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02-01-2013 // interviews, 2012: 2012: Interview with Balto

The year 2012 is coming to an end. It is that time of the year for Christmas carols, buying presents for our loved ones and reflecting on the year that (almost) lies behind us. For us music bloggers it also means writing year lists, pretending our opinions matter to the world. Which of course, they do not, but even bloggers have dreams. These last few weeks I’ve asked several of my favorite artists of 2012 to look back on what this year has brought them. For their own musical careers, but also about the music they’ve enjoyed themselves and, if any, what their plans for 2013 are. These are their stories (yes, I did just quote the A-Team intro).

Among the finest releases of 2012 was a 2011-favorite: Balto. This talented bunch released “Monuments”, a beautiful 6-track EP with all the needed ingredients for a fine Americana album. It’s pure melancholia in her finest form. Intense but relaxing, perfect for dull rainy Wednesday mornings. Ideal for cold lonely winter nights sitting by the stereo with a glass of wine. And it wouldn’t sound bad sitting by the fire with a beautiful lady either. Just 6 great songs on a fine EP. You can read an interview with Balto-member Jeannot and Hip Hatchet’s interview is scheduled for later this week, but for now have a look at the answers leading man Daniel Sheron gave for Balto.


1. If you had to name one moment, what would you consider the highlight of 2012?
For the project, probably two top moments. The first was probably when we finally got to tracking the songs live in the studio in Upstate New York - it just sounded amazing in that room and it felt like such a culmination of efforts and collaboration. Then, going back into the control room and listening to the recordings we were making was pretty surreal. The second was probably a show we played immediately after we tracked the record - everyone was hot out of the studio, and the venue was down in the Lower East Side in NYC - a bunch of old friends turned up and everything just lined up.

2. What are doing at the moment (November 2012)?
I've been working my day job a bit more - My day-to-day is spent running around hospitals as a Russian interpreter. Beyond that, I've been plotting Balto's next moves and getting started on writing the new album.

3. Which great band/artist did you discover yourself in 2012?
I'd say J. Tillman's new project Father John Misty. I know that's getting huge now, and back in the spring, right when his record came out, they swung down through Portland, and I went and saw the show kind of on a whim. I was totally blown away - haven't gotten that excited about an artist (or an album) in quite some time.

4. What's your favorite album released this year?
Fear Fun - see above.

5. How will you celebrate New Year's Eve?
I don't plan that far out - I have no idea!

6. What are your plans for 2013?
Just rough ideas really - definitely going to put together another tour. and write another full-length. Excited to see what the next year's got in store.


Thank you Daniel on behalf of Balto. for taking the time for these questions. Hope you’ve had a great New Year’s Eve and I’m already excited knowing there will be a new album in 2013!

31-12-2012 // Plug in, Baby!: 2012: A year in Music

I loved 2012. I loved it from the very first week. They day I met Bridie Jackson & The Arbour’s debut record “Bitter Lullabies” was a good day. My New Year-fever (will there be as much great music as there was in 2011?!) was instantly cured. I was positive 2012 would bring us at least the same amount of great music. Maybe even more. I was not wrong.

I was not right either though. Because comparing 2011 and 2012 music-wise is like comparing a pregnant elephant with a picture of my remote control. Useless. But for me, 2011 was an exceptional music year. Due to new contacts I made via this blog I was introduced to artists and music I probably would’ve never heard off. I was worried that 2012 might not do the same for me. luckily on that specific matter, I was very wrong. Bridie Jackson was just the 1st album I completely fell in love with. Pickering Pick, Elenne May LUIK, F&M, Paper Aeroplanes, Hip Hatchet, Rebecca Brandt, The Rest, Holmes, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Idiot Wind, Conveyor, John Donovan, Dry The River, JP Haynie, Will Stratton, All Shall Be Well, Matthew De Zoete, Avec pas d’casque, Beach House and a lot more names have made this a year to remember.

And those are just the names I picked straight of the blog, the names I’ve shared with you. Artists you’ve hopefully fallen in love with yourself too. There’s are lot more great things that have not made it onto the blog for a whole lot of different reasons. The new Muse (2nd Law) is brilliant as always, but one of the biggest rock bands in the world doesn’t really need another fan review. Same goes for the 2nd album of folkies Mumford & Sons. Their “Babel” is not as overwhelming and surprisingly fresh as their debut, but it delivers. It gives me exactly what I need from them. Another personal favorite is Craig Taborn. I saw him play live at North Sea Jazz this year and it was one of the finest concerts of the year. Not the easiest of music (solo jazz on piano, are you scared yet?), but if you take the time, you’ll hear the beautiful brilliance of his music. His album “Avenging Angel” is a must-play on Sundays.

Standing in front of my ever-growing cd-collection I spot albums by BRUUT, Port Of Call, Moss, Christine Leakey, Michael Kiwanuka and more that surely brought me joy in 2012. But for them also there are all sorts of reasons they never made it onto the blog. And now that the year is over and the hunt for great new tunes rages on, they probably never will. I’m tying up the loose ends, scraping together the remains of 2012. The leftovers, for those that are still hungry for new music worth their time. These are surely worth hearing.

Anything I missed? Well, yes. There are still a few more interviews coming with my personal favorites of the year 2012. There won’t be a year list of my favorite albums, but instead we have the December-interviews. Due to me being too busy with work & all the holiday-festivities, a few will be released in 2013. It doesn’t matter though, as I’ve recently decided to continue with Plug in, Baby! In 2013. Which I wasn’t planning on doing. I don’t know why I wanted to quit, neither do I know the reasons for deciding to continue blogging. But I will.

So.. Have a great New Year’s Eve, my friends. See you on the other side!

30-12-2012 // Album: Elenne May - Misleadingly Soft


Last 'regular' post of the year, and I admit: I wanted to make it a special one. And special this album surely is. Dutch singer Elenne May has released her debut album Misleadingly Soft in November and I've been loving it from the very 1st day.


References with Kate Bush are easily made, but do her music short. Misleadingly Soft has a special something to it, making it an irresistible album. It takes you into her little dreamworld and the magic she displays is so overwhelming that it's over before you realize it. I get a strong sense of Efteling-magic when I listen to this amazing album. And just like most sensational rides in themeparks, Misleadingly Soft is a ride I wanna take over and over again. (#badjokealert) No matter how long I have to wait in line..


While every 'serious' Dutch music reviewer is drooling over Blaudzun's ego and utterly boring album as 2012s best, it is no surprise that the most beautiful album was released by someone most of them may have never heard of. Such a shame, and hopefully 2013 will help the world see what Elenne May already is in my book: a fantastic artist with a phenomenal debut album.

I love it. I love it. I love it.


(and did I mention that I love this album..?)

27-12-2012 // interviews, 2012: 2012: Interview with All Shall Be Well

The year 2012 is coming to an end. It is that time of the year for Christmas carols, buying presents for our loved ones and reflecting on the year that (almost) lies behind us. For us music bloggers it also means writing year lists, pretending our opinions matter to the world. Which of course, they do not, but even bloggers have dreams. These last few weeks I’ve asked several of my favorite artists of 2012 to look back on what this year has brought them. For their own musical careers, but also about the music they’ve enjoyed themselves and, if any, what their plans for 2013 are. These are their stories (yes, I did just quote the A-Team intro).

Next up in the interview sessions is Dutch instrumental rockband All Shall Be Well. Their 2011-release Roodblauw has had many spins this year & “History Is Ever Ours For The Reliving” is one of the finest tunes I’ve heard all year. It is very good news to know they’re working on their next album being released in 2013 (I’m giving away a little something from what’s down there, I’m sorry). Their music has something mesmerizing and very special, I usually get bored with rock music after a while, but Roodblauw is still playing at least a few times a week now that the year is almost over. And although it’s a 2011-release, it’ll go down in 2012-history for me as one of the finest records I’ve heard! Read about their year and bright future plans and check out their 1st video down below.


1. If you had to name one moment, what would you consider the highlight of 2012?
In all fairness it's much easier to name highlights of 2011.

- we released our debut album Roodblauw
- 1.5 million hits on YouTube (http://youtu.be/SUTnyUhynC0)
- recording a song for More Hope for Japan, an effort to raise money for the victims of the tsunami.

Our highlight of 2012 was the release of our first music video: http://youtu.be/LWZ2x_QOopQ

2. What are doing at the moment (novermber 2012)?
We're busy writing new songs for record number 2, which is going pretty good so far. In 2011 we started a project called '30 Second Compositions', where we release a new composition of 30 seconds every month (on the 30th). We're still writing and releasing those, and recently expanded on this project by asking film makers to visualse a composition. You can check those out here: www.30secondcompositions.com.

3. Which great band/artist did you discover yourself in 2012?
Wouter: Imannu El
Jeroen: Skrillex
Vincent: Kodaline
Bas: Stealing Sheep, Nathaniel Rateliff and Alt-J.

4. What's your favorite album released this year?
Wouter: Jonsi - We bought a zoo
Jeroen: -
Vincent: Muse- The 2nd Law
Bas: Mewithoutyou - Ten Stories / Withered Hand - Inbetweens

5. How will you celebrate New Year's Eve?
Should we have thought about that already?

6. What are your plans for 2013?
2013 will see the release of our second record. We're well on our way with writing it but still have the recording and mixing process ahead of us. 2013 will also be the year we start playing live shows again which we chose not to do while writing our second album. We hope to build on a great 2011 and 2012 and the modest succes of Roodblauw.



Thank you All Shall Be Well for answering these questions. Seeing you play live must be something special, so I hope to attend one of your shows in 2013 and that video is great!

26-12-2012 // Album: How To Throw A Christmas Party - III Christmas Island

Dutch folk collective How To Throw A Christmas Party have released two fine Christmas albums the last 2 years and they've done so again this year. It's a little late to write about it on December 26th, but you can still celebrate a great party today with this album playing.




There are 8 beautiful songs on this 'paid-what-you-want'-downloadable album, so get it right away and enjoy another great day with your friends, family and great music. I know I will.

25-12-2012 // Track: Code Pie - It's Christmas Time


Merry Christmas Everyone!

24-12-2012 // interviews, 2012: 2012: Interview with Jeannot

The year 2012 is coming to an end. It is that time of the year for Christmas carols, buying presents for our loved ones and reflecting on the year that (almost) lies behind us. For us music bloggers it also means writing year lists, pretending our opinions matter to the world. Which of course, they do not, but even bloggers have dreams. These last few weeks I’ve asked several of my favorite artists of 2012 to look back on what this year has brought them. For their own musical careers, but also about the music they’ve enjoyed themselves and, if any, what their plans for 2013 are. These are their stories (yes, I did just quote the A-Team intro).

Interview number 5 (I'm being extremely slow this year, I'm really sorry my friends) is with John Glouchevitch, the main man behind a little folk collective called Jeannot. I fell in love with their 3-track EP this summer and I still listen to it every Sunday, sometimes in the morning, sometimes late at night. It's part of a regular sunday routine, included between legendary artists such as Miles Davis & Jeff Buckley. The slow, but beautiful songs are perfect Sunday material and maybe even more on a Winter Sunday, so bring on the snow Santa Motherfucker! For now, on Christmas Eve, listen to those 3 beautiful songs & read about John's 2012 & plans for the new year.


1. If you had to name one moment, what would you consider the highlight of 2012?
I spent the summer in Vermont working on new material. It's really beautiful, there's hiking and swimming holes all over. I have family there, and my uncle called it the best summer since '78.

2. What are doing at the moment (novermber 2012)?
I'm living in Brooklyn, NY and playing with a new band called Hog Bucket. We've been working on videos, playing shows in the northeast, and putting together a US tour for next summer.

3. Which great band/artist did you discover yourself in 2012?
I have been obsessed with the Father John Misty album "Fear Fun," to the point where I hear the songs playing in my dreams. It feels like the soundtrack to my subconscious.

4. What's your favourite album released this year?
Fear Fun.

5. How will you celebrate New Year's Eve?
Trying not to repeat last year. Hopefully watching fireworks from my roof.

6. What are your plans for 2013?
I'm going to hit the road with Hog Bucket and work on the next Jeannot release.


Thank you Jeannot (John) for answering these questions. Have a great Holiday season with fireworks on the roof & hopefully we'll hear some new tunes next year.

20-12-2012 // interviews, 2012: 2012: Interview with Paper Aeroplanes

The year 2012 is coming to an end. It is that time of the year for Christmas carols, buying presents for our loved ones and reflecting on the year that (almost) lies behind us. For us music bloggers it also means writing year lists, pretending our opinions matter to the world. Which of course, they do not, but even bloggers have dreams. These last few weeks I’ve asked several of my favorite artists of 2012 to look back on what this year has brought them. For their own musical careers, but also about the music they’ve enjoyed themselves and, if any, what their plans for 2013 are. These are their stories (yes, I did just quote the A-Team intro).

In my humble opinion the most beautiful song of 2012 is "Multiple Love" by Paper Aeroplanes. It is probably the most played song on my laptop, phone and mp3-player. I've listened entire days to just this one song. Over and over again. The great thing about this duo is that every song they release is pure beauty. Previous releases and the latest EP Time To Be (just released last month, get it while it's hot) are full of tender songs, made with love. Perfect for midnight dreaming by candlelight or walking in the snowy winter. Also a fine recipe for heartache, I can assure you.
Paper Aeroplanes are touring right now, so the shortest interview in the series comes from them. They are forgiven, if they at least visit the Netherlands once next year..


1. If you had to name one moment, what would you consider the highlight of 2012?
--

2. What are you doing at the moment (November 2012)?
Touring, touring, touring and releasing our Time to Be EP.

3. Which great band/artist did you discover yourself in 2012?
Fell in love with Sharon Van Etten and Rae Morris.

4. What's your favourite album released this year?
It has to be Anais Mitchell's new album.

5. How will you celebrate New Year's Eve?
Felt like having a quiet one this year. Staying in a hotel with my other half. I love to see in the new year by remembering all the best things that happened to me that year and dreaming up resolutions and exciting goals for the next year.

6. What are your plans for 2013?
Releasing our next full length album on a great indie record label.


Thank you Paper Aeroplanes for the interview and hopefully see you in the flesh next year!

And with Christmas coming, give their version of "In The Bleak Midwinter" a spin!

18-12-2012 // interviews, 2012: 2012: Interview with F&M

The year 2012 is coming to an end. It is that time of the year for Christmas carols, buying presents for our loved ones and reflecting on the year that (almost) lies behind us. For us music bloggers it also means writing year lists, pretending our opinions matter to the world. Which of course, they do not, but even bloggers have dreams. These last few weeks I’ve asked several of my favorite artists of 2012 to look back on what this year has brought them. For their own musical careers, but also about the music they’ve enjoyed themselves and, if any, what their plans for 2013 are. These are their stories (yes, I did just quote the A-Team intro).

Not the only 2011-release that made it onto the blog this year, but probably one of the finest is F&M's beautiful album Wish You Were Here. It is one of those albums of which at some point each song was my favourite, I first fell in love with the title track, but slowly made my way through the entire album (read the review here) and I have to admit I'm very eager to hear the new songs they've been working on. They had fun answering these questions, I enjoyed reading them, I hope you do too.


F&M are:
Rebecca Anderson (AKA: Owlprowl)- Plays piano, accordion, guitar, bağlama, writes song and sings like a sweet Budgie fresh from the kill.

Ryan Anderson (AKA: Hawkwalk)- Plays/fights guitar, writes songs and sings like a great French wine after losing a boxing match.

Bryan Reichert (AKA: MIOT)- Plays guitar, violin, mandolin orchestrates/engineers/mixes/records songs and sings like an old black & white movie that you just want to live in.

If you had to name one moment, what would you consider the highlight of 2012?
Rebecca: Toss up between having a song in the movie Goon and getting a BBQ.
Bryan: Limping through Toronto on my broken leg during NXNE
Ryan: My Grandfather Jim Anderson gave my dad Murray an acoustic Gibson guitar after my Grandfather left the Canadian military (he was a PT boat captain in WWII). My Dad gave it to me. I wrote so many songs on it and this year I gave it to my nephew Tim (who can now grow a mustachio). It was emotional for me but it was time. All of my nephews and nieces are amazing- family is amazing. Our records make the press but the real story is the family that has supported F&M. Four generations of my family have now played this Gibson; Beautiful.

What are you doing at the moment (November 2012)? 


Ryan: I broke my hand last year so practicing my scales and doing vocal exercises for our new EP and full length for 2013... and drinking cheap merlot/syrah.
Bryan: Answering this question
Rebecca: Recording a special winter download - available sometime in the next few months.

Which great band/artist did you discover in 2012?
Bryan: Dave Brubeck, more of a re-discovery

Rebecca: I rediscovered Great Aunt Ida (www.greatauntida.ca) She's a wonderful Canadian talent that I listened to a lot to back in 2006. She came back out west and I was happy to rediscover her this year.
Ryan: Not so much a band/artist so much as a style; Fado Music. I don’t have a favourite artist per se but I have been really loving the passionate melancholy of this Portuguese tradition. It’s really snuck into my songwriting in a non-obvious way.

What's your favourite album released this year?
Rebecca: I am still enjoying 2011 - PJ Harvey's, “Let England Shake”.
Bryan: Silversun Pickups, “Neck of the Woods”.


Ryan: I have two; Our friend Tyler Butler released “Violence” (http://tylerbutler.bandcamp.com/) it’s a really great record and fellow Canadians Godspeed You! Black Emperor quietly released “Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!” it’s stunning www.soundcloud.com/constellation-records/sets/godspeed-you-black-emperor). I sat and listened to it and just stared ahead with goosebumps! Such an important record.

How will you celebrate New Year's Eve?


Rebecca: With a book and some wine.
Ryan: I loathe crowds so very quietly at home with a nice bottle of Bordeaux convincing Rebecca to put her book down.
Bryan: Hopefully playing at some filthy club

What are your musical plans for 2013?
Rebecca: New F&M album and possibly taking a few more cello lessons.
Bryan: More of the same, just bigger and better
Ryan: We’ll be living in the studio for a few months during the coldest months getting acquainted with our new songs We’ll be releasing both a Russian themed EP and a full length. I’m quite excited by this. Rebecca has written a song called “Razzle Dazzle” that made Bryan and I stop and smile. I can’t wait to share it. Then some touring. We really want to make it to Europe again in 2013.


--
Thank you F&M for a very enjoyable interview. I'm looking forward to the new music and would love to hear you play live somewhere in the new year!

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