fredag 31. august 2012

Longyear - En helt ny dag

Ever woken up to go to work and hating it? I thought so, haven't we all? Norwegian band Longyear has recorded a song about it, and it's really good. Unfortunately it's in Norwegian, but you might like the melody, so give it a try if you will. "En helt ny dag" translates into "A brand new day" and is simply about the horrors of working in an office where you have to deal with expressions like "the customers' needs", "collective basis" and "challenge established truths". It's a very good pop song with a slight country twist, with a female guest singer named Anette Bragvin Andresen, with a very sweet voice that counterbalances the band's lead singer Sveinung Lystrup Thesen.

Listen and/or buy

Oh Laura - California

Oh Laura is a Swedish country-rock outfit that I know next to nothing about, but boy, have they released a great single in "California" from their recently released second album The Mess We Left Behind!


Penthouse Playboys - Sangen han sang var min egen

Apart from being brilliantly named, Penthouse Playboys is among the top pop acts in Norway, thanks to a knack for finding the right songs to play, and of course the charismatic singer Jens Pikenes. His animal magnetism and sensual presence have turned him into a wet dream for many a Norwegian woman, girl... and man. * You'll find that "Sangen han sang var min egen" sounds quite familiar as it is a translated version of the Roberta Flack classic "Killing Me Softly With His Song". The Norwegian version was translated by journalist Terje Mosnes and a hit single for Inger Lise Rypdal in 1973, but the 1996 Penthouse Playboys version is of course the definitive one.

Watch and listen

* Best digested with a tiny pinch of salt.

torsdag 30. august 2012

John Phillips - Mississippi

John Phillips, founder of The Mamas And The Papas, would have been 77 years old today if he were still with us. At least his music is out there, good as ever, and "Mississippi" from his 1970 solo album John, The Wolf King Of L.A., is my favourite Phillips song, surpassing everything he wrote for The Mamas And The Papas and Scott McKenzie. It also includes the shortest drum solo in history, courtesy of Hal Blaine, at about 3:17 into the clip below.


Villagers - The Waves

Irish act Villagers fronted by Conor O'Brien released their debut album Becoming A Jackal in 2010, an introspective mood record that was at times really beautiful. With their brand new single "The Waves", the band signals a new direction as well. It's a beautiful, electronic piece of pop music, and it bodes very well for album number two.

Watch and listen

To nye Hellbillies-sanger

(Sorry to those of you who only read English, I will switch to Norwegian just for this. You still might enjoy the music though. That's what counts, not what I write.)

Hellbillies er tilbake 5. november med sin trettende plate (medregnet live- og samleplate) med den talende tittelen Tretten. Bandet fra Ål i Hallingdal skal også feire sitt 20-årsjubileum med stor konsert i Oslo Spektrum 24. november, og det er definitivt noe å se frem til. Mens vi venter på både plate og konsert, er det mulig å høre to splitter nye låter på bandets hjemmeside, og i morgen, fredag, er de i salg i nettbutikker og åpne for streaming i WiMP og Spotify.

"Reise i lag med deg" er en av de beste Hellbillies-sangene jeg har hørt på lenge. Det er en rørende låt om storebroren til Aslag og Lars Håvard Haugen som døde brått for en tid tilbake, med melodi og arrangement som fører tankene i retning tidlig Eagles. "Pille med bråk" er... vel, mer bråkete. Det er en tung, psykedelisklydende låt, litt som The Byrds uten Roger McGuinns Rickenbacker i møte med Allman Brothers eller noe i den duren. Tøft.

Begge låtene med studiovideoer og gratis nedlasting av "Pille med bråk" ved å klikke deg inn her.

Listen to the new Avett Brothers album in its entirety

The Avett Brothers are returning with the album The Carpenter, their follow-up to 2009's brilliant I And Love And You. Like its predecessor, The Carpenter is produced by Rick Rubin. The good people at NPR has secured a first listen for the album that will be released on September 7th (September 11th in the US), so go right ahead and enjoy.


Feargal Sharkey - Someone To Somebody

Feargal Sharkey, once the singer of Northern Irish pop-punk heroes The Undertones, has one of the loveliest voices in pop music. After three solo albums, the last one released in 1991, he left behind the life as singer, and started out in the business side of the music industry. That's a real shame. I really, really wish Sharkey had continued making records, if nothing else, just for hearing that voice. "Someone To Somebody" is from his eponymous debut solo album from 1985, a synth-heavy ballad where he belts out the lyrics as only he can do it. It may sound dated to some, but I still love this song. I find it absolutely beautiful.

Watch and listen

onsdag 29. august 2012

Free download: The Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law

Welsh rock band The Joy Formidble released their debut album The Big Roar last year, and now they're back with a brand new single with an amazing video to accompany it. The song is a big, epic ballad with a video shot in black and white that looks like something out of a Richard Attenborough series. This is mighty stuff.

Watch the video here

Sign up to get a free download of the song

Bob Dylan - Duquesne Whistle (with brand new video)

Bob Dylan's forthcoming album is nothing less than fantastic. Althoough I've only heard it once, I can safely say that it's a masterpiece. Here's the opening track, "Duequesne Whistle", that starts out as a western swing number, but soon gains speed and intensity, and then starts rocking and jumping along the tracks, just like a good train song should. The video however, has nothing to with trains, and thematically it seems far removed from the song. I could be wrong, but judge for yourself.

Watch and listen

Leonard Cohen - First We Take Manhattan

You can write dissertations about Leonard Cohen's poetry, so I'll basically leave that to others. I'll restrict myself to pointing out the eerieness about a song like this, recalling literary references across the board, from Franz Kafka to Philip K. Dick, by way of George Orwell. Doom is approaching, and Leonard is watching from the front row. "They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom", indeed. "First We Take Manhattan" was first recorded by Jennifer Warnes on Famous Blue Raincoat, her 1987 album of Cohen covers, whereas the man himself recorded it for his 1988 album I'm Your Man.

Watch and listen

tirsdag 28. august 2012

Wild Nothing - Nocturne

I just discovered the dream pop of Jack Tatum, the creator of the American band Wild Nothing. Tatum has just released his second album under the Wild Nothing moniker called Nocturne, an astounding piece of work, and the title track just blew me away when I first heard it earlier today. Hope you'll like it too.


Wilco vs. Bill Fay - Jesus Etc.

British singer/songwriter Bill Fay has not released a proper album in 41 years, but on the recently released album Life Is People he is back with a vengeance. And with a little help from a few friends and fans, young and old. Among these are Wilco's Jeff Tweedy who sings a bit on the track "This World". Also, Fay gives Tweedy his due respect by doing a stunning version of Wilco's classic "Jesus, Etc." that appeared on the band's 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Below you'll find both a live clip of Wilco performing the song in 2008, and the audio file of Fay's version. They're both incredible, and it's hard to pick one over the other. I guess it's a tie, but you may disagree...

Wilco version

Bill Fay version

Fastball - The Way

Whatever happened to American rock band Fastball? The trio made its mark thoroughly with second album All The Pain Money Can Buy (1998) thanks to the wonderful single "The Way". The melody and arrangement is a mix of pop, latin and rockabilly influences, and the lyrics are about an elderly couple who packs up their stuff and drives off without much of a plan, "an exit to eternal summer slacking". Although the band has released three more albums since, Fastball has not been remotely close to success again. Too bad as the three of them have indeed soldiered on, but they will always have a place in my heart thanks to "The Way" which is one of those songs  I never ever tire of. This is a 90's classic!

Watch and listen

Flight Of The Conchords - Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That)

New Zealand comedy group Flight Of The Conchords who made two seasons of their fabulous TV series for HBO has been MIA for awhile, but now they're back with a great charity single for Red Nose Day Comedy for Cure Kids called "Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That)". The lyrics to the song is the result of interviews the two - Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie - has done with children that you can see before the actual music video they made with a score of New Zealand artists, among them Dave Dobbyn, Boh Runga and Brooke Fraser. If you just want to hear the song that starts at five minutes into the video, but it's really worth watching the interviews.

Watch and listen