Happy Monday! I hope your weekend was good and your Monday wasn't too mundane. However, if it was, I have some lovely jubbly music to send your way which will
hopefully keep you smiling.
So here goes...
First up; Sufjan Stevens - 'Chicago'
Born in Detroit, Michigan, American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens first began releasing music back in the 90s. However, it was his 2005 album release, Illinois which gained him the recognition he so rightly deserves, charting number one in the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.
Stevens mixes electronica with folk and often pays reference to the Bible and spiritual traditions within his lyrics. Best known for his use of the banjo, Stevens also makes use of guitar, piano and drums throughout his albums via. multitrack recording.
However, in recent years Stevens has turned his extraordinary talents into an epic live production, with the addition of a 10-piece ensemble and full of sensational visuals. His song 'Chicago' is a track taken from his 2005 album Illinois, telling a story of a man on a road trip. The song was sampled in 2010 by Chiddy Bang, on their EP, The Preview with song, All Things Go.
2. Sigur Ros - 'Varuo'
Keeping with the 90s tradition of this blog post, Icelandic band Sigur Ros have been active since 1994. Famous for their distinctive Dark Wave, melancholy sound, falsetto vocals and bowed guitar, it won't be long before everyone's talking about Sigur Ros. Having already reached the top of the Icelandic music ladder, they will be
gracing England with their presence at Bestival in September as part of their world tour, commencing in July.
In 2007, the band released their documentary film, Heima, following the band on tour around Iceland in the Summer of 2006. The film is available as a digital download va. their website
Varuo was the second released single from their sixth studio album, Valtari - released on 23 May 2012.
3. Fionn Regan - 'Be Good or Be Gone'
Hailing from Bray, County Wicklow, Irish singer-songwriter and artist, Fionn Regan released his debut EP in 2002, titled Slow Wall. Since, he has received acclaim, especially following his 2006 debut album release The End of History which received a Mercury nomination.
Citing influences from the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, Regan entices audiences with his lyrics and warm, folky vocals. His single, Be Good or Be Gone has been used widely in the television industry, featuring on Greys Anatomy and Skins.
Regan's third studio album 100 Acres of Sycamore, released in 2011 features backing vocals from individual favourite, The Staves, on North Star Lover. Recorded in just seven days, Regan revisits a style displayed throughout his debut album with the heavy use of strings and idyllic acoustic vocals.
4. HAIM - Forever
Girl crush alert***
Think the Kardashian sisters but talented, with a vocal ability reminiscent of The Staves/First Aid Kit/The Secret Sisters... I welcome to you the delightful HAIM.
These three sisters combine whimsy folk with R&B backing beats, it really shouldn't work but my, this absurd genre mix really does. Hailing from LA, the sisters have become a hit following their appearance at this year's SXSW. Raised listening to the likes of Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac,it comes as no surprise that classic rock is in their blood and this is the outcome, a great one at that.
In the early years, the girls formed a band with their parents in tow, called Rockinhaim, covering the likes of Billy Joel, with the girls on vocals, Mummy on guitar and Daddy providing the drumming beats.
Their newly released video of album titled single, Forever is a mix of pure a capella harmonies and hip hop beats, showing the girls biking along the palm shaded streets of LA. Need I say more.
Their debut EP, Forever includes 3 tracks and can be downloaded from their website and is released on vinyl on July 2nd.
5. Portishead - Glory Box
Now this is a complete curveball, call it a spanner in the works if you wish but I just can't help it. I cannot get enough of this song and to be quite frank, it's flipping fantastic. Especially if you've had a stressful day. Sit back, relax and let the good times roll.
Back to the 90s we go, with musical group, Portishead formed in the almighty year of 1991 (No prizes for guessing when I was born!)
Their debut album Dummy was released in 1996, spawning three singles including Glory Box and selling more than 150,000 copies in the USA alone, having never toured there. The album was awarded the Mercury Music Prize award in 1995 and in 2003 was ranked no. 419 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
The slow, sombre style of Glory Box is the perfect remedy for a mundane Monday. I hope you enjoy.
Once more, I would love to know your comments and again, thanks to the lovely Tanja.