Immunity with melancholy

Saturday, 4 January, 2014 0 Comments

In his time, the London-based producer and musician Jon Hopkins has worked with Brian Eno, King Creosote, Imogen Heap and Coldplay. His fifth album, Immunity, was hailed last year as a perfect synthesis of melancholy and dance. Jon Hopkins is one to watch in 2014.

Winter Trees

Saturday, 30 November, 2013 0 Comments

Emily Staveley-Taylor, Jessica Staveley-Taylor and Camilla Staveley-Taylor from Hertfordshire are The Staves. Music journalist, James Christopher Monger, wrote: “clear, confident, and classy, the Staves know that their ability to harmonize (or just sing in perfect, familial unison) is their calling card.” Their debut album, Dead & Born & Grown, was released in November last year, and from it here’s the perfectly seasonal Winter Trees. “And I lost myself on that November night / White winter trees / Covered in snow.”

Pouring in Mumbai

Tuesday, 12 November, 2013 1 Comment

Containing notions of frugality and deluge, the concept of “the rainy day” offers endless opportunity for cogitation and blogging. “The Rain” is a video clip by Harshal Chavan, who describes it as a “small compilation of footage I shot during rainy days.”

Jesus time

Saturday, 26 October, 2013 0 Comments

A quick look at the New York Times Bestsellers earlier in the week — Hardcover Non-Fiction — showed Jesus topping and tailing the list. In first place was Killing Jesus, an account of the life, times and crucifixion of our Saviour by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, and in tenth position, Zealot, a biography of the revolutionary Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. And there was even more faith in fourth position with I Am Malala, which is about a Pakistani girl who was shot by the Islamist Taliban, while in fifth place was My Story, in which Elizabeth Smart tells of being kidnapped from her Utah home in 2002 at age 14 by a couple noted for their “religious idiosyncrasy”.

All this brings us to Amos Lee, whose fine new album, Mountains Of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song has come into our possession via iTunes. Although the name may not be familiar to all, Lee has built a sterling reputation by touring with Adele, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. Along with composing his own songs, he’s a superb interpreter and his version of Fred Neil’s A Little Bit of Rain is splendid. This is from the Mission Bell album.

Toronto rises thanks to rooftopping

Tuesday, 8 October, 2013 0 Comments

Heard of the daring Ukranian known as “Mustang Wanted”? He’s the star of a newish trend that cannot be defined by any single word. Essentially, it involves climbing buildings and bridges and then hanging on to the edges. Maybe it should be called “skywalking” after Vitaly Skywalker, who pioneered the hobby, but he ran into trouble with the law in Russia and his place has been taken by intrepid Mustang Wanted.

Instead of skywalking, Tom Ryaboi does “rooftopping,” which, in his case, involves climbing tall buildings to get the best photographic angles on an urban scene. Last year, Ryaboi decided that he wanted to create a video clip of Toronto where “the boundary between earth and sky is unclear.” With the help of a theatrical score by Hans Zimmer, these rooftopped shots are breathtaking. Tomorrow, here, in honour of the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair, an Austerian interlude.

The original Lisa O’Neill

Saturday, 5 October, 2013 1 Comment

To celebrate the release of her new album, Same Cloth or Not, Lisa O’Neill will play a headline show at Whelan’s in Dublin on Saturday, 19 October. O’Neill started writing songs and music in her native Ballyhaise, County Cavan, and then moved to Dublin for a full-time career in music. She’s on the way.

From and about Ohio: The National

Saturday, 28 September, 2013 1 Comment

It’s not every day that one encounters a band comprising two pairs of brothers, whose surnames begin with “D”, but twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Bryan and Scott Devendorf are the core of The National. Completing the lineup is Matt Berninger, the genius who writes and sings the songs. Formed in Cincinnati and now resident in Brooklyn, The National have become a global success story. Trouble Will Find Me, their latest album, released in May, immediately topped charts across the world, but the platform for that success was built in 2010 with High Violet. Bloodbuzz Ohio was the first single from the album and it continues to astonish.