CAIRO

The indie gran (yep, me) is in a right narky mood today. Ah, the old times were so much better. When we still had to go to an actual record store (preferably 8 km away on a bike in the freezing cold) and rifle through the records and communicate (indeed) with people in the store on what kind of music they buy. None of that “other customers who bought also bought…” nonsense. We talked. And oh dear, if you missed the name of the band or the title on the radio, tough, no online playlists, no, heaven forbid, Shazam. You just had to listen more intently the next time. And at the end of  the day, you did not have sheer quantity in songs but quality. You had accumulated knowledge about the songs (through e.g. record sleeves). Natter, natter…I know…

Times are not all bad, surely. I just wish, we could have the best of both worlds. Nowadays, we can crowdfund, artists are not that dependent on labels anymore and you come across bands like CAIRO. Yes, I will come to CAIRO right now:

CAIRO are Nate Daniel, Dante Berardi, Caitlin Grieve (on violin no less) and Matt Sullivan (a real drummer with the precision of a drum machine) and they come from Toronto, Canada. Their diverse influences bind together in love, so they say and claim that they get along so well as a band.

True enough, their music sounds coherent and multi-layered. But you know that when I blog, I must be really convinced…and I am. Their album “A history of reasons” has been released in January on MapleMusicRecordings and I may warmly recommend it for their (not my idea) orchestral alt-pop.

I have their older EP “Young love” and my favourite song of it is at present “Golden cup“. Ah, the development that song takes is sheer amazement. Loving it.

Now, I feel so much better now.

Find CAIRO in all the usual places and on their website: www.wearecairo.com.

 

 

J.P. Kallio

On days like these, having just returned from a close to four hours carnival’s parade with lots of singing, dancing and bending down to pick up sweets, minding that the wig and feather eyelashes don’t come off, I often wonder where other people take their energy from.

One springs to mind especially and that is musician J.P. Kallio originally from Finland who lives in Dublin, Ireland. He has his roots in punk music (did I read that right?), picked up Irish traditional music like a breeze and is a singer-songwriter. So he plays sessions with Sliotar in Dublin’s Porterhouse (if you ever land in Dublin, you should go and see Sliotar – I know that I will) and pens his own songs.

Yes, he is one of those who undertook the almighty task to churn out a song per week and he continues to do so. But it is not just sheer quantity. There are profound lyrics, his unique way of guitar playing and a great voice, too.

And then, he blogs. Every day, unfailingly. About all the important stuff musicians should know. There are valuable tips on his website a plenty.

How on earth does he do it? Can his only secret be the love of music and coffee? Is it the air in Dublin?

Find out about J.P. Kallio yourself, you just need to see his website: www.jpkalliomusic.com and listen to one his songs here:

The Unthanks

Having been out to watch the Carnival’s Sunday parade (the big one of approximately 4 hours duration is tomorrow, yikes), I am already in serious need of some soothing, beautiful music – such as music by The Unthanks.

Sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank’s new album “Mount the Air” is deservedly getting praised in all the high places, so who am I to comment. Especially when you also have Martin Freeman and Robert Wyatt saying wonderful things about you? But I would simply like to express my thanks to The Unthanks (ha!).

The Unthanks first came to my attention, rather late, when they were performing at Jools Holland’s Later Show on BBC TV. They truly impressed me with their harmonies, their loyalty to folk music and by their overall down-to-earth demeanour. Now, after two years in the making, their new album “Mount the Air” is out and while I am still divulging it in all its beauty, I am already addicted (big way) to “Flutter”.

I can’t say if it is the spheric sound with loads of Portishead thrown in (with who they collaborated before) or the lyrics that make light of life or turn you melancholic about the smallness of life. Indeed, the voices, music and lyrics melt together to the very definition of the word “Flutter”.

Or is it even how they pronounce the word? In that beautiful accent? Which sort of means to me, how grounded they have remained, protruding into all styles but staying true to their own Northumberland folk tradition; playing all the big places, cavorting with the big stars and still doing singing and cooking with their fans in the local pub?

For your listening pleasure I digged out the magic incarnated that is “Flutter” with introductory chat from The Unthanks.

Thank you for being you, The Unthanks!

 

Jay Woodward

When I first listened to Jay Woodward’s music it struck  me how well produced his recordings sounded but not overly so – indeed he prefers a classical approach like in the 60s and 70s. He is absolutely not making up with production what is missing in music.

The music of Jay Woodward, as someone put it so nicely, renders itself perfectly for a drive through the desert. Now, I am in severe want of desert landscape here, but it works just fine in the woods and moors. Nature features big in Jay Woodward’s dreamy and delicate music. The instrumentation is sparse but just enough. Some fine guitar playing here and overall a (cannot think of a better word right now) pleasant and strong voice.

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Jay Woodward comes from California but if I hear his music I keep thinking of the soundtrack to dark fairytales, Tim Burtonish.

His releases include: “Winter Song” (featuring Justin Scott Linville) (single) and “Letters we told” (album).

If I seriously had to choose favourite tracks, then: “Mandolina” and “Howl” which show a bit of the diversity of his talent.

Contact Jay Woodward via his website. Of course you’ll find him on Twitter, Facebook , bandcamp and all the usual.

There is also a beautiful video for “Garden In The Sun” on YouTube.