12 October 2011

Music #4 - City and Colour

Well this is it - our fourth and final music post, featuring an artist that is particularly special to me.

City and Colour is the recording alias for Canadian singer-songwriter, Dallas Green - an acoustic / folk / rock artist. City and Colour was yet again introduced to me by my music-fanatic-fiance, and is probably the most important artist in our relationship.

His first album that I heard, Sometimes, is a mixture of very soulful songs, that you can't help but kick back and relax to, and the album takes me straight back to long, lazy weekends in our first apartment.

From that first album I knew that I had discovered something very special - it was his voice, his lyrics and most of all, the way he gives himself entirely to his music.

City and Colour, 'Sometimes (I Wish)' - from Sometimes.

The first album that we purchased together was his next, Bring Me Your Love, which I bought for my fiance for Valentines day. This is also the album that contains a song that is so prominent in our wedding, which is now a mere 3 days away.

My fiance played me this song while he proposed to me, he engraved a careful selection of the lyrics in my ring and it is to be our first dance. What this song is however, I do not feel I can yet reveal ahead of the wedding, and so you will just have to wait for my series of wedding posts that I am scheduling for November.

Album-wise, Bring Me Your Love consist entirely of deep lyrics and staggering vocals, that leave the emotions open wide. He sings about death, about love, about his heart, with a voice that contains such feeling and honesty; it's defenseless and true.

City & Colour, 'Against the Grain' - from Bring Me Your Love.

This is a great example of what I mean by him giving himself entirely. I have never in my life seen or heard an artist perform with such fragility and feeling, like he is singing from the depths of his soul, and just to himself.

It feels lonely, and almost overwhelming. He sings about feeling isolated, feeling vulnerable, and feeling alone, and he delivers this not only through the lyrics, but the way he sings it too - you can hear it in his voice, and see it in his face.

City & Colour, 'Body in a Box' - from Bring Me Your Love.

Body in a Box is a great example of his way with words. I love the way he describes the tears of the grieving mourners, how Johnny's breath got taken, and how the souls of the dead take flight. Beautifully told. I always feel that I am on a journey when I listen to City and Colour - it is kind of like reading a really intense book.

Johnny lived a good life, you'll hear them say
As tears of sadness soak the ground
The reaper crept in, took his breath away
In the middle of the night, oh

We celebrate the lives of the dead
It's like a man's best party, only happens when he dies
We gather 'round to pay our respects
While their souls are still searching for the light
Searching for the light

City and Colour's most recent album, Little Hell, was released in the Summer of this year. The album has a definite groove to it - it is not all as stripped back as the last two albums, yet the subject matter is just as deep.

If any of you are lucky enough to be going to his gig in Cardiff tomorrow night, then be sure to tell us how it went, as we are extremely sad to be missing it. We have only been lucky enough to see him at one single gig, which was in London a couple of years ago, and it was magnificent - he is even more amazing live, if that is possible. As the absence of an introductory picture shows, we have yet to meet Dallas, but one day we shall, and it will be magical.

City & Colour, 'Weightless' - from the new album, Little Hell.


Want more?...

Check out the City and Colour website: cityandcolour.ca
Keep up to date on Facebook: facebook.com/cityandcolour
Follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/cityandcolour
Listen more on Myspace: myspace.com/dallasgreen

Leaff is currently shut while we get married and enjoy our first couple of weeks as a married couple in our lovely home, which means I will be giving the blog a rest too. We will however be re-opening at the beginning of November, when I will be sharing all of my experiences in the planning of our wedding; mood boards, details, colours, suppliers and of course, our big day.

I hope that you have enjoyed our series of music posts, and that you have connected with at least one of the artists / groups. Whatever the outcome however, it has been a pleasure to share my thoughts on them, and to help to tell the world just how great they are.

05 October 2011

Music #3 - Minus the Bear

Okay, so we are on the third instalment of our music posts, and we hope that so far you have been enjoying the music and artists that we have introduced you to.

Today, we are heading in a new direction again, with the fabulous indie rock band Minus the Bear.
Their music is very alternative, fantastically experimental, and ridiculously addictive.

The day we met Jake Snider (lead singer of Minus the Bear), November 2010.

I first discovered Minus the Bear through my fiance when we first met. Their upbeat, catchy, carefree and sometimes downright racy vibe got me straight away, and now their early music takes me right back to our first summers together - in fact, every summer together, as they seem to live on our stereo in the warmer months.

The first albums that I heard were Menos el Oso and They Make Beer Commercials Like This which offer a fantastic mix of beats and sounds, closely followed by our purchase of Planet of Ice which contains some of my very favourite songs.

It is really very difficult to explain just how good their stuff is, without hearing it for yourself, as it is just so different. So, I am going to let some of my favourite songs do the talking here:

Minus the Bear, 'Pachuca Sunrise' - from Menos el Oso.

Minus the Bear, 'I'm Totally Not Down With Rob's Alien' 
- from They Make Beer Commercials Like This.

Minus the Bear, 'Throwin' Shapes' - from Planet of Ice.

Enough said I think! Don't they make you long for long, hot summer days and those super relaxing, romantic beach holidays? I just adore the lyrics in I'm Totally Not Down With Rob's Alien, speaking of relaxing in the water, on a hot afternoon. They just ooze that super drained feeling you get in the heat of the sun...

And so Im swimming
More like floating
And I'll just stay out here
Until the night comes crashing down

And I swim out as far as I can
And float on my back
Just waitin' for nothin'

Not forgetting the inspiring lyrics in Throwin' Shapes, where they describe mother nature. These lyrics seem to have caused some controversy between fans, where everyone seems to have their own take on what it is about, especially seeing as so many of Minus the Bear's songs are about women, and love. Some say it is actually about a woman, others agree about mother nature, and others see it as a mix of the two - and all of this discussion is just testament to the thought-provoking and mysterious lyrics that they bring to the table time and again. So make of it what you will, these are my favourite of the lyrics...

Maybe come with me to the coast
And watch the way the rain comes down
Out of the shadows she's more passionate
We'll watch her roll in from the south

She'll wrap her sheets 'round us
Forget the sun

Moving from sea to land dancing
Swinging with the boats out there
She steps on toes if she wants to
No one's saying no, she wouldn't care

Amazing lyrics aside, what I also love about Minus the Bear is their laid back attitude, and clear passion for sound, which by now I am sure you can see, is very much reflected in their music. They don't take things too seriously, with their loopy song titles (point made above!), and the amount of different sounds that they experiment with and use - which often leave me wondering 'what on earth was that?!'. There are no confines, no pressures that they allow into their work, they just enjoy themselves and this is the product of that. Pure talent!

If we thought it couldn't get any better than this bunch of ear candy above, they released their latest album Omni in the Spring of 2010, and what an album it is! We listened to this album tirelessly that spring/summer, throughout the birth of Leaff, and during our much needed holiday afterwards, so it holds great memories for us.

I couldn't possibly choose a favourite off the album, they are all brilliant, but I am going to leave you with a live recording of them jamming My Time. This video shows you just how experimental their style is, their range of instruments, and exactly what I mean by 'racy' lyrics! It also gives you a sense of their incredible aura that they have about them when they play live. We have seen them many times, and every time I am blown away.

Minus the Bear, 'My Time' - from Omni.

Want more?...

Check out the Minus the Bear website: minusthebear.com
Keep up to date on Facebook: facebook.com/minusthebear
Follow them on Twitter: twitter.com/minusthebear
Listen more on Myspace: myspace.com/minusthebear

Next week is our fourth and final music post, so be sure to tune in then for the last instalment. As always, feel free to leave us your thoughts on this post - we love feedback.
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