Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kate Micucci

Kate was born in New Jersey and spent most of her school years in Pennsylvania. As a kid she focused on playing outside in the woods and playing classical piano. In college she majored in art, focusing on painting and making puppets. She received an A.A. in Fine Arts from Keystone College. After a small stint watering banana and pineapple plants in Hawaii, Kate decided to go to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where she made more puppets and received a B.A. in Studio Art. Currently Kate resides in Los Angeles where she has a steady gig building sandcastles. She also works as an actor and can be found around town playing the ukulele.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Family Tree

The Family Tree was in the top friends list of Joy Williams' new band The Civil Wars. It was like love at first sight when I saw their beautiful profilepicture (I really like photography). Fortunately it is not only their photo that I like. No, actually it is their music that I like the most. The Family Tree features the beautiful vocals of Tofer Brown and Laura Licata. Both started as a solo act before they started with The Family Tree. Tofer Brown who's voice reminds me of Landon Pigg, even released an album under his real name Chris Brown called"Subject to Change" and an EP "Bigger Things" under his new name Tofer in 2007. Laura, the other half of The Family Tree reminds me a bit of JJ Heller also does not seem to be new in the music business because of the various demos on her myspace profile, and her picture in a four-female band. Although Laura and Tofer both sound convincing in their soloact, it is the unique and perfect combination of their talents, and voices what makes the The Family Tree so special. Both their voices align so perfectly together that it brings out the best in 'em. With three highly infectious folk pop songs that were released so far I'm sure this can't be the last we've heard from them. Let's hope that several beautiful albums will appear in the future on this newly emerged music tree.

@ Nashville, USA
♫ Folk, Pop, Acoustic
♥ Town Crier (mp3)
♥ Fool's Love (mp3)
▸ Myspace

Friday, April 24, 2009


I instantly fell in love with Laleh when I heard her first single a few years ago. Her special vocals and use of instruments created an atmosphere that I'll probably love forever. It will remain a mystery why I did not write about her earlier, probably I did not fully appreciate her music they way I do now? In Sweden, Laleh is pretty popular despite the fact that I won't consider her music to be the most radio-friendly, it is at least (unfortunately) not the regular, boring stuff you hear on the radio here. Although I certainly think that everyone who is willing to open up for a special musical experience will enjoy Laleh's brilliant work.
Laleh Pourkarim, born June 10, 1982 in Iran, is a Swedish singer-songwriter of Iranian origin. She came to Sweden when she was 12 and went to school in Gothenburg. She personally produced and wrote her 2005 eponymous debut album. At the Swedish Grammis Awards for 2005, she received seven nominations and won three: Artist of the Year, Producer of the Year, and New Artist of the Year. She also had a major acting role in the Swedish movie Jalla! Jalla!, directed by Josef Fares, which was a big success at the Swedish box office in 2000. Laleh Pourkarim still lives in Göthenburg, Sweden with her family. She studied music and drama at Hvitfeltska Gymnasiet. Greatest interests include music; she sings and plays the saxophone and percussion instruments in different bands. She likes to play all kinds of music but has a greater bent for folk music, jazz and rhythm and blues. More about the producer part; "I am a producer to all the discs I made, that's half the fun, I think, that regulate and control all parts where the song and I want to be. Since I am technologies simplifies this for me as a producer there are no borders and then what you know to do and you get the opportunity to sit alone and work, it is so nice to sit alone and work at my own pace and in a fast pace without compromising. I have also rediscovered "classical" music and orchestra which you can hear in my song "Snö". I wrote the text of the song when I was watching the snow on the way home one night, I stayed up and really looked at the glittering snow, and felt a kind of longing, really hard to explain but you will understand . It is strange how a small idea can grow into a feeling and then a song . But even though I know it is me who wrote everything, it feels not like I can take the honour for me, it feels as if the songs come from all out of the air and they are living their own lives, then I happen to be lucky to succeed in capturing them, I do not know how I can explain but I think you understand what I mean.

@ Göthenburg, Sweden
♫ Indie, Folk, Alternative
♥ Big City Love (mp3)
♥ Simon Says (mp3)
▸ Myspace
▸ Official Website

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Late Call

The last time I visited Tapete Records' website was ages ago, until I checked it last week. With "The Late Call" as a result. The Late Call from Stockholm creates an intimate and atmosphere on his album, that seems to give you an insight on Johannes Mayer's lovelife, with answered and unanswered love and added ecstasy by acoustic instrumentals.
Leaving Notes is definitive proof that a long distance relationship leaves its mark. Leaving Notes is also proof that you don’t need much more than some acoustic instruments and good songs to create a staggeringly brilliant pop album. In the time spent waiting for the late phone calls from his girlfriend, Stockholm singer/songwriter Johannes Mayer, who performs under the name The Late Call, appears to have frequently reached for his guitar producing the tangible emotions contained on this record. Through the first notes you are drawn into a very special atmosphere and you will quickly understand that what you’re hearing is not another pop record constructed on the drawing-board of a hit factory. This feeling is real and does not let go of you over the full length of the album. It creates an intimacy and gives you that goose pimple feeling one usually only associates with listening to Nick Drake, Damien Rice or José Gonzalez. The eleven songs manage to convey the bittersweet feeling between the farewell, the departure and the arrival which the 27-year old knows only too well. During the recordings, emphasis has been placed on the use of acoustic instruments creating The Late Call’s warm and distinctive sound. “Thinking what to say” is carried by a vibraphone while in the background an old piano is playing one of those melodies which won’t leave your head and will follow you through your day. Accordions and harmoniums often pave the way to lighter acoustics and the great string arrangements such as those on “Cards on the table” and “The Summertime” speak of a musical aesthetic that is impossible to resist. “Leaving Notes” sounds like a manifesto against modern Saturday-night-partying and is a rare musical find.

@ Stockholm, Sweden
♫ Acoustic, Folk, Pop
♥ Cards on the Table (mp3)
▸ Myspace

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Zee Avi

Zee Avi was recommended to me by a friend and after the first thirty seconds I thought I was listening to a somewhat female version of Jack Johnson with a jazzier voice. So it was less surprising when I noticed that she's actually signed to Jack Johnson's record label: Brushfire Records. Zee is also known as KokoKaina on Youtube, that proves once again to be a great source and promotiontool for very talented singer-songwriters. Zee Avi has everything to be the next worldwide hit!
Zee Avi is just 23 but she’s an old soul. A huge talent in a petite frame bringing a universal message from the unlikely birthplace of Borneo, an ancient island east of Malaysia which remains an untouched, natural paradise, an apt description of her songs. How Avi came to record her debut album in L.A., the first joint release from Ian Montone’s Monotone Label and Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records, is a true 21st century tale of the way the Internet has transformed the music business and shrunk the globe in the process. Born in the tiny town of Miri in Sarawak on the island of Borneo, Zee grew up near the South China Sea in a liberal, encouraging household where her father owned an energy consultancy. “I was bred to be a lawyer,” she says, but music was in her blood. Her father’s father sang and played double-bass, accordion, violin and guitar in bands. At age 12, Zee moved from Borneo to Kuala Lumpur where she has been based since. At 17, Zee started locking herself in a room for hours on end to learn to play guitar. Guitar took a back seat for 4 years while she was studying fashion design in London. When she returned to Kuala Lumpur, she picked the instrument back up and began writing songs and performing with a band. Zee began recording her songs on a webcam and posting them on YouTube for a friend to hear. “I remember getting so excited when there was one new comment from some random person I didn’t know… One read ‘I’m lost for words - I shall favorite it and ponder if that’s OK,’ ” The day before her 22nd birthday, Zee posted what she intended to be “my last video,” a holiday song, “No Christmas for Me.” By the time she checked her e-mail Avi had almost 3,000 messages including a slew of label offers. One email came from Ian Montone, who had been shown the YouTube clip by Raconteurs’ drummer, Patrick Keeler, prompting Montone to get in touch and offer to release her music on the Monotone Label. With an eclectic pool of influences that range from such eccentrics as Cat Power, Regina Spektor, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Jolie Holland, Daniel Johnston and Chris Garneau, to jazz greats Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, to classics like Velvet Underground and Led Zeppelin, this self-described “rock lover at heart” captures the dark, bittersweet qualities of romance with a crack left open for hope and optimism.

Those Darlins

After getting quite a buzz on SXSW, Those Darlins' music caught my eye. Their infectious, catchy garage pop country is so full of fun and energy that it immediately made me smile. Let's hope their full length album will be released soon!
The best pop groups create their own universe, and make up their own ways of playing music and dealing with the big, bad world outside. Those Darlins are a pop group, if they are any one thing, which doesn't mean anybody with ears can't hear the country and rock 'n' roll in their sound and stance. Or maybe this trio of young women (early twenties, although no one's telling exactly), who live a long stone's throw from Nashville, Tennessee in the college town of Murfreesboro, are punks straight out of London or Cleveland, 1977. Being informed by Nashville and its intersecting indie, pop and country scenes, and aware of the twisted tradition of Appalachian roots music that stretches back to the Carter Family, Those Darlins nevertheless aren't of Nashville. They write their own songs, record in New York City, and talk convincingly about female empowerment, music history and egalitarian ideals of performance and business. But in practice, they're rockers. In the backyard of their shared suburban house in Murfreesboro (which is littered with many musical instruments and the occasional fifth of Evan Williams green-label whiskey), they stick wires in the spindle holes of old LPs, hang them from a magnolia tree, and shoot them with BB guns. They're good shots. The rockers in question are Kelley Darlin, the group's bassist, Jessi Darlin, who plays guitar, and Nikki Darlin, on baritone ukulele. Everyone sings. All this was somewhat new in a town where true rock 'n' roll attitude has always been in short supply, and Those Darlins got noticed by The Nashville Scene. So far they released an EP, and one single, both for sale at their website, eMusic and iTunes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blue Roses

Quite a while ago, I think it was in 2007, Laura Groves released her first single I Am Leaving, which I really liked. It made me really want an album to be released. After months and months of waiting, I kinda gave up on the idea. Stupid, because I should have known that Laura Groves is way too talented to go to waste. And a few months ago, there it was, Laura Groves is now Blue Roses and is about to release her debut album later this month. Already had quite a few listens to an advance copy of the album, and I have to say... it's great and all I was hoping for. It's definitely not the standard singer songwriter stuff, but something that really makes her to stand out.
Yorkshire is full of towns where nothing much happens, or so they’d have you believe. Laura Groves either didn’t hear, didn’t believe or simply knew better and on the edge of seventeen began writing songs. With an old family piano and a borrowed guitar, thinking of the records she loved, lyrics that broke her heart, phrasing that made it race, composers cradling her aspirations. Influences spanning genres and generations; from Bartók to Bush, Tiersen to Tears For Fears, Debussy to Du Maurier. She dreamt of writing, arranging, performing and producing an album that would be as treasured by someone else, and hopefully inspire them in the same way. The journey from then until now has not only given her more years, but more confidence, more experience of life, the courage to let the music express when words seem too restrictive. Blue Roses is the story, with Laura Groves as the protagonist. Included is a cast of family members to play instruments and a choir of firm friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers gathered together in a café to help. A small amount of money and a little faith was stretched with the benevolence and enthusiasm of those who stood at each door. From recording in living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms in various houses, to recording a Steinway in a local piano shop Instant praise is neither expected nor sought; Blue Roses is not the stuff of lists, tip offs or hollow press recommendations; this is not recollection, it is realisation. It is not music to be forced onto the public for social measurements, or on the merit of affiliation. Blue Roses is to be found, kept and cherished; it is to be absent as the dust begins to settle, and longed for as ambience resumes. Blue Roses is the serendipity that can only happen when you thought you’d stopped looking; as you realise how life sounds without it, you begin again.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Little Hands of Asphalt

The Little Hands of Asphalt was recommended to me by one of Spoon Train Audio's staff when I contacted them about My Little Pony (amazing as well). I immediately had a listen to his full album that was streaming at his Myspace back than. And there it was, Leap Years instantly became a serious contender for my top ten albums of this year. Sjur sings with so much honesty and genuine emotion that it can't left you unmoved.
Oslo is a small town. And Sjur Lyseid has been one of the driving forces in the growth of the indie-scene in the city in recent years. By being a musician and vocalist in Monzano, but also as a contributor in a number of bands and projects, and in the last year as a producer for, among other things, My Little Pony, Nomber 5s, Einar Stray and Roger Græsberg. But his folk project The Little Hands of Asphalt is where his hart lies. LHoAFolk pop with a country feeling that leans on artist like Elliot Smith and Conor Oberst. The lyrics are about lost, found or rejected love, about the sea that rises and golf power turns. And about Oslo. On the 9th of March Little Hands' debut-album Leap Years, produced by underground completely Kenneth Ishak was released. The album will be released as a collaboration between the acclaimed How is Annie Records and Spoon Train Audio. As a live band LHoA is a loose collective of rotating instrumentalists, with contributors from, among other things, Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, Yonakit, My Little Pony and Monzano. With everything from two to eight members have Little Hands made a series of concerts in Oslo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Steso Songs

Most of my new music discoveries are badly timed. Often when I'm extremely busy with collegestuff and definitely have no time to go on a "new music discovery adventure" I always seem to stumble upon a treasurechest of new great music. Steso Songs was no exeption, while studying for one of my exams a few weeks ago I stumbled upon her music on a swedish online music store, where it was one of the bestselling albums. Immediately had a listen at her Myspace, and liked what I heard. Steso Songs's debut EP features four nice pop songs, that will get you humming a long in no time.
Steso Songs is Karolina from Malmö. She started her first band when she was 12 with some friends. They wrote songs about boys, teenage fears and how pissed they were of life, school, anything, everything. Now, she writes about quite the same things. She lives together with her acoustic piano. "I can't get along with anyone else, i guess. and that's great because it means more songs, faster" she says. After gigs in every little town in Sweden, after getting one million questions when she will release her debut album, after stupid escapes into even more stupid jobs, after long cries in front of a dusty piano, after sessions of song writing more filled with anxiety than with pleasure, after worrying, after a bit chance and after pulling my self together a little, her first record is finally done. An EP. It's still unsure when her full length debut album will be released. The EP was recorded in Gothenburg by Kalle von Hall and in Malmo by Christian Berg and Nicklas Stenemo and will be released on May 23 on the label Lyckan.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two White Horses

Two White Horses are siblings James and Lovisa Nyström. They started singing together when they were in the Säkert!'s band out on tour. Spontaneity is what their debut album is about. They took some songs they liked and made it their own. Whether it's ABBA or El Perro del Mar. The album is half filled with covers, or their own interpretations of the songs if you prefer to call it that way, and some of their own songs. In the songs we hear the interaction between the two band members and, Jakob with electric guitar and keyboards by Loviisa. Good Times Are Gone Forever, is one of the best tracks on the album, but it is in their own songs like Naked Natives with small fine stringed instrumental pieces where they shine the most. It is only then that they show that they can write great lyrics. Many of the album covers are brilliant, and their cover of El Perro del Mar "Candy" is great. But I would like to see more of their own material, that on this album actually has the tendency to fall slightly in the shadows of the covers. I hope we will hear more from Two White Horses in the future, when they maybe make an album filled with their own songs, so they may show that they are able to stand completely on their own feet.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lelia Broussard

The beautiful albumart of her newest EP, lured me into listening to Lelia's music Am glad it did, because this girl can sing! On Waiting on the 9 she manages to show her versatility with beautiful indiepop songs and some more rootsy tracks. This girl is one to look out for!
At age 20, Lelia has seemingly had a lifetime career in the music industry. From her early beginnings at age 14, writing and recording her first song Secrets (from the EP "Louisiana Soul") which was picked up by the popular Joan of Arcadia CBS television show, along with the famed college radio station WXPN in Philadelphia to her soon to be, third independently released record, "Waiting on the 9", Lelia has proven to be all these things. Her career has been one of a constantly evolving cottage industry for herself, built upon a determined work ethic and belief that the fans and her connection to them are what matters most. She has toured extensively across the US as an independent artist on the TGIF tour, her new EP has already been picked up for distribution in Japan, and her music has been featured in several television shows and movies. Her new record "Waiting on the 9" came about after Lelia moved out to LA and decided that she would choose to be the executive producer of the new project by financing it herself rather than give up creative control or the rights to her music. Working with a new band and producer the group was able to come out with a record that finally reflects Lelia's fantastic live sound. Lelia has always shown the ability to swing from different styles and genres and Waiting on the 9 is no different. Waiting on the 9 is heavily influenced by the Motown sound, but with a fresh new perspective. Nothing illustrates that better than the title track to the EP. "The song Waiting on the 9 is about people waiting on their lives to start, and living in the past..I thought it would be a cool thing to tie that idea to the 9 train in New York which stopped running about five years back.

@ Los Angeles, USA
♫ Acoustic, Indie, Pop
♥ Scared To Feel (mp3)
▸ Myspace
▸ Official Website

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oliver the Penguin

"Playful electropop for all ages"
Oliver The Penguin started as an unexpected collaboration between Tommy Walter (Eels, Abandoned Pools), & Rie Sinclair (Emmy-Nominated independent composer & Artist) one afternoon in June ‘07 during an attempt to create a mini theme-song for a TV show. Over think-tank walks down Melrose & conversations of relationships, the two conceptualized a side project, which morphed into something eerily prolific. The classic example of a chemical reaction by slamming particles of computer guy with sub-structure of starlet in small confined Hollywood space. Oliver began to morph into a wider concept, as collected samples of the two’s own personal childhood stories became more relevant to the character & music they were creating. Reminiscent of The Postal Service, Frou Frou, & The Bird And The Bee, Oliver The Penguin appeals to a wide range of listeners including an alternative young audience with their underground vibe, soothing melodic tones, & playfulness. Tommy Walter has not actually abandoned Abandoned Pools & continues to dish up mixtures in other collaborations. Rie Sinclair twirls various TV & personal music projects, while mixing her debut solo album. The two have already captured their collective pool of fans, who salivate in simple anticipation of more delicious material.

@ Los Angeles, USA
♫ Indie, Pop, Electro
♥ Paper Airplane (mp3)
♥ Girls and Boys (mp3)
▸ Myspace