Andrew Bird – Useless Creatures

November 17th, 2010

Andrew Bird is an exceptional contemporary American musican. A classically trained violinist, his influences range from American and European folk to pre-war jazz, bluegrass, blues, gypsy, classical and electronic. He has worked with many different styles, plays different instruments (predominantly string) and yet manages to sound authentic and be moving in which ever stage he is in. His lyrics and singing are good too.


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I recently discovered Useless Creatures, an album that was released as a bonus to his latest album Noble Beast (2009).

Carrion Suite is gorgeous instrumental track by Andrew Bird – a stream of consciousness, starting off as a classical violin piece and evolving into different moods filled with plucked strings, organic percussive sounds and far off cymbals. The violin seeps in and out bringing the song back into focus. Its reminiscent of an Indian violin raga in its improvisational and classical feel and then heads back into the feel of a Bach cello suite. Perfect for late night spacing out. Useless Creatures was a bonus album to his 2009 album Noble Beast.

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“You Woke Me Up!” is another excellent track from the album, which reminds me of the Canadian producer Michael Brook’s album Dream with the Indian mandolin player U Srinivas. An excellent album form 1995.

Until I figure out how to upload songs onto this blog, you can listen to clips and buy the songs through our museradio.fm Amazon store.

Who are Warpaint?

November 8th, 2010

Warpaint are composed of four ladies based in LA, and have just released their debut album The Fool
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Harmonized female vocals, sometimes three at a time, high pitched, almost ethereal.

Melodic and  melancholic, with simple guitar melodies, a drum kit and keyboards.

Although there are moments of dissonance, and heavy reverb rock guitar playing, they know when to stop, when to let the song breathe with space and silence. And I can hear the different elements of song clearly (something I find distinctly lacking in many contemporary indie rock albums).

There is nothing extraordinary or super original about Warpaint, they are just good. Their songs get under my skin with their melancholy and beauty. Especially the layered voices, and how they change throughout the song.

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I don’t know much about them, but as I listen I keep getting drawn back to certain songs. From The Fool, the songs I like the best so far are (in no particular order): Undertow, Shadows, Composure, Baby and Lissie’s Heart Murmur.

You can listen and buy from itunes UK here.

You can also check them out here on our museradio.fm Amazon store, where we post our favorite albums in mp3 and CD format.

Warpaint also released an EP, previous to The Fool, called Exquisite Corpse.

Night Terror by Laura Marling

November 6th, 2010

I’m a little late in recognizing Laura Marling, but better late than never. Pow wow, this song kind of blows me away. This young lady is only 20 years old and has already released 2 full albums (both nominated for the mercury prize- the British best album of the year award)! She writes her own songs and plays the guitar too.


The lyrics are a little cryptic. She is trying to protect her baby, and if she finds herself on a bench in the park in the middle of the night she is probably alluding to a drug addiction…. How she can sing so powerfully about this is anyone’s guess. Either way, its a beautiful song. Gives me the chills.

Listen on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsIKbH9p9zI&ob=av2e

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Am I too old for rock concerts?

November 6th, 2010

Two concerts in the space of a couple of weeks and both times I didnt make it for more than half an hour.
484933 Manu Chao has been a favorite for a long time, so I was very excited to be able to hear him live. He played at the Coronet, a large-ish standing rock venue in South London, in support of a Colombiage, a not for profit that promotes Colombian culture abroad.

The energy in the venue and Manu’s exuberance when he came on stage were infectious. Everyone from the granny standing in front of me to the teenagers and mostly 30 somethings in the crowd seemed to be basking in the positive energy. I mean, how cool is it that someone of Manu’s international level of fame would come out and support a small organization like Colombiage? And that we all had the opportunity to see him in the relatively small venue the Coronet.

His band was pared down to three people, so understandably the sound of his album couldnt be recreated. But what bothered me is that I could barely make out what distinguished one song from another. The pumped up bass throbbed incessantly across each track and the guitar playing seemed to be more intent on making rhythmic noise than etching out melodies. I couldnt hear any of the subtleties in his voice, could barely make out the words and the guitar playing was too repetitive to merit focused listening. In short, the music didnt seem as if it were meant to be listened to, but rather for drunken people to bob up and down to in somewhat feeling-less glee.

I hope it doesnt sound absurd, its just I dont know if I’m missing out on something, or I’ve suddenly become too old for rock concerts? What is appealing about the experience of being thrown together into a room to thrash our heads around to repetitive noise?

I had a very similar experience the other night at Cargo seeing the Spanish band El Guincho. Admittedly, I didnt know their music beforehand, however there were striking similarities.
el_guincho Three men on stage, thrashing about with high energy and fast guitars. I couldn’t distinguish the melodies, instruments or layers of sound. Everything melded together to create what I can only call noise. El Guincho’s leader, Pablo Díaz-Reixa, moved about so frenetically I suspect it must have been drug induced. Either way, I struggled to understand what everyone else was hearing that I obviously wasn’t…

Bob Brozman in Concert

October 27th, 2010

Last night I went to a cafe in East London to see a musician Ive been following for some time, but have never seen live.

Bob Brozman plays a myriad of string instruments including the guitar, ukelele and steel guitar. Originally from America and well versed in blues guitar, he has traveled around the world over the past few decades playing and recording with musicians from such far flung corners such as La Reunion to Hawaii, Japan and Guinea. Some seriously interesting work has come out of these collaborations. A Ry Cooder of Sorts.

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As he said last night, he has tended to go to hot places, so his most recent collaboration (which was being showcased last night) was a departure; literally his first collaboration with music from a cold place: Northern Ireland. On stage was Bob, with the two Irish musicians that he made his most recent album “Six Days in Down” with: John McSherry and Dónal O’Connor.

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It seems somewhat pointless to write a review about something I didnt like… but for those of you out there who dont know Bob Brozman, let this in no way discourage you from exploring his music. There are many gems to be discovered.

Bob is a very good guitarist, there is no doubt. He arrived on stage and proceeded to demonstrate a few different guitar techniques and traditions that he picked up from around the world. Some Hawaiian on his steel guitar, a little North Indian on his slide guitar and so forth. Very interesting indeed. He engaged the audience is a way that made obvious his lifetime of touring in smallish venues. He has an intensity in his speaking and playing that is marvelous, especially in a man of his age. Its just that as my friend Adam who was with me said “it’s just too much!” The intensity overwhelms the ability for something more subtle to come through, which can be felt on many of his recordings. Then again, sometimes it works brilliantly, as on tracks such as “Chaturangui Gazal” from his album Lumiere, where he overdubs himself on various string instruments creating a symphony of sound.

In my mind the North Ireland/Bob Brozman collaboration didnt create a new sound. The fiddle and bag pipe were very distinct and played in what sounded liked a very traditional way. Beautifully played, but unoriginal except for the fact the Bob was playing with them. As some points it was very catchy, but never elevating to Wow.

Rather than try and describe all this it would be useful if I could upload some samples for you to listen! Let me see what I can do about that…



http://www.a-littlebird.com/2010/09/30/music-playlists-from-muse-radio/


Don’t you wish you knew somebody who had the best taste in music and could fill you in about all the latest, greatest bands? Well now you do with our latest discovery: museradio.fm. Set up a by two friends, Lilly Ladjevardi, who combines researching world music for the BBC with creating soundtracks for businesses, together with tech expert, Olivia Koerfer, museradio is an online music platform with specially created playlists that you can stream straight to your computer or download from i-tunes. There are sixteen playlists (with more added regularly) to suit every mood with music from Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Salif Keita to Laura Marling. It’s like discovering a set of brilliantly made mix tapes that you can pretend are all your very own.

Great African Music Compilation

September 13th, 2010

Sterns music distributes some of the coolest old and new African music, as well as having their own music label. They have just released an 18 disc compilation of African music from the past 50 years which I highly recommend! Been listening over past few days and the selection is stellar. Ive made some excellent discoveries.



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The compilations covers most if not all African countries, and are categorized into the following 6 regions: West Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, North Africa and Lusophone Africa.


The whole set costs £65 which I found quite reasonable. It is accompanied with great liner notes too.


Here is the link to the compilation on Stern’s website: http://www.sternsmusic.com/disk_info.php?id=3218462

The future of museradio.fm

June 23rd, 2010

It has been almost a year since we launched museradio.fm and  we’re constantly racking our brains and trying to figure out if we can turn this labour of love into a business.

So after many discussions, much debate and advice from people who know more than us (there are not many around but we did find some ;-) ), we have decided to take the bold step and go for a subscription model. The ‘everything-free-all-the-time’ model that has seen the internet grow at a phenomenal rate is clearly unsustainable and people are beginning to understand that for quality, you have to pay.

Before you start typing your exclamatory comments, let me just mention that there will still be free content on the site and that the monthly subscription, which will give you access to all the past playlists and some exclusive content, will be ridiculously cheap! Less than a pint at the pub in fact. Plus we will be bringing you a brand new site with vastly improved features as well as great podcasts spotlighting some of our favourite artists.

OK, now you can type your comments! We would love your feedback on this, so please drop us a note below or send us an email at olivia (at) museradio (dot) fm or lilly (at) museradio (dot) fm.

Buy from Amazon

May 4th, 2010

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You can now buy museradio.fm playlists and CDs that we recommend through Amazon.


Most people have their card details in Amazon, which makes it super easy to use.


We also like the fact that you can buy CDs, not just MP3 because sometimes there are albums that are great from start to finish.


As always, we will only recommend a CD when we think its really worth being part of your collection, never for just one good song.

Let us know if you think or new Amazon store is useful.

Kroke (Yiddish for Krakow) are a very talented Polish klezmer-inspired group made of up 3 old friends classically trained on viola, accordion and double bass. The word klezmer generally makes me think of frenetic brass ensembles, however in relation to Kroke the term can be misleading. Their sound is much broader, encompassing Jewish, Middle Eastern, gypsy and classical traditions. The mood is romantic and lyrical, tangible coming out of old traditions but not confined to them.  They have done a number of interesting collaborations with different musicians and a track was recently featured on David Lynch’s last film, Inland Empire.



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The first album that I got into and like as a whole is Seventh Trip. You can listen to a the song “Take It Easy” on the playlist Gourmet Waltz (track 3).


You can buy tickets to concert on the Southbank Website: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/music/gigs-contemporary/tickets/kroke-and-nigel-kennedy-52600

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