• Cattle and cane

    7 Aug 2010, 19:52 by sleepingyears

    The Sleeping Years have recorded a cover of ‘Cattle and cane‘ by The Go-Betweens for release this month with The Explorer’s Club.

    The Explorers Club is a collaboration between LOAF Recordings and Arctic Circle. Together they plan to bring you a series of special, one-off singles released once a month from 30, or so artists from the four corners of the globe.

    Some of the artists and labels involved in The Explorer's Club are Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Peter Broderick, Johann Johannsson, Nils Frahm, Bella Union, Static Caravan, 4AD, Minotaur Shock & J Underwood, Homelife, Ted Barnes & Emily Barker and Hauschka.

    ‘Cattle and cane‘ will be released on the 18th Aug and you will be able to order the track on its own or you can subscribe to access all tracks released so far on The Explorer’s Club.

    You can listen to ‘Cattle and cane‘ now on soundcloud:

    Available to order from:

  • [My Gang] Paloma Faith - Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? : Reco of the…

    8 Jan 2010, 23:32 by Babs_05

    Track: Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?
    Artist: Paloma Faith
    Album: Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?
    Tags: , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...

    YouTube, Official Video

    I can be who you want me to be

    The perfect song to begin the new decade with as we wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start.

    Everyone will get something different from this. Me, I'm in denial. Never mind the new year and new resolutions, the first few weeks of January are all about cocooning, taking it easy and baby-stepping through the depths of winter.

    Now isn't the time for resolutions anyway. They won't work. Wait till the end of the month. Maybe I'll do a reco journal nearer the time with a few tips that have helped me. This means, of course, we are all absolved from this responsibility for a few more weeks. See what good news I bring?

    He preached the value of deception

    Sometimes, denial and beautiful lies are most appropriate. Gurus will try to tell you different but don't listen to them, they've all got books to sell. Listen to your Aunty Babs. When we permit denial and beautiful lies, what we're really doing is giving ourselves time; time to think, to work out how we feel. Then when we're ready to face everything again, we will do so with renewed energy. So really, denial and beautiful lies are essential to good health and well-being.

    Sacred lies and telling tales

    Tales are never just for fools

    So I spit out lies that aimed to soothe

    Today's song comes from Paloma Faith's debut album of the same name. I first noticed her via The Arctic Circle a couple of years ago and I've enjoyed watching the limelight find her since.

    Paloma comes from a varied background, encompassing theatre, art and design as well as music. The way she brings it all together is original, if not slightly eccentric in a Björk-like kind of way. However, where Björk is all experimental drama, Paloma is more burlesque and blues, witty theatrics, cabaret and melodrama. Likeable and cute, she smiles and cries her songs in glamorous costumes of feathers and mirrors, immaculate make up and high heels. A cheeky British Dita Von Teese.

    Paloma's debut album is upbeat and cheerful, poetic lyrics driving the music as much as her delivery. Her light touch means the album can be enjoyed played on repeat in the background whilst the depth of her stories encourage close listening.

    Prophet took my hand on all soul's day
    He preached the value of deception
    Changing shadows by a shapeshifter's rules
    Tales are never just for fools
    The court of conscience came before me
    Presented me with a heavenly angel
    He took my hand and asked me, truth aside
    To his questions I replied
    Do you want the truth or something beautiful?
    Just close your eyes and make believe
    Do you want the truth or something beautiful?
    I am happy to deceive you

    Babs My Gang

    Reco of the Week archives

    Disclaimer: mine all mine


    8 Jan 10: oops, site error has caused original journal to disappear, which has all the data. Hope it returns. Can't capture listening data half way through so I'll leave it.

    after 4 days:

    128 Unique Visitors
    163 Page Views

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  • [My Gang] Jon Hopkins - Cold Out There : Reco of the Week 02 Jun 09

    2 Jun 2009, 20:42 by Babs_05

    Track: Cold Out There (full track)
    Artist: Jon Hopkins
    Album: Opalescent (2005)
    Tags: , , , , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...


    I have heard two outstanding new innovative electronic albums in the last few days - Thom Yorke's friends Moderat - Moderat and Jon Hopkins - Insides, both released in May and both equally as ingenious. The only reason I've chosen Jon Hopkins is because I also want to tell you about the latest news from The Arctic Circle and the Chiller Cabinet.

    The track I recommend this week is one I have heard many times on The Chiller Cabinet, a late night radio show of "ambience, movies, & minimalism", currently on ChillDAB. The track is available here in and I have it tagged for the group radio, which is based entirely on official tracklists I have managed to get hold of. To date, it has been my favourite Jon Hopkins track, although having heard the new album, I have some thinking to do. Also, we are enjoying a mini-heatwave here in London which apparently ends overnight tonight. So this is our weather forecast for the coming week! (Well maybe not quite...).

    Ben Eshmade, producer of the Chiller Cabinet, has been very busy working on related projects, from free lunchtime concerts - Daylight Music - to free to download weekly podcasts - Arctic Circle Radio. Daylight Music also gets its own podcast called The Hut, which you can see in the same link. Week 2 was announced earlier today, so you haven't missed too much yet. See this journal from Chill DAB who introduce the shows. There are tracklists available for both podcasts and I plan to tag them all up for new tag radios, coming soon.

    Insides, might just trounce Moderat's eponymous 'debut' (which was delayed by about seven years) by the tiniest smidge for its depth, variety, range and vision. Encompassing every sound between rural folkiness and breakbeat/jazz percussion, stopping for the tenderest of whispers along the way, the music is as beautiful as it is clever. From Hopkins' MySpace:
    At long last, a mere 5 years since Contact Note, my new album Insides is out. It was recorded at Cafe Music Studios in London, by me, on the piano, and the laptop. It also features the following amazing guest instumentalists: Leo Abrahams on the guitar and hurdy-gurdy, Emma Smith on the violin, Davide Rossi on the electric violin, Vince Sipprell on the viola, Lee Muddy Baker on the drums, King Creosote on the humming, and Lisa Lindley-Jones on the additional vocals. Remixes of Light Through the Veins were provided by David Holmes and Ewan Pearson. Mastering was performed by Guy Davie at Electric Mastering. The record has been released by Double Six / domino records and the awesome artwork has been designed by Man Vs Magnet.

    The bulk of the recording was done in the first half of 2008, and was finally completed last August. However, some tracks were conceived as early as 2005, with a few more being written in 2006. Then 2007 was too busy and only left me time to write Vessel in the September. Finally I managed to set aside a concentrated bit of time between February and June 2008 and turned it into what it is now.

    Small Memory was the last to be completed, taking less than one day. In contrast, Light Through the Veins, from its origin as a simple nine-note idea in late 2006, eventually took over three weeks to finish, and ended up containing about 800 sounds, layered over 128 tracks.

    Of course, as any Coldplay fan will know, Light Through the Veins was sampled in Viva la Vida.

    The video was very welcome today as temperatures reached 28C in my living room. Not sure I'll feel the same once the north winds start blowing again. It features penguins, which will no doubt please Ben Eshmade immensely.

    Join the Circle

    Babs My Gang

    Reco of the Week archives

    Admin - Stats as of today: listeners of this track - 6,285
    No. of plays scrobbled in - 24,592
    Position in Last 7 Days: 14 / 200
    Position in Last 6 Months: 3 / 3,164

    Date Added: 30 January 2008
    Views: 27,040, Ratings: 56, Comments: 51, Favourited: 190 times

    Stats after 7 days: listeners of this track - 6,391
    No. of plays scrobbled in - 24,962
    Position in Last 7 Days: 14 / 215
    Position in Last 6 Months: 3 / 3,164

    Views: 27,719, Ratings: 57, Comments: 52, Favourited: 195 times

    466 Unique Visitors
    506 Page Views

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  • The Sleeping Years Newsletter: Edwyn Collins/Next London show/Emily Barker/El Feile…

    13 Feb 2009, 00:59 by sleepingyears


    Here are a few events happening throughout the month of February and beyond for The Sleeping Years.

    In this newsletter:

    Edwyn Collins support
    TSY support Soy Un Caballo in London
    DJ set at KTP w/Sons of Noel and Adrian
    Norwich show with Emily Barker
    Spanish Festival in March
    TSY on Twitter
    Elite Barbarian remix/Trace Recordings compilation


    Edwyn Collins support

    Dale will be supporting Edwyn Collins at Buxton Opera House on the 13th Feb. This will be a solo show for TSY.

    For Edwyn Collins, one of the most influential figures on the Glasgow post-punk scene, both as the lead singer of Postcard label stars Orange Juice (Rip It Up, Falling & Laughing, Simply Thrilled Honey, Lean Period, What Presence?), as a solo artist (A Girl Like You, The Magic Piper Of Love) and producer for the likes of The Proclaimers, his music career came to an abrupt halt in 2005 when he suffered two cerebral haemorrhages. Since then he has fought his way back to health, released a new album, Home Again, presented a successful exhibition of drawings and begun to play the festival circuit, including Glastonbury and the BBC Electric Proms. Now Four Four Time is excited to welcome the return of a courageous and inspirational artist and his band, including Aztec Camera frontman Roddy Frame.

    Buxton Opera House
    Water Street
    SK17 6XN

    Doors at 7.30pm
    Tickets range from £21-£23


    TSY support Soy Un Caballo in London

    Our next London date will be a very intimate show at The Betsey Trotwood on the 18th Feb. This is a single launch party for our friends Soy un Caballo and we will be playing this show as a duo with acoustic guitar and cello.

    Soy Un Caballo are a Belgian couple who write and perform songs of exquisite fragility, and record them in Brussels with an amazing line up of musicians such as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Will Oldham), members of Raymondo and producer Sean O’Hagan (The High Llamas). They have teamed up with Tunng on their new single. Released exclusively on gold 7” vinyl, this extra-special limited single has Tunng’s version of Soy Un Caballo’s Robin on the A-side, with the band’s original version on the flip.

    The Betsey Trotwood
    56 Farringdon Rd,
    EC1R 3BL

    Doors at 8 pm
    TSY are on stage 9pm

    Information on the single can be found at:

    Facebook event page:


    DJ set at KTP w/Sons of Noel and Adrian

    On the 4th March Dale will be playing some records with the Neednowater DJs at the next Kick The Plug night .

    Kick The Plug presents Sons Of Noel & Adrian w/ My First Tooth + Stars of Sunday League

    Wilmington Arms,
    69 Roseberry Avenue,
    EC1R 4RL

    8pm - 11pm
    Tickets: £4

    Facebook event page:


    Norwich show with Emily Barker

    We will be playing as a full band in Norwich on 17th March with Emily Barker.

    Emily Barker is a singer-songwriter hailing from the quiet town of Bridgetown, Western Australia. 2008 saw her support Jose Gonzalez, The Waifs, Mary Gauthier, Michelle Shocked and Frank Turner.
    Her track 'Nostalgia' used as title & end credits music for Wallander- the BBC1 drama starring Kenneth Branagh.
    For this show she will be accompanied by The Red Clay Halo -a female trio comprising of Violin, Cello and Accordion/ Flute.

    Norwich Arts Centre
    St. Benedicts Street
    NR2 4PG


    Spanish Festival in March

    We are very excited to be traveling to Barcelona and Madrid in March for our first ever Spanish shows.

    The El Feile Festival returns for its sixth edition this year with events spread across 10 days in San Sebastian, Madrid, Bilbao as well as Barcelona. The focus this year is Northern Ireland and we will be sharing the bill with Duke Special.

    The shows are:

    19th Mar Sala Apolo, Barcelona, Spain
    20th Mar Sala El Sol, Madrid, Spain

    We will be playing these shows as a duo with guitar and piano.


    The Sleeping Years on Twitter

    If you are using Twitter you can find our random posts here:


    Trace Recordings compilation/Elite Barbarian remix

    Dale has just recorded an exclusive version of a new TSY song called 'The king grows tired' for a forthcoming compilation on Trace Recordings. All details will appear here:

    We also have a remix coming out very soon. We loved Elite Barbarian's debut album 'It's Only When You Get To The End That It All Makes Sense' so much that we enlisted him to remix one of the tracks from 'We're becoming islands one by one'. Details on the remix will appear online.
    You can order Elite Barbarian's album (available in limited edition Pika Pika-designed sleeves) from the Front and Follow label:


    Forthcoming shows:

    13th Feb Buxton Opera House (w/ Edwyn Collins)
    18th Feb Betsey Trotwood, London (w/ Soy un Caballo)
    4th Mar TSY DJ set @ KTP, London (w/ Sons of Noel and Adrian)
    17th Mar Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich (w/ Emily Barker)
    19th Mar Sala Apolo 2, Barcelona, Spain (w/ Duke Special)
    20th Mar Sala El Sol, Madrid, Spain (w/ Duke Special)
    2nd April Oxjam @ The Troubadour, London (Solo show)
    17th April The Local Presents at The Kings Head, London

    Join our mailing list at:
  • [My Gang] Music: The Next 10 Years, 2010 - 2020

    30 Jan 2009, 01:21 by Babs_05

    Continuing my series of speculative journals:
    Wonky Pop. Bahahaha
    Is Pop The New Avant-Garde?
    RIP Indie : 1982 - 2008

    It is fair to say the have been dominated by indie music. From The Strokes to The Libertines and Pete Doherty. From Oasis and The Foo Fighters all the way over to Goldfrapp, with a little wave from Bjork, as a genre exploded and scattered, each element evolving to form something new.

    Where in the past, we had tastemaker TV, in the form of Top of the Pops and CD:UK, to inform us and influence the mass market, in the 00s we had download culture and a total disregard for what the music industry wanted us to buy. The whole dynamic shifted. We had the internet at our disposal. We could do whatever we wanted, listen to whatever we wanted, when we wanted, and on an increasing number of platforms, thanks to ever cheaper digital technology.

    We slowly stopped socialising in clubs and started hanging out online. No longer the preserve of geeks and nerds, by the end of the 00s, if you don't have broadband and you are not online, if you don't at least use email, you are not in the loop.

    The music industry as it was collapsed. We destroyed it. The very idea that we should pay full price for an album we have only heard one track from became outlandish. It was an arrogance we were forced to accept for decades but now, we didn't have to. started up around the middle of the decade. Our mass tagging for the is a fair reflection of the last 10 years or so.

    Retro music became big news but, in my opinion, that was tied with celebrity culture and Amy Winehouse. The fascination lay with her, not retro music. The music industry tried to monetise what they thought was a new trend, spending a good year or two searching for the 'next Amy' and the best they came up with was Duffy, who pretty much destroyed the vibe before it got going with her one-note singing.

    Underground, we saw great strides in , from retro 80s Hercules & Love Affair to Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter and his ringtones album 24 Postcards in Full Colour, and music and from labels such as . We saw most of the new bedroom music come from this genre, Maps - We Can Create being a great example.

    music didn't really change, it just went back to skool. went abstract and underground. Flying Lotus, J Dilla, Daedelus. We got two big internet stars, Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen. Rock was sidelined, no one listened unless it had some elements.

    If people were complaining in the 90s that things were accelerating, in the 00s, acceleration was almost at breakneck speed, with trends barely lasting a season sometimes. Some trends arced over a number of years, but even they were forced to evolve to keep our dissipated attention. We stopped doing one thing at a time and got used to multi-tasking. Our attention became more divided once we got home from work or school, balancing demands from people around us, the television / radio, and the internet and email, with our mobile phones by our sides.

    In music, people started to just grab the tracks they wanted from albums. Listening to one whole album, in one sitting, became less and less attractive. Bands responded by creating album-albums, as opposed to albums containing a few great songs and the rest fillers, but fewer and fewer artists were rewarded for their efforts, notably Radiohead.

    Pop ... heh, you just missed my typo but it's so appropriate I'm going to use it... pop became poop. Having lost tastemaker TV, the only way the music industry thought they could get our attention was to morph with reality TV. So we had Pop Idol and the other one to deal with. Only a precious few actually hit the bigtime, notably Girls Aloud and Leona Lewis.

    As the decade comes to a close, we see a shift away from modern America / Western values in music to an embracing of musical styles from around the world and from history.

    So what of the next decade? 2010 - 2020? What can we reasonably expect? What can we predict already? What can we hope for?

    I listen to a lot of music, but even I can't listen to everything, time being a factor for one thing. If we are to look at future music trends, we need to also consider wider cultural factors, as well social, political and economic climates, and global and local trends.

    I'm opening the floor to you, my fellow Last.fmers. What do you see?

    In conversation somewhere else, I brainstormed the following: the future of the internet and increased broadband uptake. Cyberculture. Porno avatars. Erosion of morals and inhibitions in a bid to be noticed online. Then the opposite - the new prudes. 24/7 lifestyle. Flexibility - working at 3am, working from home or the park bench thanks to new gadgets and cheaper technology. That's if technology gets cheaper. Earth's resources plundered and precious metals getting more expensive. So we either recycle our tech or pay more in future. Mass dumbing down. Ever poorer education. Inability to concentrate on one thing. Divided attention. So a division in music - music that can be enjoyed in short bursts. Or slow music, 'old-fashioned', to be taken time over. If people have time. A whole hour dedicated to one activity a rare luxury.

    If artists are to do well in the next few years, they must be able to effectively use social networking sites and communicate with their listeners. Why? Because with rising mass unemployment, we can expect to see a surge in social networking, and everyone knows online advertising doesn't work. Artists must be personable and have warmth and humanity to keep listeners coming back. Communication must at least appear to be two-way between artist and listener. On the net, Radiohead lead the way. In, it has to be Pixieguts. Of course, there are artists we don't expect to connect with to such a degree, but this new angle will become the new norm.

    The current global recession will have an immediate impact on the early years of the next decade. With rising unemployment comes greater creativity. and were born out of the troubled times and recession of the end of the 70s / early 80s. We can reasonably expect to see more homemade music and it quickly becoming available to all online, especially via social network sites. Electronic has been the favoured medium until now, but with more time on their hands, it's not unreasonable to expect artists to pick up other instruments, continuing the trend so markedly brought to the fore by The Arcade Fire and Coldplay.

    The second half of the next decade is harder to see. It depends how well we recover from the global recession for a start. It also depends on us finding decent alternatives to energy because as things stand, if electricity becomes too expensive, we can kiss goodbye to sitting at our PCs all day, streaming music, downloading and file sharing. If things improve and we all feel happier again, we won't need pop, classic rock and electro-disco as much as we do right now. We can go back to being introspective and will be able to afford to wallow in something miserable, or deep and meaningful, for an hour or so.

    Where before it was quite easy to predict a return to a particular decade, it's not so straightforward now with no unifying medium to bring us all together. Instead, it might be helpful to look at how we use music in our lives. We always want dinner music, dance music, background music to shop by or drown out the neighbours and the city by. We always want music to relax to, seduce to, sleep and wake up to. We want music in our cars, on our mobile devices, and we want it cheaper or free. In amongst this almighty racket, we want music to think to, to inspire us, to mull over. We want music to mark out our groups, our social standing, maybe even our age. Sometimes we want a break from music we hear all the time and want to rest our ears on something different. These are all givens. We could see a rise in local collectives, such as The Arctic Circle and The Magpie's Nest. Local music for local people. Collectives create an opportunity for small performances aimed at target audiences, or just the local community. There is no need for great budgets for big concerts or extensive travelling, gigs take place in small venues that are cheap to hire. So far, they have been word of mouth, even online. Whether they catch your eye or not is down to sheer luck or serendipity.

    I think as in fashion, where we no longer have a single defining style we are all forced to adopt, the next decade might be a free-for-all, with us listeners grabbing what we want, whenever we feel like it. We will be less the victims of cynical marketing and more the consumers of music that resonates with us. It means musos will be in heaven and people who need a little guidance, who aren't so into music, will feel a little lost. They will most likely turn to tastemaker bloggers for ideas. The choices of bloggers will therefore become increasingly critical. We might see a shift away from official sites such as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Stereogum to smaller, individual blogs run by real people with real opinions. They are already seen as more trustworthy. Mass marketing might try to fake it but hopefully, we will see through the ruse. And with the music industry having less influence on artists, we can expect to see more self-indulgence, more progressiveness across the genres. We can expect baroque prog pop and rock, as well as more jazz-influenced music.

    Far from an end to music as we know it, the collapse of the music industry in the 00s will free us to explore and we should see a rise in people enjoying music. It might just be we're not all listening to the one same thing.

    Babs My Gang

    PS: This is my 150th arcticle!

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  • The Sleeping Years Newsletter: Le Cargo Xmas video/Vienna videos/Belgian tour/next…

    7 Jan 2009, 03:33 by sleepingyears

    Happy new year everyone!

    Here are a few events happening throughout the month of January and beyond.

    In this newsletter:

    Le Cargo's 'Songs for Christmas'
    Videos from Vienna online
    Belgian shows in January
    Next London show with Gregor Samsa
    Spanish shows in March


    Le Cargo's 'Songs for Christmas'

    We were kindly asked by Le Cargo to film something to celebrate their 100th session. They decided to create a compilation of exclusive Xmas-related songs performed by artists that they had previously worked with.
    We filmed ourselves in our rehearsal room in North London performing a cover version of Low's 'Just like Christmas'.

    You can watch the video on its own here:

    You can also watch the entire Le Cargo Xmas compilation (about an hour long) here:


    Videos from Vienna online

    While we were in Vienna we filmed a video session for They shoot music don't they.

    'You And Me Against The World'' was played live and acoustically in our hotel as the snow began to fall, and 'Setting Fire To Sleepy Towns' in a nearby Viennese cafe.

    This session is now online. You can watch them both here:

    Or on Youtube:



    Belgian shows in January

    We will be returning to Belgium for a short tour this month.

    The shows are:

    15 January 2009 at: Concertzaal Vooruit Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23 9000 Ghent w/ Finn.

    16 January 2009 at: Le Salon Rue Ville Basse, 19 7830 Silly

    17 January 2009 at: De Droge Coo Ostend

    All details will appear on our myspace page and our main website.


    Next London show with Gregor Samsa

    Club AC30 presents #116 Gregor Samsa + The Sleeping Years plus Club AC30 DJs

    Our next London show will be at the Luminaire supporting Gregor Samsa on the 27th January.
    Gregor Samsa hail from Virginia and have been compared to acts such as Brian Eno, Sigur Rós, Múm, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Low.
    Tickets are already on sale for this and you can get yours at:

    There is a Last FM event page for this show here:
    And a Facebook event page here:


    Spanish shows in March

    We have just confirmed our first ever shows in Spain for March. We will be playing in Madrid and Barcelona on the 18th and 19th March. Details to follow...


    Forthcoming shows:

    15th Jan 2009 Vooruit, Ghent, Belgium (w/ Finn. )
    16th Jan Le Salon, Silly, Belgium
    17th Jan De Droge Coo, Ostend, Belgium
    27th Jan Luminaire, London (w/ Gregor Samsa)
    17th Mar Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich (w/ Emily Barker)
    18th Mar Sala Sol, Madrid, Spain
    19th Mar Sala Apollo, Barcelona, Spain

    Join our mailing list at:
  • [My Gang] Emily Barker - Unreasonable Dream, Christmas Night : Reco of the Week 16…

    16 Dec 2008, 23:55 by Babs_05

    Track: Unreasonable Dream, Christmas Night (unavailable in
    Artist: Emily Barker
    Album: That Fuzzy Feeling EP (Static Caravan records)
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    Listen here:

    If you have been watching the BBC's adaptation of Wallander with Kenneth Branagh, you might have enjoyed the song over the title sequence. The track is a version of Nostalgia, by Emily Barker. However, it is her contribution to the Arctic Circle's Christmas EP that I want to draw your attention to.

    Unreasonable Dream, Christmas Night is the meltiest loveliest Christmas song I have heard in a while and by far my favourite on the EP, which is doing well on UK radio already. It begins softly, sounding a little melancholy and bittersweet, gradually rising to a cheerful crescendo, and ends softly again.

    The unreasonable dream is a man wanting to be home at Christmas and not knowing if he'll be able to get there. The song describes his wish as he falls asleep on Christmas Eve and his decision to get home no matter what when he wakes on Christmas morning. The stomping, marching crescendo is him tromping through London streets all the cold, long day. The soft end is him arriving at the door, exhausted but happy, on Christmas night.

    With any luck, it will be uploaded here in sometime, so we can all tag it for our radios. In the meantime, be OCD like me and listen via Arctic Circle's MySpace (above), or better still, treat yourself to the EP which also features Josh Weller, Paloma Faith and Dale Grundle (The Sleeping Years).

    Emily Barker is a singer-songwriter from Bridgetown, Western Australia. From
    She first entered the UK music scene via the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2002 where she appeared with guitarist Rob Jackson (Boo Hewerdine’s guitarist). The success of this performance, lead them to form a band called the-low-country of which Emily was the songwriter and front person. They released 2 albums, played numerous Alt-country venues and festivals, and enjoyed several plays on John Peel’s show.

    Currently, Emily performs with The Red Clay Halo - Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo - (an all-female trio comprising cello, accordion and violin) with whom she has released one album called Photos. Fires. Fables. to much acclaim. She and the girls will release the eagerly anticipated follow up album called Despite the Snow in October 2008.

    Wishing everyone a merry Christmas!

    Babs My Gang

    Reco of the Week archives

    Admin - Stats as of today:


    No. of plays in MySpace - 84 listeners of this track - 5
    No. of plays scrobbled in - 17
    Position in Last 7 Days: 17 / 3
    Position in Last 6 Months: n/a

    Stats after 7 days:

    No. of plays in MySpace - 147 listeners of this track - 5
    No. of plays scrobbled in - 31
    Position in Last 7 Days: 17 / 3
    Position in Last 6 Months: n/a

    320 Unique Visitors
    372 Page Views

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  • [My Gang] Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Asleep on a Sixpence : Reco of the Week…

    9 Dec 2008, 23:55 by Babs_05

    Track: Asleep On A Sixpence (full track)
    Artist: Isobel Campbell, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
    Album: Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart EP (15 Dec 08)
    Tags: , , , , ,

    Sometimes, the only choice at Christmas is either Slade and Bing Crosby. If someone gives you a choice. Usually, people are so Christmas'd up, they're too excited to offer options. So it's either "It's Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaaaaas!!" yelled inches from your face, or crooning. Don't think if you stay at home you'll escape; someone will ring you.

    For those of us looking for something a little different, either to impress or, quite simply, a break, there are a few options out there. You will have already heard, or formed an opinion, on Coldplay's Christmas EP, Prospekt's March EP, which, far from being an afterthought, was a clever way of tapping into the Christmas market without asking people to pay full album price. Similarly, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan kept a few tracks back from their summer release, Sunday At Devil Dirt for their Christmas EP, Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart EP. It isn't available in the UK till next week, 15 December, but has all 6 tracks fully streamable, on demand, unlimited play and auto-advance for this promotional period.

    I came to this collaboration from the belle & sebastien route, so I was already used to Isobel Campbell's style of singing. Mark Lanegan was the revelation for me. He had me at Deus Ibi Est. I tend to focus on him when I listen to them, but from time to time, Isobel grabs my attention with her harmonies. I would say this project is more lovable than the sophisticated and polished Raising Sand, from Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. I think there's more romance and wonder in Campbell/Lanegan. Certainly, Sunday at Devil Dirt sounded like they should get a room. The new EP sounds like they did and now it's breakfast-time.

    Someone in Amazon describes Asleep on a Sixpence best: "'Asleep On A Sixpence' is a cello and piano-led vagabond ballad that sounds like Tom Waits gatecrashing a Christmas carol concert, an effect evoked by the appropriation of `While Shepherd's Watch Their Flocks' as an outro." It's like a lullaby gone wrong. It would probably frighten the average toddler, sounding like the monster under the bed trying to be festive. But after years and years of "It's Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!!", it's heaven.

    There is one other EP I would recommend for Christmas. I'm trying very hard to get it uploaded in for you and have been begging and pleading on your behalf. It is The Arctic Circle That Fuzzy Feeling EP (various artists). I know it's already in iTunes and Boomkat and whatever the other usual digital download outlets are. If you're quick, you might be able to get a limited edition physical copy. You can listen to some tracks on their MySpace, but my favourite, the track I want to show you, isn't there. I hope it is for next week.

    Christmas doesn't get any cooler.

    Babs My Gang

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  • [The Arctic Circle] Damien Jurado, Tiny Vipers, The Sleeping Years 6 Nov Union…

    7 Nov 2008, 23:14 by Babs_05

    Thu 6 Nov – Damien Jurado, Tiny Vipers, The Sleeping Years

    What a difference a few days makes. Last Sunday, it was freezing in my favourite London venue, Union Chapel, but last night, it was warm and toasty. And just like Sunday, the air temperature reflected the music.

    This time, I did remember my mobile phone takes photos. I snapped a few, but what I didn't realise is I need some software CD or something and then I have to do fancy things, so that's the end of that.

    Not to worry, the music speaks for itself. What impressed me was how much better all the music sounded live than recorded. I don't know, maybe my ears are becoming more fine-tuned, or maybe I need to go to more concerts, but somehow, every single song I heard made the recorded versions sound like pale imitations. If you think Damien Jurado's Paper Kite is moving, live, it's extraordinary. The song was on my mind for the rest of the night. I put it on as soon as I got home but the version in my memory had the edge.

    The Sleeping Years

    The evening began with The Sleeping Years and one of their best songs, The Lockkeeper's Cottage. Playing with Dale were Michelle on cello and Dan on keyboards and electric guitar. Their drummer was unable to be there due to illness and Dale dedicated the pretty How Long Have You Waited to him. There was a touch of the old Hammond organ in Clocks and Clones, which caught my attention.

    Video for Setting Fire To Sleepy Towns

    The Sleeping Years have a relaxed and laid back sound. Again, Dale's voice sounds different live than recorded. I prefer the live version, which is softer and smoother. They closed with Dressed for Rain, a slow, pretty, sad song with gorgeous cello.

    Relaxed and laid back became the tone of the evening. Damien Jurado commented during his set that he's used to rowdy gigs. He said this was such a nice break.

    Tiny Vipers

    Tiny Vipers was the act I was waiting for. I know so little about her and, unfortunately, I couldn't name the tracks, but my word, she had us spellbound. What she does is come on stage, timid as a mouse, says a quiet little hello then becomes this whole other being with the most incredible voice. I know who she reminds me of, it's a folk singer, from the 60s I think, but I can't put my finger on who. It's the way she accesses the lower registers in her voice. Such a tiny little thing and such unexpected, deep notes. Something else she does is keep the illusion and magic going. She doesn't stop for a thank you or applause between songs. Instead, she mesmerises us with her gentle guitar playing, then launches straight into the next song. If I wanted track names, I had no chance. I had a good time scribbling bits of lyrics, to Google later, when she's big enough to have lyrics on the net.

    "it's hard to hold a candle to the wind / it breaks you"
    "I see his eyes are blazing / a trail of angels have gone away"

    Tell a lie - I can name one! Development. I found it in YouTube. There are a few good videos worth viewing there.

    Video for Eyes Like Ours, which she also performed:

    Her guitar playing was fascinating. Trance-y and dizzying. She didn't do anything else other than strum, pluck and play, but the sounds she got out of this one instrument were amazing. From drones to that classic shimmering indie sound, from simple single note melodies to complex and complicated chords. At one point, I thought she was struggling. I thought she'd lost her place, she was allowing single notes to linger for so long and there seemed to be hesitation before the next note. Then out of what looked like uncertainty of what solo note goes where, she blew me away with gorgeous, rich, layered music.

    At the end, she got up, said a sweet little thank you and disappeared before we even managed to raise a smile. She came across as a very talented, but very shy, performer.

    Got it! She reminds me of Nico.

    Damien Jurado

    Damien Jurado was the big name of the evening, who brought the biggest sound. He had a drummer too, which probably helped. Jenna Conrad wore the most beautiful knitted cape / poncho. I'll just quickly describe it, for my future reference and for all you knitters out there. It was a zig-zaggy knit of four stripes - orange, brown, fauwn and white at the neck. Four blocks of colour. There were three or four big orange buttons. It was short, stopping at the elbows. The ssk slopes were used all around, I don't know how they managed to make them slant the other way, unless they used them on the reverse. ( Advice welcome.) I couldn't see how the neck was finished because Jenna was wearing a scarf, but at the bottom, it looked like a very simple rib, then the rest of the fabric was knit a few rows, with the central rows purled, creating a textured zig-zag. This is the kind of zig-zag stripe I mean here. Here are the knitting pages I have bookmarked, in case anyone's interested.

    So Damien Jurado then. Jenna's poncho was distracting, sorry about that. Union Chapel was quite full and we all gave Damien a warm welcome, in this warm place on a mild, drizzly November evening. He began with Denton TX which goes, "She walked in with sadness in her eyes / I could tell she'd been sleeping with the stars". Oh dear! That's the thing about Damien's songwriting, there's this double edge of beauty and proper old fashioned country 'my dog died'. Before anyone accuses me of trashing him, hear me out. His songs are 'my dog died' elevated to as high as anyone could take them. It's 'my dog died' fairy tales and poetry, magical stories and narratives that have you marvelling. Not for nothing is he among many critics' favourite songwriters.

    I had a great time scribbling lyrics. I got a bit over-confident later and started writing without looking. No, I can't read them back. But try these for size:

    "I'll be your crash landing"
    "Will I ever be a hero in a song / Or forever a shadow"
    "Two blocks from the subway, three from the fountain / Where I walk to break in new shoes"
    "Now fine sir, where is it you shall take me? / Is it in the mountains high / Or is it the deep blue sea?"
    "First came the screams / and blood on the floor / the alcohol and magazines / in my flashlight / you were a star"

    Video for Damien Jurado - Ohio

    I love Last Rights, so I did my bit and hummed along. Would have been brilliant if everyone had joined in but never mind, maybe not everyone knows it yet. It's one of the standouts from the new album, Caught In The Trees. The album version sounds delicate, but on stage, it was powerful enough for no one to hear me humming. Not that I hum out of tune. Of course.

    Damien treated us to a cover of a Josh Tillman, known as J. Tillman, song who drums for Fleet Foxes. You can't hear Damien's version in but do check out Josh Tillman's - When I Light Your Darkened Door. Forget Bon Iver, here's your man up a mountain music.

    Damien Jurado's music is , , , and all those other lovely, obscure genres. Most of all, it's just / and Damien, Jenna and Eric Fisher gave us a showcase of all their work to date, from songs fragile as leaf skeletons to dreamy, shimmering electric guitar sounds. Proper indie, not your average approximation.

    Didn't mean to write a book. Hope this has been a good read.

    Babs The Arctic Circle

    Not performed at the concert, just a bookmark for me: The Downward

    [video artist=tiny vipers]the downward[/video]

    Tiny Vipers

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  • [The Arctic Circle] Sylvain Chauveau , Peter Broderick and Greg Haines - Review

    3 Nov 2008, 01:31 by Babs_05

    Sun 2 Nov – Sylvain Chauveau, Peter Broderick, Greg Haines

    I introduced them a few days ago. Here's how the evening went.

    Greg Haines opened with a piece 20 minutes long, beginning with a deep, low rumbling sound which served to quieten the audience. Then he removed us from the city to some quiet place far, far away.

    The scene set, Peter Broderick and his friend Guggý, of Seabear, took over, giving us the first two tracks from Float, Peter at the piano and Guggý on violin. Peter Broderick said he'd been looking forward to this concert very much and had gone out and bought a new suit for the occasion, drawing our attention to a dapper new waistcoat. His good humour warmed the audience and later, when he requested it, we all sang a single note for him to loop and play back. He was so delighted with us during the proceedings, he got a camera out and took our photo.

    I had been listening to tracks from the new album on his MySpace and knew Below It very well already. It was hard not to join in and provide my own harmonies, but seeing as it was an intimate venue and I was right at the front, I thought it wise to keep schtum. It was hard though. It was Guggý who had the good fortune to do the harmonies, which Peter Broderick looped back along with his own vocals and layered.

    Next was With The Notes In My Ears written especially for his new friends Efterklang in Denmark and after that was the one note we provided, looped back and repeated for an instrumental.

    By now, he had the audience in his hands and he stopped for a little chat. He introduced the next piece as one his father wrote and used to play for him as a child. He looped some notes from his guitar then picked up the violin and joined Guggý with hers. The music sounded old fashioned, like 18th century classic American west. He didn't tell us if it had a name but it was beautiful. Everybody enjoyed it and applauded loudly, which he recorded and then looped back for his next piece. He made us feel very special! This was the point at which he snapped a quick pic. The next piece started peacefully but rose to a great crescendo where he beat merry hell out of his keyboards, his hands moving so fast they were a blur. It ended with soft, solo piano.

    Peter Broderick dedicated the next song to Ben Eshmade, who organised the event and who asked him to record a song on last year's Arctic Circle Christmas album, That Fuzzy Feeling. The song is called Family, Giving and it was lovely to hear it played live. It was maybe a little too early for sleigh bells but it was so cold inside Union Chapel it didn't feel too wrong. Peter Broderick told us he'd never played it live before, so it was a first for all of us.

    After another instrumental, which got a little messed up in the middle, he gave us a choice: a new piece he might mess up or an old one he wouldn't. Of course we chose the new piece and he cheerfully obliged. It was perfect. A solo piano and nothing else.

    He ended his set with a track off the new 7" called Hard Games. He began with piano and vocal then turned to his kit to loop his voice whilst simultaneously playing a single repeated note on his violin under his chin and shaking little bells with the hand that should have been holding the violin. If anyone has a photo of this, please do post it below, it was quite astonishing. It all ended with him, Guggý and (I think) Greg Haines walking among the audience spinning long plastic tubes over their heads which gave a high pitched woo woo sound. No doubt they have a name, I think they're children's toys, I think I remember them from the 70s. Regardless, it was a good way to end.

    From the convivial warmth of Peter Broderick we entered the cold, desolate landscapes of Sylvain Chauveau. His music is so glacial, chilly and dark, more than a few audience members put their hats and coats back on. Images in my mind were of vast, isolated stretches of fresh snow with little on the horizon save a few trees. He told us this was his first performance in London for four years. He said last time he was here, he went to see an exhibition of Robert Ryman, who paints abstract white monochromes. Sylvain Chauveau was so inspired, he wanted to bring that abstractness into his music. Once you know this, the music opens up. To describe him as funereal would be to miss the point. Not all the pieces are dour. There was one in particular that made me think of bright sunshine on snow, with icicles dripping nearby and that wintry warm feeling. It was the one with looped guitar and glitches, before the one that sounded like a train. He told us he doesn't usually talk but he was quite chatty tonight. Maybe that was down to Peter Broderick's influence.

    Sylvain Chauveau interlaced the instrumental pieces with his chamber music covers of Depeche Mode songs, taken from his album, Down to the Bone. Hearing them sung with a slight French accent and accompanied by this strange, brilliant white style was interesting. The songs still sounded like the originals, still 80s indie and cool but now they had an arty edge to them. He sang Shake The Disease, Freelove and Little Fifteen, the last one ending on a gorgeous echo-y guitar. With his dark hair and black framed glasses, Depeche Mode suits him.

    Overall, Sylvain Chauveau's music comes across as very organised, neat and tidy, crisp and clean but with a sinking heaviness. Like a blanket of fresh snow, softening edges and hiding anything unsightly, weighing heavily on branches and the ground.

    Ben Eshmade told me the concert was being recorded. More news as I discover it.

    Babs The Arctic Circle

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