Just on the break of the year I need to share this great album with you. It was released back in March, but I've just discovered it a few weeks ago and have been playing it a lot these last weeks. It's a great folk record with some impressive instrumental qualities, as you can hear on Mind Malaise, the 2nd track on the album. The variety make this an album to enjoy a lot without risking getting bored with it, the tracks are very different songs, but all together this is a very strong album.
Big man behind the band is Raphael Cutrufello, he writes almost all the songs and does the main vocals. But it's very much a group effort, it has to be with the powerfull songs and diverse instruments being used on the album. There's also another side to the album, a more folkier side, the pace is slower, the songs are softer. Best example here is the last track down here, called Lift The Shadow From His Heart. Acoustic guitars, a little violin and some background singers, extremely beautiful.
I've given it some thought and this album was on the shortlist, but didn't make it into my Best of 2011-list. Still a great album though, to be played over and over again!
The 3rd Christmas-song as the holidays are slowly coming closer is by a cool band called Local Lokal. They have some fun tracks on their semi-official soundcloud-page, and there's at least one more fantastic Christmas-track on there, called 'Santa Claus Is Back In Town', which is also featured on the Hey! It's Christmas - Vol. 2. compilation, their version of Oh Holy Night is my favourite though, it has that special Christmas-feeling. Gotta love it!
14-12-2011 // interviews: Interview with Megan Bonnell
As a "Farewell 2011"-series i have tried to get a little interview with the bands/artists that have made this a memorable musical year for me (and hopefully for you). Most of the bands i got in contact with responded very sweet and they have been so kind to answer a few questions about their 2011 and off course about their plans for the year to come, these will be posted in December every few days.
This 2nd interview is with Megan Bonnell, who released the beautiful EP "Maps" in June of this year. A 4-track EP that didn't get that much of a "I-love-this-so-frikkin'-much"-review as i seem to write so often (at least, from my perspective), but this EP has grown on me. I've given it a lot of airtime and as i claimed in the review aswell as now, Lake Superior is one of the best songs i've heard this year. It has all the good things of a beautiful power-ballad without it being too Hollywood, if that makes any sense. It is a song, and all together this is an EP i can not get enough of.
Give that fine EP another spin while you read what 2011 brought Megan.
If you had to name one moment, what would you consider your highlight of 2011? The highlight of 2011 was definitely touring down the west coast of the United States. It was my first time going to San Francisco and Los Angeles. San Fran blew my mind. The general aesthetic of the whole place..the culture, the food. I fell in love with it! There is this bakery in the heart of the city called, Tartine. If you find yourself in San Francisco, GO THERE! I had the banana cream pie. It's a must! In fact, eating the banana cream pie may have very well been the highlight of my 2011.
What are you doing at the moment (november 2011)? Currently writing and recording songs for my upcoming album. It's a pretty nice way to spend the colder months of the year. Guitar, piano, pen, paper and a cup of tea. I also work at one of the local coffee shops here in Toronto. It's a wonderful little place. I absolutely love the people that come in. Making delicious drinks is terrifically satisfying! Especially when you get the latte art just right! It is far more of an artistic outlet than I ever would have suspected.
Which great band or artist did you discover yourself in 2011? Any favourite albums? I just recently discovered Doug Paisley and his album, Constant Companion. He is also from Toronto. If you haven't heard his stuff, check it out. I've had it on repeat at the coffee shop for a solid week. I also fell in love with Gillian Welch's album, The Harrow and the Harvest. I would say that has been my absolute favorite album of the year. She is a story-teller. Her songs penetrate your body and mind and find their way to your soul.
How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve? Ah..NYE. I always find that holiday to be so hyped up and then generally a real disappointment. There's just so much pressure to have the best time of your life. This year my sister is having a group of our friends over for dinner and dancing. She doesn't miss an opportunity to dress up so I'm sure I'll be wearing something frilly. Basically, I'm gonna be ringing in the New Year looking like a cupcake.
What are your plans for the new year? I will be releasing a full-length album in early spring. There will definitely be lots of touring (hopefully europe!) around that release. I'm very excited for what 2012 holds.
A big Thank You to the beautiful Megan Bonnell, I'm looking forward to that full-length!
Just found a pretty sweet cover of Kanye's All of the lights played by Kyle Cox, the man responsible for a great song on the Hey! It's Christmas - Vol. 2. compilation i'm kinda, sorta promoting here this week (cuz it's just a load of great songs by some cool artists). The rest of Kyle's bandcamp-page is also worth a listen, go check it out!
The band responsible for what i called 'decent emorock' back in May have made a 180 degrees turn towards a December anthem of extreme beauty. Anthem not with guitar-powered rock, but as in piano based, harmonized folk of the best kind. Near the end it seems for a few seconds Chamberlin is gonna let the song explode, but thankfully they don't, the song just gently fades out as smooth and beautiful as it started.
It's not really a Christmas-song, but it'll fit in beautifully on Christmas Eve on your way to church or a bar (or a hooker).
12-12-2011 // interviews: Interview with Conveyor
As a "Farewell 2011"-series i have tried to get a little interview with the bands/artists that have made this a memorable musical year for me (and hopefully for you). Most of the bands i got in contact with responded very sweet and they have been so kind to answer a few questions about their 2011 and off course about their plans for the year to come, these will be posted between now & December 31st.
One of the 1st bands that responded was Conveyor, whose Sun Ray [EP] is one of the finest i've heard this year! Among the many, many loose tracks & EPs i've heard, this immediately stood out, with the thrilling & sizzling sounds, fine harmony singing & just perfectly written songs. Back in June when i 1st 'reviewed' their EP i made a comparison with Grizzly Bear & (a little less) Fleet Foxes, after the many spins it took on my mp3-player & the kitchen stereo i would like to add one more very decent band amongst these, which is Grandaddy, one of my all-time favourite bands and all more the reason i enjoy this release so much.
Read the interview below & listen to 2 cool tracks they released later this year.
If you had to name one moment, what would you consider the 2011-highlight for Conveyor? The highlight of our year was going on tour with this particular band for the first time. We did a few small dates across the Northeast U.S., and it was good to get out of the city for the first time. When we played our homecoming show (also the release show of our EP) we sold out the venue in lower Manhattan, which was a great way to finish the whole tour.
What are you doing at the moment (november 2011)? Right now we've started recording our first full-length album. We're wrapping up the mixing on the first single, which should be out next month, and we're rehearsing for an upcoming show at Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn on January 5th.
Which great band or artist did you discover yourself in 2011? Any favourite albums? Caveman was another local band that had a great year. Their debut album was a standout in new music for us. Another great NY band that we got into is Via Audio, who have been around for a while now, but we finally got the chance to see them live.
How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve? Our drummer Evan is throwing a New Year's party at his apartment in Williamsburg. Our friend DJ Fischerking is going to play.
What are your plans for the new year? Oh man, this is exciting. We're releasing the first single from our debut full-length in December on a split 7" with our friends Illuminator. They'll be playing with us on January 5th at Glasslands. The album is planned for release in the spring. We'll be heading to SXSW in Austin to play, and we're planning a huge summer tour across the U.S. Hopefully we'll make it to Europe! Can't wait!
Thank you Conveyor for the little interview, i hope to be hearing a lot more from you guys in the new year!
And finally, check out this cool live session on a roof they did for Balcony TV.
One of the finest artists i have stumbled upon this year is Hip Hatchet. His slightly raw voice, accompanied by acoustic guitars is of sheer beauty. Earlier this year i wrote a discomforting 2-liner on a demo he has just released back then & it feels a little as if i should make up for that. Eversince i've been keeping track of him via twitter, where he has proven to be a fun person and this weekend he announced the release of a new 3-track EP, and it is as pretty as you would've expected based on previous knowledge. I've been playing it just about non-stop over the last 24hrs and still can't get enough of it. 2 acoustic guitars, his great voice and 3 killer songs is 'all' it takes to write a great EP.
I'm truly glad i haven't started on my 2011-yearlists for best albums/EPs, this might just make the EP-shortlist on the break. An addictive little masterpiece!
A little more 'dreamy' and a tiny bit less loud than usual on a Monday Morning Kick-Off, but i slept so fuckin' bad these last 2 nights that all i can think of is getting back into a deep coma. It's gonna be a long day, and hopefully a long night after that. But today, after what'll surely turn out to be a comatizing day at work, i start reviewing the year. Let's see if i can get a 1st draft of my favourite albums together & there's some other cool stuff lined up for these last 3 weeks of 2011.
But besides that, check out this great tune by Savoir Adore, a Brooklyn quartet that reminds slightly of MGMT, but more fresh & friendly. I like MGMT, but this track is warm and friendly, and yes, dreamy. It's just this track though, cuz they also have some more up-tempo tracks, like the mesmerizing Bodies, which has a great drumbeat and makes it very hard to sit still. Savoir Adore: A band to watch!
And for the other cool things coming your way; Stay tuned & have a great week!
The tree is shining bright in the living room and i'm typing this story under a bright white star, that is lighting up most of the room, together with some dying candles. Now that it's December 11th i'm willing to accept the fact Christmas is on it's way. I've heard The Super Christmas Tape my dad made when i was 10 while decorating the tree and it only seemed right to continue with Hey! It's Christmas - Vol. 2. A collection of 15 Christmas-songs brought to you by bands that deserve a little attention. They are not all equally magic, but there's some beautiful songs on this free ep. So from today (The Oceanauts) untill the big weekend itself, i'll be posting a sweet Christmas-song (mainly from this fine collection) every day around midnight. Let the pre-fun begin!