October 8, 2011

Life Is Like … an Old Dirt Hill?

Posted in Music tagged , , at 12:20 am by Matt

Some time ago, before I was leaving for our summer cottage for the weekend, I read the blog post Life is like a pack of baseball cards. It made me remember how awesome it was to go to the summer cottage when I was little. Where did I lose that spirit, why aren’t little everyday things like that so marvelous anymore? Inspired by that post, I managed to get some of the spirit back. I brought some old CD’s to listen and sing along in the car, which was the perfect thing to get into the mood. When I arrived, I played songs on the guitar I hadn’t played in years. I had to look some of the lyrics and chords up on my smartphone and didn’t quite remember how the songs go, but it didn’t matter. It was enough to bring the child-like excitement back for one night.

Tonight I was viewing the DVD, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds – Live at Radio City Music Hall. I don’t remember when was the last time I watched it. It’s so good! I saw the two of them live at Columbiahalle in Berlin in 2007.  That was the first show I traveled out of the country to see. After that there’s been many. Good times.

There’s one song on the DVD that reminded me of all this, Old Dirt Hill. Reminded me of how good and simple life used to be. Here’s a version from that 2007 Europe tour from Paradiso in Amsterdam.

Bring that beat back to me again…

October 5, 2011

Ane Brun in Helsinki

Posted in Music, Show Review tagged , , , , at 7:12 pm by Matt

I was happy to be at the Tavastia club in Helsinki when Ane Brun kicked off her Europe tour supporting her new album, It All Starts with One. I’ve been listening to her music here and there for a long time, but had no idea what to expect. Well, let’s start with the opener, Linnea Olsson, who also plays cello and bass in Ane’s band. She delivers her songs with just the cello, a loop pedal, and singing. Now, I’ve seen many artists who are pretty impressive and original with their instruments, but I’ve never seen anyone handle a cello like that! Her performance was so brilliant and inspiring, a perfect way to start the night. Here’s some good quality videos, so you can see what I’m talking about.

When Ane and the band started, it became apparent that it’s not just going to be some quiet singer-songwriter show. You never hear much talk about the bands solo artists tour with. Yet many times solo artists are accompanied with highly skilled musicians. I was blown away by the awesome musicians in the band! So, let’s see. The band has Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson beautifully singing backup vocals and playing their instruments. Martin Hederos plays the piano. By listening to the gentle sounds of the studio record, you would never guess the band has two drummers. But that’s how it is, Ola Hultgren and Per Eklund play the drums.

So these were the people behind one of the best and most original shows of the year! The energy was fantastic, songs from the new album came fully alive. But the delicate singer-songwriter experience was also there when most of the band took a break and gave room to Ane to perform the quieter numbers.

The great show also made me think what a shame it is that music like this isn’t more well-known. The venue was sold out, which is good, but not many people know Ane Brun here. Well, maybe it makes shows like this more special when they’re not mainstream. Anyway, if the tour is coming to anywhere near you, I gladly recommend you go see her (and the band, of course)! Check out the dates on her homepage. Also follow her updates on Facebook or Twitter.

September 24, 2011

Don’t Give Up on Me Now by Ben Harper

Posted in Music tagged , at 11:06 pm by Matt

One of my favorite songs this summer was Ben Harper’s Don’t Give Up on Me Now. It’s the opening track of his latest album Give Till It’s Gone.

I happened to be in Rome when Ben Harper played a show there. Unfortunately a thunderstorm came and forced them to take a break after two songs. We were all wet and cold and had to leave the venue. It really sucked, but well, it’s not the end of the world to miss a show. It actually turned out to be quite a cool night as we ran into a Canadian couple who had also left the show. Everyone was wet and freezing, but we got to talk about all the music you don’t normally get to talk about here in Europe.

Today I watched Ben Harper play Burn One Down in 1996. Wow, such a long time ago. It’s still a cool song after 15 years. What songs that some relatively unknown artists play today are we listening to after 15 more years? Well, of course no one can know. That’s the cool thing about it. It’s just that after all the years all the fans are looking back and yearning to go back to those years when the artists they love were emerging.

Don’t Give Up on Me Now… I so much dig these lyrics: And I don’t even know myself, what it would take to know myself…

September 14, 2011

Lady Stardust by Lisa Miskovsky

Posted in Music tagged , , at 11:30 pm by Matt

One of the songs I’ve been enjoying recently is Lady Stardust by Swedish singer-songwriter Lisa Miskovsky (no, this is not a David Bowie cover). I don’t have a clue why, it’s not a new song but a single from 2003. Guess I just happened to listen to the song at the right moment and it clicked.

So, not many posts on this blog recently. Isn’t that what happens to almost every blog that’s somebody’s hobby? It used to be great writing this blog, but it lasted about a year or two, then other things took on. I think that’s the natural way things go. Keeping up with new music takes a lot of time and energy, more than I have right now. What’s music blogging these days anyway? I don’t have a clue, the online world has changed so much. So I just listen to music, take it easy. Sometimes go to shows. Sometimes enjoy playing the guitar. I’m a software developer by profession, and I have a dream of launching a venture that connects people and music much better than what you see these days. The idea is growing, but it’s not the time for it yet.

I still enjoy writing this blog occasionally. And like I say on the about page, I write mostly just for myself to record my journey in music. But of course, it makes me glad if people read what I write (otherwise it would make no sense to make it available online). Music is so much about the moment you get to experience it, and when you share it online you completely lose this concept. Still I love it when people share the stuff they love. That’s the best we’ve got.

Back to Lady Stardust. After listening to the song a couple of times I remarked how I can identify with these lyrics:

Every city needs a distance, every sky demands a moon
Every winter needs a snowfall, every summer wants a June
Money's just a piece of paper, gold is blinding don't you see
Fame is just our own illusion of what life was meant to be
But I don't need a perfect mirror, I don't care for queens and kings
We are free and we are perfect when Lady Stardust sing

Listen on Spotify. And here’s a good YouTube video:

March 15, 2011

Organ Town by Sansa

Posted in Music tagged , , at 10:47 pm by Matt

The birds starting to sing after winter reminded me of this song by Finnish singer-songwriter Sansa. That was good, because it made me listen to the catchy melodies her latest record. I just saw her in August when she opened for Martha Wainwright in Helsinki. She really likes to use the loop pedal when performing solo. That was a good show!

The song is called Organ Town, and the video contains footage of her recording the album.

 

March 8, 2011

Madame Trudeaux by KT Tunstall

Posted in Music tagged , , , , , at 11:14 pm by Matt

At the risk of this turning into a KT Tunstall fan blog, I’m going to post another song by her. Funny, I’ve been listening to so many good women singer-songwriters lately, but I still I want to post another song by KT Tunstall tonight.

Anyway, this one is called Madame Trudeaux, and it’s on KT’s latest album Tiger Suit. This is one of the songs that came out of KT’s sessions with producer Linda Perry, who made KT push harder and discover new approaches to her music. I dig the result.

Happy International Women’s Day to all you ladies out there!

March 7, 2011

Amazing Again

Posted in Music tagged , , , , at 12:19 pm by Matt

We’ve been waiting for the new album of San Francisco based singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson to emerge. Finally last week, he announced the album is called Modern Love, and it’s out in June! Even better, the first single Faster is available for download. What a neat little surprise that was to start the morning with!

For more on Matt Nathanson, visit prettytheworld.com. You can listen to his music, for instance, on Spotify or the Internet Archive.

Here’s a cool performance of an older song called Amazing Again.

 

March 3, 2011

Riverside by Agnes Obel

Posted in Music tagged , , at 11:09 pm by Matt

Maybe the best new artist last year was Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel with her album Philharmonics. I find sheer beauty in her delivery of her melancholic melodies. The album was well-received, and this month she is touring North America, first Canadian Music Fest in Toronto, then SXSW in Austin, TX.

This is Agnes Obel performing her song Riverside. If you’re new to her music, maybe the studio version works better for you than this live one with all its imperfections.

 

February 27, 2011

Uummannaq Song

Posted in Music tagged at 1:29 am by Matt

KT Tunstall’s new album Tiger Suit was released in the fall. I finally watched the DVD that came with the album, called How to Make a Tiger Suit. What a cool and inspiring footage! It sounded like she’s digging the album very much, and that’s what I like to hear, musicians doing what they love instead of trying to please everyone.

But this is something that wasn’t on the DVD, something I started writing awhile ago and now got the itch to finish. There are dance beats behind almost every song on the album, so what on earth has happened to the cool folk rock of KT Tunstall?

The opening track of the album is called Uummannaq Song after a town of Uummannaq in Greenland. KT embarked on a cruise to Greenland with scientists and fellow musicians. While this sounds like a great experience, performing in front of the others made her feel empty, questioning her talent in her greatest passion. How she got over this crisis of confidence was adding dance music elements to her music. I don’t understand it myself how that could work, but I’m glad it worked for her.

And I gotta say I like the result. She said she went to the studio with 70 songs to choose from, now that sounds we’re going to hear so much more from her! This is KT performing Uummannaq Song at YouTube headquarters, surroundings so weird for live music that it fits in perfectly.

November 9, 2010

1972

Posted in Music tagged at 12:18 am by Matt

She was feelin’ 1972
Groovin’ to a Carole King tune
Is it too late, baby?
Is it too late?

Can’t think of a better way to get back into the world of music blogging than with this timeless Josh Rouse masterpiece. I’ve known of Josh Rouse for a long time. Most of that time he was just another musician that sounded pretty good. Then one day this summer, I wandered into a used record store in Helsinki with no idea what to look for. Josh Rouse’s 1972 album caught my eye and that’s what I wound up buying.

I put the CD into my car stereo when driving home, only then it started dawning on me what a genius we have here. I started listening to more of his music on Spotify and bought his The Best of the Rykodisc Years album (as an actual CD to have it available in the car and to get the cool cover art). One of the best things about Josh Rouse is that he’s doing his own thing, not what’s popular. And that’s unlike most artists out there, by far.

Back to the song, 1972. There are not that many lyrics to the song, but still it says so much. What are we here for? What are the big things in life? What are the small things in life? Talk about great songwriting!

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