a MySpace. I guess he was too busy jammin’.

Lee Gull – Clover Hill

4. Au – Versions (EP) (Aagoo Records)

What? Experimental is a dirty word if you don’t wash it.

I’ve kept the experimental segment of my musical journey low this year. That has got to do with most indie music becoming more experimental already, and realizing that it’s stuff i just don’t listen to that often, even though I enjoy it. Question is if Au is really that weird and trippy. It’s a bit more offbeat than Animal Collective or Akron/family, but e.g. ‘Ida Walked Away’ is quite standard. Au only tends to freak out once in a while, but does it in a standardly awesome way. If standardly is not a word, It fits a description of Au perfectly. Akron/Family: watch your steps.

Au – Ida Walked Away

3. A Paper Cup Band – Detroit Vs Farming (Anti-Civ Records)

What? I never heard of a band that calls himself after some weird dead object..It’s like calling yourself Pavement, stupid!

Ok, I guess no one will get the What-description, though it means nothing more than that ‘A Paper Cup Band’ sounds like Pavement. But that’s only in one song. In another they sound like The Donkeys, and in another they sound like Of Montreal, and then they sound like a honky Tonky band. It’s as if they’ve been drinking from a glass of spit from all the indie that’s out there, and then tried to guess whose spit they tasted. Actually that’s a rather good concept for an album. Then again, a title like Detroit Vs Farming puts it very well as well. city versus countryside. Pyjama versus sleeping naked.

A paper cup Band – Drunks And Poets

2. Gregory Pepper & his Problems –  with Trumpets Flaring (Fake Four Inc)

What? Someone’s gotta to be the new Unicorns

You know who I hate? Nick Thornburn. For not fully admitting that he wants to make catchy pop songs and instead comes up with artsy fartsy disastrous albums (and some good side projects, okay okay). But from now on, there is no reason for despair anylonger, cause Gregory Pepper & His Problems are here! He’s Canadian, he looks a bit like Thornburn. We can all turn away from Thornburn now and listen to Pepper’s catchiness. Like Peppermint catchy. It’s not his first album, so I’m not sure whether he sounded like the Unicorns on his first album and this is his debut as Islands, but I hopen ot, cause that would mean that his next album would be awful. Still, Pepper is the way to go for now. Go Pepper go.

Gregory Pepper & His Problems – Drop The Plot

1. Squanto – Go Go Gadget Grass Stains (Self-released)

What ? Bedroom robots singing about their home planet

It’s sad to say, but I’m pretty sure that by the end of next year almost no one will know Squanto. That’s because Squanto is untouchable for most people. The music is a ghost with a shadow that no one can see. You only get a hint of something going on there. Layered music in a lo-fi setting, like Mount Eerie makes 23034 cd’s a year. This is perfect competition for the best Of-compilation of that album. I don’t know what it is that Squanto does with me, but I know it’s something I wanna feel flowing through my veins more in my life. That’s worth a number one spot. The album can be completely streamed at Virb, and downloaded for Free at the Collective, whose catalogue keeps to amaze me!

Squanto  – Gumballs, The Fountain Of Truth

Birds with hats on: Aviary Ghost

26 April 2009

aviaryWho? Aviary Ghost

What? Melodic folkpop

Sounds like? Belle & Sebastian, All things Swedish, Jens Lekman with less emphasis on the catchiness. Something with falsettos.

So, I’m not dead. Because i want to treat you on a lot of good new music i’ve discovered over the last couple of weeks and months, i’ll keep my texts short.

The first band is Aviary Ghost, a 5-piece from Chicago, who make lushly arranged pop songs. Their songs are very whistable (if that’s a word.. meaning you could listen and whistle to them). And the cool thing is that their album is free. You do have to sign up for their monthly news letter, but since you do want to know what this band is up to, that’s not even a burden. I really recommend you doing so, cause this is actually something that should be loved by the indie crowd en masse.

Aviary Ghost – Somewhere Else

Aviary Ghost – The Brain is a House

You can find the download instructions on their website

2008 Galore!, part 3: Best Promising Artists for the future

18 November 2008

Well, this is quite the Osar-category i know, but it’s just a way for me to talk about 10 artists that i like, but just don’t seem to fit in the top 50-list that is coming up after this post. (well, not immediately after it, somewhere this week). The albums of these people have their flaws, but they are promising enough to make me look forward excitedly to when they release their next album. So, without no further ado, here they are.

DISCLAIMER: ok, first add this. The songs I add aren’t necessarily my favourite of the record, because i’m planning to keep those mp3’s for a big 50 best songs at the end of all these lists. So you’ll get twice the goodies!

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10. Pwrfl Power – PWRFL Power (EP) (Catbird Records)

what? Crazy Japanese guy makes antifolk songs

I wrote something about this crazy Japanese American here, so i’m not gonna keep on blabbing about it. He’s Japanese, naïve, and has released 2 albums this year. His full album – also named PWRFL Power  – was a bit too long and tends to get boring, but the small EP was just the right size. From one of the coolest small Indielabels in town, Catbird Records. Too bad it’s sold out!

PWRFL Power – Alma Song

liam-the-younger-clear-skies-over-black-river-2008

9. Liam The Younger – Clear Skies over Black Water (Self-released)

What? An early acoustic Bright Eyes without the emo-stuff

Everytime I hear this guy, it makes me think of the first time I heard Bright Eyes. The year was 1999 (or maybe not, i really don’t remember), and Conor Oberst still made homerecordings. The only difference he sometimes had the urge to start screaming instead of singing (what i really liked as a teenager), whereas Liam The Younger just keeps on singing in his own voice. You need to be in the mood for this though, cause it can get quite monotonous if you’re looking for exciting music. But on quiet nights, when you’re looking for something acoustic that resembles Mt. Eerie, Bright Eyes and other indiestuff (i know that this is really really very broad), you can always listen Liam The Younger. Oh I forgot to mention the cool part: you can download the entire album for free here. Don’t worry, he provided the link himself on his Myspace-page. (together with other albums that i haven’t heard yet!)  Thank You Liam!

Liam The Younger – Walking

wavvescs1

8. Wavves – Wavves  (Fuck It Tapes)

What? Sunny Californian Lo-fi Noise

2008 was the year of the return of the Noise pop. Bands like No Age, Times New Viking and many more were suddenly considered cool by Pitchfork and others. And franktly, i like them too. The time when people passed tapes around i missed by just an inch (let’s say 10 years), but it seems all to be coming back. I made noise once too (you can listen to the result here), but Wavves is much better. This release is only available on cassette until now, but it well get re-released on LP by Fuck it Tapes. And his next album will be on De Stijl which isn’t a very small label. I’m really looking forward to that!

Wavves – Wavves

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7. Jayber Crow – Two Short Stories (Self-released)

What? Indie folk, very reminiscent of The Decemberists

Is it a crime to sound like a big well-known indie-singer? Especially if that guy’s voice is quite recognizable. I guess the guys from Jayber Crow don’t do it on purpose, but everytime i hear their album, it’s like hearing an early tape of Colin Meloy from Decemberists-fame. The only difference that Jayber Crow is less pompous, more direct. I must admit not all songs appeal to me, but the ones that do, do it really good. You can buy their album on their website (by PayPal)

Jayber Crow – Saint Anthony

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6. The Wind Whistles – Window Sills (Aaaah Records)

What? Singalong Folk, moldy peaches reference in their own bio isn’t entirely accurate, but accurate enough

Another band i’ve blogged about in the past. And another album that you can download entirely for free. It’s amazing how many great albums get released for free every year. Radiohead isn’t the only one. You should try this, cause this music makes you feel happy. I had a rough day at work today, I put on my Mp3-player and found myself singing along out loud (not based on a true story, but it’s just for the dramatic effect). Really enjoyable music.

The Wind Whistles – Man By Name Of Denver

front_cover_promo-778408

5. Michael Rault – Crash! Boom Bang!

What? It’s rock-‘n-roll!

Michael Rault is retro. So retro that his albums sounds as if it’s been recorded during the late fifties, early sixties. It seems as if one has found an album that has been lying between your father’s record collection for over 40 years now.  This brings you back to times you probably have never experienced but really wish you were part of. It makes me feel at least a little rebel. You can buy his album at CD Baby. (knowing that this bloke is 20 or so, makes it even more fantastic!)

Michael Rault – Pretty Thing

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4. Entire Cities –  Deep River

What? Canadian Indie, with really solid songs.

Ok, it’s hard for me to give a very appealing description of Entire Cities. The songs are just really good, the voice has this great grunt in it (it’s not metal). It’s perhaps a bit alt. country, but then the rockier version. God, this isn’t making any sense at all. Let’s start over again: Entire cities has made a bloody good album with Deep River and instead of reading this, you should listen it. (Their site seems to be offline for now, but i guess you can order the album there.)

Entire Cities – Talkers

final-album-cover

3. James Yuill – Turning Down Water For Air (Moshi Moshi Records)

What? Indie electronics, The Postal Service is no longer needed! (Styrofoam, meet your competitor)

James Yuill was on my wishlist for over 2,5 years. I once listened to a song of his and then planned on buying his debut album. That was 2005, and then I forgot. Sometimes i remembered his name or found this mp3 I had and thought of looking for it again, but it’s only with this album that I really got to know the guy. He’s responsible for one of the top 5 songs this year (which i won’t offer for download YET, excitement!), and has brought out an album that makes me forget that The Postal Service had planned on releasing an album this year and didn’t. I don’t listen to indietronica that often, but this one made me feel really happy. Thanks James. (On his website you can download some of his remixes.)  His album can be found at all good record stores, normally.

James Yuill –  No Surprise

this-is-ivy-league

2.  The Ivy League – This is Ivy League (self-released)

What? Kings of Convenience with a pinch of typicall Swedish Sounds and the zombies or something like that.

Every year there is at least one album somewhere in my lists that sound a bit Swedish. You know, the sound that bands like Jens Lekman, Suburban Kids with Biblical Names and Irene have. It’s this bittersweet sound, with a lot of trumpets and stuff. Now these guys are from New York, but they sounds as Swedish as Sm°orrebr°odt. Next to that, they seem to pick up the sound that Kings of Convenience have left (what happened to those guys, well, to the Not Erlend Oye-guy). Really enjoyable sweet romantic. One but though. Guys, if you ever end up here reading these words of praise: make your album not only available on iTunes store. Many people aren’t fan of that (well, i’m not). More distribution canals would be really cool.

The Ivy League – Impossible Love

mumford-and-sons

1. Mumford And Sons – Mumford And Sons (EP)/ Love your Ground (EP)

What? Incredibly Sounding Young New Indie Folk in the tradition of bands Like Deer Tick

Okay, if you think that these are just too many tips for you, and can’t handle all that music, then ignore everything I have said until now. Last year, my number one on this list was Bon Iver (if I remember it as well) and he really boomed. Well, let me say you one thing: Next year is gonna be the year of Mumford And Sons. They have a really incredible sounds, and surely, they should be in the big list, but i realized that i would give them more credit by putting them on a number one spot. Everybody GO OUT AND LISTEN THIS . (And now if someone can tell me where i can buy a copy of both ep’s and when they will release their debut album, i can end this piece in peace)

Mumford And Sons – Little Lion Man