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26-12-2011 // interviews: Interview with Bryan John Appleby

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 next interview is with Bryan John Appleby. This Seattle songwriter released "Fire On The Vine" in July of this year and it is truly on of the most albums that the year has seen. I'm aware of the fact I keep saying similair things throughout these series, but in my defense I can say that I've only contacted the artists responsible for the best stuff I've heard. The album is beautiful from start to finish, with some heavier stuff, but also with a heartbreaking lovesong about losing the one he loves (listen to 'Honey Jars' down below). It's an album I can spend an entire evening listening to and still not get bored. Listen to my 2 favourite tracks of his album and read what Bryan John Appleby has to share about the year that is over by the end of the week.



If you had to name one moment, what would you consider your highlight of 2011?
The year was split in two halves. The first half was spent making the record and the second half was spent playing it. There was a small window of time that came late in the summer, when these two halves converged. In this time, we unveiled the album to the sold out room of the charming, ghost-filled theater in Columbia City, an out-skirted neighborhood in Seattle. A week later, we had the chance to play a show on the remote Puget Sound Island of Orcas for DoeBay festival. Our set had included bloody hands, broken glass, and blown out speakers. Pretty good for folk music. Then we hit the road. The band played shows and saw friends all over the west coast. And once we hit San Diego, I split off with Annie and we drove through the southern dessert, through the Midwest and out to Chicago. Came back through Denver Mountains and the wastelands of Utah.

In those two months, I had some very rewarding, meaningful, lovely, and exciting experiences. Not just for 2011, but ever.

What are you doing at the moment?
I'm working at a restaurant and enjoying winter with the people that I love around me. The band is working hard and playing shows. We are trying to get our van fixed. I’m sitting in the warm basement reading and writing as much as I can. It’s busy though. Lot of stuff this year that didn’t exist last year. A manager would be nice. Maybe a booking agent soon too. We’ll see what comes.

Which great band or artist did you discover yourself in 2011? Any favourite albums?
A band called Little Scream is doing it for me right now. Also Kelli Schaefer, from Portland is up there on the list. Grand Hallway from Seattle is so beautiful. I’ve enjoyed Bill Callahan this year a lot.

How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
I’ll kiss Annie and raise a glass with my friends. Not sure about the specifics. In my imagination we would all be wearing turtlenecks and holiday sweaters, playing board games by the fireplace in a cabin on the coast. Going into the snow at midnight with cups of coffee and whiskey and cider. Lighting sparklers and smoke bombs. Spotting a lone bear in the meadow by the moonlight.

We’ll probably just stay in town. Stay at the house.

What are your plans for the new year?
I want to record an EP with the genius that produced my last two records, Kevin Matley. I love working with him. I hope to have written an EP and full length by this time next year. The full length will come out in 2013 if the world still exists. I’m working on these now. We will be touring all next year. I really want to come out to Europe and play by the end of the year as well but I don’t have the resources yet. I hope this interview helps.



- Thank you Bryan John Appleby for taking the time to answer these questions & hopefully see you in Europe next year!

26-12-2011 // EP: Lykke Li - The Lost Sessions Vol.1


Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers

As a little Christmas present Lykke Li released a free EP with 3 tracks under the name The Lost Sessions Vol.1, which makes it sound like there's more cool stuff to come. Listen to "I Follow Rivers" and it's clear why you want to download this nice little gift. Click the image to download the 3 tracks and enjoy.

24-12-2011 // interviews: Interview with Ruby Randall

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.



Christmas Eve calls for something special, even if I don't really care about this evening and it's mostly just Saturday night. It's pretty much impossible not to make Christmas a little special these days and I don't mind spending my next two days with family & good friends, so it's all good. Just like the EP "Untill The Dust Settles" Ruby Randall released this year, it's all good. Although I'm planning on posting my Best EPs of 2011-list somewhere this weekend, I don't mind spreading the word on that number one spot that Ruby Randall has had for most of the year. She has written 4 extremely relaxing songs that'll suit any moment of the day, night,week, month or year. This is one of those albums that doesn't ask for a moment to fit into, it creates that moment. Without a doubt the finest EP i've heard this year & that makes it extra special to have a little interview with Ruby Randall about what the previous year has brought her.



If you had to name one moment, what would you consider your highlight of 2011?
Firstly, just having the courage to get up and play my music for people. Prior to this year, i'd sang harmonies with friends of mine live, but was always too afraid to play any of my own stuff.

Also - meeting with Scott and Jeff at the Second Cup in Guelph for the first time. They told me that they wanted to record me, and have me join the othersongs family. I felt really good about both of them, and knew that I wanted to make music with them, too. After we finished the recording process, Scott took me for a drive in his car, and we listened to the EP. Definitely a highlight for me. I felt both humbled and grateful that everything in my life had lined up just so, leading me to that moment.

What are you doing at the moment (november 2011)?
Currently, I am hanging out in Tapotzlan, Mexico - studying yoga with a few friends of mine. Heading home in a short 5 days!

Which great band or artist did you discover yourself in 2011?
Discovered this year, and fell in love with Austra, Qauntic and The Boom Boom's.
Any favourite albums?
Currently have Feist's new album on repeat. Also the soundtrack from Brother Where Art Thou.

How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
Not sure yet. Would love to be at my cottage, with family and friends - drinking wine in a tealight-lit snowfort.

What are your plans for the new year?
Planning to move to Toronto in January and am hoping to be playing shows with friends in the new year. Have written a few new songs over the past 6 months, while hanging out on the West Coast and in Mexico. Am excited to see how they evolve. Ideally, i'd like to be playing as many live shows as possible, lots of collaborating, and perhaps exploring other sides to my musical personality, beyond folk.



- Thank you Ruby for granting me an interview with the artist responsible for my favourite EP of 2011. Hope there will be more great music in 2012!

24-12-2011 // Track: Timbre - Silent Night



The most beautiful Christmas-song released this year. By Timbre.

24-12-2011 // Track: Josh T. Pearson - Oh Holy Night


Josh T. Pearson - Oh Holy Night

The 2nd most beautiful Christmas-song that was released this year is by one of the most amazing artists the year has seen. Josh T. Pearson had a worldwide breakthrough with his great debut record "Last Of The Country Gentlemen", his pain-drenched voice, the strong guitar-picking, it's as pure and honest as you can get. The acoustic live-version of Woman, when i've raised hell is among the most played YouTube-vids for me, it's simply beautiful. Just like this little treasure Josh recorded and which you can get via his website in exchange for your emailadress (a bargain!). I seriously doubt if there's a better version of this song out there.

22-12-2011 // Track: Gavin Bryars & Tom Waits - Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet


Gavin Bryars & Tom Waits - Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet

one of the best Christmas-songs ever. Not recent, but still brilliant. that counts!

22-12-2011 // interviews: Interview with Small Houses

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.

The next interview is with Jeremy Quentin, the main man behind Small Houses, whose album "North" is among the best I've heard this year. Small Houses is folk project around the songs and poems Jeremy writes and among the musicians that surround him we find Chris Bathgate. Not a stranger to my mp3-player either. North is a calm folk record with sweet, soft songs, played on acoustic guitar and the occasional banjo or mandoline to add a little tempo to it. Not to much though, as this is a record best enjoyed when you're not doing anything else than listening to it's beauty.



If you had to name one moment, what would you consider your highlight of 2011?
I feel like the greatest part of 2011 was setting out the goal to pursue art in a lot of different facets and not just those in music. Although recording, releasing, and touring with, "North", was the biggest part of my year, I've also had the chance to start writing articles for a growing magazine inside of Michigan, taking up photography, getting a chance to dive into some acting here and there, and producing my music video which took a good handful of weeks to create. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_hK2qyGlQc). I think exploring some other forms of art will really help the direction of my music.

What are you doing at the moment (november 2011)?
After I got back from tour in the middle of the month, I moved into a new sublet in Kalamazoo, MI and started working on producing a local band's album, Del Brutto, which is due out in Spring 2012.

Which great band or artist did you discover yourself in 2011? Any favourite albums?
I've been listening to a lot of low talkers this year. Tom Waits, Greg Brown, Bill Callahan, Son Volt, Nathaniel Rateliff, etc. A lot of Joni Mitchell too. My new discoveries have been The Milk Carton Kids and Doug Paisley.

How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
I'm playing a gig with some friends at Short's Brewing Company in Bellaire, MI. We all rented some cabins at our favorite campground, Chain O' Lakes. A lot of Michigan albums have been recorded on the premises, including my record, "Just Before The North". I'm sure the place will be covered in 3 feet of snow while we load up our wood burning stoves and celebrate 2012.

What are your plans for the new year?
I'm recording a 7" record next month which should come out sometime in the middle of the year. I'm certain I'll get back in the studio to work on another full length sometime in the Spring, although I'm still contemplating the approach to the next one. I've got a lot of ideas to make things extra special. I might pull in a producer to help. Touring will be pretty frequent. I plan to be on the road at least 6 months of the year.



- Thanks a lot Jeremy and Small Houses for answering the questions (that New Year's Eve sounds pretty awesome btw).

21-12-2011 // Track: SASKATCHEWAN - Last Christmas



Another cover of the mother of all Christmas-songs. The original can bore a person to death, but this & yesterdays versions are epic enough to last you another year. last christmas, i gave you my heart..

21-12-2011 // Album: The Willow & The Builder




This last week I've been working on writing my Best of 2011-lists and I was doing a decent job at it. No real troubles about the albums, no hard decisions about the rankings. But then it all went to shit.. The EP-list needed changes after Kuhlamity & Hip Hatchet released new EPs over the last 2 weeks and now there is a perfectly done album-list that I've been working hard on that needs a look because I fell in love with The Willow & The Builder.



The Willow & The Builder are Richard Miron and Adrian Simon and they have released their 1st album a little over 2 months ago. It's a beautiful little work of art with 8 tracks that are all equally beautiful. This goes right up there with my 2011-favourites alongside The White Album and Small Houses. I've added 2 tracks here, Cut It Down is the 6-minute end of the album, to make it go out with a bang of the beautiful kind. Rosaline is an inspiring 'lovesong', but I can only advice you to get the entire album for a "spare what you can"-deal. You won't regret whatever it is that you spend on it!


 
 




 
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