Category Archives: writing

Haiku Salut Play…Detektivbyrån

haikusalut

Haiku Salut are a musical trio from Derbyshire making dreamy instrumental/baroque pop music counting Múm and Yann Tiersen amongst it’s influences. See the bottom of this post for more and their tunes! Gemma Barkerwood from the band – and her pooch – share some love of another inspiration, Swedish electronic band Detektivbyrån.

Haiku Salut

Haiku Salut Play…Detektivbyrån

Since first hearing Detektivbyrån five years ago my music taste has changed. A lot. Before this I was listening to a lot of straightforward indie music. Detektivbyrån soon put a stop to that by providing the perfect answer to a question I didn’t realise I’d asked. This Swedish three piece used accordion, piano, organ, glockenspiel, percussion plus numerous other instruments to make beautiful (if sometimes a little cheesy) classical epics. The sound they create is calm and simplistic, the way in which they perform it chaotic and full of energy. I first heard them on a friend’s myspace page, the track was called Nattoppet from the EP Hemvägen and is glorious from start to finish. It uses a clock as the rhythm and plays glockenspiel with drumsticks. It blew my little mind.

They’ve release two albums since: E18 (consisting of Hemvägen plus a few extras) and Wermland. You should listen to them both, it’s perfect summer music! Unfortunately they’ve split up and I never got to see them live but I think in a strange way that makes me like it even more.

Detektivbyrån opened the floodgates to weird instrumental music. Along with Jon Brion and Yann Tiersen, it changed the way I listen to and also the way in which I write music. I’ve always preferred playing classical music though I love the atmosphere of proper gigs. It’s given me the perfect pocket to climb into so thanks pals!

 Music box stuff indeed, I imagine twirling around dreamily at a fairground. a black and white photo montage, a band who – if they didn’t – should have featured on the Amelie soundtrack. You can check out Detektivbyrån’s star scattered website for more!

Check out Haiku Salut‘s pretty and surreal new video for ‘Los Elefantes’ and the effervescent ‘Glockenbar’ below. Both tracks are from debut LP Tricolore, a swirling, twinkling journey I’m just halfway through it comes with an adorable illustrated booklet.

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Cool Things I Found

A few cool things I wanted to share with you this week

The Joy Of A House Concert

I went to an amazing house concert in Edinburgh last week and it occurred to me how valuable it is to have that type of small, informal space for musicians to play in. It felt just like a really friendly community of people who love music and get to witness nicely intimate performances.  I wish the council system here was more supportive, my understanding is they’re trying to shut down shows on the grounds that’s it’s ‘a venue’. The organisers don’t make any money, sell any drinks (you take your own) or receive complaints from the neighbours and they clearly invest a huge amount of their own time in creating events and giving musicians exposure. We’re supposed to be the ‘cultural capital’ of the world, it’s so sad seeing grassroots arts events disappear all the time. From a music fan’s perspective I think house concerts often happen organically for musicians and without knowing where to go it becomes an experience we can be locked out off.

Read more on the Soundhouse website, here’s a clip from one of their upcoming acts.

Almost at the same time I was mailed with the news Damien Jurado is doing a series of house concerts in America. I suppose these are different shows in the sense of being outwardly publicised and ticketed but I’m pleased it’s becoming a trend artists of his calibre are supporting.

Fleetwood Mac’s New Song

Aaaaw ain’t it catchy? Skip the chat and Sad Angel is the first track to be shared from Fleetwood Mac’s upcoming EP. They’re also playing Glasgow in October – points for not skipping Scotland off the map.

A band called Mice Parade

I discovered Mice Parade on my weekly reading of the excellent Said the Gramophone blog. So far I know only that their album Candela came out on Fatcat in March and I like their music, in particular the live tracks below. Take the journey with me…

From My Shelf: Iron & Wine

I’m a fan of American Singer-Songwriter Sam Beam, aka Iron & Wine and have kept an ear into his albums over the last decade. Around the Well is a collection of ‘B Sides and Rarities’ released on Sub Pop, marketed the right way for me as I’m fundamentally against ‘Best Of’ collections (if you like a band you should listen to all their material).  I listened to this again in the supermarket yesterday, a disorientated activity which left me with a random shop!

Iron and Wine Cover

Favourite songs

The first CD offers softer, more pensive tracks including previous single ‘Call Your Boys’, the beautiful, echoing ‘Morning’ and ‘Friends Are Jewels’. On the second I love the guitar on ‘No Moon’ and piano keys on ‘Carried Home’.

Purchased

2010, a time when I used to spend all my lunch hours in Fopp. The 2CD collection comes in a pretty fold out box.

Iron and Wine - Track

More like this

A show for La Blogotheque

A KEXP interview from 2009. The guy has an insanely good beard.

NPR Tiny Desk Concert – because I love these

One for the Week…The Besnard Lakes

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Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO

The Besnard Lakes new album Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO came out  this week on the Jagjaguwar label, keepers of an roster including the excellent Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Sharon Van Etten. The space related title might reflect the album’s atmospheric soundscapes, ever so delicately woven.

Here’s what I know…

The Montreal born soft-rock act was first formed in 2003 by husband and wife duo Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas who later fused with now longtime bandmates Kevin Laing and Richard White. Their fourth album it was recorded in Breakglass studios, Montreal and features several accomplished musicians.

Top Tracks…

All eight tracks hold something distinctively their own. At almost seven minutes long – an duration average of the album – ’46 Satires’ might not be the most obvious choice for an opener, however it’s entrancing  undulating melodies spin round an ethereal vocal. ‘The Specter’ has echoes of dusky eighties melodies, while ‘At Midnight’ builds into cleverly effective penetrating vocals. First single ‘People of the Sticks’ is the most commercially friendly choice, while closer ‘Alam0gordo’ leans towards a darker sonic instrumentation that proves oddly captivating. 

Listen When…

Your world is one of unrushed daydreaming.

Also…

The band play Stereo in Glasgow on 24th May, as part of their European tour. Teeny venue = likely to be a great show.

Check out the band’s website for more.

 

Cool Things I Found

oldman45

I still love this song as much as I did ten years ago.

Prog-rock from Singapore: Anechois

When I’m in study mode I listen to only instrumental music, I exhausted Mogwai and Godspeed pretty quickly so I tweeted asking for suggestions. A kind sir passed on Anechois whose EP, A Shadow of a Sound, has been nice to listen to, there’s a little bit of funk in it to. Check it out for yourself…

The MOMA blog

I have an insane love for both New York and art galleries, although I don’t go to either often enough. Once I took a week off work to go to Edinburgh Art College and study pastels on a large scale. My teacher tended to sigh at me and ask me why I always made things so difficult for myself, sitting at a really weird angle, trying to paint through glass or holding my pastels funny. I liked massive abstract things, so he told me to look up Richard Dieberkorn, an American artist influenced by German Expressionism. I still have the piece of sugar paper he wrote the suggestion down on in 2B pencil.

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Richard Diebenkorn Sketch

This week I ended up on the MOMA blog, which has a whole exhibition on German Expressionism. Random but I’ve very much enjoyed flicking through the works and thought you might like it too.

From My Shelf: Bert Jansch

Bert Jansch

I’ve been on a ban from buying CDs. I know it shouldn’t really matter. You can get pretty much anything through Spotify (though increasingly considered the devil’s work by many) and the plastic little cases AREN’T VINYL but I’ve never had a record player. I really miss picking my way through random albums in a shop.  Therefore I’ve decided to revisit the music I have,  thinking maybe you’ll still discover something you’ve never heard of, or might want to revisit.

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First up is an album from one of the most incredible Scottish guitarists of all time, the late Bert Jansch. His album Black Swan was released in 2006 and features Beth Orton on three tracks. Personally I’d forgotten about this really lovely CD, a contemplative and accomplished collection which easily  rubs shoulders with more famous contemporaries like Neil Young. Listen to the hazy and pretty ‘A Woman Like You’ instrumental ‘Magdalina’s Dance’ and duet ‘Watch the Stars’.

Purchased

In 2008 from FOPP on Rose Street Edinburgh. The album cost £3 which is why I bought it, an absolute bargain. It comes inside a paper sleeve, a satisfying addition. I wholeheartedly miss FOPP, f there was something I wanted I’d never leave that shop with fewer than four CDs at a time – plus a two buck novel for good measure.

More Like This

An article from The New Yorker published atfter Jansch’s death in 2011

A performance of four live numbers for the telly, 1975

A beautiful song. Full Stop.

Unlike his solo material Pentangle, Jansch’s band, verges on too traditionally Scottish for my personal taste but if you’re not from here you might feel differently. In any case this is worth listening to for the guitar alone.

A couple of tracks from The River Sessions, a most excellent album recorded in the seventies at City Hall, Glasgow.

The Weekend Edition

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AroarA

AroarA is the work of husband and wife musicians Andrew Whiteman (Broken Social Scene) and chanteuse Aerial Engle, if you’re curious about appearance the cute pair are permanently dancing on their website. Their affectionate In the Pines EP recently featured on famous music blog Said the Gramophone and I’ve since discovered the duo have been on the SXSW trail this year. Very well made, stirring music which I’d bet you’ll like.

Jason Molina

Hugely sad news that lauded singer songwriter died at only 39 this week, personally I wasn’t that familiar with his material but have since been hearing some beautiful songs. You can stream his entire back catalogue for a limited time at http://live.magnoliaelectricco.com

Damien Jurado – Yuma Arizona

This is an older song from Damien Jurado, Yuma Arizona. I’m putting it on here for my very good friends who are getting married today (in a matter of hours I’ll be sipping champers in their honour) because it’s really, really beautiful.

Cool Things I Found

It’s only Tuesday but the weather in Edinburgh is shocking this week, the kind of winds that whip round your face, bring freezing rain/sleet/snow and make sure you never see the sky. Here is a round up of some things which have made my week metaphorically brighter…

www.fleamarketfunk.com
http://www.fleamarketfunk.com

Fleamarket Funk Mixes

For no particular reason I’ve been in to discovering blogs dedicated to soul and funk music lately and Brooklyn based Fleamarket Funk has superb monthly mixes to get your ears into. Check them out on the blog’s Mixcloud page.

People Who Go the Extra Mile

Image from www.dustandgrooves.com
Image from http://www.dustandgrooves.com

I love people. I read this Dust and Grooves feature on Patrice Calliet, a Parisian record collector, and absolutely wished I had met him. Together with the writer they created this impromptu art exhibition outside his house, who does that happen to? Read the full article here.

Ernest Hemingway Booting Beer

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My friend posted this, allegedly Hemingway’s favourite picture of himself – booting a can of beer. Very cool.

Listen Up!

It’s Friday and instead of doing anything practical or useful I decided to make a list of songs I have on rotation for you. Kidding, this is probably the most practical and useful thing I could do with my time! Enjoy some great tracks, freebies and the beginning of your weekend.

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Sparrow and The Workshop – Shock Shock 

The first single from Sparrow and the Workshop’s upcoming album Muderopolis, out on Song, By Toad this May.  You can download entirely for free via the Glasgow band’s sound cloud link. It’s really very good.

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The Twilight Sad – Tell Me When We’re Having Fun

There’s something about The Twilight Sad, they’ve been around for the a decade and although I’m not a fanatic there are moments when sinking in to their semi-dark, progressive Scottish rock is incredible. This tune is another one you can get for free, via the band’s label Fatcat 

Low – So Blue

I like Minnesota’s Low. Their stunning new album The Invisible Way will be released literally in days from now, you can listen to it in advance via NPR and in the meantime check out this heartily beautiful new track So Blue.

 

The Postal Service – Tattered Line of String

Perhaps the appeal of the new Postal Service track is that it reminds the more mature amongst us of listening to them the first time around? Thoughts on a postcard please.

 

Howlin’ Wolf

I started listening to Blues maestro Howlin’ Wolf by accident this week, and have since been working my way through his back catalogue. A new animated video of ‘Evil’ and live performance for your eyes and ears.

Radio Silence

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Hey there music fans! Over the last month things have been so busy that everything I have been meaning to post has just ended up in as sporadic notes on my computer, instead of here for you all to read it.

It’s one of the great thing about being a blogger: you don’t have deadlines, there’s no recompense due if you don’t file something on time or the word count’s over – the downside being it’s too easy to put things on the back burner, the longer you leave it the easier it is to let things pile up.

Enough of my prattle – here are some things to get your ears wholly stuck in to.

Eliza and The Bear

There are certain festival’s whose line up I will always have a good rummage through, as they are sure to possess great up and coming talent. Brighton’s The Great Escape is one, where I discovered folkish ruffians Eliza and The Bear. Listen to the single Brother’s Boat below, which you can also download as a freebie.

 

Cloud Boat 

On the subject of boats here’s a second one I plucked from The Great Escape’s sea is electronic duo Cloud Boat, this track I Left For a Reason (It Escapes Me Now) is certainly bewitching stuff.

 

Biffy Clyro 

The band’s new double album Opposites is a collection of standout rock rooted tracks that are a happy progression from the pop friendly Only Revolutions – more a move back to the band’s glory days. Surefire hit ‘Biblical’ will leave you wanting more, while the bluesy ‘Trumpet or Tap’ and the eighties tune melancholic ‘The Fog’ are highlights. All round there’s a compelling narrative and the trio’s drumming and guitar riffs alone make it a winner. Succumb now.

 

Joy Formidable 

Wolf’s Law is the title track from the Welsh act’s recently released second album and it’s incredibly purty. Overall catch the whole record, out on Atlantic, for upbeat beginnings, a gorgeous vocal from frontlady Ritzy Brian and scattered, emotional strings.