Tag Archives: The Gin Club

Music that moved me in 2011, Part One

18 Dec

2011 has been an intense and revealing year personally and politically. Fulfilling my promise to myself, I finally made a solo record and toured Europe this year. Companions on my journey were the intense and revealing visions of women like PJ Harvey (on Let England Shake), Kate Bush’s many voices (on 50 Words for Snow) and Kimbra (Gold Ring from Vows).

But I’ll highlight some of the underground music I’ve been exposed to for the first time in 2011. All of it has given me grist and inspiration. Click on the artist name for their website and the song name for a place you can listen, download and/or buy.

Sailor Days – Species Counterpoint from Sailor Days
Biddy came and played a Sofa Salon in Berlin for me this year, performing with Ned Collette. I had the pleasure of singing Laura Jean‘s vocal parts on three songs. This record is meditative, creatively textured and absolutely beautiful to hear. Probably the underrated album of 2011 for my money and something I hear often on my mental radio.

Jenny Hvalblood fight from Viscera
Jenny, from Oslo, is one of the genuine live-and-breathe explorational musicians, whom I met in Melbourne when she was with Folding For Air/ipanic. On tour, Matty B and I saw her at the Operahuset playing an hypnotic piece she’d composed for a dance performance. She’s moved way beyond sensual experiments in pop to blisteringly original heartsong driven by her inventive guitar and keening voice.

El MadrigalHow Can I Miss You from Statistics
So many songs to choose from on this bitey roots rock record. This year, I had the great pleasure of sharing a stage with El Madrigal twice in Stockholm and seeing them again in Berlin. Ola Karlsson played and wrote with Brisbane’s country rock stalwarts The Gin Club and retains his musical soul, intellect and authenticity here. He’s got an incredible ear as a lyricist, musician and singer and has added two great, empathetic co-writers and musicians in  Eric Lindstrom & Tomas Sundin.

The Unthanks – the Testimony of Patience (from 2009)
This Northumberland folk group inhabit an out-of-time musical space, mining bedrock sounds and stories and bringing them up to us without a hint of dust, fust or the creak of age. The song link is a Guardian video. Their new album celebrates Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons.

The Gypsy CurseMaydelle from Ten Years North
I spent a weirdly synchronous six weeks over Summer touring Northern Europe with Matty Barker from The Gypsy Curse in his solo guise as Water Music. Introduced online by Mark Steiner, we had both come a long way to be ready to play our music and were rewarded with kindness, time in twenty-two cities, incredible people, astonishing evenings and enough food for our souls to make what followed possible. What followed for him was getting married to the lovely Beth in New York, recording The Gyspy Curse album in a cabin in Sweden and a sabbatical in Texas. They’re playing in Australia now and Europe in 2012. You should really see them.