I owe the Notwist an apology. Every year or so, I (re)discover their music, and then lose it all over again. This year’ll be different, guys. I promise.

thenotwist

A German indie rock band formed in 1989, the band has made some pretty dramatic changes to their musical style, while keeping pretty much the same lineup. Their early music moved through heavy metal and dark indie rock, with their more recent (and most popular) being electronica-influenced.

From 2002’s “Neon Golden”, I offer up “Consequence”. (Re)brought to my attention by a good friend, I listened to it once. Twice. Three times. And on loop for about 30 minutes.

A wonderfully hypnotic and hypnotically wonderful song, a repeating electronic organ motif plays underneath the entire song, layered on top with a repetitive drumbeat, joined at 0:40 with the emotionless and yet emotion-full vocals of Markus Acher. Slowly building, joined with more organs, and culminating in an outpouring of static and electronic feedback at 3:33, with those lyrics slowly drilling, drilling down into you….A once-repeated verse and an oft-repeated chorus…

The song itself is a plea to someone worshiped to not abandon the other; a nursery rhyme of desperation.

Guys, I promise I won’t forget about you this year….

Uhm, what was that album name again? Damnit….

You’re the colour,
you’re the movement and the spin.
Never
Could it stay with me the whole day long
Fail with consequence, lose with eloquence
and smile.
I’m not in this movie
I’m not in this song.
Never
Leave me paralyzed, love.
Leave me hypnotized, love.

You’re the colour,
you’re the movement and the spin.
Never
Could it stay with me the whole day long
Fail with consequence, lose with eloquence
and smile.
You’re not in this movie
You’re not in this song.
Never

Leave me paralyzed, love.
Leave me hypnotized, love.
Leave me paralyzed, love.
Leave me hypnotized, love.

Leave me paralyzed, love.
Leave me hypnotized, love.
Leave me paralyzed, love.
Leave me hypnotized, love.

The Notwist – Consequence

www: The Notwist’s official website and MySpaces – number 1 and number 2.

I spend an AWFUL lot of time looking for new music. Trawling through website after website; tracking down new sources and following up on leads from others; asking anyone and everyone what they listen to – all in the hopes of discovering the next fixture on my MP3 player; the next companion on a cold, wintery night (or long night of the soul, as the case may be).

Sometimes I hit a dead end. I find myself with no-one new, simply finding again what I’ve already found. I know that I’ll find someone else soon – but sometimes it takes time.

And other times, I wonder where the Hell someone’s been all my life. Kina Grannis, it’s you.

kinagrannis

Miss Grannis is a 24 year old singer of Japanese, English, Irish, French, Dutch, Welsh and Scottish origins. I throw that in there because I’m Irish, and so now have enough in common with Miss Grannis to propose marriage.

Why marriage, I hear you ask? Well, I don’t. If I could, that would be weird – why on Earth would you be in my apartment? Where would I fit you all? How would I feed you all? And I just don’t have enough towels for everyone.

Basically, I feel I could happily spend the rest of my life listening to Miss Grannis (assuming she decided not to take my last name…). And from her 2010 album “Stairwells”, I give you the reason why…”Delicate”, gently plucked out on an acoustic guitar, with a slow build involving a snare drum, piano and a string section, with a truly and utterly haunting story of not listening to someone who knows you, of forging ahead without thinking of consequences, and the realisation as everything falls apart around you that you should have listened in the first place.

And of course, who couldn’t love someone who called their album after the places they wrote their songs?

While attending college at USC, Kina often retreated to the secluded stairwells around campus where she could write and sing without being heard. Protected by their quiet confines, she found a safe haven and a creative outlet for her music. Armed with a guitar and a cup of tea, Kina wrote in every stairwell she came across.

So how about it, Kina?

You said, “Be careful, it’s delicate, things can just crumble apart.”
But it’s not the same for me
It’s not the same for me

So I kept treading so carelessly
Thin lines that splintered my ground
But I closed my eyes to them
I closed my eyes to them

How did you know that I couldn’t be what everyone wanted me to be?
And how did you know that I wouldn’t see when everything falls away from me?
When everything falls away from me

One day I woke in the rubble
Knee-deep in damage I’d done
And I was ashamed of it
How did it come to this?

How did you know that I couldn’t be what everyone wanted me to be?
And how did you know that I wouldn’t see when everything falls away from me?
When everything falls away from me

How did you know that I couldn’t be what everyone wanted me to be?
And how did you know that I wouldn’t see when everything falls away from me?
When everything falls away from me

When everything falls away from me

I await Miss Grannis’ response to my proposal, and shall keep you all updated.

Kina Grannis – Delicate

www: Kina’s official website, MySpace, and Youtube channel.

Following on from the amazing Isaac Thompson
submission, we now have two for two, with the absolutely brilliant Amy Heffernan.

amyheffernan

Like a number of artists I receive submissions from, the submission came from Amy’s marketing/PR company. Usually, I find this a turn-off, as I get quite a lot of bulk mails and mail merges. However, kudos to Amy’s team for reaching out in a unique and personal way. Of course, that wouldn’t have mattered a jot if Amy’s music sucked. But….it doesn’t. It’s pretty fucking amazing, to be honest.

First, we have the very Pink-ish “Being Awesome” – at first, what seems a rock anthem to being drunk. But listen to it a few times, and take those lyrics on board…”If I’m slurring my words what can I say? Right now I’m Just a drink away from being awesome…” It’s definitely a happy tune, and maybe it’s just my own melancholic conditioning, but sometime inside me finds this song a little, a tiny, a smidgen bit sad. Catchy, though!

It happened again
I think it just hit me
Take me keys cuz later
You’ll be driving my drunk ass home

As long as I’m here
You know I’ll be dancing
So you can get me a drink
And make it anything but H2O

If I’m slurring my words what can I say?
Right now I’m Just a drink away from being awesome
Gonna make it happen
Right now I’m Just a drink away from being awesome
Gonna make it happen

I’m not checking my hair
Or fixing my make up
If I looked any hotter
I’d be hooking up with your boyfriend

Getting close to last call
And I’m out of money
I’m gonna push my luck
And go gamble on the ATM

If I’m slurring my words what can I say?
Right now I’m Just a drink away from being awesome
Gonna make it happen
Right now I’m Just a drink away from being awesome
Gonna make it happen

It isn’t like I’m falling down
I think it’s time for another round
Yeah yeah yeah yeah

Right now I’m just a drink away
Right now I’m just a drink away (from being awesome)

Right now I’m Just a drink away from being awesome
Gonna make it happen
Right now I’m Just a drink away from being awesome
Gonna make it happen
Right now I’m Just a drink away from being awesome
Gonna make it happen
Right now I’m Just a drink away from being awesome
Gonna make it happen

Next, we have the insistent “Over Again” – a story of repeated patterns; of trying to escape and failing again and again; of accepting things, until one day, it’s time to stop. The signature change at 1:04 is a joy, the entire song an anthem to endings.

I’ve been waiting for days
And I don’t think that you’ll ever change
Is it my turn to say it?
Or should I just walk away

Tired of hearing “I’m sorry”
When I know nothing will ever change
Is it my turn to say it?
Or should I just walk away now, I know how

Slam the door and I’ll dig for my keys
Realise they’re not with me
Turn around and you beg me to stay
I’ll get angry and you’ll just melt me in your arms
And we’ll start it all over again

These old scars never heal
When I just patch them up with new wounds
Please just don’t say it
I need to walk away now, I know how

Slam the door and I’ll dig for my keys
Realise they’re not with me
Turn around and you beg me to stay
I’ll get angry and you’ll just melt me in your arms
And we’ll start it all over again

Why? I’m scared
I would walk away but I don’t know how
I don’t know how

Slam the door and I’ll dig for my keys
Realise they’re not with me
I’m not turning around this time
You’ll get angry and I’ll be walking, moving on
And we’ll never have to start again

Slam the door and I’ll dig for my keys
Realise they’re not with me
I’m not turning around this time
You’ll get angry and I’ll be walking, moving on
And we’ll never have to start again
No we’ll never start all over again

Over again

And finally, the country-ish “I Do” – a beautiful love song, with some of the simplest, yet most evocative imagery I’ve seen in some time (“You dance around the subject, you spin me ’round so perfectly”), and with a chorus that will stay with you for a long time after the final chords have run out.

You dance around the subject
You spin me ‘round so perfectly yeah
Remind me before I forget
How I love the way you look at me yeah

You tell me I’m everything you’ll ever need
And maybe someday you hope that I will feel the same
But your smile and every perfect thing you say
Won’t make me love you, you don’t have to waste your time
‘Cos I already do

Who knows you know you might be
The only one just maybe yeah
When I feel your arms around me
There’s no place that I’d rather be yeah

You tell me I’m everything you’ll ever need
And maybe someday you hope that I will feel the same
But your smile and every perfect thing you say
Won’t make me love you, you don’t have to waste your time
‘Cos I already do

I fell the moment I saw your face
I just knew my life was all about to change

We dance around the subject
We spin ‘round so perfectly
Remind me before I forget
That I’m not dreaming

You tell me I’m everything you’ll ever need
And maybe someday you hope that I will feel the same
But your smile and every perfect thing you say
Won’t make me love you, you don’t have to waste your time
‘Cos I already do
‘Cos I already do no you don’t have to waste your time
‘Cos I already do
I do

To put this in perspective, these are the three songs I ended up picking after listening to the whole album three or four times in a row, and it took that long to finally pick these three – another five or six could easily have taken the place of any here.

Awesome indeed.

Amy Heffernan – Being Awesome

Amy Heffernan – Over Again

Amy Heffernan – I Do

www: Amy’s official website, MySpace, and PR company’s microsite.

I’ve posted about Griffin House before, and I’m sure I will again. At the time, I’m not sure I did Griffin justice, to be honest, calling his music songs

sung by a man with a Bono-type timbre to his voice (but don’t let that put you off). The song itself is, while not quite forgettable, one of many – similar to a lot of what is out there, but with an added element of something else, something to take it above the others.

On repeated listening, “Homecoming”, from 2006, has found a semi-permanent place on my MP3 player, with some wonderfully catchy soft rock tunes. Nothing outstanding, to be sure, but enough to keep the attention.

With his newest album, “The Learner”, I feel Griffin is now finding his way – and from that album, I give you “River City Lights”.

griffinhouse2

An absolute gem of a song, “River City Lights” is reminiscent of Ryan Adams or Whiskeytown at their best. A very, very simple tune, with an insistent guitar line and a non-stop snare drum beat, it’s sing-song, lullaby-like, and just beautiful – and once you add backing vocals by Alison Krauss….Well, just have a listen.

With a wonderful air of wistfulness, of losing someone you love and wishing for that back, “River City Lights” is just perfect.

The rest of the album is good, but this track stands out. Should Griffin reduce the soft rock musings, and produce an album of such alt-country (or even country) gems, then this House will have found a home (I’m sorry; I’m so, so sorry for that awful joke. Sorry.)

I met her down
In Tennessee
Went by the name
Of Amelie
She was a character
Anyone could see
She had eyes
Just for me

Time would fly
And the summer would end
And I would never see her again
And I hear thunder in my head
When I wonder
Where she is

And the river runs
Through her town
And all of the stars
They’re out tonight
She’s up on the rooftop
Looking down
Just staring at the river
Lit up with the city lights

And I roll on
Years gone by
The sun goes down
On another sky
And there is nowhere
I’d rather be
And there is no-one
I’d rather see

Where the river runs
Through her town
And all of the stars
They’re out tonight
She’s up on the rooftop
Looking down
Just staring at the river
Lit up with the city lights

Shouldn’t be so torn upside
From losing what is hard to find

But that’s just the way
The way it goes sometimes

The way it goes sometimes

Griffin House – River City Lights

www: Griffin’s official website and MySpace.