Monday, October 29, 2012

Come tomorrow this will all be gone

Grand Archives - Oslo Novelist
from the album Keep In Mind Frankenstein (Sub Pop, 2009)

With the first snowfall here in Oslo last night and the storm on the east coast of the US this song just somehow seemed fitting. Though it is not about any of those things. A really beautiful song that I hadn't heard in a really long time. While Mat Brooke's former band Band of Horses have gotten huge the last few years, his new band Grand Archives sort of disappeared. I for one hope that they have some new songs to show us soon. If they're only half as beautiful as this one I would be very happy.

So here it is, from a snowy monday evening here in Oslo - to all of you, wherever you are!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2011 - A year in review.

# 1. The Decemberists - The King is Dead
(Capitol, January 14th 2011)

The King is Dead was probably the first album of new music that I bought in 2011, since it was released in January. Quite a feat then, that it remained my favourite the whole year through. Listening to it again now, it probably is one of my favourite albums ever recorded. With this album The Decemberists finally made the album I really always have hoped that they would make. The songs on The King is Dead sums up all my musical favourites in one album. You got the indie-pop songs, folk songs and the country/americana songs. To me, this is almost as good as it gets. It's up there with Grateful Dead's American Beauty, Neil Young's After the Goldrush, Fairport Convention's Unhalfbricking and R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant for me.

The album is in some ways the best R.E.M. album since the eighties, but that would be a bit harsh to say - even though Colin Meloy has been quite open about the influnce of the band on these songs. Heck, Peter Buck even plays his signature 12-string guitar licks on the album - especially on "Calamity Song". Other prominent guests on the album is Gillian Welch and her beau David Rawlings who both lend their beautiful harmonies on multiple songs.

I could go on and on about this album. It's one of those albums that make me smile, it makes me cry, it soothes me like an old friend and most importantly I can listen to it again and again and again and it only gets better with each listen. It still does, and I have probably listened to it more than any other album the last ten years already.

Still in doubt about this album? Listen to "Rise to Me" and tell me that it doesn't break your heart just a little.

2011 - A year in review.

# 2. Dawes - Nothing Is Wrong
(ATO, June 7th 2011)

At number two we have the Los Anglians Dawes. Led by Taylor Goldsmith (who also is a member of the band Middle Brother) the Dawes released their second album Nothing Is Wrong last summer. Mr. Jonathan Wilson also appears here as a producer and guest musician on a few songs. Dawes is a part of the same scene in L.A. that are inspired by the "classic Laurel Canyon"-sound. For me, Taylor Goldsmith is my generations answer to a songwriter like Jackson Browne. Browne himself lends his voice to one of the album's standout tracks - "Fire Away".

The band also has toured as Jackson Browne's backing band along with Jonathan Wilson. A bill I would have payed a lot to see - so I hope they'll do it again sometime.

Nothing Is Wrong is filled with great folk/americana songs in the early seventies "confessional songwriting"-style that the beforementioned Jackson Browne and James Taylor were the masters of. It is a really strong album with this kind of nostalgic and melancholy feeling that makes you both sad and comforted at the same time.

2011 - A year in review

# 3. Jonathan Wilson - Gentle Spirit
(Bella Union, September 13th 2011)

First of all, I'm still alive - and I plan to reawaken this blog from it's slumber now. So I'll just continue where I left, with the countdown of 2011's best records.

Now over a year has past since Jonathan Wilson's album Gentle Spirit was released - in that year, the album has probably become even more of a favourite of mine. It is just one of these timeless pieces of music that seems like they have always been there. It's epic, it's low key, it's really really emotional.

I first came upon Wilsons music some years ago when I started to check out some of the musicans that seemed to pop up on all my favourite records the last years. Jonathan Wilson was a name that was all over some of those records. The solo album by Gary Louris, the second Jenny Lewis album, Vetiver albums and collaborations with people like Chris Robinson and Elvis Costello. I got a hold of his first album, Frankie Ray, and I was completely sold.

Gentle Spirit is still kind of his "real" solo debut. He plays almost every instrument on every song himself but still it sounds really intimate and close - like it's played in a living room among great friends.

A stunning album, which I will probably write more about in the future. For now, this is it - and the blog is back!