Five on a Friday – The Gifts of Friendship

I’ve mentioned the two gentlemen with the exquisite taste in music but I haven’t really talked about any of the music they’ve introduced me to. To make up for that today’s post is dedicated to five artists that I’d never even heard of a year ago but absolutely love now because of them. It was not easy to narrow the list down to only five, my original list was easily three times as long but here it is.

First choice is French artist Camille. She’s sometimes compared to Björk but is more accessible than Björk. So many things could be said about her but just listen to the way she uses her voice in ‘Ta Douleur’.

Next is the British folktronica group Tunng. I got to see them in concert last Sunday and had a great time. At a first listen they may seem like a very serious band but soon you’ll discover they can be very very funny. I got my first inkling listening to the song ‘Bullets’ but it was definitely confirmed at the concert when the lead singer put on a pair of sunglasses that looked like something straight out of Dame Edna’s wardrobe before doing some awesome guitar playing. Incidentally ‘Bullets’ was also the last song of the concert and afterward you kept hearing people humming or whistling it everywhere from the ladies’ room to the street.

My third choice is the Canadian singer-songwriter Jean Leloup. It’s hard for me to describe exactly what it is he does but his songs are the kind of songs that just engulfs you. At first it’s about singing a good melody but eventually the instruments take over the song and everything flows together into a musical climax.

The fourth group on my list is Efterklang, a Danish band that is so unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. I went to their recent concert in Copenhagen and it really is music you have to hear live. Sometimes it’s better to stick with listening to an artist’s recordings but Efterklang sounds best live.

The last choice is the English singer-songwriter Nick Drake. Incredibly beautiful but sad songs.

Camille – Ta Douleur

Tunng – Bullets

Jean Leloup – Paradis Perdu

Efterklang – Full Moon

Nick Drake – Cello Song

Listen on Grooveshark

Five on a Friday – An Irrational Dislike of Electronic Music

Let me tell you a little story. A long long time ago when the internet didn’t exist and DOS commands were how you made your PC do things, I was teenager. (I know this must come as a surprise to some of you but yes, I am that old.) If I wanted to listen to music I could either turn on the radio or buy a cassette tape, a vinyl record or one of those cool new things called CD’s but they were really really expensive.

I didn’t have any money so I listened to the radio.

Now, if you turned on the radio in the beginning of the 90s in Europe, you couldn’t avoid Eurodance. Remember 2 Unlimited? ‘No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no there’s no limit’? Together with a few select other songs it convinced me I just didn’t like electronic music.

And so it was I stopped actually listening to the music.

I wasn’t even interested in trying.

But you know what? I’ve recently discovered I do like electronic music. And, I even like it better the more minimalistic and abstract it gets. So here you go. 5 songs I would never have listened to a year ago.

Four Tet – Plastic people

Pantha du Prince – Lay in a Shimmer

Autechre – Eggshell

Masayoshi Fujita (El fog) – Silent Soaring

Bjørn Svin – Browen

Listen on Grooveshark.

Five on a Friday – Going to the Beach

See, I used to care about music.  A lot. But then I got sucked into a vortex of working full time and at same time trying to finish my master’s thesis, all the while I was dealing with health problems because I forgot to eat my vitamins. Music became secondary and my life was very bleak and gloomy for a while.

Luckily I happen to know two remarkable people who have a much bigger passion for music than I do and who in each their way helped me. The first is Aric who has the amazing quality of being able to make everyone around him excited about whatever project he’s involved with. He did this little music podcast called Rough Sundays last year and as usual got everyone excited about everything from Edith Piaf to Otis Redding. The second is Alex who’s in Denmark to study acoustics. I sent him a few MySpace links,  he sent a few back and soon we were buying concert tickets together. Between the two of them they’ve introduced me to more amazing artists than I can count but more importantly their enthusiasm has inspired me to become passionate about music again and begin exploring the world of music on my own.

Seeing Alex’s blog post about his ‘musikklub’ gave me the idea to use my own blog for creating an itinerary of these explorations, not only for my own personal pleasure but also to share it with others. So far the ambitious plan is to post 5 songs every Friday that share a common theme and explain why I’ve chosen those particular songs or artists within that theme.

For this very first edition I’ve chosen five songs where the artists work with beautiful vocal harmonies. It all began with the indie band Grizzly Bear that I first learned about a year ago. It was easy to hear the influence from The Beach Boys and suddenly I realized that apart from some of the very famous songs like Sloop John B or God Only Knows I’d never really listened to their Pet Sounds album properly. And once I’d done that, I began to hear their influence in other songs too which it why I’ve chosen Owen Pallett and the Fleet Foxes for the next two songs. The last song might be more of a stretch, you don’t hear the influence as directly as in the other songs, but I do think they’ve been indirectly influenced by the Fleet Foxes.

Here’s the list:

Grizzly Bear –  Two Weeks

The Beach Boys – You Still Believe in Me

Owen Pallett – Lewis Takes Action

Fleet Foxes – Ragged Wood

The Rumour Said Fire – The Balcony

Listen to the songs on Grooveshark.