As Valentines Day fast-approaches it’s hard not to get swept up in the fanfare of lovey-dovey songs – so when I came across LA-based songwriter, Aaron Embry performing “Your Heart and Mine” I fell pretty hard. Embry playfully suggest that he will in fact, break your heart – and you will break his. Because that’s how it goes.
Embry’s style is quiet and understated, yet it’s in his fragility that he is most commanding. Better known as a producer and touring musician to the likes of Edward Sharpe, and even a collaboration with Elliot Smith – he seems to have surprisingly stayed under the radar for the most part. I have a feeling that will soon change. The few videos posted on his website feel eerily beautiful. With subtle Spanish influence on guitar he strums elegantly, and when he begins to sing he experiences all forms of the heart: broken, light, aching. It’s that poetic sarcasm about love’s fleeting nature you find in films like 500 days of Summer (now that I mention it, he does sort of look like Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
If you’re in need of a little catharsis this Valentines day, I suggest you spend a little time with Aaron Embry. Watch the video below.
The vocal fragility of Daughter (Elena Tonra) is not to be confused with meekness. It takes guts to sing earnestly, and for this 21 year old songwriter, it can be gut-wrenching. Sparse arrangements make her voice sound all the more dramatic, and she sings about being discarded, love that went wrong, and being reckless. Her song, “youth” has got that anthem quality, in true Florence and the Machine-form. She sings, “one day we’ll reveal the truth” to the sound of anxious percussion and it makes you want to believe her.
Her EP released last November entitled, “The Wild Youth EP” contains song titles like: home, youth, love, and medicine, leading us to believe that it’s not so much a wild temperment – but a wild imagination that she translates through her music. Over the weekend she gave this EP away for free, but you can still enjoy it over at her bandcamp.
Watch a performance of “Youth” in a church, below.
(photo by Alaska B)
Working in music the last few years, I’ve had the chance to collaborate with some rad people behind the scenes: filmmakers, engineers, graphic designers, writers – those individuals whose art it is to facilitate art. I had the opportunity to sit down with La Blogotheque filmmaker Derrick Belcham before he sets off en route to establish a La Blogotheque HQ in New York. We met in a Toronto diner to discuss how he got to be where he’s at, what Jeff Tweedy smelled like up close (ok, not really), the myth of the “Moon Man”. Derrick emerged from the corporate world, returned to his experimental roots and gave up the handsome paychecks to invade the personal space of many of our favorite artists. I quickly realized that Derrick’s success can be attributed to a specific ethos: always be curious, always be in awe, and always be grateful. It’s a sentiment that permeated throughout his stories. His liberal use of adjectives will attest to it. He makes me feel like there is still life in these mediums, yet.
The story of a song-project is not new. Best reflected in Sufjan Stevens now defunct Fifty States Project or Paleo’s more militant Song Diary which resulted in 365 songs in 365 days, and oddly applauded by Dick Cheney – song projects tend to get some hype. But in the case of the enigmatic Diane Cluck, the pledge of a song a week for six months is more than hype. It’s a carefully made promise that something about the universe will be revealed to you in her otherworldly prose. It’s a guarantee that something beautiful will arrive in your inbox, and it’s the good vibes you’ll receive from supporting one of the most introspective and uninhibited folk legends we have.
Happy New Year, all! Canadian dream-pop duo Memoryhouse just put out their cover of The Zombies, “This Will Be Our Year”. It’s filled with humming organs and layered reverb on electric guitar, it’s the kind of song you want to kick off a new year with, and Memoryhouse have assured it’ll do much more than that, “I hope this song helps motivate you to lose 5 pounds, stop smoking, and watch less reality T.V. (or is that just me?)” The band have offered the song for free download HERE.
I put together a few best-of 2011 lists in music over at Friends With Both Arms, covering everything from best music blogs to girl crushes. Download some tunes, discover gems new and old, or pass it along. There are enough tracks on there to make a decent mixtape for a last minute gift *wink wink*