August 12, 2009

New Swell Season :: “Fantasy Man”

swell-season1

In 2007, Glen Hansard (The Frames) and Marketa Irglova entranced a whole lot of us music lovers with the simple and sweet story of Once, and the flawless ways their voices blend together on the soundtrack of original material. The song “Falling Slowly” still puts a knot in my gut when I hear it, and that whole soundtrack is magic.

If you liked that film, you must stop what you are doing today and visit the NPR “Tiny Desk” concert series to hear the set they recently did with six new songs, plus an urgent and impassioned rendition of “When Your Mind’s Made Up” from the film. They are back with their first album of new material since that soundtrack.

Strict Joy is out October 27th (-Anti Records) under their proper band moniker, The Swell Season. The forthcoming album takes its name from a work by Irish poet James Stephens, and was co-produced by Hansard and Peter Katis (The National, Frightened Rabbit).

Of the six songs they previewed from the new album for the lucky folks at NPR, this one riveted me the fastest. The dulcet harmonies remind me quite a bit of Lisa Hannigan’s haunting work with Damien Rice…

Fantasy Man (live on NPR) – The Swell Season

…And I second NPR’s notion that “Feeling The Pull” sounds like a lost Van Morrison track — which reminds me how much I love this cover:

Into The Mystic (Once b-side, Van Morrison cover) – The Swell Season



Download the whole seven song podcast here.

November 17, 2008

Jeff Buckley, Glen Hansard “Neath The Beeches”

Today, November 17th, is Jeff Buckley‘s birthday, and a reader sent me this interview clip with Glen Hansard (Once, The Frames, The Commitments) discussing the months when his guitar tech/roadie was this young guy named Jeff.

Listen to Hansard tell the story of Jeff first playing “an Irish club in the East Village ” with him (of course, the famous Sin-é) and the reaction of the audience when this unknown kid started to sing. As he discusses their relationship in this wonderfully unguarded interview, he also recounts the story of playing the Tim Buckley song “Once I Was” in the hotel room for Jeff, and being stunned when Jeff casually mentioned, oh yeah, he was my father.

It closes with a gorgeous version of the song “Neath The Beeches,” which Hansard says fell fully formed from his mind, and that “I was thinking about (Jeff) when I was doing it, so it became his song in my head.”

Glen Hansard discusses Jeff Buckley / plays “Neath The Beeches”

Here is also the album version, from the 1999 Frames album Dance The Devil:

Neath The Beeches – The Frames

February 25, 2008

Monday Music Roundup

Pop quiz: What do all of these things have in common?

-study abroad (ouch!)
-Mos Def (“I don’t see race“)
-Whole Foods
-knowing what’s best for poor people

??
Why, this is all stuff white people like, the subject of a fantastic blog by the same name. Good lord this is funny stuff . . .

Notable related link: Top Ten Rap Songs White People Love with some awesomely excellent videos. Yo VIP. . . Let’s kick it.

Yes Man
Ari Hest
Brooklyn musician Ari Hest was looking for new ways to challenge the conventional music-releasing paradigm, and decided to try something new in 2008: releasing one song per week and offering fans the opportunity to subscribe to his creativity, as it were. This tune is currently top on his MySpace player and caught my ears with its warm, roots-rock sound, but everything I am hearing spinning on there so far is good. The best-loved songs from this year’s “52“experiment will be released as the follow-up album to last year’s The Break-In. I think he came through Denver in support of that album playing with the Damnwells but oh wait I missed it.

I Woke Up Today
Port O’Brien
I’m going to try and see Port O’Brien this weekend as part of the most excellent Noise Pop Festival in San Fran. They’re playing at Cafe du Nord, which is the sweatier, dirtier, downstairs cousin to the Swedish American Hall — where this Oakland band played just a few weeks ago, opening for Nada Surf. This song sounds like a joyous cross between some tribal ceremony and a playground dodgeball riot. I love it, it makes the floor wanna shake.

Gray or Blue
Jaymay
Jamie Seerman is a 26-year-old New Yorker with an earnest, pleasing voice and melodic songs that draw from a range of pop and jazz influences.
But seriously.
Has no one in her management advised her that people hear her stage name and perhaps think of this? Or am I the only one?
In any case, this song packs a limber bassline that stretches and wraps itself around her effervescent strum and playfulness. It charmingly starts with “i feel so helpless now, my guitar is not around” as she tries to memorize everything about the guy in this song, and it makes me feel exactly like I am fifteen. I found myself singing this (out loud!) in a 7-11 the other day, so it must be catchy. Autumn Fallin’ is out March 11 on Blue Note.

Ready For The Floor (Jesse Rose Mix)
Hot Chip
There’s something just a little endearing about the marginally off-key exhortation of lead singer Alexis (guy) Taylor here as he urges me to do it, do it, do it, do it now. It creeps into my subconscious. Maybe it’s that borderline-nerdy feel combined with the dancefloor-ready beats that is making Hot Chip such a huge success amongst the kids who don’t dance much, and this remix brings out all the parts of the song that I like the best. From their new album Made In The Dark (out a few weeks ago on Astralwerks).

Falling Slowly
The Frames
After the agonizing THREE musical theater extravaganzas from the Amy Adams “Enchanted” film last night at the Oscars, I was even more excited about Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova winning for best song. This tune is just ridiculously, impossibly gorgeous and if you’ve seen the lovely little story soundtracked by it, it becomes even better. The song was originally written and released with Glen’s band The Frames in this slightly different early version from the 2006 album The Cost (Plateau Records). Listen here for an injection of tension and fervor with the electric cascades, but it does make me miss Marketa’s prominent duetting vocals. “You have suffered enough and warred with yourself, it’s time that you won.” Good for them.

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. If you represent an artist or a label and would prefer that I remove a link to an mp3, please email me at browneheather@gmail.com

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