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Sunday, 26 September 2010

~Kitten Wine~#19: Red Wine And Downers

Tales from the years in exile:

The years 1994-98 may as well have never existed for me!
They were a four year period where I pretty much shut myself away from the world. The depression that had struck in 1991 clearly wasn't going to go away and it clung to me like an ungainly and smudged tattoo. On top of that there had been a succession of disastrous relationships, all of which never seemed to end in the non-acrimonious way they often did in TV and films but in calamitous misjudgements that left me battered, bruised and emotionally scarred. Yet another relationship crashed on the rocks in 1994 and so I called it a day and simply withdrew.

For the previous 10 or 11 years I felt like I had gone out every single night. Staying in at home was almost a was unthinkable! In my diary of 1989 I actually write of the shock of staying in one Wednesday night in March....meaning I had gone out EVERY single night in the first three months of 1989. Nights in were viewed as a waste, especially when there were bands to go and see, friends to have a drink with, our own bands to rehearse with, girls to smooch around with, and the feeling that if we stayed indoors something important might happen and we'd miss it!
So now, in mid-1994, I shut myself away. Locking myself in my room with my records, my videos, my books and my ever increasing fondness for Red Wine and Jack Daniels. Red Wine had become my drug of choice....I had progressed from the ludicrously unpleasant German sugarswill of Liebfraumilch and Riesling, through the Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs and had now found that Red Wine suited my mood, and did the job properly.

I also seemed to give up on music at this time too. Grunge and Britpop came and went without affecting me in the slightest. The Nineties became a non-decade for me. Some people, 5 to 10 years younger than me will talk longingly of a decade of Oasis, Take That, The Spice Girls and 'Three Lions', but it all just passed me by.
My own listening pleasure became tainted by my mood; Morrissey, Nick Cave and Tindersticks being the most played artists around this time. Plus a couple of others who suited my mood of the time and who we have come to talk about today.

In the Autumn of 1994 I went on holiday to Lanzarote....NEVER had I felt the need to get away and chillout so completely as I did at that time. Lanzarote isn't a particularly nice place, scenery's very parched and barren in places but this, and the intense heat felt just what I needed. I had with me a cassette that I had made of two bands I had recently become smitten with; Grant Lee Buffalo and The Scud Mountain Boys, and their music became so appropriate in every way to both the natural landscape and to the landscape of my mind.
I have a vivid memory of sitting on the porch of our apartment at almost 2:00 in the morning, the air still warm and humid, large stretches of scorched earth unfolding before me in the shadows, and the bottle of Red Wine I had for company loosening the grip of anxiety around me....just then 'Lone Star Song' by Grant Lee Buffalo crashed in on the was PERFECT! The crunching guitar, the drawled vocals, the shrill harmonica and the blistering guitar solo just complimented everything.

As the wine worked it's magic, 'Mockingbirds' played out, that strange Lennonesque falsetto spinning around my head like refreshing breeze....miles from anyone or any unhappiness.

Another night I recall with remarkable lucidity; it had been an incredibly hot afternoon and we had all sat in the garden of our apartment enjoying a few light ales and the heat and the loooooong sunny afternoon meant that by early evening we were all rather over-refreshed. But we had to go out for our dinner and as everybody lethargically got ready to go out I stood looking out the front door, gazing at the deep crimson sunset, the smell of deodorant and hairspray everywhere, my head swimming in alcohol when 'Honey Don't Think' came on the music player. "It's the luck of the draw// How you wound up with me// I don't know how at all// But I beg you to stay// Crawl around on this earth// While the world's still small"....even now I can't hear those lines without being taken back there.

And then there was 'Happiness', a song I turned to a lot back in those days because of it's irony, and because it genuinely made me feel like everything was alright in the world.

The songs of the Scud Mountain Boys never really had much of an effect until I was back home again and dealing with my own self-imposed exile. Like I said in the opening paragraphs, there was a time when staying in was a novelty, but now by locking myself away, I felt safe. Safe from mental unhappiness and from having make decisions and deal with situations that were causing me deep anxiety.
The Scud Mountain Boys music is so slow and so painfully melancholic that I just enshrouded myself in their warm comforting embrace. Take the first two songs below; 'Reservoir' and 'Letter To Bread'....aren't they just the saddest songs you've ever heard?

Or take their woozy, somnambulent covers on well known songs; 'Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves', 'Witchita Lineman' and 'Please Mister, Please' agonisingly beautiful, can't you feel exactly where my head was at in those dark days?

I also love the contradictory use of fire images in the songs 'Silo' and 'Freight Of Fire'(both in the one clip below); "Well I'm gonna burn the silo when you go" from the former juxtaposed with "Love it comes like a burning freight of fire// Love it dies just like three days without water" from the latter.

I realise that this must paint a sorry picture of someone dealing with their emotional issues with Red Wine and mournfully sad music, and that maybe that's not what this Blog is supposed to be about. We're supposed to be writing about our love of music and the happiness it brings us, right? But sometimes music goes way beyond that....sometimes music really is medicine for the soul, and if it hadn't been for these beautiful songs I can't even begin to wonder where I might have ended up. If you can't relate to any of this, if "it's only just music" then piss off and read an article about Paul Weller or Sting!!

I'd like to finish with a song that isn't by either of the two featured in this article, but which is my ultimate Red Wine And Downers moment; 'Dallas' by Silver Jews. I actually get scared listening to this track as it saw me through many a Cabernet Sauvignon soaked moment of doubt, and the very timbre of David Berman's voice just transports me back to a time and place I hope I've left far behind.

Happy trails to you, my Friends!


Griff says: A young person's guide to the orkestern

Helsingborg/Göteborg in Sweden and if you've never heard of them before then prepare to be charmed and delighted. They came to mind recently as I came across their unique stylised cover of fellow Swedes Slutet's song 'Vilse' on soundcloud (the original of which can be found on on Bad Panda Recods).

Symfoniorkestern - vilse (slutet remake) [BadPanda44] by Bad Panda Records

Since starting as a one-man project in 2007, the Symfoniorkestern line-up has continued to multiply and their inventive and amiable polyphonic sound is currently based around a rich blend of guitar, bass, flute, saxophone, accordian and drums. The band have released three EPs to date; Ouvertyr (2008), Tänd eld på dig själv (för det du tror på) (2009), and Den Lilla Flykten, which was released in May of this year. All three EPs are currently free to download from the band's website. by fellow Swede Pär Fredriksson. Enjoy:


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

~Kitten Wine~#18: 'Slowly Goes The Night'

It was over!
This time it was beyond doubt...we were finished.
As I stood there in her room all I could feel was an aching hollow sense of dread, knowing I'd have to face the rest of my life without her. I should have seen it coming. Just like Kurt Cobain's death in 1994, there had been a very obvious warning sign just a few weeks before. A shot across the boughs that I'd somehow ignored, somehow failed to even acknowledge.
And now, here in the inky blackness of her room as she lay crying on her bed, I had a decision to make quickly. She'd asked me to stay this last night, but I knew I'd only be stretching the agony out beyond human I decided to go, to walk away for the last time. A few weeks before, I had loaned her Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds 'Tender Prey' album which she still had in her room. I knew that this was something I was going to need to help me through the next few hours. Somehow, in the darkness, thanks to some sixth sense I managed to find the black sleeve of the album. I tucked it under my arm and left her house, out into the night to try and find a late taxi(it was already passed 2:00a.m).
The taxi ride was unbearable! The driver was far too jolly and chatty and all I wanted was to dissolve into the seat. As I got home my huge masculine cat(tragically named Fluffy) came bounding up to meet me as he always did.
I sat on my bed and switched on the Dansette, taking the album from it's sleeve and putting on my headphones, I knew there was only one track in the history of music that could in any way reach me right now, that could cut through the fear and longing and put my despair into any kind of context. Sometimes, when gazing into the abyss of heartbreak, of life without HER, there's no point in reaching for the drink, the drugs or the razorblades. Sometimes you just need the balm that only music, the right song at the right time, can bring......

'Tender Prey' Side 2 Track 2......'Slowly Goes The Night'. The stylus clicked into the groove.......

Brushes...chikka chikka....a single piano chord falls like the first tear....and then Nick's deep sonorous voice cuts through the darkness with a spoken intro:
"Darlin', that mornin' you chose to go// I awoke in my boots and clothes// You'd taken my car, stolen my cash// Even my 500 dollar suit was slashed// And I just lay there watching the sun fall down from the sky// Not wanting to open the letter, but opening it anyway and seeing those two words//...Lover, Goodbye!"
Oof!! It was like a gut-punch....just those two words. They were the last the tears and the grief could begin properly.

'Tender Prey' was an important album for Nick Cave, it was the first where he buried his post-punk reputation and emerged as a truly important contemporary songwriter. I'd followed his career through The Birthday Party into The Bad Seeds and every album seemed to improve upon the previous. But 'Tender Prey' was different, and 'Slowly Goes The Night' was his first foray into some kind of Sinatra-like balladeering. I knew from the very first time I heard it that here was a song that one day I would NEED....and now that moment had arrived.

"Next to me lies your body plan// Like a map of some forbidden land// I trace the ghosts of your bones with my trembling hand" hear someone who had been often criticised for a misogynistic bent to his lyrics suddenly sound so vulnerable and wounded at the hands of a girl was breathtaking, but now here put into some real-life context it was more important than mere breathing.
The 'ba-ba-ba' backing vocals that run through the song play like little reminders of happier times, compounding the heartbreak more unwaveringly.
"Dark is my night//And darker is my day....yeah// I must have been blind// Out of my mind// I never never saw the warning signs"....I doubt that I have ever been at one with a song in my whole life before or since.
At about three quarters through the song comes the killer line, waiting like an assassin in the corner of the room...."Oh baby I feel the heal of time...(pause)...and it hurts!" Each syllable of that line hit like a bullet.... a line that elevates Cave way beyond the lesser songwriters of this or any day. The healing process hurts! The healing process.....hurts!!
"I reach out and embrace// An empty space// A song that slowly slowly fades// Where goes it? It goes someplace// It goes someplace where it's lonely//.....and black as the night" Every line of this song was now feeding me like a mellifluous intravenous drip, slowly piecing fragments of sanity back in place, keeping me together, "Call it sleep, call it death// Call it what you like// But only sleep, only sleep brings you back to life"....and there we have the reality...only in sleep would I ever be with her again. Ever! Almost cruelly Nick offers a slight chink of light, of some kind of hope as he bids us farewell, "Well I'm goin'// Yeah but slowly slowly goin'// And we both know that it's gonna be alright".....Really? Are you sure it's going to be alright Nick? "But it ain't you that has to cry cry cry// Ten lonely days, ten lonely nights// Since you left my side, side......side" The last utterance of the word 'side' so low and guttural that you know it's not going to be alright after all. I'd like to think that Nick only took one take to record his vocals here, so full of despair and hurt that you get the feeling he's not acting, that this vocal performance is real.
And with that, the song ends.....
I took off the headphones, switched of the Dansette and fell into a sludgy and dreamless sleep.

When I awoke I felt like Faust, so drained of anything resembling a soul, a hollowness gnawing deep in my stomach. I took the 12" sliver of black vinyl from the turntable, slipped it into the inner bag and placed it inside the sleeve. I then put the album away and never returned to it for a long time. Indeed it was well over five years before I could ever bring myself to play 'Slowly Goes The Night' again. Nowadays I can listen to it for pleasure but somewhere a little piece of me dies with every play.

And YOU think YOUR records mean something to YOU??

As I've said in previous Journals, there are songs I like, songs I love, songs I couldn't face life without, and then there are about 20 or so songs that transcend all these platitudes and simply become ME, of which this is one. When they cut me open on the autopsy slab, these songs will fill the mortuary!

If music be the food of on!
If music be the cardiopulmonary resuscitation exercises that keep me together when the darkest night of the soul comes calling....give me excess of it!!


Saturday, 18 September 2010

Griff says; "Dear Joan, Why are we so lonely?"

So, you're probably not already wondering, who are Griff's all-time favourite Scottish band? From the perspective of someone whose life has taken him across central Scotland from Stirlingshire, to Renfrewshire, to Ayrshire and then back to Renfrewshire, what speaks most to him about his life?
Is it the sublime, ethereal sparkle of Cocteau Twins?
Is it the visceral, energising wall-of-noise of The Jesus and Mary Chain?
Perhaps the literate, sophisticated new-wave pop of Aztec Camera or the romantic, sweeping, pop landscapes of Camera Obscura?
Nope, all good, but guess again.
Ok, what about the post-punk, twee-pop precursor that was Altered Images, the quirky, glam-punk of The Rezillos, the urgent, rumbling folk-rock of Sons and Daughters?
All of these have a place in my heart but you're still not right.
Sigh, OK, Ballboy then?
Close, but that's still not it. Come on, which band have more plays than any other on my profile page?
Aaaaaaah, is it The Just Joans?

Let me try to explain why. As all Scots know, there are two Scotlands. The first is a vision of a romantic, heather-clad glen, a landscape rich with mystery, but bereft of life but for the haunting strains of a lone piper wafting down from somewhere high on the hillside. This is the vision dear to the heart of our American tourists. The other Scotland is the sort of place that never makes it into VisitScotland's glossy brochures. This is the Scotland of the self-destructive, macho posturing of the self-loathing hard men. It's about the small-town, judgemental post-Calvinist, obsession with, and criticism of, your neighbours. It's about trying to get to your reluctant, soon to be ex-, girlfriend's house past the chip-shop and the rampaging, drunken 'young team' ready to "plunge ye, ya walloper" on the basis of your religion, or what football team you support, and of course, both are inextricably linked anyway. It's about a November of endless night and incessant freezing rain and you're sitting on the bus to your house as it takes it's circular, halting route through all the schemes. And you're on your way back from Uni with no money and a growing sense of lost potential, and all the people you were at school with are getting on and off the bus too, coming back from their hopeless, soul-destroying day jobs in tertiary industry and you drift off into a dream of comforting, pointless nostalgia. And that, my friends, is the Scotland which is soundtracked so beautifully and almost uniquely by The Just Joans.
I'm going to insert two videos now (below) which should illustrate precisely what I'm getting at above. Both videos nicely showcase The Just Joans special blend of folk-pop, kitchen-sink realism and should adequately demonstrate why they are to central Scotland what The Smiths and The Kinks are to Northern and Southern England respectively (why The Joans remain virtually unknown alongside these more illustrious bands is a subject for another day). Please note, the following videos so accurately, penetratingly and cruelly display scenes from the actual lives of Gordon and I that they are almost painful to watch.

Rather fittingly, perhaps inevitably, The Just Joans hail from the hideous, post-industrial wasteland of North Lanarkshire. Named after the infamous and egregious agony aunt of Scotland's unfathomably popular, red-top rag The Daily Record, the original lie-up was composed of frontman David Pope and guitarist Chris Elkin. Later the duo recruited keyboardist Dougie Cameron, vocalist Rowan Smith, bassist Fraser Ford, and David's sister Katie in an effort to expand their sound.

In 2005, they released their debut album 'Last Tango in Motherwell' through Ivan Lendil Music. In 2007, they released two EPs, 'Virgin Lips' and 'Hey Boy - You're Oh So Sensitive!' through Streetlamp favourites WeePOP! Records.

In 2009 they released the excellent 'Love and Other Hideous Accidents' EP, again through WeePOP! Unfortunately, these have now sold out although a quick trawl through the WeePOP! sites back catalogue will still happily provide you with an essential taster to the greatness of The Just Joans via a few free, digital-download, sample tracks.

So, why am I mentioning them now? Why, because , their fourth EP on WeePOP!'Your pain is a joke next to mines' is officially released on September 27th. It is limited to 300 copies, in the usual hand-assembled WeePOP! way but, early-birds take note, it's already available to pre-order right now. As usual, to whet your appetite, the nice people at WeePOP! are giving away a free digital-download of one track; this is the evocatively titled, and typically Just Joan-like, 'Stuart Had A Dirty Book'. I've inserted a live performance of this song (below) along with another track from the new EP 'Why Are We So Lonely, Steven?'.
I think both tracks are a wonderful addition to the Just Joans oeuvre and demonstrate the wonderful, sly humour that leavens their ostensibly grim subject matter, which is why, along with 'Gregory's Girl' this is the art that defines my life.


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Griff says; Time for some Stone therapy

I'm sure many of you are already familiar with the dreamy and intimate music of talented Australian folk siblings Angus & Julia Stone. What you may not have realised is that Julia recorded a solo album in New York in late 2008. This album titled 'The Memory Machine' was finally released last Friday, September 10th, and has been a firm favourite on the Streetlamp dansette for the last 5 days.

If you already like Angus and Julia's melancholy-tinged music then you'll love this. Best of all it can be freely downloaded here, here and here. The album features 10 dream-pop suffused indie-folk songs of the highest quality. You won't be disappointed. Angus & Julia will be touring Australia, the US, the UK and Europe throughout September, October, November and December. Check their myspace page for dates near you.

Julia Stone - My Baby by angusjulia

Julia Stone - This Love by angusjulia

Julia Stone - Where Does The Love Go by angusjulia



Sunday, 12 September 2010

~Kitten Wine~#17: The Grandfather Brothers(and the mix-tape that begat them)

And so we return to the art of the mix-tape.

As I've said in previous Blogs, thanks to Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity' mix-tapes have become symbols of smug twattery, a way of saying "My taste in music is far superior to yours! Hear listen to this and see how much greater than you I am!" But there are times when mix-tapes are essential, and we're going to look at one now that pretty much became the foundation upon which the whole 'Streetlamp' universe was built.
So it's back to High School then.....

In the last days of High School Griff had joined/formed a band with three others and called themselves The Cakes. I could only look on with seething frustration as I desperately wanted to be in a band myself. I began pestering Griff for a place in the band but every position was taken. I would have been happy to even have just operated the tape recorder for them, so urgent was my desire to be involved. To his credit, Griff persuaded the others to let me join, originally on keyboards but I would have played anything at that point....I just wanted IN!

To give me some kind of idea where The Cakes were at at this point, Griff compiled a mix-tape of where he felt the band were heading. The first few tracks on the cassette were fairly pedestrian second-wave-of-Punk type guff; things like Infa Riot, Chron Gen, The Violators and The Adicts(who once hilariously played on 'Cheggers Plays Pop' as The FUN Adicts...oh how we laughed!). But there were other, decidedly more left-field tracks on the tape that sewed seeds that would continue to flower over 25 years later.
You see we were of that generation for whom Punk was the first REAL music we all got into, and whilst I never really ventured too far beyond The Sex Pistols, The Stranglers and The Damned, Griff and the other Cakes pursued the whole second wave enthusiastically, while I got into the more poptastic world of Adam, Dexys, Kraftwerk and Tenpole Tudor.
And it was these more left-field choices that drew me in and which, when The Cakes ended and Griff and I pursued a different musical avenue, would form the basis of our new project....The Grandfather Brothers. So let's look at the tracks that led us to here....

First up, and the first one that REALLY jumped out of the tape, The Slits and their cover of 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine'. This really made me sit up and pay attention! Of course the original is one of the most familiar and overplayed tracks EVER bit this new take was slithery, sexy and sinister all the same time. Already the cogs were turning....

'For My Country' by UK Decay was a remarkable track....all chanted vocals and pounding drums, it was originally mistaken as some kind of Nationalistic right-wing defiance before it was revealed to be an anti-Falklands War stance....a Punk 'Shipbuilding' in a sense. It's often been difficult to pigeon-hole UK Decay, I've often seen them listed as Goths(hardly?) but probably Post-Punk makes more sense.

Then came one of the oddest tracks on the tape....'Pagan Love Song' by The Virgin Prunes....where to start? The Virgin Prunes hailed from Ireland and were friends of U2(but let's not hold that against them), they were a kind of arty Goth/Punk theatrical type of outfit with a men-in-frocks thing going on. Main vocalist Gavin Friday would later work with The Fall and The Man Seezer before releasing records under his own name. 'Pagan Love Song' sounded positively other-worldly at the time.
(I couldn't find a studio version so you'll have to make do with this ropey live version!)

Next came a couple of tracks that forever sum up that period of time for me.
First up, 'The Masque' by The Dark. I remember that we really loved this song, and I think a part of me really hoped that this is what The Cakes would sound like one day, urgent but with a doomy delivery. Listening to it again now, I'm surprised by how '70s' it sounds! All Glam-y compression and pub-rock sounded better at the time!

And then there was 'Movements In Time' by The Paramedic, I'm sorry but I know virtually nothing about this band, it may have been the only thing they ever recorded, I have no idea. But I played this song to death. For years I had it on one of my own mix-tapes and it was immediately followed by 'Leave Me Alone' by New Order, and for years these two tracks back-to-back were the sound of my final days of school. Proustian doesn't even scratch the surface.

I've left one track till last, not because I think it's the best but because it's one of only two songs The Grandfather Brothers ever recorded. Yes, we recorded a cover of Demob's 'No Room For You'.....and again, listening to it years later, I'm not sure why! Again it has a very 1970s feel and isn't particularly well sung....but we covered it so we must have REALLY liked it at the time.

And so, from this unlikeliest of sources did we find ourselves in The Grandfather Brothers. This was our chance to move away from the cul-de-sac of Punk and adopt a more experimental tone. I was able to bring my love of the more experimental Indie music such as Cabaret Voltaire, The Passage and The Surface Mutants to the table. We tended to record using multiple tape-recorders(there were no computers in them days!) and I was forced to play both drums and bass(actually the top four strings of a standard guitar) and attempt backing vocals whilst Griff played guitar and sang. As I can't play bass or sing, the project folded quicker than we expected. Aside from our cover of 'No Room' our only other song was called 'Typical Rebel' and was an attack on the lack of creative ambition within the Punk movement.
And that was it.....

For nearly 25 years....

For, when in 2007 Griff and I decided to make music together again, we saw it as our chance to finally DO The Grandfather Brothers thing properly! We even toyed with the idea of resurrecting the name, but somehow it didn't sound so ironic we called ourselves ~Sighrens~ and the rest is history(or 'current' I should perhaps say). So ~Sighrens~, and perhaps to a lesser extent ~Lost Gloaming~ is The Grandfather Brothers Part 2.

And all from a scabby C-60 cassette!


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Griff says: Kitten - free to good home.

It's been a quiet old week; Gordon is off sunning himself in the Mediterranean like a latter day Lord Byron, leaving me to mind the shop. Of course, as usual, I've been keeping my ear to the ground but I just wasn't hearing anything worth passing on. I began to wonder yesterday whether I should just declare September a Streetlamp holiday...and then, just when I least expected it, serendipity knocked. And this wasn't just a good find, this goes into the category of excellent find. So who's the band? Well it's not really a band, it's the soundtrack to a film, as yet unmade, called 'Elephants and Cars'. The film is the project of Scott Marson who hails from Swadlincote in Derbyshire. He describes it thus:

"Elephants & Cars is a short thriller about my uncle Jarek. The plot involves Jarek arriving at East Midlands Airport with a suitcase and instructions written on his hand. The film follows his journey; to his aunty and uncle's house, on the bus to his new job, to the shops, and back again. The difference is it's through the eyes and mind of a paranoid schizophrenic - a tense, foreboding, surreal and often funny day as he slips in and out of reality. I wanted to show what it must be like for someone that hears voices loud and clear, and can see things that no-one else can.

I have been writing songs for this project for the past ten years and filming for the past two."
Scott has released some of the songs that he's written for the film on Soundcloud under the moniker 'Kitten Pyramid'. In the main, the songs fit comfortably into the indie-folk genre but there's rather more to the music than that. W.H.A.L.E. has a short, strongly-melodic, traditional rock 'n' roll, pop structure that'll make you want to leap out of your chair and bellow "Whale!" at the top of your voice. Don't believe me? Have a listen:
W.H.A.L.E. by Kitten Pyramid

The more folky songs have a gentle, introspective air and the vulnerability conveyed in the vocal delivery, as well as the vocal harmonies employed, reminds me a little of Robert Wyatt. Have a listen:

3hrs by Kitten Pyramid

Seahouses by Kitten Pyramid

Fire by Kitten Pyramid

Like what you hear? Good. If you're interested and you are a secret millionaire, or have usable blackmail photographs of the rich and famous in your possesion, then you can contribute to Scott's project. Work in progress continues on 'Elephants & Cars' and Scott is looking for a producer, if anyone's interested? If you're not a secret millionaire and you still want to help then spread the word, visit Scott on Facebook or Twitter and give him a pat on the back. Remember, many of the songs featured are available to download freely so, at the very least, go along and say thank you.



Thursday, 2 September 2010

Griff says: Don't miss Arborea

Do you remember some time ago I mentioned that I keep featuring husband and wife duos on this site? Well, remarkably, I've yet another one for you tonight and I think you'll like them. Arborea are Shanti and Buck Curran from Lewiston, Maine in the US. The music is soft and gentle indie-folk in the usual 'Griff says' mould. The exceptional thing about them though is the exceptionally pure and haunting quality of Shanti's vocals.
Have a listen to their latest free download 'Careless Love (Dream Surf Mix)' (below) and you'll see what I mean.
Careless Love Dream Surf Mix by Arborea

I'm pleased to inform you that this download has been made available as the duo have just embarked on a UK tour which kicked off on August 31st. Check out their Facebook or Myspace pages for details of where you can catch them.