I'd like to recommend a band to you. (1)
Mr. Bones and the Dreamers are a Birmingham band, I know the singer, Keiran, pretty well, particularly as he's always been so supportive of my own music. What they do is quite interesting, something for the BrightEyes/Decemberists crowd perhaps, though those aren't exactly my favourite bands, I love Mr. Bones and the Dreamers. I assume the name is a reference to Berryman's Dream Songs, in which the character of Mr. Bones keeps appearing; I only realised that the other day, but it pleased me a lot, the Dream Songs are really great, tragic poetry. Keiran's songwriting is all about tapping into the American (and in particular, the Americana) depressive; the accent he sings in is halfway Birmingham, UK and halfway Birmingham, Alabama: it's difficult to forgive singers who put on American accents, but Keiran's singing voice is so difficult to place that you can see and hear him adopting a persona. He recently sent me this video, which I thought I'd share with the world:
It's him playing in his friend's kitchen. There's some really nice background noise, something I'm quite into at the moment. When Joe and I first started recording for my band 'where I'm calling from', we liked to experiment with it; we had a (pretty stupid) song called 'Lodgers', the piano for which was recorded on the onboard mic of his fourtrack, with both of our then girlfriends talking on the couch at the time. It's something we've recently come back to.
Speaking of this kind of thing, if you're from Oxford, or in anyway interested in the more unsung acts of Oxford's music scene, I'd recommend joining the facebook 'Oxford Rockers' group on faceboook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23825537184
have to stop writing this because I'm drunk now.