Posts Tagged ‘Bon Iver’

Thankfully a Bono/George Michael/Sting free zone

Thankfully a Bono/George Michael/Sting free zone

We’re big Feist fans around here, so imagine our delight upon finding out that not only does she feature on the new Red, Hot Compilation Dark Was the Night, but that she covers Vashti Bunyan’s ‘Train Song’. The compilation seems to be a mix of covers and originals, but it’s chock full of quality acts and not the usual ol’ wash-ups desperate for any grain of publicity.

Songs like the Band Aid one (especially the bleeding-from-my-ears 20th anniversary update) or ‘We Are the World’ (I can remember about Michael Jackson’s sparkly glove in the video, which now seems really creepy) are the vocal equivalent of a group hug. Dark Was the Night is full of awesome music, featuring some of the brightest and best US and Canadian talent from the last five years including Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Beirut, Arcade Fire, The National, Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine.

There are a couple of songs for download on the 4AD website including Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’ and ‘Knotty Pine’ by David Byrne and The Skinny Projectors, and since February 1st, a different track is streaming every day on the record’s Myspace page.

Bugger the reason, for 12 quid you get loads of great music and it’s for charidee.

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You may not remember it now, but last Monday was a cracker of a day. Lucky me, I had taken the day off work and the serendipitous communion of day of lesiure meets good weather nearly put me in a good mood.

I had arranged to visit my pal, who moved to the country earlier this year. Well, they’re calling it the suburbs but I think it’s the sticks. Laytown is the sticks right? Anyway, now she and her husband own a big house with a 5.4 acre garden for less than it would cost you to buy an apartment in Dublin. Still, there’s a lot to be putting up with for all that I think; on rainy days I imagine it’s the kind of place that would make you run out into the road. Except there wouldn’t really be any point as it would take an age for a car to come along and put you out of your misery. Ho-hum.

Anyway, getting back to Monday and it being sunny. And warm. It was perfect. I grabbed a couple of CDs that I had picked up the day before and got in my car and went to visit said friend in the ‘suburbs.’

As I sat in my car, tarmacadam whizzing beneath me into a vanishing point, thighs sweating under the beating sun, the music really took me out of it.

A few months back, I read a big piece about Pacific Ocean Blue in the Guardian. I never really knew much about Dennis Wilson. I own Pet Sounds and that’s it. But as I read about Wilson and this particular album, my mouth went dry. I really wanted to hear it. It’s much different to anything I expected. It doesn’t sound like the Beach Boys. It sounds like a drunk messing around with 80s keyboards before they were invented very late at night. And it sounds like the city, even though it’s called Pacific Ocean Blue, like neon and drug addiction and crime and violence. And a lot of it is steeped in a general pang of low-level regret and dissatisfaction and lethargy. Perfect for my grim mood.

Next up, Fleet Foxes, the album everyone is talking about and the gig of the year that I, of course, missed. Leigh introduced me to this and Bon Iver during our Sauvignon/Pinot Grigio/Baileys ice cream bender. Fleet Foxes has a very different feel to Dennis Wilson’s album, but it also holds its own in the melodiously melancholy genre, my favourite genre. It has a lot in common with the Beach Boys, the bass sound, the keyboards sound, the vocal harmonies, but it also has a touch of Appalachian folk about it too, I think. And it’s got great lyrics.

Bon Iver is now one of my favourite things. I didn’t know the story behind it either – that the guy was heartbroken, and went to a log cabin and spent four months there on this album. Whoever Emma is, she probably feels pretty bad about it all now. The album is great and the four-track recording sounds beautifully sparse. Plus, his voice and harmonies make him sound weirdly like Prince.

I guess what I really want to say here is that these three albums have been helping me over the past couple of weeks. There’s nothing more lovely than forgetting yourself for an hour, and it’s even lovelier if you can do that to the soundtrack of some lovely loud music in a car on a sunny day. There’s nothing like it to make you feel like you’re free from your own life and instead living the life you always thought you’d be living.

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I’m in a giving mood….blame the good weather.

Anyway, I thought I’d divulge a few of the things that have been making my life more fun as of late. First up, time to get a little Beaut.ie on yisser arses:

I have discovered two new beauty products that have made my life a lot easier. First up is the Bourjois 1 Second Fan Effect Brush nail polish. No more waving my hands about like a muppet to get my nails dry (and then, per sod’s law, getting them fucking well smudged on something): this stuff works in record time. And you literally need to use one stroke of the brush…hell, a cracked-out chimp could do her nails with this gear. The first time I got introduced to it in fact, I had several Martinis taken and used it with one eye closed. And you know what? I looked like I’d gotten a frickin’ manicure. In the middle of Solas.

I’ve also been curious about getting eyelash extensions, but now I don’t need to, thanks to the L’Oreal Double Extension Beauty Tubes Mascara. Seriously, it makes your lashes hit your bloody eyebrows. Plus, there are no smudges, at all at all. I woke up one morning with the full face of make-up on and a rather handsome young specimen there next to me. Initially, I panicked, thinking that the poor chap would be a little freaked to see me in my grizzled panda-eyed state, but no…the lashes stayed put. Even if he didn’t.

Right, onto the music recommendations before the boys start to doze off.

I, along with about 30 others, went to see a rather lovely band last night called A Sunny Day In Glasgow, who are in fact from Philadelphia. I’m a sucker for twee, shoegaze, lo-fi indie and this lot really did it for me. Those fabulous folk at Foggy Notions really have an ear for a brilliant, obscure act, and have brought some fantastic, lesser-known luminaries to Ireland in the last year. It was a criminally short set, and the vocals sounded fairly manky in a live setting, but on record ASDIG are really rather incredible. Think the shimmery, glazed dreaminess of Cocteau Twins or Velocity Girl mixed with something a little more robust like Superchunk or Drop Nineteens. A match made in heaven if you ask me. And yes, I did leave my heart in 1995.

Sure give this ASDIG song a lash:

A few nights ago, I dropped in on Honoria for a sociable cup of tea, which then of course turned into an impromptu, 8-hour Sauvignon bender. That lass is such a feeder!! Anyway, we ended up yanking out old records at 4am (profuse apologies, Penny’s neighbours) and found a long forgotten gem from Rollerskate Skinny entitled Shoulder Voices. And, having not heard this lovely album in well over a decade…well, it was simply the nicest shock you could get. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of hearing the sadly defunct Rollerskate Skinny, take a gander at this (and pay no mind to their ridiculously charmless singer, the albums really are worth a listen):

Another of my favourite defunct bands is Swirlies, who created one of the best shoegaze albums ever, in my mind. You can download their albums here, legally and for free. Start with They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days, and see how you go. And don’t say I never give youse nothing.

Or if you don’t fancy doing all that, just listen to this:

What with the renewed interest in My Bloody Valentine, I am optimistic that shoegazing will make a comeback. Oh happy feckin’ day.

For purposes of gainful employment, I had been working with a lot of music since very recently, and I admit, dear reader, that I became so jaded and sated with music that couldn’t bear to listen to anything new. But I am finally coming out of hibernation and am finally able to stomach the sound of a decent album again. In fact, I have been monstrously excited by albums from Beirut, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear.

So if anyone has any music recommendations along those lines, please lob ’em on over. At this moment in time, I like my music like I like my men; woodsy, earthy, robust, sincere, a little bit dark…and with a kink.

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