I’ve been waking up to some of the most well-crafted songs in a while, all courtesy of singer-songwriter Nicholas Chim.
The entire album entitled Forgiefan flows seamlessly from track to track. The song arrangements are astute enough that one gets the sense of a sculptor carefully and deliberately chiseling at his masterpiece. We’re not talking about cold dead stones, but at statues that come to life when bathed in the right light, and what a light it is! Nicholas’ emotive delivery carefully casts this light as he lays it all out, bare and broken, surrendered to the fates beyond control, just like that last shot of whiskey as the first rays of sunlight fracture through your window.
There’s a song for everyone, but I found myself drawn to one particular song. The first track, “In the End”, lulls you into the tapestry that Nicholas has weaved. Almost a song for the bereavement of love lost, shades of Kings of Convenience and Mark Kozelek in its delivery and its sparse yet deceptively simple guitar work. It’s the point of the blade that balances Nicholas’ entire world and where the most true words are hinged. “I still feel your knife in my heart.” – Brian.
There’s something glorious and enchanting in Conil’s music. It rages, it quenches, and then it tears apart at every corner of your heart, if only to allow you to dissipate your consciousness back to the wind. If your body belongs to ashes, then your mind belongs to the winds.
That’s how it feels with ‘after the hole’, where Conil embarks on a journey like a wolf, hungry, and searching for the answers that plague all the questions to life, love, and everything in between. From the get go, the feral growl lurks stealthily in the shadows, stalking its prey, one step closer to absolution. Alas, as the story goes, there is none to be found, where “at the end, all i found were other ends.”– brian
‘The Man In Black’. The music of Johnny Cash’s extensive career can truly be seen as a journey, something rare in the short lived careers of many musicians. If there’s a loose thread that ties Cash’s early career with his later one, it’s a story of redemption. Opening his final posthumous album with the haunting track, ‘Ain’t No Grave’ seems apt for remembering what Easter is all about for Christians all over the world, Jesus’ triumph over the grave, and the sting of death is no more.
Cash sounds like a man who’s stared into the abyss and survived to tell the tale. The marching footsteps on hard road, coupled with the loose chains seem to present the image of a man who’s escaped the crushing prison of eternal damnation, dragging his burden along the endless open road, finding freedom even if it leads down a lonely path. And as the listener, you wonder, what compels the man in black to walk apart from the scores of men walking to the edge of the abyss. – brian.
Like a breath of fresh air, I took a lungful when I first stumbled upon Motopony’s “King of Diamonds”. I tend to have a soft spot for card playing metaphors and the Eagle’s classic, Desperado, but this track really holds its own as testament to the indie folk prowess of Daniel Blue.
From the very beginning as the slight shuffle of drums that sound as if they were recorded at seven thirty in the morning of an empty, white painted loft, courtesy of Hip Hop producer, Buddy Ross, Daniel Blue lazily drifts in with his guitar and sings with an almost sense of loss yet peace.. “I’ve been looking for the King of Diamonds, but I guess the Queen will do…”
The memories haze in this song, some of my own, sometimes someone else’s, and in this world of shared memories, you’re not too sure which ones you own anymore, but it doesn’t matter. – brian
Motopony’s self titled debut will be released on November 14 on iTunes and Amazon. More details on their Myspace.
Fairy tales are usually the stories we grew up with, and by the perpetuation of disney, we take for granted that they’re only meant for kids.
Jordan Martin is an individual who knows otherwise, and explored the stories written by the brother’s grimm and translated them into an EP filled with beautiful, simple melodies and instruments.
my favourite track of his EP, grimm’s tales for tiny tots, vol. I, is the slightly melancholic the wolf and seven little kids. Folksy at heart, acoustic guitar and banjo strumming steadily as his closed mic-ed troubadour voice lulls you into the pages of his storybook. Perfect for a bedtime story, or mulling around the house on a serene saturday morning, yet bears continued listening because of the layers of emotions hidden in these simple songs. Martin casually invites you into his worldly interpretations, and you won’t be disappointed. – brian
There are some songs, that unfairly get your attention because they name drop prominent guest stars in their sleeve notes. This one being Kevin Shields. Yes, THE Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine. I’d never heard of Gemma Hayes prior to noticing “Out Of Our Hands” feature Mr Shields on guitar. But I’m glad I caught wind of this ditty. You instantly notice the guitars, but for some strange ethereal reason, Ms Haye’s melancholy tinged vocals smoke their way as an equally formidable partner to Mr Shield’s neurotic and discordant playing. It’s the perfect recipe to wake up to on a rainy day, and then you realise, it’s out of our hands.. this time. – brian.
i don’t understand thai, but sometimes beauty transcends language, as i’m reminded when i listen to little fox‘s “old”. the song is taken off his self-titled album, a fine collection of thai and english folk songs unashamedly romantic and idyllic. recorded in the presence of a few friends so “there is a place to send energy to” as little fox shares with me, the mood is intimate and the delivery delicate. in songs like “old”, the patient pace allows me the chance to reminisce and dream – something i’m given the freedom to indulge in and not feel guilty about even when the song picks up nearer the end, hurrying me along in the gentlest way possible.
sharon van etten:
Lately, I have been obsessed with this band from Montreal called Automelodi. I work at a record label (Ba Da Bing Records) and my boss, Ben, is constantly getting new records in. He knows I have a soft spot for 80s/90s post punk/early electro, vaguely alternative music... and so one day, he put on a Wierd Records compilation. It was a vinyl set of like 4 pieces or something. There were so many good bands on there... however, Automelodi stuck out in my mind as being an authentic, genuine, NON-cheesy version of the 80s I wish I was a part of. The song in particular that gets me going in the morning is called "Schéma Corporel".
mp3: automelodi - schéma corporel
bani haykal from b-quartet:
often enough, it’s the early morning rush which gets me excited about shutting my eyes. and by morning, we’re looking at the 4 a.m. time frame where all you hear is yourself in a foggy blur, thinking if sleep is really all that important because the early few are storming off for work. in all honesty, there is no ipod nor a single earplugging devicetron which i’d attend to. often enough, it’s someone else’s sonic leak i’m getting addressed by. but, i’m listening to Steely Dan’s “Babylon Sisters”. in my head, at least. sanity ‘from the point of no return’, personally. it’s a breath of fresh air. despite its age. everything is beautiful then.
mp3: steely dan - babylon sisters
naomi yang from galaxie 500:
The perfect song to start the day is “A Tonga Da Mironga Do Kabuleté” – the live recording from 1971 by Brazilian artists Vinícius + Bethania + Toquinho. It is like a beautiful sunrise – although I think that the lyrics are actually some sort of political commentary disguised as a Candomble/Afro-Brazilian curse – but whatever! And then you should just leave the CD on, and listen to the rest of the album while you have your coffee. And you will have a great day.
mp3: vinícius + bethania + toquinho – a tonga da mironga do kabuletê (live in buenos aires, 1971)
jamie stewart from xiu xiu:
i have a nico button on my guitar strap and her excess eyeliner has been burning the dirge "janitor of lunacy" into my waking ears as of late, at least 20 times in the last week. until yesterday we have been on tour in scandinavia, russia, poland, austria, germany and czech. these grey locations held hands with her harmonium perfectly.
mp3: nico - janitor of lunacy
justin ringle from horse feathers:
i have been obsessively listening and waking up to this tune by gillian welch called "annabelle". it's a song about a sharecropper in alabama and it is so sad, beautiful and timeless that I can't help but listen more than once in a row. the harmonies in the chorus make my hairs stand up... beautiful song.
mp3: gillian welch - annabelle
tracyanne campbell from camera obscura:
my favourite song at the moment is called 'one in a million' by steve miller. it's really beautiful. his voice is like honey in the sun and it totally melts my heart. the lyrics are quite simple and i guess
corny but it's a great tune and the production is so good it really doesn't matter. i wish i'd written it. in fact i'd love to do a cover version of it. i was recently in stockholm visiting my friend victoria (bergsman) from taken by trees and we were singing it in the flat and talked about recording it. watch this space...
mp3: steve miller band - one in a million
stuart murdoch from belle and sebastian:
every day when i leave the house and walk over the iron bridge and up to the glasshouses, i listen to “what for” by james. i have a habit of dropping back 20 years in my thoughts, and having a parallel soundtrack running in my head so that i may be walking in a street in 2008, but my head is in 1988. i don’t know why that is. this is an up and hopeful song of the period from a band i used to care for deeply.
as we slip into the autumn here, i am prepared to let my new song of obsession become “the game” by echo and the bunnymen.
“everybody’s got their own good reason why their favourite season is their favourite season”.
mp3: james - what for mp3: echo and the bunnymen - the game
alison eales from butcher boy:
I'm waking up to Labi Siffre, and wondering how I managed to stay asleep for so long. His songs are diverse, unpretentious, and performed with tangible joy. I'm literally waking up to him as well - I have 'It Must Be Love' set as my alarm, and it is proving to be a very nutritious musical breakfast.
mp3: labi siffre - it must be love
who we are
i love music, but i can't play it for the life of me, so i might as well try writing instead. hope you like it. i'm from singapore, where there really is good music if you look hard enough. i'd love to hear from you (yes, you): email@example.com
I'm a four stringing minstrel of doom, and hired gun for the odd band or two. Few things excite me more than music, and whiskey soaked vocals are a definite plus, so please be sure to send some my way. When I'm not contributing to I'm Waking Up To and MAP, you should follow my misadventures at http://litford.wordpress.com And yes! I'd love to hear from you too: firstname.lastname@example.org
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