Have you heard of Sjur Lyseid? Well, while the name may be a bit difficult to pronounce (or, maybe it’s only difficult for me, that’s cool) his music, however, is anything but difficult to fall in love with. Sjur Lyseid is the man behind The Little Hands of Asphalt, a band hailing from Oslo, Norway, made up of a rotating cast of musicians or ‘accomplices’ as they are referred to on the band’s Myspace page.
The music brought our way by The Little Hands of Asphalt is infectious at the start and this remains a constant throughout Leap Years, the band’s first full length. Whether it is Lyseid’s smooth approach at conveying his message through gentle whisper-like singing or the instrumentation that releases a sweet yellow glow into the air, the sounds of The Little Hands of Asphalt create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere. Leap Years is one of those CDs that needs to be listened to on repeat and it is its aura which makes this entirely possible (at times without even realizing it) and completely enjoyable.
One thing about Lyseid that separates him from a majority of contenders in his genre is the way in which his lyrical content is crafted to make it seem as if each song is a letter, written to specifically to you, the listener. Lyseid, undoubtedly, had a story to tell but the way in which he went about doing so makes the listener feel as though he or she has been written into the script, to answer the call, pick up the mail or sign online and be an outlet for Lyseid. This CD is special in many ways – it is more personal than abstract, it is more specific than vague, it is more involved – and because of its open and honest construction, it welcomes you in with its friendly noise and alluring lyrics.
But patience never was my trade
And the broken back of honesty is thoroughly clichéd
When doubt has built a nest inside your head
All the restlessness that sleeps between us will break the bed
But make no mistake
It’s hard to think that common sense
Won’t pick a fight with consequence
When Fall soon breaks, know that I won’t be around no more
When you find what you’re not looking for in me
The Highway’s Pull
I think that that’s the trouble with seeing things my dear
Nothing is ever clear
And your views were surely accurate
But I’m done with accuracy
Because once I could see the future
But the future couldn’t see me
And now I’m stuck between our teeth
With the lies we couldn’t tame
But at least we keep our chins up as we spit back at the rain
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that The Little Hands of Asphalt hails from the great country of Norway and I think it would be safe to assume that English is not Lyseid’s native language – but the best part about the entire thing is that without knowing that information ahead of time, you would never have been able to tell. Lyseid is just that good and a talent to be watched. I look forward to hearing more from him in the future and after having yourself a listen I guarantee you will too!
Four times a year, Nature reinvents the backdrop to our days. Its power does not lie solely in being able to change the weather but in having that change in temperature influence our own feelings and behavior – for better or for worse.
Frightened Rabbit’sThe Winter of Mixed Drinks almost does the same thing. At the start, Hutchison learns to let go in ‘Things,’ to free himself of the clutter – “useless objects, a gathered storm of shit, put them in a silent shed, throw out your life’s supply” – by it seems – finally – realizing that physical possessions can never make up for the personal and emotional connections that we thirst for constantly, even at times without realizing it. ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land,’ (thank you for the gateway into the rest of the sea!) goes one step further and calls for a complete release. While in the former song Hutchison released his grip on the past, in ‘Swim..’ Hutchison forces his burdens to release their grip on him and seeks cleansing and renewal – “swim until you can’t see land, are you a man or a bag of sand?” – do you have the courage to float or are you going to allow yourself to sink?
Now, while the concepts behind these songs seem to be simple and familiar, there is one major aspect that separates The Winter of Mixed Drinks from a lot of other relatable albums and that is its sense of sincere urgency whose presence is strongly evident within each song. Three songs in, ‘The Loneliness and the Scream,’ we are reminded of how it feels when the commotion and chaos created while cutting ties, burning bridges and erasing memories dies down. You know the feeling, right? The supportive and concerned role players who walk in and stand as canvases for you to throw your feelings at until you’ve exhausted them are ready to leave – you can just sense it – so you lift yourself and do what it takes to prove that you’ve moved on – and now, it’s quiet. The hell that you raised setting yourself free has done nothing but create another hole for you to fall into –“it wasn’t me, I didn’t dig this ditch, I was walking for weeks before I fell in” – and now you’re left with a cannon of your own noise and no target to aim it at but yourself. The hunger for something or someone new to release a slew of layered and open ended emotions, frustrations and desires – “this is the test I left land for, to grip flesh and pull muscle in, the vice clinch of the struggle I can’t give in to the weight of”– comes full circle in ‘The Wrestle.’ Not strong or willing enough to continue dealing with ‘the best days of our lives,’ Hutchison begs to be done with the ‘ignorance of youth’ and the ‘learning experiences’ that are destined to come with it in ‘Skip The Youth’ – “though my body is far from old, I’m bound to useless youth and I can’t fake a fist to throw through the crust of the Earth” – because he is tired of the process of consequence and wants only to fast forward to a point where life is settled – “skip the youth, it’s aging me too much.”
There are things and people that we never forget no matter how much time passes or how hard we try. ‘Nothing Like You,’ is a perfect example of where we land after swimming from our past – “all the pain almost as painful as ever but something in me was not the same”. ‘Man/Bag of Sand,‘ can be regarded as either a moment of filler or a dividing line in the structure of the album. And here, we discover ‘Foot Shooter,’ which is, in my opinion, the album’s best track. You said it, you did it and whether you meant it or not, you didn’t mean for it to go as far as it did, come off as it did and carry all of that weight – it’s as simple as that. ‘Not Miserable’ brings a sobering aspect to all of the fucked up nonsense that has haunted the record thus far. With all that Hutchison has been through coming full circle, he realizes that by now it is all just a ‘pocket of fluff.’ Spiritually, he is cleansed and this time, he means it – “though the corners are lit, the dark can return with the flick of a switch, it hasn’t turned on me yet.” No one else seems to believe that his misery has escaped him but that doesn’t seem to matter to him anymore. ‘Living in Colour’ is exactly what the title implies. The dark clouds have parted, the duration of sunlight has extended – Winter is over and Spring is finally here and our hero has survived. Just as the seasons change, he has done so as well. Whatever it is that has melted the snow and brought with it fresh soil for the planting of fields of flowers, drew open the curtain and welcomed the colour back into life. As Hutchison sings ‘I am floating, with my eyes closed, with no sails, I am soaking, I am weathered by the Winter of mixed drinks,’ I feel as if we can all find a sense of familiarity in that visual, especially with today being the official first day of Spring. The final track to this musical soap opera of a man’s journey back and forth between desperation and acceptance is an apology, ‘Yes, I Would’ is a vulnerable apology filled with pure honesty and lacking any type of malicious intent. He’s been lost and he’s been found and although at this point he is as okay as he could be, it seems that the only thing left haunting him is the lack of closure, the inability to display who he has become and never knowing if he was ever really worth as much as he was told.
And if I shoot at you, you should shoot at me too
And we can drown in pools of the thick dark words we threw
And as my face turns white
I apologize, I am sorry, it’s not your fault
Well, what if I am never thrown that bone
And what if this tear in my side just pours, and pours, and pours
I wonder if you’ve noticed that I’m not around
The loss of a lonely man never makes much of a sound
And first it bleeds then it scabs
I feel like I’ve been filling up
Oh, change if you can’t be bound
‘Yes, I Would’
This is probably as official of a CD review as you will ever have read (you read through the entire thing, right?) on our little blog here. I just feel as though this album is better as an entire concept rather than with tracks standing on their own. With that being said however, each track is as powerful as the one before it and I recommend giving it a chance.
Frightened Rabbit is a band from Selkirk, Scottland and have released three studio albums up to this point with The Winter of Mixed Drinks being their latest (March 1, 2010). Frightened Rabbit is Scott Hutchison, Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Gordeon Skene. They are currently on tour.
It is WAY too beautiful to be inside on the computer right now, so here are some quick updates!
You can finally order a Republic of Wolves vinyl which has 4 songs on it: Cardinals on the A side, and Wood/Bricks, a new song, on the B-side. It also comes with downloads for two alternate versions of For His Old Branches. Listen to it all. here
Also, Vintage Hustle Records have set up a contest for your chance to win some really cool stuff, so check it it out over here.
– dehydrated wolves among the grazing in the sun sheep
There are two types of music out there: music that wants you to take it seriously, and music that just wants you to have fun with it. The cold fall and winter months are better fit for the first kind, and the spring and summer are meant for easy listening of the latter. With that being said, we bring you MiniBoone who have created a perfect collection of sounds for the upcoming season!
MiniBoone were included on our spring playlist (download link can be found here with the track Devil In Your Eyes). They are brooklyn based group, and released a debut EP called Big Changes in 01/2010. This is a short and sweet EP that simply explodes in your ears with the first track. Summer Jam is nothing more than what it sounds like; a fun and carefree summer song to listen to with your friends. This song picks you up, and the rest of the EP doesn’t let you come back down until the last track, Funny Money. Rosalina Must Dance Alone takes a bittersweet approach to music’s greatest theme: LOVE. It compares the meaning of love at the teenage level to the adult level. Needless to say, these guys aren’t just coming up with amazing guitar solos (such as in I Need) and catchy melodies with filler lyrics.
tell me why I feel the way I do
I get chills the way God brings the radio
your favourite song, it’s just for you
cool breeze, laughing in the summer
tell me why I feel the way I do
I get chills
I love you still, I love you still
This music is just bursting with an energy that is waiting for you to feel it, to listen to it, and to live through it. There is a damn-I-feel-great feeling that MiniBoone resonates onto us with their jumpy sound. So far we only have six songs from these guys, and a whole lot of promise. The 20 minutes pass by in what seems like 2 minutes – the fast sounds will bounce into your of ears and off the walls, through the air and back again before you can even get the chance to catch the fleeting noise. Whatever they bring for us in the future, we are excited to hear.
Their website says this: “The new MiniBoone EP, “Big Changes” is out today! Yes! Today! Meaning right now! Why are we so full of exclamation marks? Because MiniBoone is the most exciting new band on the planet.”
And it’s true. They’re exciting. They’re loud. They’re intense. They’re honest. They’re bouncy, they’re energetic, they’re fucking great. Enjoy!
“I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.”
A long, long time ago (was 2004 really that long ago?) Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova released an EP together entitled One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels, remember that? Yeah, the memory’s a little foggy for me too but WAIT, don’t get too upset about it because on March 23rd, Saddlecreek is going to rerelease the EP again with (wait for it…) four new songs and ‘Happy Accident’ is one of the four that made the cut!
Yeah, I know. I thought I left Bright Eyes in the past too, but I guess it’s just one of those bands that will always have a bittersweet place in the music library that makes up my life – more bitter than sweet but who’s counting, really?
Bright Eyes & Neva Dinova – Happy Accident lyrics
there are lots of things i could have done
little tokens of my love
that i was always saving up to spend
it’s the thought that counts, i guess
even when it don’t make sense
even when it’s easy to forget
too much time for the self employed
i heard you scream in your mother’s voice
so afraid you’d become her in the end
you want a life that you can not live
well, that’s what keeps you competitive
throw another shower for a friend
you can tell me where it is
cause i’m looking for that happiness
come on, tell me where it is
for the sake now of the argument
come on, tell me where it is
cause i’m looking for that happiness
come on, tell me where it is
cause i’m looking
not yet a mother but a good complex
you like the boys when they’re scared of sex
what a shame that they grow up to be men
well maybe father does know best
and that the reason why he left
all your pride to the last ditch you defend
took a while to accept our fate
another chance it eliminates
once we did there was nothing to pretend
they always say ‘there’s a time and place’
so maybe ours will consolidate
if they do, i will greet you as a friend
you can show me where it is
cause i’m looking for your happiness
come on, show me where it is
now you found it all by accident
come on show me where it is
cause i’m looking for your happiness
come on tell me where it is
cause i’m looking
I happen to like the song and I recommend having a listen. If you like it, take it with you!
It is with great pleasure that we, both Wolf and Sheep, present you with The Sugary Smell of Springtime(Remembering When You Were Mine)Mix! We hope that it fills your spring days with the perfect combination of sound creating just the right mood to help you blend into the gorgeous weather and stay there, at least for a little while (1 hour, 3 minutes and 34 seconds – if we’re getting technical).
All artwork created by the Queen of the Quarry (the Sheep)! Drop a comment if you have a chance and let her know what a beautiful job she did! All mixing and flowing done by the Big (not so bad) Wolf, so don’t forget to tell her how impeccable her flow is!
Tigers on Trains is a two piece band from Long Island, New York consisting of Mason Maggio and Christian Van Deurs. They have been getting quite a lot of attention over here, and we were lucky enough to be granted the opportunity to do an interview with them. This is their first official interview as a band, and we hope you guys enjoy it as much we did!
There is more to these two men then the music they make. Their answers are incredibly insightful and thoughtful and even at time, humorous. Tigers on Trains is in a word, brilliant and it is with great hope and eager paws/hooves that more ears will allow the hearts below them to flutter with emotion and the mind above to indulge itself in creative thought. While they may be new to the music scene, Maggio and Van Deurs are wise beyond their years – the proof is in the lyrics, the melody and the delivery.
Be sure to check out their music and keep an eye out for these guys! Listen to some songs below from their full length Grandfather:
A Year In The Garden Shed
Here’s the interview, click below for the rest and enjoy!
Wolves Among The Sheep: Alright, let’s begin with some background information. How and when was Tigers on Trains born? Were you two friends beforehand or did the music bring you together?
Mason: Well we’ve been good friends since 9th grade, a couple years before we started this project, but it was definitely music that brought us together. We met through a mutual friend and the first thing I said to Christian was “Wanna join an emo band?” The first thing he said to me was “No.” This repeated a few times until we actually became friends and started playing together. We were in a couple of “bands” together until we decided (in October of 2006) that all we needed were two acoustic guitars and our voices to make the music that we wanted to make.
WATS: What the story behind the name of the band? Do you guys love animals as much as we do?
Love is a strong word. But both of us definitely respect animals, and appreciate their wide range of skill sets. The name of the band came from a lyric in one of the early songs we wrote (before Tigers on Trains existed), entitled “Indian Ocean.” There’s little chance of anyone ever hearing that song. But lyrically the “tigers on trains” were a metaphor whose meaning was quickly forgotten, if it ever had one.
“That’s one of the things that’s great about art. You can create something out of thin air, something totally unrelated to reality, and that can carry an emotional power of its own and evoke that feeling in not only the listener, but also the artists themselves.”
Dreams. Dreams. dreams. little dreams. Big dreams. good Dreams. Bad dreams. Dreams, regardless of the fact, are something that each and every one of us experience on on a daily basis and whether we are aware of their presence or not, they are always there. Whether you’re actually sleeping or you find yourself experiencing something so phenomenal that it seems unreal, a dream is a dream. Metaphorically and even at times literally, we have no control over when our dreams begin or come to an end and although constant, ultimately, the power to come and go lies within the grasp of that elated state. We are but mere pawns in the hands of our own euphoria.
I can not quite find a reason why I fell in love with this song so quickly but midway through the first listen, it caught me and has yet to let me go. ‘Little Dreamer’ by Future Islands (off of their CD Wave Like Home) is almost like a lullaby (an indie lullaby, if you will), swooping beneath my feet and carrying me to my own little reserve above the chaos for a much needed time out. This song is simply gorgeous in the sense that as a complete piece, it is perfect.
If you find yourself needing some time away from what ever it is that is keeping you from feeling your best, give this song a chance. Life is lovely in a dream but at some point, no matter how blissfully brilliant things have become, reality always finds its way back to take what it has loaned you and have you pay off your debts through experiencing that weighted sense of loss. However, don’t give up too easily; don’t wake up with the first alarm, keep your eyes closed for as long as possible. Find the repeat button, stay wrapped and coated in the bliss that ignorance has brought you and hold on.
I caught you sleeping here, all wrapped in wool
I caught you sleeping here, it almost broke my heart
I found you dreaming
I’m dreaming of you always
When I was just a child, a lonely boy
I held onto my dreams, like they could run from me
The hopes I harbored fled, as they often do
But I still dreamed of you
And now my dreams come true
And as we say goodnight, I hold you close and tight
No more raging suns, only waning ones
Like the waxing scar where my lonely heart
Once bloomed before I met you
My little dreamer, I’ll always
Always dream of you
The brilliant Victoria Legrand of Beach House recently did her part in taking this song one step beyond the border of perfection and making it even more dream-like with the Jones Remix, which can be found below.
Little Dreamer (Jones Remix) by Future Islands (featuring Victoria Legrand)
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