Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Jens Lekman + Lia Ices, Live Review

In Music on October 19, 2011 at 8:58 am

The autumn leaves and dropped temperatures seem to fit perfectly with the sounds of Lia Ices. Heavenly, elongated notes look down from the night’s skies, with the fresh awareness of nature’s power upon us. Her voice comes from a forested mountainous place, it’s high, sweeping and echoes about the Thekla like mother nature calling for her ship to return.

Together with the strings, Lia Ices is prettily grandiose. It’s almost shoe gaze’s reinvigorated: nu gaze, plus dream pop with a smattering of folk. If you’re into your genres. I’d recommend that you listen to Lia Ices and make your own conclusions. Like poetry or art, this is a beauty that needs to be subjectively understood. Perhaps because it sounds so personal, heart wrenchingly stunning and Lia Ices, though with similarities to Death In Vegas, Bjork and Imogen Heap, is a genre unto herself. Her’s is a place that you might escape to and probably, alone.

Swedish musician, Jens Lekman is equally romantic – melancholic – but with the addition of witty lyrics, striking guitars and poppy beats over sweeping strings. With influences such as Belle and Sebastian and Paul Simon, Lekman is a story teller. He’s also very funny, self deprecating and dry. Ten years into his career, Lekman has a confidence on stage – enough to throw confetti over his audience, play the ‘air glockenspiel’, dance as you do when something good happens and you just can’t help yourself, as well as to hold his arms out like wings – and fly the stage.

Like the joy and happiness of innate goodness, mixed with the knowledge and heartbreak that age bestows upon you, Lekman puts the place in a delighted place, with a knowing smile. The world isn’t terribly serious here – unless of course one discusses matters of love. Then the guitar notes slow and the heart manifests itself in delicate lyrics and an almost lost, Jens. He regales stories of Kirsten Dunst visiting Gothenburg, his old hairdresser and 729 nights of the same dream, then sings about it all. And he does it oh so it well.

Black Cab will remain one of my favourite Jens Lekman songs. It’s something old, something new, something happy and something blue.

And how beautiful is Lia Ices’ song.

Lia Ices – Love is Won from Ravenhouse LTD. on Vimeo.

Here’s my review of her album.
Grown Unknown, is out now on Jagjaguwar. Jens Lekman’s Album, A Night Falls Over Kortedala is out now on Secretly Canadian.


Ben Howard Live Review

In Music on October 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

The beach as close as the high rise is from me now. Nostalgia is a terrific beast. It grabs the heart and puts a warm robe around the shoulders, then makes you lust after its misty wake. But this is the new – yet the same – Ben Howard, improved and impressive.

Wolves; Like a run through a forest, energised by the unknown and lack of belonging, screaming from the bottom of your heart and lungs. You come out by the sea. Love, love, love.

My own bleating about Cornwall dwelling days aside, Devonshire Ben’s debut album can only be construed as original, confident and beautifully written. Delicate guitar notes, sit with husky vocals, powering out as if having spent the last three years paddling out into the big waves. Storming. Joni Mitchell, John Martyn and Nick Drake drink hot chocolate and Irish whiskeys on the cliff side. Now polished to the point he’s confidently riding the giant deep blue liquid mountains, India Bourne and Chris Bond, his band members, lolling and shooting up the waves there with him. Singing, jamming, tapping, celebrating and building the inspirational, individually styled acoustic folk.

Though of course, he and the band are not alone, tonight (and indeed, for all shows) the venue was packed. Completely sold out. Everyone hankering to shift forward, but lost in every song played. To the point they’d forget they were on a static boat in the city, with a million other people; misty eyes and slow sways. Keep Your Head Up, The Fear and Promise are true gems, to ferry hearts. This intimate show by the wide open sea feel, was in many ways, thanks to a relaxed and involved performance. Only snapped out slightly, when those million people were howling to Wolves and singing out; ‘Love, Love, Love’ -as seen on his merchandise by the door. Casual and yet immense.

At one point Ben put his hand up to his brow to look out to the audience; ‘The last few weeks, have just been amazing, we can’t believe it. The album’s at number seven in the album charts.’ Lots of clapping, wooping, whistling and adoration.

As well as clearly loving what he’s doing, Ben isn’t afraid of ‘appearing’ in a certain way, or having any sort of emotion upon him. He builds, and gains understanding, from using using natural world imagery to describe love and the world. Whether that’s through the beloved sea, forests or wild wolves. The guitar, bass, drums and cello make for a raw and embracing accompaniment. Particularly when a song builds up into a crashing, howling climax, such as Black Flies. Through his voice, instruments, intelligent writing and delivery, he manages to make these somewhat profound feelings, genuine, refreshing and all encompassing.

Excellent, well done Ben & Co.

I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man.

William Wordsworth

And living in the deep country of England, nature governed everything. The winds, the seas; whether the day was for walking, surfing or to be sat by the fire. Travel was an honour and a strong desire, a want to see, meet and experience. In some very important ways, that thinking is right. The country bubble with its absence of self conscious yearnings, is a special world to inhabit and appreciate. As the city, gives so much, it is obvious that the bubble has reversed and the true escape lies in the seas, hills and mountains of nature.

two particular things that made me happy this week

In Art, Music on July 1, 2011 at 9:12 am


1. c/o Emily, who said it “makes her want to make ART work again”. This is a very good thing, as her own paper art skills are a wonder. Art for art.

There have been a collection of paper sculptures with clues linking them with Ian Rankin‘s books, left all around Edinburgh, by an ‘anonymous individual’.

Quote from the Guardian:

‘The Filmhouse creation is a model of a cinema, with a tiny paper Rankin sitting in the audience drinking a bottle of Deuchars and warriors on horseback leaping from the screen. The National Library, meanwhile, received a model of a coffin and a gramophone sculpted from a copy of Rankin’s novel Exit Music. A note left with the Filmhouse’s model read “For @filmhouse – a gift – In support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas … & All things *magic*”, while a quote from Francis Ford Coppola, “I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated”, was cut and pasted onto the model.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Poetry Library found an intricate paper tree on a table, alongside a note saying “this is for your support of libraries, books, words and ideas”. A gold-leafed paper egg shell beside the tree contained delicate paper bunting, which when unfurled made up the Edwin Morgan poem “A Trace of Wings”, an elegy for the poet Basil Bunting.’

2. c/o Carmel

Carmel and I were torn apart by graduating and choosing different places to dwell. Silly. To overcome our voids, we often send youtube music videos, as opposed to writing enormous essays to each other. Although we do also do this, as well as sending each other packages full of miscellaneous; tea bags, bracelets, tops we don’t want, candles, glitter, postcards and cuttings. But the youtube videos are a quick nod, ‘maaaate’! Sometimes they say all that needs to be said. Plus on a competitive level, we can try and outdo each other with new music discoveries.

The other day, Caramel Carmac McCarmellicos, sent me this, by Andrew Bird. I implore you to listen to it.

Happy weekend xoxo

Grey Reverend

In Music on June 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm

So much on my mind. It’s all going to be ok.

I heard this song and it’s become the theme for Monday June 6. To me, it is very free, unashamed and from a solitary place. It’s as if the song is in your mind and the music is coming from you. This song has travelled with me all day and soothed my vulnerable Monday feeling. By Friday, my armour will have returned.

Jason Swinscoe, MR Swinscoe – of The Cinematic Orchestra discovered Grey Reverend shortly after relocating to NYC. He used to get his coffees from a shop run by a girl who had a very talented, musical brother… It happened like that.

From Brooklyn, Grey Reverend AKA; L.D. Brown, has now worked with Jason Swinscoe for four years and will have an album out on his label; Motion AudioOf The Days.