Although there isn’t much group activity to report on during the summer months, what with band members away on holiday and the rehearsal space closing for a month, we want to keep the blog updated anyway so here’s an idea that might entertain/inform/inspire/annoy/confuse* you. I asked everyone in the band which song they currently have on heavy rotation, preferably something recent, and to explain what makes this band or song so great. It will give you an insight into our listening habits, which surprise surprise aren’t always what one might expect from a bunch of doomsters.
*Select which applies
I’d much rather be enjoying outdoors activities but this Dutch summer has so far been a persistently rainy one and I’ve had my fair share of soaked adventures. So today I’m inside, working on music, writing this blog. We’re finding a way to embed these video’s on our site, by the way, but for now you’ll have to just click the links and Enjoy the Music!
Merlijn: Goldmund (Keith Kennif) – Nihon
This song was written right after the earthquake that hit Japan in March 2011. The track is featured on an extensive compilation album in an effort to raise money for the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. The reason why I chose this particular song is the same reason why I like everything Keith puts out under his Goldmund moniker; the sound of a piano, played softly, with restrained and melancholic arrangements. There’s a certain fragility present in his playing which I love, as he tends to leave all the creaking noises from the piano in the final mix. Music like this ends up in my headphones at least a few times a week.
Pascal: Agalloch – Into the Painted Grey
Agalloch is a band I fell in love with many years ago, shortly after the release of their second album ‘The Mantle’ in 2002. Musicwise it’s a mixture of black metal, folk and some heavier (doomlike) stuff, yet filled with layers upon layers of melody. This song is from their latest effort ‘Marrow of the Spirit’, an album that amazed me from the first second I put it on (not counting the intro then of course hehe). The only bad thing about Agalloch is that it’s really not a live band, because the songs are too layered to be played with the current setup of musicians, but on the other hand, the way in which they present their songs in a live situation adds some new and interesting stuff to the compositions. Definitely check them out when you have the chance!
Harm: Insomnium – In the Groves of Death
(In an email from Spain:) This song is long, epic and built up very well. It’s about someone who experiences hard times, who has lost the will to carry on and screams out his despair. However, at the end of the song there is a sense of hope and encouragement in the words, giving strength to carry on. Today I was on a train with this song on my headphones as we were passing through a tunnel and all was dark. That just really seemed to suit the song, it somehow made sense. I really got a kick out of that.
Ward: The Gadsdens – The Sailor Song
There is a handful of recordings of this little-known English band on Youtube. As far as I can tell they are currently working on their debut album. Everything about this song moves me; the melody, the vocals, the lyrics. It is a very simple and pure composition, there are no odd transitions/rhythm shifts/sound effects here. The song precisely captures the feeling of not being enough for someone else, no matter what you do, and the feelings of powerlessness and restlessness that come with it.
Misha: Foster the People – Helena Beat (live in Brisbane)
It’s difficult to pick only one song from this album as they’re all great in my opinion. ‘Torches’ is Foster the People’s debut album but you can’t tell from the quality of the songwriting nor from the clever arrangements. What I like so much about the music is that it feels airy and fresh yet warm and nostalgic. And above all: incredibly catchy. I don’t play a lot of poppy music but I’ve been listening to ‘Torches’ pretty much daily since it came out, it really is rather addictive. If you like MGMT, you will enjoy FTP too. The video below shows the band performing in Brisbane, Australia. An official video for the song will be released soon. They’re playing the Lowlands festival next month, which makes me wish I had a ticket. If you do, go see them!
Misha & Akelei