Monthly Archives: January 2012

Song Of The Week #4

I sat down long and hard for this one – this week’s earworms were quite numerous, ranging from Florence + The Machine all the way to Beirut. In the end I decided for:

Kings Of Convenience – I’d Rather Dance With You 

 I came across Kings Of Convenience quite by accident, actually. I had been searching for a Kings Of Leon song, and the auto-fill-thingy suggested ‘convenience’ instead of ‘leon’ (heaven knows why). I won’t say I was angry about that little typo though – Kings Of Convenience is really a superb group, and I was ultimately thankful for the discovery.

Hailing from Bergen, Norway, the band consists of Erlend Øye and Eirik  Bøe, both of whom have known each other since they were ten. ‘I’d Rather Dance With You’ is the eighth track on their second studio album Riot on an Empty Street, released in 2004.

YouTube Link here.

Thank you once again, and enjoy!

 – Jonathan

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Covers

Okay, I’ll be honest here: I’m having a bit of writer’s/blogger’s block (again!) at the moment. I’ve been sitting here at my desk for roughly an hour and a half now, just hoping that the train of inspiration will allow me to board, but that is sadly not the case. She’s got a tight schedule apparently – can’t afford to waste precious time.

Oh well, I could always just get straight to my point, I guess..

Covers – as mentioned in my previous post, this form of music always interests me. I immediately gain respect for any artist who can come up with an amazing version of a popular tune.

Allow me to present yet another set of respectable musicians with respectable covers:

Birdy – Skinny Love

This cover of the indie folk song off Bon Iver’s debut For Emma, Forever Ago is completely, and utterly mesmerising. After hearing the first few piano-chords I was already hooked. The voice was what blew me away, however. Imagine how awed I was, to learn that the voice that belonged to the recording was barely 16 years old.   Jasmine van den Bogaerde, known by her stage name Birdy, learned piano at five, and began composing at seven. She is perhaps most known for winning the Open Mic UK music competition at age twelve. She released her debut album in November of 2011.

Listen here.

William Fitzsimmons – Heartless

I’d always assumed the Fray had come up with the perfect version of Kanye’s less-than-impressive Heartless. When I heard of Fitzsimmons’ however, I knew that I was not even close to right. William is an American singer-songwriter based in Illinois, but born and raised in Pennsylvania. When I wrote that the Fray had managed to establish a extremely intimate version of Heartless, I had no idea that the intimacy could be taken to a much deeper level. Fitzsimmons adds an array of beautiful guitar strums and piano chords that neither Fray nor Kanye would ever have thought of.

Listen here.

Ellie Goulding – Your Song

I’ve always admired Ellie Goulding – among my favourites are her songs ‘Lights’ and ‘The Writer’ – and upon hearing this cover, was delighted to discover that it was simply sensational. Ellie manages to remove the gentle playfulness the original had, and replace it with melancholic piano accompaniments and beautiful strings and cello. The song was released as the fifth single of her album Lights on November 12, 2010.  Shortly afterwards it entered the UK charts and managed to shoot up to place number two in only it’s third week, successfully becoming Goulding’s highest peaking single to date.

Listen here.

Willie Nelson – The Scientist

As I have never had any interest for country music whatsoever, I’d never bothered to check out Willie Nelson. After a quick Wikipedia-check here’s what I learned: Nelson released his first album in 1962, And Then I Wrote, and 50 years later managed to turn himself into an American Icon. I first learned of this cover through the Oracle (those familiar with the Coldplay Website will know what I mean) in late November of last year, and have since then played this song dozens of times on the Ipod. A terrific cover, again giving the song a whole new feel and sound. Forget the haunting piano-chord progression in the original – take that away, throw in some campfire guitar strums and you have yourself a very nice cover.

Listen here.

Anyway, this is all I have prepared for now. Thank you for reading, I hope you have as much fun listening to the songs as I did writing this post.

Cheers!

– Jonathan

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Artist Worth Noting #2

After sitting down and listening to numerous new artists on sites such as YouTube and SoundCloud, it occurred to me that true talent is (much too often) overlooked. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve heard a song and then thought: ‘Wait just a gosh-darn minute! Why is this not on the charts?’

In the end I decided we can wonder and complain all we want, but all we can really do is share our finds with each other, and by doing so hope that these ‘less-known’ artists stay alive, right?

Allow me to introduce: Tamar Kaprelian

Born to Armenian parents and raised under the beautiful skies of Georgia and California, Tamar Kaprelian released her debut album ‘Sinner or Saint’ on August 24th of 2010. I’d first had the pleasure of hearing of her through her amazing cover of the hit ‘Apologise’ by OneRepublic. I believe it’s safe to say I fell in love with her voice the moment I heard it – few artists have the angelic quality of voice Tamar is gifted with.

Listen to ‘New Day’, the single of her debut album here.

Thanks for reading – ’till next time!

– Jonathan

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Song Of The Week #3

I was looking at the calendar this afternoon and a queer thought struck me: the week’s almost over, and I’ve forgotten all about the ‘Song Of The Week’. Needless to say, at the first opportunity I dashed for my computer and started this week’s earworm-post.

I believe thanks are due to Sammer_ of the ‘So Fuckin’ Beautiful’ blog (click here ) for introducing me to today’s song.

Grand Archives – Sleepdriving 

Apparently, our friend had heard of the band through the popular American action-comedy ‘Chuck’. I myself have never been interested in watching the series, but if they feature songs such as these regularly, then I just might start the first season.

The American indie rock group Grand Archives formed in Seattle, and launched their debut album ‘The Grand Archives’ on the 19th of February, 2008. ‘Sleepdriving’ is the 8th track off the album.

Youtube link here.

Many thanks for reading, do leave comments and don’t be afraid to share your opinion   on the posts!

 – Jonathan

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Top Ten: Dubstep

Step 1: Wait for the drop. Step 2: Have a seizure.

Yes – such is the proper way to dance to a dubstep tune (not that I’d know anything about dancing. If some people have two left feet, I proudly declare I have three). After discovering this art of music not too long ago, I decided I’d have a shot writing a post about it.

As already pointed out by several other articles, the dubstep genre today has taken on a whole new level, with artists ranging from Justin Bieber to Jay-Z piggy-backing on this eccentric sound. As a result of it’s popularity, it is becoming more and more difficult to define what exactly dubstep is. Our friends at Wikipedia describe the genre as a ‘tightly coiled production with overwhelming bass-lines, reverberant drum patterns and occasional vocals’.

Personally, I’d just describe it as ‘the sound robots make when they have sex’.

However you choose to describe it though, one things for sure: it’s impossible to miss. When you hear it, you’ll recognize it.

With that said, let me introduce my favourite five:

Vision – Gemini

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Listen here.

Unruly (Original Mix) – Messinian, Boy Kid Cloud, Dirty Talk

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Listen here.

UKF Dubstep Tutorial – Dubba Jonny

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Listen here.

Lights (Bassnectar Remix) – Ellie GouldingImage

Listen here.

I guess that’s all I have for now. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for future-posts! Feel free to comment and suggest other amazing dubstep tunes!

 – Jonathan

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Artist Worth Noting #1

Sorry guys – i know i’m a bit late (got caught up with some work and all). But enough of the excuses, here we go:

The day before yesterday I was caught in a state of complete writer’s (blogger’s) block. I could think of not one post to write about – it’s too soon to be throwing around yet another Cover Collection, too early for a Song Of The Week post, and two posts regarding acoustic music in a row seems quite lame..  After brainstorming for an hour or two I decided I should devote a number of posts to artists who aren’t receiving close to the attention some of them undoubtedly deserve. These artists range from YouTube groups, to professional bands – all of whom are just living in the shadows of other popular bands.

So without further ado (yes – that is actually how you spell the word): let us welcome David Sides!

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David Sides is known for creating beautiful piano covers of popular tunes. Like many who took the ‘YouTube Path’, David Sides started off with one video and then shot off to international fame.  After being discovered through his piano solo version of the smash-hit ‘Apologise’ he worked on several other covers – ‘Halo’, ‘The Scientist’, and ‘Fix You’ to name a few – and ultimately started working on a piano-learning software titled ‘Playground Sessions’ (looking for a fun, new way to learn the piano? Definitely check the program out! Link at bottom), which was released in late 2011.

For you piano-junkies out there, I definitely suggest looking into this man’s work. But then again, if you’re a true piano-addict you’d probably already have heard of him.

Listen to/Watch video of Apologise piano cover here.

Check out Playground Sessions here.

Thanks for reading – ’till next time!

 – Jonathan

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Piano Acoustic Session #1

For me, the piano has always been a magical  instrument. I love everything from the way it looks to the satisfactory feeling of your fingertips resting on it’s sea of black-and-white keys. When I hear one, playing in the distance, my feet stop and I get lost in my mind, concentrating on nothing else but the beautiful sound of the piano.

Needless to say, my favourite live performances consist of mostly piano-acoustic music. These versions appeal to me because of their simplicity –  put away all that electronic garble and we are forced to actually listen to the song. We see, or rather hear, the song’s true beauty through this intimate form of music.

Having said that much, let me introduce to you the ‘Piano Acoustic Sessions’. Within these, I will present a number of my favourite acoustic songs. Do feel free to suggest your favourites too!

Used To Love U (Piano Acoustic Live)- John Legend

John legend, recipient of nine Grammy Awards and 2007 recipient of the special Starlight award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame is…well, what else? A legend. A musical genius and beast on the piano, this man knows how to do his thing right. As pointed out by a YouTube commenter: “If the piano were a person, or more specifically a woman, it would’ve experienced multiple orgasms while he played it.”

If only I could play half as well..

Lost? (Acoustic) – Coldplay

Lost! is a wonderful song by that wonderful English band Coldplay. The song has a variety of versions: We’ve got Lost! album version, Lost@ Live Version, Lost+ with a rap verse (by none other than Jay-Z) and finally…Lost? the acoustic experience. Coldplay has alway been one of my top bands. They never fail to disappoint.

Great guys plus great music – what can possibly go wrong?

Yellow – Sara Bareilles

On hindsight, this would have gone well in the ‘Top Ten Covers’ post. A beautiful and stunning performance by american singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. I fell in love with this performance instantly. There may be some who argue the beginning is quite boring, but I beg to disagree.

It is (in the words of Jim Carrey) ‘BE-A-U-TIFUL’. (Thank You Jim Carrey – I shall never misspell that word again). Sara’s vocals deliver a powerful, new tone to the song that leaves you wanting more.

Need You Now (feat. Lisa Lavie) – David Sides 

I never cared for the original ‘Need You Now’. The song was nice, but all-in-all overplayed. I heard it everywhere: the radio, the mall – every public place imaginable. After discovering that my favourite YouTube artist David Sides (you’ll be hearing more from him through my posts in the future!) covered it however, I decided the song wasn’t as bad as I thought. I’d still rather be seen listening to this cover than the original though.. A beautiful piano arrangement – David Sides is simply amazing.

Apologise – Tamar Kaprelian

A few years back OneRepublic opened a contest where the fans  had the chance to submit their personal version of the hit ‘Apologise’. Among the swarms of videos and YouTube links sent, this was the cover that stood out and ultimately caught the attention of Colorado-based band OneRepublic. Beautiful version, amazing vocals.

Thanks for reading, be sure to tell us what your favourites are!
Oh and I’d just like to mention(it may not be obvious – sure wasn’t for me): The YouTube links are given. Simply click on the title to have yourself sent into acoustic bliss!

– Jonathan

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Song Of The Week #2

A few months ago I decided to explore the world of dubstep and made a pleasant discovery: Zeds Dead. From this discovery I made another pleasant one: Blue Foundation.

The dubstep-artist Zeds Dead had remixed one of their songs (Eyes On Fire) and since I liked it so much, I wanted to hear the original. Naturally, the original was better. Eargasmic. 20 songs later and Blue Foundation had found themselves another fan.

The following is the song which has been burning up my Ipod battery at an alarming rate:

Blue Foundation – Bonfires

I’ve always admired bands with a unique, special sound. It seems to me like all artists/bands today sound exactly alike – none of them make music that stands out anymore and for me, that’s quite disappointing. Blue Foundation has a unique, individual feel (sound) to their music, and when I try to think of a similar-sounding artist, my brain fails me. ‘Bonfires’ is on their second studio album ‘Sweep of Days’, released in 2004.

YouTube link:

Thanks again for reading, and please feel free to comment!

 – Jonathan

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New Year – 2012

Happy New Year guys!

Damn, another year come and gone. Seems to me like they just keep flyin’ by – one faster than the other. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your 2011 as I did mine. Let us look forward to another fun-filled year, eh?

As in the words of Oprah Winfrey, ‘Cheers to a New Year, and another chance for us to get it right.’

Before leaving however, why don’t we take a look at some classic new year’s songs?

Here’s my top 3 – feel free to leave a comment and tell us what yours is!

1. New Year’s Day – U2

This just brings back memories. My first and favourite U2 song, released on January 1 as lead single of their album War. 

2. The New Year – Death Cab For Cutie

‘So this is the new year…’ The opening track to Death Cab For Cutie’s album Transatlanticism. Fun, catchy, and light – an altogether enjoyable song.

3. Funky New Year

The title says it all, really. Released as the B-Side to their cover of the Charles Brown song ‘Please Come Home For Christmas’.

Well, that’s pretty much all I have for now. With that much said, let us welcome our new year and let us hope it goes as we plan it to go (or at the very least close enough!).

Cheers to 2012!

 – Jonathan

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