In an attempt to introduce some new great bands to you besides sharing the fine tunes they're releasing, here's an ongoing series of Q&A's with several of these bands. Just a little extra info on who the people behind the music are (please forgive me my poor interviewing-skills). Old English have released their debut album "Prose & Kahns" in February and it's a fine piece of art: 11 songs, 47 minutes of intense beauty. Read a little Q&A with leading man Matt Henderson and listen to a few more songs of that great album while you're at it!
- So, who are Old English? I know that's supposed to be an easy starter question but it's kind of a tricky one to answer. Right now there are about 7 of us in the live band but that number sometimes fluctuates as there is a pretty big group of people who play with us or have contributed in some way or another, whether live or on record. There's also been a lot of changeover in the band recently with people leaving and new members coming in. We've got a bit of a revolving door policy.
- How did you meet? How did the band form? I was playing solo a lot. I had recorded an album and was playing shows on my own. Originally, Prose and Kahns was meant to be my second solo album. I was working with Matt Froese on the recording and realized that the new songs were too big to do on my own, so Matt and his drummer Thom joined and then I asked my good friend Dan Halyburton to join in on guitar. He was in a band called the Passengers at the time and we had played several shows together. I've always loved his guitar playing, and thought it would be a perfect fit. He's the only original member still in the band, and thank God for that!
- When or how did you decide to start making music together? Oops, I think I just answered that one... We all went for chinese food and got fortune cookies saying we should form a band. Pretty good story eh? Not true, but pretty good.
- What is an average week for Old English? I don't think we have average weeks to be honest. That's not to say that we're really interesting as much as we are just disorganized. We're all busy with other things, be it school, work, other band, or all of those things at once, so we don't really have set practice times and such. The result is that we have lots of frantic facebook conversations when we realize we're a week away from a show and haven't practiced. Three of us are in a fantasy hockey league together so in the average week we spend a lot of time talking about that. I'm sure that's exactly the sort of thing you were hoping I'd say!
What music do you listen to yourselves? Any favorite new releases? I couldn't even begin to guess what everyone in the group is listening to, so I can only speak for myself. But luckily enough I have the best taste out of all of us haha. Now that I've said that I'm drawing a blank! Umm... I'm still listening to that Jessie Ware album quite a bit. I also just started listening to the new Josh Ritter album and there are a few really great songs on it. And to be totally honest, I'm pretty excited about the new Justin Timberlake. I know Dan and Justin have been really into the new Tegan and Sara album as well.
- Now that Prose & Kahns is out for over a month, how are things going? How is the response? It's been pretty great, honestly. We've been pretty floored by the positive response. It seems to be striking a chord with a lot of people, which is so flattering and exciting. There have been some negative reviews of course, but I think that's good, in a strange way. I think good music is often polarizing so the fact that people seem to either love the album or hate it seems positive to me in an odd way, and sort of affirms my belief that what we're doing is unique and original. Now we just need to wait for the money to start pouring in (I feel like we'll be waiting awhile...)
- If you had to name one, which would be your favorite song on the album? I think for me it would be Layaway, I'm so thrilled with how it turned out. Our good friend Mark Underdown mixed the album and did a lot of extra production on the back end. He really took every song up to a whole new level, and I feel like the work he did on Layaway is especially great. His wife Jessica sings on it too, which is probably another reason why it's my favourite; I get tired of hearing my own voice so it's nice to hear someone who actually knows how to sing take the reigns for a bit.
- What are the plans for the rest of the year? Any special things you're looking forward to? (And how about a tour to Europe?) Not too much has been planned as of now! We're booking shows and trying to push and promote the album as much as we can and hopefully we can working on new songs soon, but we'll see. We're planning on filming a video or two as well so hopefully that all works out! Also, I'm planning on winning this hockey pool even if it kills me (metaphorically, at least). Unfortunately there are no plans to tour Europe at this point, but maybe we'll apply to be on Eurovision this year and then stick around for a bit after if it goes well.
- Any final words you want to share? Nothing I can think of! But thanks so much for the support, we really appreciate it.
-- Thanks Matt & Old English, good luck winning that hockey pool & I'm looking forward to videos or new songs later this year!
Remember last night? Remember 'Drowsy Eyes? That beautiful song by Scared Crow that helped you sleep like a baby. Well, here's the perfect song for waking up with a smile, again thanks to Scared Crow. Ironically called "Tonight" is this actually a perfect song for (Monday) mornings. You'll dance all the way to work, smile at every grumpy person you run into & finally tell that cute girl at the supermarket how she brightens your day a little extra every morning you see her. You will feel light on your feet all day, have a good one!
"Drowsy Eyes" is the perfect song for late at night. Get in your bed & turn off the lights. Think about absolutely nothing, focus on your breathing for a few minutes. It'll clear your mind. Now turn on this beautiful song, put it on repeat & slowly sink into a deep sleep that'll feel like the best sleep you've ever had. Sweet dreams!
Trotting Bear's previous record Morning still plays at least once a week. Preferably late at night, when I'm doing some reading in the comforting warmth of my bed. Trotting Bear's leading man Andy Berkhout has been writing new music in 2012 and this has let to a new release just last week. A 4-track EP called Currents.
Now, imagine a Thursday morning. Despite the snow that fell while you were sleeping, you wake up to a warm sunny world. The snow is quickly melting into the streets, while you're drinking a nice cup of coffee in the living room. The sun is lighting up the room bright yellow through the half-open curtains. The stereo is feeding you "easy-going, everything is alright, the world is at complete peace"-music. It is probably Trotting Bear playing their new EP. Making you feel very comfortable, in harmony with yourself and the rest of the world. Ready and fired up for a new day and whatever challenges it may hold.
I won't mind waking up like this for the rest of the year.
Remember BOY?! Two fine German girls singing beautiful songs from their 2012 debut album Mutual Friends. Last week they stopped by at KCRW and did a new song they had just finished, live and acoustic. And just like the songs we've heard before, it is a beauty! Take your time and if you haven't fallen in love in January, make sure you'll do it now!
Some albums are easy to love, some are hard. Some loves are easy to explain, some are hard. Through the Deep, Dark Valley by The Oh Hellos is easy to love, but hard to explain. Last year I displayed some love for their 4-track EP The Oh Hello's, but this full album is a huge step forward.
What makes The Oh Hellos special is the duo behind it, brother and sister singing together and switching lead vocals on the tracks. Making this an album with different sounds and songs. Perhaps the finest example for that is my favorite song "I Have Made Mistakes". This song is intimate; beautifully sung by Tyler, with Maggie doing 2nd voice.
As you may have noticed, I'm having a little trouble describing my love for this album. Which is weird, because I love it. It shouldn't be hard to declare love on a beautiful album with great songs on it. I've done it before... Yet here I am having a hard time with it. Maybe you should just not care about what I think or write (as you should do most of the time) and listen to the fine songs you've been presented. And if you like what you've heard, get your ass in gear and get yourself a copy.
From Loch Lomond's latest album Little Me Will Start A Storm comes this cool video and beautiful song. I have to admit I am extremely addicted to the song and this video ever since I first saw it two days ago. Videos usually don't do it for me, but I can't stop looking at this. I see something new everytime I watch it and the song just gets stuck in my head, making me sing little bits of it wherever I am. Extremely addictive. Simply beautiful.
This Monday morning a cool track from Passenger Peru's great self-titled debut album Passenger Peru, released September of last year. Very much worth checking out, there's a lot more cool songs like this on it. Have a good week!
One of my favorite bands released their debut album last year and have toured a lot since then, sadly only on their own continent.. Good thing they've also released a few videos for the songs on that great album, and a few days ago they released a video for "Woolgatherer". One of my favorite songs on the record and a video that is equally beautiful. Take a moment, have some tea. Watch something really cool!
Introducing: Young Summer. "Fever Dream" is a highly addictive track from an American singer who sounds a lot like Florence (from the Machine) Welch, but more danceable. This new song was released two days ago on that horrible iTunes, but thankfully still streamable via Soundcloud. Great Tune!
Always had a thing for girls with guitars and Samantha Crain is no exception. This live-version is a little older (November 2011), but she has just released her latest album Kid Face and you can download a 9-track sampler of her music via SamanthaCrain.com, I hear no reason why you shouldn't!