Saturday, 30 April 2011

brother: darling buds of may

A band that's been on my radar for a while, even without much material out there yet. Having stumbled across them in December last year, I haven't really gotten round to listening to them until now - after being prompted by remembering they're performing at a local venue pres moi. With it's catchy guitar riffs and oohs, Darling Buds of May is quite firmly lodged in my head - whether I'll tire of it remains to be seen...

Friday, 29 April 2011

agnes obel: riverside

So I'm not normally one to pay much attention to plugs, or Spotify adverts, but I did come across Agnes Obel a few months ago and couldn't help getting caught up in the haunting Riverside again.

It's all freezing rain and roaring sea... the pier and the fear of jumping, of moving, of leaving. (Another sparkle of inspiration and another chapter in the book I am yet to finish. I'll keep you posted).

You can also get a free download on Agnes Obel's Facebook page here (I'm not sure why, but I don't really like artists using Facebook as their principal online home... I always prefer a MySpace/Bandcamp/webpage), or visit her website here.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

ben howard: old pine

Another act lined up for Boardmasters and another artist that I'm growing to love (possibly because of how beautiful the video is, the sea and surfing and sunset-tinted everything, how could I resist? Hopefully a glimpse of what it's going to be like in Newquay in August...)

You can also get a free download of "Soldiers" on his website here.

Monday, 18 April 2011

daughter: demos ep

I've given myself a week alone with Daughter's (or Elena Tonra's) EPs, and I'm still yearning to listen to them all over again. The cold, melancholy Tomorrow has to be my favourite track, suiting the frozen-over lake in the artwork. Enchanting, almost haunted in places, the demos are quite dark, coupled with Peter in the video above, it is a little reassuring to see her grinning at the end. 

In all fairness, I'm yet to listen to her album "His Young Heart" on Bandcamp, so give me this afternoon alone with that too? A nice little accidental discovery, I have to admit.

Download Daughter's 4-track Demo EP for free from her MySpace, here.
Visit her Bandcamp here.

Friday, 15 April 2011

spotify's upcoming changes

Spotify is a beautiful idea. A world where you can share music with friends (both publicly or privately), peruse albums of pretty much any artist, whether hugely popular or tiny tiny up-and-comers. In fact, the smaller the artist, the better. The program allows all us music fans to share all our tiny discoveries with each other. So let me come clean - I do find myself using up to my limit of twenty free hours of music a month. And in most ways, it has helped me to support these artists, publicise them on this blog and buy into them (both music-wise and gig-wise).

So it comes as a bit of a shock (even though I did have some suspicions, considering I am slowly learning the art of business) that Spotify will be adding new, tighter limitations to all users of Spotify Open. Daniel Ek, the founder of Spotify, released a blog today informing all us Spotify Open users of these changes, in which, he encourages us "heavier users" to buy into Spotify Premium. Nice tactic, and nice persuasion skills, except it seems all too clear that Spotify is shifting its vision from popularising music to making money from it. By putting forth limits on current customers suggests our loyalty is not of much value to them, even if we do put up with those irritating adverts every five or ten minutes.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but those customers who were invited into the service still receive their unlimited usage, even after Spotify Open's terms changed in the past? This only skews the unfairness further (perhaps an immature view, but if we are all free users, we should all be treated the same. If changes are put in place, and they did not affect previous customers, why are they now going to affect customers from before November 2010?)

In my opinion, only new users of May 1st should find themselves with these new limitations.

Another startling idea is the ability to only being allowed to play a song five times per month. Where is the ingenuity in a service with such harsh limitations? For a service which has collaborated listening to music via YouTube (limitless) and MySpace (limitless for members), finding new artists on Bandcamp (again, limitless to listen to entire albums) and sharing music directly on Facebook and physically, Spotify is effectively making itself redundant.

I appreciate the idea behind it all, and the enjoyment I have gotten from the program in the past. However there will always be a certain resentment come May 1st, one which will discourage me further from buying Spotify Premium.

Read the blog post "Upcoming changes to Spotify Free/Open" from Daniel Ek here.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

nick hornby: about a boy

The latest read accompanying me and my picnic blanket out in the garden is Nick Hornby's About A Boy (that is if the sun does come back anytime soon...).

It's one of those books that reassures you that you're a relatively normal human being, compared to Will and Marcus and Fiona. If anything, it's made me love my family more for every little thing we do for each other. And the beautiful speech by Rachel about having something to live for, even without a family, job or true friends except that odd twelve-year-old boy who insists on coming over to your flat gives a little bit of hope as I'm prepping for my A-Level finals. I might fail, but I will never be living off the income of a cheesy Christmas hit (phew).

Considering I was born a year after the book was set, it's always nice to learn that there were some fashion- and music-conscious people in the nineties (I think the weakest decade out of all my music is the nineties... personally, all I can remember was the yo-yo craze and Pokemon cards, so that could be why). Even if it was Adidas and Kurt Cobain.

Another one of those books that I judged by its cover before buying, I have to admit, although I did have an inkling of who Nick Horby was. Perhaps not a life-changing book (just yet, having read three-quarters of it), but another one to add to the collection of any-day reads.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

lori campbell: homesick

Another act lined up for Boardmasters that I can't wait to see... visit her myspace here.

spokes: we can make it out

My socks have just been blown off, so I'm posting this little video now. It may just seem like another indie band with a meaningful video, but listen to Spokes' Everyone I Ever Met or Peace Racket up loud in your headphones to lose your socks for good.

(Thankfully, my Boardmasters ticket is already on its way, so here's to seeing them in August!)

Listen to more Spokes on their myspace here.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

coldplay: green eyes

And honey, you should know, that I could never go on without you...

james vincent mcmorrow: from the woods

The Bon Iver comparisons may be true, but he does have his own flavour (have a listen to The Sparrow and The Wolf on his album, Early In The Morning. The upbeat folkiness of it, mmmm!) I did find a free download of If I Had A Boat a few months back, which set me on his trail, but I'm unsure if it's still on his website... I'll get back to you on that.

Visit James Vincent McMorrow's website here.