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18-12-2011 // Track: Jon DeRosa - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear


Jon DeRosa - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Another midnight, another fine Christmas song. Earlier this year i stumbled upon Jon DeRosa's 1st solo-record "Anchored" and it's a beauty. I still listen to it a lot and it was very cool to find a little handwritten note with the album. His record company sent me a collection of 20 Christmas songs by all different artists and this is probably the best track of the entire collection. It's a relaxed Christmassy rocksong with a nice groove to it and is done before you know it. Good stuff!


18-12-2011 // interviews: Interview with The White Album

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.



Next addition to this fine series of interviews (if I may say so myself) is the Danish folkband The White Album. They released a 6-track EP in the middle of the Summer that seems a perfect fit for dark, cold December-nights. All 6 tracks are beautiful, but December has got to be the best track ever written to describe this beautiful month; with that cold wind, stormy nights & warm celebrations. It is my personal favourite on this EP sending chills down my back everytime i hear it. Turn off all lights except for the Christmas-tree and put this on really loud, you'll hear it!



If you had to name one moment, what would you consider your highlight of 2011?
Theres definitely a few to choose from!

The one that shines above all is by far playing our first gig ever at ”The Bowery” in Sheffield, UK. We had an amazing night with some fantastic people. Everyone was so supportive and moved by our music. This was one of those nights that you’ll never forget.

Also, the surprise of suddenly getting internet hype from the tracks and videos we uploaded during the summer, was quite welcome.

Finally, during one of recording sessions, we actually tried to butter and salt some bacon… probably a somewhat more deathdefying moment than a highlight though.

What are you doing at the moment (december 2011)?
We just got back from the UK doing shows in London and Sheffield - as well as the nice ”Vinterlyd” festival in Denmark, so right now we’re cutting up footage from our trip to England to be used in a little fan video.

Which great band or artist did you discover yourself in 2011? Any favourite albums?
Jakob:
Gemma Hayes newest release ”Let It Break” is legendary already
I would indeed also have to give it up for Bon Iver’s new album – hes really pushing it to new hights.

In general we are all kinda re’tripping over ”Pedro The Lion” at the moment.

Frederik:
I’ve been digging the new releases of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes a lot. Truly amazing music!
I also discovered a little american group called Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., they did an EP called Horse Power, that’s all I have with them, but I’ve found myself listening to it over and over again.
I always listen to The Hollow Of Morning by Gemma Hayes at least once a week.
James Blake, tUnE-yArDs and M83 have also been big favorites of mine this year.
Furthermore, Jakob and me were in Berlin at the Paul Simon show this summer, where he played a lot of stuff from his new album, which is probably some of the best stuff he’s ever put out. We both cried like babies when he played ”Still Crazy After All These Years”…
4 Guys From The Future and Chimes and Bells from Denmark are also worth checking out.

Claus:
The new release from Bon Iver goes without saying. Other than that i’ve been digging The Tallest Man On Earth a lot lately and recently bought his new album ”The Wild Hunt”. He´s got an awesome atmosphere in his music and his sound is great. I also listen a lot to J. Tillman, Damien Jurado and David Bazan and a whole bunch of other great artists

How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
We dont really know yet. Our personal planning only goes a few hours ahead. No matter where we are – you will definitely find us at the buffet.

What are your plans for the new year?
We’ll keep writing and recording for our album, which is due to release sometime late 2012.
Other than that we’ll be finishing off a couple of videos
We’ll also be playing in Denmark and England a few times in early 2012. Dates and venues are not confirmed yet, but keep an eye on our Facebook site – facebook.com/thewhitealbummusic

Thankyou and shout-outs to the writer and readers of this blog from The White Album!
We heart you guys! ☺

--
Big thanks to The White Album for the interview.
Hopefully there will be a Dutch Tour in 2012, otherwise Denmark/UK it is.


17-12-2011 // Track: How To Throw A Christmas Party - II: Angels n' Sheep


(copyright photo: Mcklin Fotografie)


Last year this huge band formed by members of several Dutch bands released a Christmas album which they recorded in a church, just for the fun of it. It worked very well and they even did a little tour for it. It was a very cool album that had that special Christmas Spirit most Christmas-releases lack these days..

This year they are back with a 5-track EP that contains only new material. Five great Christmas-songs that are less traditional than the previous edition, but they've recorded 5 very good songs, so who cares..?! This is yet another great EP and with just a week to go untill it's thát time of the year, this should really get you in the mood (assuming the great songs i've been posting all week hasn't succeeded in this so far..).


17-12-2011 // Plug in, Baby!: 2011: Best Covers

The year is coming to an end and every blog is writing its own yearlists. And self-respecting blogger that I am, I'm doing the same. Off course there's the interviews you've been reading over the last week and there's more to come of those, with a fantastic little interview as a 'Grand Finale'; the band responsible for my favourite album of the year!

For now i was just browsing the blog, what else can i do on a Saturday night (actually, i'm waiting for my company to arrive).. And decided to do a little looking back already, with the best covers that i stumbled upon over the past 11,5 months. It's a tricky thing, the cover, the risk of completely ruining a song is always near & i'm pretty sure there's 1000s of great covers i didn't hear this year (there's a challenge for ya, my dear & much respected readers: bring me your covers!).

But for a Saturday-night prior to all the Best-Of there is to come, this is a fine collection of some great songs being beautifully covered by artists that very well know what they're doing.. Please enjoy!

James Vincent McMorrow - Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover)


Lotte Kestner - Your Protector (Fleet Foxes cover)



Lykke Li - Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers cover)

Coeur De Pirate - Wicked Games (The Weeknd cover)

St. Vincent - "Some of Them Are Old" (Brian Eno Cover)


16-12-2011 // Track: Rags 'n Goff - Little Drummer Boy


Absolutely impossible to find anything on this band, but i like their version of this Christmas-classic and that's what matters, right? We're one day closer to Christmas with another cool song to get us all in the mood & there's a lot more nice songs coming your way..! Oh.. and you might've guessed it, this one came from the Hey, It's Christmas! - Vol. 2 collection.


16-12-2011 // interviews: Interview with Matt Stalker & Fables

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 3rd interview is with Matt Stalker & Fables. They've released their beautiful album "The Man Who Said This Died Of Alchemy" this year and have found their way to my stereo's heavy rotation system with that. I just wrote a tiny little something on this album back in April, as I was still discovering my style on the blog (I still am, but I’m getting better at it), the poor 5 lines I spend on it back then do not do honour on this work of beauty.
This album has succesfully moved itself into a special spot on my mp3-player, which is under a lot of change due to the only 1GB that’s on it. This album never gets removed though, as I desperately need it on the train in the morning. It’s hard to decide what it is, but waking up on the train with coffee and this relaxing, yet cheerful album makes the world a beautiful place. Sometimes it really is that easy..

Use the Bandcamp-player below and read how Matt Stalker & Fables have experienced 2011.



If you had to name one moment, what would you consider your highlight of 2011?
I flew to New Zealand in January for a two-month holiday, but then Jenny (cello) decided to join me for three weeks. She rented a cello, I borrowed a guitar; we got 500 copies of our debut album pressed in Auckland, found a tour manager, and then toured the album round the north island. We played eight shows, and got play and do an interview on national radio NZ on Valentine's Day. It was an amazing experience.

Then on April 1st we launched the album back home in Sunderland, UK. Fables expanded to a nine-piece band and played to an audience of 150. It was a real milestone in my life, and a defining moment for the band. It was truly lovely to know we had such support in our hometown.

What are you doing at the moment (november 2011)?
We are currently writing and arranging a new EP, aiming for a February 2012 release. Adam is now a permanent 'Fable', playing viola, bouzouki and guitar and providing backing vocals. He's a real asset to the band. And as always, Jenny and Baz both bring great ideas to the table. It's such great fun being in this band right now. I'm truly in my element.

Which great band or artist did you discover yourself in 2011? Any favourite albums?
I didn't discover either of them in 2011, but both Bon Iver and Laura Marling put out records this year that blew me away. Adam Jenny and I saw Bon Iver play in Edinburgh in October and despite the hundreds of gigs we've been to between us in our lives, we all agreed it was the greatest gig we'd ever seen.

We toured New Zealand with an amazing artist, Katie Scott. Her EP, That's The Game, has just been released globally, and is amazing. She reminds me of Feist. But sexier.

There are lots of great bands on the local Newcastle/Sunderland scene, but Ajimal and Bridie Jackson & The Arbour are two acts we really love. Bridie is launching her hotly anticipated debut record on January 12th and we're playing support. Ajimal is also in the studio, which is pretty exciting.

How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
Hmm, I have no idea. I am not a fan of NYE in general; it's kind of forced fun. I'm more of a fan of spontaneity. But I imagine whatever happens I'll be with a few close friends, probably musicians, probably with lots of gin, old records and good food. We'll probably not leave the house for days!

What are your plans for the new year?
The new EP is pencilled in for January recording and a February release. We hope to tour, possibly with Bridie Jackson, to promote it.

- Thank you so much Matt Stalker & Fables for your responses. That February release is noted!


16-12-2011 // : Black Books - Out The Door

Black Books is releasing their debut album somewhere in the near future and this 1st track is a complete beauty. It's a dreamy song that starts off very soft, but slowly builts up untill it explodes and sucks you in. It's mesmerizing beaty is best enjoyed over and over again.



In a complete different setting you can listen to them covering Lovefool by The Cardigans.


15-12-2011 // Track: Summer Fiction - Christmas Eve for Two



This song by Summer Fiction is definately one of the coolest (new) Christmas-songs I've heard this year, it has that oldschool feeling that all the classic Christmas songs have (think Driving Home For Christmas) & makes it pretty much impossible to not be in a Christmas mood. It's songs like these that'll actually make up for all the horrible, terrible Christmas songs that are out there on the radio.


15-12-2011 // Album: Hezekiah Jones - Have You Seen Our New Fort




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!


15-12-2011 // : Y LUV - Keep It Rollin' / Earthquakes



Y LUV makes great psychedelic rock tracks that remind me of something that always sounded great, but i can't get it in my head what that is. I was really into their latest release Keep It Rollin', but when i decided to get to know them a little better and came across Earthquakes i got myself in a nice little dilemma, as I really like that slightly older track aswell, so i decided to post both, as there also is a clear difference between these songs. Earthquakes is a more heavy psychedelic rock song, whereas Keep It Rollin' is more danceable, with a fantastic groove to it. Both are a perfect example of what they are capable of, and if you visit their website you can even get a free EP (How Chill Can You Let Go) they released this Summer, i hear no reason you wouldn't want to..



14-12-2011 // Track: Local Lokal - Oh Holy Night


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!


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