stockholm clouds | elias one man band

once upon a time, elias åkesson from falun in sweden played with the wizzkids. since 2011, he has been telling stories as elias one man band, with a suitcase drum, a 12-string guitar, and a harmonica. we caught him with just a guitar in a quiet moment in london.

and here’s what happens when you give him a piano:

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aurora: nothing is eternal

aurora dances her words with her fingers when she sings, and seems to be both a lovely human being and a wonderfully weird tough cookie.

aurora aksnes sings about being a warrior of love, being attacked by the dark, climbing runaway trees, and demanding to be treated with respect instead of bending over too far. her brilliant voice and radiant way with words are moving both mountains and mole hills of feelings. her covers of “wrecking ball” and “life on mars” are equally inspiring. when she dances, she trips the northern light fantastic with gay abandon and giddy soul. also, she started a record shop gig in london by cheerfully talking about food stuck between her teeth and, in an episode of the talk show skavlan, she spoke thoughtfully about being sensitive, about not being interested in fame, and about how she wasn’t very good at being a teenager, seems to have skipped her teenage years, and, instead, is now a bit of a child and a bit of an adult. deadly all around!

and now aurora’s gone and made a documentary about things that inspire her, among them her hometown bergen, her family, and her friends. the cinematography is wonderful and aurora speaks with wisdom and kindness, for example on music being for sharing:

“music is not something you should keep for yourself, you can’t put it in a cage because it’s wild and alive.”

apart from wild music, there’s also magic apples, dancing in streets and forests & a lotta luminous heart. nothing is eternal, as the title of the documentary states, but everything can be fascinating. you ought to watch this, it might make your day.

aurora is on tour – make yourself some happy news and see her if you can!

the wave pictures

the wave pictures catch surreal moments and disappointments with silly lines and sad hooks. they like words and amateurism, designed all but one of their album covers themselves, and in their music videos, they’ve been known to walk on glasses, eat spaghetti while singing and play polaroids.

we met david tattersall, franic rozycki, jonny “huddersfield” helm and their friend david beauchamp for an interview before their daylight music gig at the union chapel. they told us about a birthday tradition, apologising to hull and an unsuccessful joke; debated whether or not they are grown-ups, and shared a couple of daydreams.

they also played us two songs from their upcoming album and a grateful dead cover for stockholm clouds (lookee here) and drew us a baffled cat! much love from us to the wave pictures for all these saturday morning adventures ♥

drawing-this-one

stockholm clouds | the wave pictures

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before their daylight music gig at the union chapel, we traded david tattersall, franic rozycki and jonny “huddersfield” helm of the wave pictures three bananas (with their names on, as in their song “canary wharf“) for an interview and three songs for stockholm clouds. together with their friend david beauchamp, they played “remains” & “a letter from hull (dom’s song)” off their upcoming vinyl-only album a season in hull (out tomorrow!) and “friend of the devil” by grateful dead.

“remains”

“a letter from hull (dom’s song)”

“friend of the devil”

billie the vision & the dancers: the key to my magic world

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at the beginning of december, lars lindquist, maria thenor, sofia janninge and silvio arismendi of billie the vision & the dancers released their ep the key to my magic world. a world in which, i think, trees and human beings grow freewheelingly; which is lit up by music like by fairylights and campfires; which is magic because it is loved.

spanning over ten years and six brilliant albums with glow-in-the-dark titles, the band’s history is full of that kind of magic. they called their record label love will pay the bills; they turned a carpenter’s workshop in a forest near bräkne-hoby, sweden, into a home, a studio and an excellent cultural venue for the local community; their song with hello saferide and the covers that musical friends such as the pipettes, maia hirasawa, little marbles and seasick steve made of their favourite billie songs sound like love letters; they have an admirable habit of making strangers into friends and their songs are like conversations about personal ghosts under beds, political nightmares walking the streets in broad daylight, not fitting in and, at the same time, delighting in human beings. their songs throw glitter at hate and are met with declarations of love (look at their youtube and facebook pages!). i think i first fell for this one and, of course, that one.

the key to my magic world is no less scintillating. i think it also gave us billie the vision & the dancer’s first official music video.

the ep is about making up your mind, letting in spring air and tomorrows, dangling from the captain’s hook and needing to give up on someone. with giddy chord progressions and exhilerating syllable hooks, it invites human beings to sing and be heard (especially poignant considering the heartfelt welcome to refugees in the last seconds of the video), offers music as both a healing drug and a religion and makes idiosyncratic troubles oddly relatable (and so catchy that, even as you recognise yourself, you feel better immediately). with lines like “if i could keep from crying, if my words would get through, i would call you up instantly and try to explain again“, the lyrics, as usual, look like conversation transcripts rather than songs but, oh, they sound like watercolour groove.

if you know billie the vision & the dancers already, i daresay you’ll be pleased to add this key to your collection, if you don’t, then, wheeee, pick it up and come on in! also, if at all possible, be good to yourself and dance with them on their it’s my drug it’s my religion tour 2016.

concert: frazey ford

1---musician, artist, mama, beekeeper, human. that’s how frazey ford describes herself. her music is as excellent and wide-hearted as that sounds. we’ve been slow to catch up: we’ve missed four the be good tanyas records and two frazey ford albums. the first we heard and saw of her was the video for “done”, a life-buoyant, calmly fierce sea change song accompanied by a laid-back pavement-dance riot (and featuring deadly clothes, giggles, a dinosaur, a hula hoop and an otis redding vinyl). it made us want to dance with frazey. library, backyard, newsagent’s, parking lot – anywhere she wants, anywhere. our first dance turned out to be in a church. sitting down. it was exhilerating.*

13th october 2015, the union chapel in london, candles and hot chocolates. frazey ford in a black jumpsuit, sparkling with wisdom and healing. her lovely band. songs like “september fields”, “bird of paradise”,”the gospel song”, “you’re not free”, “natural law” and “blue streak mama”. “one more cup of coffee” for bob dylan and radiant “the happy song” dum-dums for otis. frazey talking about how her brother is like a “firecracker”. about recording with al green’s band. about how a forty-year-old argument was forgotten over “weather patterns“. i’m terribly grateful to them for playing that song. it helps me breathe. i am also glad my dungarees have lots of pockets to keep all these songs in. i have “weather patterns”, “done” and “if you gonna go” right here in the top pocket. and oh, “ootischenia” (a the be good tanyas song about frazey’s parents running from the vietnam war to communes in canada), how chuffed i am to have made your acquaintance. as i am sitting here remembering how “indian ocean” washed over the wooden benches of the union chapel, i am still wearing my dungarees like a hug, every pocket full of beekeper soul

* apart from the support act david ward, during whose set i felt both ill and ill-tempered. maybe i just didn’t get it. how you can “cobble together” (his words) a dead friend’s poems into a song, how his song “mother” could possibly be about “instinctive human kindness” (his words). how he, by playing his own version of them, managed to prick holes into both bryan adams’s “heaven” (a perfectly good song) and bob dylan’s “i was young when i left home” (which means an awful lot to me and is itself a respectfully inventive and sincerely heartfelt reinterpretation of the traditional “900 miles“/”900 miles from home“, both referenced here in woody guthrie’s version). 

small feet: from far enough away everything sounds like the ocean

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small feet are wrestling ghosts and whistling worries till they shoot like meteors across the sky. here’s a cheer for every defiant line and every camomile note. this debut album has been a long time coming and now that it’s here it is as
excellent as its title promised it would be.

yes, we have heard this ocean coming from far away. some of this post-windmill spider pop we discussed beside golden walls, some of these songs we heard in a cloudy gallery, some of them we caught there and brought here. and some of these songs are new friends we’re only just making.

 almost casually, small feet lead us down crevasses of disappointment, with hope bent out of shape but glowing. here, someone kills unicorns for fun, plans need water to grow, the television set trades in lives, an army of heathens may well save you and in the trenches before the palm trees lies a diary of sadness.

 and, somehow, simon stålhamre, jacob snavely and christopher cantillo make this feel like inhaling extra air, it’s heart-growing music, with a curious buoyancy from weird fruit, reverb harmonies and oh ohs. quietly magnificent. like ane brun’s vocals on “bend towards the light” and raffaele malanga’s photographs of horses and the odd human disappearing in snowscapes and of aurora trees. an all-around brilliant piece of art, made by lovely human beings.

one of whom eats apples while shooting music videos ♥