Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Almond Tree

I'm doing these favourite songs rather slowly this year. This partially has to do with the fact I keep changing the list of songs. Shameful, innit? But not atypical, I have to say. I thought I was finally done vacillating, but last night I remembered a song that I knew I could not leave out: 'The Almond Tree' by Hannah Peel.

Photo credit: Hiro Hirata

I don't know much about Hannah Peel or her music. 'The Almond Tree' is the only song of hers I'm familiar with, and I don't even remember how I happened across it. I do know that this song is off her debut album Broken Waves which came out last January and was recorded in three (!) weeks. And interestingly, for live performances, Hannah Peel often collaborates with one of my favourite artists, Blue Roses!

I am working on amending the fact I don't know much about her or the rest of her music; even as I type this, I am listening to more of her album. But anyway, allow me to go back to the reason why I started this post in the first place: 'The Almond Tree'. This song is beautiful, and a bit of a surprise. Its melody and lyrics sound like they could be straight from a traditional folk ballad, and the opening arrangement is suitable to that thought... but then the song takes a strange and sublime turn into less straightforward territory.
This is one of those songs I instantly liked, and I am sorry I forgot about it for so long! (And I'm sorry it took me this long to listen to more of her music, as I am very much enjoying it!)


(Supplements: Download the second song off Broken Waves, 'You Call This Your Home', on Hannah's bandcamp!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fallen Angel

Alright, let's forget for a moment that my favourite band is The Beatles.

Let's also forget that my most favourite famous couple ever is Paul and Linda McCartney.

Now that all that's out of the way, may I introduce my second favourite song of 2011: 'Fallen Angel' by James McCartney.

That's right: The youngest child and only son of Paul and Linda. But remember, we're forgetting how much I adore those two right now.

He's been a musician for a while, playing guitar on various projects of his father's and on his mother's one album; but it wasn't until 2010 he released his first EP, Available Light. I listened to his music an infinitesimal bit, but it wasn't until his second EP, Close At Hand, came out in 2011 that I sat up and took notice. Something about the more personal nature of the music on Close At Hand struck a chord with me. (Pardon - wasn't trying to make a pun. :P) This was actually his intention, according to this quote from his site: "I wanted to follow Available Light with something that showed a progression...that had an even deeper meaning, both spiritually and musically." He has certainly succeeded! My favourite song off Close At Hand is, without doubt, the beautiful track 'Fallen Angel' which offers an interesting contrast to the upbeat song 'Angel': the opening track on Available Light. Interestingly enough, James's two EPs are only available in digital form, but at the moment he is working on bringing them out in tangible form in a two-disc collection that will include new music!

Listen to 'Fallen Angel':

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Well, it's that time of year again! Meaning, time for my 5 favourite songs of 2011!

Alright, one thing I must explain about this (which I haven't in years past) is that quite a few artists I really like released music this year, but since I don't always buy the albums or whatever right away the "favourite songs of 2011" is really a random assortment of songs I loved and bought that happened to be released this year. Oftentimes they are by artists I love, but it's not that I'm surpassing any other artists I really love - I probably just haven't gotten around to listening to their new music yet.

Oh, gosh. That was horribly explained. I have a cold, okay?!? Let's blame it all on that.

And don't forget! It's also time to pick the artist of the month! I am starting off the new year with Matrimony. The band, that is.

What started in 2009 as the husband and wife duo of Ashlee Hardee Brown and Jimmy Brown, has in 2011 grown to include three more members: C J Hardee, Jordan Hardee, and Alex Watson.

Matrimony released their first EP in 2010, The Storm & the Eye and it has been favourite listening for months now. Though upbeat folk/indie pop/Americana for 6 of the 8 songs, it ends on a pleasingly intense note with the rough vocals of Jimmy's 'One Last Dance' as the penultimate song followed by the passionate emotion of Ashlee's 'Who Is Your God' as a glorious end. 'Who Is Your God' is about 6 1/2 minutes, but if it went twice that length I don't think I'd complain; I'd say it's my favourite song on the EP.

If what I've read is correct, the band is currently making new music which I am quite chuffed about! So far they've released one single: a song called 'Obey Your Guns' which is what I'm choosing for a favourite song of 2011. They were offering a free download of it for a while, but they aren't anymore, sadly.
You can still listen to it, though! It's a really fun song and has made me impatient to hear more of their new music.

{Supplements - head over to their bandcamp to listen to their EP The Storm & The Eye!}

That's all for now. This post isn't what it should be, but neither am I - so there you go. Happy New Year, everyone! :)