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21-12-2011 // Album: The Willow & The Builder

This last week I've been working on writing my Best of 2011-lists and I was doing a decent job at it. No real troubles about the albums, no hard decisions about the rankings. But then it all went to shit.. The EP-list needed changes after Kuhlamity & Hip Hatchet released new EPs over the last 2 weeks and now there is a perfectly done album-list that I've been working hard on that needs a look because I fell in love with The Willow & The Builder.

The Willow & The Builder are Richard Miron and Adrian Simon and they have released their 1st album a little over 2 months ago. It's a beautiful little work of art with 8 tracks that are all equally beautiful. This goes right up there with my 2011-favourites alongside The White Album and Small Houses. I've added 2 tracks here, Cut It Down is the 6-minute end of the album, to make it go out with a bang of the beautiful kind. Rosaline is an inspiring 'lovesong', but I can only advice you to get the entire album for a "spare what you can"-deal. You won't regret whatever it is that you spend on it!

21-12-2011 // Track: Ohbijou - Last Christmas

Ohbijou - Last Christmas

How can anyone not get into the Christmas-spirit with this cool cover by Ohbijou of the ultimate X-mas-song ever: Last Christmas (I ain't even gonna deeplink this one..). They take a song that's completely wasted by hearing it TOO F*CKING MUCH and actually make it into something nice. I can listen to this classic all over again, as long as this great band is playing it.

20-12-2011 // : David Lee Rad - .. The Morning We Woke Up

David Lee Rad contacted me today as he is a former Old Tapes-member and he has released his 1st solo track on the webs. Old Tapes have released a great EP this year (which didn't get enough attention here, im swwy) and this 1st solo-thing is pretty cool aswell. It's starts off as the soundtrack to a romantic hollywood-picture, but as the track continues it gets a little wilder. Reminds me of an old Air-song, not a bad thing if this is your 1st track. Gonna enjoy this for a while, get it while it's hot!

20-12-2011 // interviews: Interview with Jhameel

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.

One of the most talented musicians I've come across in this last year is Jhameel. His album "The Human Condition" has brightened many dull days at work, making me instantly dance around the office. Being the extremely productive musician he is, he recently released 5-track EP "Waves". When comparing this EP with the album you can hear the progress he's making and when it comes to breakthroughs for the year to come, Jhameel is on top of my list. The songs are extremely powerfull & danceable, yet he also proves to be able to slow down a bit, as he does in one of my personal favourites "Songs Of Religion" from "The Human Condition". It seems there's not a lot this man can't do and it's probably very clear that I'm a BIG fan. Can't wait for new material, which luckely he releases in a fast pace!

Listen to that recently released "Waves"-EP right here (and download it for free), while you read what Jhameel has to say about 2011.

If you had to name one moment, what would you consider your highlight of 2011?
For me it was finishing my latest release, WAVES. I recently released a song a week for five weeks, and it was really stressful making sure the release went smoothly, but everything went better than expected.

What are you doing at the moment?
working on a cover of "My Girls" by Animal Collective

Which great band or artist did you discover yourself in 2011?
Penguin Prison is one of my favorite recent discoveries

Any favourite albums?
Plans by Death Cab for Cutie

How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
In the city with good friends :)

What are your plans for the new year?
I'm planning on releasing a new music series, two music videos, and touring during the summer.

- Thx Jhameel for the interview!

19-12-2011 // Monday Morning Kick-Off: Harriet - I Slept With All Your Mothers

Harriet - I Slept With All Your Mothers

This band is releasing their debut album in January, and this 1st track is a free download that's impossible to ignore. Somewhere in the distance this track reminds me a little bit of Razorlight, but Harriet seems to have a lot more fun. And off course a chorus with the line "I Slept With All Your Mothers" is too much fun to not sing a long. This track woke me up with a smile again today.. Have a good week, sleep with everyone's mothers!

19-12-2011 // 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?
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.

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.

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.

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