Scruffy, Indie folk-rock from Transylvania

Bookstore Gig And Halloween Song Video

Posted by admin On October - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

I have wanted to do a show in a bookstore for a long time now. I don’t know why I never got around to it, but I will be performing a few songs this Thursday in my home town – in exactly such a place. I already have a few ideas of what I would LIKE it to be like – I guess, we will see the results afterward, as I will surely be posting some videos on Youtube.

My favorite singer-songwriters have been doing shows like this for as long as I remember, it would be very uncool (read: un-indie folk) of me not to give this a shot.

A few of my favorite videos of such events below:

Mumford & Sons did a Bookshop Session a while back

Beirut had their Tiny Desk Concert not long ago:

Alexi Murdoch played a record store session at Vinyl Fever – I know, this is not a bookstore, but it kind of feels the same

I am also about to record a video for this weeks Halloween super-search – that I very much expect to happen – on Youtube. I will most likely have that up for you by Wednesday, so stay close.

Best Indie Folk Albums Of 2011

Posted by admin On October - 21 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

Update: I have published a new post about best albums of 2012 right here: Best Indie Folk Albums Of 2012

This list of albums is not at all like other indie charts, it is basically just my personal take on what new releases are worth the listen from some of the best indie folk bands and artists out there.

So here we go:

1. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Helplessness Blues is a more powerful, and a lot more complex release than the amazing debut album from the Fleet Foxes. You will hear everything you’ve grown to like about this band, and even more. Definitely one of the top indie folk albums of the year!

2. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
Sam Beam is changing before our very… ears. On Kiss Each Other Clean he takes the band set-up from where he left it on The Shepherd’s Dog and takes it to a completely different universe.

3. Amos Lee – Mission Bell
Willie Nelson himself decided to drop in on this one. Nevertheless, Mission Bell is a good album allover even if we disregard the guest performers (Lucinda Williams and Calexico also appear). Amos Lee doesn’t offer any surprises, he just presents himself the way we’ve grown accustomed to. These are well written and carefully orchestrated songs that put you in a good mood. What more can I say?

4. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
The King Is Dead is a very well written album, the production is meticulous and the songs are just great. This album is, in some sense, the kind I would aspire to write. As they claim themselves, The King Is Dead is probably the “most pastoral, rustic record The Decemberists have ever made”.

5. The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh
Personally, I have been waiting for this release. I’ve been counting the days until I can get my hands on it, dissect it to the bone and steal every note and word. The Low Anthem have recorded this album in a pasta sauce factory and… it sounds exactly like the album that you would record in such a place. Abandonment, slowly unfolding acoustic sounds, eerie, almost incantation-like, melodies and harmonies. This is what comes to mind, when you listen to Smart Flesh.

6. Beirut – The Rip Tide
I have become very familiar with Beirut’s music in the past year, and I have been expecting this new release. Beirut have matured into this sound that they now represent, and this is exactly what I was hoping and expecting to get from them. I wasn’t disappointed.

7. Noah And The Whale – Last Night On Earth
I have to admit, I didn’t like this band initially. Noah And The Wale just sounded like a bunch of wacky teenagers to me in the beginning. Naturally, this changed over time, I’ve grown quite close to some of their songs since then. One word of caution, though: this album might surprise you in ways you wouldn’t expect – right from the first track in fact.

8. Emmy The Great – Virtue
I wasn’t a big fan of Emmy The Great before all this, but Virtue got me hooked. The songwriting on this record is so unusually real, so intimate, so personal, so virtuous, so good!

9. Release The Sunbird – Come Back To Us
Many were surprised when Zach Rogue from Rogue Wave stepped out as Release The Sunbird. Personally, I thought Rogue Wave was a solo project with musicians involved, but I later found out, it grew into a full band – so Release The Sunbird is kind of his solo project, “but not really”. In any case, Come Back To Us is a fine album, with very well written music, carefully carved lyrics and strong melodies. It’s a songwriter’s delight.

10. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Wolfroy Goes To Town
Will Oldham, otherwise known as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, has released a ton of material this year, so the anticipation for this release wasn’t that big on my part, but there are so many good songs on here, that I would have had to be a fool not to give it a listen. Oldham is one of the most outrageous indie folk singer-songwriters I’ve ever heard – ever – and he is in exceptional shape on this album. His talent as a songwriter sometimes overwhelms me.

David Gray Lyrics, As Seen By A Singer-Songwriter

Posted by admin On October - 19 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

I can’t stop being amazed by the talent that English recording artist, David Gray, seems to have when it comes to putting together a song. I’ve read somewhere that he stated in an interview: he’s no closer to knowing what makes a good song than when he first started out as a singer-songwriter.

Although I don’t believe this is perfectly true, I can see why he would say this: as you write more and more songs, you get to the point where the process gets so familiar to you (but not to everyone else) that you no longer find it magical. I mean, it came out of your own head. You can’t expect to be surprised, can you? Plus, it kind of fits into the indie folk lifestyle not to ponder over these things too much – and just get to writing your next song…

But enough ranting about what makes the best singer-songwriters what they are. David Gray is definitely a leader of this generation’s singer-songwriter pack, and there is no question about that.

Just listen to the build-up to that amazing chorus:

If you want it
Come and get it
Crying out loud
The love that I was
Giving you was
Never in doubt
Let go your heart
Let go your head
And feel it now

Babylon, Babylon

In conclusion: if you ARE a singer-songwriter, I’m sure you will agree, we have a lot to learn from this man. Folk musicians shouldn’t ONLY be listening to Bob Dylan, as David Gray clearly has something new and different to show us when it comes to writing really good indie folk songs.

Monsters In Rome

Posted by admin On September - 9 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Most musicians can get from one album to the next just like that. It seems like that is not the case with me. I have been promoting my “Monsters In Rome” record for more than a year now, though I have a few songs ready for recording already. There are more and more ideas coming that keep me in place, every other day there is a new thing that comes to mind which can be done with all the things associated with this record.

For once, we have Liszto, the webcomic for musicians with the latest episode (No. 13, mind you!), titled “The Inspiration“, which features the artwork of Monsters.

Liszto, The Inspiration

Also, I will be promoting some of the songs from the record in a series of live shows very soon now (September 16 and 17, that is). I also have to mention that I will be performing with two friends of mine, who will be accompanying me on base and drums. I am hoping for some really strong shows with the rhythm section backing me up like this!

I haven’t given up on the video for the song “Monsters In Rome” either. Ideas are still being tossed back and forth regarding as to how we will actually get this done, but it will be done, I’m sure.

That is it for now. We are working hard on the 4 shows we will be playing on the 16th and 17th, so I might not be able to blog about anything until then.