søndag 31. juli 2011

Povl Dissing & Benny Andersen - Da jeg mødte dig

Wow, it's been nine days now since the bombing of the government buildings in Oslo and the massacre at Utøya. I haven't been in the mood to blog since then, which I hope everyone will understand. I still mourn for all the dead by the hand of evil incarnate, but life eventually has to go on, so here we are, back in business of some sort.

I'll give you a beautiful Danish song to listen to today. Although non-Scandinavians won't understand a word of it, I still hope the melody will please you. And for all of you that do understand, Povl Dissing and Benny Andersen's "Da jeg mødte dig" (When I met you) from the 1982 album Oven visse vande, is a humerous and sweet song about a hopeless alcoholic meeting the love of his life. Sadly he's becoming so scared by the world he sees around him that he desperately falls back in love with the bottle before eventually he is saved by this wonderful person he's singing to. Have a nice Sunday, everybody!


fredag 22. juli 2011

Indigo Girls - Galileo

Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls is 48 today, so happy birthday to her! Here's "Galileo" off my favourite Indigo Girls album Rites Of Passage (1992). Saliers and her partner in crime Amy Ray usually writes songs separately and "Galileo" is of course written by today's birthday girl.

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Rufus Wainwright - Dinner At Eight

Happy 38th birthday to Rufus Wainwright. To celebrate we'll show a clip of him performing his lovely ballad "Dinner At Eight" from Want One (2003). It's no secret Rufus and his father Loudon don't get along too well, and this song is about their strained relationship.

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Don Henley - The Boys Of Summer

Happy birthday to Don Henley who's 64 today! The Eagles drummer has enjoyed a successful solo career as well as with his band, and "The Boys Of Summer" is his most well-known song - and the best - of his solo output. It's a melancholy song about aging and time going by, with lyrics written by the man himself and the melody by Henley and Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell. It's from the 1984 album Building The Perfect Beast, and I have to say it's probably one of my all-time favourite songs.

The Lightning Seeds - Life's Too Short

Liverpudlian Ian Broudie is the one constant member of The Lightning Seeds and you may be excused for saying the band is his alter ego. A Lightning Seeds trademark is their - or his - knack for an infectious pop song, and 1999's "Life's Too Short" is certainly no exception.

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Marty Stuart - Little Things

Honky tonk country rarely fails to put me in a good mood, and Marty Stuart's brilliant 1991 single "Little Things" is no exception. It's a rockabilly-fueled exercise in old-school country music, with a brilliantly understated arrangement. With its steady beat it should still get the party going. Yee-haw!

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Teenage Fanclub - Empty Space

The Scottish band Teenage Fanclub are true pop connoisseurs with a knack for intoxicating melodies that are almost unprecedented on this side of The Beatles. "Empty Space" is a prime example, a new song they recorded for their fantastic 2003 compilation Four Thousand Seven Hundrer And Sixty-Six Seconds.


torsdag 21. juli 2011

Cat Stevens - Here Comes My Baby

Happy birthday to Cat Stevens or Yusuf Islam as he calls himself these days who turns 63. He was at his commercial peak in the early 70's but had a hit as early as 1967 with "Here Comes My Baby", as did The Tremeloes the same year. It's also been covered by The Mavericks, Yo La Tengo, The Jags, Turin Brakes and others. It's simply a great pop song, quite different from Stevens' more well-known hits such as "Wild World" or "Morning Has Broken", and is lifted from his debut album Matthew & Son.


Narum - En million mil

Narum is a Norwegian brother and sister country-pop trio from the village of Eina in the Toten district. They have released two albums so far, and their latest, Ælt som var søkk borte, was released late last year. The first single from the album was this beautiful song, "En million mil" (A million miles), sung in their native dialect. Hard to understand for non-Scandinavians, I know, but you can still enjoy the melody and singer Benedikte Narum Jensen's stunning voice.


Roxy Music - If It Takes All Night

Roxy Music as blues band? Sure. "If It Takes All Night" from the 1974 album Country Life is in most senses a classic 12-bar blues, but unsurprisingly Bryan Ferry doesn't sing about beer or whiskey - he opts for champagne instead. Fantastic song from a wonderful album!

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New Kanye West & Jay-Z track streaming online now: Otis

Built upon a sample of Otis Redding's classic "Try A Little Tenderness", here's a new track from Kayne West & Jay-Z's upcoming collaborative record Watch The Throne. It now seems the album will be released digitally on August 1st and physically four days later. Until then, enjoy "Otis" by clicking here.

onsdag 20. juli 2011

Richard Hawley - The Ocean

Sheffield singer/songwriter Richard Hawley had his breakthrough with the stunning Coles Corner album in 2005, and "The Ocean" is one of many beautiful songs on it. I posted "Hotel Room" from the same album some time ago, claiming that it's one of the best ballads of the new millennium, a claim I fully stand by, but "The Ocean" really isn't bad either. The sweeping strings, Hawley's trademark tremolo guitar, and his warm, soothing voice singing the hypnotic melody, all contribute to make this a song for the ages. Hawley is kind of revisiting the 50's, and production- and soundwise it's not a bad move. He's conjuring the sea with this song, not unintentionally, I'm sure.

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New Elton John album next year?

In an interview with Music Week Elton John talks about his forthcoming album to be released sometime next year. He will reunite with producer T-Bone Burnett (who helmed The Union, the collaborative record by Leon Russell and Elton John) in January 2012 to start work on a new album. Elton's lyricist Bernie Taupin is currently writing lyrics for him to set music to. He might also do one more album with Russell, he says. In the interview Elton also talks of his newly established record company and more. Read the interview in full here.

New M83 single streaming online now: Midnight City

French electronica act M83 a.k.a. Anthony Gonzalez is returning with a new album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, on October 18th. But you can already stream the first single Midnight City, a wonderful and very melodic dance track here.

The Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You

Happy birthday, Courtney Taylor-Taylor of The Dandy Warhols! He is 44 years old today, and his band's hit single "Bohemian Like You" (2000) is a great party song and a perfect way to celebrate the day. Hooray!

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Talk Talk - I Believe In You

Happy birthday to drummer Lee Harris of Talk Talk "fame". He's 49 today, and I'd like to salute him by playing the beautiful "I Believe In You" from the 1988 Spirit Of Eden album. Harris' carefully understated drumming is among the song's best features actually, so here's to him! This song is such a classic, and so beautiful I almost feel like crying.

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Radney Foster - Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)

Happy 52nd to the brilliant singer/songwriter Radney Foster! Here's his beautiful ballad "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" from the 1999 album See What You Want To See, that's also been covered by Dixie Chicks. On the studio version of Foster's original Emmylou Harris sings harmony vocals, but she's absent in the clip you'll see here. Doesn't really matter that much though. This is a hell of a nice song anyway!

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Santana - Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile)

Happy 64th birthday to Carlos Santana! Here's a video clip from 1982 of one of his band's most loved songs, the stunningly beautiful instrumental ballad "Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile)" that first appeared on the 1976 album Amigos. Take it away, Carlos!

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Cracker - Happy Birthday To Me

Well, happy birthday to me then! I'm 45 years today, celebrating amongst other things by playing the excellent "Happy Birthday To Me" from Cracker's 1992 self-titled debut album. The record also contains the classic "Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)". I've put that behind me.


tirsdag 19. juli 2011

Andrea Corr - State Of Independence

Andrea Corr recently released a very good covers album called Lifelines. In this clip she visits the Scottish TV presenter Lorraine Kelly's show to perform her version of Jon & Vangelis' 1981 song "State Of Independence" and chat about the album. (PS! Donna Summer's 1982 version may be better known than the original, that's the one they both refer to.)

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Christer Sjögren - Bad Romance

Now here's an unintentional laugh if there ever was one. Lady Gaga may provoke laughter all by herself, and she embraces kitsch, but when Swedish singer Christer Sjögren does a Tom Jones on her, it's just hilarious. For you non-Scandinavians out there, Sjögren is the former singer of dansband Vikingarna, and if you don't know what a dansband is, I'll let you in on a secret: You don't really wanna know. Take it away, Christer!

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Kjøtt - Beat Allegro 160

Norwegian punk band Kjøtt (Meat) had a short lifespan, producing two EP's, one single and one proper album, between December 1979 and May (I think) 1981. The album was called Op. and signaled a clear change of direction from simplistic straightforward punk rock to a more mature and adventurous sound. One of the key tracks was "Beat Allegro 160" and there was even produced a music video to the song. The band, fronted by now deceased singer Helge Gaarder (brother of famous author Jostein Gaarder of Sophie's World fame), showed real ambition with the album, but fell apart soon after its release. Their influence on Norwegian rock music can't be overestimated though. At the time Norwegian rock was a sad affair altogether, and in true punk/D.I.Y. spirit Kjøtt helped paved the way for more people to make music in this country.

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The Beatles - Things We Said Today

What to say about this? Well, not necessarily a lot. "Things We Said Today" from the soundtrack to A Hard Day's Night (1964). The song is of course so good it speaks for itself. Enjoy!


Prefab Sprout - Bonny

Prefab Sprout's Steve McQueen (1985) is still one of my all-time favourite albums. Fronted by genius songwriter Paddy McAloon the band has released a handful of good to great albums, but Steve McQueen is simply exceptional. Surprisingly at the time of release, the album was produced by synth-pop performer Thomas Dolby, and it's soundscape is one of openness, air and a fleeting sense of eternity. "Bonny", the second song on the record, is a prime example of the beauty lying within the song and framed by this stunningly brilliant production. This is in every way a perfect four minutes of pop music.


mandag 18. juli 2011

New Red Hot Chili Peppers single streaming online now

Finally there's new music from Red Hot Chili Peppers who release their I'm With You album on August 26th. The first single is called "The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie" and it's quite a catchy little tune. It's also the first recording with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer who's replaced John Frusciante. Listen to the new song here.

Washed Out - Amor Fati

"Amor Fati" is a song off one of my favourite current albums, Washed Out's brilliant Within And Without, which is a perfect summertime record. Washed Out is the alter ego of one Ernest Greene of Georgia, one of the main figures in the so-called chillwave movement. Musically this is heavily reliant on sweeping synthesizers conjuring sounds similar to those of waves crashing against the shore, not a million miles from acts like Enigma or Deep Forest or loads of other acts in the periphery of new age. Still, I have completely fallen in love with the Washed Out record, and "Amor Fati" is just one of its nine mesmerizing tracks. Hope you like it too.

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Martha And The Vandellas - Dancing In The Street

Happy 70th to Martha Reeves of Martha And The Vandellas fame. Their signature song is the classic "Dancing In The Street", written by Marvin Gaye, William "Mickey" Stevenson and Ivy Joe Hunter. It's one of the all-time most popular, not to mention best, summer songs, having been covered by many but never bettered. This is Motown soul at its very, very best, as joyful an fun as pop music can ever become. Why Mick Jagger and David Bowie released their cover version in 1985 remains one of the greatest mysteries in pop history.

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Dion & The Belmonts - A Teenager In Love

Happy birthday to Dion DiMucci who turns 72 today. Back in 1959 he fronted the vocal group The Belmonts, and they were the first to record the lovely "A Teenager In Love" written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. In May 1959 the song was actually in the British charts by three different acts at the same time, the other two versions being by British singers Marty Wilde and Craig Douglas. Dion & The Belmonts' version is the one for posterity though, a doo-wop classic.

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Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I Put A Spell On You

Now Screamin' Jay Hawkins - there's your more than average performer. He would have been 82 years old today, but died at 70, in February 2000. The clip you'll see is from an old TV show, probably from sometime in the 80's, and you'll see him in all his crazy glory. I've also added the original 1956 recording as that is such a brilliant and faultless performance. "I Put A Spell On You" has been covered by lots of acts, most famously by Nina Simone and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Watch the TV clip

Listen to the 1956 original

Henri Salvador - Jardin d'Hiver

The French singer Henri Salvador would have been 94 years today, but died a few years ago at the still pretty grown-up age of 90. Salvador was a big star in his native France, releasing loads of albums through the years. "Jardin d'Hiver" is a song he co-wrote with Keren Ann and Benjamin Biolay that first turned up on Keren Ann's 2000 album La Biographie de Luka Philipsen and subsequently on his own album Chambre Avec Vue later the same year. It's a beautiful bossa nova song, perfect for lazy summer days.

Watch and listen